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Random Reflections 2010

9/10/2010 "The Tapestry"

posted Sep 10, 2010, 6:30 PM by Carolyn Hall

    The tapestry hangs in the hallway leading to our bedroom.  I pass it many times during the day, but only when I sit in Baby Noah's room do I stop, look out the door, and really see it.  As I rock my baby, I study its peaceful scene.  It reminds me to slow down . . . to breathe deeply.  I embrace this moment of reflection.  

    My arms are so tired from holding all fifteen pounds of this hefty one, my soul so tired from waging the day's battles.  I beg, "Will you please go to sleep, little man?"; then I remember . . . 
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened . . ."

    Give Him your weary arms, weary heart, weary soul.  Breathe Him in along with the sweet scent of freshly-washed baby.  My body may be tired, but my spirit soars once again.  I am renewed, my heart re-opened for love and sacrifice.  I give thanks once again for all the blessings of growing family, of marriage, of faith.  

    And my baby sleeps.

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and 
not be weary . . ."  Isaiah 40:31

9/6/2010 "Treasured Moments"

posted Sep 5, 2010, 6:40 PM by Carolyn Hall

    Oh, the joy of recalling recent "treasures" . . . 
  • A trip to the aquarium, seen through the eyes of almost-two-year-old Grace.  Such a peaceful outing because Grace is totally content to take her time really studying all the "feesh" and other animals in each tank.  No frantic running from window to window with this girl.
  • Walking through downtown Chattanooga, enjoying some time "alone" with Ben as our babies sleep sweetly in stroller and wrap.
  • Receiving three bars of chocolate (organic, fair-trade, dark!) from my handsome man, when I asked him to pick up one (maybe two ...) at the store.  :-)
  • Being surprised to hear Grace move beyond just echoing our words, to communicating her original thoughts.  ("Watch out, Gwace!" when she sees the vacuum cleaner coming; reciting "Clean Baby No-No, clean Baby Gwace, clean Baby Doll" after our evening bath routine)
  • Having a precious one-on-one conversation with our social Baby Noah, talking about everything and nothing at the same time.  
  • Laughter around the dinner table.  What more can be said?  :-)
  • The simplicity of snuggling one (or both!) of my babies.

    There are so many memorable moments popping up these days.  I want to file each one away, recorded and treasured, in my memory bank, retrieved and savored whenever discouragement, fatigue, or frustration arise.  This is a season of abundant blessings, to be sure.

"Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me bless His holy name.
 Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all his benefits . . ."
Psalm 103: 1 - 2

9/4/2010 "Oh, Fussy One"

posted Sep 4, 2010, 6:27 PM by Carolyn Hall

    Well, I learned last night that it is soooooo much easier to love one's children when they are well-rested, happy, and cooing or babbling pleasantly.  It is much harder to think loving thoughts at 11:00 p.m. when an infant-who-will-remain-anonymous is screaming at you, despite every attempt at goodwill on your part.  It makes one feel rather negative, frustrated, and downright resentful at having one's night interrupted with such inconsiderate behavior.
    But, I remember, God is good - granting strength, endurance, and patience . . . and rest does come eventually.  And, those difficult late-night moments do make one pause and give thanks for the blessing of a battery-operated baby swing.  :-)
    "The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: He is my God. . ." Exodus 15:2

9/01/2010 "The Business of Building Family"

posted Aug 31, 2010, 7:18 PM by Carolyn Hall   [ updated Sep 1, 2010, 6:29 PM ]

    I asked myself, "what am I accomplishing these days?  What do I have to show for myself in the evenings when I feel exhausted from my day's labor?"  Many days, besides supper on the table, a relatively clean house (by no means spotless!), and clean babies, there isn't much to be "seen", much that is really visible.  No paycheck.  No complicated craft project.  No beautifully manicured garden.  No homegrown vegetables . . . Maybe someday, but not this day.  Probably not this week or even this month.  But that's okay.

    In this wonderful post, I am reminded to "Invest in Things Unseen".  Forging the foundation for a strong family is what I am called to do during this season.  Building a strong bond between me and my children and between Noah and Grace (and in the evenings, between Ben and our little ones) is part of my "unseen business" each day.  Family is what is being forgotten in a world of broken homes, days spent in public school, daycare babies, and even age-segregated church programs.  And so, for us, family is what I choose to invest in.

    During the day, when I choose to snuggle with my babies instead of folding that load of laundry . . . when I encourage Grace to love Baby Noah and wait patiently for his needs to be met . . . when I stop emptying the dishwasher to rock my whimpering baby . . . when I answer Grace's request to "rock Grace" . . . I am investing in the unseen.  Investing in stock that will come to fruition days, week, or years from now.

8/13/2010 "Fish"

posted Aug 26, 2010, 7:37 PM by Carolyn Hall   [ updated Aug 26, 2010, 7:40 PM ]

    During lunch today, we were listening to Chris Rice's song "Come to Jesus" and I was talking to Grace about how we need Jesus and Grace pipes up with "Fish! Fish!".  It sounds like a totally random toddler comment, and it took me a minute to understand, but she was recalling today's Bible time story.  We had read about how, after the Resurrection, Jesus visited the disciples and ate some fish to show how alive He really was (Luke 24: 36 - 43).  Some "Bible time" is actually sticking in that little growing mind!

    No matter how tired I was feeling at the time, that was huge encouragement for my spirit.  And, it reinforced for me that, no matter what I want to accomplish in this life, one of the things I desire most is for my precious babies to come to know this Jesus fellow, the God-Man who joined his friends for a bite of tasty fish, having earlier just rescued the entire world. 

1/1/2009 - 8/7/2010 "Historical Posts"

posted Aug 26, 2010, 7:16 PM by Carolyn Hall   [ updated Aug 26, 2010, 7:40 PM ]


Entitled "Mama's Little Helper" 


"In Which We Instill a Solid Work Ethic at an Early Age"  :-)

    Yesterday the bathrooms were in need of a cleaning.  So, as a good homeschooling mom, I seized the opportunity to give Grace some hands-on experience with cleaning the potties.  But, since most commercially-made toilet cleaners are filled with harsh, poisonous chemicals, we don't have any in the house.  Instead, we used a toilet cleaning recipe found in the book Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills.  

     I like to call this recipe "The Toilet Bowl Volcano".  First, Grace scooped and dumped 1/2 cup baking soda into the toilet bowl.  Then, we poured in a mixture of 1/4 cup vinegar and about 12 drops tea tree oil.  Wow!  Oh, the bubbles, fizz, and excitement!  After the foaming died down, I demonstrated how to scrub the bowl with the scrub brush and then gave Grace a chance to try.  Scrubbing the potty with such a big brush was just as exciting as the bubbling eruption!  

    A job well done.  A housekeeping lesson learned.  A science demonstration observed.  A young mind engaged.  A sweet moment cherished.  All thanks to the simple task of cleaning a bathroom. 


These Early Days of Homeschooling

    Grace is still so very young . . . but she is learning and growing at such a rapid pace!  So, it comes naturally to Ben and me to feed and encourage her growing mind.  Besides intentionally teaching her Biblical values (like obedience, self-control, and patience) and basic life skills (like hopping, running, putting on clothes, and eating with a fork), we've begun rudimentary academics.  Throughout our daily routine, we introduce and review letter sounds, colors, numbers, and shapes.  And, each day I try to sit down with Grace for some more structured learning time.  At the kitchen table, we color, draw, practice letters and shapes, cut and glue (well, Mama cuts and Grace glues :-)  ), and read books, books, books!

    Currently, one of Grace's favorite stories is this one . . .

 . . . Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  After several days of reading and re-reading this fun alphabet story, Grace and I started our own coconut tree for the letters to "climb".  I drew a coconut tree trunk, and Grace glued on some leaves, coconuts, and letters.  We'll add more letters as soon as Mama has time to cut them out.  :-)


    Today, Ben, Grace, and I went to pick up my new glider rocker!  Both the rocker and ottoman came packed in one box, so Ben had quite a bit of assemblage to take care of, but it made for a fun afternoon project.  Grace loved picking up the screws and trying to follow Ben's directions.  :-)   Such a comfortable chair awaits me in the baby room now!!  Thank you, Mom and Dad!! 



    This Saturday, we spent an extravagant eleven bucks to have some wonderful family time.  We watched fish swim around ("More fee-sh", Grace kept repeating), played with battery-operated toys that we don't have around our house, admired myriad craft materials and brainstormed future family craft ideas, cheered for Grace as she practiced her letter sounds, and let her run off some excess energy.  Where could we have gone to find so much enjoyment?  Walmart.  :-)  To complete one project for Grace's big-girl room, we needed to pick up some spray-on adhesive, foam swimming "noodles", and purple fabric dye.  So, instead of just making a quick trip to Walmart, we decided to get some afternoon fun out of it!

     But wait, it gets better!  On Sunday, we spent only four dollars for amusement park entertainment.  We bought some soft pretzels and drinks, raptly watched fluffy cotton stuffing being churned up at the Build-A-Bear store, passed by a gigantic toy giraffe, let Grace enthusiastically push a toy stroller around for a few minutes (I think we'll have to get her one of those for her own baby dolls!), and caught all the sights and sounds at... our local mall!  So rarely do we visit these consumer hot-spots that they have become quite a novelty, especially for our little one who leads a very quiet life.  :-)


Looking for Solutions

    For at least two months, we've been dealing with Grace and her weird skin issues.  The pediatrician calls it eczema and folliculitis, with a little yeast infection thrown in for good measure.  When this is all over, I'd like to remember how far we've come . . . so I'm starting a list of all the remedies, lotions, and hygiene regimes that we have tried.  

    First, we have eliminated the following items from Grace's diet and found no real success: 

  • dairy (this did seem to help for a day or two)
  • pineapple
  • ketchup
  • chocolate
  • all funky food dyes
  • wheat comes next
    We tried daily herbal "tea" baths (made with lavender, rose, burdock root, and other organic herbs), followed by a slathering of organic coconut oil.  I also apply more moisturizing oil at diaper changes or whenever I think her skin might be dry.

    I've eliminated waistbands - no pants or shorts or skirts to constrict or rub the skin on Grace's waist and cause itching.  Dresses or jumpers only. (This one wasn't too difficult, since our wardrobe was moving in that direction already.)

    I switched diaper detergent to another all-natural, organic brand.  Don't forget the extra rinse after the wash cycle!

    I even tried the pediatrician's prescription creams and ointments.  Hydrocortisones to stop the itching and neosporins for the scratch marks left by Grace's nails.  But, both of these are simply "band-aids" for our problem.  Neither addresses the underlying source of her discomfort.

    Frequent manicures for Grace's little razor-sharp nails.  At least once a week, Mama sits down with a large emery board to smooth out those fingernails.

    A friend of ours gave Grace some all-natural salve (that smells great!) and baby powder (Grace loves asking for her "pow-pa") and skin-helping herbs.

    I'm very careful not to let Grace overheat on these warmer "Spring" days and I'm quick to change her clothes if she seems bothered by a collar or tag.

    What's frustrating about this skin problem is that just when I feel like the end is in sight - when Grace goes a day or so without always saying "itch, itch!" - she suddenly breaks out in another rash!  Where does our answer lie?



    My ears are picking up the songs of a little angel.  Through the baby monitor come the sweet, innocent strains of "Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary . . . " (her version of "Mary Had a Little Lamb") and "Wo, Wo, Wo, Wo . . ." ("Row, Row, Row Your Boat").  Grace has just woken up from a morning nap and is cheerfully singing to herself until I arrive!  Grace doesn't always greet every awakening with such a cheerful attitude, but today must be an especially carefree day.  May she always have such a joyful spirit and song in her heart . . .


    Today is a day filled with sunshine!  After a week of cold, rainy days . . . a week of worrying about Grace's weird and itchy skin rash . . . a week of gray skies . . . this sunshine is such a blessing!  How it lifts the spirits and motivates me to do my work more cheerfully!

    Besides sunshine, this day is also a day of snow!  We woke to find a fine dusting covering every outside surface.  We found little bird footprints on our deck and know that they visited to find their breakfast seed.  And, seeing the snow outside her window still makes Grace smile and say, "Ohhhhhh".  :-)  

    We're looking forward to good fellowship and Bible study with some friends tonight but, until then, there is laundry to fold, bread to bake, a little one to sing to, color with, and snuggle, and a whole day to enjoy.


Remembering Our Day

    Grace and I had a great day today, as we frequently do.  So that I do not soon forget the beauty of these slow and peaceful days, let me jot down a snapshot of this time with Grace.  Today, we . . .

- neatly trimmed Grace's bangs.  

- colored a picture or two.  Grace definitely enjoys crayoning, especially if I hold the paper steady.

- went shopping at Sears and TJMaxx.  Success!  We found a white, long-sleeved maternity shirt for Mama and great chunky puzzle for Grace.

- had puzzle time.  In addition to removing and replacing each puzzle piece, Grace has started standing her puzzle pieces upright on the floor, as if they were little figurines to play with.  :-)

- baked two loaves of whole-wheat bread from flour that Ben and I ground yesterday.  What a delicious smell fills our house!

- read books, took naps, and ate snacks.

- folded dry diapers and towels.

   Now, as we wait for Ben to come home from work, Grace is playing with my Nativity set (I really want to get another set of little people for her to play with because my poor donkey is now missing an ear and tail, the shepherd's hand is broken and is unable to hold his staff, and one wise man's hat broke in two.  :-) ) and I get a few minutes of computer time!  It's been a great day!


One Year

    I'm just beginning to understand that book Love You Forever.  Just scratching the surface as my baby Grace grows up (and grows up much faster than I think is possible!).  She has become every bit a one-year-old now --- She confidently walks all by herself.  She unstacks my fresh, newly folded, neatly stacked towels.  She gives great hugs and snuggles and loves her blankie to pieces. She loves eating finger food and is even trying out forks!  But . . . as I rock her in the quiet of night (with her legs dangling over the armrest of our chair), inhale her Burt's Bees baby-soap smell, listen to her quiet breath and sucking thumb, I know that she is still my baby . . . and I will love her forever.  


A Simple Day . . .

    . . . filled with simple delights.  

This was the perfect day to celebrate the cool, crisp weather of Autumn!  

Ben, Grace, and I went for a lovely walk around our neighborhood, picked pecans from our own tree. . . 

. . . and came inside for a hot, fresh, homemade pot pie!  

 Yum!  What a simply wonderful afternoon refreshed by the abundance and blessing of this season!


First Reaction

    I broke a glass today.  My elbow knocked it clean off the counter as  I was loading the dishwasher.  My first reaction was "Hallelujah!  Thank you, Lord Jesus!"  Strange? Maybe under other circumstances . . . but just a moment earlier I remembered that Grace had not had any "playpen time" in a few days. Without giving it a second thought, I popped her into the playpen, and not a moment too soon.  Had she not been in the safety of her pack-'n-play when that glass fell, she would have undoubtedly been playing at my feet, in the path of the cup itself or the shattering glass that sprayed across the floor.  


However . . .

    . . . quietness could also mean that Grace toddled into the bathroom and is discreetly pulling all of the dirty tissues out of the garbage can! 



    It is early afternoon and things are peacefully quiet.  Some days, quietness comes in the form of rocking my baby for a few extra minutes after she has fallen asleep . . . or quietness comes in the evening, as I move about the kitchen preparing Ben’s lunch for the following day.   Today, peace and quiet descend upon us as Grace sits in her high chair “finger painting” with some vanilla yogurt, the cat snoozes on some towels nearby, and soothing music plays in the background.  Quiet, reflective moments, however brief they may be, add such richness and beauty to our everyday lives, pulling the ordinary into the realm of the extraordinary!


    Grace is so wonderfully inquisitive, so unhesitating and confident in her desire to learn anything new!  If the refrigerator door is open, she boldly trots over to examine the contents inside.  If I sit down to fold some socks, she plops down beside me and studies my work with her little head cocked to one side.  That random bit of paper on the floor, she studies with all intensity.  It's refreshing to see her confidently exploring and enjoying her little world, and growing in the simple, wholesome activities around her.  


Creative Learning

    Grace just finished a round of "water play"!  We've been playing this wonderful sensory-stimulating game for several months, mostly in the afternoons after snack time when hands need cleaning.  :-)  On different days we vary the play by adding ice cubes (elusive in their slipperiness!), a big wooden spoon, her feet, or a dash of liquid soap (what lovely bubbles!) to her usual pan of water.  Yes, the water sometimes gets dumped out onto the floor, but that's part of the learning experience ("When you slosh the pan that hard, the water splashes out.  See the water splash onto the floor?  Water playtime is over now that the pan is empty! Let's use the towel to soak up the water . . .").


Peaceful Morning

     . . . cleaning up the kitchen while Grace plays beside me, our voices singing together. 

    . . . walking to the mailbox to send letters to loved ones far away.

    . . . turning simple tools into toys, combining a baking pan, some water, and a spoon for good splashy fun.

    . . . working in the flower bed, creating a presentable display out of a mass of unkempt weeds, bulbs, and daisies.

    . . . looking forward to freshly baked bread, clean laundry, and a shower after productive, rewarding work.


    Recently, Ben and I made some homemade wontons.  I don't remember what inspired us to try it, but we had a lot of fun with this culinary experiment and the results were delicious!  Through it all, Grace was a real trooper, playing on the floor and in her playpen while Mama and Papa cooked.  See some pictures and read the story here!


Teething Biscuits

    Grace is ready and willing to chew on anything that she gets her hands on.  During our vacation to Minnesota, we bought some "Earth's Best Organic" teething biscuits to indulge her desire to gnaw.  But, these are a pretty pricey snack if used frequently.  So, I recently whipped up a batch of our easy pizza dough, rolled it flat, baked it until wonderfully crunchy, and . . . Voila! Healthy, inexpensive biter biscuits.  Next week, after I introduce her to nutritional yeast, I'll stir some of that supplement into my next batch of biscuits, along with our homeground whole-wheat flour.


Difference of Opinion

    Already she and I disagree.  She wants out from the boundaries I set and I want to keep her safely inside them.  She says, "There's more to explore out there!" and I say, "But, you could bump your head if you go crawling around!"  That's a mama for you . . . ready to keep her little one close by, where it is safe and sound, but just as ready to comfort and kiss the bruise that comes when it is time to grow up and venture out.


Dear Little One

    Little One, you're working so hard at growing up.  I can hear you panting as you try to maneuver yourself around the room.  You scoot, roll, and somehow work your way toward the door!  And, your myriad toys are nothing compared with the grand new skill of "pulling up" a skill you seem to have acquired in just the last 5 minutes.  Babbling joyfully, growing stronger and more mobile, you are certainly keeping Mama and Papa on our toes!

    You are growing too long to rock neatly in the old-fashioned rocker . . .  You are growing too heavy to rock while I sway standing up . . .  I wish to keep you small forever, but you make up for this continual growth with ever-increasing sweetness.  I must say, you are a wonderful baby.


What Works and What Doesn't Work in the Mothering Realm

    What works:  PRAYER.  My day goes so much more smoothly when I start out with prayer.  I feel more confident in my decisions, less anxious, more peaceful, less stressed.  Why do I have such a hard time remember this simple step?

    What doesn't work: BREASTFEEDING AT THE DINNER TABLE.  When one is trying to multi-task in order to get to evening church on time, feeding the baby at the dinner table does not help.  Baby will become distracted by the sounds of clinking silverware, disengage to study the curious noises, and allow milk to spray all over mother's clothing.  Did this really save us any time at all?  


    Oh, my sweet girl, what joke might you be laughing at?  Here I am. It's late at night.  I am half asleep myself, but still rocking you toward deeper slumber, and suddenly your lips twitch into a small grin, with dimples clearly showing.  Your breath pulses with an impulsive giggle.  I wonder what makes you laugh . . . and then I wonder that I should be so privileged to hold you during this moment of sacred, still, and quiet joy.  Let me join you and let's laugh together  . . .


The Search

    We have been searching for just the right pediatrician since before Grace was born.  Of course, at the eleventh hour, we settled on one highly-esteemed doctor so that Grace could be "inspected" at the hospital.  But, it still wasn't the right match.  This doctor wanted us to do things his way - he wanted to be in charge of our daughter's health and well-being - and that just didn't sit right with us.  So the search continued.  After talking ourselves in circles and trying out several dead-end leads, we finally found him . . . the very pediatrician that Ben and I had been looking for.  Thanks to a "chance" meeting with our next-door neighbor, who's daughter is a patient of this particular doctor, we made the necessary connections.  Now our Grace Elizabeth will be seen by a doctor who has the same philosophies about child-rearing as Ben and I, a doctor who will let us be the parents we need to be.  What a blessing - and what an example of how God's timing works.  A blessing . . . or a pediatrician . . . given when one least expects it. 


Friendship Bread

    I just added my recipe for Amish Friendship Bread to the "Recipe" page.

    Also, today, I went with a friend to a local children's clothing consignment sale. For $17, I got three dresses and a white onesie for Grace Elizabeth.  :-)  Summer dresses that will look lovely on my growing girl.  Now, if we could only find some dresses for Mama . . .  


Life's Movie

    Sometimes, I look at my life through the lens of a movie filmmaker's camera.  What would other people see if they watched a movie of my life?  Does my "movie" display that which I want to have conveyed?  Does the majority of my movie show positive, Godly traits or negative, sinful ones?  Hopefully, movie goers would see a respectful, supportive wife and a gentle, loving mother; a feminine woman and trustworthy friend.  At any rate, this is one character who is still being developed . . . one movie whose plot is still unfolding . . .  


Another Naptime

   Grace is napping again.  This happens about every hour and a half to two hours.  She's just working so hard in-between that it gets exhausting!  She can't go on lifting her teddy bear, shaking her rattle, looking at the colorful pictures in her board books, singing with Mama, or holding her head up for tummy time, so she must rest.  For all of us, it's good to know our limitations and embrace moments of quiet rest.  For Grace, those quiet moments are even better when I realize they are needed and begin her process of quieting down before she becomes too worked up and over-tired.  :-)  Thankfully, this was one of those times when I was blessed with parental foresight!


Eyes Tightly Shut

    Yesterday, I answered The Call - the call of a crying baby.  Little Grace had woken up from her nap and was none too happy about finding herself alone.  With tightly shut eyes, streaming tears, and mouth open in a wail, she didn't see or hear me arrive.  Yet, as I stood in front of her, preparing to pick her up, I saw myself in her.  Too many times, when confronted with an unpleasant situation, I shut my eyes and wail, without looking up to see the Rescuer standing right in front of me.


    I just put Grace down for a nap and realized that both pairs of her nighttime mittens were in the washing machine!  So, I pulled out a pair of her socks - some of the larger ones - and slipped one over each of her little fists.  They worked perfectly at covering up her sharp fingernails and keeping her hands warm.  This could have some great spiritual significance or application . . . or it could just be a lesson in making do with what you've got.


    One picture from our trip to the Opryland Hotel in Nashville.  What a handsome man and loving father!


    Ben, thank you for my new indoor clothesline!!!


Thoughts on Grace . . . and Grace

    This evening, I bent down to pick up Grace and realized that this was a perfect reflection of our relationship to God.  We’re here flat on our backs, crying, and exhausted from the effort of just living, and along comes a Bigger Someone who scoops us up from the lonely places – our “crib”, so to speak - hurts to see us hurting, and wants to calm us down.  In His arms, we can relax and fall gently to sleep.

    I rock Grace back to sleep and she breathes little whiffling breaths into my shoulder.   As I hold her tiny body, I am reminded, too, of the precious gift Ben and I have been given.  A gift wrapped in soft baby skin and downy hair.  What a precious baby.  Thank you, Lord.



    This has been a big afternoon for Grace.  We went shopping at two different stores and then      . . . ate dinner out!  Talk about over-stimulation for a 3 ½ month old.

    Back at home, it was hard for Grace to calm down after so much excitement.   It took quite a while for our little one to finally fall asleep.  But, what a chance for me to model the Lord’s goodness to my child.  The patience and perseverance He daily shows to us, when we are fretful or over-eager or anxious, can be so easily passed through us to others . . . but what so often happens is that our own impatience and short-sightedness win out.  Thankfully, this was one time when patience and kindness came through as I calmed, and soothed, and rocked my little girl to sleep.


Thankful . . .

- for my wonderful, loving husband. 
- for my little Baby Grace.
- for her sweet milky chin when she's done nursing.
- for Ben's willingness to cook and clean when I'm tied up with baby duties.
- for the chance to participate in his chili cook-off!


One wild backyard bunny . . . 

 . . . and a simple gorgeous rose.

O Lord, thank you for providing us with the beauty of nature.


    Every morning, I sing a hymn with Grace Elizabeth.  We're using the old, blue Baptist Hymnal.  Even though she's too young to sing along, I think she still benefits from hearing the words and tunes.  Here's a running list of those hymns which we have learned so far:

"Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It"
"Nothing But the Blood"
"Love Lifted Me"
"Grace Greater Than Our Sin"
"Whiter Than Snow"
"I Have Decided To Follow Jesus"
"Amazing Grace"
"Victory in Jesus"

    And, of course, we have the traditional favorites:
"Jesus Loves Me"
"ABC Song"
"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"
"If You're Happy and You Know It"

    Grace really seems to enjoy music!  (Which is wonderful, because Mama does, too!  :-)  ) Her face really lights up when we sing to her - she smiles and coos up at us - and she listens intently when instrumental music is played on the radio or CD player.

Favorite Verses

" . . . train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God . . . For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age . . ."  
        Titus 2: 4 - 5, 11 - 12

"Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious."
        1 Peter 3: 3 - 4

"Deep calls to deep 
       in the roar of your waterfalls; 
       all your waves and breakers 
       have swept over me.

 By day the LORD directs his love, 
       at night his song is with me— 
       a prayer to the God of my life."

        Psalm 42: 7 - 8

All pictures by Ben Hall :-)

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