Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Greetings From the Pruett Family!

Greetings from the Pruett family! 2014 was a year of blessings, hard work, different hard work, and more blessings. The highlight of our year was the birth of our son, John William Pruett. He was born on his Great Grandma Jan’s birthday, Wednesday, 16 July, 2014 at 11:06 pm and weighed 9 pounds, 10 ounces. He measured 21.5 inches tall. John William is named after Zachary’s dad, William John “Bill” Pruett, a man who means the world to our entire family. He is a true gentleman and a man whose faith in Christ and willingness to help others will set a godly example for our son.

John means “God is gracious” and William means “Strong-willed warrior.” We pray that our son would choose to be a warrior in the fight for truth and be a strong witness of God’s grace.  Fittingly, John is also named after John the Baptist, a perfect choice for our son since his momma was named after the Biblical Elizabeth, and daddy Zachary’s name is derived from the Biblical priest Zechariah!


We are so happy to have our little boy, who really doesn't seem that little to us. At five months old, John fits best in nine month clothing and is a tall, strong baby with a gentle, content personality. He loves to watch what is going on around him, especially his big sister. Scooting successfully is his next big challenge now that rolling in both directions has been conquered. Nothing within reach -- or just out of reach -- is safe now that John has discovered the ability to grab and feel new things. John is a good sleeper, and nothing makes him happier than waking up from a long nap.


Anna Christine is 2 1/2 years old and has thrived as a big sister. She brings her brother toys and informs her momma when she thinks John needs to be picked up, given a nap, or nursed. She takes after her mamma in that she loves to sing nonsense songs about her day. She shows a love for rhythm and movement in her dancing. We live in a musical here! Anna loves her books and toys and is very particular about which ones stay with her at night and during naps. Her favorites right now include Hello Kitty. Anna likes a tidy crib and doesn't want it cluttered with too many things. Her vocabulary and ability to put together full sentences has grown immensely in the past few months.


Zachary is busy working and learning. His computer repair business is continuing to grow. There is something special about his happy smile and the twinkle in his eyes when he is able to resolve someone's computer problems, recover what was thought to be lost data, or speed up their computing experience. Also, after six months working in retail, Zachary was given more predictable hours when he was blessed with a job at Ward's Air Conditioning.


Elizabeth's life is full with caring for two little ones. She went on a pre-baby quilting marathon in anticipation of a break after the baby's birth. Four quilts (ranging from crib to lap size) and three Christmas stockings were hand quilted in the first half of the year. Also, she can't stay away from a good family history project. Pictures have been scanned, research has been done, and a new family tree has been printed. She loves to help extended family with their shared ancestry, so feel free to send her a note.


May God bless you in the coming 2015!

Zachary, Elizabeth, Anna, and John Pruett

Website: zacharyjpruett.com
Zachary's Email: zacharyjpruett@gmail.com
Elizabeth's Email: elizabeth490@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

God Made Pink

Anna looked up at me from across the table, "God make pink?"
"Yes, He did!" I answered. "There are pink flowers God made, and when the sun sets in the sky there is often pink in the sunset. I think God did a good job making pink, don't you?"
"Yes!" Anna paused to think. "I like Him!"
"You like God?" I said with a smile.
"Yes. You like God?"
"I love God!"
"Daddy like God?" she went on.
"Yes, he does!"
"John like God? 

I thought about this, "Well, John doesn't know much about God yet, so we need to teach him about God so he will. Will you help us tell John about God?"
Anna looked down as she considered this before nodding.


I like how Anna went from one of her favorite colors to thinking about God and deciding she liked Him.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Gingerbread House Part Two: Gingerbread Town

This is me with Moore Lumber
It was ten years before I had the chance to decorate a gingerbread house. Actually, it wasn't really a gingerbread house at all. It was a gingerbread lumber supply business in a quaint little town made of gingerbread, frosting, and candy. Its sign read:

WELCOME TO
PLEASANTON, OKLAHOMA
POPULATION 16

Then followed a list of the eight founding citizens: my sister, brother, me, and the five friends who collaborated to build the town.  The sign ended with a note stating that "Town building code specifies that no inedible materials be allowed within the city limits."

My sister, me, and David at the art show
Pleasanton and the event that created it was organized by several families who were quite familiar with confectionery creations. They were practiced and seasoned builders, and my siblings and I were the newbies. I was amazed at our friends' creativity and felt privileged to be part of such a fun endeavor.

There was a church, hotel, train, general store, garden, horse and carriage, my brother's bank, my sister's pretzel log cabin, my Moore Lumber, etc.
my sister Susanna's log cabin
We were instructed how to make the patterns during the planning process, one of the moms picked them up and took them home to make and bake the gingerbread pieces (which must have been a ton of work), and then the party could begin!

my brother David's bank
There was so much candy! The variety of colored frosting and candy meant that Pleasanton was a vibrant place to live and work. Moore Lumber had a yellow facade with a white door and windows trimmed in pretzel sticks. The sides and back were frosted brown (over the brown gingerbread), and the roof was tiled in chocolate bars.

The creative process was exciting and the time with friends rewarding. I realize there was a lot of work that went on behind the scenes. I am so thankful. Our family had a blast!

Any successful town from this era needed a train.
The icing on our gingerbread experience was that our town was included in a gingerbread show held at the local art center. There were quite a few entries, but very few collaborative efforts on the scale of Pleasanton.  I think being part of a group increased our creative horizons. ...Because really, Moore Lumber wouldn't have made much sense without the community surrounding it.

Thank you, friends, for the opportunity to be involved in such a fun project!

I still wanted to make a more traditional gingerbread "house," but more on that in Part Three.

I was impressed by the garden.
Thanks again to my mom for finding these pictures from 2005!

Gingerbread House Part One: The Gift of a House

There is something so enticing about a little house made out of sweet, edible goodies.  The first gingerbread house I saw up close was gifted to my family in 1995 by a church member. I was just a child and don't remember who made it for us or why they gave it to us, but it had a strong pull on me.  My mom remembers me licking my lips as I took in the wonder of the gingerbread house.


We didn't eat much candy as children, so there were sweets on this little house I hadn't seen or tasted before. It all looked so good! I don't know if the giver intended us to eat her house or not, but it was only a matter of time before we wanted to do more than just look at the treat.

Mom and Dad saw the gingerbread house as a decoration. Conveniently, I don't remember if my parents told us not to touch it. I do remember spending what felt like long hours staring at the little house trying to pick the most inconspicuous piece of candy to pry off and eat.

I grew bolder over time, and one little piece after another made it into my mouth. My sister and brother may have helped me in this. I hope they did, anyway, because I would hate to be the only one who picked at the gingerbread house. Some of the candies were stuck tight with frosting. I only know this because of my attempts to remove them!


Eventually, the gingerbread house wasn't much to look at. Even I was less interested in eating candy that had been sitting out and collecting dust. Mom decided it was time to throw it away. Gingerbread houses don't last forever, and I was sad to see it go, but it did plant the desire to make my own someday.

So, to whoever gave us that beautiful gingerbread house, thank you. You gave three children a lot of joy that year.

Also, thanks to my mom for digging out these pictures!

Our Christmas Music

Singing Christmas carols is among my favorite December activities. A daily Advent celebration forms the perfect excuse to pull out the songbooks and sing together, and I am enjoying this sacred time with my little family.


Of course, looking back over the years, I haven't always needed my family to have an all out Christmas carol marathon. I remember one year I found a thick book of Christmas music and sat on my bed singing solos until my voice was hoarse. My sister shared a room with me and was not thrilled. ...But singing these well beloved Christmas songs is addicting!

I went to the library last week with one main purpose: to find the book A Treasury Of Christmas Songs: Twenty-five Favorites To Sing And Play put out by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I checked it out for the first time last year and fell in love. It is visually appealing, contains the actual music, and includes multiple verses for all the songs. While the collection is made up of both secular and sacred music, most of my favorites are in there. I renewed the book as many times as I could last year and had it for the full six weeks allowed -- covering the entire Christmas season.


I almost felt guilty for keeping this treasure just for my family last year, so I gave the rest of my community a head start this year. At least, I can try to claim benevolence; I was kept away from the library for multiple reasons. So, last Wednesday, with only eight days until Christmas, I hardly expected this perfect combination of music and art to still be on the shelf. It was!

Two other Christmas books joined my collection in our hurried library visit, and I was only half surprised when I realized they were all music books. One, my daughter's favorite, is a pop-up book called Ding Dong! Merrily on High (A Pop-up Book of Christmas Carols) by Francesca Crespi. There are five songs with interactive pages that awed my daughter. Her mouth went agape when a brilliantly colored star appeared in the night sky, and managed "Ah" before saying excitedly, "That is cool!"


The last book was more for me. Silent Night: The Song and Its Story is written by Margaret Hodges and illustrated by Tim Ladwig. The beautiful illustrations kept my daughter's attention for a short time and mine from cover to cover. I continued to read while Anna played around me. The song's story includes a telling of the biblical account of Jesus' birth. The book was worth it for that page alone, but the story finished by showing how much "Silent Night" has meant to people around the world throughout its history -- particularly soldiers dealing with the brutality of war.

So, I am very pleased with the music in our house this Christmas season. It gives me so much joy to hear my 2 1/2 year old try her best to sing with us or break out in song on her own as we go about our day.  

Monday, December 15, 2014

New DAR Member; Patriot Ancestor Solomon Tuttle

Happy! One of my joys in genealogy is when my research is examined and approved by professional genealogists. Hard work has paid off, and I am now a member of the DAR.

My patriot ancestor is my 5th great grandfather, Solomon Tuttle, who entered the service May 1775 and was at the taking of Ticonderoga by Ethan Allen and of Fort St. Jean by General Montgomery. He served as a Minute Man 3 years and was a prisoner 1 year, 9 months, and 3 days. He was born in Connecticut, farmed in Vermont, built one of the first houses in Athens, Ohio, and died at the age of 73 on 30 November, 1830 -- on what would become my birthday more than 150 years later.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"Shadows of the Workhouse" by Jennifer Worth

There are some books we read for pleasure; there are some books we read to grow our understanding of humanity. The trilogy of memoirs by Jennifer Worth is most decidedly in the second category.  I reviewed the first book several months ago, but I just finished the second book, Shadows of the Workhouse, this week.  It is even darker and more difficult to read than Worth's first book, Call the Midwife. I actually began reading it several months ago while I was pregnant with my second child, but I had to put it away. The first chapters about a little girl named Jane who was born, raised, and tortured in an English workhouse sent me into a panic attack, and I couldn't go on for a great while.

Warning: this book contains content unsuitable for a young audience.

Does this book have worth? Yes, I believe it does, but you need to approach it in the right frame of mind.  Many of us (especially those of us with the ability to read this on the internet) live lives of luxury. Frankly, we are rich and spoiled, and it would do us good to stop what we are doing and serve someone else.

This book shows that some suffering is brought on by hunger and poverty, but there is an even greater suffering brought on by being lonely and unloved. We need to be the hands and feet of Jesus and love others. We need to get over our sensitivities to smell, bugs, or whatever else stops us and spend time with those who need someone to care.

Worth's story about how she did this for one old veteran who lost half his family in World War I and the other half in World War II illustrated this kind of service. As a nurse, Jenny spent her days with the infirm as well as with new mothers and babies. Some might think the work Jenny did while on the clock was enough; she was doing her part. But no, she spent her evenings off to visit with someone who received no other visitors -- a virtual outcast in the city he had called his home since boyhood.

...And she didn't stop going. No, it wasn't easy. No, she didn't do it flawlessly. No, she couldn't make the old soldier's life perfect.  Yet, she made it clear that she cared, and that one thing made his life better.

I wonder, who are the outcasts I can reach out to? We all must be on the lookout for those in need of a comforting word, a smile, a listening ear, and the practical care involved in meeting the physical and emotional needs of others. We are the hands and feet of Christ, and we serve others in His name.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Our Advent This Year

Every Advent is special in its own way. Looking back to when I was just a child, I can't tell you what I enjoyed most about it. Was it the anticipation of Christmas Day? The music? The candlelight? The cookies and coloring sheets we sometimes had? The sound of my father's voice as he read the Holy Bible?  I don't know that it was any one thing in particular. It was the full experience, the opportunity to come together as a family and remember what is truly important.

This year is special in its own way. I am married now with a baby experiencing his first Advent season and a toddler who is old enough to look forward to it each evening. Anna was both fascinated and concerned about candlelight at first (a few hand puppet shadow shows helped put her at ease), and she was intrigued by the "new" Christmas music. The gentle melodies of Silent Night and Away in a Manger are rather somber sounding and made her cry without knowing why. Now, she does her best to sing the parts she knows and asks for Silent Night.

Best of all are the stories this year. The Jesus Storybook Bible wasn't a new book for us, but we weren't reading it chronologically or every day before this Advent season.  Now, I realize it is practically an Advent book! Every story, even from the Old Testament, points toward His coming. We add Jesus' name for clarity so our toddler can understand better, but each story ends by pointing toward the coming of our Savior. It is a great way to consider the Old Testament, and you don't have to be a child to appreciate this book.

We are lighting two candles each night now, and the light of this season will glow brighter and brighter as we come closer to Christmas Day -- the day we celebrate the miracle of Immanuel: God with us.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Smiles, Laughs, and Sibling Joy


John smiles on his two month birthday.
When my baby looks up at me, shows recognition in his bright blue eyes, and gives me a big smile, I feel that all is well.  I enjoy John's grin and his halting attempt at a laugh -- usually brought on by my husband when he comes home from work or by Anna when she coos over him. In general, John hasn't smiled as much as Anna did at this age. Even though he seems happy much of the time -- especially while being held -- his smiles are still treats.

Really, when the baby is happy, everyone is happy... unless it is almost midnight.  Then, it just means he is isn't sleeping, and I would gladly give up "happy" for "sleeping" most of the time at that point.  Still, John is a laid-back, contented baby, and he is sleeping well most days. He takes things in stride, and at just over two months old, that is welcome. He hasn't been colicky at all... which means I feel saner this time around.

Anna meets John for the first time
Watching Anna with John has brought me so much joy. She greets him warmly in the morning, after her nap, or when returning home from an outing. She wants to hold him (with my help), rock him, hold his hand, stroke his head, "read" him books, and bring him toys.

Anna loves holding John.
I don't remember much of when I was two with a baby brother of my own, but seeing Anna and John together helps me understand from an outsider's perspective why I love my own "little" brother so much. We share so much history together. We were children together, and now, as adults, I don't think I could care for him much more than I do.

David and I "matched" back in July so had to take a picture.
I love having David over to my home. He is in my prayers, and I so enjoy visiting, talking, and playing games with him. He is and always will be one of my greatest friends. Although every relationship has its bumps, twists, and turns, I thank God that he gave me David. I hope Anna and John will have as much fun together as David and I had in our kid years. Perhaps they will stay up late telling stories to each other or make bows and arrows out of sticks and string like their momma and Uncle "Day-day." I hope they won't fight as much as we did sometimes, but they too will have to learn how to get along... how to share, compromise, and act unselfishly.

I look at John and his smile. I revel in Anna's excitement and joyful laugh. I smile and laugh with them.  What a joy they are! Thank you, Jesus, for giving me two little ones!

My little family. Zachary and I are so blessed! Thank you, Jesus!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Jesus Prayed for the Church Throughout Time -- Including Me

Jesus prayed for His disciples. He prayed for the believers that would follow. He prayed for me.  John 17 is one of my favorite passages in the entire Bible. There is so much there in Jesus' heartfelt prayer to His Father, the only true God.  Read it.

Jesus' prayer makes me feel more at one with Jesus, my Heavenly Father, and the followers of Christ throughout history. Jesus was not the start of a movement; He is the movement. The amazing thing is that I am His and get to be part of this movement too -- the movement that shows the world that Jesus was sent by a God who loves them and wants them to be one with Him.

Jesus prayed I would have His joy. Even though I may be hated and cannot escape the troubles of this world, He prayed I would be kept from the evil one and would be sanctified in the truth of His Word. In the relative ease of my life, I also pray for the persecuted Christians, my brothers and sisters in the faith, who are suffering unfathomable pain and loss right now for the cause of Christ and the Kingdom of God.

I want to make an impact on the world -- particularly the little part of the world I am in daily contact with: my family. I am a wife and a mother. My life is simple and full.  I want to live in such a way that my children come to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord simply because they know my relationship with Him is real and they want that relationship with Him as well. My life has purpose and joy -- the joy Jesus prayed I would have. It is a joy I am constantly fighting for as I continue to allow the truth of His Word to work in my life.

Being a young wife and mother is not without challenges, but God is able to see me through. I serve my husband and children, but I don't work just for their sakes. I do it for my Savior and the Kingdom of God.

How can I be more intentional about this? How do I take my motive and make it my constant motion?

Friday, September 05, 2014

Before You Have Kids

I just read a list of "10 Things to do Before You Have Kids." I know, it is a bit late for that seeing as I have two now... but I was curious. What was I supposed to do? Did I do them? My conclusion was that yes, I did do many of them in the years before I had children, but those things that I didn't do are either unimportant to me or are things I should be doing now or in the future that are totally possible with children. I am so glad I have my two children, but I am also glad my life didn't end when I had them. I still have interests and hobbies. My life has meaning and purpose, hard work and fun. Yes, it is easier to do some things without children, but many things are worth doing with children. My life is not over just because the Lord is using me to raise two new lives. There is so much to live for, and I am thankful Zachary and I are a team as we raise Anna and John

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Love of Learning

I love learning. My college days might have been hectic, but I miss them in a way. I enjoy the excitement of extending my knowledge horizons. Now, as everyone is returning to school, I can't help but research homeschooling options and curriculum. My children won't be ready for workbooks for a while yet, but learning is happening, and I love having a front row seat to the wonder that is a child's development. Today, we danced and sang to Bible verses put to music and pointed out letters of the alphabet from the newspaper. Oh, and Anna's attention span is now up for a good Beatrix Potter story. Yay!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mary Anne Caroline Woods Muckey

This is written in an attempt to walk through the available records for my 3rd great grandmother, Mary A. C. Muckey, explain the discrepancies on a few key points, and interpret the truth held within.

Mary Anne Caroline Woods was the daughter of James Woods and the former Cyrena Tuttle. She was born in Ohio on 28 October 1848. This information was provided by her daughter, Mrs. Pearl Hayes, on Mary’s 1906 death certificate. The same birth date is given on her gravestone in the Heisler Cemetery outside Mapleton, Iowa. It is inscribed, "Mary A. C., wife of O. Muckey." We look for evidence to back up these dates on the earliest census in her lifetime: 1850.

James [age 30] and “Syrena” [33] Woods were living in Jackson township, Darke County, Ohio, in 1850, the same county they were married in on 14 November 1839. With them are four children sharing their last name: Sarah J. [10], John S. [7], Loudin A. [5], and Mary A. C.  The youngest, Mary A. C. Woods, is a two year old girl born in Ohio. This is completely consistent with the information on Mary’s death certificate.

For whatever reason, I have been unable to find the Woods family in 1860. By the 1870 census, James J. [54], “Syrena” [53] and family have moved to Center township, Monona County, Iowa. Four other individuals are listed as “Woods” in the household: John S. [27], Mary [21], “Allis” [Lucy Alice, 13], and William [11]. In addition, there is a one year old girl named Jane Muckey. Who is she? This becomes clearer when we look at James Woods’ will.

James J. Woods died on 2 April 1877 in Monona County, Iowa. In his will, he left everything to his wife, Cyrena A. Woods. At her death, the property was to be divided among five heirs: Sarah J. Nicewanger, Mary A. Muckey, Martha S. McKown (a child born after the 1850 census and married before the 1870 census), Lucy A. Woods, and William D. Woods. A sixth heir, John S. Woods, was excluded from inheriting.  This shows us that Mary Anne Caroline Woods, the daughter of James and Cyrena Woods, married Mr. Muckey.

The 1880 census shows us the Orlando [34] and Mary A. [33] “Mucky” family in Center, Monona, Iowa. Their oldest child is Jennie [11] a nickname for Jane. So, we now know that the one year old in the James Woods family is the daughter of Orlando and Mary. They also have twins Nettie and Rettie [9], Maggie [6], “Guie” [Lorenzo Guy, 5], and Bertha [10 months]. All the children are girls with the exception of “Guie,” but even he was misidentified as one.

So, when were Orlando and Mary joined in marriage? There is only one marriage record for Orlando Muckey. It appears to show that he married Nancy C. Woods on 2 May 1867. Only a very good imagination could think it says Mary. So, was Orlando married twice – both times to women with the middle initial “C” and the maiden name Woods? Or, is this the marriage record for Orlando and Mary A. C. Woods? Several records show that it is the second possibility.

First, Orlando and Mary (with their children Pearl [18] and Raymond [12]) were listed in 1900 as living in Mapleton, Monona, Iowa. The census states they were married for 32 years. That puts us within a year of the 1867 marriage record.

Second, Orlando Muckey’s obituary published in the Mapleton Press on 4 July 1912 reads, “Mr. Muckey was united in marriage to Miss Mary C. Woods in 1867, and there were born to them ten children, seven of whom survive him, as follows; Guy Muckey…” Again, this confirms that it was Mary – not a Nancy – that married Orlando on 2 May 1867 and mothered their children, including their son Guy.

Third, Guy (whose full name was Lorenzo Guy Muckey) was married to “Catherine” Hollister on 20 December 1896, and it shows that Lorenzo Guy Muckey’s parents were Orlando Muckey and Mary Woods.

This is important to note since Lorenzo Guy Muckey’s death certificate of 1916 has a mistake on it. It says his parents were Orlando Muckey and Nancy MacKahn. Now, Guy’s maternal aunt Martha’s married name was McKown, but I have seen no evidence of a Nancy in the family. The information was provided by Guy’s wife, “Mrs. Muckey,” ten years after the death of her mother-in-law Mary in 1906 and four years after the death of her father-in-law Orlando in 1912. As such, she is an unreliable source for the maiden name of her mother-in-law.

Mary Anne Caroline Muckey died on 25 May 1906 in Mapleton, Monona, Iowa. Both her death certificate and gravestone confirm this date. The gravestone matches and sits next to the gravestone for her husband Orlando. 

The sources listed above definitively prove that Mary, the daughter of James Woods and Cyrena Tuttle, was indeed the wife Orlando Muckey married on 2 May 1867, and she was the mother of all their children including Lorenzo Guy Muckey.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Boy!

We are pleased to announce the birth of our son, John William Pruett! He was born on his Great Grandma Jan’s birthday, Wednesday, 16 July, 2014 at 11:06 pm and weighed 9 pounds, 10 ounces. He measured 21.5 inches tall. John William is named after Zachary’s dad, William John “Bill” Pruett, a man who means the world to our entire family. He is a true gentleman and a man whose faith in Christ and willingness to help others will set a godly example for our son.  John means “God is gracious” and William means “Strong-willed warrior.” We pray that our son would choose to be a warrior in the fight for truth and be a strong witness of God’s grace.  Fittingly, John is also named after John the Baptist, a perfect choice for our son since his momma was named after the Biblical Elizabeth, and daddy Zachary’s name is derived from the Biblical priest Zechariah! We are so happy to have our little boy, and we ask you to pray for good health for the entire family and a smooth transition to a family of four. Pictures coming soon!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Waiting

The expectation. The wait. There are few times in one’s life when the anticipation is this great. A child is to be born. A son or a daughter. As eager as I am to meet my new baby, I don’t want to lose the wonder of these last few days. It is bigger than Christmas. It is more unpredictable than a wedding. Only God knows the exact birthday of this precious little one.  Zachary and I will know soon enough, and it will forever be a highpoint on our calendar. For now, it is a secret. A surprise of the greatest kind. Labor could begin any hour, but the anticipation grows with each uneventful day. I pray for God’s perfect timing and for a smooth labor and delivery. I trust that, no, I won’t be pregnant forever. This baby will be born, and we will enjoy newborn cuddles in time. Until then, I enjoy the wait – the expectation of a baby that is unique and special and as loved as any child, born or unborn, could be.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Reading Through the Bible Recap

This morning marked the completion of my pre-baby goal of reading through the entire 1599 Geneva Bible -- one week before my due date! It took exactly six months.  Although I don't recommend such a quick pace all the time, it has been a wonderful season.  God's Word is so rich, and I was able to cover parts of the Bible that aren't read much in my normal devotions.

I can't pretend to have understood it all, but getting an overview of God's Word will help as I dive deeper in the months and years ahead.  I know one thing; my God is awesome, mighty, and holy, and He has been working throughout time to bring to completion His loving salvation plan.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him.

As I move forward into the coming season of motherhood with a toddler and baby, I want to keep in mind my takeaway from Ecclesiastes this morning:

"Work, pleasure, family, life... it is all meaningless if outside the big picture of God's will. The whole duty of man is to obey God."

Baby Pruett #2 is welcome anytime now!

Old Testament Musings: Ecclesiastes

Work, pleasure, family, life... it is all meaningless if outside the big picture of God's will. The whole duty of man is to obey God. From Ecclesiastes

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Hope in Ezekiel

Even in a book as dark as Ezekiel, God's people have hope. He promises to put His spirit within us - replacing hearts of stone with flesh.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Ezekiel

Who should read Ezekiel?

1. The individual to understand how serious sin is. Our God is the LORD.

2. The parent to understand the value of teaching the Christian faith of our forefathers. Our God is the LORD.

3. The leader (local or national) to understand the certain fall of the society that forgets our God is the LORD.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Daniel and the Dream

Daniel saved many lives by interpreting the dream, but he didn't gloat. He thanked and praised God - making sure all the glory went to Him.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Micah

A big gift or sacrifice cannot buy forgiveness. God wants me to do justly, love mercy, and be humble. He wants to walk with me. From Micah 6:7-8

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Joel

The outward appearance is not what matters to God. Looking "sorry" is not the same as a true change of heart. From Joel 2:13

Friday, June 13, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Jonah

Caring for the lives and souls of individuals must transcend national identity or prejudices. God sees people, not our petty grudges. From Jonah

PhotoFix Friday: Lawrence Lloyd Moore as a Child in Michigan

My Great Grandfather Lawrence Lloyd Moore

Read Lawrence's Obituary HERE.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Stronghold

"The Lord is good and as a stronghold in the day of trouble, and he knoweth them that trust in him." Nahum 1:7

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Friday, June 06, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Listen

A wise person listens. He listens well enough that he learns from what he hears. No "in one ear and out the other!" From Proverbs 1

PhotoFix Friday: Robert Moore and Marjorie Muckey's Wedding

My grandparents, Marjorie Muckey and Robert Moore, on their 9 June 1959 wedding day.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Psalms

I finished reading the Psalms today in my journey through the Bible, but one should never be truly "done" with this book. Returning soon.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Keeps His Word

God's instructions should not be taken lightly. We may not be able to predict how long it will take, but He keeps His word. From Jeremiah 39

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Long-Suffering

Our God is long-suffering and merciful. Judgement is not His first choice. He always hopes for repentance and reconciliation. Maybe we should take a page from His book and offer more grace to those in our lives. From Jeremiah 36

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Hananiah

Not all "encouraging words" come from God. Learn to discern the true Word of God. It may not be pleasant, but it will be true. From Jeremiah 28

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Never so Great

No nation is so great that it cannot be completely destroyed after forsaking the Lord. Take warning and humble yourselves! From Jeremiah

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Before I was Born

Before I was born, the Lord knew me and had a plan for my life. Even now, He knows my unborn baby and has plans for this life too. From Jeremiah 1

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Isaiah

Some things I see in Isaiah over and over: God is righteous and just, but He is also approachable and ready to forgive and rescue in love.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Garment of Gladness

Jesus was sent to give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of gladness for the spirit of heaviness... that the Lord might be glorified! From Isaiah 61:3

Friday, May 23, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Wounded

I love finding Jesus in the Old Testament. "...wounded for our transgressions...with his stripes are we healed..." From Isaiah 53

PhotoFix Friday: Marjorie Moore with Her Children

My paternal grandmother, Marjorie Gayle Muckey Moore, with her children on the California beach.
This photo is one of my favorites of my Grandma Moore. It is only a silhouette, but it captures some of the glory of God's creation and the love of a mother for her children. She is in heaven now, but I imagine her looking down on her children in much the same way we see her here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Strength

A timely word. Our God gives strength to those who have none. Wait upon the Lord. From Isaiah 40:29-31

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Stop Running

We can't fix our sin problem by outrunning judgment. Yet, the Lord is waiting to save us in rest and quietness. Stop running. From Isaiah 30

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Seemingly Distant

When God seems distant, remember the wonderful things He did in the past. He IS still working in your life. From Psalm 77

Friday, May 16, 2014

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Strong Rock

Some days, all you can do is quote.

"Be thou my strong rock, whereunto I may always resort: thou hast given commandment to save me: for thou art my rock, and my fortress." Psalm 71:3

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Old Testament Musings: God's Power

God's power and intelligence is immense; we cannot fully understand Him. Be careful how you speak of Him and stay humble. From Job 42:2-3

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Job's Perseverance

Even when things were at their worst, Job refused to give up the righteous life. Don't let ugly circumstances make you ugly too! Job 27

Monday, May 12, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Job

Show compassion when bad things happen to others. It does not mean they did something wrong or somehow deserve what happened. Be love. From the book of Job.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Job's Wife

Job lost everything - except his wife. He still had her because she only added to his misery. Don't let Satan use you as a tool.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Mordecai

Considering Mordecai. Faithfulness may not seem to be rewarded at first, but hold on. God's timing is best. From Esther.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Esther

Esther showed modesty and strength when she could have been overtaken by shame or pride. She knew to ask for help and relied on prayer. From the Book of Esther.

PhotoFix Friday: Mary Ann Muckey with Sons Henry and Clark

My 4th Great Grandmother Mary Ann (Kelley) Muckey with her youngest two of eleven children: William Henry and Clark.
Read Mary's Obituary HERE.
Read Clark's Obituary HERE.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Great Mercy

"Great mercy." That is what the Lord gives when we humble ourselves and call out to Him. He is our deliverer. From Nehemiah 9.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Nehemiah

I wonder how many people only gossiped about the broken down walls in Jerusalem. Nehemiah chose to do something about it. From the book of Nehemiah.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Ezra

Ezra chose to ask God - not the king - for help and safety. Will our words of trust and faith match our actions? From Ezra 8:22-23

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Ahaz

In a time of self-help books and how-to articles, be sure you aren't borrowing the "help" of the ungodly. Simplify. Trust God. From 2 Chronicles 28:23

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Uzziah

Uzziah was upright before God. He was a good king, and the Lord prospered him. But pride took over, and it ruined him. Beware! From 2 Chronicles 26:16

Friday, May 02, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Asa

Asa understood the power of God. He prayed, "Help us, O Lord our God: for we rest on thee." Put away fruitless worry and rest. From 2 Chronicles 14:11

PhotoFix Friday: Thomas Allen "Al" Gray

My grandfather, Thomas Allen "Al" Gray
Read a few of my memories of Grandpa and see more pictures HERE.

PhotoFix Friday: Harold and Joan Rose

Zachary's grandparents, Harold and Joan (Pappan) Rose
Today marks the 17th anniversary of Grandpa Harold's death. I find it interesting that my husband and I, although more than a thousand miles apart at the time, were going through similar experiences at the same time. At the age of eight, we both lost our maternal grandfathers in the span of seven days. Our families were grieving at the same time. We both loved our grandpas very much, and we look forward to seeing them again in Heaven!

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Jehoshaphat

Jehoshaphat led the nation in a "Day of Prayer." God heard and answered mightily, "Fear you not... the battle is not yours, but God's." Are we really praying as a nation? See what this looks like in 2 Chronicles 20.

Old Testament Musings: Rehoboam

Rehoboam succumbed to peer pressure and took the shoddy advice of his peers. Find wise counselors and truly listen. Stand strong!  From 2 Chronicles 10

Call the Midwife -- the Book by Jennifer Worth

A non-religious girl in her early 20's thinks she is in the wrong place when she shows up for her first day at a new job and finds she is to live and work in a convent.  A trained nurse and midwife, Jenny Lee almost leaves but instead decides to stay and work with the nuns and other nurses. She encounters filth, poverty, and sin -- squalor almost unimaginable -- in her work with the families of London's East End of the 1950's. Call the Midwife is not a pretty book.  The themes are often dark, the descriptions grotesque, and the endings not always happy.

There were many sweet moments as well; the joy found in a newborn baby shines above the less than ideal living situations. Mothers and fathers glow with love, and, in one family, the 24th and 25th babies are as anticipated, welcomed, and treasured as a 1st or 2nd child.

At first, Jenny thinks the nuns are a joke and their faith laughable.  However, their decades of selfless service and ongoing, quiet love of God impress the young nurse, and she undergoes a change of heart.  She is filled with respect and deep love. The last scene of Call the Midwife touched me the most. 

In it, Jenny is talking with a senile nun in her 90's -- who even in her old age had delivered babies in bomb shelters, crypts, and actual bomb sites during the World Wars. Born to a life of privilege, Sister Monica Joan shunned wealth and comfort to serve among the poor and dirty of London's dockland slums. Jenny asks the old women what caused her to do it, "Was it love of people?"

"Of course not," she snapped sharply. "How can you love ignorant, brutish people whom you don't even know? Can anyone love filth and squalor? Or lice and rats? Who can love aching weariness, and carry on working, in spite of it? One cannot love these things. One can only love God, and through his grace come to love his people."

She later continued:

"Find out for yourself -- we all have to in the end. No one can give you faith; it is a gift from God alone. Seek and ye shall find. Read the Gospels. There is no other way. [...] Go with God."

Jenny Lee did indeed begin to read the Gospels that night. What a witness!

It is in God we find the strength to do what we could never do on our own. An old woman with a failing mind was still making an impact for the Kingdom of God from her sick bed. A lifetime of service behind her, Sister Monica Joan's simple words of direction to the source of truth was just what a seeking young woman needed at that moment.

My strong desire is to live in a way that causes others to ask, "Why?"

I would love to share the gift of God's grace and tell them to "Read the Gospels and go with God!"

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Solomon

With the desire to be a good leader, Solomon asked God for wisdom and knowledge. His selfless request was well rewarded! From 2 Chronicles 1:10-12

...Reminds me of my husband who almost daily asks the Lord for wisdom that we might know how to raise our children.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Joy in Giving

There is joy in giving willingly from the heart. Like David and the people of Israel, I want to rejoice with great joy. Give! From 1 Chronicles 29:9

Monday, April 28, 2014

Old Testament Musings: David Prepares

Our children have God given responsibilities to complete in their futures. What can I do now to help them fulfill their purposes? From 1 Chronicles 22:5

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Old Testament Musings: David

God has done amazing things in my life. Who do I tell? One, I give thanks to the Lord. Two, I declare His works among the people. From 1 Chronicles 16

I thank the Lord for a peaceful evening walk with my family the other night and the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful flowers He created.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Someday

Today, I was working on an old black and white portrait of my Grandpa Gray (to be shared on Friday) -- and missing him more than usual -- when I realized what day it is. April 26. It has been 17 years since he said "goodbye" to this earth and said "hello" to Jesus in heaven. How can it be that so many years have passed? As I was telling Anna as I showed her the picture of her great grandfather, "This is my Grandpa. He was a good Grandpa. I love him a lot. He is in Heaven, and I hope to introduce you to him someday."

Old Testament Musings: Josiah

Don't go part way in eradicating evil. Be like Josiah who turned to the Lord with all his heart, soul, and might. Total cleanup. From 2 Kings 23

Friday, April 25, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Hezekiah

Bad news comes. When it does, I want to bring my problems to the Lord first thing, praise Him, and ask for His help. He hears! From 2 Kings 19.

PhotoFix Friday: The Moore, Steele, Ritter, Van Noate, & Cooper Family Christmas of 1919

Christmas 1919 in Lodi, California with members of the Moore, Steele, Ritter, Van Noate, and Cooper families. My 2nd great grandfather, William Osborn Moore, is on the far right. My 2nd great grandmother, Evangeline "Eva" (Flansburgh) Moore, is the woman in the middle looking to the left. Their son, my great grandfather Lawrence Lloyd Moore, is the 6th from the left on the top row.

This is what it used to look like. It does have the benefit of identifying numbers.

Group photos are great... when you know who is who.  Thankfully, we are able to identify my 2nd great grandfather William Moore, and this is the best photo we have of him.  His wife Eva is also in the shot as well as several of their children. The original of this photo had numbers all over it with an attached key. Unfortunately, not every number was given a name, and even some of the ones that were are unreadable. Here is what I was able to make out:

1. Unknown (I think it is Bess Moore, the daughter of William and Eva Moore, and therefore my 2nd great aunt)
2. Leon Van Noate
3. Jim Cooper
4. Charley Ritter
5. Unknown
6. My Great Grandfather Lawrence Lloyd Moore
7. Reid Van Noate
8. Unknown (I think it is Ruth Moore, the daughter of William and Eva Moore, and therefore my 2nd great aunt)
9. Clifton Steele
10. Ed Steele
 11. Ivy Cooper
12. Thelma Cooper
13. Rose Steele
14. Anna Moore Van Noate (the daughter of William and Eva Moore, and therefore my 2nd great aunt)
15. Irene Steele Moore
16. Evangeline Melissa Flansburgh Moore (my 2nd great grandmother)
17. Jenny Ritter
18. Francis Steele
19. Sarah Steele
20. William Osborn Moore (my 2nd great grandfather)
21. Edith Moore
22. Lloyd Moore
26. Kenneth Moore
27. Grace Moore

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Jehoash

Our faith needs to outlive our teachers. Beware of borrowing someone else's dedication to God. Build your own relationship! From 2Kings 12:2

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Naaman

Obeying God isn't about doing "great things." His instructions are often simple, but they require humility and faith. From 2 Kings 5

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Elisha

Elisha demonstrated perseverance. Don't be put off by anyone (even a godly person) if they discourage you in your walk with God. From 2 Kings 2

Monday, April 21, 2014

Old Testament Musings: Elijah

From the life of Elijah: Stand up for God's Word. Don't let cultural trends or the weakness of your leaders sway you. Be fearless. From 1 Kings

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Christ is Risen!

Every Resurrection Day, I wake with familiar, precious words on my mind.

"Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!"

Oh, how I love that greeting! I feel blessed in my Savior, blessed in my today, and blessed in the hope and future I know is mine in Jesus my Lord.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 40

Jesus is King of Kings, Lord of Lords, beginning and the end, the first and the last. Jesus is coming soon! Be ready! From Revelation

Enjoy your Resurrection Sunday, Everyone.

Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 39

Evil may appear to win for a time, but Jesus will always be victorious in the end. Great and marvelous are His works! From Revelation

I am so thankful for the death of Jesus Christ. It is a Good Friday, because He doesn't stay dead!

PhotoFix Friday: Clara Olson Peterson and Daughter Mabel

My 3rd Great Grandmother Clara (Olson) Peterson (on the right) with her oldest daughter Mabel
Clara was born on 6 Apr 1856 and was among the first generation in her family to be born in America. Her parents, Johannes and Johane Olson, and oldest sister Helen were Norwegians who immigrated to Winchester, Winnebago County, Wisconsin in 1850.  Clara was one of what would be seven children. Her father fought in the Civil War while she was still young. Later, the family moved to the Sloan area in Monona County, Iowa when Clara was 13 (in August of 1869).

It was on a visit back to Wisconsin at about age 21 when she met John Peterson. He was a Swedish man 13 years her senior who worked on farms and railroads during the summer and for a lumber company during the winter. John must have liked Clara, because he followed her back to Iowa and stayed. They were married that same year on 7 Apr 1878.

The couple stayed in Iowa for five years before moving to Beadle County, South Dakota in 1883 where they homesteaded five years before returning to Iowa. They rented, and then bought, their farm in Monona County where by 1890 it was said that the Petersons had, "a neat and well-finished house 24x48 feet in size, and a good barn 16x24 feet, surrounded by about three acres of grove."

John and Clara were blessed by 9 children. Their daughter Palma Lena is my 2nd great grandmother.

Clara was widowed at age 50 (on 9 January 1907) but went on to live almost 40 more years -- passing away on 16 Feb 1946 in Albaton, Monona, Iowa at the age of 89 years old.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 38

The Lamb of God, Jesus, is redeeming a great multitude out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation! Revelation

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 37

Clouds without water? Beware those who walk after their own ungodly lusts. Pray. Focus on God's love and the mercy of our Lord Jesus. Jude

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 36

If we acknowledge our sins, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness. God is faithful and just. 1 John

Monday, April 14, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 35

Jesus suffered and died for sins He didn't commit - the just for the unjust. He did it to bring us to God. Then, He rose! 1 Peter

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 33

Jesus, who lived a perfect life, is perfectly able to save us who come to God by Him. He is the enduring, everlasting mediator. Hebrews

PhotoFix Friday: John and Fern Pruett

Zachary's grandparents, John and Fern Pruett
Sometimes, you have to see the original to fully appreciate the edits.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 32

Reputation matters. We do not put up a prideful facade. Rather, we desire integrity that no enemy of Jesus can speak evil of us.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 31

Aim to teach, not win an argument. The servant of Jesus is gentle and meek. Provide evidence to prove the gospel, but avoid strife. 2 Timothy

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 30

Troubles come, but Jesus is faithful. He provides love, everlasting consolation, and good hope through grace. 2 Thessalonians

Monday, April 07, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 29

Beware of any philosophy, idea, or tradition that contradicts the gospel of Jesus. He is complete. Dwell in Him. Be rooted in truth. Colossians

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 28

The peace we have in Jesus is beyond understanding. Think on what is true, pure, lovely, praiseworthy, etc. I can do it with His help. Philippians

Friday, April 04, 2014

Focus on Jesus: Day 27

Love. It's the driving force behind God's salvation plan - the reason Jesus died for us. Now, love empowers us to make a difference. Ephesians

PhotoFix Friday: Errol and Clara Muckey on their Wedding Day

Errol and Clara (Epperson) Muckey on their 4 April 1920 Wedding Day. 
My Great Grandparents Muckey were married on this date 94 years ago!