Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fresh Air

I have a well established routine around the holidays. Starting about mid-November, I get all nostalgic and I begin to deeply miss my Northern-rooted climate. I just don't think that I will ever-ever get used to 70 degree Christmasses when I have experienced genuine white ones for 19+ years of my life. It just aint gonna happen. However, come December 26, I am right back in love with my Sweet Home Alabama and all it's warm temps.
I have been lying around like the Queen of the Heifers for far too long, so today with our forecast of 60 be-yoo-ti-ful degrees, I loaded up 3 out of 4 kids and headed for the closest mountain. We packed up our backpacks and hiked the smallest trail to the top. Once we arrived, we hung out at the conservatory for about a half hour before we made our descent. This little guy here is quite the hiker!

I have to tell you that it was high time that I get this heiny moving because I was starting to feel AW-FUL! I know my carb/fat rich holiday diet has been wreaking pure havoc on my body and to make matters worse, I haven't moved an inch without an exorbitant amount of protest for the last week (at least). It is pretty bad when you can't even sleep at night because of how much you have lounged around all day. Or that my muscles hurt probably due to under-use, and my head was pounding because of all the TV/movies that I have mindlessly watched. Yuck, yuck, yuck!
Oh, and don't let the last post fool you. THAT was the exception.
Anyway, we all decided to come "unplugged" today and it was well, well worth it (Mark and Jake went on a hunting trip today too). There is just nothing like God's creation to renew mind, body and Spirit.
Happy New Year Friends!

Friday, December 28, 2007


Here's a little tidbit for you: Fervently jumping on a trampoline after bearing 4 children yields less than stellar bladder control. Even if you just went.
T.M.I.? Perhaps. But I am willing to make this sacrifice for the greater good. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wordless Wednesday (sorta)

~Jacob "flipping" over his new trampoline~

Thursday, December 20, 2007

And What To My Wondering Eyes Do Appear?

So yesterday, I was just sitting here pondering my evening when, all of a sudden, in comes a package aaaaall for me. It was from my sweet friend Missy who gives gifts like none other on this planet, and let me tell you why.....When I opened the blessed box, this is one of the things that it contained:

No seriously....Y'all. This stuff is so mind-bogglingly good that I am gonna go there...yes. I. am. It is better than anything I have had at Starbucks...gasp...YES! I said it!! It's true. And I would never-ever lie about that (because I have no desire to commit the unpardonable sin....even though I am borderline heretical at this point, I realize). I am on my third glorious cup right this minute (I will probably be up until Christmas at this rate, but it's THAT worth it).
I also got this hilariously cute ornament:

When I opened the package and pulled her out, Julianna covered her mouth as she beheld her and said "OH MOMMA! She is beautiful..." LOL! So now she is front and center on our Christmas tree in all her glory.
By the way, don't mind my hair. I am not lovin it right now, but I could not let some of you go on thinking that I had as much facial hair as my last picture indicated....yes, I said "as much" ;) . Gotta love these genes, especially when mixed with a little age. Oy vey.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Everybody's doin' it!

I can't imagine getting out of this season without "elfing ourselves".....
I went through and pulled out the funniest pictures I could find of each of us, so without further ado:
Mark and the Boys and Me and Julianna

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Few Things... you notice anything different? No? Well guess who has finally stepped out of Archaic-ville and entered the 21st Century? Yup, that'd be me. I finally have a high-speed connection!! We sorta, kinda live in the boonies, so the only option is dial-up. It seems they are bent on trying to charge me a completely ridiculous amount to have their crappy service, so we are now connected via satellite. WHOOP!!
Just to celebrate I am going to give you a link to some much anticipated AWESOME news:
In other Crew news, I spent almost the entire weekend shopping....and get this....I was aaaaaall alone. Ahhh, the blessing. Sometimes I forget how much fun shopping can be since I usually have at least 1 kidlet at my heels trying to get me to buy half the store, but this time...yes, this time, it was entirely different. On Saturday night, I made the first glorious stop for Momma Fuel, then on to the hospital to visit my Grandma. After we hung out for over an hour, I casually loaded back up and perused Target for an insanely long amount of time. Now, I am almost done with my Christmas shopping and I am thrilled. So what about you, are you completely giftless still, about done, or have you been finished for a long time?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Tis the Season

Yesterday, I got the bright idea to take Julianna to the mall for a girls day. I think I must have had a horrible lapse in judgement or something because I am pretty sure that all of the people within a 300 mile radius decided to shop there at that precise moment, too.
There were absolutely no free parking places and an over-abundance of rude people. I couldn't believe it when two cars, who were actually simultaneously trying to cut me off, just about hit each other, so they started honking and making rude gestures between themselves while we all sat there and waited. It was nearly the proverbial straw that almost made me punt the whole idea and head home, until I spied a shopping bag laden woman heading for her car. I whipped my van around and stalked her halfway to the horizon to get my space already being warmed up by her cute little sports car.
I sat patiently while she unloaded her stuff into every crevice she had available, and every now and then, she would glance over her shoulder to see if I was going to go anywhere. No siree, not on your life. I will stay here till the end of Christmas, if I have to.
She finally got in and put on her reverse lights when some middle-aged man whose wife probably told him that it would be better for them to go to the mall than watch football, turned the corner.
He had a vendetta.
So did I.
We locked eyes.
We each tightened our grip on our respective steering wheels and continued to glare over the tops of our heads. His next move was going to determine my future as a free citizen. She backed out, and for a split second, I could see that he really wanted to steal my spot. I could practically see his thoughts as he weighed his options at that moment.
He looked at the space.
He looked back at me.
And then he looked at the floor, defeated, as I turned in.
Bless his heart, and Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Celebrating Advent

Mark and I have started a tradition of celebrating Advent with our kids each year, and it has been such a huge blessing every time. During all the hustle and bustle of the season with all the world has to offer, we have a chance to really reflect on the Christ's birth when we do this.
Anyway, the start of it is this Sunday (December 2), if any of you are interested. Here is a link to get you started or to give you devotional ideas if you haven't done this before.
I tried to find a picture of our Advent wreaths from Christmasses past, but I couldn't. They are really easy and inexpensive to make.
Also, I wasn't sure how many of you received the Veritas Epistula each month, so I thought I would share this free lapbook that they offered in the Dec. issue. It is about the birth of Christ and it is pretty good.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Awesome Book Up For Grabs

Way back in the beginning of all blog things, the other Gayle brilliantly started a discussion group about the book "For Women Only" by Shaunti Feldhahn. I was part of that group, but miserably failed to participate like a good bloggy friend. :(
However, I read the book and it was so awesome and insightful, that it helped me to understand what makes my man tick a little better. Always a bonus, right? SOOO, when my good buddy, Heidi, did a review of the new book by Lil Miss Shaunti entitled "For Parents Only" and decided to give a free copy of it away, I was ON IT!
This is your opportunity, all you parents of tweens and teens, to get a never before seen glimpse into the mind of that person who sits at your breakfast table with an attitude to shake the earth's core (or maybe that's just me....see, I told you I need the book).
Just go to Heidi's blog and enter the contest while I pray fervently that HSB eats your entry thereby increasing my odds. Good Luck (even though I don't believe in it)!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Going Back

Boy, it's been awhile....are you still with me out there? I haven't had very much to say lately, because I have been kind of in a reflective mode. One where all I can do is listen and just take it all in. Times like these are often where the deepest of deep thoughts come in, but I wasn't able to blog about it because it simply would have taken brainpower, energy and time that I seriously needed elsewhere.
I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I really did. My sweet brother and his family came down and, as usual, we have really enjoyed having them. We went to go see the Bee Movie last night with the whole family and had a great time. I was so blessed to be sitting there with all of these people that I really love, and it reminded me to continue to give thanks to my God during this holiday.
My brother brought down a bunch of boxes and a cedar chest from my Grandparents home where we were raised. They had been transported all over the place with my Dad after my precious Grama passed away in 2000. He finally gave them all to my brother and I to go through after all these years. I cannot tell you what it felt like to open the cedar chest that contained so many family keepsakes from a time even long before my Grama. And the smell....I can't believe it still smelled like home after all this time. My brother and I just buried our faces in the handmade quilts and blankets to deeply breathe in something we never-ever thought we would sense again.
The home that had been in our family since 1853 was sold after my Grandfather died 11 years ago. I am not what one would consider a materialistic person, but I have grieved the loss of that house from the moment it was no longer "ours". It won't go into details here, but my poor Grama never wanted it sold either...and I know it completely broke her heart when it happened.
I guess I will just leave it at that.
Anyway, it's amazing that something any other person on the planet would consider worthless, can be something so precious and irreplaceable to another. As Mark and I were going through one of the boxes, he pulled out this statue of a cute little dog that always sat on the hearth of my grandparents fireplace. Of course, it didn't mean a hill of beans to him, and he was getting ready to put it in the give-away pile. But, when my eyes fell on that worthless little dog, you would have thought we had struck oil. The memories came flooding back about how my Pap, ever the animal-lover, would admonish us with "Now, don't you touch that. Hear?" But, as soon as he would walk out of the room, neither of us could help but sneak in a quick stroke of it's glassy smooth head. That thing sat in the living room of our home through every single family gathering, every single homecoming and every single lazy Sunday afternoon. It strangely was representative of who we are and where we came from, and when I showed it to my brother, he was just as happy to see it as I was. He will now reside, in his proper place, on the hearth of my brother's fireplace.
Even better than finding our old friend, were the love notes between my Grandparents that were stashed in the far recesses of a safe with all of the important documents that they had (including the original paperwork for the sale of the land in 1853!). I cried so much when I read these beautiful expressions between the two people that I completely adored. One of them was even stained with the coffee that was discussed in it. Another one was quite literally sealed with my Grama's kiss. That one really made me cry.
I went to bed last night with every single emotion stirred up imaginable. It was good to reflect on something that seems so far gone and so far away because it brings to the surface, my heritage. I don't think about it very much, because frankly, it is so painful. I miss these two people who practically raised me more than words could ever express. I would give anything to call them up to ask how to tend to a certain vegetable, or to share a funny antic of the kids, or just to say that I am sorry that I was such a rotten teenager. I would give anything to tell them how much they meant to me and how I wouldn't know the Savior that I now serve without their influence in my life. I would love to hug them and kiss those wrinkley cheeks one more time, but I can't. Not this side of Heaven anyway.
The amazing news is that one day I will be able to and for that, I am thankful on this Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Let it snow...

Oh, how I hate to be the next one to say that Christmas is exactly 7 weeks away, but I will because I want you to check out my sweet friend, Ruth's contest. She is crocheting completely adorable snowflakes and giving us the chance to win them. Click on her name above to head that way!
So where are you on your Christmas planning? Are you well on your way or does the thought of it make you cringe? As you might have guessed, I will probably retain the knot in my stomach over Christmas right up until Dec. 25. Then, I will acquire a new knot over the fact that everything I just bought has dropped to clearance level prices.
But you know what? I refuse to be a butt about it this year. My tendency is toward being the biggest Scrooge alive, and I have my very valid reasons (well, at least they are valid to this Scroogette), BUT that is miserable and nobody likes miserable, right?
Honestly, I am so thankful that we celebrate Jesus' birth and I really love all the sounds and smells and spirit of the season, it's just the commercialism and the bondage that it creates....ooops, I let that slip.
I guess I am getting ahead of myself though, seeing that it isn't even Thanksgiving yet, and who could possibly have issues with that holiday?! ~BURP~

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Crazy 8's

So since I have had serious blogger's block, I was completely thrilled when my good, in-real-life buddy Kim,over at Reformed Grits, tagged me. This is a Crazy 8's meme and it is HARD! I am not sure that I will be able to get 8 things for all of them, but I will make the attempt.

8 things I am passionate about:
*My Father
*My husband
*My children
*Teaching my kids of God and His unfathomable grace and love for them.
*God's truths being rightly divided...I am soooo passionate about this one.
*Growing in my walk and not ever settling down into complacency.
*Figuring out God's plan for me.
*Oh, and I love coffee...alot.

8 things I say often:
*"I'm losing my mind"
*"Give me a minute, please."
*"Give me another minute, please."
*"Put the dog down!"
*"Do you know how much I love you?"
*"Wanna go get coffee?"

8 books I've read recently:
*Get Out of that Pit by Beth Moore
*Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Terri Maxwell
*Ruth-A Portrait by Patricia Cornwell
*Sitting by My Laughing Fire by Ruth Bell Graham
*The Well Trained Mind (again) by Susan Wise Bauer
*A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot (a signed copy, thank you very much)
*South Beach Diet by Arthur Agatston
*Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper

8 things I want to do before I die:
*I want to go to several places in Europe for an extended amount of time.
*I want to be remembered for who I was in the Lord (so whatever that has me doing, I guess).
*I really do want to go back to school (all in God's timing, though).
*I want to see my kids actively and passionately serving Christ.
*I want to enjoy some wonderful years with my sweet Mark after our kids are grown.
*I want to reach as many people for God as He will allow me.
*I want to laugh like crazy when my grandchildren drive their parents nuts (and then give them some candy...with lots of sugar and even more love).

8 songs I can listen to over and over (and probably have):
*Above All
*Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
*Be Thou My Vision
*In Christ Alone
*(Ok y'all, confession time. I am not into music like a normal person. I mean, I don't hate it...but I don't have to have it. In fact, I drive my family beserk because I would MUCH rather listen to talk radio when I am in the van, than music. If I ever get in the mood for music, it is usually classical or Praise and Worship/Hymns. Beyond that, I don't really dig it. Just for the record, this isn't some legalistic's just a preference. I know, I'm weird.)
*Soooo, moving right along....we'll just pretend those last two aren't there....
8 things that attract me to my friends:
*REAL-I seriously cannot do fake or superficial. I just. flat. cannot. It usually only takes people about 5 minutes flat to figure that out with me.
*Their love for God.
*Their realization that we all need a little (or alot of) grace, and that they give it.
*That their families are highest-priority, second only to their Lord.
*Their honesty, even when it's not easy.
*Their ability to laugh like jr. high boys, oftentimes uncontrollably.
*Their ability to cry like the Momma's we are when we hurt.
*Lastly, and this is key: That they accompany me to Starbucks. Everything else would just be out of whack if they quit doing this. Everything.

8 things I have learned in the last year:
*How to truly forgive and be free.
*That God's grace is so much more boundless and undeserved and beautiful than I knew before.
*That contentment doesn't come naturally, therefore, it isn't that widely practiced.
*That my kids are growing up waaaaaay too fast.
*That "it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all".
*That I don't like 105 degree heat.
*That in a severe drought, you don't have to cut your grass very often.
*That I cannot, in good conscience, spend $4.37 on a latte on a daily basis (or even weekly, truthfully) God help me.

8 people I tag for this meme:
But please let me know if you decide to participate! I would really love to read these things about y'all!

Friday, October 26, 2007

I will not talk about food, I will not..

So I wish that I had some fun and witty story to share here with you for, what is becoming, my weekly post, but I don't. Last week's was pretty lame, to say the least and I still have nothing, nada, zip, zilch to share that would be interesting for this week.
You know, I kinda like it when "life" runs like a well-oiled machine with little to no consequence, but it is murder for blog fodder.
I absolutely refuse to put up yet another post about food because, going back over my last several, I have begun to notice a trend (or shall we say obsession?). So, I guess I can't tell you all about this insanely good thing that you should try. Too bad, because I am completely convinced that it is akin to manna from Heaven, but I digress... :(

Friday, October 19, 2007


Ok, real fast...
I have been trying to change my sidebar for at least a week. I want to add some more pictures, ect, but when I go into the template page where it is *supposed* to say "add a page element"...that little feature isn't there. GRRRR!
Is anyone else having this issue, and if so, does anyone out there know how to fix it?
Thank ya kindly....

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lots to talk about

Ok girls, here it 2nd and final fondant cake:

This one almost seriously caused me to weep. And not tears of joy, mind you. The whole process takes for-stinkin-ever only to have to massacre it less than 24 hours later. THAT hurt.
Let me back up for you a little though. If you will remember, the whole thing that started my fondant frenzy was because I wanted to make a nice cake for my precious little girl's 7th birthday. Well, that was on Friday and we have had a crazy-but-fun weekend since then.
We went to IHOP (Julianna's choice) for lunch and then on to the zoo where it was decorated for "Boo at the Zoo". Incidentally, if you followed me here from HSB, you may remember our last Boo at the Zoo ordeal, and the reason we don't EVER go to this. However, any Crew member gets free reign on their birthday's to decide what they want to do. We had no clue it would coincide. I snapped a few pictures: (Check out my jokester on the right).

He was certainly full of himself:

After the zoo we came home to get to work on the cake. Here is the birthday girl helping me to mix it all up:

And here she is watching her Momma revisit her childhood by fixing Barbie hair:

After she went on to bed, I started the fondant fiasco with some help from a very sympathetic Jacob every time it tore. We finally finished around midnight, and boy, were we glad.
The next morning I took Julianna to the live theatre to see Rumpelstiltskin...and when it was over she strolled through the courtyard just smellin' the flowers...cuz that's just so her. Thank God for this little girl.

We ended the day with her party where she was completely surprised when her bestest friend was chauffeured all the way up from her home in South Alabama to her birthday party:

All in all, even with the cake, we had a wonderful weekend, but boy, am I going to sleep well tonight.
Happy 7th birthday my sweet Julianna...

Saturday, October 6, 2007

How do I get myself into these things?

Have you ever watched "Ace of Cakes" on Food Network? Emily, I know you've got to have my back here...
Anyway, I have always been intrigued with their ability to turn cake into super-yummy art. I have watched them make all kinds of interesting cakes in the shapes of all kinds of interesting things which makes me wonder if there is nothing that Duff can't do?
I am particularly intrigued with this amazing stuff called fondant that they use. I will admit, I had never heard of it before but it, along with Rice Krispy treats, seem to be the stuff that make these cool cakes what they are.
Never being one to just sit and watch, I decided that I wanted to give the fondant thing a go. So, I have decided to make Julianna one of those beautiful doll cakes like the one seen here for her birthday this coming Friday. Lofty goal? Yup. Which is why I decided to try my hand at "something fondant" beforehand.
Presenting my Fall Fondant Cake:

Don't laugh! This was NOT easy, people! First I had to make the problem, I've been baking since I was a young girl. I chose a carrot cake since that seemed to go well with the season. Once it was baked and cooled, I had to level both of the layers...that wasn't too terribly difficult, but it is definitely easier said than done (anyone know any good tricks for getting them even?)
After that is finished, you have to put a "glue" on there for the fondant, so I chose cream cheese icing. At this point, we are still in my realm of comfortable cake making. Next, however, comes the part that looked sooooo much easier when Duff does it. I broke out the fondant.
My fondant was pre-made, but white, so I had to mix all of these icing colors to get what you see on the cake, and the cut-outs. My arms got an amazing workout while I kneaded those colors in until they were evenly distributed. Nice perk I guess, until... the rolling...UGH! It took me forever, but I finally got it rolled out big enough. It started to dry up on me a little, which is why it is not completely smooth. The kids helped me with the fall cutouts and ~Voila~ my very first fondant cake.
Can I just tell you that her doll cake now TERRIFIES me!!! I will post pictures, but you might want to pray for a sister in her time of need.

Monday, October 1, 2007

A note to my diet...

Allow me to start first with an introduction: South Beach meet Central Alabama.
South Beach, I promise to return to you very soon. You truly have been a most accomodating diet, one that has already yeilded a satisfactory amount of weight loss in such a short amount of time, but due to the fact that I am emotional right now, I am going to head back to the land of Chicken Fried Chicken and biscuits smothered in glorious gravy. You see those cheesy things right there? Those are potatoes, and while they wreak terrible havoc on my body, I must have them.
I know that this must be painful, and that the sheer beauty of Central Alabama must be particularly hurtful, but I will be back tomorrow, rest assured.
Thanks for being so sweet...or not. Whatever. Thanks.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

My Millie

Well, I had high hopes for this post sometime on Thursday. In my mind we would come home from our much anticipated camping trip this weekend, and I would post pictures of a wonderful time with the kids and the several other families that came with us.
I guess I could still do that, because those things did end up happening, but a much more serious and sad thing occurred that will far overshadow this trip in our memories in the years to come.
We took both of our dogs with us when we departed this Friday, which is a standard practice for us everytime we go. Everything was fine as we were setting up camp around 10 a.m., and as the day went on, we were grateful for beautiful, breezy weather. However, our dog Millie, seemed to be a little antsy. We made sure that she (and our other dog, Oreo) had plenty of cool water, and they were both in the shade, but she was still restless. I went ahead and unleashed her, knowing that she would probably do better being free, and that she would never get away from us. She seemed to calm down some, so honestly, we went on about our business.
About an hour later, Mark and I were at the campsite next to ours when Jacob yelled for us because Millie wasn't breathing well. I ran to her and sure enough, her breathing was terribly labored and she was struggling. We scooped her up immediately and rushed her to the animal hospital that was only about a half an hour away, but we didn't make it. We lost her.
I never, never, never would have taken her out of this house if I would have known that something was wrong with her. We are still so completely baffled about what happened to her. Even the vet couldn't figure it out.
We are just so stunned and hurting right now. It is so hard to lose a deeply loved pet, because they are such a part of your day to day life. Even my footsteps are lonely today because I never took them without a furry, sweet and loyal companion right behind me.
I would love to post a picture of my sweet girl for you to see, but I don't think that my heart could stand to see it right now. If you want to do some fishing, I know that I posted about them with pictures recently under the title Precious Pups. And that she was, indeed.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Tofu, anyone?

So you have probably correctly deduced from my last post that one of my fave things in the world to do is chow down. Well, is catching up with me. Right about the time I turned 30, my metabolism decided that she was sick of me and that she was going to kick up her heels and take a long overdue nap.
In the meantime, I went to the Dr. to get a random check-up, due to the fact I hadn't done that (apart from childbearing) since I was like, say, 6. I received a phone call about a week later telling me that my cholesterol was significantly higher than it ought to be and that they wanted me to alter my diet and c'mon back in in about a month. Thank you v'much, bye.
I am only 32 and I am only about 10 pounds heavier than usual, since my girl decided to fall asleep. But seriously, my diet isn't horrible. I don't eat unhealthy foods, but when I do eat, I eat alot....and at the worst time....late at night. I could go most of the day without eating, but when suppertime rolls around, Gayle puts on the feedbag and doesn't stop until right before bedtime.
So all of that may explain the extra weight, but the cholesterol? I couldn't figure out why in the world it was so high. In the end, I found out that it doesn't really matter how thin you are, if you have rotten genes, your goin' down (or up, in this case).
So guess what? I get to start my very first diet ever on Monday. I have read the book South Beach Diet which was written by a cardiologist for this very reason (heart health), and both Mark and I are going to give it a go. One thing is that I am a HUGE carb freak, and I kinda love sugar, so this is going to be hard. Here is a little tidbit for the equally naive, white potatoes contain more sugar in the end than if you had sat down and just ate straight table sugar....OH!! THE INHUMANITY!!! I super-dee-love my mashed potatoes. However, I am not willing to DIE for them, so I will get over it.
The only reason we aren't starting until Monday, is purely logistical...we have no groceries. So tonight, I am going to a Mom's Night Out, and I am throwin' back, y'all. I am going to kill me some cheesecake and bread like I will never behold the tastes again, and then walk, with my cheeks bulging out and my head held high, down the pathway of Cheerios and fish.
I'll let you know how it goes...:)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Top Chef - Olive Garden

Hey y'all! I am still alive... just very busy! We started school back and all is going very well~Praise the Lord. :) It's amazing how long it can take you to get back into your groove, though. We made some pretty big changes this year, so while I won't bore you with the details, suffice it to say, our previous schedule flew the coop in a big way.
That first week was t-o-u-g-h with trying to get us a workable thing going! BUT, by George, I think we have it now.
Last night Mark and I went out on a rare, spur-of-the-moment "date". It was completely wonderful and very much needed. Just to show you how huge our gooberness is, I will tell you that we adore shows like Iron Chef and Hell's Kitchen and we love us some Top Chef, too. You know, reality meets food...does it get any better? No.
So, we are always sitting on our respective couches drooling and wishing that we could be the ones tasting that super yummy food that is up for judgement on these shows while we knaw on our dry, slightly stale pretzels. How does one go about getting a cushy job like that anyway? Well, last night we decided to take matters into our own hands. Watch out Olive Garden.
We sat down to dinner and instantly transformed into Padma (if only) and Tom (who is super-cute in a bald, knows-how-to-cook-some-serious-grub sort of way). Anyway, here is our report: First strike was our waitress. She gets a big fat F. Right after we were seated, she looked at us, and then proceeded to carry on a conversation with her friends about football for a full 10 minutes before she came to get our drink orders, which she turned around and messed up. She messed up THE DRINKS! How hard is that?! Padma almost spazzed at that point, but maintained composure. (It was 8:00 p.m. and I was starving, so I was a little edgy, what can I say?).
Strike 2 was the gloppy appetizer (that is normally very good) called Smoked Fonduta something or other. Anyway, it's supposed to be this smooth cheese dip served with fresh tomatoes and basil on top with a side of toasted baguette. Well, for us it was none of the above. I wish I would have taken a picture, but Tom simply couldn't be photographed with such atrocities. It wasn't even melted completely and we had, like, 5 or 6 little dices of tomato on top with nary a basil leaf in sight. The bread wasn't even toasted and there flat-out wasn't enough of it (the bread, I mean...certainly not the fonduta). The real Tom and Padma would have deemed this almost inedible, but hey, we are Mark and Gayle, so unless there is something funky growing on it, we'll wolf it down anyway.
The restaurant redeemed itself nicely with Tom's entree: Steak Gorgonzola with Alfredo. The beef was beautifully prepared and had a flavor that was out of this world. It was so tender and juicy, that it practically melted in your mouth. It had spinach tossed in with the pasta which added a nice flavor along with color that made the presentation visually appealing. I would have wanted his dish, but I couldn't get past the funky gorgonzola, which, in my world, tastes distinctively like feet. Not that I go around tasting feet, but if I did, that is what they would taste like, for sure. He loved it, though, and for that, it gets a nice ~thumbs up~
My entree was Ravioli di Portabello, which is, pretty simply, ravioli stuffed with chopped portabello mushrooms covered in an insanely yummy tomato alfredo sauce. They put fresh diced tomato and basil along with chopped sun-dried tomato on top of that to make a mouth-watering dish with a great balance of flavor. This dish, too, gets a hearty ~thumbs up~.
Overall, our experience was a good one, and we would certainly go back again despite that shotty service and the lame appetizer...but, our standards wouldn't be above McDonald's if it means we can get away for a few hours.
After we left, we morphed back into our own flabby selves and drove to Starbucks for a decaf toffee nut latte with whip, and then on to Walmart for a few odds and ends. (Can we ever escape that place?!) It was a great date. ~sigh~
Tonight, we are heading to another competition: Iron Chef Boy Scouts! joke! Ty's Troop hosts a cooking competition every year where the scouts cook and the families judge. I am completely thrilled about this, especially because I don't have to cook for the second night in a row. Good times.
Have a great day to catch up with all of you....

Monday, September 3, 2007

Back to School...

Well, I certainly have been M.I.A. around here lately. Sadly, I still can't promise that things are going to be much better in the near future, either. Bummer, because I love to keep up with y'all, but tomorrow starts our school year back and that needs to be my focus.
We have been seriously busy over the last week or so with a very successful Back to School Bash for our support group families, an amazing Labor Day weekend blowout, and just flat getting ready for school. I am pretty panicked about the latter because I STILL don't feel ready for it. Oddly enough, this is the first year where I haven't been all gung-ho to get us started.
I am not going to go into too much detail here, simply because it is almost 9:30 and I have to get up kinda earlyish tomorrow, but I will say this....If you are doing what God has called you to do, than you can bank on the fact that the enemy will pull out all the stops to destroy it, or you.
I am recognizing a bunch of his rotten lies, lately, yet I will confess, I have a little fear going back into a place where he LOVES to nail me. Not a huge deal, but if you think about it on Tuesday, say a little prayer for me and the Crew. Thanks! <3
I seriously cannot believe it is already September! Wow, how time flies! I love the Fall and the Spring equally. What are your favorite seasons of the year?
OH YEAH!! Are any of y'all planning to go to the Siesta Fiesta with Beth Moore next August? Laugh if you will, but I am seriously wanting to go, so if any of you are thinking about it, let me know...wouldn't that be the COOLEST thing for all of us to get together to hang out and worship?!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Let it go

Andrew bit the stew out of Julianna today. I mean he bit her HARD, right on the rear-end of all places. Naturally she screamed bloody murder and and cried heavily because he really hurt her. They had been playing along nicely all morning and then WHAM-O! He nailed her right out of the blue. He bit her so hard that it turned purple, for goodness sake.
Now this is where some of you may think that I am a terrible mother or whatever, but biting in this house (especially when you are 4 years old) is gonna get your heiny warmed. I gave him a stern reprimand about why we never-ever bite and then gave him a spanking. After a few minutes to think about it, he went in to his sister to tell her that he was sorry without my prompting.
But, because she was still nursing her stinging wound, she would have none of it and slammed the bedroom door in his face.
He walked out to find me and once he did he burst into tears. He was not angry, but genuinely hurt that she wouldn't accept his apologies. I told him that maybe she was having a hard time wanting to forgive him because he really hurt her. A few minutes after that, she came hobbling out only to see me holding a crying Andrew.
"Why is he crying?" she asked me.
"Because he hurt you and he wants to tell you that he is sorry, but you won't hear him" I told her.
"But, Momma, my bum is still hurting and that bruise is going to be there for a long time" she welled up again.
"Well, Julianna, what else do you want him to do?" I asked her. "He has already been punished, and he is trying to tell you that he is sorry, what is it going to take for you to forgive him?"
She sat and thought about it for a second as I watched different forms of torture playing out in her mind for her brother. I finally told her, "You know, Julianna, God wants you to forgive him. He can't take back what he did to you and the longer you withhold your forgiveness of him, the more you are going to be the one in sin." She accepted that and allowed her brother to apologize to her. They each hugged and moved on.
As I sat there, I was reminded of the times that God had to take me down that same path.
I have been on both sides of it, either as the offender who needs the release of being forgiven (don't we all?) or as the hurt one whose bruises will be there forever.
One thing that I know for sure, is that refusing to release the repentant offender winds up putting a wedge between you and God, and it is so not worth it.
God has this way of reminding us, when we harbor unforgiveness, just where we came from ourselves, along with all of the grace that we so desperately need on a daily basis. I don't mean condemnation, mind you, because that's the enemy's way of doing things, but rather, a gentle reminder that His only Son had to die for our sin just as much as He had to for the person who has hurt us.
I remember driving down the road one afternoon, deep in bitterness about a person who had hurt me so very badly. This person had asked me for my forgiveness, but the truth was, in my mind, this person hadn't paid for it enough to suit me. I ended up rehashing the facts with God: "But Father! Don't you remember when THIS happened?" "Or what about THAT?!"
As quickly as I can tell you, an image of this person's face on the body of Christ hanging on the cross flashed in my mind. "Was this enough payment for you, child?".... "Yes, of course, Father."
I broke that day. I released so much anger and hatred and bitterness. I cannot tell you the freedom that I felt when I finally let it go.
My prayer for you on this day, friend, is that if you are holding on tightly to a past hurt, and haven't allowed to love of God to flow through you for the offender, if you haven't truly released all of the dark and binding feelings toward that person, that you will just give it to God. Give it to Him so that you can relax and experience the fullness of His joy once again. You will be so glad that you did.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Precious Pups

Amanda, over at the LPM blog, asked us if we would share a picture or of our pets. I realized, to my horror, that I have never posted about our beloved girls on this blog!
First, let me tell you, I am a huge dog-lover. Cats...well, not so much. But I have always had an insane affection for our canine companions. They are just so, I don't know... loyal and sweet. I remember always trying to bring home strays when I was a little girl. No one could ever figure out why they would always come around our house, but I am guessing that it had something to do with hidden stash of food that I gave them. My Grama used to say "If you don't feed them, they will go away." Well that was all fine and good, but I didn't want them to go away, so I logically deduced the opposite to be true, and it worked. Imagine that. Oh, and just to be fair to you cat lovers out there, I fed them too.
This is my Millie:

This dog couldn't simply couldn't be any sweeter. She is just the most precious puppy who stays at my feet at all times. Unfortunately, she was bitten by none other than a neighborhood cat a few months ago, but she's doing fine now.
Did y'all know that cat bites have some funky bacteria in them? One more reason why I don't just adore them.
Anyway, Millie is already 5 years old so we decided to give her a crazy little sister about a year ago. Cuz, you know, we didn't have enough chaos in this house.
This is Oreo...and that is my flip-flop that she is sitting on if that gives you any indication as to her size. She may be small, but....well, let's just say, she ain't like her sister. She is as buck-wild as they come, but she has our hearts nonetheless.
We are an animal loving Crew around here. We have had everything for a pet in this house except for a cat. That isn't because I can't stand them (because truly, I love all animals alot, cats are just not my faves), it is only because Mark is deathly allergic. I mean, throat closing up kind of allergic. Not good.
Soooo what kind of lovies does your family have?

More Grocery Griping

HA! Apparently I am so NOT the only one! Check out this link given to me by my sweet friend Christa: Lot of Pokemon Cards That My Kids Tried To Sneak By Me
This is a funny one!

Monday, August 20, 2007

I Hate Grocery Shopping

Am I the only woman on the planet who detests grocery shopping? I put off this loathsome duty in the worst way when it comes time to stock back up. I mean, I am pulling out the powdered milk to drink while giving the kids crackers and ketchup for lunch before I finally will break and go do the dreaded deed. I don't know why in the world I hate it so much. I used to actually like it, but boy, those days are gone.
Perhaps it has something to do with how rude people will park their buggy right in the middle of an aisle as they leisurely peruse the canned peas for 10 solid minutes while blatently ignoring the fact that you are standing there, stuck, until they finally decide to move a few inches to the pasta, just to begin the scene all over again.
Or, hey, how about the associates who obviously hate every single person alive? May the Lord help you if you need something because He is your only hope in finding it, since they cannot be bothered with helping such a plebian as a customer.
But you want to know what my favorite part of the shopping experience is? It is the torture chamber otherwise referred to as the checkout line. You know the place, it's the one where you get hemmed up on all four sides with all of your children who are whining and fighting unmercifully.
It's the place where you are surrounded by candy and instant artery clogging beef jerky and easily breakable toys and chapstick while unable to move, for 30 miserable minutes as your ice cream (the only redeeming quality of the whole trip) creates a sticky puddle on the floor.
It's the place where, at the end of your time there, you are presented with one of said snooty associates telling you that you owe them some exorbitant amount of money as you realize that you didn't even get all that you really needed. No, I take that back. The best part of all is the hard cold fact that you will, indeed, be back here doing the whole thing over again next week.
Do I just have some terrible intolerance issue? Because I am feeling a bit like Bette Midler did in the Stepford Wives. I really do love to cook and take care of my family and Lord knows I love to eat, but girls, this part just reeks to me...and I didn't even mention the issue of running into the 50 million people that I know and feel obligated to chat with or hauling the whole lot into the house only to spend an hour putting it away....Ok, I will stop.
Talk to me here.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

And they're off!

This morning I received my weekly mini e-newsletter for homeschoolers in my inbox. The topic was co-ops. This crew has never been a part of an "official" co-op, per-se, but we have been a part of something sort of like that, along with 50 gazillion extracurricular activities.
Which leads me nicely to my point....this year we are CHILLIN'. Well, "chillin" is probably a stretch, because we will most certainly be working hard, but we just won't be the key offenders in the fuel crisis anymore.
Not that fuel is my primary reason for the big chill (even though I am hardly able to afford the gas that it costs to run all over God's green earth), but rather the expense of mine and the Crew's energy. We were run so ragged last year that our schooling suffered. Our schedule was so packed out with "important" stuff, like gymnastics, ballet, MAFA (the co-op sort of thing), teaching at church, P.E. classes, Cub/Boy Scouts, Support Group field trips and play days....the list could go on and on....that we seriously have subjects that we didn't even come close to finishing (can anyone say Botany? :D).
Not to be defeated, I am fiercely guarding our time this year. I have had so many temptations to join this or help with that, but the little saying keeps going through my mind "saying yes to something outside (the home) means saying no to something inside". This rang so true for the Westie Crew last year!
I have set aside one day for us to do all of our stuff. We will be gone most of the day on that day, but this is just what works best for us. Getting it all knocked out in one fell swoop might keep the following conversation from happening every single day:
Me: Hurry up and get your Math done while I go and get your brother and sister ready to leave so that we won't be late...again!
Child: But MOOOOM! I need help!
Me: Darn! Just put it in the bag to take with us...maybe we can get to it while I pump gas...along with your Science, Reading and History. Just go brush your teeth so we are not LATE!
You get the picture. I look at my nice new school calendar, and it is pristine on Monday-Wednesday. Thursday's...our big-un...looks like a bomb exploded on each one. And then our Friday's neatly have a stray field trip or two (it helps to be the one in charge of the Support Group planning in this case! ;). I just hope it works out in practice the way it does in theory. I am not too worried about that though, because our best year ever really worked with a schedule similar to this one.
So, because I am all interested in what makes y'all tick; What kind of schedule is ideal for your family? Do you like the "cram it into one day" method or are you able to function with it being spread out?
Have a great day everyone!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Food For Thought

Alright, I soooo said that I wasn't going to complain...and I won't. I will simply reiterate that it is blazing hot here! We went to the pool yesterday where I perched myself right there in the water with the kids. When we got home, however, it was seriously 87 degrees in this house...with the A.C. on....and not broken. The heat index outside was 110 - How heinous is that? Needless to say, I was NOT going to turn on the oven to cook supper, so I made the yummiest Summer fare.

It was Giada's Herb Stuffed Tomatoes...and lemme tell ya...THIS is the bomb, girls. Soooooooooo good and easy (just be sure if you actually do make this, to use 1 clove of chopped garlic in the mixture-VERY important...makes the dish...k, moving on...). I used the toaster oven for that and then made some Pasta Italiano from Rice-a-Roni on the stovetop. I also cut up some fresh honeydew and put it in the freezer so that it would be good and chilled when it was time to eat. The house didn't heat up any further and we ate well. I wish I would have taken a picture because it all looked so refreshinly Summery...but I wolfed it down too fast. Please do try this, though, you will not be sorry.

I am thinking I am going to head back to the pool today. I will probably swing by Sonic to grab some cherry limeades before we go though, because, you know, they're good. I really do love Summer with all its flavors. What's your favorite thing to eat/drink during these hot months?
Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Too Hot to Handle - Anything..

It is supposed to be 103 degrees here today...and it is every bit of that!!! I don't even want to know what the heat index is (what it feels like, as opposed to what it actually is...they go by that 'round here because of insane humidity level).
We had our Support Group Leader meeting today and it was stressful, just because I had to try and corral my Crew when so many other kids were acting rowdy. The behavior of those other kids was offending the people that run the school, but their moms didn't seem to care. Of course, my kids (mostly Andrew, who is only 4) couldn't understand why I wanted him to sit still and be quiet when all the other kids were causing trouble. They were so loud that you could hardly hear what the speakers were saying. People were turning around and staring and was miserable...and it lasted for two solid hours. Don'tcha just love when things like this happen?!
I came home, told all the kids to find a quiet place and to leave me alone for awhile...hee-hee! So you know what happens? One of them clogs the toilet and the water starts overflowing allllllllllllll over my bathroom floor.
Remind me how we are supposed to be having a meek and quiet spirit again...please! I was more like the pea-soup spewing crazy person that was on that weird movie...Ha-ha (by the way, this is maniacal laughter)..
Anywho...I am off to rest my aching head...I will post something positive tomorrow. ;)

Sunday, August 5, 2007


I am a firm believer that God is completely in control of all things. I know that He never gets blindsided or worried or anxious for anything....or He wouldn't tell us repeatedly not to be that way. So, I am completely trusting Him since it is not going to work out for my sister to come here now. For legal reasons, she cannot bring her baby across state lines without permission from his Dad, and he won't do that. She is still very much alone up there and she is still very much in need of our prayers.
Thank you all so much for your prayers. I praise God with all of my heart even when He tells me "No". Because I know that His decisions are the very best thing in the end.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Please Pray

Ok, y'all. I am just going to bare it all here, warts and all. Family stuff STINKS! It drains you and breaks your heart to say the least. Our crew is just fine, but my extended family has some awful things going on right now and I hate it.
I will not go into the rotten details because love protects, but I will just say that my sister and her sweet baby boy are coming to stay here from out of state for an indefinite amount of time.
I am calling out my prayer warriors here. If you think of us, please pray that the enemy would be bound in this situation and God's name be magnified and His presence tangibly felt. Also, that we would be able to make things work logistically in our already full house while maintaining a level of peace and harmony. Please pray for strength, wisdom and discernment for all involved as we work (and help guide) through some tough things.
I know God will make this work just because we have already seen His sovereign hand, but we still need coverage.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Creative Kids

This Summer, as with each one for the past 3 years, my boys have gone to the library's Summer Reading Program. They look forward to this every year, and it always proves to be a great experience for them. They always have awesome activities and prizes and, of course, it promotes a literate Summer vacation and lifestyle. I love that aspect of it because it is another adult teaching them that lotsa reading is important!
This year, our librarian put some cleaned up garbage in front of groups of kids and told them to use their imaginations to build anything that they could. Here is what my boys and the 2 others in their group came up with...Introducing: The Robot King of Liberty....

How 'bout that imagination! They did such a good job that this fella was displayed in the front of the library for the month. Ty was the only one I could catch long enough to pose here, but Jacob and Caleb (our neighbor) were a part of building it, too. GREAT JOB GUYS!!
Sadly, SRP was over on Thursday and we sure will miss it.
Thanks for hangin' with me through a Momma-brag moment.
Have a great day everyone! :)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Storm's A-Brewin'

So I went outside this evening to shirk my, ahem...take pictures of the storm that is coming in and I took this one.
What do you see?
Hang back with me for a minute and cloud gaze. I just want to see if you see the same thing that I do. No pressure, but I'd love for you to participate!
Have a great day!

You are about to feel better about yourself...

I was just poking around the blogosphere this morning and I came across this post written by Karen who lives across the pond :^). I think that what she writes speaks of truth that took me awhile to get to.
Nothing special going on around here. I have been cleaning and decluttering things this week which always makes me feel like I can breathe better. My next stop is my classroom, and lemme tell have no idea what an undertaking this is going to be. I am tempted, ~but fearful~ to post the before pictures just so you can see what I have ahead of me. Hmmm, maybe that will motivate me to actually get it done because I will *have* to post the after shot pretty soon, right?...Ok, here it is...with fear and trepidation I post...

Ok, just in case you missed it...this is my desk up close:

Yeah, how bout them apples? If you can beat my mess in your office/classroom, I dare you...NO, I triple dog dare you (what the heck does that mean anyway...triple dog?) anyway, I triple dog dare you to post on your blog.
However, if you are choking on your coffee at the sight of these pictures....well...just lie to me, it'll be alright.
Have a great day everyone! And don't forget to read Karen's post (link above).

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Back to the Drawing Board

So, today it's just me and the Pooze (Julianna). The boys are all off doing their man stuff and we are here trying to get caught up on the 50 million things that I have to take care of.
I hate that feeling of being perpetually behind. The feeling like everything around me has to be done no later than yesterday. Anyway, *that* is where I am.
I have begged God for a Type A know, ultra-organized, life planned out to the finest detail, practically perfect in every way kind of person...but He isn't giving in (or maybe I'm not).
Actually, my problem isn't in the scheduling/planning of it all, because let me tell ya, I can make a schedule or create a plan to beat the band. It is in the execution of said schedule/plan that my problem lies.
If you look in my planner (yes, I have one...actually, I have 3 if you're counting), you would think for a split second that I have everything under control, right down to watering the plants, until you looked around. My issue is that somewhere along the way, LIFE happens and it always gets messed up.
Ok, I will admit, "LIFE" may involve some minor self-indulgences like blog hopping when I should be doing the laundry as per my schedule, or reading my book when I should be searching for curricula, and that may be part of the reason that I live in Perpetually Behind Land, but that isn't always the case. Really.
As I mentioned a few posts down, I am learning to deal with the curve balls that are truly thrown my way with a gracious attitude, but half the time they wouldn't be such a huge ordeal if I had been where I needed to be in the first place...Is their anyone on my planet here?
So today, yet again, I am going against myself to ask God to give me the grace to get a workable schedule/plan going for the Crew and I. I will, no doubt, come up with something beautiful to behold that would make all of our lives much easier and more smoothly run. Things will work for about a week, and then the wonderous thing will collect dust on my desk until I have to start all over again in about 8 months. is that for hope? Seriously though, if I didn't think that our God was in the business of giving victory in the places where we have fallen (even the places where we have fallen a kajillion times), I wouldn't even be attempting this. God is a God of order and not chaos (1 Cor. 14:33) and while I know that I will probably never truly be a Type A (and I am not so sure I really want to be), I do think that he would be more glorified with a little more discipline in my life.
That being said, I am off to plan!
Have a great day everyone!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Happy 4th Birthday Andrew!

Yesterday was my *baby's* 4th birthday and we had a huge day. Right after he woke up we gave him his blueberry muffin birthday breakfast...He still looks a little unsure about the whole deal here:

After breakfast, we all got together to clean out my nasty-mobile, which was completely heinous and had to be done, birthday or not. Then we all showered and dressed to head out to lunch at Andrew's favorite restaurant, Moes (which happens to be one of mine too...YUM!).

After lunch, we headed up to the zoo where members could be a part of a Between the Lions live taping! How cool is that? I was just thrilled that it happened to land on Andrew's birthday. :)

Anyway, "cool" was probably a poor choice of words because it was several hundred degrees out with a humidity level that made you feel like you were in a sauna on steroids. We arrived early to ensure a good seat, but they wouldn't let us start the line for another 1/2 hour. Soooo, we looked around a little. Here is Andrew checking out the baby turtles:

Finally, after sweating our buttunski's off, we were seated in a blessedly air-conditioned auditorium which was only *supposed* to seat about 100, but since it seems that every zoo member out there showed up, we were packed in like a bunch of stinky sardines (See my purse there? That was my space for my rear-end....not good.) Anyway, once the show began, it was all worth it. We had a GREAT time!

Everyone was exhausted on the way home, including Momma, which is why I *had* to buzz through Starbucks despite almost rush-hour traffic. No addiction here, I swear.
Anyway, the poor little guy wiped out almost as soon as we pulled away from the zoo.

After a quick trip to Wally World (I hate that place), we buzzed home where it was a mad rush to get the pizza in the oven, open presents,

Eat our dinner, and then wolf down some Spiderman cake:

He had such a great day, but it wasn't over yet. I loaded up my sugar-crazed, over-tired boy and his sister and we headed out to see the movie Ratatouille. It was a really cute movie!

We got home around 9:30 and we all wiped out pretty fast. What a long, but wonderful day!
Have a great day everyone! :)

Contest @ 5 Minutes For Mom

Wow! Guess What?! Horizon Organic is giving away $300 worth of FREE dairy products in a contest over here!

I can vouch for how good (and good for you) their products are...not to mention the money you could save with milk being almost $4 a gallon nowadays!

~You oughta go check 'em out~

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Eye Opener

Oh, the best laid plans.....
Yesterday, I had lofty ideas of doing some housekeeping, starting work on reorganizing the classroom and grabbing a few groceries after a late lunch with friends. Sounds totally fab, right?Well, Ty woke up with his left eye completely swollen shut.
No-can-do on the house stuff or the lunch because, of course, there were no Dr. appointments and we had to do the dreaded "work-in", which is usually translated "wait for 3.75 hours before being seen". However, we were pleasantly surprised when we were seen almost immediately after we arrived. :)
The Dr. looked around in Ty's eye with his light, but couldn't see anything, then he flipped his eyelid (completely gross) and still nothing. He ended up putting some kind of dye into his eye and turning out all of the lights before he found a small scratch caused by some unknown debris. He went whitewater rafting/camping with Mark and the scouts over the weekend, so it may have been sand or something that had already made its way out...
Anyway, the Dr. informed us that eyes are one of the fastest things of the body to heal and that it should be fine by today. So, he put some antibiotic lubricant in it and pirate-patched him up.
Here is a shot of him watching from the risers as his brother did gymnastics last evening. He was really sick of being the spectator by this point. It looked so much worse than it actually was with that gigantor thing on there!

Despite having all of that go on, though, we actually had a nice day. I am slowly but surely learning to "roll with the punches" when unexpected things arise by recognizing them as the providence of God for that day. I am realizing that my attitude about everything directly affects the way each situation is perceived by the rest of my family.
I won't lie to you; Yesterday, when I saw Ty's eye, I was so disappointed that things weren't going to get done *yet again*. But, I realized that I was at a crossroads with my attitude. I could make the best of it, still showing kindness, joy and love to those around me....or I could be a complete stressed-out hag who was worrying about my 10 mile long to-do list making everyone around me want to poke their eyes out. I had to choose the former and simply trust God with the rest.
I teach my kids that having a sweet spirit and a gentle attitude will draw people to Christ way better than a harsh, pushy or self-serving one will (duh!), but God quickly reminded me that I am not just the teacher of His truth, but His appointed example even more.
Hope you all have a great day!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

In The Heavenlies

Have you ever had one of those weeks when you can just feel the battle going on over your head? Well, that was my week.
Now, I am not one to blame the enemy every single time I stub my little toe....believe me. In fact it is one of my top ten pet peeves when folks act like every minor thing that isn't going their way has to be coming from the devil. I do, however, believe that we have a very real and active adversary who is out to thwart the work of our Father in us, and I am becoming more keenly aware of some of his tactics.
I won't go into a lot of detail here in order to protect those that I love, but in a nutshell, there are a few people in my extended family that God is drawing in, and I can see that. It can be so painful to watch them have to get to their lowest respective points before they will look up, but I remember that it is all in God's hands. He has given me the opportunity throughout this week to share His grace and His holy Word with each of them separately and I am so humbly grateful. Nothing on this earth makes me happier than when I can be used of the Lord.
Knowing all of that, you can only imagine how the enemy is fighting. He has done so much to distract, hurt, twist and destroy God's work that it is flat-out bizarre in some instances.
After the hardest day in all of it, I was reading a book of poetry by Ruth Bell Graham in the evening while Mark was watching the news and it got really dark outside. Soon thereafter came a driving rain and wind that was whipping the trees so hard that Mark and I both noticed it at the same time.
I went back to reading my book and after a few minutes, turned to a page that had a picture of the most beautiful rainbow overlooking the mountains where the Graham's home is. I just stared at it for a minute, lost in my thoughts, when....and I kid you not...Andrew came running into the living room hollering about a "big wainbow". I got up and went to the front door and this is what I saw (that's the corner of my screen door there on the left):

I am not mushy, people, but this...THIS was from the Lord. I have no doubt that He placed this big beautiful rainbow right in front of His battle-weary child to remind me that He keeps His promises. Because He is so amazing and wonderful and kind like that.
I'll tell you that I checked out for awhile that evening to lock myself in my closet and worship, and I don't think anything in this world could have stopped me. There is a driving force so strong when God speaks so tangibly to His children that they have no other choice but to drop on their faces in awe. Have you ever experienced anything like that? If so, I would love to hear about it.
Oh, and about the honeybees in the previous post....I have no idea what I was going to say...LOL!
Have a great day everyone! :)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

I have a blog post in my head swirling around like a bunch of honeybees desperate to get out, but I just cannot formulate the words. It is something that I am so passionate about and see such a desperation in, but my mind will not let me put it into any kind of order, and it's frustrating, so until I am able to go there, I wanted to tell you about my all-time favorite hymn.

I have always loved this song and felt that it sang my own heart's desire so perfectly, however, I didn't realize the history of it until very recently. Coming from a family of strong Irish descent, I was thrilled to find out that this song originated in Ireland around 800 A.D.

During a time of constant turbulence in the small town of Slane Hill, the songwriter, thought to be St. Patrick, penned these beautiful words after his defiance to an edict of the King. This edict stated that Christians were not to observe Easter in the traditional way of lighting candles the night before, because of a pagan holiday that was celebrated on the same day.

St. Patrick's defiance could have easily cost him his life, but his response to that was this beautiful example of worship that we have here today:

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me save that thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, thou my true word
I ever with thee, thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I thy true Son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

Be thou my battleshield, sword for the fight
Be thou my dignity, thou my delight
Thou my soul's shelter, thou my high tower
Raise thou me heavenward, O power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise
Thou mine inheritance, now and always
Thou and thou only, first in my heart
High King of heavem, my treasure thou art.

High King of heaven, after victory won
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's sun
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, O ruler of all.

Amen... Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Rooster and Rockin'

I love living in the country. Just this a.m. I looked out in my backyard to see a black cat that doesn't belong to me, but watches me drink my coffee frequently, a little rabbit cautiously nibbling, but out of view of the wiley black cat, and a ROOSTER! Where in the world did he come from?
I heard his cock-a-doodle-doo as I was sitting here and I realized it sounded awfully close (I think he belongs to a neighbor behind me somewhere). Sure enough, he was strutting his stuff right past the black cat just as sure as you please. It's like the westie-zoo around here.
Anyway, the whole reason I logged on here is to say that my super-awesome friend, Gayle has bestowed upon me this super-awesome award:

I wonder if it's because of my last post? So the award rules are that you must pass this along to 5 other gals whom you think should have it. Being that we are no longer bound by the law, though, I will pass this award on to 7 others. And those others church sistahs!
Kim, Caroline, Andrea, Penny, Kimmy, Wendy and Michelle.
Come and get it girls! You know you rock...:)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Everybuddy Sin(g)

If you ever need a lesson in humility, take your child to the nursery. Something about that hour with all their little peers causes them to develop diarrhea of the mouth about all of their family's "quirks".
Their is nothing more hilarious to me than listening to a wide-eyed toddler tell you over their goldfish how Mommy called Daddy a *$&^% on the way to church. Yeah, you learn ALOT in the nursery.
However, I am not throwing stones here, because this week it was my cherub-faced angel that decided it would be appropriate to teach all the 3 and 4 year olds how to sing, with feeling, all of the stanza's to Queen's "We Will Rock You".
Apparently he pointed his little chubby finger at the teenage helper and spouted "there's mud on your face, you big disgrace....ect." Thankfully, he and his Mom thought it was funny, which leads me back nicely to where it all began.
We bought some Nintendo bongo drum thing for the kids awhile back and being the homeschooling Mom that I am, I thought it would give them the chance to pick up a lesson in rhythm and keeping the beat and all that good stuff. Well, it worked. But alot of the songs on there are some of those 80's tunes that we used to CRANK back in the day. So guess what? We cranked them again. And again. And again, until Andrew was crooning every one of them by heart. We thought it was hilarious (it is), so we kept doing it just to watch him curl up that lip and play the air guitar.
And then, just as we thought our little secret was safe, he heads to the nursery....and the rest is history.
While my older 3 grew up on Veggie Tale sing-alongs and Wee Sing tapes, my baby is being well-versed in good ol' Rock and Roll. If I knew how to You-Tube, I'd put it on here for you to see.
Anyway, just thought I would tell you that, apparently, my horns are holding up my halo this week. ;)
Have a great day everyone!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Summer Madness

I have been making the concerted effort to maintain some level of order in this home since Summer broke up into our world. Not that I don't adore this sizzling Season, it's just that our days have been...well, unstructured. And truthfully, I wouldn't classify myself as a very structured person to begin with (~ZIP IT~ to those of you who are screaming about that being the understatement of the year!).
Anyway, when there is no direction in this house, it equates boredom, which equates trouble. We have been running pretty much every which way but loose since the beginning of June, with the only reprieve being this week. We have been doing random things as the mood suits us, and any semblance of our regularly scheduled programming has flown the coop. The kids are fighting and whining and I am having a hard time wanting to get out of my p.j.'s.
Soooo, I decided to remedy this as much as possible. We are starting back to, what I will call, "school-lite" on Monday. This may come across as cruel, but I tell ya, this crazy "nothingness" is waaaay more torture, in my book.
We will still head to the pool and all of our Summertime activities, but during those directionless days, we are going to have something to do in the learning department. Besides, when will they ever get 3 months off at a time as an adult? So, that's my plan...
I also wanted to mention that I bought a Bible study for Ty (10) yesterday which he really likes. It's covers the first 6 chapters of Daniel which is studied over a 6 week period with the weeks broken into 5 days (think Beth Moore format). These kind of expository studies seem to be really hard to find in the kid realm. It is part of a series by Kay Arthur called: Discover 4 Yourself: Inductive Bible Studies For Kids. The specific one that Ty is doing is You're a Brave Man, Daniel. Check em out if your interested! I wish I knew how to post a link to Amazon with the book's picture, but I don't, so just click the link.
Have a great day everyone! :)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Funny Girls...

Y'all crack me up! Can I just say that in the hope that everyone that's made me laugh over the last few days will read this? I have had the chance to catch up on some of your blogs and I have been giggling through most of them.
AND, I am lovin this bloglines thing. It's so...I don't know...convenient. Gayle, you were right about how much I would love it here (and no, I am not talking to myself, just click the link if you don't already know her ;)
Anyway, just wanted to say that. I am going to bed now.
OH! I kinda wanted to take a poll of sorts, so play along, pretty please!

What is your all-time favorite hymn or worship song? It's alright if you can't pick just one, I just want to know which ones you really feel gets you to a place of awe for the Lord.

Have a great day everyone! :)

Monday, June 25, 2007


Every now and then I will do something that is deemed "cool" by my otherwise eye-rolling kids. Today was one of those days. On Mondays, while the kids are in gymnastics, I usually sit in the van with the windows rolled down, saturated in a good book. I love that little time of peace and quiet while my boys burn off some of their abundant energy. I could be a good Mom and sit up in the mind-blistering heat near the ceiling of the gym (which is where they so kindly have the risers placed for our viewing pleasure), but I usually pass.
So anyway, I decided to give the boys a blast from the past and ride home with the windows rolled down. These air-conditioned kids didn't know what hit them! They were whooping and hollering like they were in a lost episode of The Dukes of Hazard. If nothing else, I am sure we sounded like the Clampetts coming around the corner. It was hilarious to listen to them giggle and laugh and see their hair all wind-blown. Of course, always armed with my camera, I snapped a picture so that you could see what I was seeing...LOL!

Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

On Spiritual Gifts...

I have been nursing a migraine today that started about halfway through church this morning. It has been awhile since I have had one of those buggers and forgot how miserable they can be. I always feel kind of weird for about a day after I have had one of them, and now I am wondering if that is normal? Oh well if it isn't, right? :^)
Anyway, our pastor has been preaching a sermon series on spiritual gifts. Unfortunately, I have only been able to hear 1 (today's) out of the whole series because of vacations, nursery, ect., so I am hoping to get a CD of them or download it from the website since today's was so good.
My question, regarding gifts, is this, though: What about the person who knows what his/her gift is but isn't quite sure how to utilize it? You know, as soon as I typed that last sentence, I realized that the answer is actually pretty simple....prayer.
I was already feeling a little convicted about using my gifts in our local body before this sermon series, so now it is all the more confirmed.
I have always felt as though we Mom's are using our gifts by way of rearing our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. And I know I am preachin' to the choir to say that THAT is no easy task. Truthfully, I am still a little on the fence about just how much we are to give because I think our priority at this stage in the game has to be our family, BUT, as our respected pastor mentioned today, our gifts are usually directly related to the things that we have a passion for, or a burden about. I definitely have that about my family, for sure, but my heart aches for other areas in Christ's body as well.
Here's my deal: I have been the person (as a pastor's daughter) who has worked her tail off even in the places where I had no business being because "there was nobody else". I got burned out in the worst way, and worse yet, I didn't do anything well because I was doing too much (on top of trying to be a Momma of preschoolers).
Through circumstances waaaay to whack-o to go into in this post, we ended up leaving our beloved church. Shortly thereafter, we began to attend the place where we are now. I had to take some time to heal from said circumstances, so I pretty much hid in the background for awhile. But, when I had sufficiently worked through some things, I still didn't want to deal with the "junk" of being knee-deep in ministry again...ever. I would be willing to bet more than one person reading this can understand what I am saying.
But you know what? That is not what God wants for this life. He doesn't want me to hang out and "watch the game" from the sidelines. He wants me in it, playing with all my might, despite my hurts (which have taught me plenty) and my own goof-ups (which have hopefully given me some much-needed humility).
So here I am, this bag of flesh, asking God to use me in whatever way He sees fit. He knows what He has equipped me with and I am open to the opportunities that He places in front of me.
Can you imagine a church full of people who actually roll up their sleeves and jump right in where God wants them to be? Can you fathom the functionality for Christ with a church like that? Just like a well-oiled machine...anyway, that is my prayer for my local body of believers.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this...
Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

It's goooone

Have you ever become so stupidly obsessed with something that it takes up your whole being? Well, that was me with my new template. And as you can see, it was an obsession that yielded little fruit. I will not risk boring your flip-flops off with all of the gory details, but let's just say that I had a vision and it involved HTML.
I knew exactly what I wanted for my fresh, new home here at blogger, so I set off to find the perfect background and graphics, ect. In the end, I actually CREATED a background in my paint program (no small feat), uploaded to my photobucket account, and then set off into the dark hollows of HTML. It took me alllllll day long, and I wasn't even halfway through with my self-appointed task.
And then, I did it.
I accidentally deleted the whole darn thing. You think losing a post is bad? Oh man! This was borderline hysteria. I literally turned off the computer and decided not to touch anything blog-related for one entire day.
So here it is, my template. Just like any other one you can get, and that is ok by me.
I am going to try to get some pictures and stuff posted to my sidelines over there, but nothing fancy-schmancy, because I am over it. Really.
Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Moving In

Well, here is my inaugural post for Life With The Crew on blogger. The switch from HSB has been long in coming, but I am not a creature who particularly loves change.
Anyway, I will be tooling around here over the next few weeks trying to tweak things in my new place, so hang with me as I make some adjustments.
I have an idea for a cool template in my mind, but it is now going to be a matter of getting from my brain to the blog. Thanks for stopping by!
Have a great day everyone...I don't see any smilies around here....:/