31 March 2007

Calling All 80s Girls

I found this "Who Is Your 80s Heartthrob" on A Gracious Home. It was fun. I used to think John Stamos was awesome, but I never had a "crush" on him, as my girls would say. Interesting - very interesting. Okay now my 80s Girlfriends - make sure to tell me who yours is!
Your 80s Heartthrob Is

John Stamos
Who's Your 80's Heartthrob?
And just to make sure to disillusion you about this thing - I changed every one of my answers a couple of time except that I liked bad boys (which I did in the 80s - regretably) - and it gave me John Stamos everytime - evidently he is the resident 80s bad boy!

30 March 2007

T13 Edition #6 - Thirteen Sounds I Can Hear Right Now

This week I've had a hard time getting my "thirteen" list together. But alas, this evening I was finally inspired.

Thirteen sounds I can hear right now:

1. An irritated barking dog
2. The repetitive rhythm of an unattended Nintendo game cube
3. The whoosh-whoosh –whoosh of the ceiling fan
4. Feet coming up the porch stairs
5. Unhurried cars passing by
6. The screen door creak as it opens
7. Water running
8. Children running outside around the house
9. The zing of a firing BB gun
10. Girl-talk as Kaitlyn and a friend approach
11. The pop of an opening soda can
12. The shuffle of flip flops on the tile floor
13. Laughter

Ah, it’s a Friday night in a small town!

Po-Dunked

I have totally lost my cotton-pickin' mind! I cannot believe I did this. For months, as I have seen it coming, I have tried to persuade myself that it was no.big.deal. Our tiny little town, the one that is just a blip on the radar, where if you blink you will miss it, that has only a hole in the wall BBQ joint and an Express Mart - yep that one, was getting a Dollar General! The shining yellow sign lights up the area around it like an airport. I told my kids, "Four days." We were not going to go and check it out until it had been four days. "Why?" they asked. Well of course I did NOT want to seem too eager. It opened yesterday and guess who was there today? You guessed it - Miss Inconspicuous. It wasn't so cool when I walked inside the front doors and screamed, "Oh my gosh!" at the top of my newfound southern lungs. Oh yeah, and as if that wasn't totally humiliating enough to do in front of the whole town, who were all there, I called a shopping cart a "buggy"! I think I am in one of those Stephen King movies where the small town slowly annihilates the newcomers. If my blogging drops off suddenly, you'll know what happened.

Too Good Not to Share

This was so touching - I had to share.

Speaking of Contests!

If you are planning on entering the Quirky Quote Qontest - there is only one day left. All quotes must be linked to Mister Linky by Saturday, March 31st at midnight central time. There have been some amazing quotes - and so far there are 38 entries! Keep 'em comin'!

Dyson Vacuum Giveaway

5 minutes for mom is having an outrageously super contest! They are giving away a Dyson Slim Vacuum Cleaner. Check it out here! Hurry, you can only enter between now and April 4th!

Apology to Secret Sister

I don't know who my secret sister is yet, but I do have an apology to make to her. You sent me a beautiful bunny siggy with my name on it - and I just finally was able to read the note instead of skimming it. No excuses, but my inbox overfloweth with work. Please forgive me and know how much I have appreciated you. There is never a need to apologize to me girl - you have blessed my socks off! I can't wait to find out who you are!

29 March 2007

Random Conversations

My oldest daughter is turning into such a precious young lady. But what I love is that she can look totally glamorous one second and be making noises like a wounded animal the next just to make people laugh. Her personality is so zany at times, and other times as deep as the ocean. Today I had to make a trip to the car insurance company, which was an hour away and she was the only one who wanted to accompany me. It gave us ample opportunity to talk. We talked about the Lord, and how she felt that she was in a spiritual slump lately. We talked about how cursing was not really about the "word" because somebody somewhere decided that it would make the list of swear words, but because of the heart - and that the people that say pooh or shoot or dang it or rats are no more righteous in God's sight. We talked about make-up. I developed a theory, albeit totally flawed theologically that God loves me more, because I gave birth to her - and if he thinks she's precious in His sight, how much more the person that is also precious in his sight that gave birth to her. (I was just teasing!) We listened to her new Nickelback CD - and then my Norah Jones and decided that my CD was much more relaxing. Although the conversations were random, what I realized through all of them is that I really like her. If this was MySpace, she'd definitely be in my top 10!

There Are Hardly Words to Describe

I love missions - I don't know why the Lord etched this as part of who I am so deeply on my heart - or what if anything he ever plans to do with it, but when I watched the video of Taiwanese people worshiping the Lord together on this blog, I could scarcely stop crying. I keep thinking about every tribe and tongue and nation worshiping together one day. Precious.
Also, while you're at this blog - check out yesterday's post. What a creative lunch! We think ants on a log is something special! ha!

Crock-pot Cookin' - Pot Roast

slowcooking
The weekly Slow Cooking Thursday recipe exchange is hosted at the blog of Diary of a SAHM - if you're interested, make sure to post your recipe and go put your link up there to share it with others. If you want to go directly to this week's crock pot post - click on the graphic above!

Beef Pot Roast and Potatoes
This is the first thing I ever learned how to make in the crock pot, and honestly the only thing I made in it for many, many YEARS! It is a faithful standby that my family loves.

3-4 pound beef roast
6-8 medium sized potatoes
4-6 carrots
1 large onion, chopped
beef broth
Worcestershire sauce
Some people brown their roast before putting it in the crock pot - I never do. One of the reasons I use the crock pot is because of the easy, one pot cooking and little mess. To me, this misses the point. My roast is always tender and wonderful.
Place roast in the crock pot and sprinkle with seasoned salt and pepper. Cover with half the chopped onion. Pour 1 cup of beef broth over the roast and generously sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce. Cut potatoes into halves or quarters depending on size. Layer on top of beef roast. Also cut carrots into medium sized pieces. Add remaining half of chopped onion. If I have a celery rib, I will chop it and add to the crock pot as well. Salt and pepper the vegetables.
Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours, depending on size of roast.

28 March 2007

No. Huh uh. I Don't Think So.

The above is pretty much what my day looked like yesterday in a picture. Kullen and I sat outside of dressing rooms looking at two sets of feet and any various color and texture and much fluff over and under the dressing room stalls. Whew! Wore me out. There was the good. the bad. and the ugly. Most of what they have out there for teenage girls to consider wearing to these formal events is not fit to wear out in public. Thankfully they each found a very tastefully beautiful dress that they were in love with. Here are some other random photos of the day, none of which include THE dresses. Those will be unveiled at the formal on May 4th. They are gorgeous - Kaitlyn's has a Cinderella flair to it - and Kendra chose a vintage look. I will post more pictures here when I am allowed! I can't wait to see them all gussied up!

I was thinking how interesting it would be to see their mom's old "prom" picture. I don't know if y'all could handle the 80s hair - but hey it might be good for a laugh. This is a picture of me with my high school boyfriend, Bret taken at our Jr. Prom in 1987. My mom procrastinated in taking me shopping and since I wore a size 11 (boy wouldn't I LOVE to see that now!) - there weren't many dresses available. The yellow went very nicely with the gray tux. It was a fun night. Hope you enjoy the laugh - hey I am only thinking of you my audience in much need of entertainment.
PS - The guy I married is much cuter!

Hitting Close to Home

This story about a woman who never returned home after attending a Living Proof Live conference hits a little too close to home. My friends and I have attended more than one of these conferences where Beth Moore teaches from God's word - and been so blessed. Pray for God's protection and that they find this pastor's wife very soon.

Post-mania by Blogzilla

If you read the feed from my blog on Google Reader - I just want to assure you - I have not gone completely insane! I am attempting to move my favorite posts from the last 2 years of blogging from my Homeschoolblogger Blog to this one. Breathe easy - things should return to normal shortly. It seems HSB has gotten bogged down again - so I may have to stop for today. I just want all my favorite entries in one place!

That HONK Was for Me

I am my beloved and he is mine. Amazing words, and although I have never applied them directly to my marriage, this morning I did. It takes so little for "my man" (to coin a Beth Moore - Texan-ism) to make me know he loves me. We are total opposites in this - Travis is not overtly affectionate, and I am like Dino running for Fred when he comes through the door after work! We have had to learn to live with these differences. Well, this morning he was running late for work, so I got to see him which is unusual - not him, the seeing him - although come to think of it he is unusual - but I digress. When he pulled around the house to drive off to work, he peeped his horn at me sitting in the window checking my email. Now that may not do anything for y'all, but I knew that honk blasting out for all the neighborhood to hear was for me! What a thrill. (That's about as publicly affectionate as the man gets - I'll take it!)

27 March 2007

A Wee Confession

If somebody is handing out the bad mommy award, I earned it today. Slap it right down here and leave it for a while. I made a complete and total spectacle of myself in front of my children. I won't make excuses. I won't say how very very much I HATE the mall (yet another thing I have in common with my new dear friend, fatty), but I will suffice to say that it was an exhausting day. I think that perhaps there is something testosterone driven about shopping that I don't have - as what we did today bore a keen resemblance to hunting. We walked back and forth across the mall several times , and I was wearing sandals that were rubbing some painful spots on my feet, as the girls tried on the same dresses for the ump-teenth time. I was trying so hard to be patient, when finally, one of them made a decision. The dress was purchased and we finally went to get Chinese for lunch. It was upon returning to the mall to resume the hunt for the indecisive sister that it happened. The fit. I threw one and threw it badly. Not out loud in the mall, but when we went to the car to look for the purse that the daughter that conquered her dress (I'll never tell who is who) noticed she no longer had, I screamed in utter frustration. I feel so badly about it now - but it is the second major loss of a purse in the last 6 months (between the girls - not the same one), and we have just finally replaced some valuable items that went missing the last time around. We did retrace our steps to the dressing room - and realized it was in the excitement of the procurement of THE "perfect dress" that caused her to completely forget about her purse. Thankfully another customer had found it and returned it to the clerk, who gave it to us. However, not long after the recovery we noticed that while her cell phone was in her purse, her iPod Nano that she got for Christmas was not. I was tired, I was grouchy, I was frustrated and behaved badly. I have apologized to all three of my children who had to listen to me rant. Now it's out - I'm not perfect - in fact hopelessly flawed. Don't you hate it when you make it so obvious?
I will hopefully be able to post some pictures of our shopping trip tomorrow, minus pictures of ranting mama - you'll just have to mentally insert a picture of a PMSing Roseanne. Of course the chosen dresses cannot be revealed until the formal so you'll all just have to wait.

Formal Shopping

Today we are going shopping for formal dresses. My girls are pretty excited. I am too except for the fact that the place they want to go is in a mall that is almost 2 hours away! When some of our friends first started talking about hosting a "formal" Spring Fling for the homeschooled kids in our area (in WV) the hubby and I weren't sure what we thought of that. One of the reasons we homeschooled our kids was to keep them from some of the dating standards of the public schools, the social pressure of the boy/girl thing, etc. Not that in any way we thought they would not have an interest in the opposite sex but that it wouldn't be driven by peers or the social pressure to fit in. But of course, the idea of dressing up and having a fun evening with your best friends is always irresistible. As far as I can remember there was only one official couple at this formal dance. The rest of the kids kicked off their shoes and danced their socks off! There was a great meal, and very little of the drama I remember at my high school proms. It was a blast - so we are headed back for another "formal" this year! We can't wait. Now if only we could just get this dress shopping over with!
Oh yeah, and to appease my frugal friend , the dresses in the picture at the top (which mortifies my daughters now to look at because they had the "same color") were purchased after most of the local school formals, and therefore discounted. Kaitlyn's dress (L) cost $18 and Kendra's dress (R) cost $40. I don't remember who picked their dress first - but this year they have both decided that they will have different color dresses.

26 March 2007

Contest Countdown - Five Days Left

Lest you forget - I must remind you about the Quirky Quote Qontest. Jump on over there right now and be #20! Does your blog need spruced up? The prize is a fabulous new blog design by the amazing Goofy Girl. My quote collection needed some pizazz and y'all have certainly provided it! Don't stop now. And current contestants, remember that there is a TWO quote limit, so enter again!

Frugal Friend

I made a friend on Homeschoolblogger about a year and a half ago. We keep up with each other's blogs, have had occasion to chat on instant messenger (I was in Texas for the first time since we decided to move - and she has no idea how much that chat did to keep my spirits up!), and have emailed each other on and off. Mostly on. She is a really neat lady. Although we both blog other places now, we have maintained our bloggy-friendship - and I treasure her - Leslie a/k/a Boltbabe (this name has something to do with being a hockey FANATIC!). She has several blogs - and I have each of them on my Google Reader so I can stay updated when she posts something. Today she had two great posts about frugality - the first one was Frugal Check Point where wrote about keeping a price book. I have heard of a price book before - but could never figure out exactly how to get one started. Later she posted more specifics of said "price book" here. I learned a lot - so if you are interested in making sure more of your money stays in your pocket, I would highly recommend being a regular at her homesteady-frugal living-simplicity blog, or you might want to check out her more eclectic blog. Either way you're sure to learn a bunch! Tell her jewlsntexas sent ya!

Feast or Famine - "Blah-gers Block"

Sometimes I have about a million topics that I want to blog about and other times I got nuthin'! It is a strange phenomenon I will called "Blah-gers Block". I don't know what causes it but boy have I had it today. A million things were going on at work, and so I felt like I jumped from one task to the other for most of the day. The kids and I read a couple of chapters in The Bronze Bow which is turning out to be a great pre-Easter read. Later in the afternoon we played a heated, hilarious, side splitting laughter, rambunctiously loud game of LIFE. I think the neighbors probably wondered who was being killed across the street - as the mild weather is allowing for all the windows to be open.
And on the subject of LIFE - the game is very realistic in some ways. Paying taxes, and buying a house, but what about the little things like, um toilet paper, groceries. These little plastic peg people never eat! What about the cost of living? I don't think that things could have changed all that much. My daughters were police officers and teachers each making $90,000 and $70,000 respectively - how unrealistic is that? My son got very upset that he landed on a spot that made him pay $20,000 for a home gym he didn't even want. I mean in real LIFE those kinds of things are choices. I think that we need to work on a more realistic version of this game. However, I never got a "baby" in the game - and noticed that I ended up with more money and was more relaxed in general. Whatddya make of that?
Hey - I found something to blog about after all!

25 March 2007

Glimpses of the Homestead

Here is my "front" door - at least part of it. The front porch is shaped like the letter "L" - and this kitchen door is on one side and there is a door on the other side that goes into the living room. The living room door has an old doorknob without a key so we use it less often. (It has a manual lock from the inside!) At our house in West Virginia one day, I read Deuteronomy 6:9 that says to talk about the Lord's commands when you sit and stand, binding them on your head and writing "these commandments" on the doorframes of your homes. I took it literally. I couldn't wait to get settled and do the same here in our new home. I wrote the 10 commandments and ended with Deuteronomy 6:9. It is a symbol to all who enter of the standard that we hope to live out within the four walls of our humble abode!
Another fun thing on the homefront - we went to visit my mother-in-law this weekend and the kids found this old rusty tricycle in the back by her pond. They brought it up to the house, and she said she didn't care about it - and that I could take it home. I was so excited - it will make a cute addition to my front porch. When Travis saw it he said it was his when he was small which makes me like it even more! Here is a picture of it:
I hope that you are making your home a place you thoroughly enjoy too! Blessings ♥

Texas Spring

I am totally loving the Texas Spring. Everywhere I look there are beautiful things blooming. This is a picture of Wisteria that I saw hanging over the fence at the Chinese restaurant where we ate yesterday. It is so gorgeous, and it seems to be growing everywhere that I look, in bushes, vines, and even large trees - everywhere except my yard. I intend fully to have some in my yard shortly! I have seen it in a lot of Victorian era art but never in person. I think it is just lovely.
Later I will post pictures of the azaleas and possibly bluebonnets. There also seem to be wildflowers growing everywhere! I know that with the heat of summer they will be shortlived, but for now I am really enjoying them.

Tips for the Homemaker

I have never claimed to be a homemaking guru of any kind, but I have found some things over the years that really really work, and I swear by them. Here are a couple:
  1. I read a comment on someone's blog about her write on-wipe off board, and how she ruined it by accidentally mistaking a permanent marker for a dry erase kind. Ouch! We once had a permanent marker incident with our youngest daughter. I left her in the car once, while I walked my older daughter to the door where she was being dropped off, and when I turned around I realized the stinker had gotten into a "marks-a-lot" permanent marker that her daddy left in the door pocket. She drew on every surface in the car - the dashboard, steering wheel, seats, etc. I was SO upset. I remembered someone telling me to use hairspray on ink, and although I doubted it would work, I decided to try it when we got home. I sprayed the hairspray on enough to saturate the ink spots and then wiped - and it CAME RIGHT OFF of every kind of surface, cloth, vinyl, leather. When my husband came home and I told him about it, you couldn't even tell that it had happened. (thankfully - later that same child took a rock and walked all around the same car leaving her own "artistic impression" - that did not go over quite as well!)
  2. A few months ago when my dog Jett was in a fight with another dog and had his ear torn, it bled profusely. When we took him to the vet to have it sown back together, he bled everywhere. I felt so bad that he was dripping blood and making such a mess, and even got blood on the nurses. They told me it was no problem, and that all they do is hit it with a little peroxide. I was thinking that they do that to kill the germs or something - but they informed me that it actually takes blood out. I came home and tried it on the end of my new bedspread where Jett had slung blood when he took his bandages off, and IT VANISHED! I was wondering why more women don't know about this handy trick, and wanted to make a point to share it with everyone else. You just pour straight peroxide on any blood stain and it will dissolve. We also used it all over the front porch, and it worked great!
So there are my helpful tips for the homemaker. Share your best ones with me!

24 March 2007

A Story About Sadie a/k/a Why I'm So Freaked Out About My Pregnant Animal

Several years ago, we had a dog named Sadie. She was a beagle and we loved her very much. Two of our friends had adopted two of her brothers. When we found out that Sadie was going to have puppies we were all very excited, and I thought it would be a great learning experience for my children.
The day Sadie had her puppies was a very chaotic day. She had five puppies that all seemed healthy and well. We left her to care for them and continued on with errands, etc. for the rest of the day. All day long, I would see her throughout the house in a squatting position. We had trouble with housebreaking her, and I thought that maybe because of having the puppies she was reverting to some old behavior, so when I would see her squatting I would put her outside.
I went to my book discussion group that evening as usual, and came home to find her very restless. The puppies would be crying so she would get in the box and lay down beside them to nurse them and in a second she would be up and squatting again. I started to think she maybe had a bladder infection. What never occurred to me was that she had another puppy stuck in the birth canal. Regardless, I found an emergency vet a 45 minute drive away, and loaded her up with her puppies and took off. The vet delivered the terrifying news - I had been putting her out all day and she was still in labor. There was one puppy stuck in the birth canal that was deceased, and two puppies behind it.
Everything started happening very fast. They said she needed immediate surgery to save her life and the lives of her puppies. They said they could do the surgery, and that I needed to sign this paper and that paper and the other paper, and everything was spinning until the lady told me that I would need to promise to pay them $3000 in 30 days! That cleared the chaos in my head kind of like sniffing one of those ammonia capsules. I KNEW there was no way we could pay them that amount in that amount of time. The only other option they gave me was to sign custody of our precious Sadie over to them, and they would perform and pay for the surgery - but I would.not.get.her.back. The details clarified, I would keep the puppies she had already delivered - but this was the only way to save her life. I was heartbroken, but I did what I had to do for her best interest.
We had these five gorgeous puppies, two of them that I am able to visit at the homes of my friends to this day. We commenced bottle feeding them some formula we got at the local farmer's supply store, and found many friends who were more than willing to help. We loved those puppies, but they did little to diminish losing Sadie.
So if I am nervous about my kitty cat being pregnant, you may have a better understanding now of why. She is a tiny girl, and her belly is getting so huge. I hope that it is a mass number of kittens and not big ones. I know that not a sparrow falls apart from the will of the Father, but in the meantime it is my heart that breaks for the furry friends that I love.

Rambly Scattered Thoughts

I have a random stream of thoughts tonight but I'll do my best to make it slightly coherent.
First I would like to know what the deal is with having zits AND gray hair (just a few but still!) AND cellulite AND the beginning stages of wrinkles. My skin isn't wrinkled just yet - but it is wrinkle-ish - meaning my skin texture around my eyes is changing! This seems cruel and unfair.
Second, my husband took me to see the movie "Premonition" tonight where a woman has a recurrent dream that her husband dies. A little "Groundhog Day-ish", but interesting none-the-less. Sandra Bullock, my favorite female actress, was in it so you know you couldn't go wrong. My hubby earned big points without meaning to by saying she reminded him of me in some ways. (I did not ask him to elaborate - that was good enough for me! I kept thinking - her butt is half my size and she looks cute no matter what! I didn't see the direct link.) It was also ironic to realize that we went to get out without our kids and ended up sitting next to a HUGE group of teenagers. They did pretty well - but my hubby pointed out how different they were from our kids. It is good when dad notices that what we have done, and the sacrifices he personally has made for our kids makes a difference.
Last but not least, the cashier at Walmart today told me today was her lucky day. She won $500 in some sort of scratch-off lottery thingy. I realized how much I had grown as a Christian. There was a time when I would have judged her for "gambling" and today I was able to say,"How exciting!" and actually mean it. My standards mean nothing to her. This may not make sense in the sleep deprived state of stupor in which I am writing it - but we cannot reach people with Jesus by hitting them over the head with a frying pan. I plan to get in her line every chance I get - and make friends. Maybe then Jesus will come out in the precious way He showed Himself to me - with arms wide open. Jesus cannot use me to do that, be a living illustration when I fold my arms across my chest (and my panties are in a wad)!
Good night peoples. You were lovely. Great audience. Thank you so much for making it to the end! Hee hee.

23 March 2007

Way to go Texas!

This may not be the absolute best way to support "life" - but at least they are doing something! Texas is going to be voting on a bill to pay pregnant women $500 to choose adoption over abortion. There's more information in this article. I am too tired to coherently think it through - one thing that does immediately come to mind is that women will initiate unwanted pregnancies just for the money. I have heard of worse absurdities than this!

Pet Food Recall

I am sorry I did not post about this earlier - because it had me really upset with our "fat cat" being pregnant and all - but there was a major pet food recall in the US and Canada this past week. I just read some breaking news that the food was found to be tainted with RAT POISONING! Can you believe that? I hope they figure out what happened. If you go to the AVMA website, you can view the complete list of the foods that have been recalled. It is mainly pet food found in pouches - and stretches across the lines from the most expensive name brands to the cheaper store brands. Protect your furry friends!

Homeschool Blog Awards 2006

Do you have a favorite "homeschool" blogger? Get on over to Spirittbee's blog (or you can click on the graphic on the left and go directly to the award post) and check out the wide array of categories and make your nominations. There are many bloggers who invest their time and energy to make blogging fun, educational, informative, and helpful for the " homeschool blogosphere" - so go on over and recognize those blog-authors that you admire. Bless somebody by letting them know how they bless you!

22 March 2007

T13 Edition #5 - Thirteen Movies for a Deserted Island

If I were to be dropped on a deserted island, and the only thing I could have is my personal DVD player (equipped with several extra battery packs – okay suspend disbelief for a minute would ya?) and only 13 movies, here is what I would take:

1. The Passion of the Christ - when I need to remember Jesus’s sacrifice

2. Little Women - when I need to remember the value of family

3. Facing the Giants - when I need encouragement to “keep going”

4. Spiderman - when I feel like climbing a wall – or a palm tree – whatever!

5. Return to Me - when I lose heart

6. The Titanic - when I feel like I’m sinking in a cold world

7. Tuck Everlasting - when I faint at the thought of growing old

8. Oliver! – when I feel like nobody loves me

9. Cheaper by the Dozen – old version - when I think I have too many kids!

10. The Astronaut Farmer - when I need to remember how to dream (Okay – I know it is not on DVD yet

11. The Prestige – when I am bored and need to stretch my brain a bit

12. Gone With the Wind – when frankly my dear I don’t give a – oh yeah this is a family friendly blog!

13. The Sound of Music OR Fiddler on the Roof – when I feel like singing!

This list could have a few variables on any given day – but this seems to be a good mixed list of movies I’ve seen recently and ones that I’ve loved for a long time.

Crock-pot Cookin' - Chicken and Stuffing

I love my crock-pot. It makes cooking so handy. I was so thankful when I found Diary of a Stay at Home Mom hosting Slow Cooking Thursday. If you're like me you can always use more good recipes that are tried and tested by other moms! Speaking of which, I made this yummy recipe for Taco Soup in my crock-pot today that I found on somebody else's blog - and I just had to take a taste when we got home from co-op! It is sooo good! And while you're at it, hop on over to Life on the Rocks where she's posted a yummy meatless (alright it has chicken broth though!) version.
Here's one of my tried and true crock-pot recipes:

Chicken and Stuffing
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 oz can mushroom pieces, drained
1/4 cup dried parsley flakes
1 1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
12 cups bread cubes
2 eggs
10 3/4 oz can cream of chicken soup
5-6 cups cooked chicken
Combine all ingredients except bread, eggs, soup and chicken in saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes. Place bread cubes in large bowl. Combine eggs and soup. Stir into broth mixture until smooth. Pour over bread and toss well. Layer half of stuffing and then half of chicken into very large slow cooker. Repeat layers. Cover. Cook on low 4 1/2 - 5 hours.

Discerning Hubby

I have a confession to make, I have trouble trusting. I grew up much of the time in such a way where much of the time I had to second guess someone's possible ulterior motive for decisions that were being made that had an effect on me. Before I learned to be suspicious - I got tossed around carelessly so I got wise pretty quick. This has bled into my marriage, and my parenting. There have been numerous times however, when my husband has proven that he is quite gifted at discernment. On first meeting of a person, he will tell me that they are going to be "trouble". I, on the other hand, am generally willing to give anyone a chance to prove otherwise. Yesterday his "gift" proved itself. Our son wanted to go down the street and skateboard in the parking lot of the local jr. high school with some other boys - two teenagers and one boy his age. As a mother, just because I don't want him out of my sight, my first impulse is always to say "no", so in an attempt to actually allow the kid a chance, I told him he needed to ask his dad. Since dad was on his way home from work, a quick call to the cell gave him a definitive no answer. Based on the company, daddy did not think it was a good idea. Later we found out that the boys had gone into the school and stolen money. Although he would have not been the instigator, Kullen surely would have gotten blamed just for being there. He is not going to play with these boys anymore. In this house I am learning FATHER really does know best!

21 March 2007

I Don't Know Nothin' Bout Birthin' No Babies

This is our cat Rayne (I call her "Princess Sushi"). The suspicious bulge you see in her mid-section is not too much tuna. This girl is seriously pregnant. We took her to the vet last week because I was worried she may have worms or something and he said we would probably have baby kitties in about 2 weeks. As you can see she is a most gorgeous feline specimen - and we all love her so much. I am about to go crazy worried about her. She is just around a year old. When we got her she was literally a "wild cat". She lived across the street from my mother-in-law's house, behind Uncle Raymond's house. He told me he had a beautiful siamese mixed kitty that we could have if we wanted, and I thought Kaitlyn would adore having a new friend in Texas so we got the kitty for her birthday. Aunt Vonda who is a TOTAL cat lover offered to hold the kitty on the ride home in the car - but the little brier patch hissed, and pawed with claws bared so we decided the kennel was a better alternative. (I could see the leather seats in my new mini van in shreds by the time we made the 2 mile drive!) Kaitlyn fell in love with her and we took turns pulling her out of hiding and holding her and loving her through those first couple of weeks. She is still a bit skiddish - but we couldn't love her any more. We'll have to keep you updated on the kitten saga. She is laying around a lot, and crying (the one "siamese" trait that she has the strongest), so we should have babies any day now. Anybody want a kitten?

Scrap Happy - My Thoughts of You

I made this scrapbook page in memory of my father-in-law who went to be with Jesus in July of last year. I woke up this morning thinking of him, and had these exact thoughts on my mind. The hutch is because he loved woodworking and in the last year of his life he refinished a hutch just like this one that was his mother's, the cross because he was a Christian - and the son of a Congregational Methodist minister, and the quote because he was an avid gardener and loved to nurture and grow plants and trees of all kinds. BTW - just in case you didn't know - you can click on the image to make it larger so you can actually read the journaling.

A Contest for All Bloggers

When Goofy Girl got my template looking all spiffy, I got so excited that I wanted to share the love. I talked it over with her and she is giving me a price break on a jazzy new template for the winner of my very first ever contest! My new friend Fatty inspired the idea because I found that she collects quotations too - we'll have a quotation contest!

The rules are:

  1. Post your favorite quote to your blog by midnight on Saturday March 31st, in an entry entitled "Quirky Quote Qontest Entry" and link to it using "Mr. Linky" below.
    Your quote may be from anywhere - a song, movie, book, famous speech. The quote can be political, religious, politically incorrect, and otherwise controversial - but please keep it family friendly. (Hey - my kids and friends kids occasionally read this blog! They are usually bored to tears - but sometimes they read and even comment!) The quotes do not have to be quirky as the contest name suggests.
  2. PLEASE READ OTHER ENTRIES PRIOR TO SUBMISSION - the second submission of same quote will not be eligible.
  3. I will host a voting time from April 1st – 6th – so come back and vote for your favorite quotes.
  4. Post on your blog and put up a button if you like about the “qontest” and tell others to come and enter – if they comment here (on this post) and mention that you sent them I will add another point to your entry and tally it as another vote.
  5. You may enter this contest twice - every other contest says only once, but why be like the rest! So a two quote limit for you - but please post them as separate entries for my sake!
  6. Contest winner will be announced on Saturday, April 7th.
The winner will be notified and put in contact with Goofy Girl to get your template tweaked! She said she would do a 2 or 3 column template - and she is a dream to work with. She is a med student by day and a jazzy template spiffer-upper by night! I know whoever wins will enjoy it so much!

I'll get you started with my current favorite quote from the movie Man of the Year:

I have a glorious love-hate relationship with TV. TV scares me. It makes everything seem credible. If everything seems credible, then nothing seems credible. TV puts everybody in those boxes side by side. On one side, there’s this certifiable lunatic that says the holocaust never happened, and next to him is this noted, honored historian who knows all about the holocaust, and now there they sit, side by side. They look like equals. Everything they say seems to be credible – and so as it goes on nothing seems credible anymore. We just stop listening!

-Man of the Year

If you have any questions about this contest please comment here or send me an email at julientexas at sbcglobal dot net.

Happy Quoting!

PLEASE BE SURE TO USE MR. LINKY TO LINK TO THE CONTEST ENTRY POST - AND NOT JUST TO YOUR BLOG IN GENERAL. IT IS VERY TIME CONSUMING TO HUNT THESE ENTRIES DOWN! THANKS

Scrap Happy - It's Gonna Be a Cary Christmas

Here is another scrapbook page I made of my brother-in-law. He is 50 years old and mentally challenged (whatever the PC term is). His life is a testimony to perseverance. The doctors told my mother and father-in-law he would never walk, talk, sit, etc. These "nevers" only fueled my MIL's determination, and he does many of the things they said he never would. Cary spent Christmas with us and repetitively said, "It's gonna be a Merry Christmas!" which provided the altered title for my page. This was a challenging page - I had too many pictures I wanted to include so having to narrow those down is always a difficulty.

20 March 2007

Update on Prayer Request and a Contest

If you read the post earlier about my health concerns, I will tell you that I haven't stopped feeling dizzy all day long. It is best if I sit still - but getting up and bending over are absolute no-nos. However, around 5 o'clock this evening, my left ear started to ache something fierce. Actually I think ache is too dull of a word - because it felt like a fiery hot poker being stabbed into my ear. After a handful of Advil it seems to have calmed down - but I am thinking that there is a possibility of an ear infection. I may go ahead and make a doctor's appointment tomorrow. I just don't know what exactly to do. Right now I am going to go to bed. G'nite.

Oh before that - I wanted to put the word out - I am going to have a contest here soon - so stay posted. I just haven't figured out all the ins and outs of it yet. I would love to hear any suggestions.

Curtains for the "Pretty Kitty"

Out of my two teenage daughters, Kaitlyn is the most, shall we say "particular" (not anal or picky or obstinate) about her stuff. Her sister has nicknamed her the "pretty kitty" because she has the take it or leave it personality of her cat! (which BTW she loves you to say as often as possible when you're around her!) She has these two huge windows in her bedroom that have been screaming for curtains since we moved in, and today I was finally able to make her some. We bought bedsheets to use because they were less expensive, but she had to have ta-de-dah ones - no plain flat sheets for this girl! You can't see this picture very well because the light coming in from the window wouldn't allow my flash to go off! I'll try and post a better picture later when it is a bit darker outside to give you a better look-see.

Thinking. a/k/a Alternative Education

I just read this story about a biology teacher who was fired for showing material that contradicted the theory of evolution in his classroom. He said he did so in an effort to teach his students to see both sides of an issue and think critically. Evidently that is not what schools are intended for - they want brainwashed masses that swim altogether in one direction - not independent thinkers that will solve economic problems, cure diseases, invent things, and forge into the new frontier of technology. One thing our culture excels at is mediocrity!

Teensie Weensie Prayer Request for Me

A few months ago I was having some dizzy spells. What really freaked me out is that they were happening the most severely when I was lying down. I would roll over IN BED and feel like my brain hadn't rolled with me. In the last couple of days it has been happening again. Yesterday I was dizzy all day long. I kept trying to work through it and get myself going - but never felt 100%. This morning, I woke up when my husband was puttering around the room for his work boots and tried to roll over and it was worse than ever. It made me cry. Then after calming down I tried to stand up to go to the bathroom, and immediately fell to the left. Thankfully I was right by the wall, and was able to steady myself, but it happened so fast, had that wall not been there I would've been on the ground. A little while ago I started to see what looked to be black bats flying up in the corner of my right field of vision. It wasn't like actual bats - but something from one of the kids fantasy movies that is a cloud of dust that assimilates itself into a solid object. Honestly it is all starting to freak me out a bit. The worst part is that our medical insurance does not start until April 1st (Lord willing). If you would like to pray for me, I sure would appreciate it. I am starting to feel an unhealthy dose of fear, I don't have a doctor here that I know, then there's the insurance thing, etc. etc. I am trying to take all of my thoughts captive, or they will surely run away with me!

19 March 2007

I Just Had My Template WOWed!

I am loving this new layout by Goofy Girl! Isn't it awesome? I am loving it! Thanks girl, great job!

Scrap Happy - The Joy of Sisters

Woo hoo! I'm back! My hubby had to do some work on my computer so I could start digi-scrappin again - and today I made my first page in FOR-EVER. I thought you'd be so happy about it that I'd share it with you too.
For any of you fellow digital scrapbookers out there that might like this kit - I GOT IT FREE at one of my favorite scrapbooking sites - Shabby Princess. It's still available so go on and snag it! Shop around and buy some other stuff too - they have such gorgeous stuff there!

Manifest Plainness - Can Others See Jesus In Me?

Manifest plainness? What does that mean? I read it on my friend’s blog. She had it as part of a header and it just grabbed my attention. The header read “Manifest plainness. Embrace simplicity. Reduce selfishness. Have few desires.” It reminded me of a book about Saint Francis of Assisi that I read with a book discussion group several years ago. He was the epitome of humility. In fact, if he were alive today and heard me say such a thing about him, he would return to his monastery and have his “brothers” stand on his face so that pride would not take root.

Saint Francis wore a brown habit, owned no possessions, and worked hard at maintaining humility. I struggle with all of these things and at different times I get my thinking very twisted here. I want to “manifest plainness” so that others do not see me – but Jesus in me. I don’t like flamboyant clothing and jewelry, it feels too conspicuous. But I know other Christian women that are completely different in this regards – in fact, Beth Moore, my absolute all-time favorite Bible teacher is from Texas and she says things like “in Texas we believe, the higher the hair the closer to God”. (Now before you go off thinking I am saying Beth Moore is flamboyant - I want to clarify - I think she is a very classy, beautiful woman, who dresses immaculately and is a first class teacher of the word of God. What I am saying is "style-wise" we're different.)

I had it right between the eyes this Sunday. I walked into Sunday school and immediately felt under-dressed. Now mind you, I’ve been wearing jeans just about every single Sunday since we started going to this new church (about 3 months now) and haven’t felt awkward about it yet. I figured it was one of those things that the enemy was using to keep my mind off of what might be gleaned in the spiritual realm by diverting my attention to my shoes, my pants, and the sheer overwhelming elegance and sophistication of every other woman in the room. Ugh! I sat all the way through feeling very, shall we say for lack of a better word *dumpy*. After Sunday school I met up with Kaitlyn telling me “so-and-so’s mother makes her wear a dress every week and so-and-so’s father makes them at least wear dress pants – but that she’s glad I just let them be the same as they are every other day”. DID THE CHILD READ MY MIND? While her thoughts give me comfort now, they did little at the time to lift the oppressive feeling of being very shabby in contrast.

I have always had a big issue with hypocrisy. The people I knew growing up who called themselves Christians were always cleaned up on the outside – and after church (in the rare times that we actually attended), as soon as the car doors would slam to take us back to the reality of our lives, they were no different. In fact, in my experience, those who called themselves by the name of Christ were frequently more evil than the “non-Christians” who were often more kind, and loving than the Sunday school teacher looking down her nose at the rowdy little children with uncombed hair, boys with half tucked shirts and girls with soiled dresses because they were obviously “unsanctified”. These kinds of people did everything short of push me absolutely and totally out of the church – however, they could NOT push me too far to be gripped in the loving arms of my Savior.

As an adult, I walked through the doors of a little chapel on a mountain in West Virginia. My life was in utter shambles. I looked for God and I found him – among people wearing jeans and tennis shoes and t-shirts. I learned the reality of the verse that says “man looks at the outward appearance, while God looks at the heart”. I learned that real sanctification touches and purifies the blackness of our hearts – and often changes the outward as well – which has little to do with real spirituality. I take the verse to heart that says that instead of outward adornment we should be concerned with the “beauty of a meek and quiet Spirit that is of great value to the Lord”.

I know that I have many areas in my heart yet to be transformed. I know that when the Lord looks at me he sees past the tennis shoes and blue jeans and see that Julie needs to work on envy, pride, malice, idolatry and thinks of little else other than making me more like Him. The next time the enemy tries to get my eyes on these things – I am going to remember that my goal in life is to be more like Jesus, so that when others see me they can see Him. Modesty aside (believe me this body was MADE to be covered!) what I wear really doesn’t matter.

17 March 2007

Strange Tastes

I have to admit - I LOVE V-8 JUICE! I love the red stuff - and when I buy a big bottle of it - I just can't stop drinking it until it is gone. I even loved it when I was a kid - which I know is not common.
One of my newest favorite snacks is also celery with cream cheese. I don't even remember how this happened - but I love it.
Then there are the peppers - jalapenos, yellow pepper rings - I eat these on just about everything. I even wondered the other day if a jalapeno and powdered sugar donut would taste good together - and I opted for something with peppers!
Most of the things I crave and can't leave alone are veggie related. I can't wait for the farmer's market to open up so I can get my hands on all kinds of fresh produce! Yippee!!!
What are you eating that's good?

Are You Sure It's March

After a day at the park today, I have sunburn and mosquito bites. Are we totally sure that it's only March?

16 March 2007

T13 Edition #4 - Thirteen Things I Would Do With a Million Dollars

This T13 list is actually inspired by the movie The Ultimate Gift. My kids and I saw it yesterday. I didn’t know it was put out by “Fox Faith”. It was a great feel good, family kind of movie.

13 Things I Would Do With a Million Dollars

1. Send a large check to some of my favorite missions organizations, including personally to any missionaries that I know.

2. Release my husband from the 9-5 daily grind, to free up his creative energies to do things he’s always wanted but never had the time or resources to do.

3. Plan a family mission trip to an impoverished country.

4. Pay for my mother-in-law and both of her sisters to have their homes and property maintained, or help them in any way needed.

5. Get my hair done by a hairdresser with ears. (Refer to previous post!)

6. Set up savings accounts for my children to use for college, a down-payment for their first house, have full body tattoos, or whatever they would choose to do with it that would make them happiest.

7. Buy an RV and make it homey to use on semi-annual visits to see friends in WV, and family in NC.

8. Take a cross-country trip with my family to see places like Yellowstone, Laura Ingalls Wilder exhibits in several locations, the Grand Canyon, DEFINITELY the Badlands, the Rocky Mountains, etc. including every beach, mountain range, plain and forest.

9. Go to Walt Disney World in Florida.

10. Use it lavishly for random acts of kindness.

11. Enroll in Bible college and immerse myself fully in word study, theology, etc.

12. Build a library in Baborigame, Mexico and stock it with good books written in Spanish.

13. Move my house to a more secluded piece of land, and buy our whole family 4-wheelers.

The truth of the matter is, regardless of how hard I stretched my brain to think, none of the things I could do with a million dollars would really make the world a better place. I would not be a better wife or mother, a more loving friend, a more faithful follower of Christ. I could not buy my dad a new back, or heal my mom's mind and heart. I know I wouldn't be any happier.
In the end, the only thing that truly touches the world in an attempt to make it a better place is an abandoned giving of self. The message I got from the movie, one I’ve always known, is that the best things in life aren’t things, and that what you gain when you give of yourself is far more valuable than what you can obtain with money.
It was fun to think about anyway!


Try This on For Size

Ya know, next time I get my hair done, I'm gonna get straight up out of bed and never touch my hair before going. WHY? Because they don't even take a teeny gander at what my hair is generally styled like anyway!
Then, I'm gonna sit my butt right down in their little lifty chair and say, "Hey, I wanna treat you right. Why don't you just do whatever you want with my hair? Heck, why don't you just do what is easiest. I don't want to put you out."
Then I'm going to lean back and close my eyes and sleep through the rest. The outcome HAS to be better than when I take my time to tell them how I would like it.
I got my highlights done yesterday. I said "NO gold." When I got home to my own bathroom, and lifted my hair to a ponytail, what did I see underneath? G-O-L-D. Ugh! I've seen less brass in a marching band!
I said I hate for my hair to be flat. I left with hair plastered to my head. I am a child of the 80s. Could she not feel my shame??
I said I like my ends to curl (actually curve, bend, not really c-u-r-l) under, but what I left with was stick straight hair. I mean S-T-I-C-K S-T-R-A-I-G-H-T.
I am a fat woman with a large head. Picture a big fat head with a double chin and uncooked spaghetti noodles sticking out all over. THIS is what I looked like when I was done. Some of the noodles were in the shade of bling bling GOLD.
Okay, perhaps I'm being a little melodramatic, but it is so irritating to spend so much money to have someone do whatever they want. Is it possible to find a hairdresser that actually listens to what her clients want??? What is so hard about that?
(And the racial comment the woman made - well, let's not even go there - it wasn't pretty.)

15 March 2007

Blessed Immersion


Do you remember the joys of childhood, before the stress and strain of responsibility, bill paying, menu planning, laundry folding - when you still had two brain cells left to pursue something you loved? My son loves Marvel comics - and especially Spiderman. He is waiting with baited breath for the next movie to come out. The other day, everything was Spiderman, and I caught him during some drawing time. I just love this picture. He was so into it that he didn't even notice me creep up with the camera. (I'm like a ninja stalker with that thing around here trying to capture awesome "un-posed" moments - of course the flash usually gives me away!)
In the last couple of days he has gotten into the Magic Treehouse books that I bought quite some time ago. He read one about Sabertooths, and is now unable to put down "Tonight on the Titanic". I took a picture of him this morning, as soon as he woke with his head sticking out of the covers and the book in his hands. The very first thing he said is, "Do NOT put that on your blog mom!" So I guess I won't be sharing. Too bad for you - that one is drenched in cuteness!

14 March 2007

Numb-skulls

It has come to my attention more and more what a society of "feelingless" people we are becoming. I don't mean to say that we don't care about one another, but that we are a society that continually rejects our feelings. Many people in my generation (late 30 somethings) grew up in a time where we were taught to stuff our feelings, ignore them, pretend that they do not exist. It caused a lot of emotionally unhealthy adults.
Currently, I think the trend may be reversed in some ways. Many in our culture are preoccupied with feelings, offended at the slightest suggestion of an insult, a discussion about a choice we have made, or maybe even going so far as to think that anyone who does not feel as we do - share our sentiments, thoughts or opinions is being critical of us. (Trust me, been caught in this trap myself!) I think therapists couches are full of people trying to analyze and over-analyze ever minute conversation, gesture, or look we have in our interactions with other people. It is making us sick. What does God's word say?
He who covers an offense promotes love. Proverbs 17:9
Another trap I think that we are finding more and more prevalent is the numbing of all feelings. My mother-in-law lost her husband of 51 years last July. She is grieving. However, more than one person has suggested to her that she needed anti-depressants. I think this is a mark of our culture. I don't mean to take issue with those people - I think they are making their suggestions in love, but I worry about the trend to suppress our feelings. There are normal stages of grief, and if you do not go through them, I believe they will come back around again. Numbness is not overcoming, it is denial and I think that as a society we are in big danger here.
I know that many people take medications such as these to function - I have myself. I went through a time of such severe anxiety that I was literally having to remind myself to breathe. I had so much on my plate that I would go to bed at night and think to myself, what is the absolute least amount of sleep I can get and still function? Not healthy thoughts. So I took medication for a while - and then got my life straight - and found I no longer needed the medication. Some of the most healing times in my life were when I absolutely came to the end of myself, and beat my fists, cried my eyes out and screamed to the Lord to help me. God's word tells us repeatedly to "cry out". I don't know about you, but I'm going to take Him at His word - He seems to know best! If I had been a zombie, I would not have been able to grow through the difficult times.

I worry that some will react negatively to what I have said here - but please know - I am not talking about a physiological need for medication - I am talking about the generation of elementary school children who are drugged up so they can conform to the standards of a classroom, adults who take medication by the handfuls so that they don't have to feel guilt or pressure or pain for infidelity, cheating on their taxes, walking out on a wife/husband and children, etc. Our feelings are a tool God uses to drive us to Him, the place where it all comes back together again.

50/50 - A Story About Unschooled Math

Last night my son was asking me to take him to the store today to get something that he has been wanting. I have a day planned for errands sometime this week, but I wasn't sure whether it would be today or tomorrow (Thursday). Here is a little peek into our conversation:

He said, “What are the chances that we’ll go to the store tomorrow?”

I said, “Oh, about 50/50. I just don’t know yet.”

He said, “What does 50/50 mean?”

I said, “ Well 100% is a definite YES, and 0% is a definite NO, so 50/50 means it could go either way – 50% YES and 50% NO.”

I could see the thoughtful look in his eyes as he paused a moment and then asked, “Could it be 51 YES?”

BWaah haahahhha! I knew he “got it”! I cracked up. Of course I said it could be “51 YES” – and asked him how much a chance of NO that left him with and he knew it was 49 without much thought. So there you go there is a 51/49 chance that we are going to the store today. (I hate to tell him – there is a 100% chance we are NOT going – because I decided to do errands tomorrow.)

What I find most fascinating about this exchange is that math is one of the things I am most apprehensive about in our unschooling journey. It is the one thing that has the ability to wake me up at night with nightmares of them working as cashiers at the local Grub-mart and not being able to make change. But I was so thankful to see a glimpse that they are very capable of learning these things in bits and pieces and having a full understanding of it versus doing a pre-routed formula that someone else teaches them that may never give them a comprehensive understanding. I have been anxious about this – and had turned it over to the Lord. How good is He to show me this living example? It gets even better:

This morning, my 13 year old who has always disliked math asked me how many seconds were in a year. I told her that I didn’t know and that she could use the calculator to figure it out. After a few questions about the processes – when to add and when to multiply - she spent the next 30 minutes figuring out the seconds in the lives of every member of our family, including her 93 year old great-grandmother. She worked it out and learned how to say the numbers to as she read each of them to me. She calculated how many seconds she has had in her lifetime, and in mine. She also told me how many seconds there were so far in 2007. For a child that hated math this was amazing to watch.

I am so thankful to be on this delightful journey. What joy there is in watching my children learn all the time!

Prayer and Beware

I may be a day late and a dollar short on this - but my friend Karen and her family are ending their journey as missionaries in Romania. You can go to her blog and read all about it - but what I wanted to ask you here is that you would pray for her family as they make a very long distance move. Her most recent post was called "The End of the Story" - but I was thinking about that how it is more like the end of a chapter. As I commented on her blog, the beauty of it is that God is always writing a new one. In our lives I am slowly seeing the ink and letters on the pages of our new life. Please pray for them as God begins writing the new chapter for the Woodwards.

Also, I don't think that Karen would mind my sharing this as a warning to all bloggers. Last week when they were in the process of moving and on the computer very little, someone left some very ugly spam comments on her blog. I found it interesting that the post that was commented on was one giving God the glory for all that He has done for them during this time of transition. (Three guesses who was behind that one!) Anyway, just beware and make sure you have your comments set for moderation. I know it is one more thing to do - but I am telling you - it may save you a lot of heartache. When I saw the comments it was so upsetting that I tried to find a phone number for her in ROMANIA because I felt as if her cyber-home had been vandalized. Take care of your homes peoples!

13 March 2007

Thoughts for My Secret Pal

I got a special package in the mail today from my Secret Sister. It was a little booklet called "Thoughts for My Secret Pal" and all throughout the little book are awesome quotes. I don't know if she read somewhere that I love to collect quotes - or if this was just a lucky guess. Either way - I appreciated it so much! Thank you Secret Sister!
Here's a little sample of the goodies in this book:
Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts. - Charles Dickens
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. - C.S. Lewis
Good stuff!

12 March 2007

T13 Edition #3 - Thirteen Things I Should Be Doing Instead of Blogging

1. I should be sleeping. My eyelids are sticking to my contacts, which are begging to be taken out for the night.
2. I should be reading the book I can hardly put down, once I pick it up that is!
3. I should be making a meatloaf to drop off at the church for tomorrow.
4. I should sweep the kitchen floor.
5. I should go into my daughter's bedroom and pry the secret her friend just told her from her sealed lips!
6. I should work on the homeschool co-op's newsletter - but at this stage in the game it is probably best that I don't.
7, 8 9, & 10. I should let the dog in, turn off the porch light, lock the front door and force my night-owl children to bed.
11, 12 & 13. I should tidy the living room, straighten the pillows and start the dishwasher.

But I'd rather be blogging!

Fun Stuff

I am not a prize winner of any sort. I am not very competitive when it comes to competing for prizes. In fact when the Ultimate Blog Party announced that they were having "door prizes" for party-goers, I paid little or no notice at all. I never perused the prize list or entered my "choice" for a prize, should my name be drawn. But Saturday morning in my junk email folder I found an email from one of the hard-workin' mamas at WorkingMomsAgainstGuilt, saying that I had won their prize of a $20 iTunes Gift Certificate! Isn't that just the coolest? Since I do not have an iPod - and being a mom find putting headphones (or a cell phone, or a phone of any kind) to my head is an invitation for someone in my house to try to speak to me - and therefore an exercise in frustration - I happily passed along the certificate to my resident iPod JUNKIE, Kaitlyn. The neat thing was that I have asked her to be patient and hold off on buying any new songs for a while - to which she gladly complied - and then is rewarded with this! YAY! I love when stuff like that happens. Thanks so much ladies!

Also, for my birthday, my non-blogger, ITF (in-the-flesh) friend, Carol, sent me an online gift certificate for my birthday from Gift Certificates.com that you could use in about a billion places to shop online. What a great way to give a gift across the miles! As a book junkie, I honed in on Barnes & Noble, and got myself a book that I had really, really, really been wanting! How cool is that? Thank you Carol. Even though you don't blog - you are still the online shopping and eBay queen!

Who said life online ain't fun??!?

Our Recent Favorite Poems

These poems are from a book called A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein. My kids and I love them. I love that they are silly and intelligent. Here are two that we have enjoyed.

Wild Strawberries
Are wild strawberries really wild?
Will they scratch an adult, will they snap at a child?
Should you pet them, or let them run free where they roam?
Could they ever relax in a steam-heated home?
Can they be trained not to growl at the guests?
Will a litterbox work or would they leave a mess?
Can we make them a Cowberry, herding the cows,
Or maybe a Muleberry pullling the plows,
Or maybe a Huntberry chasing the grouse,
Or maybe a Watchberry guarding the house,
And though they may curl up at your feet oh so sweetly,
Can you ever feel that you trust them completely?
Or should we make a pet out of something less scary,
Like the Domestic Prune or the Imported Cherry,
Anyhow, you've been warned and I will not be blamed
If you Wild Strawberry cannot be tamed.

Ations
If we meet and I say, "Hi",
That's a salutation.
If you ask me how I feel,
That's consideration.
If we stop and talk awhile,
That's a conversation.
If we understand each other,
That's communication.
If we argue, scream and fight,
That's an altercation.
If later we apologize,
That's reconciliation.
If we help each other home,
That's cooperation.
And all these ations added up
Make civilization.
(And if I say this is a wonderful poem,
is that exaggeration?)

East Texas Weather

I had complained so much about the large amount of rain we had here in Texas - but then we were blessed with a couple of weeks of sunshiny weather, great temperatures, and the first signs of spring - blooming flowers, tweeting birds, gentle breezes. I have enjoyed it so much.
Yesterday afternoon I spent a couple of hours on my porch swing with a good book. Kullen came out for a while and we read some Shel Silverstein poetry. He cannot get enough of it! The weather was absolutely perfect. It was an idyllic lazy Sunday afternoon. Not even the cars driving by seemed in any hurry.
This morning when I woke, it was not daylight. I would have thought it was just the time change if it hadn't been for my husband calling on his way to work to let me know a serious storm system was headed our way. Now it is almost 9 am and it is PITCH BLACK. There are thunder claps and lightning zaps everywhere. I don't mind the storm as much as the idea of tornadoes. I got online specifically to look up tornado warning signs and found this great website from NOAA weather service. It had a lot of pictures, warning signs, and ideas of how to be prepared and what to do. So here I sit, looking for green clouds! (Did you know that was one of the warning signs of a tornado?)
I'll post our most recent favorite Shel Silverstein poems in another post later!

11 March 2007

Prayer Request - Our Pastor's Family

When we started visiting the church we are currently attending on the last day of 2006, the pastor shared with us that his mother had just been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He is a self-professed “mama’s boy” and you could tell it to be true by how he spoke of her. Sometime this weekend – there was some confusion at church this morning about whether it was Friday or Saturday – his mother went to meet Jesus. Please pray for this hurting family.

I would like you to especially pray for this precious man that they call “Brother Randal”. He’s a big old guy with the dearest heart, and he loves the Lord so much. But as I have recently read A Grief Observed, I have come to know that even those whose faith is strong can be shaken while grieving. Pray for his strength.

This morning, the substitute pastor preached out of Habakkuk – chapter 3, verses 17-19 – which say this:

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.

We can rejoice in the Lord in spite of our circumstances. And yet saying this to someone who is grieving seems as if you have no understanding of their pain. Through the grief, it is the enemy’s battle plan to take us out. Please pray for this man of God that he would be able to stand, even through this greatest hurt of his life.

While this was on my heart today, I read this wonderful post about death at a blog I read frequently – and it says it all. Death has been swallowed up in victory! I Cor. 15:54

Lord, please comfort the hearts of Brother Randal and his family with this blessed assurance.

10 March 2007

Glorious Spring!

One of the definite things to LOVE LOVE LOVE about Texas is the early spring! The temps have been in the 70s all week - windows open, ceiling fans blowing a gentle breeze in off the front porch. Life.is.good! It makes me feel emotionally more grounded - and while I have never had a diagnosis of seasonal disorder - I think it must at least give me a pretty good slap across the face every year.

Spring typically does NOT make me think of reading. I read all the time, but I usually snuggle in and read more in the winter. However Callapidder Days is hosting a "Spring Reading Thing". It is a challenge to help you make a list of things you will read this spring, and work on it. It starts on March 21st. Go on to her blog and read all about it.

Another beautiful thing is that all the bushes, and plants around my yard are blooming. It is such an awesome time. Spring is the perfect time to celebrate Easter - the new life we have in Christ is the only thing that has more potential to breathe new life into us. I am so thankful for a God that paints the world with pictures of spiritual lessons!

SPRING Forward!

Don't forget tonight to set your clocks forward! I was just reading a very interesting article about Daylight Savings time. The article explains why it is more difficult to "spring" forward than it is to "fall" back, and offers some helpful suggestions to keep your sleep cycle consistent.
I also learned that Ben Franklin is the one that originally conceived the idea of "daylight savings time". I suppose the fact that you had to dip candles or burn oil must have made finding a way to make the most of the daylight hours more a necessity than it is now.
I also found this web-page that explains the history of Daylight Savings Time and anything else you could want to know about it. This year it is more than 2 weeks earlier than it was on last year's "spring forward" date of April 2nd. And did you know that there are many places in the world and even in the United States (Arizona for one) that do not observe Daylight Savings Time.
Interesting stuff. I didn't learn this in school people.