30 September 2007

Art Journals

I found this the other day on a blog that I read regularly - and I am so grateful. I always feel like art needs to be a certain way, or look a certain way or it wasn't art. SuziBlu does a great job at spelling it out so that you can "get it" - check out this first video - and if you like it and want to see more - when you're at YouTube - you can search for art journal videos, and find them all.

I was inspired to start my own journal and when it finally dries from all the layers of paint that I have put on it, I will share it here! Get inspired, get your hands dirty, create because you were fashioned in the image of Creator God.

29 September 2007

To Adulthood and Beyond

Do you know what it would be like to hold on to a rope dangling from a rocket? I have one child who has been ready to grow up since the day she was born. Being her parent and trying to hold her down without holding her back has been a challenge. To help her take the time and space she needed to grow up has been a source of much friction over her 16 year life, but I have insisted on a childhood for my daughter, knowing myself the damage done when this is denied. Yesterday it seems this lassoing a rocket is becoming less and less realistic - as she was hired for her first "real" job as a waitress. I am so excited for her because this is a job she has really wanted, and at the same time I hate to see my little girl grow up and enter the adult world. Paychecks, drivers licenses, a boyfriend, SATs. I miss the days of playdoh and Thumbelina, when the hurts were only as big as falling down, the challenges only as steep as learning to ride a bike, and the safest, most wonderful place in the world was on my lap. I'm not letting go of that rope just yet!

28 September 2007

WOW Worship

No - not the CD. I saw this video on a blog that I read fairly regularly called My Emerging Faith - and it was amazing. So true, so true and it left me speechless.

Just Around the Corner

Today is the one year anniversary of the day that we bought our house in small town, Texas. Pretty hard to believe in some ways, and in others it seems as if we've been here forever. Tonight we are having an impromptu gathering of friends to celebrate anniversary with us. It will also help us not be sad that we are missing the BIG Night where all our WV friends will be worshiping together tomorrow night and one of our favorite bands Sunday Obsession will be playing! (Go ahead and click over and give them a listen! I've known these guys since they were pretty small - and I am so proud of the awesome young men they are becoming!)
Speaking of our small town - I wanted to share two interesting things I have noticed about it with you. As you would expect, there are a lot of cattle and ranches here in this part of Texas. I have been noticing an interesting phenomenon lately about the grazing cattle - often times, now becoming more of a rule than an exception, you will see a duck sitting at the feet. I took these pictures yesterday at several different ranches so you could see what I mean:

Okay the last one I just threw in cause I thought she was beautiful.

And another interesting thing to share was this sign from a local cemetery. I have wondered what this could mean that burial is prohibited without permission? Freaky.
Life in a small town is interesting indeed. There are things I really love about it and some things that take some getting used to. This past year has been a year of very high highs and extremely low lows. Bracing myself for year two!

27 September 2007

Helloooo Bloggers

I have been a bit busy in the last few days - and have been working on my myspace since my daughters tell me that it looks old.
I also think that I have officially brought all blog traffic and comments to a complete standstill - and I hope that it is not because I mentioned that we need donations for our mission trip. It'd be great if anybody wants to help us in that way - because personally while I would like to say I am trusting a great big God to provide all our needs - the truth is that I am totally panicking. Completely. I think that is why I can't think of anything to blog about, because my mind is full of worry. So could you PLEASE pray for us? It is very stressful. I HATE it that I am so weak in this area - especially because of the many times I've seen God provide so much more.
Anyway, I watched Legends of the Fall tonight again. Such a sad movie - I can really only watch it every ten years.
Hope y'all are doing well. I look forward to catching up on your blogs tomorrow!

25 September 2007


My friend Kate posted this morning about her daughter's family leaving for Chad on a long-term mission assignment very soon from where they are currently in France. I don't even know how a mother does that unless her heart is submitted to the Lord. She ended her post very poignantly with this from I Corinthians 7:29-31 (from my "candy" Bible as Kate's husband James calls it - a/k/a The Message):
I do not want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence. There is not time to waste, so don't complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple - in marriage, grief, joy, whatever. Even in ordinary things - your daily routines of shopping, and so on. Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out.

On that note, an opportunity has come up for the kids and me to take a mission trip with the geography class from the co-op that we are attending. The group is going to Arizona to work on a Hopi Indian Reservation with an organization called YWAM (Youth With a Mission) which just so happens is where Kirsten & Steve - the couple I mentioned above that are going to Chad started out. Kendra had planned with all her heart to take a foreign missions trip this summer that didn't work out for quite a number of reasons. I want so badly for us to be able to go on this trip because
  1. we love missions trips and being with people serving and loving them for Jesus
  2. it is an excellent opportunity to bond with some of the families at this new co-op
  3. lately I have felt like we are floundering a bit while we learn how to live outside of a specific congregation and I know how missions trips can be a faith lift (I know a missions trip is not for us or about us - but it is definitely a benefit!)
So, if you are interested in supporting us on this trip, I have set up a donate button in the sidebar on the right where you can donate money to support us as we plan this trip. We are leaving on November 2nd and have to quickly get our support together. Most importantly please pray for us. I am trying not to do the math - and just keeping my focus on the Lord.
Thanks so much. Blessings to you ~ Julie

The Money Pit

Do you ever feel like when one thing goes wrong with your home - everything seems to start crumbling? And I wonder why so many other people live in houses of great efficiency, in perfect repair. Travis took up the floor this weekend and got most of it out but all that is left is a hideous sub-flooring - but the worst part is that there is water damage from a leak we had - so there is black mold. I think this stuff gave me a severe headache yesterday - of the migraine kind that is still lingering today. Also the hinges on our kitchen cabinets are starting to lose these weird specialty screws - and you can't just go grab a screw at the hardware store so the cabinet doors are fragile. We also had a water leak in the bathroom after hubby took the floor out because the sink wasn't braced. I also have 2 seatbelts of my 7 passenger van that suddenly stopped working. It always seems to be something - but it always seems to come in at least 2 or 3s.

24 September 2007

Our Weekend in Pictures

We had a rather active weekend! Real life has taken the place of excessive blogging and it is good. But I do miss being here and like to keep up with all of my people - without my little community of blogging friends, I would have been lost over this last year and a half. Some of you I know from HSB, some of you are my real life friends, others of you I have met and know from around the world. Thanks for sharing your lives with me and in some small way, caring about mine.
Kaitlyn decided she wanted to learn how to sew, and sew we did! When she mentioned that she wanted to wear it on Monday I realized how much of an "us" project that it was, but she learned a lot. I learned something too - I don't really enjoy sewing all that much!
Our tile floor in our bathroom has been cracking since we moved in. There was a leak which evidently got to the boards underneath. I asked my husband, knowing how he gets halfway through a project and decides he's finished - not to start until he could do the whole thing. Here is a picture of it halfway out - I couldn't bear to show you what it looks like this morning!

On Friday night, the girls went to the homecoming dance at the local high school to meet up with some friends. Kendra and her friend Michael decided they were more than friends. He's a really special guy, but I can't say the b-word yet - so don't even go there!
I also managed to watch The Dead Poet's society (thank you Kathleen!) for the first time and a movie called Bug with my husband which if you are disturbed by a glimpse into a schitzophrenic mind, or have any tendencies toward OCD you will want to avoid it. It is very dark. I cannot recommend it.

I was thinking after this busy weekend, I would spend next weekend just relaxing until my husband informed me that he wants to go camping! If you know us at all, you'll know that we are electronic loving, electricity using, indoor plumbing kind of people. I am imaging National Lampoon's Vacation movie! Good Lord start praying now people!

22 September 2007

Don't Break a Mother's Heart

To have children, it is said is akin to knowing what it is like to have one's heart walking around outside of one's body. It is a strange sensation indeed. I am the mother to three children. In secret the Lord knit them in my womb. But they are not mine. They are His. And yet for some reason, the ties that bind me to these precious ones are elastic, and only stretch so far before snapping them back safely into my arms. The one thing that most threatens this elasticity is the love of another. God intended it to be so. There have been casual interests here and there, but nothing serious. Recently one child's eyes have begun to sparkle. She tells me that it is pretty casual interest right now, but knowing how much she is like her mother, I know she never does anything with her heart half in it. I know he loves the Lord and for that I am thankful. What I wish I could make him know is how precious she is to me, and to understand in the depth of his being, as Gracie Hart best said in Miss Congeniality:

And if anyone, anyone tries to hurt one of my new friends (insert word daughter here) , I would take them out ...

Y'all thought I was gonna get all spiritual, didn'tcha?

It appears they already have a "date" to go to the prom in April 2008 - should I be worried?

Healthy Changes

I decided today that we are making the switch to organic milk. It is something that has been nagging at me for a while, and very suddenly today standing in front of the milk case while I was grocery shopping, I just knew that I could not buy hormone and antibiotic laden milk anymore. I just couldn't do it - even though a half-gallon cost as much as a whole gallon of regular milk, and even though my family consumes at least two gallons a week. I found this great website that has all kinds of information about the Bovine Growth Hormone used to increase milk production in dairy cows.
On the way home from the store, there was a super segment on the local Christian radio segment about moms cooking healthy foods for their children. The guest on the radio show has a website called Mom-a-licious and I spent some time checking it out earlier tonight. It was terrific. There is a cookbook by the same name. The website has recipes, and all sorts of resources and ideas for feeding your children well. One of the best resources offered is a segment on their website called "a fresh start", that details what to throw out of your pantry and what to add in. Very informative.
Happy Healthy Eating!

21 September 2007

Computer Craziness

I sent my computer to HP a few weeks ago. This is the third time I have had a 9 month old computer serviced. It has already done a "disc check" since I got it back this morning. It is so frustrating. It is likely they will be sending me a new one very soon.
Now - weird situation with my blog - if I use IE to view it - I get a little white square with a red X in the box where the header should be. If I use Firefox, I don't have anything - not even the space where the header goes. Please tell me what you see when you view this blog - it is all so strange!

20 September 2007

Oi Vay!

What a day it has been! Yesterday evening, the girls and I ran some errands and stopped off at the end of the evening for lattes. Bad idea - because ding-dongs that we are, we did not order decaf and I was wide awake until 1:30 this morning. Kendra woke me up at 6 am to sit on the front porch with her and have coffee and enjoy the cool fall-ish (as she says) air. I muttered something about being crazy and an untimely demise, but with just that much disruption, I could NOT go back to sleep. Let me tell y'all 4 1/2 hours just ain't pretty. It is like PMS and a handgun - Julie and lack of sleep - a very toxic mix.
We were at co-op most of the day and afterwards I ran a quick errand to the pharmacy - quick being the operative word as I was desperate to get home for a nap. After waiting for 45 minutes they tell me that they are sorry, but my husband's prescription that I dropped off on Tuesday morning was ordered incorrectly. They don't have the medication, nor does any other pharmacy in the area and they won't be able to get it in until sometime on Monday. I had to drive an hour north to the town we used to live in, knowing they keep the medicine on hand just to get it filled. The hubby-man is an electrician, and his ADD medicine has to be at a consistent level in his system or he is a major hazard to himself and anyone else he may be working with - so it HAD to be done. I almost fell asleep on the way home, and had to pull over at one point in a church parking lot and sleep for 10 minutes before I could drive again. Thankfully that helped me endure.
This evening we went to a bonfire - the same one that we attended last year at the local high school in celebration of homecoming. This year we missed the parade of football players on 4 wheelers, and girls in tiaras in the back of pick-up trucks. My girls enjoyed watching what amounted to a teenage mating ritual around a large fire. For us, "homecoming" is and always will be a permanent marker of the time we've spent here. Almost a year. Wow.
On that note, I say good night!

19 September 2007

Terror on the Beach

I can't believe I finally figured out how to upload this video that I took back in the spring! It only took me all day long! We took it when our friends Jessie and Tayva were visiting. It has had us laughing so hard every time we watch it. I hope it makes you laugh too! And just for the record, I repeatedly told them not to feed the birds, through hysterical laughter!

Love is in the Air

In Texas we are being inundated with a swarm of these "love bugs" that are driven to reproduce. In case you've never had the pleasure of encountering these insects, you aren't missing anything. It was so bad the other day here that they were splatting against my windshield like it was raining. The worst part about the horrible things is that they are filled with some sort of glue-like substance that takes the paint off of your car if you don't clean them off quickly after they splat. My car currently looks like it has a black peppered mustache. I have no love for these nasty little things, whose name I say with disdain for our culture's confusion between sex and love which gave these evil little bugs their name!

18 September 2007

I'm an American Girl

Yesterday after co-op the kids and I ran a few errands, one of which was hunting down a book we need to start reading. While at Books-a-Million, we passed a display for a new American Girl doll and books. I could tell from a mile away it was a 70s girl, and then one of my kids said, "Hey mom, her name is Julie!" Then Kendra entered a contest to win the doll for me! I just think it is so nifty. It is just a silly thing - but I'm a 70s girl and my name is Julie. Okay, likely slightly more cool to me than perhaps say all the millions of Kellys, Jennifers, Lisas, Angies and Kims. But what a bummer, me being without a daughter who wants me to read them all to her! I hope I win that doll! hee hee

17 September 2007

Texas Weather

The weather in Texas is so completely different than I ever thought it would be. Before I moved here, I was under the impression that there were two temperatures - hot and hotter. However, there never fail to be surprises. Of course there are the hurricanes that build up one day in the Gulf and hit the towns south of here the next night, but never really even give us a drizzle even though we are expecting buckets of rain. Yesterday morning I went out on the front porch to feed the dog and cats, and it was so unexpectedly cool at 8 am that I woke the girls up to sit on the porch and sip coffee and share it with me. The weather was pleasant and non-humid all day long. We went for a cookout with some neighbors down the road at one of the national park preserves and took a nice long walk. It was so great to be outdoors and get some fresh air again. Then yesterday evening, I saw that there is another "tropical depression", Ingrid to be exact, that could be headed our way. What a very strange place this is.

What's your weather like?

16 September 2007

Pride and Prejudice

I watched the movie "Crash" with my husband yesterday morning. It is interesting to me how prejudices reach across every line and how everybody has them. This movie showed in an unflinchingly profound way how deep they run. Every country, culture, and creed is touched by prejudices, wars are started because of them, and whole races of people are becoming endangered because prejudices dictates so much of how we interact with one another. It made me think a lot about my own heart. What could I change? What prejudices have I developed under the guise of self-preservation? I will tell you if you are easily offended by language, and you do not have a DVD player with a language filter, you may want to refrain from watching this movie. I personally want my teenage daughters to watch it with me (editing out a couple brief scenes) because the way the topic is presented, poignantly and without a cheesy resolution. The movie touches on some nerves I think we need reminded are still there.
On another note about prejudices, we have a new Valero store that has opened in our town by people of Middle Eastern descent. Yesterday, I went inside while my husband and kids waited outside because the machine was not taking my debit card. When I went in there was some cultural music emanating loudly from the computer on the counter, and an older man shouted in a foreign language at the teenage boy who promptly cut it off. The man behind the counter told me to come back in and pay after I had pumped my gas. When I went back in my husband went with me to get a cup of coffee. The men did not even know I was there. I was the one making the transaction, and the clerk would only speak to my husband, "How are you today SIR?" (his emphasis not mine!) I was slightly offended. I understand it is a cultural thing, however, there is a part of me that realizes as a woman I would be expected to blend into the standards of their culture if I lived there, and I feel like they should do the same in this culture. Is that a prejudice? I've got a long way to go!

15 September 2007

Pizza Night and a Superior Crust Recipe

I made three triple batches of pizza crust yesterday for the pizza/movie night. There were three stacks of crusts this size, and I decided to make two dessert pizzas at the last minute. They were pretty good and would've been even better had I remembered to set the timer on the oven! (They were baking while everybody was here.) Fortunately I had kitchen helpers for rolling out all that dough!
Last night was a total blast - kids were laughing and running around in the yard, on the trampoline, on the front porch, down the street, in and out of the house, and in every room - just the way I like it! The moms had a great time too getting a chance to visit amid the utter chaos. Having no agenda, most of the kids preferred to just hang out, while a handful opted to watch Night at the Museum. The worst part about the night was that it ended way too soon!
I promised to share the amazing recipe I found - with my adjustments. You can make a triple batch of the dough in a large kitchen mixer. The original of this recipe called for 3 ounces of oil per personal pizza crust - and after trying only half that amount, I just could NOT feed that greasy mess to my family - so I reduced it significantly. You can get a feel for how much you prefer.
Mock Pizza Hut Pan Pizza Crust
1 1/3 cup warm water (105 F)
1/4 cup non-fat dry milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 pkg dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
4 cups flour
2 Tbsp vegetable oil (for dough)

For preparation:
2 - 3 Tbsp vegetable oil per pan (experiment with this and pour off excess)
2 Tbsp melted butter

Put yeast, sugar, salt, and dry milk in a large bowl. Add water and stir to mix well. Allow to sit for two minutes. Add oil and stir again. Add flour and stir until dough forms and flour is absorbed. Turn out on to a flat surface and knead for about 10 minutes by hand - or 3-5 minutes in a large kitchen mixer with a dough hook. Divide dough into three balls. In three 9" cake pans, put 2 - 3 Tbsp. of oil in each making sure it is spread evenly. Using a rolling pin (I used my hands!), roll out each dough ball to about a 9" circle. Place in cake pans. Brush the outer edge of dough with melted butter. Cover with a plate. Place in warm area and allow to rise for 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
(To make pre-baked shells I baked them at about 450 for 7-10 minutes - then they were ready to be topped again and baked for about 10 more minutes.)

Pan Pizza Sauce
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tsp dry oregano
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp dry basil
1/2 tsp garlic salt

To bake each 9" pizza:
  1. Preheat oven to 475 F
  2. Spoon 1/3 cup sauce on dough and spread to within 1" of edge
  3. Distribute 1 1/2 ounce shredded mozzarella cheese on sauce
  4. Place toppings of your choice in this order: Pepperoni or ham, vegetables, meats
  5. Top with 3 oz. mozzarella cheese
  6. Cook until cheese is bubbling and outer crust is brown
Some of the gang on a Friday night!

14 September 2007

The Good Life

I just had one of those moments when I realized that although my life isn’t perfect, it’s good. We are making friends – evidenced by the fact that I ran into a friend at the local Walmart and she let me bring her sweet little girl home with me to hang out with Kullen for the afternoon. It was just a piece of “real” – the being somewhere and running into somebody, stopping for a minute in the middle of the hustle bustle of your shopping to talk a minute. In the last year I have been merely the spectator in those kinds of moments that seemed to have been reserved for other people.

Just a little while ago, the kids were playing some sort of game down the 30 foot hallway that spans the length of our house using my broom and a wadded up sheet of paper as a sort of puck/ball. (Somebody tell me how the toy companies survive?) They were playing the “Lilo and Stitch” soundtrack thick with Elvis music and giggling. As I passed, Kullen and I had a tug-of-war with the broom. I wondered how many moms allowed such fun to go on in their homes without interfering. Maybe a lot of them – I just know I wasn’t allowed to play like that as a kid.

I have been baking pizza crusts all day in anticipation of a house full of teenagers for a "make your own pizza" and movie night. The smell of dessert pizza is wafting through the house, but it is not nearly as sweet as the thought of having a house full of friends, not to mention a new litter of kittens. It makes my heart soar.

I cut myself a piece of Kullen’s birthday cake, and went out and sat on the porch swing listening to the music of laughter inside, throwing my legs all the way out and in like I did as a little girl trying to swing my way to the moon. I realized how very happy my life is becoming, in spite of a lot of sadness.

My Favorite Kit Cat

I know I shouldn't have a favorite - but I always do. With every litter of kittens, there is one that just grabs my heart. I think they are all beautiful - but I fall in love with certain ones. This one might be considered ugly by some standards - she isn't really striped, or calico, or spotted, but she is a mixture of it all. I am just crazy about her. She wasn't squawling like some of her siblings - she just laid contentedly in my hands and fell asleep, securing her place in my heart! Since Renae wanted to see some kitty pictures - I'll just use this one to whet the cat-lover's appetite for more later!

Catch-all Post

Nine hours after the first kitten was born, more finally started to appear. This morning I woke up to six baby kittens in my closet. They are beautiful, just like her last litter. We are going to definitely make an appointment to get her fixed this go-round. I am not sure she can handle any more pregnancies, nor can I. I hate to admit it - but I am totally in love with this cat, and if something happened to her, I would be beside myself as apparent in how I reacted to the sight of something unexpected yesterday morning. The poor nurse at the vet's office talked to me three times yesterday! Lord help me when I actually become a grandmother to human babies!
I have 24 personal pan pizza crusts to make today - and thankfully, I found a pizza crust recipe that is really good. It is a Pizza Hut mock pan pizza recipe. I will share it here later when I have a minute to type it up. We are hosting a youth pizza / movie night at our house for the local homeschool group. It ought to be fun!
Yes, Hurricane Humberto did aim straight for our area. There were power outages and flooding all over the area just south of us where Travis works, but we never really even got much rain. It was the most bizarre thing - a hurricane forms one morning over the Gulf of Mexico and makes landfall that night. Very unusual indeed. Fortunately based on the where it developed, it did not have a chance to gain strength. I saw on the news last night where one house with an elderly couple were sleeping had the roof sheared off and the entire house was moved 7 feet off of its slab.
I really don't like these catch all posts - but really none of these things in and of itself make much to post about. Besides I was trying to dump it all out of my head so I can get on with my busy day! Hope you're having a great Friday!

13 September 2007

Oh What a Day!

Today has been one of those days. It started first thing this morning when I got up to make homemade syrup and pancakes for Kullen's 10th birthday breakfast. In the bleary eyed confusion of the morning - I added 2 CUPS of water instead of the 2 TBSP the recipe called for, and spent every possible mental resource trying to figure out the obvious. Then, I opened the front door to let the meowing cat in, and when she walked past me into the kitchen, something red was hanging out of her. She is in the "family way" but I had no idea that she was due. This is the same cat that had kittens in May, and while we missed the window of opportunity to have her fixed, the tomcats in the neighborhood are evidently right on their game. I don't have to tell you that when I saw this, I freaked. I ran to the phone and with gasping sobs tried to tell Carrie at the vet's office what I was seeing and asked if I could bring her in. She talked me down out of my tree and said she was likely in labor and that it was no big deal, that we needed to just wait and watch. Kitten #1 was born at 10 am or so, and at almost 7 pm we now have no other kittens in sight. Mama cat seems fine - so we are still waiting. In the meantime, after we figured she was alright, and that my great breakfast plan was going to be a failure, we headed off to Sonic for some breakfast eats and left mama kitty to labor solo for a while. On the way home, I was traveling along the flat-ish, straight highway when I looked in my rear view mirror to see flashing lights. I was being pulled over. The officer that pulled me over was one we have heard was the meanest DPS officer in this county. I think it was the fact that I had on my "Ugly Betty" glasses, and hadn't brushed my hair that caused him to take pity on me and only give me a warning, and asked no questions about the car full of school aged children in.their.pajamas at almost 10 in the morning! Several people since have told me that he doesn't let anybody off. I thanked him for not giving me a ticket on my son's birthday and went on my way. In the afternoon I had an acquaintance unexpectedly stop by, making Kullen and I late for his art class - but I was very cautious about keeping the speed limit after being pulled over this morning! Whew!
Tomorrow is another busy day. Dare I say, I hope it won't be as eventful as this one!

Mama's Boy

When I was a little girl, I loved dolls and I loved to play that I was their mother. I was probably around six, when my parents bought me a baby boy doll. He was special, and when I outgrew the doll phase, he was the hardest one to pack away. Fast forward about 15 years to motherhood, I was 27 years old and the Lord had blessed me with two precious and beautiful little girls. I enjoyed being a mom so much, and all the things that go with little girls. I liked making their hairbows, and dressing them a like, not to mention barbies and babies and the Little Mermaid. I knew how to do this mother to girls thing. But somewhere in my heart, I knew that I was supposed to have a little boy. When we found that we were expecting again, although I had never cared one way or another during either of my other two pregnancies, this third time I really wanted to be the mom of a little boy. I remember the day that Travis and I went in for an ultrasound and they were able to tell us conclusively that we were going to have a son. I started to cry, and couldn't even wait to leave the building to call my father-in-law to tell him that he was going to have a grandson with his last name. The pregnancy was rough, and there were times I really feared for the safety of my baby boy, but ten years ago today, Sept. 13, 1997, he was born.
There are lots of things I could have never anticipated about having a son. He sees me through a lens that nobody else does - and tells me I'm beautiful all the time. He has the most compassionate heart. He loves to help, like a little gentleman running ahead and almost knocking you down to hold the door for you. It makes up for the other things he has done such as:
  • getting a mini-gobstopper stuck in his ear when we were making gingerbread houses, or getting his head stuck in a lego container in the church nursery and screaming so loud we could hear him upstairs
  • pulling the fire alarm at the local college while one of his sisters was taking piano lessons while I was preoccupied with helping the other sister who was learning to read - and yes, the entire fire-rescue team in the county showed up!
  • almost setting the couch on fire when he was four years old by striking matches he found while hiding down in the corner of the cushions
  • calling 911 from the ice skating rink when he was 5, and got a major lecture from a female police officer
  • swinging around a sharp knife he wasn't supposed to have one afternoon that flew out of his hand and sliced his sisters arm open requiring a trip to the ER and stitches (he felt so bad he waited on her hand and foot for days!)
These are just some highlights in an everyday excitable life with my little boy. He likes to jump out at me from around the corners just to see my startled reaction. He is always ready to be in a good mood and laugh and smile with you. He's ten years old today and still likes to hold my hand in public. Ten years of being his mommy has been the delight of my life. As I have noticed him growing up, I will take him in my lap and squeeze him really hard and tell him I'm doing it so he won't get any bigger, but I also don't want to keep him from growing into the man God wants him to be.
Happy Birthday son. I love you until the day after forever! Now please don't break your neck on those Heelys we got you for your birthday!

12 September 2007

Sad Anniversary

Can I be a little controversial? I know how tragic the loss was on September 11th, 2001. It was a terrible day that none of us will soon forget - of unbelievable proportions. I know we should continue with reverence and love to remember those that are lost. For those who had loved ones that lost their lives on that day, how could they ever forget? What I wonder at is the tributes that seem to be turning into an annual funeral, and how healthy it is for people to have this event as an emotional axis for their lives. Instead of a memorial, it has become a yearly mass scab removal. I wonder how healing will ever take place for these families that make the pilgrimage to Ground Zero every year.
I have never had a loss quite as shocking as the loss of loved ones at the hands of terrorists. I am not sure if there is maybe a piece that I am missing experientially to be able to fully identify with what these who have been left behind need - perhaps an annual opportunity to gather together with others who experienced the same loss and grieve together is a very important part of that healing. I lost my grandparents 16 years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter - both very suddenly and 3 days apart. I miss them. Sometimes it makes me cry and sometimes I want to talk about them and remember their lives, but I know that it would finish me off if we had to relive their funeral every year on the anniversary of their deaths. In my heart I memorialize them. They live on in me and I will never forget, but in order to continue to live, my life could not be engulfed by their deaths.
I am concerned that these families will get stuck where evil touched their lives, and that the lives of those who were lost that day will pale in comparison to how they died.

11 September 2007

Kullen in the Kitchen

My Kully-boy has always liked to be in the kitchen. I think it started with being small and wanting to be near me. Now he has really developed a love for cooking. Once I make sure his hands are thoroughly decontaminated, we have a lot of fun together. When he found out that I was making pizzas today, he pretty much took over my job! We had a lot of fun. Unfortunately I still can't get the pizza dough recipe to come out the way I want it in my Bosch mixer. It always turns out a little tough. We are trying again tomorrow. I have a bunch of crusts to make for a youth pizza night on Friday, and I have GOT to get this dough right! Good thing I have a trusty helper! Too bad it doesn't taste as good as it looks!
If you have a really good pizza dough recipe - I'd love it if you'd share. I've tried one that came in a bread cookbook, but it is too bread-y and not yeasty enough for pizza. This recipe was from my old bread machine - but it got kind of tough when baked. I used to be able to make beautifully soft pizza dough in the bread machine - but with this homongo mixer it has been a challenge. And if you have any recipes that are especially 10 year old boy friendly that'd be an added bonus! (The boy will be TEN in two days! How much growing up is a mama's heart supposed to handle?)

God's Gotta Change Her Heart

Last night we went to a homeschool skate with a different group, although some of our friends from the local group met us there. It was fairly pleasant. I was the first to arrive of our grouping, and found myself the only woman wearing pants in a gathering of pentecostal women. The first alarm bell was when we brought in our Christian music CDs, and were told that this particular group stopped allowing anyone to bring music and now had two CDs that they used, and the owners were not allowed to play anything else for the skate because they had rented the rink for the homeschool skate night. No biggie - it ended up being praise and worship music that could be skated to fairly well, but my kids were a little disappointed.
Kendra brought her punk-haired friend Michael, wearing a t-shirt that said "Disturbed" and jeans with holes throughout. There were a couple of boys who I know are raised in very conservative, pentecostal homes who treated him just like he was one of the guys - and that was so cool.
There was another girl that came in wearing tight black biking shorts and a tank top. I noticed only because she stood out in the flurry of long skirts and uncut hair. Although quite tall, she was one of the last ones left when they did the limbo.
At some point in the evening, a lady who had coordinated the homeschool skate walked over and introduced herself to us. She said she was glad we had come, and then commented that they noticed a few "visitors" were inappropriately dressed, and that they would have to figure out something to do about that. WHAT does she think they are going to do about what other people wear? I have been furiously angry since I got home last night over this - and a line from a song on the new Casting Crowns CD keeps running through my head "God's gotta change her heart before he changes her shirt." To paint the picture in words, the young woman didn't have any of her body exposed - she was just wearing form fitting athletic clothing for skating. I passed her as we walked out and stopped to look her in the eye and congratulate her for her longstanding in the limbo game, and she was beautiful. Maybe she just doesn't know it yet. Maybe she doesn't realize that she is priceless in the sight of a Father who loved her and cares about her and has immeasurable value - that the appearance of her body doesn't even play into.
I am sick to death of this brand of Country Club Christianity. People like that need to get an island.

Post note: I was thinking about this in the shower this morning, and remembered something I was telling my kids last night. There are some kids they have met who behave as if they are "better than" Christians, judging others for listening to certain music or reading certain books or seeing certain movies - and they have had a hard time with it. We talked about the danger of having a bias against someone who has a bias against you being equally wrong. My rant was put in check remembering what I told them - which doesn't change that the issue is wrong, but helps me keep my attitude in check. Maybe I'll send a care package to the island.

09 September 2007

Raw Chicken

My friend Joanne just posted this awesome recipe for Chicken Marsala at her blog, that I just can't wait to try. She is an incredible cook, regardless of what she will tell you about the smoke detector being her dinner bell! I, however who do not have that same reputation recalled upon seeing said recipe posted at her blog, a moment when my cooking skills were at their worst. When my girls were in elementary school, I had decided in the throes of our Prairie Primer unit study on the Little House series, to host a "birthday party" posthumously for Laura Ingalls Wilder. I made "fried prairie hen", and cornbread. The hubby helped make sarsaparilla using sassafras root from the woods around our house. We played some games that children in that era might have played. We read some information and looked at some pictures of the Ingalls' and Wilder's family homes. We ate our dinner by candlelight and oil lamps - which all seemed like a great idea until I realized the chicken breasts that some of us were eating were RAW! Joanne was the only other brave adult to stay and eat, and thankfully I didn't kill her! Geesh - just when I thought I was Martha Stewart!

We Mean it for Good

I was talking with a friend this afternoon about the product of legalism in parenting. I have seen overly strict parents, who have their child's absolute best at heart, often inadvertently send their child into wild rebellion. I knew a family with seven children who were all raised without television, without radio, never allowed to go to the "show", the girls weren't allowed to wear make-up, nobody was allowed to date, they couldn't so much as take a step without a measuring stick determining whether or not the length of their stride was appropriate. These kids had clean faces, and clean hands, but their hearts longed for contamination. All seven of them got out of their parents home and have no interest whatsoever for the things of the Lord, who in their experience would restrict their intake of oxygen.
I have also seen parents whose desire was to turn their children's hearts to celibacy and purity- and instead gave their children an aversion to the opposite sex, eventually giving in to a preference for their own gender.
The enemy is watching us. If he can't use our shortcomings as individuals to contaminate our children, he will attempt to use what we intend for good and pervert it. I have not reached the end of my parenting years, and don't claim to know everything, but on the most basic level, I trust that the God who brought my heart out of a very dysfunctional childhood, to having a heart that seeks Him and strives to please Him in all that I do to lead my children as well. I don't have to make a "rule" about every little thing. I can show love and grace just as the Father has shown me.

08 September 2007

You MADE the Party

Geesh - we have been so dang busy that my poor little blog has been so neglected. We have had co-ops and labs and helping kids who are studying the cellular kingdoms of bacteria and such in biology, and reading books about the Aztecs, reading and critiquing essays (on request), keeping neighbors blood-thirsty dogs away from my cats and doctor's appointments with my hubby who acts like a big two year old and likes to open drawers and get into things while we're confined in the itty-bitty exam room. To think that just a few short weeks ago - we had virtually nothing on our plates, and now we're spinning like a top.
Last night, the girls were invited to a surprise birthday party that took place at this really hip little eatery called Jason's Deli. I tried to talk them out of it, but there was no way. They had a great time, and I sat with my friend Melody and had adult conversation, and ate something called a Muffelatta which has ham, hard salami, provolone and some sort of an olive dressing, on grilled bread. Yummy. After the party the kids went bowling until late-thirty. When we were about to leave, the birthday girl's mom thanked us for coming and when we thanked her for inviting us, she said in the sweetest southern accent, "Well, you MADE the party." Imagine that! Somebody likes us. Wonders never cease. I am going to stop telling myself it's just because they don't know us yet. We are a bit of an acquired taste.

05 September 2007

Into the Future

I heard this song yesterday that had a line in the chorus, "it's hard to say it, hard to say it, goodbye, goodbye". A few months ago, the sadness would've carried me on that chorus into another new wave of grief. It was different yesterday.
I also got an email from a friend telling me that she missed me and would do anything just to spend a day together again. I feel the same, but the feeling didn't make me sad, I just let myself feel it and it was okay.
I was telling a new friend who is also struggling with being new in this area that it seems that there were huge waves of grief not long ago that would come up to your neck and knock you over. Those same waves are now only waist high, and sometimes only lap at my ankles.
I had a 45 minute drive by myself to the Mom's Meeting at our new co-op, with my new Casting Crowns CD. The ladies at the co-op meeting prayed together over some pretty serious needs, but have a genuine respect and love for one another that is palpable in the room. I was overwhelmed with emotion as I realized how much I want to be friends with some of them. It is a place I thought my heart would never go again. On the way home, I felt so healed of so much, and worshipped there in my mini-van like I haven't in a while.

04 September 2007

What is a REAL Life?

My daughter had a debate with her cousin this weekend which actually left her quite frustrated. He presumed that because she was homeschooled, and didn't have a boyfriend, that she didn't have a life. It is really difficult to tiptoe around these things with family. We have never criticized or ridiculed others in our family when they tell us things that make us think their kids are in "government brainwashing camps", and we sort of expect the same respect in return. Since it wasn't the adults that were saying such, I tried to stay out of it, and let her defend the issues for herself. In the back of my mind, I wonder how many people really think the things he had the nerve to say out loud.
What does a "real" life look like? Somehow our society has come to think of it as 12 years of compulsory education, perhaps 4 years of college, and then a 9 to 5 job until you retire or die. We believe with all of our hearts that there is more to life than that, and have set out with our children to help them follow the path that the Lord has set before them, and the bend that He created in them. I know a bunch of people whose children go to school every day that are still doing this well, but I am talking about the masses. It is so frustrating to be outside of what is considered normal. I find that after all these years, these comments and situations do not make me feel inferior as they used to, but frustrated nonetheless that I will live one day as an elderly person in a society whose majority still thinks that real life is being a part of a system, or that a real life, like populous' favorite processed food comes in a box, eaten on trays in front of the mind-numbing boob tube, and that one size fits all. Yuck.
No thanks. We'll take what's behind door #2.

03 September 2007

What It's All About

We are visiting and saw a beautiful baby boy this afternoon. I know that I am getting older because this no longer makes me want another of my own, but has me looking with anticipation to the day when I'll be somebody's grandma.
Kendra traveled with her Memaw and me. She slept half the car trip and seems lost since we got here. It took a couple of hours for me to figure out that she was really out of sorts without her sister. They have gotten so close over the past few years. Later this afternoon Kaitlyn called and said she missed Kendra and me. I told her I was sorry that we didn't bring her, to which she said, "Then who would be here for Kullen?"
There are lots of reasons to homeschool your kids. Growing up and being close to your siblings is definitely a big reason, but it is never THE reason you homeschool, but more like a fringe benefit. As a mom my heart swells to know how much despite the occasional friction that comes with living in close proximity with other sinners, they truly love each other, are invested in one another, and prefer their siblings as chosen companions. To me that really is what it's all about - family first.

01 September 2007

GREAT Auntie Julie is Taking a Road Trip

My mother-in-law is on her way here to spend the night, and then early tomorrow morning we are heading out to see that new Great-grandchild of hers, and my Great-nephew. There is a whole lot of greats going on. We can't wait to see him. Kendra is the only kid going with us this time, since it is a holiday weekend the other two can stay home with Travis.
The thing about road trips in Texas is that they are soooo-ooo-oooo boringly long. If you look at the map of Texas - we are about an hour from the Arkansas border, and we are heading out toward the Austin area. It is a four hour trip, and all along the way is a whole lot of nuthin'!
Last time we were there, we did have some excitement on our trip home. A crop dusting airplane had to dip below the power lines at the side of the road and almost flew into the front end of my van. Picture the wheels on the bottom of one of those babies appearing in the dead center of your windshield, and lifting up at the last minute. (If you don't believe me, read Kendra's post about it.) That kind of excitement I could do without.
A baby is always worth it. I love the way they smell, and the sweet little sounds they make. I do not want another one - but I love getting to breathe in that fresh smell of new life, and when that smell turns to a stink, to hand them back to their mommies and daddies!