30 November 2007

Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are

Hey! It has been a really hard week, and I think I am just needing a little comment-love. I have posted and posted throughout the week and nary a comment received. When I check my stats it appears that I get between 75-100 visits every day. If you are reading this - or anything I have posted recently, would you please take just a wee little second and leave me a comment. It would mean so much! You too lurkers - even if you never comment, just give me a shout out and tell me where you are reading from or how you found me, or any little tidbit.
Some of you who are my dear friends tell me all the time "I read your blog" - but don't be a voyeuristic friend - let me know you're here! Don't make me beg!

Snowflakes in Texas

My kids have gotten pretty good at making snowflakes. I told them that I wanted all five of the large windows in our dining room to be covered with them, and I came home after a long day with my husband looking for jobs, they had made our dining room into a winter wonderland. Aren't these snowflakes beautiful? None of the pictures I took even got close to showing the fabulously flakey windowpanes that are making me feel so happy right about now.
It isn't even cold here, but there are snowflakes all around.

What a Wonderful World

My friend Ethel (if you'll remember she's Ethel and I'm Lucy) sent this to me this morning - and it gave me such a lift I just had to share it - WOW!

29 November 2007

One Foot in Front of the Other

The last few days have been an endless procession of resumes, online applications, faxing of pertinent documents and driving and driving and driving from place to place to place following lead after lead after lead, and chauffeuring around an unemployed husband who also happens to be quite sick. I have recited his social security number forwards and backwards and possibly at one point while standing on my head. I have schmoozed and used every bit of my womanly charms - which if you know me means I had to borrow a little from a real woman somewhere else! We basically still know nothing - but in the midst of total exhaustion, and a ton of frenetic energy that is driving us, there have been some pretty cool moments.....
  • uninterrupted conversation with my husband, including a cheap-o lunch at Taco Bell - the most fascinating part of which was learning in great detail all about different types of welding - and I'm not being sarcastic
  • whistling at him as he walked across the parking lot to put in an application and watching him walk a little taller, even though he turned around and said, "yeah right!"
  • filling out an application for him, and having him say "it must be hard to live with me" - and knowing that it is, but he must be worth it
  • hearing him tell the man at the Veteran's branch at the employment office that I was his best asset
This morning I was in such a panic that I just wanted to give up - throw in the towel - go back to bed and pull the covers over my head - lay down and die. Throughout the day my perspective has changed as I have had a really good day with my husband. It is like the Lord has tried to stop my world from spinning, directed one foot to step out in front of the other, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out .......... even these days of turmoil are full of abundant life.

27 November 2007

I'm Toast!

Travis and I worked many hours last night on his resume. This morning we were up bright and early heading to the employment office - which on a fluke just happened to be closed because the 3 staff members were all at a training. Go figure! Welcome to life in rural Texas! I also had a run in with a lady at the Department of Human Services. I called to ask some questions - and she hung up on me while. I. was. talking. Now excuse me - I tried to have a gracious attitude about how she treated me - and considered that all day long she has to deal with people who want something for nothing. I tried very hard to keep this in mind - but the bottom line is that there is no excuse for rudeness. Regardless of the circumstances, people are often dealing with her at some of the most vulnerable times of their lives. A sympathetic ear, a kind word, a smile, and some understanding on even the most basic of levels can go a long way. I am definitely lodging a formal complaint - AFTER we are not in their system. Ugh.
Anyway - it has been a long day. We have looked tons of things up on the internet, made a jillion phone calls, printed out resumes, filled out applications, talked to people about how to search through the "workforce" website, and on and on and on. In the midst of that - we had "Family Night" at co-op tonight and so we were running around from early morning until almost 10:00 tonight. I am exhausted!

26 November 2007

A Bloggy Commercial Break

I have a new planner for sale called "The Plan". It is available in both Homeschooler's and Unschooler's Editions. The planners are currently only available in PDF (ebook) formats, for users to print out as many or as few of the pages as they desire. "The Plan" starts with a December 2007 calendar, so you can start using it immediately.
There are calendar pages for each month with large blocks for you to write in, budget planning pages, monthly menu planners, grocery list pages, pages to plan homeschool lessons OR an unschooling journal to write down the little things that you see your kids doing as they are "learning all the time". Each month has a page for planning projects and tracking your family's health and medical information. There are 3 covers styles to choose from if you want to print one off for the front of your binder. There are address pages, pages to record directions, all those important part numbers for items throughout your home, recipes, plan your holidays and a whole bunch more. I worked hard on this project to make an all-in-one planner.
Click on either of the pictures here to take a closer look.
The planner sells for $16.99. If you are interested purchasing a planner from me directly, please email me at julientexas AT sbcglobal DOT net.

Torture or a Godly Shove

Travis called me this morning. "I have bad news" he says. In my wisdom, I know that nothing following this line can be good - however, there are varying degrees of bad. In the past he has said this cause he got a ticket, or needs to buy new tires, or the price of gas went up. Today, the bad news was at the highest degree of bad.
He. got. laid. off.
I didn't see this coming - and that made the bad news even worse.
Our financial situation is already suffocating, having depleted what we had saved as he has made less than what was anticipated when we moved.
But, God is indeed in control.
Travis is the kind of guy that likes his comfort zone, more than most. He hates change. He has a long list of things he doesn't want to do. He has been talking for a couple of months now about going back into welding, but Mr. Comfort Zone often needs a huge shove to go from point A to point B.
I am trying to look at this situation as a godly shove.
In fact it can be a blessing in disguise. I have questioned the Lord before during times of unemployment and what on earth He was doing - when I had been so faithfully praying that He would give Travis a better job - and clearly heard His voice speak into my spirit "how did you expect Me to give him another job when he still had one?"
So I'm holding onto that.
And I'm thankful for the lessons my kids have learned during this time. When a lot of kids would be wheezing and whining about how this might effect their Christmas - my amazing kids were wrapping their arms around us, praying with us, and encouraging their parents. Kullen did wonder how we're going to eat which I think is quite practical. Suddenly an AK47 Airsoft Gun that was at the top of his list is not a major priority. Good kids. Lots of blessings. I'm counting them instead of the digits in my bank balance today.

24 November 2007


I thought moving to Texas would mean that my days of freezing were over - but oh how wrong. In fact, it is actually much colder here than it ever was in WV, except without the snow. It is just so damp that it goes right to your bones. The best expression I can think of to use was coined by my friend, Justin when he slept in only his boxers in the beautiful Rocky Mountains when our youth group was camping overnight - he said he was "butt-cold". Now, I know what that means.
I am so cold in fact that I've been drinking a lot of coffee, lamenting the lack of firewood left from last year's supply, and wearing a lot of excess mismatched clothing, including a red fleece paired with a pink and tan striped scarf, snowflake pants and brown wool socks. My daughters and friends have been teaching me the specialized art of taking pictures of oneself (ie. myspace photos) so I thought I'd give ya a little gander at some of my colorful get up! It may not be pretty but hey I'm warm.
Nobody is used to me lookin' pretty anyway! ha ha
Speaking of snow - check out this cool spot to make your own snowflake. It is awesome. Hat tip to Sandy!
Need a Snow Day?

23 November 2007

I Have Issues

So much of my life was spent surviving all the issues of others around me, that mine kind of went undetected, even by me. Recently however, I have realized that I have quite a few issues of my own!

Most of my issues things have to do with cleanliness and hygiene. I hate it when people leave a public restroom and don't wash their hands, then touch the same door knob that I have to touch in order to exit. I LOVE the new restrooms at Walmart that have doorless entrances. They really save me a lot of stress.

......I also hate to see people eat when a meal is being prepared. Normal sampling is fine - but fingers and utensils going in and out of the mouth and nobody's hands are being washed - ugh - it just freaks me out - and has the potential to be the one thing to truly churn my stomach and ruin my appetite. Perhaps I should pay a few of these people to show up at every meal and call them them my "diet buddies".

Another thing I was thinking of today which makes me never want to leave house - the girls were talking about a horrible smell that they noticed in one area of Old Navy. I think I figured that the national holiday of stuffing ourselves sick with a lot of rich food and the next day having everyone with gastrointestinal distress gathering in massive crowds is probably NOT the best idea. Hmm?

Our Thanksgiving in Pictures 2007

22 November 2007

Tetanus with that Turkey?

This afternoon, my kids went on a walk with their cousins and decided to peruse an abandoned house in their Memaw's neighborhood. While there, Kullen stepped on a board with several rusty nails sticking out of it. One went all the way through the sole of his shoe and an inch into his foot. There isn't much on his foot when you look at it, although it did bleed a little. The biggest concern is does he or does he not need a tetanus shot. I called the ER to ask if they thought it could wait for the doctor tomorrow and they told me they couldn't give me "medical advice". Thankfully we found some info on the internet and he may not even need a tetanus shot since he got his last booster when he was around 5 years old. Then a cousin said that you have to get one now with any puncture wound. I am calling the doctor in the morning just to be on the safe side. We boiled the wound out with peroxide and made him soak his feet.
I'll post a Turkey Day slide show tomorrow! No blood - I promise!!!
How about you - any accidents or injuries to accompany your festivities?

21 November 2007

The Day Everybody Cried

Yesterday was one of those kind of emotional days. All three of my kids at one point were crying. The tears weren't the simple "I fell down and boo booed my knee" kinds of things, they were life-traumas - things that touched the heart.
Kendra was overwhelmed at a situation where she tried to do the right thing and apologize for something she did that was wrong - but was not forgiven. She cares about somebody who has been pulled between two worlds, and is believing a lie. She has had to remove herself from that person for a time, even though it is painful. To top everything off, her friend who was coming to visit her in December now can't come until January - which just made her feel more homesick and alone.
After years of not having her hair cut - and growing it very long Kaitlyn told me about a week ago that she wanted bangs. We have discussed little else over the last week. She has asked me 3,593,264,698 times if she should do it. My friend Tina predicted she would not like it - at least for the first few days, and she was right. Kaitlyn went right to the bathroom and started to cry. When I saw her come out with her hair wadded up in a rubber band, and red, puffy eyes, I knew something was amiss. She loves the bangs, but says the lady took a little too much off of her length - and she "worked so hard" to grow it. (I know what she meant - but we can't actually work to grow our hair now can we?)
On the way home from running errands yesterday, Kullen was very disturbed to find a dog that looked just like our black lab, Jett on the side of the road. He knew it wasn't Jett, but when he started to think about it - the waterworks came on.
Oh brother - it was one of those days. Everybody needed a little extra love.

20 November 2007

Food Glorious Food! Pie Crust Edition

Tomorrow, I will bake pies. I didn't want to bake them too long before Turkey Day because I don't like them when they get stale-ish. I found this Martha Steward recipe that I got years ago from my mom - who always went on and on about how wonderful it is in the food processor - only I never had one. I tried it today - and it is a snap. The recipe is terrific - and it makes THE BEST pie crust - ever. I thought I'd share - and tomorrow when the pies are baked - I'll post some pictures of those too!

Martha Stewart Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/4 + cup of ice water

Makes enough for 2 single-crust pies or 1 double crust pie

Making the dough:
1. Add flour, butter (very cold and cut into cubes), salt and sugar to food processor.
2. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-sized pieces remaining.
3. Add 1/4 cup ice water (mostly ice with water to fill spaces and drain 1/4 c very cold water off)
4. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed. If needed add up to 4 Tbsp. more ice water 1 Tbsp. at a time) DO NOT overmix
5. Turn out onto work surface,; knead once or twice, until dough comes together - Chill
For easy rolling, always start with well-chilled dough, and a lightly floured work surface. Chilled dough will not soften as quickly as warmer dough; flour absorbs any moisture from the dough and prevents it from sticking.

Use this with any of your pie recipes.
Here are some other tips:

To Freeze Dough:

Put tightly wrapped disks in a resealable plastic bag. Label with the date, and freeze for up to three months. Defrost the dough overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Pressing: Place one dough disk on a floured piece of parchment paper. Using knuckles, press edges of dough to help prevent cracking.

Rolling: Roll dough to a 14-inch round. Using parchment, lift and wrap dough around rolling pin; carefully unroll over a 9-inch pie plate.

Fitting: To avoid tearing or stretching the dough, lift around the edge, and let the dough drape inward. Use kitchen shears to trim the edge of the dough to a 1-inch overhang.

Crimping: Fold excess dough under so it’s flush with (and on top of) pie-plate rim, and pinch to form a flat edge. Crimp edge of dough, if desired: Using your thumb and forefinger, press the dough gently against a knuckle from your other hand, and continue at regular intervals.

1 Preheat oven to 350°. Prick bottom of pie dough all over with a fork (to prevent it from puffing up or shrinking). Refrigerate until chilled, at least 10 minutes.

2 Carefully line dough with parchment paper or foil; fill to the top with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until crust is firm, about 15 minutes.

3 Remove parchment and weights; continue baking until crust is golden brown and bottom is flaky to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely before filling.

By following these seven simple rules, you can produce a flaky, tender crust every time.

1. When making the dough, make sure the butter is very cold.

2. Handle the dough as little as possible. Both the stretching of the dough and the warmth from your hands will further the development of gluten -- long, stringy protein molecules that form when flour is blended with liquid -- resulting in a tough dough that's difficult to roll out.

3. Since our pie-dough recipe yields two single crusts, divide the dough in half, and pat each half into a flat disk before wrapping it in plastic and chilling. This will make it easier to roll out each crust into a perfect circle.

4. Chill the dough thoroughly (at least 30 minutes) before rolling it out, and use a minimum of flour to dust the rolling pin and work surface. Brush excess flour from the rolled dough with a dry pastry brush before transferring it to the pie plate.

5. For an extra-crispy pie crust with a golden color, brush the unbaked top crust with water, and sprinkle it with sugar.

6. For a shiny pie crust, brush the unbaked top crust with an egg wash made from one egg and 2 tablespoons cream.

7. Cut decorative vents in the top of a double-crusted fruit pie; vents allow steam to escape and prevent the fruit juices from overflowing.

Today In History - Nuremberg Trials

I have this little feature on my iGoogle homepage that gives little facts about the day in history. The unschooler in me loves it - I can invest as much or as little of myself in learning about the things I am interested in. Yesterday was the anniversary of Lincolns 1846 Gettysburg Address. Today was the anniversary of the beginning of the Nuremberg Trials. I did not realize as I read it how many people were tried and put to death. Astounding - and yet not a drip in the bucket compared to those who were killed and brutalized at their hands.
I got to thinking about whether or not something like Nazi Germany or the Gestapo could formulate again. Maybe I'm totally naive and they already exist right under my nose. There is certainly enough hate in the world. There are so many lessons to be learned from the Holocaust, but some have been twisted in translation. I think much of our whole culture of "tolerance" has come from this. Tolerance can be a good thing - when we learn to tolerate differences among us like skin color, religion, ethnicity, gender, handicaps and disabilities, etc. These are things people are born into and cannot change. The scary thing is that this tolerance has been spread in a thick layer across all sorts of things, and in essences asks us to say that sin is not sin. Let's face it, as Christians we are not so good at loving the sinner and hating the sin - and in so doing, we have put a label on our backs that says "intolerant" which instead of drawing people to Christ, has pushed them away. We have got to learn to love while we are saying as Christ said to those around us "go and sin no more", or we are just adding to the culture of hate.
Maybe I should point out, Hitler thought he was doing God's work of ethnic cleansing. Sin should make us angry - but let's remember who the real enemy is and look at others with the compassion that says, "there but for the grace of God go I."

You may now be excused to go and peruse blogs with cookie recipes!

18 November 2007

A Cat House

My neighbor made me this terrific pillow for my porch swing, all I had to do was give her the fabric. She even made the cover removable so I can wash it. It is really spectacular and I enjoy sitting on the porch swing so much more now. However, every time I go outside to sit on MY swing, the above is what I find. It appears that the kittens have found the lovely cushion as well, and have decided to make it their new bed. All during devotions this morning I kept seeing the swing jangling outside, and eventually the cushion fell off for all of their frolicking. Goodness gracious! It seems the kittens have taken over my house!

Pajama Pants

Since we "worship" at home, I have the luxury of wearing whatever I want. My husband made the mistake of telling me yesterday how cute I looked in my pajama pants. *wink* When I announced that I am not taking them off today - he didn't look phased - so I have declared it a pajama day - all day long today. The weather is particularly gray and dreary - so it suits me just fine to stay home and go nowhere. I also made a double batch of enchiladas for dinner last night - so I don't even have to make dinner - just reheat. I have some unfinished projects to finish before the flurry of Thanksgiving week sweeps me away. Today I am having a PJ pants day!

Do these pants make my legs look fat?

17 November 2007

Does Prayer Change Things?

Yesterday I passed a church with a message board out front that said "Prayer Changes Things". I've heard a hundred different flavors of this same message - "Prayer Works", "Prayer Can Change the World", etc. I suddenly don't get it. What is prayer?
Wikipedia says this:

Prayer is the act of attempting to communicate, commonly with a sequence of words, with a deity or spirit for the purpose of worshiping, requesting guidance, requesting assistance, confessing sins or to express one's thoughts and emotions.

I think this would be a fairly accurate assessment of the common understanding about prayer. My thinking is this – when we say prayer changes things, we make God the passive activist of our wills. It is God alone who changes things as He purposes or wills. Yes, He allows us to come to Him as a child to their father with our petitions, but in the end has to choose the best.

I understand the sentiment behind such a statement – but we need to always be cautious to remember that it is not the Lord who does our bidding, but the other way around. It is a common expression that tends to credit the power to the person praying, when indeed true prayer is an act of humility in relationship with Father, and a confession in the act itself that we are powerless.

Geesh, I wish I could just drive through neighborhoods and notice the colors of people's shutters!

16 November 2007

My Recipe


- 1/4 cup of loyalty
- a gallon of charisma
- 1 1/2 cups of cuteness

Season and serve.
'What is your personality recipe?' at QuizGalaxy.com

I saw this on Kathleen's blog and Karen's blog -being that I love recipes - I just had to try it. Cuteness? I'll take it!
I am also pretty jazzed that Karen is back in the blogosphere!

Words of Affirmation

Last night I was blessed to be able to host a homeschool support group meeting for some really precious women. We have been slowly coming together - some new to the area, some new to homeschooling - and it has been really neat to see how we have been put together to become a group to support and encourage one another. My husband has seen my longing over the last year for a group like this to come together. My friend, Melody started a yahoo group earlier this year that was the catalyst for this meeting. It all went very well.
This morning I woke to this note - scrawled on a green napkin from my hubby. It means so much to me that he is proud of me - and his words are so sweet. I know that it has not been me but the Lord who has put us there for one another, but I will feel like I am floating all day because of this note from my husband!

15 November 2007

Christmas Gifts

The kids and I went to the cheap theater last night before grocery shopping and saw "Fred Claus". I have to say, I don't get "starstruck" like some of my friends have - I missed the Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt frenzies - but funny guys really do it for me, in fact it is one of the attributes that was most attractive in my very handsome hubby! This movie was mediocre - but I have seen Vince Vaughn in other movies - and he just cracks me up!
One of the themes of the movie was that in the 1800s children only got one present and they were happy - but now with the average child's letter to "Santa" asking for 15-20 presents. In the movie, Santa is having trouble keeping up with the production. Wow - 15 to 20 presents per child, really?
A few years ago my husband and I decided that we wanted the focus of Christmas to be more about Christ and less about gifts - while not wanting to diminish the fun of gift giving and receiving - because after all Christ set the example when He laid down His life as a gift of salvation. While discussing this with a friend, she said that she and her husband had decided to give their children only three gifts - and believe me this friend and her husband could afford to give their children whatever their hearts desired - but her reasoning was that Jesus got 3 gifts on his birthday (think three wise men) and why should our children get more than that?? It made perfect sense to me - and we have followed this line of thinking ever since. It makes Christmas more enjoyable for everyone, and doesn't set the focus off center.
How do you handle the gift giving in your home?

14 November 2007

Would you be worried.......

.....to find that your 10 year old son knows all the words to Superfreak???
Let's pretend I never mentioned it, 'kay?

13 November 2007

The Handy Hubby Strikes Again

My oven broke down a couple of weeks ago, so assuming our element went out, we purchased a new one. When that got here my husband realized it wasn't as simple as that - and that something in the main computer of the oven had broken down. He said he could bypass the "computer" part of it and set it up to work manually with a switch. I gave him a no confidence vote about this idea - but when I came home a few days later after lamenting about baking bread at the neighbor's house (geesh I'm so spoiled sometimes!) he had put this switch on the side of my oven. I hated the way it looks - but it does the job. It isn't really noticeable - but it will definitely - like all things my husband does - be a conversation piece. This man would put McGyver to shame! Thank you honey!

Divorce: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Having divorced parents stinks. I can feel like a completely healthy and whole adult and then WHAM - unexpectedly something happens that makes me feel like a piece of garbage that my whole family is trying to scrape off of their shoe. You are like an enemy who has infiltrated their ranks - and the worst part is that everyone thinks of you as the member of the other family - essentially leaving you without one at all. Some stinky moments:
  • knowing your whole family was taking a cruise because one insensitive person decides to call and tell you they won't be home for a while just so you know - and hey all your siblings are coming, but you aren't invited - then being told you weren't invited because you have a baby and we knew you wouldn't come - would it KILL people to invite you anyway and let you turn the invitation down????
  • whole extended family attends a cousin's wedding you aren't even invited to
  • finding out months after the fact that my cousin and his wife had a baby
  • finding out months after the fact that another cousin's wife is expecting
  • seeing family pictures of events that you weren't even invited to - theme remains - invite somebody even if there is likely no chance they'll come so they at least feel like they are part of a family - but I'm not holding my breath - I was rarely invited when I lived right there
  • calling people you haven't heard from in months and being told - "hey, I was thinking about calling you" - after 20 years of this you pretty much know they never had any intention of calling you or inviting you into their lives
  • knowing that one of your parents travels all over the free world - but can't afford the gas when you ask them to come see you
  • having your parent and step-parent rush hours away to see a sibling because they need them - when they have never spent more than 30 minutes at your house regardless of your need
  • visiting the house of one of your parents - only to find that none of the pictures of your children have ever even made it into frames in favor of all the other grandchildren - and the one collage you made years ago that hung behind a door down a dark hallway isn't even there because they were painting and OOPS - it never got hung back up - and pretending to be so stupid that you didn't see the nail is no longer there and the hole is spackled
Oh - I could write a book - and the pages would be riveting. It must be nice to have a family is all I can say. I'll get over it - I always do - but today I am having a hard time with it. I am trying so hard to make the family I want with my kids - but ya know - sometimes I would just like to have a mom or dad of my own.

12 November 2007

Just for Fun but it Made My Day

cash advance

Okay - typically I think of my blog as chaotic ramblings, an outlet for the writing that I so much enjoy, and often unformed thoughts in process. I found this little "test" for my blogs reading level and was quite excited to find my non-college educated self blogging on a "college" level. Woo hoo! It is probably a hoax - I am going to try it a few more times and see if I get the same result, but for now - I'm just gonna enjoy it! Take the test and let me know how it comes out. I put in a few of your URLs and I'm not mentioning any names - but somebody got a "Genius" rating!

Small Christianity

I get inundated with emails from time to time, typically forwards from lists that others are on with don't read this book, don't watch that movie, etc. I used to belong to every "family activist" type list you could imagine - and they spewed out this stuff in massive doses. Things were boycotted, banned, rallied for or against, etc. What I have learned is that I don't need another living person to tell me what is right or wrong, but the Holy Spirit that dwells in me. I am not scared to watch, read or listen to something that contradicts what I believe. In fact, quite often instead of weakening my faith, it makes me stronger. When the rubber meets the road, and I see, or read or hear something that causes me to dig deep into what I really hold to be true, and give voice to my faith, I grow. From a parental standpoint, I am trying to raise my kids just the same way. I am not afraid for them to hear things that are different from what we have told them. We have grounded them, and are grounding them in the truth, but allowing them to learn to voice the truth for themselves, with the help of the Holy Spirit in them. We want them to learn to hear the Lord's voice and not ours streaming through their heart and mind, shooting down falsehoods and discerning false teachers and teachings.
I do appreciate the information, but what I've concluded is this - if our faith comes down to a series of "dos" and "don'ts" on some man-made list of what we should embrace or avoid, I think our Christianity has gotten pretty small. Instead of being a force of abundant living, it is a crippling taskmaster. If God trusted us each enough to give us a free will, then He can certainly trust us to live free and not check our brains at the door!

10 November 2007

Respect and Freedom

One of the things that I have been learning a lot about in this past year is respectful, mindful parenting. Growing up in "children should be seen and not heard", parental authoritarian environments, this has been a difficult stretch. On one hand I know that God expects parents to guide their children - but I am learning how this is done more by example, and less by talk. As a child both of my parents said, "Don't ever smoke" as they blew a nicotine cloud out the side of their mouths. I know that they said this because they knew it was a horrible, nasty, addictive habit, but their example of smoking for years spoke louder than their words, and when I was old enough, I began to smoke. Thankfully, the Lord helped me quit after many years of smoking.

Recently I have heard parents say things about their children, or recount things said to their children that have given me pause - and while others around seem to be nodding their heads, I struggle to understand. I am not taking issue with these parents - because their thinking is the general consensus in the Christian homeschooling community of which I am so much a part, and I have thought or said similar things. I am wondering if we can all learn to do it a better way. The respect that we want our kids to learn is a mutual thing. If we don't show them respect, respect for their feelings, their thoughts, each phase of their growth both physically and spiritually, how can we expect from them what we have not modeled. I know these parents did not intend to demean their children, and yet I wonder how they would feel if the same things were said to or about them.

Parents get pretty hung up on their children's behavior being a reflection on them, and I wonder if that completely negates those children's individuality, their sin nature, their own hopes and dreams and desires, the growth the Lord is doing in them, and the story of their lives that God is writing on their hearts and has had laid the foundation for from before there was time. I was absorbed into the life of a mentally ill mother. She told me how to dress, think, wear my hair, talk, walk, and I still struggle with these things today. Any little hint of difference between us caused a major rift. I ran away at 16 with only the clothes on my back, and when my aunt took me shopping - I stood in the middle of the department store and cried, because I did not even know what kind of clothes I liked. I determined in my heart that I would let my children be individuals. Perhaps it is a sensitive issue for me personally because of my history - but I wonder if all parents couldn't stand to practice a little more putting myself in their shoes.

09 November 2007

Slow Cookin' Thursday: Turkey Chili

I haven't participated in this for a while - but I had this recipe at a Mom's Meeting for co-op the other night and it was too yummy not to share. I am not one for ground turkey in place of ground beef - so this was really impressive.

Turkey Chili
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 onion diced
2 tsp. minced garlic - or 2 pressed cloves
1 can of petite tomatoes
1 cup of frozen corn
2 cans of black-eyed peas, drained
1 can of chicken broth
Salt and pepper
Cooked rice

Brown ground turkey with onion in 2 Tbsp. of EVOO (Rachel Ray would be so proud!) and add to crock pot. Add tomatoes, black-eyed peas, corn, and 1 can of chicken broth plus salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low for 2-3 hours and serve over hot rice.

This is so yummy - and low fat.

My Confused Kittens

I took this video footage yesterday. Our kittens have taken over my front porch rocker. I looked out the window near my desk yesterday morning and saw the younger kittens snuggled up in the cool morning air with their older brother. A short while later I found that they had confused their brother for their mother - and he didn't seem remotely offended. It was so funny!

A Wedgie Video

Guys do not do the warm and fuzzy things that girls do out of love. They tend to like to hit one another, wrestle, and ...........yep, give wedgies. This video is of a documented wedgie - and I actually know these guys so I know that this is not put on - it is what they do.
Wedgey Of DOOM!

Evidently, they have always wanted to capture this on tape. The "wedgie giver" happens to have a reputation for this while he is also one of THE most polite, kind, considerate, funny guys I have ever known - note the polite "thank you" at the end. I am sharing this in the hopes that other mothers of teenage boys will know they are not alone! This is what they do when left home alone for hours to have "band practice" with mom's video camera on hand!
They seriously do have an actual band - here is a link to their myspace where you can hear songs like "Spiritual Underwear". ha ha - no kidding!
I love you guys!

07 November 2007

Busy Sitting

All those of the male persuasion, can politely excuse themselves from further reading. This is a "girls only" topic. If you have ever had a urinary tract infection, you will know how miserable my day has been. I have been in and out of the bathroom a hundred times and sit for what feels like forever for the reward of the ever so slightest trickle. I haven't had one since before I had children - when a kind nurse told me once that I needed to get up immediately after......you know, and use the restroom. I have practiced this faithfully for almost 20 years have not had a bladder infection. I don't know how this happened. I'd like to meet that nurse in a dark alley - and no I wouldn't hurt her - but I would tell her that her plan has failed, and ask her what I am supposed to do now. I can't sit or stand or walk or lay or do anything that makes me feel better even the remotest bit. Ugh. Sorry......gotta run.......nature calls, but she is mocking me!

06 November 2007

Open Door

Yesterday I heard of a teen pregnancy that is within our extended circle of friends. It doesn't surprise me, not because of the person or their character, or because of the acceptance in our society, but because I know what it is like to possess a sinful nature. My first reaction because of the age of the couple was that this is something, a very permanent thing that they may have to deal with the rest of their lives. I see the possibility of things like finishing high school, going to college, and growing up and maturing before making the decision to commit yourself to a relationship permanently slipping away from them.
I know that regardless of the obstacles faced, God can still redeem the situation. I shared a bit of my personal testimony here, and I still say that my oldest daughter, born before her dad and I were married is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. In so saying, I am not condoning the sin - but recognizing her life as precious to Father God, and never a mistake in His heart. He redeemed her life - and she lives and breathes for Him which is just how Father works. He is amazing.
I woke up this morning with this young expectant couple on my heart. I was thinking about the challenges they face, and some other teen couples were on my heart, to pray for them that they can hold to the commitments they have made to remaining pure until their wedding night. If they can't or don't, I personally won't love them any less, but I will be sad in the way I would be if they traded in diamonds and gold for a cheap bubble gum ring out of a vending machine. I want them to reap the blessings of waiting for God's best.
A few years ago as I was exploring this subject with the youth group, we were discussing purity. A lot of emphasis is placed now on even waiting to share your first kiss at the altar, or not even holding hands - and while I think this is precious, I am not sure that it is Biblical. (I don't think it is un-Biblical either, I am just not sure it can be backed up scripturally - feel free to show me otherwise) However, when we were discussing these things, I know that the Lord showed me this example to share with them. We had a door in the corner of the room, and I had one of the kids shut the door completely. I then instructed them to take their hand and push on the center of the door to see if it could be opened that way - and it could not. Then we opened the door just a crack, using the door knob which represented a choice to open the door. It wasn't opened enough for a person to walk through, and in fact not really even cracked enough to let light pass through. I then instructed them to push on the center of the door that was cracked open. One firm push, and the door flew all the way open. The point is that each of these steps is cracking open a door that once you pass through, you cannot enter again.
I have also had discussions with teenagers that thought anything aside from actual intercourse (can I say that in the bloggy world?) was acceptable. I won't go into detail making a list here - but while I don't think the simple affections of hand holding or innocent kisses are necessarily wrong, I will say for the record that anything you can't do in front of others, that has to be done in secret or darkness should be clearly recognized as sin. "The list" as I said isn't mine to make. The truth of the matter is that purity starts in the heart and mind.
For some young people, the door has been wide open for a long time. God can still redeem and use their lives. As believers, can we stand in the gap for these young people - and hold up a standard of purity, help those that are caught in the consequences of their own sin so that fewer babies will be aborted, and help redeem those Christ loves and bought with a price as precious, and of whom He says, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.

05 November 2007

Song Lyric Sunday Contest

SLS buttonMy friend Dwayne has been hosting "Song Lyric Sundays" at his blog for a month or two now and he decided to have a contest, which I think is pretty nifty. He shoots out a few lines from a tune from lots of different genres, and asks his visitors to name that tune, so to speak! It has been a lot of fun. Not long ago, he decided to host a bigger contest and I decided that I wanted to make him a "button" (even though I had never done it before!) If you like music, you might want to click on over there and check this contest out. There are prizes and everything!
We are having a little trouble with the button - can you please comment here and let me know if you can see it? Thanks!
Thank you Kaitlyn for holding my hand as I learned to make these blinking buttons!

04 November 2007

Holiday Ebook Project

Holiday banner

I am working on another project! I am working on another ebook and I need your help. I am making a "Family Holiday Favorites" ebook with favorite recipes, craft ideas, memory makers, thrifty tips, etc. I am going to give away the finished product to five of you who contribute to this book. Please send me recipes for your favorite holiday meals, cookies, candy, pies, etc., fun things to do to celebrate the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas and/or Hanukkah and New Years), thrifty ways to make your holiday dollars stretch without skimping on the fun and festivities, etc.
Please send these ideas to me via email at julientexasATsbcglobalDOTnet. Be sure to include your name, city & state and country if you're outside the US.
Please help me get the word out!
Email me if you would like the button or banner that will link back to my blog. It is the first one I've ever made - I did it myself! Woo hoo!

I Don't Know

Kullen has a history project that is due tomorrow. We have been talking about it all week and he has been working on it. I had him draw what he wanted to make and when he showed me the drawing it looked like a swing set. After some clarification, I learned that it was a gallows - and it is appropriate as they have been studying the Salem Witch Trials. A short while later he brought me an old sock and my sewing kit, and asked for instructions, because he wanted to sew a doll to hang from his gallows. I told him I wasn't so sure that was appropriate. He said, "Mom, they showed us a movie where the witches were hanging and blood was coming out." So.....as you can see from the picture, we have a gallows where a "witch" is hanging. It is supposed to be his project. He and his dad built the wood structure and I taught my son some basic sewing stitches - although somewhere along the way his doll lost her arms. I hope this goes over well.

03 November 2007

Eat the Meat and Spit out the Bones

I saw this post on my friend Sheryl's blog and it got me thinking about our tendencies to discredit a person - famous or not - because of one thing that they say or do. I had a friend tell me years ago that the truth is the truth even if a liar speaks it - and I have tried to filter what I hear or read through that thinking ever since. Sometimes the deepest, most profound truths can come from the most unlikely sources.
I personally find Oprah and Dr. Phil a bit new-agey, self-helpish. It doesn't mean that I am never interested in what they have to say or find helpful information. I take what I feel is useful - and discard what is not. It is like eating meat and spitting out the bones. A lot of people discard things that are said by children or teens -as if they have nothing to offer us. My take on it is this - if we are all created in the image of God - no matter what particular bend our marring by sin may take - we all have something to offer each other.
I haven't watched Oprah in many, many years, and I have never watched Dr. Phil - but I have had occasion to see an interview or humanitarian story, etc. When I do hear them, I take what is useful and reject what is not, or what I know to be untrue. Sometimes you'll hear someone say something like "the power in you" or speak of a "higher power" - and while they are not naming the power - I know that it is God, even if they do not yet.
I see so many people around me being so anti-this and anti-that - when what we need to do is stand for truth, grace and mercy. I think of Jesus, and his response to the woman at the well. I always picture Him from her eyes, at His feet looking up - and I feel so grateful that He didn't go and discredit her to the community. He spoke truth, He showed love, and He went on His way, allowing God to continue the work His words of truth began.

02 November 2007

Unburdening Myself

I feel in a funk today. There are lots of things that are weighing on me. I am not sure how to assimilate my thoughts in a cohesive manner - so I think I'll just make a list.
  • I have a 10 yr old son who would like me to be a playmate to him. I don't know where to start and I feel that I am failing here with him.
  • Financial burdens - everything is getting more and more and more expensive - from gas to groceries. Our income is not growing accordingly. In fact some of our income seems to be trickling in and I fear at times that it may never come. Each month I am spending money unnecessarily in late charges, etc. My husband needs to make a job change in order for us to progress financially - and he is very resistant to any change - whatsoever.
  • I am starting to miss my mom - or maybe miss the idea of having a mom. I can't always put my finger on what brings this longing to the surface - but this time I do. Yesterday I overheard the conversation of a new friend and her sister who are going on an out of town trip together to a large TX flea market - and I could feel the pang instantly. Nobody can fix this - it is just how it is, and sometimes I deal with it but once in a while it comes up.
These are the big things - but right now little things like grocery shopping, planning menus, staying on top of laundry, etc. has become more of a burden than just a natural, easygoing part of the day. Just writing about it seems to have helped.