Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Welcoming the New Year

I love Christmas!
Santa found his way to our house again! Maybe it was the reindeer food scattered outside or the sound of kids laughter inside but by morning our tree had more presents underneath its branches to cover every bit of that new hard wood floor we had put down before the kids came to visit.

After a few hours in the kitchen, and a few cinnamon rolls for breakfast, turkey and dressing and the works for dinner, twice baked potatoes covered in melted cheese and pies and cakes coming out our ears to snack the day away no one went away hunger and in fact, most were finally repulsed by the smell of food cooking.
We were miserably happy!

I highly recommend...
  • smiling and laughing....
  • hugging the babies....
  • swinging outside....
  • hiking the countryside
  • singing silly Christmas songs...
  • playing games together that span the ages from young to old...
  • sharing covers....
  • being among those you love the most!

Here's to the new year!
We are so blessed! I can hardly wait to see what God has in store for us in the coming year.
Love to all....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Here Comes Santa Claus

I received an email from my dad the other day sending me a cake in a cup recipe. I quickly opened it and scanned it without much thought and sent back an email saying, "okay, we will have a chocolate cake in a cup when I come for coffee this evening." Then I quickly forgot it in the midst of all my busy work at school. I forgot about it that evening at coffee but I did remember it the next evening. When I mentioned making the cake in a cup he was happy to see I remembered it.

It was not the greatest cake I ever ate but it was good and it was chocolate and it was done in three minutes flat and gone in the next few minutes. It was fun. It filled the cup so much that it was a pretty big piece of cake for me so we divided it between us and shared it.

The following is the recipe:

4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug
Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes.
I made it again today because I am alone for the afternoon and chocolate is a favorite. Indeed I had chocolate cake in three minutes and that is how long it took me to clean up my mess after I dropped the cocoa can, dribbled milk on the counter and spilled little bits of sugar and flour. But how fun was that. It was almost like I am sneaking cake for myself because once I clean it up no one will be the wiser. Except when the scales start squealing.

So now this got me to thinking. With Christmas coming I think the grandchildren would love to make their own cakes but knowing the mess I made with it I had to find something easier for them. Here is what I have found.
Everywhere I looked online they used them as teacher gifts. Great idea! One person put the mug together and then added truffles and coffee in a basket she shrink wrapped.
(To give credit where credit is due I found this on www.reallifeblog.net)

Cake in a Cup (makes 8)

18 ¼ oz. Chocolate Cake Mix (box, any brand)
3.9 oz. pkg. Instant chocolate pudding mix
3 c. powdered sugar, divided
4 ½ T. hot cocoa mix, divided
2 ¼ t. vanilla powder, divided (This is the only expensive ingredient, and can be left out if needed.)

Place dry cake mix and pudding mix in a large mixing bowl; mix together. Divide and place a ½ cup mix in 8 plastic sandwich bags; secure with twist ties and label as cake mix. Tuck one bag in a large mug that will hold at least 1 ½ cups of water. Because the cake is microwaved, be sure the cup doesn’t have any metal decorations on it. Place 1/3 cup powdered sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons hot cocoa mix and ¼ teaspoon vanilla powder in 8 plastic sandwich bags; secure with twist ties and label as glaze mix. Makes 8 individual mixes for coffee mugs.

Gift Tag (Tie onto the handle with raffia or ribbon)

Generously spray inside of coffee mug with nonstick vegetable spray. Empty contents of cake mix bag into mug and add one egg white, 1 Tablespoon oil and 1 Tablespoon water. Mix until well blended. Microwave on high for two minutes. While cake is baking place glaze mix in small mixing bowl and add 1 ½ teaspoons water, mix well. When cake is done, pour glaze over cake in cup and enjoy while warm

Fun idea!!!

Anyone else have any fun ideas for Christmas gifts or just fun things to do?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Geese Have Returned

The Geese have returned.
Sounds like a code between spies passing in the streets in a James Bond movie or something.
To me it is the announcement of the seasons turning to winter in my part of the world.

The sound of a gaggle of geese can be heard for a quite a little distance. In the distance black dots appear to be covering the field that had been a green expanse of peanut plants during the summer but now is just the bare ground with just a hint of the dried peanut hay that had escaped the claws of the baler. The geese gather in the open fields, thousands of noisy birds, returning year after year to the same location. They found our little community some years ago and began to grace us with the annual visit. I love to stand outside and hear them or find them in the field behind my own house. It is one of those sites and sounds that makes me appreciate living in the country, one of those things that make me think that one day I will look back on this time and miss them when the world around us has changed into whatever the future holds for us. Like Christmas carolers singing along the river walk, this is a nostalgic moment....remember it. These are Rockwell moments in our time like watching the dance recitals of my granddaughters and Kristen is inspecting the rafters over the stage while the other girls are going through their dance routine or Joel's expression at the Christmas program at church while they are lined up in a chorus of happy children singing angelically when he realizes that Eric has grabbed the microphone behind them and is singing into it with all of his heart.

Rockwell didn't just live in a perfect time in a perfect life therefore painting such fun times. No, actually living through a time of wars in the 20th century, once divorced, twice married,his art studio burned to the ground during his career, and given to moods he choose to paint a time that made us stop and cherish the moments in our lives. He wanted us to glean the good from the bad.

Slow down this season and enjoy the moment.
These times pass quickly and soon are forgotten unless we tag them in our memories.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Book Reviews

Dana sent me an invitation to join an online book club yesterday morning and I accepted. Now between my teaching, this blog, my facebook account, painting, cleaning, remodeling and of course being a wife, mother and grandmother I have one more thing to occupy my time. I did NOT list those in the order of importance.
If any of you are interested let me know. Dana and I will send you the link. It is called goodreads. I immediately began to find people I knew other than Dana.
If you like to read and want to know what others are reading this is a fun way to get the information.

Let me recommend a book now.
How Full is Your Bucket?
I wish I had read this when I was younger. This is a book about helping yourself be a happier person but while you are getting happier you are afffecting all those around you and helping them be happier. It is really simple. It is contagious.

While Lisa was here I gave her a copy of the book and it became the subject of most of our conversations. She would read a little and then come in and tell me all about it. It is based on those Gallop polls taken in the malls back in the 70's but the research was never used or published. The authors are a team, grandfather and grandson. The grandfather while dying of cancer talked his grandson into writing the book about his research. What a wonderful legacy to leave for the grandson and we all can benefit.

Fast read, interesting research and statistics. I rate it a must read by all.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Warm Fuzzies

Some things just give you a warm fuzzy and today it was during one of my classes.
(Names have been changed to protect the innocent.)

Being a secondary art teacher generally I have mainstream students with varying degrees of ability. Seldom do I have the life skills students but over the years I have had two or three of the students for a short duration of time until they feel uncomfortable.

John, a life skills student at the high school has been placed in my art class because his father insisted that his son be placed in an art class. My class was selected as the one he would go into. I had reason to have major concern over the child being in the classroom. I was concerned that the boy would be traumatized by cruel students. I was concerned that he would feel incapable of keeping up and he really is incapable of working at a high school level. Plus other various concerns....big class, time, energy, fear of the unknown...you know, just concerns.

The first day John came with an aide. She helped me set him up with colored pencils and papers and he began to color happily. John stands at least a foot shorter than me and is about as round as he is tall. When he smiles every crooked tooth in his head is visible. He seldom speaks but answers with his eyes and his head bobs up and down vigorously in agreement to show his approval. I could not help but fall in love with him. The other students made no visible sign of even noticing John's presence in the room at first.

The next day John came alone and sat down in his chair. I began to work with students demanding my time when I realized he was sitting there without any attention from me. I sent over a pretty girl and told her to go give him a little attention and see if she could set him in motion. Eventually I would get over to him and talk to him and give him my personal attention. He was a happy boy.

The following days came and much the same procedure would take place. I seated the boy next to Claudia. Claudia is my clapping girl. She will spontaneously burst into applause if I hold up a picture anyone is drawing and soon we would all be clapping and holding up our drawings to get approval from the class. Claudia also, was very sweet to John. John was very happy sitting near Claudia and she was as good with him as if he were her own child. In exchange for the wonderful attention she gave John I would give her extra attention like extra pats on her back, looks of loving approval across the room, affirming her actions verbally as often as I would see her. I watched out for my duo from wherever I would be in the room. All of this attention did not go unnoticed by the rest of the class. No one ever said anything about John's presence. If they disapproved they were kind enough to keep it to themselves. No one was mean or cruel.

Today Claudia was outside taking photos and could not take care of John. No sooner had Claudia left the room but Jason, a tall slender boy somewhat new to the class having only been in the class for two or three weeks jumped into action. Jason pulled John's chair into position, pulling it up close to Claudia's seat and then Jason sat down in her seat next to John. Then Jason began to assist John, helping him to get his drawing going in the direction he figured I would want him to go. When I looked up and noticed what was happening I made eye contact with John who was smiling from ear to ear. He was a happy boy.

And I was a happy teacher seeing the softening of a class full of students by the mere presence of a disabled child. John has brought out the kind hearts in my students. How blessed we are to have him in our classroom.

Jason tucked his little chick under his wing and began to cluck over him. I think that he had been just waiting for his chance to help.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pep Rally Star

Our last pep rally starred my nephew, Alex. YouTube has three videos to complete the performance. Here is the first one. Alex is the tall one on the far left in a horizontal stripe shirt(second from the left side, actually the shirt has a vertical stripe also but it blurs out). Everyone said it was the best pep rally the school has ever had. First year in high school and already a star! Congrats, Alex.

Here is the second video clip.

And the grand finale of the performance. The crowd loved it!

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Day's Video

I could not figure out in a short amount of time how to post this video. Click on the Title of the Post and go to YouTube to see this video on Fox News this morning. Make sure you watch the vet as he is walking away.
Gives me chills.

Thanks, Jaci. I have embedded videos before but I am at school and YouTube is blocked so I am not even sure if I can do it from here. I was trying to rush out the door to get to school at the early hour I have to get to school this morning when I was trying to post. (Did that SOUND like a complaint about the early hour that we are required to be at school?)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Shack

I really did not go into hibernation as the school year begun.....no, instead I have just been too busy to have time to post anything. In fact, really the only thoughts that bounce through this brain of mine are things about school.

However, I am toward the end of another interesting book, The Shack by William (Willie) P. Young. Willie, the author, a son of a missionary now grown and with children, never really intended to be publishing this book but instead was writing it for his children to read. Thinking this approach was entertaining while imparting a knowledge of God's constant love of us, he wrote it, made copies he bound and gave to his children and a select few friends. Soon the copies were circulating and people were asking where they could get copies. A relatively short book comparatively to War and Peace, I guess, I thought I would read it in a couple of days but have not had the free time to read so am now at the end of the week still reading in little short snatches of time here and there while doing duty at school, during advisory at school, during a passing period...... I have found it interesting that the book has intrigued me and even after I put the book down I am thinking and questioning, anxious to get to it.

Mack, the main character experiences a life changing tragedy in his life that leaves him sad and feeling separated from God when he receives an invitation from someone he thinks could be God. I will stop here because I don't want to spoil it for you since Jackie said she is reading it and Jennifer wants to now.

So much to think about, the book has reinforced some things I already knew, illustrates ideas I had not thought of, puts God in a different perspective to me....
  • relationships
  • God's constant love....
  • Man's emotional ups and downs
  • God's constant love......
  • the continual presence of the Holy Spirit with us
  • God's constant love....
While I do not accept this book as gospel, obviously, this is a book that makes me think, has me talking to people who have noticed me with the book who would otherwise not listen to anything about God....an interesting piece of fiction with a message.
I would be interested in knowing the thoughts of others who have read the book.

If you are interested in knowing more about the book, the author, etc go to his website at www.theshackbook.com

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Best Pay

I sit here this morning in the beginning of a new week and wonder where all my time is going this year. Here it already a week into October.

Thanks to my job I have been one busy woman this year and I am thinking they do not pay me enough! Every week I put in at least ten hours extra doing extracurricular activities for the school because I am a junior class sponsor and that is after hours.... work trips to SA, staying to work football games in the concession stand at both junior high as well as high school and whatever else they find for us to do....and as I stated this is only the beginning of October....I help organize prom this year.

I enjoy each class individually.
I enjoy the students individually.
I enjoy the socialization of my fellow co-workers.

But it just waste-es all that good time!

I am a morning person. If I want to get something done I need to get it done in the morning. As a young mother I used to have my house clean by 10:00 in the morning and then I was ready to sit down at my sewing machine to be creative and sew my childrens' clothes or work in the yard.
Oh, work in the yard......(oh, I remember getting to get out in the mornings!) I had a day ahead of me. And I probably slept in until 6:30 or 7:00 in those days.

Now it is up at 5:15, take a shower, fix my face and hair, go downstairs and fix breakfast and off to school...oh, and had a couple of cups of coffee, removed the dishes from the dishwasher, sorted through dirty clothes, put in a couple of loads of clothes to wash, and found my school id. By 10:00 AM I have done my morning duty and am into my second class of the day almost into the third class, helped about forty of my students be creative and submitted all of the paperwork for the morning classes. Not bad for a morning but I still will see at least another 100 kids before the day is over, make at least 500 decisions, provide healthy choices for those disruptive students and guide them all down the road to creative thinking....before 3:45.

When I was a young mother I longed to have a paying job. I thought that would make me more of a valuable person. Now I long for the peace of staying at home with my family and touching those I love the most.

The pay is better.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Buddy Walk

Buddy Walk is this Saturday. This will be our fifth one? I think!
It is fun every year.
Join us if you can. We have 36 on our team this year.

I wanted to share our team's posters with everyone.
Caleb made these for us this year. He plans to have them printed out for his shop.
I think the posters are wonderful.
Don't you?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Update on Carl and Lisa

Did you know that Houston has a curfew?
You can not be out after 9:00 PM. At least, not in the area without electricity. Thank goodness someone is watching out for the homes left unmanned.

But Carl and Lisa are now up and running again.
Actually, they are here right now but soon will be returning home. It has been fun having them here.

Is that selfish?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

From Lisa's Corner of Ike

I know, I know....three weeks and nothing posted and now two posts in one day.

I just got off of the phone with Lisa.
Still (at 2:00 PM today) they are without electricity and water but they received word via the radio that the Fort Bend area will be among the first to get electricity restored.
They are actually in Stafford (pretty far southwest of downtown Houston right off of 59) but Lisa said that they are serviced through Fort Bend so hopefully it will not be weeks as first predicted.

Many thanks for those of you who have expressed concern or called about the kids. They have a good attitude about all this. They are hot and tired. Carl is working in the neighborhood chain-saw-gang along with other men going from house to house and helping to get started with clean up. Lisa is working doing the domestic part of the clean up.

Keep all of the victims in your prayers. Please pray for their safety and that this experience will bring them closer to God and their neighbors. Soon this will be just a memory for them.

Many thanks for your expressions of concern for all of our friends in the area. There are many, many of yours and my friends, family, children, and grandchildren living there. And as far, as I have heard of those who we know everyone has escaped personal danger to themselves.


Just heard from the kids in Houston and they survived the night. Carl said he and Lisa did not sleep last night and at the early hour that I was on the phone with Carl he said the little ones were beginning to wake up.

I had been searching the internet for a map that has a pointer that says "Here are Carl and Lisa" and "here is Ike's movement" but no where could I find that map. I turned the TV off of my usual old movie channels and have it on CNN listening and watching for news of what the Hurricane has done to the people in that region.

Carl called and told me that he has lots of clean up necessary, huge tree limbs down, the fence separating them from their neighbors is ON the neighbor's car, knocked out one window and are without electricity and now without water. Lisa and the babies are coming this way but I am not sure if they are going to Lauren's house, (her sister) or here. The news says it can be up to three weeks before they get electricity there. So it will take weeks to get Carl & Lisa's cleaned up really considering the mess the lack of electricity has on us....freezers, refrigerators, washers, dryers and Carl tells me they are now without water so it is a mess but again........God blesses us and has protected us again.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

First Week

We have completed a full week with students.
It has felt like we are doing marathon teaching with so many classes, advisory and planning periods. But ironically it feels like we have already been in school for weeks.

I am drained at the end of the day.
My feet ache from standing most of the day.
And my creativity is mushed....squashed....
And being a junior class sponsor means working the concession stand at the games....talk about work.....the fast food industry......a good reason for these kids to get an education so they do not have to do this sort of work for the rest of their lives.

The other day one of the older women at church commented that my job is fun. People often think that teaching art is fun and there are times in the day that it is. I guess if you like to listen to the tragic love stories of the young and wasted (I mean restless) watch football jokes (oops, I mean jocks) strut like roosters in the hen yard, see cheerleaders bounce their way into the rooms, hear the drummers parade down the hallways on football Fridays while you are trying to impress precious knowledge into the minds of a room full of wiggling teens and lead room fulls of kids to discover how to "make things pretty" in 45 minutes or less every day several times a day then sure, teaching art is fun.

But really for me.....I do like it. I love the drum roll down the hallway, especially knowing my own nephew is taking part in it. I cringe when the kids cry on my shoulder about their "loves" but understand that they believe this is the most important time of their lives and that the years to come will be the downhill side of their lives. (What a surprise they are in for. ) I grow tired of disciplining but when I can assist a young lady from being sexually harassed by boys, I am all over that.

And where else could I be caught drawing in class and everyone think I am doing my job?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thanks Jackie for Missing Me

Hi, all.
Yes, Jackie, it is time for a new post.
I have been o-u-t-o-f-p-o-c-k-e-t!
First a week long trip to California with my sister where we had a great time with my nephew and his sweet little family (Linda's grandchildren). We drove up into the mountains where we stayed the weekend and went into the Sequoia National Forest. Then back to Lemoore for the babies 1st birthday party and remodeling big sister's room to be appropriate for a big 1st grader. It was really fun.

I never got to drop off my luggage at home before I got dropped off at the doctor's office to help Lee who was having to spend the day in the office having cancer cut out of his arm. What an experience getting to spend the day in a dermatologist's office waiting with a bunch of old men having parts cut off! By 8:00 PM when we finally got to leave we had made friends with some of the other men waiting for their results like Lee. One old man left looking like a rabbit with his ears bobbed. Another one looking like he caught his nose in a vise and wrapped it with a hand towel. Men sprang leaks and bled all over, puddling down their shirts and all over. Lee messed up the cafeteria pretty badly. (can't take him anywhere) But in the end we finally arrived home in one piece (well I was anyway, and he was stitched up pretty much.)

From there....a day or two of cleaning up, washing clothes and packing for a trip to visit my grandmother who turned 100 on Saturday. Yep! 100! And in good shape. She looks no different to me than when I was a child except she stopped putting the purple rinse on her hair so she has white hair instead of violet. She is the most beautiful 100 year old woman you will ever meet.

How lucky am I?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Now Let Us Pray

With four children within a five year and 5 month span you know I heard as many funny things coming from my children as the next lady heard from hers. My children were cute, my grandchildren are still cute and I am sure when they have children they will be cute. But we were so busy raising our children that by the time I collected the children, settled them down, stripped them off and got them in the bathtub at the end of the day my busy mind had forgotten what had taken place an hour before. I would sit there on the side of the tub drying off little bodies and would think, "something was funny today...what was it?". If I did not remember it then and repeat the tale to someone else then it was lost for eternity. Why is it that other people could remember the funny things their children said but I could not. It may have had something to do with the number of children in such a small range of time. I am not quite sure if it is that I had pregnancy brain or if I lost brain cells with each child I bore or if I just lost my sense of humor progressively with the birth of each child. Somewhere over the years I did regain my sense of humor. It may not be as sharp as some but still I know funny when I hear it....sometimes, it is what they say, sometimes, it is what you thought and sometimes, it is what they do. All in all, children do bring humor into our lives.

  • Reagan is a five year old girly-girly. She loves to dress in princess dresses, put on jewelry and wear lip gloss and get her toes painted. As her mother tried to paint her toes Reagan kept up a ceaseless dialogue while she wiggled and squirmed. Finally her mother said, "Reagan you must sit still if you want me to paint your toe nails." Reagan replied, "But I can not sit still with my mouth flapping up and down all the time."

  • Two and a half year old Reese was with me in the kitchen today. I had fixed her a small sandwich of toast and peanut butter and as I handed the sandwich down to her she looked up at me with her clear blue eyes and so sweetly said "Pwa". I questioned, "Pwa?" and she confirmed, "I want Pwa". So I knelt beside this precious child and put my arm around her and said a little prayer and thanked God for her food and her family as I thought what a wonderful job my son and his wife are doing with this child who would request a prayer before her meal.
    The prayer ended. I stood up and turned, pleased with life, I was ready to go about my business when Reese looked up at me so sweetly and politely repeated her request "I need Pwa-t". Stunned for a mere second. I thought there was a new twist to the request this time and it changed my whole perspective. Opening a cabinet, pulling out a small plate, I handed her a plate and she was satisfied.

  • And last but now least the cute:
    I offered Reese chocolate kisses, "would you like a chocolate kiss".
    Sweetly Reese leaned in kissed me and I handed her the chocolate.
    Although I tried to tell her the candy was a chocolate kiss again, I asked, "would you like a chocolate kiss?" Reese leaned in kissed me and I handed over the kiss.
    I gave her one to give her mother. She leaned in kissed her mother and then gave her the chocolate.

I think I shall keep chocolate kisses at my house for that girl.

Lonely Away from Home

What do you do when you are alone in a new town and lonely?

Holly is off to college for the first time ever, in a new town, alone, classes will not start for a few weeks still, no job but searching for one and lonely. She met people at church Sunday morning but few students attend evening services and she left "crying like a baby".

Okay, it breaks my heart. Luckily a few days ago she talked me into doing a facebook account and I added her name along with others. Today she IM'ed me through our facebook accounts and she is l-o-n-e-l-y. It was by accident I left my computer on with my facebook account open at 5:30 when Belva came over. An hour later when I returned there was Holly's message. Now at nearly 9:00 I still have it open and have kept up a slow dialog with Holly and hooked her up someone else there by texting a mother who texted her son who contacted Holly and now Holly will at least see another familiar face.

Today I am thankful I live in the 21st century.

What do you advise a lonely girl?

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Second Childhood

Today marks the beginning of a new phase in my life. I guess you could say it is the beginning of my second childhood. Now after over twenty years of being over a thousand miles from home my sister and her husband have moved close....real close. Just a few shorts steps between us....maybe a quarter of a mile downhill. How fun!

Although we have communicated through email daily and sometimes several times a day and I usually know what she is doing every day, it is not the same as living next door to her. Now she can be a part of our coffee time with Mama and Daddy.

Holly thinks it is a conspiracy. They arrived last night.....she leaves for college on Friday. But we will all be here when she returns.

I believe it is God working in our lives....yet again. A position became available just a few miles from here...not in a big city.....but in the country. After years and years of saying the only positions available for Doug's qualifications were on either the east coast or the west coast and then plop....one just 30 minutes from here.....God works in our lives!

I think it is extremely exciting to know that God works in our lives. As I look around I see so many wonderful things happening that I recognize as God's work.
Big things...little things...things that you would think would not be important to God but we are His children and he wants to bless us.

It is my prayer today that as Linda and Doug begin this new phase of their lives they will find fulfillment and happiness living among family.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Chocolate Cake and Hospitality

This afternoon I came home and made my Grandmama's chocolate cake.
Anyone who knows me well knows the cake I am talking about.
This afternoon as I baked and made the fudge icing and turned the plate round and round as I pulled the fudge up the sides of the cake my mind was stuck on my grandmother. I remember seeing this cake in my grandmother's kitchen on her green dinette table almost every time we visited her. I remember once she made a German Chocolate cake and I was disappointed because I did not like coconut back then. (I wised up eventually and found that her German Chocolate was as good as her Chocolate but I was young and stupid.) The next time we visited she had both cakes. She was such a serving woman. Not timid and weak but hospitable as she could be. She could never understand what was so special about her cake but she humored us all by making it over and over. I wonder how many times she has made it. We went to visit on Friday nights when I was a child. We lived relatively close and could make the trip in a half hour. If we did not make it on Friday I guess we would be there on Sunday for church and dinner. She was quite a cook as so many women from her generation but she was the best.
My dad says that there was always someone staying over at their house. The house was always full. The kids would just double up sleeping and make room for someone else.

Tonight is JG's last night with us after four months of spending weeknights here and weekends with his family while he started his new job locally. Monday the family will move into their new home in a new location. I am both excited for their family and sad to see him go. Although it was hard on JG and his family at least JG was not lonely. He may have preferred that sometimes and meals were always late late for a city guy.

Grandmama's chocolate cake is in honor of JG tonight.
I will miss having him here.
A full house is so much more fun than a lonely house.

Friday, July 18, 2008

House to Home

Funny how hard I have worked this summer but loved it. I have cleaned the house, moved out my stuff from our furnished rent house which means more cleaning the house, and reorganized closets, and drawers and cabinets, worked in the heat digging flowerbeds, weeding, watering and whatever else but all was a labor of love. This week I have had to drag myself out of bed, get dressed and be at the school by 7:45, which is actually late for me during the school year, to help administer tests to those who did not pass in the spring but this week it has made me tired and lazy. Now that this work week is over I really feel that I am on vacation.

I have come to be a real home body. I hate to leave home. I love my home. My house is nice but home is wonderful, comfortable, pleasant! I have spent my summer making the space I live in a home, with cooking for the family, grilling outside, cookies in the cookie jar, the half worked puzzle and fussing over all the little things that make it inviting and welcoming to guests. I have worked at adding the little touches that say we love here. The things that take a house, a mere physical dwelling and turn it into a place of comfort, a place you can come in sit down, pull off your shoes and put your feet up and watch an old movie or baseball game (no, not me but the guys do while I work in the kitchen).

Ever see those signs "HOME for sell" and wonder if really they meant "HOUSE for sell"?

Monday, July 14, 2008

All in the Family

I guess I took a little vacation from the blog world. I still read but have not blogged in quite awhile. I guess we all go through that. I have not blogged because I am having so much fun.

For the week of the fourth of July I had all of my children and grandchildren in my home for an extended period and it was wonderful. Not all of them were with us at one time but at one time all were here during that week. Carl and Lisa came first and stayed the longest, from Tuesday evening until Saturday morning. Leann and Randy came on Wednesday night and left Thursday to attend a funeral in Randy's family. Ryan and Jenny came on Friday and stayed until Saturday.

A house is never as happy as when it is full of sounds of laughter among your family and we had it....seven children, eight grandchildren.....heaven. No worries about whether the house was clean or the meals were on time....just enjoying being together.

We are just one big family....brothers and sisters and sons and daughters. Glued together because we belong to each other.

Looking back I am not sure when the line separating those children born to me and those who married into the family blurred. At some point it just vanished and became children by choice.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Life is So-o-o Good

Life is so-o-o good!
I am still making my way through the jungle of junk.
My rental property was completely furnished....completely....kitchen stuff...linens.....toaster....coffee pot...everything....we even found a few items we would not touch. My new renters wanted an extended contract and they had all the furnishings they needed so all of that stuff had to be moved. For just a minute I considered starting a new "staging" business but nixed that quickly. Any business that involves moving furniture around from house to house is too much work for me.
While it is a relief to get a long lease contract the move was difficult.
Timing was difficult.

I never thought of myself as a pack rat really because when the kids were little I threw things out without even thinking twice about it....

"Yes, dear, you did get that at McDonald's but we will go again...."

"What are you looking for....hum-m.....don't know where that could be...."

"But honey, you had so many of those and you weren't using them."

"Your aunt who made what?"

....but as you age things you get are often things from your past like my grandparents sofa table that my grandfather used to stabilize himself while he sawed his boards for some project he was working on. The table still bears the scars from that day. I can see him standing there doing it. He was a great man. He has been gone since Caleb was born so there are few things left of him.

Then there is my grandmother's small table I can not part with. I have no memories of it but she gave it to me while she was in her nineties and I refinished it. And of course the bakers rack has to come home. Carl welded it for me and it is beautiful. But even if it were ugly it represents him and my heart melts when I think of him welding it together for me. Several of my big furniture pieces have been made or refinished by my dad so they must stay in the family.

The garage is packed with the boxes I had to bring back from the rental house. I will make it through the boxes one at a time until I can see the walls of the garage again. Anything garage sale worthy goes into big plastic containers to keep the little critters out or bigger critters.

Last night it was a raccoon going through the garage sale stuff. He has been a regular lately. He thought he had hit the jack pot when he found last falls pecans in buckets still being stored in the garage. He left his crumbs everywhere.

I long to see an empty garage.

I hear a car can be parked in there sometimes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Jungle of Junk

I am refusing to rent a storage unit to organize/hide all my stuff.
If it has to be stored in a storage unit I don't really need it.
If I need it I want it close so I can find it.

I find that I am not alone in this jungle of junk. There are more garage sales going on every weekend than one could possible attend. Closets bursting open with so much stuff that if you tried to put one more thing in, the contents would topple outward into one big, huge, jumbled, heap into the room. The goal is to stop before it pours outward.

One of my chores this summer is to finalize my move out of my furnished rent house. Where did all this junk come from?

Sentimentalities, mementos, antiques, garden stuff, decorative items, and just plain things I could not do without. I even have saved all the gourds that had ever grown on my vines there for decorating.... like I did not have enough stuff to use to decorate. But I think it is so charming to use things from nature to decorate. And they were free.

Now two years later (today) I am bringing in things I have not even seen since I left there. Things I thought I needed but have not missed. And the worse part about it now is that as I try to combine the two houses now into one I see the stuff and still think I need it.

I have begun to nail things to the wall, rearrange things in closets, drawers and have even considered the attic in an attempt to get junk out of boxes and off the floor in an orderly fashion.

I have a garage sale pile, a pile for drawing props for school, things my kids must need and a little bitty pile called trash.

What does this say about me?
And I thought I was not materialistic.

Don't miss my garage sale now, you may find that one thing that will complete your decor!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Where'd You Get That Sense of Humor

We are made in His image.
We have a sense of humor.
So does God have a sense of humor?

I read Dana's blog and immediately recognized God's hand in the situation and saw the humor in it. It reminded me a situation I had just this week that I saw God's hand at play in my life.

I was neither in a bar nor watching people but I thought it a time that I saw God's sense of humor. Tell me if you agree.

It was after school and the only rush I felt was in that my car was sitting on empty and had binged the last three short trips I had made in town traveling only a mile or two at a time but now, I was pretty sure that this was the time that I could not push it off another minute therefore I headed to the gas pump instead of stopping in at Caleb's shop. Earlier in the day I had run to Subway, picked up a salad, used my debit card and had returned to school to finish cleaning out my room. Now tired from working at school, I felt a sense of exhilaration at the prospect of school ending. I sat at the pump and felt a rush of uneasiness because despite dumping out the entire contents of my purse into the seat of the car my debit card was gone. I looked twice but still did not find it.

Well, of course in a case as this who do I turn to....I said a quick,
"please, God help me find my debit card"......
"don't let it be stolen".......
as I turned my car around and headed to Subway's parking lot just a short distant down the road. I put the car in park and reached over to the seat next to me to begin to reload the contents of my purse which were now spread all over the passenger side seat cushion. As I picked up the first object, a calculator with a booklet like enclosure out dropped the debit card. I was stunned and in a split second I recalled a time when one of my children would play a hiding game with me and say, "ha ha! I tricked you".

I laughed and said aloud, "Funny! God!" before I said a quick thank you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Next Plan

One more test to give then the school year will officially be over and I can move on to the next plan.....

Plant swap!

I have been working in my yard every chance I get just because I love to do that as anyone who reads my blog knows fully well. I have added new flowerbeds, a dry creek bed with a small bridge and mulched pathways here and there, moved in the hot tub and have begun to landscape around it in. Things are shaping up.

Now the old flowerbeds look drab and need to be spruced up and updated. I want color in my shady gardens.

The date is set (June 7th starting at 6:30 PM) for next weekend to do a plant swap and plans are now in place to encourage family involvement. A load of play sand will be delivered in a shady location for the little children. The older guys like Caleb will give trailer rides with the lawn mower (not running the blades of course) to the little children (or whomever. You're as young as you feel) and there will be some sort of yard games for the men or women if they choose to play. And last but not least...sharing plants with each other and those who don't have plants hopefully will enjoy just being there. As the evening winds down we will watch the sunset-extravaganza-show provided by God while we sit under the shady oak trees sipping lemonade and eating dirt cake or watermelon while enjoying the company of friends and family.

I've wanted to do this for several years and finally I have put it on the calendar and it IS going to happen.

Wish me luck that it will be fun.
Put it on your calendar
Bring your lawn chairs.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Just hours from the end

Here we are now with just a matter of hours before it is all over.
Two classes completed entirely and three more to go. I will be finished with two more classes tomorrow and one on Thursday. In a mere 36 hours it will all be complete for the year.

Not that I am counting!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

What Will I Do For work?

She asked me as she sat in my class thinking about the upcoming summer,
"What WILL you do this summer.....like.....for work?"

How innocent!

One of the HUGE differences I see between the young and the old-in-their-eyes is that we are never bored. In fact, I do not HAVE enough time to do all I want to do.

Gardening, painting, cleaning, organizing, bonding with grandchildren, gardening again, going to workshops for art, get my hair cut on a regular basis, finishing the remodeling job like painting, crown modeling and flooring,.........

I just want to have the time to get to do some of the things I have on my list. Instead things that eat up my time are things like house keeping maintenance, laundry, cooking lunch now as well as supper (his mother spoiled him...he wants a big meal for lunch), Go-For tasks......oh, and this year, I have to move all of the furniture out of my rent house and dispose of it or store it.....for sure garage sale.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


After watching a movie several months ago, I wrote a blog called Of Wars and Loves (Jan) or something. Basically I was saying that we can change a damaged relationship by our actions. Once we begin treating people kindly, in time they will respond to your kindness with a kindness and the relationship is on the road to recovery.

The whole truth is that this is one of the hardest things to do to act kindly to one you think deserves it so little....the heathen!

Remember those perpetual motion things that were on every businessman's desk in the 70's? They would just sit there and look stupid until someone reached out and pulled the ball back and began the object moving toward the other balls and then it kept up the motion until it drove you crazy and you finally grabbed it and made it stop.

Basically I am saying we must be the first ball that puts the movement in motion. THAT is the hardest step and then the others becomes easier with each step but what a difficult first step it is to make.

I find when I am hurt I want to withdraw and
lick my wounds for awhile before dealing with them.
I want to sulk awhile.
Stew in my juices.
Maybe, if I slam that door one more time....or frown a little more vigorously....
You know.....I want to own my feelings for awhile. They are mine and I deserve to feel hurt!
or angry!

Okay, I can do it! I can be the ball that starts the motion....as long as I don't have to massage any body's feet or anything.....

Just give me a little time to get used to the idea.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Winding Down the Year

It seems only yesterday that I was blogging about winding down the year but a year has passed since I last blogged on that one.
Now here we are with only fifteen more school days left in our year.
Of the fifteen days I have thirteen working days with my students,
three of those will be end of year testing the last week,
two days next week of online testing while a sub will keep my darlin's since I am the Help Desk Coordinator (what a joke) ,
which really only leaves ten more days of actual teaching time.

I am firing the last of the clay whistles my students made these past couple of weeks and
encouraging my students to complete projects they started that they did not finish earlier in the year.

Winding down, excitement building!

Now I am searching for fun meaningful projects to round off the year that can be finished in ten days.
The last week I ALWAYS do the M&M drawings for my test and give them three full class periods to complete it (and if they know what is good for them they should use every minute of it. It takes time to create a masterpiece).

I must post some pictures of the M&Ms that my students do. They love doing the projects because they think drawing circles is easy and actually it is not really difficult to draw the candy itself but the bag has to be included and it is crinkled and wrinkled not really a rectangle and requires a close examination for details. Those who are seniors and are completing the M&M drawing for the third or fourth year have it figured out and do a really nice job. In fact, I have seen at least one in Caleb's frame shop to be framed. That always makes me happy.

When I think back over the past year with my students I can remember a number of paintings, drawings and good artwork that I hope parents will appreciate enough to have framed, not just because my son will profit but because it is so good for our children when we value their work.

Like the majority of teachers I am ready for the break.
I think maybe teachers are more excited than the kids could ever imagine.
In fact as excited as the kids are to be out of school, teachers ARE more excited.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

WOW, what an experience

The Ladies Spring Luncheon was a HUGE success. I got out just before 11:00 to take a few pictures of decorations and then got a few of people after we all got started eating. The pictures do not do justice to how beautiful it looked. All those little details we fixated over are not even evident in the pictures. We had just under 50 in attendance.

I loved being a part of this great experience! I am PUMPED!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


On my way home today as I turned on the road just a mile and a half from the house I looked at the beautiful newly cleared field situated on the corner of my road. Just a short month ago, it was a brushy corner that no one even thought about. With all the brush it was difficult to see more than just a few feet from the barbed wire fence surrounding the field. As soon as the big equipment was moved into the field and the clearing of the land began the speculating and worrying began.

Some worried that the land would be subdivided and small plots of ground would be sold off one at a time and a little community of mobile homes would pop up just a mile from the house. In a farming community this is the kiss of death. Roads will wind from one end of the field to the other and wind in and out of individual plots of land. Everyone was asking what was happening but no one seemed to know what was going to happen. I guess time will tell.

Now the freshly plowed field sparkles like black gold across the gently rolling hills with small trees newly covered with tender leaves. The big equipment is gone. The field has been neatly plowed and grass seeds are waiting on the rains. The barbed wire fence is gone on one long side. A small pond in the middle of the field now visible, has been hidden in the midst of the brush all these years. It has dried up but it has been left intact and small blades of grass grow along the banks of the pond.

It is a beautiful field.

As I drove past the field and looked at it today both the beauty of the field and the fear of the unknown struck me. I realized the fear of change that I thought I was so immune to. I thought I welcomed change. Being an artist I always thought change is fun. My students know that in my classroom if the furniture is not nailed down it is subject to rearrangement. From day to day the configuration of the room changed. I think that is one thing I love about my gardening. I can change the look of the yard with just a few little changes (or big ones). I thought old people feared change but not me. I welcomed it. Change means something new happening. And new is fun......but maybe not always.

Maybe today it just has struck me a little harder because of the changes taking place in my work place that are not changes I perceive as good changes.

I guess I still have choices in my life.
I can choose to accept it
I can choose to move on and find something different.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Update on Eric

Everything went well with Eric's surgery.
He stayed over night last night.
He did not like having an IV in his arm but there were no problems.

Now for the hard part....keeping him subdued for three weeks while he heals.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Eric goes in for surgery today.
It is for tonsil, adenoids, and tubes in his ears.
Please, keep him and his family in your prayers today and the next couple of weeks.
He will have to be kept quiet and still and that is NOT in his nature.
He is a precious, active, four year old.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

An Old Woman's Spring Fever

I think I have spring fever.....
Everything is greening up so nicely and the flowers are putting on blooms, some already blooming.
My mind begins to get creative.....pathways, dry creek beds, and sprawling flower beds meandering all over the place would be nice.

Put a shovel in my hands and I start digging.
Just enough space to plant a few gourd seeds under the windmill so they will vine upward and the gourds will hang downward and be beautiful.

And Zinnias are good with the gourds because they attract the beneficial insects to eat the aphids that get on the gourds. Dig a little larger area.

I really like pink zinnias. Just a bit more digging.

And caladiums....more digging toward the west.

And maybe something to edge the beds.....digging toward the south.

And then in the dappled shade side of the windmill....maybe a hydrangea......now moving eastward.

Oh, and now the lawn mower will not fit between the tree and the windmill because it will mow over the caladiums.....now stretching toward the tree.

And to finish off I think a little bit more to round it off.

Now, over there in that part of the yard it looks pretty dull....... maybe, if I dig a little over there I could make j-u-s-t a little flower bed, just enough for my plumeria.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Punished with a baby?

Okay, I did not intend to get into this but really!.... Obama.......punished with a baby?
How many women in this world long for conception and can not conceive? I bristle at that statement.

As a high school teacher I KNOW that the majority of our teens are sexually active. Because I teach art my students relax and often begin to discuss a variety of subjects. It is no mystery that a baby during the teen years is a hardship on the teen but punished is not the word that we should use here. A common subject matter for drawing in all of our art classes is the student's baby. I do not think they would say they are being punished. They love their babies.
I am not condoning their irresponsible and immoral behavior. But to state that we are punished with a baby is to suggest that a teen should be able to choose to murder the baby that God breathed life into and placed in that womb.

One of my classes got into a discussion about abortion this past week. The majority of the class initially felt that abortion is wrong but in the case of rape they felt it was alright. The most selfish people in the room backed their choice of abortion not surprisingly. I carefully guided my questions so as not to tell them what I believe but rather to make them think. (I find that when people feel that they came to the decision without being told what to think, they take claim to it better.) I did not present any new arguments but asked questions at specific points in the discussion that I felt they needed to hear.
  • One girl in my class is all about herself, her dancing and advancing in dance. Her mother told her not to mess up her chances at advancing in her dancing by getting pregnant and basically said she would get an abortion should she get pregnant. She is sexually active (I will not go there). I asked her when did it become a selfish act to abort a baby? She looked at me stunned beyond words when I asked the question. Others jumped in agreement. Adoption was mentioned, women who could not conceive were mentioned and the conversation turned to mutual friends of several who adopted children and how wonderful it was that those children were not aborted.
  • At some point in the discussion I asked if the cells were growing inside is that evidence of something alive like a plant growing? And if that is a life did that make a mother a murderer if she aborted?
  • And of course, the primary question: what did that baby do to deserve to be denied life?
The question of abortion was truly a controversial question when I was a teen. Although it continues to be a controversial question I fear that our youth have not considered it fully or REALLY thought of it from the moral standpoint.

Well, in my fourth period class they now are at least, thinking of it from a more mature point of view.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Little Pink Flip Flops

Little pink flip flops sit on the coffee table.

For all the life that they possessed on Sunday, they now sit quietly and do nothing.

One pink with white polka dots,
the other white with pink polka dots,
both with a large white flower with a pink center posed right above the toe strap.
Cute little shoes,
there they sit.
They should be on a little girl who swirls and dances when she wears them.
I am sure she is missing them.

But this week they are a reminder of how much I love the sweet little girls in my life.

And then there is the blue balsa wood airplane
that has retired on my dining room table.
Broken wings, tape holding it together at various locations
but still capable of drifting on an air wave.
Evidence of the play of an eager young man.

A reminder of how much I love the sweet young men in my life.

I feel so blessed to have them in my life....the children, I mean.
I love them. And of course, the sweet ones in my life are special in so many ways, each one individually.

When I listen to the news in the evenings and hear horrid stories of people who hurt little children I can hardly bear to listen. I cringe and try to stop listening but can not stop the words from entering my mind and then they keep replaying in my head, causing me to hurt inside for the innocent ones who were hurt. It hurts my heart.
You wonder what possesses these people.
How can they bring themselves to do the things they do?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Make it Count

Here I sit with not a thought in my head but time to post a blog.
I am like Jaci, where has the time gone? Here it is Thursday with only three more days of my spring break left. I feel greedy for my days.

And tomorrow my oldest grandchild is going to be a ripe ol' age of TEN! Now where did all the time go?

First it is just the week that passes quickly and then it is months that zoom past, then those months zipped past a year and the years start ticking off one by one.

Every time I say I wish a hectic week would pass quickly I realize I am wishing my life away. Finding contentment in the daily rituals is vital to finding contentment in life.

I have loved my week.
  • I spent most of my time (and a lot of my money) fixing up the rent house for the new renters who are so anxious to get in the house that they keep coming out to feed Mr. Belvedere, the cat that "owns" the house. They have renamed him since they did not know I had a name for him but now, he is Jo-Jo. He won't care as long as the feed keeps coming.
  • Wednesday I drove Lee around and hung around to keep him company while he spent the day near the house and I caught up on reading magazines I have not had time to read.
  • Leann and the boys came today and spent the day with me. We took pictures of her new style of purses and created new business cards for her to print off. The little boys and I made Rice Krispy Treats and they decorated the tops of them with every kind of "sprinkle" they could shake out of a container. Then I sent them home with most of them.
  • Betty came by to bring a pie to Lee. How considerate she is. We did a little catching up on family news and then she went on her way.
  • I plan to see every grandchild before I go back to school on Monday and I plan on getting plenty of hugs.
  • AND I have blown my diet for yet ONE more week.
Hugs your babies,
Sing out loud,
Watch bugs crawl,
Take in some sun,
And dance in the moonlight!

Make it count!

You are in my prayers.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring Break

Spring break!
Great time to catch up on all the work that does not get done during the school year.
I work harder during spring break than any other week of the year
I love it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Recognizing Romance

Yesterday morning I was thinking about romance and how when I was in the midst of a moment that in a novel would seem romantic I did not recognize the romance in it.
Or worse yet, you know this moment IS a romantic moment and it feels.....weird.

Now don't go thinking that Darla is looking for romance so she is posting a blog on it. I believe what got me to thinking of romance was watching young girls and woman wanting their boyfriends or spouses to be romantic but in a desire for spontaneity do not help the poor guy by communicating what they want. They just want the poor guy to do something out of love.

The poor girl is setting herself up for disappointment and the poor guy for failure. The poor guy is probably doing things out of love ALL the time but the poor girl is not recognizing his love.

Then last night after a l-o-n-g day at work/fundraiser/Open House/school I come in late to the Marriage Enrichment video in progress. The discussion question afterward was something like what is romance? (I find that weird often how you think about something then there it is someplace else.)

I did not answer out loud but at a tired old age of 54 romance to me is receiving the first strawberry from the garden for ME to eat, or letting me just crawl up in his arms on the couch at the end of a long day, letting me watch my old movies when he really wants to watch his judge shows,...... Forget about planned/manipulated events for me. If you have to plan to be spontaneous, it isn't.

So ladies, recognize romance and communicate with your guy. Tell him the things you like. He has enough to think about without having to worry whether or not he is pleasing you. And if he is having to worry over you all the time, YOU are not being very romantic.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Who am I to question the plan?

I wanted to respond to Dana's blog but got so long winded that I decided to post it on my blog. Talking about worshiping in truth and spirit.
John 4:23-24
John is talking about a genuine worship of God, true and honest; a worship that is not for show, not to please others, not a worship of the presenter or the earthly writer of the lesson, not based on the height of an emotional experience, or dramatic experience but a true love of God and a desire to please God which brings us to the part of obedience. Our salvation is based on our obedience and our attitude to God’s instructions in the scriptures. Not just for a moment but for our lifetime. Having done the things asked of me to do, am I saved at this moment in my life today this very minute? Yes, thanks to God’s grace. Did I deserve it? No, not according to anything I did outside of my obedience. When did God save me? At what moment did God add my name to his book? Why do we ask these things? Time is a concept for man, not for God. God is adding my name AS I obey. Am I finished obeying? I am in the process of obeying but have not completed my obedience until I die. I will continue as I age, and as I grow in Christ. Why do we complicate the idea? Imagine our lives are a twinkle of time to God and as we are living our lives and obeying God he is writing our names in his book. When we identified ourselves through baptism we began the process of obedience and God turned to a new page and dipped the quill in ink to begin to write and when I die he will be lifting the pen from the page completing the swirl of the last letter in my name.

Using a primary math concept as an example, when did one plus one become two?
When I finished adding them up or was it always two?
When one item stands with the second item they are two together, separately they are only two ones but grouped together they are a pair. But there has to be something that identifies it as a pair.

Baptism identifies us with Christ like the marriage ceremony identifies two people as one. It is a symbolic marking of a new life beginning in Christ, a commitment to Christ. Without baptism we have not identified ourselves with Christ.

When we stand for God, with God and do as God says we are counted among God’s.
I’m not sure if that concept makes sense but the point is we have to identify ourselves as God’s and he has given us the method to identify ourselves. If we pick and choose the things we want to do, are we truly God’s. I think not, because we did not surrender ourselves in obedience to his instructions but rather are being stubborn and willful in our rebelliousness to ignore his instructions. As long as we are obedience to the instructions laid out for us and continue to live a Godly life, we will always be subject to his grace.

The important thing is a life lived for Christ.

Several things are concerning me and one is that we get bogged down by the time issue and have to know exactly WHEN we are saved, like when does God put a soul in a baby. What difference does it make to me as long as I doing God's will. Our lives should be a continual worship of God, beginning with our belief in Christ and ending with our death or the beginning of our life WITH God in heaven. If we are interested in pleasing God we do as we are instructed without trying to complicate the issue, plain and simple. We are commanded to obey his instructions and I will do that as perfectly as I can. If God asked me to dip seven times in the Jordan then I will do that. We do as we are asked to do, willingly without questioning. Who are we to even question the instructions? Is it important how we do it? Sure is! We are to do it as perfectly as we know to do it. Leave out something? No way! Add something? No way!

We can build a physical house. If we follow the instructions, as closely as possible we will end up with a strong well-built house. BUT should we decide to start cutting corners and decide to save a little time and money we will make our concrete foundation thinner, leave out the rebar to save money, maybe we did not level the ground or build up the low areas, etc. So maybe we decide the instructions for building our house are not important. We space out the studs farther than the instructions say to do. Use inferior materials, etc. Then we have compromised our house. It is a house, by all outward appearances and it does fulfill the duties of the house for awhile as long as the storms do not come. Do you want to live in a house like this? I want to live in a solid well-built house. I do not want to place myself in a house in which I question whether or not my house will stand in a high wind. I want to KNOW that I did ALL I could to follow the instructions and did them as well as I could. In the midst of a storm did the little bit you saved on that house matter then? After you assess all the damages done after the storm the things you left out may seem more important in principle. Who am I to decide structurally what I should have done?

Often we think selfishly of our worship. We are concerned with what we are getting out of worship when actually we should be concerned with what we are putting into it. Maybe, it is a leap of faith on our part. If I quit focusing on me during worship and realize that our worship should focus on God then God will provide the things I need for my spiritual growth. In maturity, in the right attitude we should be able to grow spiritually in isolation or in the midst of a crowd. In any place it is still a one on one relationship, God and me. It is not where we are physically but rather where we are spiritually.

Trust God. God will give you growth if you allow it.

If you love me, you will obey what I command. John 14:15

It is my hope that I have spoken clearly and have not mudded the waters (no pun intended).

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Living for the Weekend

I hate to admit I live for weekends but...
I live for the weekends.

Now the younger crowd says they live for weekends and they mean it in a completely different way than I do. They live for weekend parties, nights out, cruising chicks (do they still say that?), concerts, going shopping in the malls, and no telling what else. They just want to fill up their weekend schedule with a continual search for fun. And I am sure they think they have found it but really.....

I am sure there was a time in my life that most of that stuff may have interested me...not all of it, mind you, but some of it. As I got older my weekend parties became watching a movie with the grandsons until way late sometimes as late as eleven, nights out became a quick drive into town to pick up pizza, cruising chicks became surfing the internet, concerts became listening to the boys playing guitar hero, shopping in the malls became history and puttering in the garden ruled.

Slowing down?
Nope! I am more active and busier than ever but it is just directed differently and I don't think I have ever been more satisfied with my life.

Twenty years ago, I would never have believed it.

This weekend will be filled with family! What fun!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Okay God I'm listening.

Okay, God, I'm listening.
I know there must be a lesson here to learn.

We were given a great opportunity that would be great PR for Caleb's business, and for my personal growth as an artist. Now here on the threshold of opportunity a kink (a lost shipment of frames we were going to use.) was thrown into the works which limits the selections we will be able to show. We still have several pieces to show but not five of my newer pieces that have never been framed.

Disappointed in this on several levels I know God must be speaking to me. There must be a lesson to learn here that has escaped my attention.

Maybe, it is to stop and count my blessings and realize that it is through God that any opportunity is presented to us or to be patient to wait on God's timing or something like that. After all it was just last week that Caleb and I did a presentation to the Woman's Club, a smaller group than tonight's group will be but a wonderful group of woman. Although disappointed it is not life changing.

I do find it interesting that God is allowing the opportunity but he has limited the pieces we will show in it.
I wonder what he wants me to realize.

Monday, February 18, 2008

What would you put on a grasshopper to eat it?

I love playing Loaded Questions. We have played the game a number of times and always enjoy it. We played with our friends on Saturday night.
It never fails that when we play the game we always laugh throughout the game.
The game really is a ice-breaker type of game and you really get to see how people think by their answers.

Question:If you can give yourself something luxurious what would it be?
Answer:(Enough milk to make the mashed potatoes smooth, Jackie?)

Question:Who do you model your life after?
Answer:(Myself, Stacey?)

Question:Where would you hate to find yourself in the morning?
Answer:(In the back seat of the neighbor's car?)

Okay, so you see why you might be laughing when you play the game.
Sometimes the truth is funnier than fiction!
And under no circumcisions will you find me eating grasshoppers.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Valentine from Nana

A special note to my grandchildren:
Special treats when next we meet!
I love you!
Love, Nana

(And to all of you special family and friends out there. I hope today is full of fun surprises for you and you feel warm and loved. I daily thank God for your friendship and love. I love you.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Womans Club and Lounging Pajamas

Let's see? Is it too soon to start counting the days until school is out?

I took off for half a day today because Caleb and I had a presentation to make to the Woman's Club....like I have something to say? Well, it worked out well and it was really good PR for Caleb's business and it was an ego trip for me. The group of women was a very sweet, very receptive and very gracious group of women.

I wonder how I get myself into things like this when I am preparing myself to present. Last July while I was in North Carolina visiting my sister I got a call asking me to speak to the club. I could not imagine what they would want with me but when she suggested that I do a presentation with Caleb I accepted. Well, actually, I don't think I ever actually accepted. I just sort of did not decline. There is a difference! And I guess every time I stand in front of women and talk I grow in some sort of way. It helps to build confidence. I listened as one of the women led the group and she was so at ease with speaking to the women. She did not stammer or do the "ah-h-h"s to fill in the gaps. That is an important part of public speaking you know. You can not fill in the blanks with "ah" or else you start to lose people.

When I got home still early, I put on lounging clothes...okay, a big ugly tee shirt and my oversized pajama bottoms. I turned on TCM to an old movie, swept the dust off of the tables, swept the floors, vacuumed the rug, put a chocolate cake in the oven and sang out loud on a whim.

I could get used to this!

Friday, February 8, 2008


Overheard in passing between two girls.
The first girl was intent on telling the second girl a story in which she obviously thought an injustice had taken place,
"...and I was being-haved and she just....."

The phrase hit a sore note in my head and obviously in the friend's head, "being-haved?....being-haved?" The story was completely lost on the friend who was now stuck on the distorted phrase and was repeating it to herself in an attempt to set it straight in her own mind.

The first girl continued talking as she walked on, never hearing her friend stumbling over the distortion.

I could not help but be amused. Maybe I was just looking for something to make me smile but I laughed and thought that sounds like a mistake I might make.

How do you conjugate behave?

Some words just sound like they can be twisted more than others and behave is one of them.
I always thought it a strange word but this use made it even stranger.

Oh, it was an English class in which the injustice took place.
My guess is that the girl was sleeping. I hope she is not taking the ACT tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Moment of Silence

Every morning at school, before the announcements but after the pledge we have a moment of silence that lasts for one full minute. This falls at the beginning of my day when I start my first class and everyone is in the room. There we stand no one speaking, complete quiet in the art department. The only minute for the entire day that is still and quiet.

Being a praying woman I often neglected this moment thinking this time was not my time to pray. Instead I might have used it for reflection of the coming day or to discretely take attendance or whatever I needed to do in silence. After a few frustrating days I decided to reinstate this time of prayer before the announcements but after the pledge. It was only at this point of frustration that my desire not to be teaching these vain, selfish teens that I became willing to turn it over to God. I pointedly directed my prayers to my students needs. I prayed for my children who are away from me, my grandchildren, my family. I prayed for my students that they would be receptive, ready to learn, obedient....and then I prayed for myself, that I may be able to be peaceful, act according to God's will, have a ready answer to their questions and that I may be able to contribute to their needs.

Now it is an important part of my day like my coffee time at the end of the day with my parents. I start my work day with a small talk with my Father.

Interesting fact: my days are more peaceful, children more receptive, ready to learn, obedient, talking to me about current events, moral dilemmas and sometimes about art. I have learned to love my students.

How did this happen?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Bekah in Otty

Listening to the presentation of a proud father speak of the his work in India and of his daughter's touched my heart at the zeal and the unselfishness of this young woman. Many young people are still struggling to "find" themselves at her age. Their desire is often worldly and surely selfish, often with a list of things to do and buy to satisfy their wants with little regard for those less fortunate in life.

Rebecca grew up just like the rest of our children from church. She made a couple of trips to South Africa on missionary trips while in college. That must have just whet her appetite for ministry. The thing that impresses me is not that she is in India but it is her desire to ministry to the needs of people less fortunate. The thing that impresses me is that she has found her talent and is not burying it. She intends to use it for God.

While many woman will shrink back and be timid she is forging ahead to blaze a trail. It is my prayer that as Bekah ministers to the needs of the people in Otty that she will touch their hearts with her zeal for God.

I am impressed. Read her blog. I plan to keep up with it.
(Clicking on the title of this post "Bekah in Otty" will take you to her blog.)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wants and Needs

I got into a conversation today with students over the difference between "wants" and "needs".
It all begun with one bemoaning the fact that he did not receive an allowance.

Oh, Pobrecita!
Can you imagine?
No free money from Mom!
What will he do?

I commented that he probably got more from his parents than if he had an allowance because if he had an allowance they would expect him to pay for his "wants".

Then we had to decide what their needs are and what their wants are.
Poor kids! They could not tell me the difference!!!!!
I finally had to tell them what they needed to sustain life.

Their comment?
I WANT to go to the movie and I NEED money!

HOW do you argue with that logic?!!!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Draw the Line

My discipline methods have often been a source of amusement. Among friends we laugh about how conservatively we raised our children but we continue to defend our means with a laugh.

One of the particular issues was my concern about keeping our language pure.
In our home we did not use the "b" word..........
instead we said "rear", "hiney", "caboose" or any of those benign terms for the part of our body for which we rest ourselves. Over the years since my children are all grown now we have begun to slip and use the "b" word ourselves a little. Knowing friends suck in their breath loudly and proclaim, "oh, no" and we laugh over it.

But truthfully....

Our society has become so loose with their language that by today's standards adhering to such a policy may seem ridiculous. My reasoning was always that the line needed to be drawn for children what is acceptable and what is not. We drew the line very conservatively. If my children knew that I would frown over their use of b--- then they would not be using a-- in front of me anyway.

I cringe at sports events when coaches get up and announce to our children "GET OUT THERE AND KICK SOME A--!" But I was around when they used to say "GET OUT THERE AND KICK SOME B---!" Give them an inch and they'll take a mile.

Over the weekend my old rule came back in the form of my youngest child disciplining his oldest child. Carl admitted he told Reese teasingly that he was going to "kick her b---" and for days she went around saying it. She has such a sweet little voice. Words drip from her lips in a rhythmic sound like angel's singing. Here was this sweet sounding child singing "kick your b---, kick your b---, kick your b---"
Carl said it took days of undoing what he had done.

It may seem ridiculous to many that we draw the line with rude sounding words but if we do not keep high standards we have placed ourselves ON the line, or even over the line and there is not leeway left.

So draw the line and stick to it. At least you will take a stand. Your children will not forget it. They may stray from it, they may trot around it, they may twist it and even break it but they will remember you told them what was appropriate and what was not.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pearson's Arrival

Pearson arrived yesterday at 2:56 PM weighing in at 8 lbs. 3 ozs and 20.5 inches long. All are well.

What a wonderful experience this is.