Thursday, April 29, 2010

can you keep a secret?

I am really not good at secrets, but my hubby loves them.  So, for his sake, I am trying to keep a secret from my kids.

There are two good reasons to keep this secret. 

One, something could go wrong and if they don't know about it, they won't be disappointed.

Two, if I don't spill the beans before Saturday, they will be completely surprised and super excited.

You may wonder why I am telling YOU that I have a secret to keep ...
mostly because I am relatively sure that most of you won't see my kids and even if you do (and you guess what the surprise is), I don't think you'll spoil it for them (or Ronnie).

I can't tell you what the surprise is just in case LB decides to read my blog, but I will tell you that I am shocked that we have finally decided to make this commitment and that we are driving over 80 miles to pick up this surprise - which is surprising enough, especially considering that we don't even know when we are going to tell the kids where we are going.  I have also been promised that I won't be the primary caregiver for this surprise, but we shall see how that works out!

Be sure to come back some time after Saturday ... I plan to have lots of pictures!

Monday, April 26, 2010


#15 for 2010
Hosted by Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook ... visit her site to begin daybooking or to find other daybooks to visit.

Outside my window ... it has been a beautiful day.  The smothering heat and humidity of summer haven't arrived yet and the lovely spring weather sent the kids and me outside this afternoon.  We rode bikes together for a little while (yes, I rode mine, too!), then I mowed the front yard. I would have done the back, but the lawn mower ran out of gas, so we headed down to my parents' house to work in the garden and ended up eating supper with them.  Overall, a really great day!

I am hearing ... Ronnie and the kids watching their favorite TV show up front.

I am wearing ... purple jammies.

I am going ... to need to grow wings to keep up with the rest of the week.  This week is completely filled, but with stuff we are looking forward to doing.  In other words, not bad, just very busy.

I am noticing that ... the garden is coming along great ... LB and Papa even found a couple of tomoatoes today.

I am thinking ... that I really want to go ahead and order my curriculum for next year ... new books are so much fun!

I am hoping ... to have time to buy myself a new pair of tennis shoes tomorrow. 

I am reading ... A Tapestry of Hope by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller.

I am creating ... scrapbook pages.  Our last Keeper's project was to create a scrapbook page that would be framed ... I really liked LB's and decided to do one for each of the boys, too.  I finished JW's today, using pictures from his baseball party last year.  I'm not sure what D's theme will be, but I hope to finish his this week, too.

I am remembering ... lots of little things that are bugging me ... most I should just let go since there isn't anything I can do about them.

On my mind ... what devotion I should share on Wednesday night.  I think it will come from Spurgeon's Morning and Evening book of devotions.

Words that I am pondering ... "the enemy of kindness is busyness."  I used this a few weeks ago, but I have recently been reminded that even during the busy weeks I still need to be aware of opportunities to show kindness to others as I go.

Counting my blessings ... a great afternoon and evening with my parents ~ which included a couple hours of chatting with Mama while the kids played and helped Daddy outside.  It is unusual for Mama and me to get time to talk without the kids listening in, so today was a rare treat.  It is also a blessing that Daddy is able to be in the garden more this year.  He is enjoying teaching LB about the process of gardening and she absolutely loves it!  These are memories that I will cherish for years to come.

From the learning rooms ... we are moving into a summer school schedule where we will focus on the three R's.  I am working on setting specific goals for the summer and am looking forward to charting our progress.

From the kitchen ... Ronnie cooked chicken strips on Daddy's griddle tonight (while Daddy was cooking yummy sliders) and we will have those for lunch tomorrow on mini hamburger buns ... beyond that, I really don't know.

A few plans for the rest of the week ... JW &  LB have an extra play practice tomorrow, LB has Keeper's on Wednesday, Thursday night the older homeschool kids will be putting on their play, and D is invited to a birthday party on Saturday.  JW has baseball games tomorrow and Friday.

One of my favorite things ... reading for pure pleasure.

A picture to share with you ... JW with his Mike Mulligan sock puppet.  The kids all enjoy the story of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and I love to read it to them.  I remember Mama reading it to the boys and me when we were little.  I have since discovered other Virginia Lee Burton stories and they are all pretty good.

Thanks for stopping by ... have a great week!

Friday, April 23, 2010

wednesday nights - part one

This past Wednesday night, for the first time in months our prayer meeting was the way it used to be.  Not that the way we have been doing it has been bad.  In truth, I have learned to enjoy the differences, but still, I have missed the old way.

For years, Wednesday nights were my favorite meeting of the week.  You see, when we came to this church 10 years ago, I was 26 years old and clueless as to how to fit into this group of ladies who were all a good bit (anywhere from 20-50 years) older than me.  So, I chose to just hang out with the youth.  After all, Ronnie was the youth minister at the time, so it made perfect sense for me to spend most of my time with his group.  And besides, they were a great group and I really did enjoy being with them.

But, after a year or so, I began to realize that I really didn't know any of the other adults.  The ladies never included me in any of the planning for anything, never asked me to bring anything to functions.  Basically, it seemed, that as far as they were concerned, I was just another youth.  When I told Ronnie what I thought, he reminded me that they didn't even know me.  I had never shown any interest in being a part of anything they did.  I taught youth Sunday School and I helped Ronnie with the youth on Sunday and Wednesday nights.  For once, I listened to him and so, with much trepidation, I decided to join the real adults on Wednesday nights.

I am not going to tell you that it was easy to fit into the group, but I will say that it was in those Wednesday night prayer meetings that I began to see the heart of these ladies who have now become so important to me.  And it was in those Wednesday night prayer meetings that I began to understand what church is supposed to be.

Up to this point in my life, church had always been something to do.  I had always gone to church but had never really grasped the fact that church isn't an activity

My lack of understanding of the purpose of the Church was coupled with more anger than I really realized I was hanging on to over the actions of the church Ronnie had been serving when we were first married.  I'll skip the gory details, but suffice it to say that Ronnie and I both walked away angry and hurt and wary of investing ourselves totally in another ministry. (It was nearly two years after we left that other church before we took this one.)

Fast forward to those Wednesday night prayer meetings that I mentioned earlier.  I guess I should tell you what makes them different from other prayer meetings I have been involved in.  It isn't complicated.  We begin the meeting together, then after the singing and taking of prayer requests, the women and men split up.   Each week, a different person brings a short devotion and then we spend time in prayer.  

At this point you are probably thinking, is that it? 

Yes, that is it.  And it made all the difference in the world to me.  I thought that I would easily be able to explain the reasons why this group of women meeting together and sharing our burdens has become so much a part of who I am, but as I type this I am finding the words hard to come by.

Through the months and years that have passed since God led me (through the wisdom of my husband) to join with the adults on Wednesday nights, I became one of them.  I don't think I ever truly understood the importance of this in my life until I found out that my mother had cancer.  There were many nights that I fought to contain my tears as I listened to them pray for her (and me) by name.  Not only did they pray for us, they shared their own experiences, even the painful ones, with me so that I could understand how God had carried them through those experiences and know that He would do the same for me and my family.   On more than one occasion I felt a compassion and understanding that I had never experienced in any group before. 

This was the Church in action.  These ladies weren't attending church ... they were actively, purposely allowing the Holy Spirit to work through them and minister to my life and to the lives of the other women in that room. 

I can't say that every woman in those meetings experienced the same thing that I did.  I can only say that I have no doubt that God used what I experienced to bring me to a greater understanding of what the role of the church is in the life of a Christian. 

I am not sure why I felt compelled to share this story with you.  (To be honest, I will be surprised to find that many people have even stuck with it to this point.)  I only know that church has been on my mind and heart for a long time now.  Sometimes, even in this group that helped me begin to understand what church is supposed to be, I still feel like we are just playing church.  I can't explain it, but sometimes I feel that we are on the edge of really experiencing a life-changing outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but I am not sure that we are even looking for that moment, much less passionately seeking it.  I can't even tell you that I am where I need to be in this, but I can tell you that I desperately don't want church to just be another activity on my weekly list of things to do.

I am going to end this post now, even though I am really still only half through with my story.  The rest of the story will have to wait for another day ... and I am sure that if you have managed to hang on this far, you are thankful that I am done for now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


#15 for 2010
hosted by Peggy @ The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window ... The cloudy start to the day is giving way to a blue sky and sunshine.  It is still cool now, but I suspect it will be warming up nicely before long.

I am wearing ... blue jeans and my red Mayfield Dairy Farms t-shirt.

I am hearing ... the kids talking and laughing in the kitchen.

I am going ... to meet with JW's speech teacher in a little while to discuss next year.  Later, I'll be going to our homeschool group's monthly Mom's meeting.

I am thinking ... that I am probably not going to get out of taking the kids to the library today.  I like for them to go, but it always makes me nervous ... D hasn't exactly mastered his "library voice" yet!

I am hoping ... that things go well for my Mama today.

I am reading ... So Many Versions by Sakae Kubo and Walter F. Specht and Across the Years by Tracie Peterson.

On my mind ... the fact that I just realized that our family page for our homeschool group yearbook is due tonight and I haven't even started!

I am creating ... a better-late-than-never family page.

I am remembering ... a sweet lady who lost her husband this weekend.

Counting my blessings ... my Daddy's good news about his knees ~ he will be able to have partial knee replacements instead of full ones, the chance to talk some things over with Mama last night ~ which gave me a clearer understanding of an issue I have been working through, the re-affirming of an old friendship in the last week.

Words that I am pondering ... "What are your greatest passions?  How are you fulfilling them?" This was asked as part of our Sunday School lesson last Sunday and no one wanted to answer it in class.  I think our fear was that our answers either wouldn't be spiritual enough (especially if we were completely honest) or that they would sound too much like a pat "Sunday School" answer ... either way, the question has gotten my wheels turning.

From the learning rooms ... our last co-op class is this week and we need to finish up reading the lessons.  This has been a great year in co-op, but, as I have said for the last couple of weeks, I am looking forward to the summer break from classes.

From the kitchen ... supper will need to be really simple since I will be heading to a meeting and Ronnie will be taking the kids to JW's baseball game.  I'm thinking something easy in the crockpot would be good.

Around the house ... I must tackle the kids closets soon.

A few plans for the rest of the week ... the boys have haircuts on Wednesday, the big kids have co-op on Friday, and I have a bridal shower on Saturday.

One of my favorite things ... research.  I know it sounds strange, but I love to dig into various subjects and find out all I can ... it is fun to me.

A picture to share with you ... determination!

Monday, April 19, 2010

isn't he cute?

He is also in desperate need of a haircut!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

not ready to think about that

 This beautiful blue linen handkerchief was made by a sweet lady from our church.  She made one for each of the girls in the church and gave them to them to put in their "hope chest" so that they will have "something blue" for their wedding day.

Oh my!

Thank you, Mrs. M, but I am really not ready to think about yet!

Friday, April 16, 2010

a tough question

Last night, I took part in a conference call for Operation Christmas Child volunteers from the central Mississippi area.  The plan is for us to do these once a month just so that we can stay connected and share ideas and such.  When I received the agenda for the call via e-mail, I quickly scanned through it and set it aside.  I did read the "Intro Question" but didn't stop at that moment to think about it.  It wasn't until Frances (our area coordinator) asked the question, and then chose me to pick on answer first, that this question really hit home with me.

What one way will you personally increase Gospel Opportunities in 2010?

I gave an answer with some things I have planned through our relay center and, at the time, it sounded okay.  But after the call had ended I really started thinking.  Of course, the Gospel Opportunities she was referring to are shoeboxes.  Each shoebox represents at least one person who will have the opportunity to hear the Good News, and in some cases each shoebox could reach up to 10 people.  This is what motivates me to personally pack as many boxes as I can and to encourage others to do the same and I will continue doing that very thing this year.

But, this question hit home with me in a different way as well.  As much as I love the ministry of Operation Christmas Child, I can't help but wonder if it fulfills my personal responsibility to reach the world around me.  No matter how many shoeboxes I touch each year, I cannot personally share the gospel with even one of the children who will receive those boxes.  Knowing this makes me thankful for the words of 1 Corinthians 3:7 ~ So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

Please don't misunderstand me.  I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that God has called me to do what I do with the shoebox ministry.  As a matter of fact, there have been few times in my life when I have been so sure that what I am doing is what God has called me to do.

But that question up there has been like a beacon flashing in my head since last night and it forces me to ask another question:  what does God want me to do in my own back yard to personally share the Gospel with the people that I can see and touch and talk to?  The truth is,  I don't have an answer to that question ... at least not yet.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.  Matthew 7:7-8

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.  Matthew 28:19-20

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


#14 for 2010
hosted by Peggy @ The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window ... it has been a glorious day.  The only problem with such lovely spring weather is keeping the kids (and myself) focused on what we need to accomplish indoors ... in other words ~ school!

I am wearing ... my jammies, but that is okay 'cause it is 11:30 at night and I am about to go to bed!

I am hearing ...  Ronnie and D watching Gilligan's Island up front.  Don't ask me why my 4 year old is still awake, I won't have a good answer.

I am going ... to bed soon, I hope.  Tomorrow will be a typical Tuesday with the exception of my trip back to the dentist so that they can put on my "real" crown and JW's first baseball game of the season tomorrow night ... GO RAMS!

I am thinking ... that I don't need to forget to re-check the kids' books from the library tomorrow.  They always check out more than they can read before they are due.

I am hoping ... to see some of the plants in our garden sprouting up tomorrow.

I am reading ... Hank the Cowdog with JW ... I can't say that these are my favorite books, but the kids love them, so we'll keep reading for now.

I am creating ... the girls at Keepers this week are making scrapbook pages to frame and I am helping LB get her stuff together.

On my mind ... goals for our summer session of school.

I am remembering ... that I need to print the pictures for LB's Keepers' project.

Counting my blessings ... our weekend getaway, my parents being willing to keep the kids this weekend, the beautiful weather we are having, new insights to ponder, new glimpses into God's promises through the series of sermons our pastor has been preaching on God's covenants.

Words that I am pondering ... "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live."  Deuteronomy 8:3

From the learning rooms ... we will soon be finishing up science and geography for the year and I am looking forward to moving into our summer schedule.

From the kitchen ... something with ham and cheese and potatoes for supper, but I am not sure exactly how I am going to put those together ... any ideas would be welcome!  I am also hoping to get some bread made this week.

Around the house ... I'm still working on organizing the kids' rooms ... I really need a better plan for making them responsible for keeping their rooms clean.

A few plans for the rest of the week ... not too much going on except baseball and the usual things we do.

One of my favorite things ... watching my kids playing in the yard ... especially when they are all getting along.

A picture to share with you ... this is what was needed for my three kids to spend one night with my parents!  In their defense (and mine) ~ JW had an extra bag with his baseball stuff so that Daddy could take him to his practice game Friday night, and LB had to take her dance bag so that she could go to her solo practice on Saturday.  Sometimes I miss the days when all we needed was a diaper bag!

Thanks for visiting ...
I hope you have a wonderful week!

Monday, April 12, 2010


Ronnie and I spent the weekend in New Orleans with our friends Brad and Amy.  This was the first time ever that Ronnie and I have gone on a totally fun trip with another couple and NO KIDS!  We have been looking forward to this for weeks and I must tell you that the trip did not disappoint.  I can also tell you that it didn't go exactly as planned ... but really, who cares? 

We took this trip to see the New Orleans Hornets play the Utah Jazz on Friday night.  Ronnie got the tickets through his work and our seats were in the Hub Club.  Just for the record, this is a little more swanky than we are used to ... but we quickly decided that we could get used to it.  Frankly, I would just as soon shoot basketball in the yard with the kids as watch someone else play basketball, but between the VIP tickets and the excellent company, I thoroughly enjoyed the game.  New Orleans lost, but it wasn't a blow-out (though it looked like it might be) and our guys were totally happy because they had a full buffet with a variety of choices, like some sort of pasta with shrimp and wild mushrooms, not to mention the rather decadent desserts.  Definitely not your typical ball game fare.  And, at the risk of sounding like a country bumpkin, it was all free!

As for me, there were some truly memorable moments during the game the guy who proposed to his girlfriend during a game time-out on buzz-vision, and the kids on the double-dutch jump rope team, who were absolutely amazing.  I did watch (and enjoy) the actual game as well.  We got a real kick out of all the bee references in the arena.  I can't remember them all, but the funniest to me was the announcer saying BEE-FENSE every time the Jazz got the ball.  And, while the word was flashing on buzz-vision over head, there were a couple of guys skipping in front of the stands raising bee-fense signs.  All in all, it was a pretty good show. 

I was the only person on this trip who has never lived in the New Orleans area.  Ronnie went to seminary there back before we met.  Brad and Amy lived just across the Causeway bridge in Mandeville before they moved here.  This made the trip a little nostalgic for all of them.  On Friday, Ronnie gave us a quick tour of his old stomping grounds as we drove through the seminary.  Then, on Saturday, after doing some shopping in Kenner, we drove the 26 (I think) mile bridge so that Brad and Amy could show us some of the places that were important to them.  I must say that if I lived down there, Lakeshore Park would be somewhere I would want to hang out.  We also saw where they lived and worked before heading on to Bogalusa where Ronnie lived and worked for a year while he was in seminary.  It was really fun to glimpse back in time to how things were before I met any of the other three people in the van with me.  I love anything with some history to it, so I enjoyed getting to know a little more of the past lives of my friends.

All in all, this was a wonderful weekend.  Getting away from the ordinary is always good, I think.  I don't want anyone to think that I don't love my children, but it was also nice to get away for a little while and not even  have to worry about the kids at all.

I had a great time driving around and seeing a little bit of New Orleans on Friday afternoon - even if this was the time when things weren't going as planned.

Going to the game and getting the VIP treatment was very nice and definitely something I could get used to.

Shopping and reminiscing on Saturday was a great way to round out the trip before heading home. 

But, without a doubt, the best part of the weekend was the company.  Ronnie and I could have taken this trip by ourselves and we probably would have had fun, but we would have missed out on a blessing, to be sure. I am not sure that I have ever laughed that much in any two-day period, ever.  We also spent some time talking about more serious subjects, as well.  I know that I will be pondering that conversation for some time to come.

So, since I am fairly certain you will read this, this is my formal thank you for making this a memorable weekend ... and for being our friends!

For the rest of you, just in case you are curious ... the girl on the buzz-vision ... she said yes!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

grandaddy's hoe

I really don't have much time to post today ... we just got home from our monthly book-report day with our homeschool group.  This month they had to make puppets, which was quite interesting ... in our house we had three socks transformed into Hank the Cowdog, the Grinch, and Mike Mulligan.  The kids did a great job presenting their reports and had a lot of fun.  The report time is followed by the moms' favorite part, where we eat lunch while our kids play and we enjoy a few minutes of adult conversation.  This is one of my favorite days each month, but today, I didn't really have time for it.  But we went anyway and now I have to get the kids' rooms clean this afternoon.  I think this would be easier if I had a dumpster in the back yard, along with some place for the kids to go so they won't be lamenting the things that are going to be leaving the house.  Hopefully, we will all survive to make it to church tonight ...  we'll see!

Anyway ... in case you couldn't tell, none of that has anything to do with the title of this post.  I figured since I don't have much time, I would just share a few of my gardening pictures with you.

This is my Grandaddy's hoe and my Daddy's rake ...
look closely at the rake, that is my Daddy for you!  I love anything that can be considered nostalgic, so I just had to take this picture of a little bit of family  history.

JW and LB planting potatoes ...
notice which one has her hands in the dirt!

Daddy showing LB just how to cover the potatoes to protect the little shoots already growing.  He showed her how to do a couple and then she finished the other two rows by herself.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

daybook - birthday edition

#13 for 2010
hosted by Peggy @
The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window ... I am seeing another lovely spring morning and freshly cut grass ... life is good!

I am wearing ... tan capris and a lime green shirt.

I am hearing ... the washer and dryer running and my blog music.

I am going ... to do our normal Tuesday activities ... speech , dance and baseball practice.

I am thinking ... about what I need to get done before my parents come for supper on Thursday night.

I am hoping ... for good gardening weather.

I am reading ... sometimes I just hate this prompt ... do blogs count?  Because I've read some good ones lately.

I am creating ... plans for our summer session of school.

On my mind ... a decision I made that I hope was the right one.

I am remembering ... that on this day, 27 years ago, I was baptized.

Counting my blessings ... another year of life, good times on Saturday with my family, a wonderful Resurrection Sunday with my church family, the chance to work in the garden with my Daddy and see him teaching LB and JW about what we were planting, my sweet husband who sometimes does things he'd rather not do just so that I don't have to do them.

Words that I am pondering ... Psalm 107 ... you'll have to look up the whole chapter for yourself, but these verses have been speaking volumes to me lately ... especially the first part of verse 2.  "Let the redeemed of the LORD say so ..."

From the learning rooms ... today, the kids need to log the progress with their brittle star experiment and do their reports for Book-It! tomorrow.  We need to get busy on the reading for co-op as well.  I must admit that I am looking forward to finishing this year's co-op at the end of the month!  The classes have been great, but I am ready for a change of pace.

From the kitchen ... I don't think I should have to make this decision on my birthday!

Around the house ... LAUNDRY!

A few plans for the rest of the week ... (drum roll please) New Orleans this weekend!  I am so excited to get out of town, even if it is only for a day ... the kids are staying with my parents and we are heading south with our friends Brad and Amy to see a basketball game!  I can't wait!

One of my favorite things ... playing games (board or card) with my family.

A picture to share with you ... promises of things to come ... this little tomato plant may look sad now, but I am expecting big things from it and all its little friends we planted in Daddy's garden yesterday.

Thanks for visiting ...
I hope you have a wonderful week!

Monday, April 5, 2010

all dressed up

Can you tell how much my kids love having their picture taken?

LB prefers having her picture taken
with daisies instead of brothers!

JW strikes a pose ... how many boys do you know
who beg to wear their suit every Sunday?  Me?  Just one.

D prefers a more casual look ...
he honestly thought he was going to choke to death
when his Daddy and JW tried to get him to wear a tie.

The crew at church yesterday

Meet D's friend, Poptart ...
these two are serious about being best friends ...
just ask them, they'll tell you!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

happily saying goodbye

I am so glad to see this go ...
because it makes room for this ...