This is a picture of a Northern Mockingbird, the state bird of Mississippi (and several other states as well). He's an interesting little bird. Just this morning I have read several differing accounts of his ability to "mock" the songs of other birds, as well as, other sounds he hears. Some say he can actually reproduce sounds he hears while others say that it just sounds as if he is repeating the sounds of other birds because he has a repertoire of about 200 sounds.
The fact is, I don't know whether he's mocking other birds or not, but I know that at least one of these little guys has found a home in a bush that sits at the back corner of my house, just outside my bedroom window. Last night, under a bright moon, he chose to serenade me with his vast repertoire of songs. My first instinct was to blame this little guy for my sleeplessness last night, but, truth be told, I don't think he was keeping me awake. I did listen to him for several minutes while I couldn't sleep anyway, but it really wasn't an unpleasant sound. I grew up in the woods, so animal sounds in the middle of the night are common place, but I don't recall the birds keeping me awake.
At least tonight, if I am again awake in the middle of the night, I will know what kind of bird is serenading me!
And, just so you know, I didn't take this picture (big surprise, huh?).
Outside my window ... the sun is shining down on freshly mowed grass. The wind is blowing through the tree in my neighbor's back yard, reminding me that I love windy days.
I am thinking ... that I didin't make the coffee strong enough this morning. I am not a fan of weak coffee.
I am thankful for ... playdates in the park.
I am wearing ... blue plaid lounge pants and an orange t-shirt.
I am creating ... neat and organized rooms for my kids ... at least I am trying AGAIN to accomplish this goal.
I am going ... nowhere today, Ronnie has my van since the air conditioner isn't working in his truck. We will all be going to JW's last baseball game tonight, assuming it doesn't rain today.
I am reading ... Esther by Charles Swindoll.
I am hoping ... that JW enjoys his last baseball game tonight and that LB enjoys her last dance class of the year today. Her recital this weekend will mark the end of her 6th year of dance.
I am praying for ... our pastor, Bro. Don, and our friend, Brad, who leave today for a mission trip in Kodiak, Alaska. They will working at the Crab Festival, doing construction on a parsonage, surveying a neighborhood, and/or anything else that they are called on to do. Their prayer is simply that they do it all in the name of Jesus.
I am hearing ... only my typing.
From the kitchen ... there is bread rising in the bread machine and we will be having leftovers for lunch. I'm not sure what we'll be having for supper, but it will be something using the ground beef I have already cooked in the refrigerator.
From the learning rooms ... LB begins learning "jingles" today in her grammar lesson. I am not exactly sure what that will be about, but I am looking forward to finding out. Otherwise it is just a normal day.
Around the house ... there are a few more projects I want to complete before my parents come for supper on Thursday night and Ronnie's mom and cousin arrive for the recital on Saturday.
One of my favorite things ... children sleeping peacefully, especially when they are all in their own bed!
Counting my blessings ... a sweet church family who surprised my hubby (and our music minister) with a birthday celebration after church Sunday night, time spent with friends yesterday, watching the dirt run off my child and down the drain after a long, fun day playing, completely exhausted kids who fall into bed and sleep peacefully all night, not having to get those kids up at any particular time this morning.
A few plans for the rest of the week ... Keeper's meeting tomorrow, LB's dance pictures on Thursday and recital on Saturday. I am hoping that sometime this week I'll get to take a drive down to see my new nephew.
A picture to share with you ... my all time favorite dance picture of LB
Today has been a big day already and it is only 10:00 in the morning. First, I got a call about 7:45 to let me know that I have a new nephew ... Asher Gallatin (I hope I am spelling that right!) born at his home early this morning ... mom and baby are doing well. LB is already over the fact that HE isn't a SHE ... the girls are seriously outnumbered in our family ... 12 grand kids, only 3 girls! But a baby is a baby and my little girl LOVES babies, so even a boy is better than nothing!
This morning was the morning that LB's dance school does a recruitment day at the local elementary school ... no, they don't call it that, but I am sure that is the purpose. We don't mind, it is fun and it gives the girls a chance to practice in front of an audience before the actual recital. This year, LB's class danced their tap number ... I don't know the name of the song they were dancing to, but the girls did a great job. There are six girls in the class and only two of them could be there this morning, so LB and LK danced a duet. These two girls have been dancing together since they were six years old ... they have known each other all their lives because LK's mom and I have been friends for most of our lives, specifically since about 3rd grade. I videoed the girls dancing, but when you watch it, remember that there are supposed to be six girls doing this dance!
One final note before the video ... if you like giveaways take a moment to visit Blessings at our Houseand check out Donna's giveaway in honor of her 100th post.
I am hearing ... kids' praise songs playing on JW's cd player and the kids talking up front ... I think they are lamenting their copy work ... it is not their favorite part of the school day!
I am wearing ... my pj's.
I am going ... to take JW to his last speech class of the year and LB to her next-to-the-last dance class of the year ... things are really winding down around here! LB is getting her hair cut today ... she never wants to get any length cut off, but I think it is too long, so we'll see how this goes.
I am noticing that ... we have a couple of overdue library books around the house that I need to gather and take back today.
I am thinking ... about the piece I just saw on the Today Show about the two families who are bound together by the mistaken identities of their daughters ... it is amazing to see what God can do through that pain and loss for one family and joy for the other. The testimony of the family whose daughter died nearly brought Matt Lauer to tears as they shared their story. Amazing.
I am hoping ... to get to go to our last Mom's Night Out meeting of the year tonight.
I am reading ... The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo with the kids and Esther: A Woman of Strength and Dignity by Charles Swindoll.
I am creating ... nothing, right now. I really want to make LB a sundress and am hoping to start on that next week since the majority of our activities will be over.
I am remembering ... that today is Ronnie's birthday!
On my mind ... my sister-in-law ... who is still pregnant! We are all hoping that baby makes an appearance soon!
I am praying for ... the two men from our church who will be leaving a week from today to go to Alaska on a mission trip.
Counting my blessings ... celebrating my hubby, who turns 43 today! Ronnie is the most even-tempered person I have ever known, which is a good balance to my hot-headed nature. He works hard at a job he doesn't always enjoy and where he is rarely rewarded just because it is the right thing to do. He doesn't mind helping me at home and can knock out a sink full of dishes in no time. He has always been the bath-giver for the kids and they love it ... they'll tell you anytime that Daddy is more fun than Mama! (It is kind of sad that that era in our lives is almost over ... we only have one child that still needs to be bathed and he is fast approaching when he'll be able to do it on his own.) I am so thankful for the husband God gave me ... Happy Birthday, Ronnie ... I love you!
From the learning rooms ... just continuing with our summer school ... LB is supposed to be setting long-term and short-term goals this week ... it should be interesting to see what she comes up with.
From the kitchen ... Ronnie requested cube steak for supper tonight and I think I'll do roasted potatoes and maybe some peas to go with it.
A few plans for the rest of the week ... LB will be dancing at the local elementary school on Friday morning, JW has baseball games tonight and Friday night and baseball pictures Saturday morning. I need to spend some time in the garden this week, too.
One of my favorite things ... hymns.
A picture to share with you ... LB with her taco casserole
There are giants living in my house. You can't see them, but I know that they are there.
I even know their names:
They live in my house at my invitation. I don't like them, but I have learned to live with them around, and they serve a purpose. I can blame my shortcomings on them. They don't mind, it gives them a power over me that they don't possess without my help.
Sometimes, these giants are like Goliath. Taunting me, laughing at me as I follow the lead of the men of Israel and cower in the face of the enemy. Other times they are more subtle. They sit by me and quietly whisper the names of my failures and before I know it, I am wallowing in the dirt of self-pity.
Not a pretty picture, I know.
One night recently, as I was l was listening to the voices of failure and regret, God's voice broke through to me in the form of a song. Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns was playing on my computer and it was as if God just spoke those words to my heart and then reminded me of a devotion that my friend Amy shared one Wednesday night several years ago. She used the familiar story of David and Goliath to remind us that our God is bigger than all of our giants. I can't remember all the details of that devotion, but there is no doubt that God brought it back to my mind at the very moment I needed to remember that those giants living in my house head have no power except what I give them.
Like the children of Israel after being freed from Egyptian bondage, time after time I refuse to follow God because I am afraid of the giants in the land of promise. God has set me free and yet I choose the bondage of wallowing in my sin.
Think about that for a moment.
The God of the universe, Who holds all of existence in His hands and yet cares enough about me to know the number of hairs on my head, has set me free from the bondage of my sin and shame and yet I choose to wallow in it.
Because I choose to remain comfortable with my giants rather than trust my God and follow Him into the unknown.
Thankfully, the story doesn't end there.
COVERED BY THE WORD
After everyone went to bed that night, I spent some time praying. I don't want to be comfortable with my giants any longer. I want to be willing to follow God's leading any where it takes me. As I prayed, God reminded me of the many, many promises in His Word concerning things I don't know how to handle, and there was one key to all of them.
God doesn't want me to solve my problems and then come to Him, He simply wants me to surrender everything to Him.
What happened next may seem a little silly to you, but I needed a visual aid for what was going on in my head. Here are the results:
It may look like a bunch of scribbling to you, but on that paper, my giants are covered in the Word of God. You may not be able to see them and that is just how it should be. When you see me, I don't want you to see my giants, I want you to see the love of my God, who covers all my sin and all my shame by His power alone with the blood of Jesus.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39
When I wrestle my giants in my own power, I will always end up wallowing in the dirt. But, I can thank God every day that it doesn't have to be that way.
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Proverbs 17:22 tells us that ... A merry heart doeth good like a medicine ...
With that in mind, I am going to provide you with at least one dose of medicine today.
A few months ago, Ronnie and I bought the kids 2 seasons of Gilligan's Island on DVD. We had no way of knowing that this would quickly become their tv show of choice ... sometimes even surpassing certain cartoons. I am not a huge fan of the show, but I do like the theme song and so does D.
So, sit right back and listen to his rendition of the song ... he got a little tickled in the middle when he looked at me and I couldn't help giggling at him.
. . . I am reminded of why I named this blog paying for my raising.
Today has been one of those days.
Let's begin at the beginning ... there were two things that most often frustrated Mama and Daddy about me.
One ... not paying attention to what I was doing ... I think I've mentioned this one before.
Two ... talking too much ... those of you who know me well are probably not surprised by this one.
Okay, Mama and Daddy, you can add these two things to the list of difficulties that I think I've sufficiently paid for by now.
I'll spare you the stories of my clumsiness since there aren't any really interesting ones, just lots of examples of things that would have been better if my mind and my hands were working together. Instead, I'll share my story about my own kids.
Over the course of the last two days, my children have managed to spill at least three glasses of water on school books and dump an entire canister of sugar into my kitchen floor. They have now been banned from having a glass of water on the table while they are doing school work. (JW was sure that I was banning them from having anything to drink at the table ever again, even during meals ... or maybe he was just being obnoxious, I'm not sure.) And, keep in mind, I've only counted the times school books were involved.
I am considering returning to sippy cups for all of them!
Mama still tells the story of when I was about 3 years old and Daddy needed to run to the store and took me with him. He claims that I started talking the moment he put me in the car and didn't stop until we got home. His question to Mama, upon our return home, is now part of our family history ... Isn't there any way to shut her up?
Ummm, apparently not.
And, apparently, the same is true for my youngest child. Seriously, the kid is like the Energizer Bunny ... he never stops moving and he never stops talking. Sometimes I realize that he is waiting on a response from me and I don't even have clue what he was talking about. Why? Because, I do not possess the brain cells necessary to constantly focus on the musings of his four-year-old mind.
I am hearing ... a mixture of my blog music and the Today Show.
I am wearing ... my pj's.
I am going ... to go to the library to look for a book on Mississippi for our state study we are beginning today.
I am noticing that ... I am not as sore as I thought I would be after playing baseball with the kids last night.
I am thinking ... that I really should go get the kids up and send them to take care of the puppy.
I am hoping ... for a smoother school day with JW today ... yesterday day was a battle of the wills and I'm not sure, but I think he won.
I am reading ...The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo with the kids.
I am creating ...plans for our study of all 50 states ... I am planning on the kids creating a notebook with a couple of pages for each state. We'll see how it goes.
I am remembering ... that we have books due at the library today.
On my mind ... my baby brother's wife, who is expecting the arrival of their 5th child any minute now. I hope for her sake that the baby comes sooner rather than later!
I am pondering ... A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Proverbs 25:11 This was the key verse in our devotion last Wednesday night and I am using that same devotion with the kids in Bible this week.
Counting my blessings ... seeing my kids grow and mature: JW's loving nature ~ even if he is strong willed and loves to argue ;), LB's enthusiasm for life and desire to be a good friend ~ which comes with its own set of emotions and insecurities, D's excitement for new things and willingness to try almost anything ~ which is a blessing and a source of fear for his Mama!
From the learning rooms ... the beginning of what I am calling our summer semester ... as most of our friends are winding down for the year we are gearing up for a new adventure. The kids aren't sure if they like the idea of school in the summer (in other words, they think I am crazy) but I am looking forward to the time with less interruptions in the form of group activities where we can focus our attention on specific areas that need improvement. This is most definitely an experiment, but I am excited about it and I am looking forward to seeing how it works.
From the kitchen ... baked fish and veggies tonight. We are cooking tomorrow at Keepers so we will have a new recipe to try ... taco casserole (I think)!
A few plans for the rest of the week ... things are slowing down this week and we will be home more. I do have a Women on Mission meeting Thursday night and Ronnie wants to make a trip to Lifeway to get the rest of the VBS materials for the church. Fortunately, most of what we'll be doing this week will be as a family.
One of my favorite things ... reading a new book to the kids and seeing it through their eyes as they ask questions and talk about what we've been reading.
Spring is rapidly giving way to summer here in the south and the difference in quite noticeable. As far as the weather goes, the nights are still comfortable but the humidity is already weighing heavy during the day. My kids went out to play this morning and by the time they came back in an hour later they already needed baths. Besides that, they have begun whining about how hot it is when I send them outside to play in the afternoons ... I have little sympathy when I know that they want to leave the beautiful sunshine to come inside and turn their brains to mush watching television.
We have had a very busy couple of weeks around here. Between baseball games and getting Daisy and extra practices for the kids' musical and book-it, we haven't had much down time at our house. But, things are looking up. The kids musical was last night and they did a great job. I must admit that when I left practice on Tuesday, I had little hope of a successful performance, but they are real troopers and worked hard to pull it off - and they did! LB had a speaking part and she and JW both were in the choir. I am proud of all the kids, and I am glad that my kids get to be involved with this kind of thing, but honestly, I am glad they are done for this year! Things will slowly wind down from here and by the end of May we will be done with all extra-curricular activities. Woo-hoo!
We seem to be adjusting to life with a pet quite well. Daisy is a sweet dog and handles playwith the kids quite well. I find myself continually telling them all - but especially LB - to put her down. They want to carry her everywhere, but she has feet that work and I prefer for them to be on the ground! They hatched a plan yesterday to see how she liked the tree. The idea was that JW would climb the tree and then LB would hand Daisy up to him. Fortunately, I discovered the plan before they could carry it out. Hopefully, Daisy will survive the puppy stage and soon be too big for them to pick up!
I have a couple of bigposts floating around in my head, but I have no idea when I'll get around to posting them. One is the part 2 to my Wednesday night post. I have begun typing it, but just haven't had time to do it justice. The other one was born out of a discussion about cultural Christians on AFR yesterday. I don't know if I'll be brave enough to post my conclusions on that topic or not.
I hope all of you have had a great week and are looking forward to a great weekend. JW's baseball team is playing his cousin's team tonight, so we are getting set for a little friendly rivalry. As for the rest of our weekend, we are hoping to get Daisy moved into her new home in the back yard this weekend! I'm not sure if she'll be happier there or not, but I know I will be happier to have her out of my living room! Actually, she hasn't been much trouble at all, but we never planned on an inside dog and I don't have any desire to change that!
One final observation ... it seems that the change of seasons is affecting how often my bloggy friends post ... I miss you guys!
#16 for 2010 Hosted by Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook ... visit her site to find out about creating your own daybook or to find other daybooks to visit.
Outside my window ... it is sunny and quite warm ... the kids are playing with the puppy and cleaning out the van, at least that is what they are supposed to be doing. I am hearing ... D getting into something in the kitchen and heading back outside. I am wearing ... jeans and a blue CHEB t-shirt. I am going ... to take the older kids to play practice and then to run errands with D. I am noticing that ... summer seems to be well on its way! I am thinking ... that puppies and kids are a good, but messy, mix I am hoping ... to get Daisy moved into her new home in the back yard very soon. I am reading ... A Love Woven True by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller. I am creating ... ??? I am remembering ... the people who have suffered so much loss in the last couple of weeks from storms and flooding. On my mind ... a discussion with Ronnie last night and how we need to proceed in the matter. I am pondering ... the words to one of my favorite hymns:
What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!
Counting my blessings ... healthy, happy kids, new curriculum on the way, finding a few minutes to read. From the learning rooms ... puppy training! From the kitchen ... since we are going to be gone almost every night for the next couple of weeks, I think we are going to make lunch our bigger meal and then just have leftovers for supper. I'll start working toward that tomorrow ... today we are having chicken sandwiches for lunch and I'm not sure what we will have for supper ... maybe the same thing! A few plans for the rest of the week ... we've got another busy week with extra play practice, the last book-it of the year and the kids' musical on Thursday night. For the most part, this is the final week of homeschool events for the year, so things should calm down a bit after this week. One of my favorite things ... a good night's sleep. A picture to share with you ... LB before her first solo ... she tapped to Singing in the Rain. This year her solo is a lyrical ballet to Love by Chris Tomlin. Her class is also doing a lyrical ballet to Amazing Grace ... this will be a first for her class and I can't wait to see how it goes.
Okay, I am sure that you all figured out our little surprise. BUT, the kids didn't know until Friday afternoon. We told LB just before we left for JW's baseball game ... just so she would be prepared (I'll explain why that was important in a little while). We weren't sure that we would be able to get her on Friday night since we didn't know if the baseball game would get rained out or not. The game didn't get rained out, but we decided to go ahead and get her after the game since the weather was supposed to be so bad today. Anyway ... we told the boys what we were doing while driving from the game to pick her up. Suffice it to say that excited doesn't really adequately explain the reaction we got from all three kids.
Here is another little surprise for those of you who know my daughter well:
Yes, that is the girl who has been known to climb up anything or anyone just to get away from a dog. LB has been terrified of dogs (and other pets) since she was two and we were chased by a large, vicious dog while walking to a friend's house. I have to admit that I was extremely scared at the time. This event was life changing for her. She'd never been around animals much before that happened and never wanted to be afterward. To this day, her first question when we are going to a home we've never been to before is "Do they have dogs?". The best thing I can think of to compare her fear to is my Mama and her claustrophobia. It was this fear that prompted Ronnie and me to finally decide to get a dog and I think we may be on the right track!
Of course, this little girl is already living up to my friend Amy's dire predictions of my life never being the same. First, she whined much of last night. Fortunately, the kids slept through it, unfortunately, Ronnie and I didn't! Second, the kids can't keep their hands off of her and are driving me crazy wanting to "play" with her even when she really just wants to be sleeping. Hopefully, she will sleep better tonight and we have already told the kids that she can't go to church with us tomorrow.
She does have a skin problem that we didn't notice when we got her (it was extremely dark when we picked her up) and we are hoping that a trip to the vet will quickly solve this problem. (I'm sure some of you, who are experienced pet owners, will know all manner of terrible things this could be, but please don't comment - I'm nervous enough as it is!) I've never owned a dog before, so this is all completely new to me. We always had dogs when I was growing up, but they belonged to my brothers and all I ever did was play with them.
We really want this to be a good experience for all of the kids. They are still so excited and can't believe that they have a dog. I guess that is why I am so hoping for things to go well with this little girl. Soon, she'll have a nice new doghouse in the back yard and Ronnie will have fixed the small holes in our fence so that she can't get out. Truly, I am hoping that once we get her set up in the back yard, the kids will settle down and enjoy her without obsessing over her like they are doing now.
I can't tell you what breed she is 'cause I really don't know. I do know that the mama dog's owner said that she appears to be part lab and part some other breed that I had never heard of. We are wondering if the daddy might have been a hound, since we have seen her lean her head back and howl a couple of times.
Here are a few more pictures from the night:
D, right after he found out where we were headed ...
JW actually wanted us to choose a different girl, but he gave in to LB since she is the one trying to get over her fear ... I was very proud of my little gentleman!
Right this minute, I am wondering what on earth I have gotten myself into!
Welcome to my little corner of the blogging world. Thanks for dropping by. I am a homeschooling mom of 3 great kids. They keep me busy and give me a clearer perspective on the things my parents experienced while raising my brothers and me. My husband and I have been married for almost 18 years. We enjoy spending our time together as a family and are seeking to serve God in any way He calls us. Right now, that includes homeschooling our children and, for Ronnie, serving as the bi-vocational minister of education and families at our church. I hope you find something that interests you here among my ramblings. And now that you are here, please leave a comment ~ they make me feel so special!
LB, our 15 year old daughter and our resident drama queen. She absolutely loves to perform. Her favorite role, so far, is probably Anne Shirley.
JW, our 13 year old son ... loves all things "boy" ... guns, camo, cars, etc. He is our family comedian and like his sister, enjoys performing ... he is also the most tender-hearted of my bunch and he loves to make people laugh! He definitely keeps things interesting.
D, our 9 yr old wild child! This kid is never still and never has been ... even before he was born. He is my best cuddler though and while he has always enjoyed his "baby brother" status, he is beginning to show his independence from the big kids.