Sunday, December 25, 2011

celebrate the gift


And the angel said unto them,
Fear not: for, behold,
I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day
in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you;
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in
swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
 And suddenly there was with the angel
 a multitude of the heavenly host praising God,
and saying, Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:10-14

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

since I can't seem to get a real post done ... are a couple of my favorite Christmas songs, just so you'll know that I haven't fallen off of the blogging planet!

Sorry, Amy, I still like the Kenny Rogers/Wynona version best!

And, just for fun...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

daybook ... I can't believe it is December!


Outside my window...
It is gray and dreary ... yesterday's rain brought much colder temps, but that just makes the warmth of the house even better!

I am thinking...
about my friend Alicia who is in Arizona at the Mayo clinic for tests, and I am praying that all goes well and that she will come home with some answers.

I am thankful...
for the wonderful home schooling families that God has put in my life and the way that they invest themselves in my life and my children's lives.

From the learning rooms...
plugging away at the regular stuff.
I'd love to do a Christmas unit study, but I'm not sure if I'll get it done.

In the kitchen...
I'm working on a "snack supper" menu for tonight ...
a little something special while we decorate for Christmas.

I am wearing...
(stolen from my friend Donna ... not the clothes, just the quote)

I am creating...
special plans for this Christmas.  Mama won't have to have any more chemo until after the 1st of the year and I want to take full advantage of her time off.
I'm also working on a few special crocheted items as Christmas surprises ... one especially for LB that I am very excited about!

I am going...
shopping with Mama and my sister-in-law, Stacy.

I am wondering...
how long I should let the boys fight it out up front before I go intervene ... perhaps boxing gloves would be the best Christmas gifts for them.

I am reading...
Fierce Beauty by Kim Meeder

I am hoping...
that I bought Christmas Cards at the end of last year
and that I can find them!

I am looking forward to...
a fun, family night tonight,
shopping with Mama and Stacy later this week,
our city's Christmas parade on Saturday ...
LB has to dress up as a gift :)

I am hearing...
not too much right now since I took a break and stopped the fighting,  then got the kids going on their school work.

Around the house...
I need to put a few finishing touches on the cleaning so that we will be ready to decorate tonight.

I am pondering...
the message of David Platt's book Radical, which I have just finished reading.  The subtitle of this book is "Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream" ... that in and of itself is thought provoking and let me tell  you, this book has challenged me to consider what I believe to be my role in missions.

One of my favorite things...
finishing a project.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
I think I've covered this already!

Here is a picture I am sharing...
actually, I am sharing several pictures from our trip to Atlanta ...  please note that there are actually 2 pics of me in these ... I don't think I've ever done that before!
On the train at Stone Mountain

At my favorite place we visited ... Centennial Olympic Park
in the Olympic Rings fountain

The best way to get a picture of all my kids ... take it when they aren't looking!

Don't forget to visit Peggy over at the Simple Woman's Daybook!
I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011



Outside my window...
the sun has come out, though it is still cold and damp
the dog is looking in the window and whining

I am thinking...
about plans for Christmas

I am thankful...
for the time away last week and
for the time working with OCC

From the learning rooms...
the kids are begging to play our new Rummikub game
and I am thinking I may give in ... 
after all, it does involve using their math skills!

From the kitchen...
we spent so much time eating out over the last week,
I am ready for a home-cooked meal! 
Actually, I am ready for a LOT of home-cooked meals in a row. 
Tonight, I will start with meat loaf, baked sweet potatoes, and probably green beans.

I am wearing...
plaid lounge pants and an old t-shirt

I am creating...
crocheted dish rags for Christmas gifts

I am going...
to Sam's sometime today

I am wondering...
how Mama's doctor's appointment went this morning

I am reading...
Radical by David Platt and
Fierce Beauty by Kim Meeder

I am looking forward to...
being at home for awhile

I am hearing...
the kids talking, D's light sabre humming

Around the house...
getting ready to decorate for Christmas

I am pondering...
some changes I know I need to make

One of my favorite things...
walking into a store and smelling "Christmas"

A few plans for the rest of the week:
mostly school ... maybe a trip to the library ...
 not much else if I can help it

Here is picture I am sharing...
cartons of shoe boxes loaded and ready to go to Atlanta

I'm linking up to the Simple Woman's Daybook if you would like to join in the daybook fun!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

not your traditional turkey day

I love tradition.  That said, I don't mind breaking with tradition once in a while, and we most definitely did just that this Thanksgiving.

Not my Mama's Thanksgiving dinner ...

Since we had no way to cook dinner here in our hotel, we decided to head down to the nearest Cracker Barrel for lunch.  They had a special dinner for the day ... turkey, ham, cornbread dressing, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin streusel pie.  Let's just say that the turkey and ham were great.  Remember how I said that I love tradition?  Well, one tradition I missed was my Mama's cornbread dressing ... moist and lightly seasoned with lots of chicken cooked in and most importantly ... absolutely no sage!  Everything was okay, but it just made me miss being at home cooking with Mama and watching (or listening to) the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while we work.  Of course, that was the Thanksgiving of my childhood and it hasn't been like that in a long time.

A birthday he won't soon forget ...

Besides celebrating Thanksgiving, we also celebrated JW's 10th birthday.  It was an unusual birthday, but I don't think he minded.  After lunch, we went to Stone Mountain Park.  I had no idea what to expect, but it turned out to be a fun day.  The Polar Express 4-D experience was quite interesting.  I didn't know what the whole 4-D thing was about and I am not sure that I would want to watch an entire movie with water blowing in my face and foam snow falling from the ceiling, etc ... but the movie was pretty cool.  I think that the only thing that the kids didn't like was that it was only a 12 minute version on the movie.  While at the park, we also rode the train twice, played mini-golf, watched the Christmas parade and the fireworks show, ate supper, and even did a little shopping, which included buying myself a snowman ornament.  :o)

If I had any question about whether or not JW enjoyed his birthday, they were put to rest as I listened to him talking to my Mama on the phone as we drove back to the hotel.  He was talking 90 to nothing and fairly bubbling with excitement as he told his Grandmother about his day.  It was sweet to hear how much he enjoyed the day, even though it wasn't all about him.

Why I don't do the whole black Friday thing ...

As we drove back to our hotel, tired from our long day, we passed several Wal-mart stores with their parking lots overflowing.  I was reminded of how glad I was to be headed to my comfortable room with a nice bed and no one pushing and shoving and such.  I know that there are some people who thrive on the excitement of getting the great deals and the whole shop 'til you drop concept, but I am NOT one of those people.  I don't even bother to look at the sale papers to see what I am missing.  I am happy for those who think it is fun to line up to shop, but I don't have any desire to join them!

All in all, I would say that we had a good Thanksgiving.  I won't say that I want to travel every year, but doing something different isn't bad once in a while. 

Still, I think I'll go home and make my Mama's turkey and dressing for supper one night next week!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

more than I can count

I have been reading many, many posts on blogs and facebook about all the things people are thankful for this year and thinking that I should have been joining in, but I didn't get it done, so here it is, all in one day.

My 30 days of thanksgiving ...

1. Assurance of my salvation
2. Continued forgiveness
3. Ronnie
4. LB, JW, and D
5. My parents
6. Growing up in a loving, Christian home
7. Ronnie's parents
8. His growing up in a loving, Christian home
9. My brothers, sisters in law, nieces and nephews
10. Extended family
11. My wonderful church family that is a true family
12. The blessing of a place to serve
13. The home school group that we are privileged to be part of ... another family for our family!
14. Friends ... old and new ... for me and for my children
15. Ronnie's jobs
16. Ronnie being willing to work more than one job so that I can stay home and educate our kids.
17. The freedom to home school
18. The variety of curricula available ... making it possible for me to customize our school to my children
19. Our home
20. books to read
21. music ... specifically hymns and other "Christian" music
22. modern conveniences
23. the freedom to travel
24. the beauty of nature
25. traditions
26. breaking with tradition occasionally
27. Packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child
28. Volunteering with OCC year round
29. The people I have met through OCC
30. Working in the processing center in Atlanta

So, there is my list ... not really in order and definitely not complete - really just the tip of the iceberg, but at least it is a start!

I heard a preacher on TV this morning saying that "unexpressed gratitude feels like ingratitude."  I've not heard it put exactly like that before, but it is true and all too often I am guilty of feeling gratitude, but not expressing it ... shame on me.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

are we there yet?

Our family, including Ronnie's Mom, drove from Jackson to Atlanta today to enjoy a short vacation before Ronnie and I join several others from our church to work in the OCC processing center this weekend.  Let me just say that this was an interesting trip!

What I didn't enjoy about the day ...

...leaving later than we had planned
...realizing that I had left a very important item at home and having to turn around to go get it
...the above problem making us another 30 minutes behind in getting off
...torrential rain off and on from Birmingham to Atlanta
...a half-cooked (not to mention half-eaten) chicken sandwich at Arby's
...a daughter panicking because of the weather
...what is normally a 7 hour drive taking somewhere closer to 10 hours
...whiny kids who got tired and started aggravating each other (which, in turn, aggravated the adults!)
...a 6 year old downing a coke and then needing to go to the bathroom at the worst possible moment
...the traffic in Atlanta

the good parts about the day
...getting away for a few days
...the kids' excitement
...only being about 10 miles from home when I realized we would have to go home to get my forgotten item
...the quiet that comes from the kids watching a movie as we drive
...the lovely remnants of the beautiful fall we have enjoyed this year
...hearing the kids laugh together in the back
...getting to our hotel and discovering that it is very nice
...adjoining rooms excellent dinner at Chili's tonight wifi who have settled down for the night and aren't fighting!

I would be remiss if I didn't say that no matter what happened on the drive over here, I am incredibly thankful that we arrived safely despite the terrible weather and the insane traffic.  I do hope that the weather improves for the rest of the week, but even bad weather can't dampen LB's excitement about going to the American Girl store, JW's excitement about spending his 10th birthday on vacation, or mine about working in the processing center this weekend!

Friday, November 18, 2011

OCC 2011 ... in pictures

National Collection Week is finally here!  It has been a good week so far and we still have 3 days to go.  I always love the excitement and even the busyness of collection week ... I enjoy the time spent with the people who volunteer with us.  In the first few years our church was a relay center, most of the volunteers were from our church, with only a couple of exceptions.  Now, we have lots of people who come to help us and I love seeing new people get a feel for the ministry and leave excited about what they have done, knowing that this ministry has eternal significance!

As usual, I have taken tons of pictures this week (and at our church's packing party) but I'll just share a few of my favorites today ... don't miss the last picture, it is my favorite!

Packing party with our home school group

JW and LB teaching their new friend how to fold the boxes

Amy and Poptart packing a box
The busiest table in the room ...
getting the boxes tagged after they are packed

Glenn and Don adding hygeine products

Some of the finished boxes from our church

Trying to get the group together for a picture

one of the first groups of boxes that was
brought to our relay center

Morgan and Caitlin "man-handling" a carton full of shoe boxes

LB and the CLIF guys unloading boxes

JW ... if his arms were just a little longer, he could carry six!

Amy doing the hard task of numbering the filled cartons, while LB looks on.
I sure do appreciate Amy doing that unpleasant job!

 We do see some unusual things come through the relay center ...
for instance we got six boxes from one lady, all stuffed to the gills with notes taped to the top.
 In case you can't read the writing, it says
boy 4-9 ... contents listed ...
Please don't remove anything ... I know it's full - just tape the ends

list of the contents in the box
One of my favorite things about collection week is seeing all the cartons lined up,
waiting to be moved on to the next location ...

Okay ... now for my favorite picture ... 

Brad and Ronnie hamming it up at the church's packing party ...
it is a shame that they didn't have matching ties!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Two of my favorite hymns, perfect for a peaceful Sunday.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

my kind of school day

I am all for school days that look like school, but every once in a while it is nice to do something different.  Yesterday was that kind of a day.

Our history lesson ... Mississippi Heritage Days at the Agricultural and Forestry Museum:

The group

D manning the gas pump

LB in front of the rose garden

JW refusing to actually look at me ...
with the blacksmith shop in the background

Ronnie and Ira watching the blacksmith make a
horse head bottle opener ...
later Ronnie tried it out to see if it really worked

Civics class ... taking the kids with us to vote:

I wonder if just one more sign would ifluence my vote one way or another??

Science ... gathering leaves for LB's book-it project and later finding out why those leaves change colors in the fall:

LB helping this one along a little bit ... it wasn't quite ready to fall

We finished off the day with a trip to the library to get a book about why leaves change colors ... and in that book we learned why the colors have been so wonderful this fall ... but that is a story for another day ... right now it is time to get ready for church!

Friday, November 4, 2011

critters ... a totally random post

Fall is my favorite time of the year and November is one of my favorite months ... with Halloween behind us, we can get on with really enjoying fall without my children being afraid every time they walk into a store ... okay, that may be a little extreme, but they really don't like all the ghosts and ghouls hanging around in October.  That being said, I am working on a post that is appropriate for this time of year, but this isn't it.

This has been the season for critters. 

A few weeks ago I mentioned a salamander in my muffin tin.  The truth is, we have caught and released at least four salamanders in the past several months.  In the summer they hang out around our front door and eat any bugs attracted to our porch light.  Quite frankly, I don't mind them being there ... as long as they were staying outside ... but I am not to fond of them being in my house~especially in my muffin tin!
There should be a picture of the critter in my muffin tin here, but I can't find it :(

The salamanders may not be my favorite critters, but the one I saw at Wal-mart last night is much worse.  I had been at the church for a Women on Mission meeting and decided to stop for coffee creamer (which I am not totally sure that I can live without) and to take advantage of being all by myself by looking around for a little while.  When I pulled the buggy out of the line, I saw something moving out of the corner of my eye.  Much to my surprise, I saw the biggest rat I have ever seen scurry behind the garbage can.  You will be happy to know that I resisted the urge to scream and calmly quickly entered the store.  I debated about telling the greeter about her, ahem, visitor, but I knew that if I was in her shoes, I would want to know what was lurking behind my garbage can!  The nice little lady just kept saying Oh my, over and over again.  Later, while I was perusing the yarn ... wishing that I could justify buying some that I am sure I could find something to do with ... I heard a man say something along the lines of I think all we can do is lock those doors and make sure he doesn't come inside the store! 

I don't know what they ended up deciding to do, but I can tell you this ... I left via the opposite end of the store!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

because this one should come first ... even if I am a month late

A little over a month ago, on September 17th, we celebrated LB's 12th birthday, but I failed to blog about it, so I am doing it today, on D's 6th birthday, before I write about him sometime this week (I hope!!!).

So, we've entered new territory with this girl of ours.  In less than one year eleven months, there will be a teen-ager living in our house!  But, I am trying not to spend too much time dwelling on such a disturbing thought and I am also not sold on what seems to be the general concensus that if you have a teen, you have to put up with, ahem, shall we say, difficult behavior until those terrible years have passed.  I am just not sure that being rude, disrespectful and generally disrupting the rest of the family has to come with the territory.

Anyway, off my soapbox and back to my girl.

It has been a big year.  LB is growing into a young woman in every way.  She is learning to cook and help out around the house.  Most importantly, she is growing in her sensitivity to others.  This is important, but it does also make some things harder.

I am proud of the young woman she is becoming, but I probably don't tell her that often enough.  I do love the fact that she still loves to play dolls and I think she would still play dress-up if any of her old dress-up clothes still fit :o).   She hasn't started asking to wear make up yet and she had the guts (or just didn't know better than) to tell some friends last month that her Mama doesn't want her dressing hot to attract boys.  One of the girls then told her that she didn't understand because she is home schooled ... well, maybe that is true, but it certainly isn't a bad thing!  This little incident opened the door for a good discussion about her future and the things that her Daddy and I think are important for her to know.

Many times in the last year, my Mama and I have talked about how our little girl has disappeared and been replaced by this preteen girl who is still struggling to figure out who she is and where she is going.  It would be a lie for me to say that I don't miss the bubbly motor-mouth of days gone by, but I know that this transformation is necessary.  The older she gets, the more I realize the need for me to pray harder and more for her as she navigates waters that seem much muddier for her generation than they were for mine.  Still, there can be no doubt that God has a plan for her life and even though I sometimes feel a sadness for the little girl, I can't wait to see where He will lead her.

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.  Philippians 1:6

Complimentary Caramel Pie ... after supper at O'Charley's
The set of Julie books Grandmother and Papa gave LB

Her gently used Nikki and Sprocket (American Girl) doll that her Daddy
and I bought from a family member for LB

JW chose a set of American Girl paper flowers for LB
(are you seeing the theme here?)

D actually went a little different and gave her a set of stamps ... which she
used today to make his birthday card!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

some people show goats ...

Us?  We do crafts.

Two years ago, I had no idea that ordinary people could enter their craft items to be judged and displayed at the fair.  I have seen the displays before, but never paid a whole lot of attention to them until Marie and Donna started talking about their Keepers group and the items that they would work on as fair entries.  Last year we dabbled in the idea of fair entries ~ LB entered 4 items and I entered 2.  We decided that we really like doing it, so this year we did a few more ... 13 for LB and 11 for me.  JW even entered two items - a glass etching and a painted wooden sailboat - and was surprised with blue ribbons on both.  LB received 7 blue ribbons and 6 red ribbons ... and just for the record, she has already spent her prize money at least 10 different ways, but the top of her list is a trip to the American Girl store when we go to Atlanta next month for a short vacation and to work in the OCC processing center.  All in all, we were quite pleased with the results of this year's fair and we spent a lot of time looking at the projects displayed and talking about the things we can do for next year.

JW and D worked together to paint the sailboat

LB's small crocheted purse ... I may have helped with this one just a little

The little glass jar in the middle is JW's etching
LB's "hobo" bag ...
she made it with some help from her Grandmother

LB's mosaic picture frame
LB's quilling ... she also painted the picture frame
LB's string art
My very first doily

My tin punch ... I think this could be a pretty good stress reliever

The set of multi-colored coasters in the center is mine ...
the off-white ones to the left of mine were made by my friend Donna

This is my quilling ... and it is my favorite of all my fair entries this year.

 Next year I plan to enter more crocheted items ... especially the larger ones like an afghan and a baby blanket.  I would also like to do a dresser scarf or table runner in the fine thread category.  JW is all excited about entering things next year since he now realizes that there is money involved!  We'll just have to wait and see if he can maintain his excitement long enough to actually get things made all next next year.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011



Outside my window...
It is an absolutely beautiful day!  Fall is in the air and
while it may not be here to stay, I am going to enjoy it while I can.

I am thinking...
about D's birthday coming up and the fact that I still haven't posted about LB's birthday.

I am thankful...
for home schooling friends who remind me what is important.

From the learning rooms...
today we will begin reading about famous explorers as we prepare for Book-It next week.

In the kitchen...
Ronnie brought home about 8 huge bags of frozen onions from work last week (he works for a trucking company and sometimes they get to use things from undeliverable loads) so I think I'll make him some french onion soup for supper tonight and maybe I'll get really energetic and make fresh bread to go with it ... now I just have to decide what to fix for the kiddos who wouldn't touch the soup with a ten-foot pole!

I am wearing...
gray sweats, orange t-shirt

I am creating...
I'm working on a crocheted doll blanket for one of my shoe boxes
 and a small afghan for my mom's birthday

I am going...
nowhere today ... Ronnie has my van!

I am wondering...
why some things have to be so complicated!

I am reading...
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

I am hoping...
for many things ... one thing in particular is that LB is happy with the
results from her fair entries.  Last year she entered 4 items, this year she had 13.

I am looking forward to...
working the fair booth for Operation Christmas Child this Saturday.

I am hearing...
the boys playing the wii and LB talking about her dog.

Around the house...
we are going to need to find somewhere to display the
completed fair projects we'll be bringing home in a couple of weeks.

I am pondering...
how to handle an uncomfortable situation with the right attitude.

One of my favorite things...

A few plans for the rest of the week:
going to see our fair entries displayed on Thursday,
then to the pumpkin patch on Friday, and the fair on Saturday.

Here is picture I am sharing...
Before and after pics of the boys' recent haircuts ...
no offense to any long-haired boys/men out there,
but I have to tell you that I like them better with short hair!

 Don't forget to check out other daybooks over at The Simple Woman's Daybook.