Friday, November 1, 2013

an exercise in thankfulness

Ah, November is finally here!  

I'm not a big fan of the end of October, so I am always happy to see November arrive and the focus shift to the happy things of fall.

This year, in preparation for Thanksgiving, I want to help my children really think about the things for which they are thankful.  In other words, I don't want them just to say the same things we talk about every year, I want them to dig deeper and see if they can expand their lists.

So, with that goal in mind, my plan is to read a different passage or passages from Psalms every day and then have the children write down something they are thankful for on a slip of paper.  We are going to collect the slips in a jar and then read them later this month.  Ideally, we would read them Thanksgiving Day, but I don't think that will work this year, so we'll just have to find another time.

Of course, the goal is to remind the kids ~ and myself ~ that we need to always be thankful for the abundant blessings God has showered on our family.  Ronnie and I try to live this out before them all year long, but I think we all need a solid, tangible reminder every once in a while.

I'd like to tell you that I'll blog something I am thankful for every day this month, but we all know that isn't going to happen.  Just know that I am adding my list to the kids' list and maybe I'll share some of the things from each of us later this month.

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Friday, September 20, 2013

going a little retro

Last week I found a new pattern for a crocheted trivet with a retro look and feel that I really liked and so, even though I don't really have any use for a new trivet, I decided to try my hand at it.  One thing that interested me is the fact that this pattern is rated as "intermediate" difficulty.  I usually go for the easy patterns that I can work up without having to think too much, but every now and then I feel the need to stretch myself a tiny little bit and see what happens.  

 What happened is a trivet that was a lot of fun to make, and really not very hard at all.  So far I have made four of them, just to play with the color combinations.  I'm working on another, so apparently everyone I know will be getting a trivet for Christmas :) ... I've thought about putting them in OCC Shoeboxes, but I don't really know what the kids would do with them.    

They start out kind of funny looking and it is very hard to see how they will turn into anything like the end result.

Ronnie says that they are downright ugly at this stage, 
but if you look closely you can see that the spikes are starting to turn, which will eventually make the final shape.

This is my first attempt.  I think it turned out pretty well.  
I really like the brown and blue color combination.

My second attempt

Number three ... 

For this last one, I changed the final round to half double crochets
instead of singles.  I like the way it sets off the color change.

So, anybody want one?  I'm having too much fun playing with the color combinations to stop now. At the moment, I'm working on one that has a brown center with yellow for the contrast.  I may even throw in a third color, but I haven't decided between sage green or a coral color.

Happy Crocheting!

(Here's a link to the pattern, in case anyone is interested ... Colorful Kitchen Trivet)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I say it every year on this day.

How can it be possible that I am old enough to have a ____ year old daughter.

Here we are again and this year I have a fourteen year old!

I spent the morning looking through old pictures ~ you know from back in the dark ages when we actually printed pictures ~ and it dawned on me that I really miss those carefree days before the real world crowded in and we all had to grow up and go to school and such.  

But there is joy in these new days as well.  Today that joy is found in celebrating the young woman that my beautiful baby girl is becoming.  I find joy in the little things I notice about my girl ... this has been a hard year for our family and I can see her coming through it stronger, but a little softer and more willing to look for the good instead of the bad.  She's learning the value of working hard at things that aren't as easy as she thought they would be. That lesson alone will serve her well as she continues to become the woman that God created her to be.  Sometimes, I miss that tiny little girl who used to talk my ear off but that is mainly because I realize that she is quickly growing up and I want to hold on to our days together.  

I wish I had something witty or memorable to say at this point, but all I know is that I love this little girl with all my heart and I am excited to see how God is going to use her for His glory.

My little angel ... I didn't even feel like a Mama yet when this picture was taken :)

I loved this outfit!

With her Daddy on her first Easter

LB with my Mama ... we didn't know then that Mama would be
LB's first best friend.  I am so thankful for the time they spent
together while they had the opportunity.

I think this is one of the cutest pictures ever taken of my girl!
She was dressed up for her first trip to the Dixie Stampede.

On the tire swing at my parents' house

LB's third birthday

Her first day of Mother's Morning Out

The day she was recognized at church for memorizing 100 Bible Verses.
She sure misses her friend Poptart since she moved away!

At Disney, with the only character she really wanted to meet!

At a family reunion last weekend

Me and Mama ~ I was 20 ... several people have looked at this
and thought it is a picture of LB and Mama.

Beautiful girl!

Monday, August 12, 2013

the bumpity road

I can't even begin to count the number of times that I have traveled over this road.

As kids, my brothers and I walked it to meet the school bus and rode our bikes (and later our horses) over its one little hill and hundreds of ruts to get to the main road,  you know, the one that was paved.  As teens, we learned to drive going back and forth to that main road. 

Now I drive this little road with my own kids.  As a matter of fact, they are the ones that dubbed it the bumpity road.  When they were younger, they couldn't wait to turn onto this dirt road because they knew that as soon as the car tires left the pavement it was safe for them to take off their seat belts.  

Very few people even know where this tiny little dirt road goes, but for me this little bumpity road is special for one very important reason ...

                                                                                 ... it leads home.

A few weeks ago, around the beginning of spring, I was driving this road alone and the sun was shining and the trees and grass were as green as I have ever seen them, and the thought came to me how this road is, in some ways, a lot like life.  

If I am only looking down at the bumps in the road, I might miss the beauty around me.

But there is much more to this little road than a life lesson.

This little road takes me to a place where I feel safe.  

A place where I can go to find refuge in a storm.


I wrote the words above sometime last year and, despite the fact that the road has gotten considerably more "bumpity" over the last few months, I find that they are still true today.  
You see, I am writing the post that I have been dreading since the first time I blogged about cancer.  And, despite the fact that I have written it in my head more than once~ testing the waters, so to speak~ I just haven't been able to find the right words or force my fingers to type them.  Truth be told, I don't want to write this post now, but I have come to realize that I must.  I cannot move forward until I gather my courage and do it.  I want to blog.  I have lots of posts that I want to write, but I just can't.  There was a time when I found great joy in blogging, but now I can't even comment on my friends' blogs ~ this unwritten post is just too heavy on my mind.

I know that this probably sounds a little melodramatic, but I just can't help it.  This is just one more step in walking through the most difficult thing I've ever experienced.  Well, perhaps walking is the wrong word ... groping would probably be more accurate - now I'm going to do a little more groping and actually type the words ...

Last Friday was my Daddy's 71st birthday and last Friday also marked three months since my Mama went home to be with Jesus.  

There, I've said it.

There are many, many things I'd like to say about my Mama, and maybe someday I will share more of them here, but today I'll only share the thing that I have clung to for these last few months.  

My mother was serious about her faith.  She knew the love of her Savior here on earth and now she is experiencing that love first hand.  And, like many others before me, I can say that despite the fact that I am experiencing a sadness that I cannot explain in mere words, I would never, ever want her to leave the joys of Heaven to return to the pain of this fallen world.  

I don't suppose I will ever stop missing Mama as long as I am on this side of Heaven, but as long as I am here, I pray that I can follow in her footsteps and live the legacy she left for her children and grandchildren. 

 A legacy of love and devotion to her Savior, to her family, and to her friends.


I don't know how I originally intended to finish the post that I titled the bumpity road.  Who knows, maybe this is the ending that this particular post needed.

I do know that the bumpity road has changed for me.  
That little road still leads home, but it will never be the same.  

My understanding of home has changed.

I will always be thankful for the home that Mama made for our family and the fact that I could (and still can) return to that home and find comfort, but I am even more thankful for the knowledge that this fallen world, filled with bumpity roads, is not my final home.  

This is Mama's legacy.

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, 
when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I
Psalm 61:2

I will say of the LORD, 
He is my refuge and my fortress: 
my God; in him will I trust. 
Psalm 91:2

Someday, when my children are grown, I pray that they will look at the bumpity roads that they have walked and know that there is a place where they can find refuge in a storm.  I pray that I will always point them to the One who is able to provide that refuge.  I always want to be there for them, just as Mama was always there for me, but ultimately, I hope they know, just as Mama taught me, that it is not me (or anyone else) that they need ... it is Jesus.

Jesus saith unto him, 
I am the way, the truth, and the life: 
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 
John 14:6

Peace I leave with you, 
my peace I give unto you: 
not as the world giveth, give I unto you. 
Let not your heart be troubled, 
neither let it be afraid. 
John 14:27

Friday, March 29, 2013


I am blessed.  

That is the focus of this post.  I could spend this entire post telling you about the chaotic turn my life has taken lately, but that wouldn't do any of us any good.

The truth is that no matter what is going on in my life, those circumstances cannot separate me from the Father who loves me unconditionally.

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 8:38-39

As far as I can tell, these two verses pretty much cover anything that might come my way and if none of these things can separate me from the love of God, what can I possibly fear?

This song is the title of the musical our choir will be presenting on Sunday morning and it is also one of my all time favorite hymns.  I had always liked it, but a few years ago Mama told me that it is one of her favorite and one of the songs she wants sung at her funeral.  That comment caused me to listen even closer to the words and really think about what they mean.  I hope you'll do the same.

Because He lives I can face tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

a fresh start

A quick Google search this morning led me to a couple of lists of superstitions associated with New Year's Day.  Some of these I had heard before, some I hadn't.  Most seemed silly on the surface, but when I thought about them I realized that they would be difficult to carry out and the underlying fear (for those that believe in that kind of stuff) is actually quite sad.

Let me just say that I am not even almost superstitious.  Faith and superstition have no place in the same heart, so I choose faith.  Besides, I find it much easier to trust that my Father is in control than to believe that it is bad luck to wash dishes on New Year's Day.  Or here's an even better one ... did you know that some people believe that the first person to enter your home in the new year should be a tall, dark-haired, handsome man and that he should come bearing gifts?  But don't let a blonde or red-haired man, or a woman (with any color hair) be the first one to come in your house ... even if you have to keep them out at gun-point!  Oh, and for the good luck to work, the dark-haired man must enter your house before anyone already inside leaves the house. Really?!?

With all that said, there is one thing about the New Year's Day superstitions that I like and I think I will use that idea to decide what to do with the rest of my day.  It seems that the idea behind all of these silly superstitions is that what you do on New Year's Day will have an effect on how you spend the rest of the year.  So, with that in mind, here are my plans for today.

There is no question that the first thing on my list (I should have already done, but haven't yet) is to spend time with my heavenly Father, reading His Word and praying.  If I made no changes in 2013, except to increase my time with my Father, it would be a good year.

Today, I also plan to spend time with my family.  Since we are all stuck inside, (due to the fact that the kids are all still nursing coughs and it is raining and yucky out so we would rather keep them inside) I want our time together to be pleasant.  Of course, keeping three cooped up kids from bickering is next to impossible, so my goal will just be to handle it well when they do.

I am going to cook a good, healthy meal for my family today.  It will consist of the traditional black-eyed peas and cabbage ... not because I believe they bring good luck, but because my hubby really likes them and I like fixing things that he likes.  Over the years of cooking the cabbage, I have discovered that I don't hate it as much as I thought I did.  I still don't like black-eyed peas too much, but I'll eat them today, just to make him happy!  Added to that we will have pork loin and corn-bread and probably some English peas (since the kids don't like the cabbage!).

Finally, I am going to put my house in order.  Not the whole house, just the living room - which has doubled as the sick-room lately - and the kitchen.  Neither are in terrible shape, but they do need a little attention and what better pattern to set for the new year than to take care of a small problem before it gets out of hand?

Life is full of changes and we have seen quite a few over the last year.  In 2012, lots of good things happened ... Ronnie officially became the manager of his department and has proven himself quite capable of handling the job ... LB became a teenager and, for the most part, hasn't turned into some horrible monster that none of us can live with ;o) ... we began another school year and have experienced the usual ups and downs that are a natural part of each new challenge we face in school.  

2012 also brought some changes in our church family ... new members that have quickly become new friends ... church family members that have gone home to be with the Lord (sad for us, not for them) ... Ronnie was privileged to perform the wedding of our good friends Brooks and Leigh Anne.  There are other things, of course, but these are the ones that stand out the most.

Of course, there were some changes that we wish hadn't come ... most of all, the decision of our oldest and dearest couple friends, Brad and Amy, to move their family to Starkville so that Brad could take a new job.  ~Okay, sideline here to say that I have no idea how to describe our friendship with Brad and Amy ... Ronnie and I have been married for 15 years and we have been friends with them for 12 of those years ... our children have literally grown up together and they've been much more than just "friends at church" but to try and put all of that into words would take days and be way more than anyone is really interested in knowing.~  I'll just say this about their moving, we pray that they will be firmly in the will of God in whatever they do and that they won't forget how to find their way home!

It is impossible for me to sit here, with a brand new year ahead and not look forward to the things that it will bring.  There are many changes that I want to make in this new year ... some that I have been working on for years and some that are new challenges ... my prayer is that God will show me which things that HE wants me to focus on and which things I should simply leave in the past.  My desire is that when 2013 draws to a close, I will be able to say that the most important change in this year has been that I have drawn closer to God, because I know that in doing so, He will draw closer to me.  What more can we ask from a shiny new year?