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
...an excellent dinner at Chili's tonight
...free wifi
...kids 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!