Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I'm gonna scoot outa town tomorrow to help some friends move. I'm taking the girls and leaving the boys. We'll be back Friday evening for Landen's game. Until then...

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from "Little Women". (I have to finish it this weekend for a book club meeting Monday - Yikes! - audio book? movie? remake? kidding...)

Mrs. March discussing her husband:

"He never loses patience, - never doubts or complains, - but always hopes, and works and waits so cheerfully, that one is ashamed to do otherwise before him." ...(While he's away at war)"If I don't seem to need help, it is because I have a better friend, even than father, to comfort and sustain me. My child, the troubles and temptations of your life are beginning, and may be many; but you can overcome and outlive them all, if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one. The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you will feel to Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom. His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of lifelong peace, happiness, and strength. Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother."

Thank You, Lord, for my dad. Thank You for my husband. Thank You for loving me so deeply through them both.
Happy Birthday, fellas!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Toad-ally Fun

Last night we grilled out at our friends' house . The three couples dined inside. Realizing the kids had been swimming in a clay pit pond, gathering & consuming wild blackberries, writing on the driveway with seven colors of chalk, and jumping on the trampoline (with or without food & puppies), the 17 kids ate at their leisure on picnic tables outside. The wisdom involved in this arrangement became increasingly evident as the meal progressed. A steady stream of representatives passed through the kitchen to retrieve endless plates full of drippy watermelon. The last set of retrievers were pleased to take armfuls of sticky rinds "because you don't throw them away until there's no red left". Ultimately one concerned "informer" entered the dining room to announce: "Ardyn needs another pair of shorts because hers have puppy puke on them".

After skateboards, motorcycles, several games of air hockey & Foosball, and birthday candles, the evening came to an end. But not before a plague of frogs emerged from the wooded swamp to join us in the dim glow of porch light. They were everywhere. The girls had one in each hand, gently squeezing until frog bellies bubbled up to their visible delight. (The frogs' delight was terribly in question) Giggling would turn to rejoicing to send frogs leaping for their lives. Luckily for every creature involved, the night seemed to manage an unlimited supply of fresh, new frog bellies. Ardyn won the prize for "animal magnetism" as one of the froggies could hold his "excitement" no longer and relieved himself all over her second pair of shorts.

Thank You, Lord for last night. Thank You for the laughter, encouraging conversation and the comfort of friends who love You like I do. Thank You, for keeping the kids safe last night - and for Your promise that even if they had gotten hurt, You would keep us all in the safety of Your love where all things work together for Good. I rest in You.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


My sister-in-law's hubby took this ladybug photo over the weekend. Isn't it neat? The tiny water droplets on its back are wonderful. I've had several folks mention that my profile photo is about 25 pounds old. I don't have another with which to replace it, so my new ladybug friend will do nicely for now. Thanks, Daniel!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Out & About

It's Saturday night. We were just about to get settled in for a good night's sleep when Philip was called out to work. Crud. I don't relax well when he's unrested and out working with electricity in the dark. So here I am: unsettled on a lot of levels.

Earlier this evening, he and I went on our first date in a while. We went to Chili's and ran some errands while the boys attended an "end of school" party. It was good to be together/alone....alone/ know what I mean: no munchkins.

Today he wired a shop for a friend. Philip took the boys with him and we have two girl cousins visiting for the weekend, so when James awoke, he was completely outnumbered. Besides monitoring dress-up, play-dough, coloring, and swinging, James and I were able to watch a movie and lift weights. Both activities brought me to tears.

Tomorrow I am scheduled to teach in the 2-year-old class throughout Sunday School and both services. If Philip gets called to work tomorrow (or hasn't returned from this outing) we're gonna be in some interesting mess. Five kids, 2 cousins, no takes a village? After church we'll have lunch with a young couple who are moving away this week. (sniff) Then there is NOTHING on the calendar for the rest of the day --for the day of the rest. We will get to wash bedding by Monday for the cousins shall be gone and JW will have begun his Memorial Day journeys. From 10 to 7 in just a few hours.

Philip's birthday is coming up and so is the b-day of his friend/moonlighting boss. So, we're getting together as families and grilling Monday evening. Here is sad news: There will be no German Chocolate Bunt Cake covered with Coconut-Pecan Icing and Dark Chocolate Shavings, surrounded by Chocolate covered Strawberries. "It's tradition!" you say. He doesn't care. I believe his exact words were, "Go ahead and make it, I guess, but I'm not eatin' it." No thanks... I checked that little item off my "to do" list. He's so bound and determined to lose his last 5 pounds, that he's not even taking a break for his birthday. He's such a better loser than I.

Hey! That handsome biggest loser just walked in. Now I can go get re-settled.

Thank You, Lord, for keeping my family safe in Your arms. We trust in You alone.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Maid Service

Ok. The casa is clean...but not without incident. Boy howdy! The day started out fine. I had a list of items that needed to be addressed. Each child selected one duty for each year of their age. (I did NOT have 36 left over). Just as we were about to embark, I broke cardinal rule #3 and answered the phone. Thanks to call-waiting, I responded to two prayer requests, a call from an emergency room, one returned message from my doctor, a check-in from a brother, and a reminder from the financial aid office at ETBU (for JW). AN HOUR LATER....the kids were hoping I had forgotten about my cute little list.

We trudged on. Some kids worked diligently. Others struggled. In many ways, we were forced to make things worse before there was evidence of improvement. I kept the CD's playin' and the spirits high. I ordered pizza for them as a reward for hard work. (and to keep the kitchen list checked off). Then it all seemed to fall apart. I may have jumped the gun on the pizza deal.

Though some of the work had been completed, much of the efforts were thwarted with disrespect, complaints, laziness, selfishness, and apathy. And that was just MY part!

Cut to 6pm. Due to the fact that they were rough-housing while I was re-doing their projects, the boys have been exiled to their room. Landen responds with nervous tidying, while Luke welcomes the unexpected opportunity to finish up a few more chapters of "Prince Caspian". Mari has some milk in her room while she plays with Ashlin. Ardyn is listening to music and writing at James' desk. I am crying. Sweating and crying. The kids' bathroom had sent me over the edge. Luke assured me he had swept and mopped. However, there was a dirty sock under the cabinet, fuzz behind the toilet and a piece of torn tissue beside the overflowing trash can. UGH! I decided to start over. "I don't WANT to clean their toilet! I've cleaned it the last 3 times. I am NOT their MAID. I am NOT their SERVANT!"

wow. There's a cold, hard truth. Not only do I lack a "servant's heart", I don't even want one. I am a wretch.

While I finished the cleaning, I prayed for wisdom. When the house and my heart were quiet and clean, I took some food back to the girls' bedroom. The boys assumed I had invoked the proverb that says "he who does not work, does not eat". They were grateful and relieved for the merciful plate I offered them. After eating, the boys said they wanted to go dust their room. I read to the girls and put them to bed. The boys came into my room to say they were ready for me to check their room and that they were sorry. Landen asked if I was mad. I told him I was not mad. I was frustrated with my own laziness and bad attitude. I was frustrated with how I had obviously passed on some of my bad habits to them. Luke said he was sorry for being grumpy and lazy. He said he had stayed up too late reading his book. They wanted another chance. I told them we would keep praying for humbleness and strength to put others first. Group hug - goodnight kisses.

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." --Christ Jesus in 'Matthew 25'
Lord, please keep working on me. I want to be humble in Your sight. (That's gonna take a huge miracle....Thanks)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mad Gab meets Hymn Sing Answers

1. Just As I Am
2. Holy Ground
3. I Surrender All
4. Majesty
5. In The Garden
6. One Day
7. Oh Come Let Us Adore Him
8. I Love You, Lord
9. In Remembrance
10.Wonderful Grace of Jesus
11.Near to The Heart of God
12.Be Thou My Vision
13.Lord, I’m Coming Home
14.God Is So Good
15.How Great Thou Art
16.My Tribute
17.Now I Belong To Jesus
18.Wherever He Leads I’ll Go
19.Oh For A Thousand Tongues To Sing
20.Softly and Tenderly
21.Low In The Grave He Lay

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mad Gab meets Hymn Sing

A mother and her young daughter walked along the road and they came upon an anthill.
“Wow, ants!” exclaimed the little girl. “I know these ants, they are my friends.”
The mother was pleased with her daughter’s keen sense of appreciation for God’s creatures. “Yes God made the ants, and God made you…”
The girl interrupted, “AND because I took my bath today, the ants know ME!”
“Really?” the puzzled mother humored the little girl, “What makes you say that?”
After a deep sigh, the daughter replied, “Because we sing that song at church: ‘Now wash me and I shall be what earth ants know’!”

More Hymnal Fun
1. justice high ham
2. hoe league round
3. eye sore enter hall
4. match is tee
5. hen thug art den
6. wand hay
7. owe camel lettuce a door rim
8. isle a few lowered
9. Henry member rinse
10. wand truffle gray soft cheese us
11. near tooth he yard tough cod
12. be Thelma fishin’
13. lower dime call mink home
14. goddess soak cud
15. hug rate towel art
16. might rip butte
17. no why bill long stooge his us
18. we river heel eat saw go
19. over a house in ton stew sink
20. saw flea ant end early
21. loan thug ray fillet

(Answers will post tomorrow :)


Yesterday we cleaned out the girls' room. It's pretty and pink/purple/green now. We elevated their bed with royal "towers" and now they sleep as true princesses. The queen has received vast tracks of storage for only $8.98.

Tomorrow we will "really clean" the house. This is quite a different undertaking than "cleaning up". We "clean up" every hour - on the hour - it seems. The "real cleaning" should probably take place far more often than it does, but tomorrow is the day. Hoo-rah.

Today a 5th grade friend is coming over to join our home school happiness. James is here for the morning, so I believe we'll enjoy a "guest speaker" during P.E. I'm thinking a golf clinic on the back lawn would afford me bonus moments with the preK-1st graders. Each boy has a baseball game this evening, so it should be a long, fun night at the park.

Thank You, Lord for being the same: yesterday, today, tomorrow. Thank You for never changing, while consistently moving in my life to bring about purifying change. My hope is in You, alone.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

remember: (v.) to retain in the mind carefully

Papa Hank went to be with Jesus a month ago. I miss him. This photo was taken Thanksgiving 2007. He had been diagnosed a few months earlier with lung cancer (I can't spell it... the asbestos kind from 40 years on the railroad) We had such a great time listening to stories and sharing our own and sometimes just being quiet together. Perhaps he's doing much of the same today - listening, sharing, being together - with Jesus. I hope he's met up with his parents, my Dad, and Tim's boys. Oh, the friends, the family, and all the saints we read about. I wait for the day!
Lord Jesus, help us as we live today on Earth. The sin and darkness and sadness can seem overwhelming at times. Give us Heaven. Draw our eyes to focus on You so that "the things of this world might grow strangely dim, in the light of Your Glory and Grace"! And may Your light shine through us to the lost and hurting. May our lives here draw attention to Your glory. May we share Your kind words, loving deeds, and patient attention. Thank You for Your marvelous, perfect plan! Thank You for Your love.

Just Wondering...

Proverbs 16:33 "We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall."

Yahtzee anyone? Could someone remind me why Baptists don't believe in gambling, and upon what scripture do we base this tradition?

Friday, May 16, 2008


January 2, Philip and I participated in a "Biggest Loser" competition with some friends at church. It lasted 12 weeks and we won that rig by losing 15% of ourselves! We weren't finished so when my brother, Tim wanted a piece of the action, we agreed. He & Rebecca are one of 10 teams from Washington, and Philip & I gathered a comparable group of friends/family down here in Tejas. Each Monday we report how much weight we've lost in terms of percentage. Everyone's combined loss totals more than 180 pounds! Isn't that wonderful. See what a bunch of strangers can accomplish in 6 short weeks when they get motivated. All "teamwork" aside, the top five losers are takin' home a prize June 23.

Anyhoo, if you're bored and or interested, you can check out the Loserville blog by clicking on the link in the sidebar. My favorite post is Tim's from the first week. You'll know it when you see it. He's a stinker.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Great Deal

While Kathy and I were walking around at the book fair, I saw a table full of paperback biographies. One of the titles was "Gladys Aylward". It was the only title I needed to complete a set I was saving for next year. The sign above one pile of books read: "$8.99". Another sign nearby read: "All biographies on sale: $6.99". Still another sign sat atop a pyramid of paperbacks and it read: "10 for $10". I grabbed a single copy of the book I wanted. I sweetly approached the vendor behind the table. I layed the book down gently, yet diliberately. I said, "Hi. I really want this book. I'm a little confused by the posted prices, but this is the book I wish for. I want to take this book to my house today...just one copy of this book. I just want you, to tell me, what I need to pay you, so that I may take this book, home with me." She smiled broadly. She picked up the book and handed it to me. "You may have it." I giggled in embarrassment, wondering if I had annoyed her with my ramblings. "You are funny. You made me laugh. I want you to have this book." I thanked her for the book and the laugh. And we enjoyed a great big, group guffaw.

Thank You, Lord, for laughter. Help us not take ourselves too seriously. Help us be a blessing to others...even strangers...especially strangers. Thank You for providing joy in Your special way. You love surprises, don't You?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Glug, Glug, Giggle

It has been a big, fat rainy day. The kids and I allowed the dismal atmosphere to beckon us into a new season of read-alouds and journaling. I made 7-layer dip for lunch...just 'cause, and now I must figure out what we'll eat for dinner. Seven more layers, anyone?

Mari learned to say "me" over the weekend. Last night in her room an attempt to expand her use of pronouns resulted in our own rendition of "Who's on First?"

Mom, pointing to self: "Say, 'me', Mari!"
Mari, pointing to self: "Me!"
Mom, pointing to Mari: "Say, 'you', Mari."
Mari, pointing to self: "Me!"
Mom, vigorously pointing to Mari: "No, Mari, say the word 'YOU'."
Mari, vigorously pointing to self: "ME!"
Mom, trying a different approach, pointing out and then to self: "Mari, say 'you' to me."
Mari, feeling dummied down: "Momma!"
Mom, pointing to Mari: "Right! Now, you say 'You'!"
Mari, pointing to self: "ME!"
All: giggle, sigh, chuckle, hug

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bragging on My Boys

A few minutes before my alarm was scheduled to sound Sunday morning, the smell of fresh coffee drifted into my room just as the boys made their grand entrance. In contrast to the ceiling lights they abruptly switched on, their words were soft and gentle. They greeted me with "Good mornin' Momma" and presented a linen covered tray. The breakfast plate held scrambled eggs - with two kinds of peppers and mozzarella cheese, whole wheat pancakes, and hand-tossed nuts & berries. Flanking the food were a steaming cup of creme brulee' coffee and a stemmed glass of chilled milk.

Besides the 10-year-old's obvious attention to the meal's every last detail, my favorite part was the 12-year-old's contagious excitement over the Lord's apparent blessing on their Mother's Day project. Grinning so hard he was almost giggling instead of talking, he reported:

"Luke told me to pray to God and ask Him to wake us up at I did...and guess what? I woke up at 5:56!!"

Monday, May 12, 2008

Book Fair

This past Friday & Saturday I attended the Homeschool Book Fair in Arlington. It was my first time and I thoroughly enjoyed myself on several levels. i.e. just being away from the house, staying in a hotel, eating at restaurants, thumbing through an endless supply of books, chatting with comfortable friends anytime I wanted without interruption, shopping with a generous budget, making strangers giggle, and just being away from the house. (did I mention that?)

We were collectively a bunch of nerds, though. We got to our room Friday after walking all day and enjoying a late dinner, so we were all tired. We visited for a moment, laid our heads down, silently read a few books, sleepily made a few lists, and turned the light off at 10:13 pm. We never even touched the TV. What a very dull group of girls, indeed.

Our good night's sleep paid off the following evening when after leaving the book fair, we shopped the outlet mall until just before closing. If you could have been in the Eddie Bauer dressing rooms, you would have known we are very funny girls, indeed. (something about me wearing a light teal missionary dress playing 'hot cross buns' on a recorder)

Thanks, ladies for a fabulous weekend! I'm already looking forward to next May.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Top Ten

Here are tonight's top ten reasons why Mom & I are undeniably mother & daughter:

10. Our cute, chubby toes
9. We love our spot in the Soprano section
8. We have identical hands...the better for keyboarding and cooking
7. We love a graph paper, 'Monk' and 'Mississippi Yummy'...all in the same setting if at all possible
6. Our big, brown eyes
5. We willfully postpone household cleaning....but feel ashamed until we get it done.
4. We can paint our fingernails then grab our keys and drive across town....sipping a glass of ice water: pinkies up.
3. We wiggle when we walk fast...but we can walk pretty darn fast, so deal with it!
2. We can instantly produce a color-coded chart involving any set of facts on the planet.

and the #1 reason we are undeniably mother & daughter...
1. We both have beautiful Moms and gorgeous daughters!

Thank You, God, for my Mom. Thank You for loving me and teaching me through her. Thank You for hearing her prayers for me and the boys over all these years. Thank You for Your protection and peace. Thank You for the devotion and commitment that she and Dad modeled for us. Thank You for drawing us closer to You so that we might know & love You more. Bless Gramma Iona and my girls. May we find purpose in shining Your light until You come to take us home.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Makin' & Bakin'

I'm leaving tomorrow at the "bcd" to drive to Arlington and attend the Home School Book Fair....four friends meandering through half a square mile of nothin' but books and school supplies! (a very happy place, indeed)

In my absence Philip will need to takeover the birthday party circuit. Two gifts are literally "in the bag" but one was a sewing project that waited for today. I was sewing at the table as the kids were having lunch. My thread had broken seven times and I was really frustrated. Just as Luke asked if I thought he could win his game tonight, Ashlin asked if she could have more milk. As though she could hear my thoughts, Ardyn piped up: "Everybody stop asking so many questions! Momma is trying to finish and she's stressed out!" I stopped the machine. I smiled and said "Yes" as I poured the milk. (yep, I'm still a wretch, and Ardyn loves me anyway)

In order for me to finish all my projects and attend the games tonight, James offered to make the lasagna for dinner. I valiantly fought every urge to coach him over his shoulder. I left the room and concentrated on sewing. He was supposed to double the recipe. He did except for the eggs. His thoughts: "What are eggs really good for in lasagna anyway?" He chose only to use one box of noodles despite the large pot of meat sauce and vat of seasoned cheese. The result, though tasty, had to be renamed due to it's lack of height and cohesiveness. He says, "If Phil thinks that's lasagna, I'll never hear the end of it! I'm callin' it 'Italian Cobbler!"

There's more to share, but Mari's about to wake up and as I find myself saying almost constantly, "We gotta go!". More later...


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Psalm 8

(For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by a stringed instrument)

O Lord, our Lord, the majesty of your name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens.

You have taught children and nursing infants to give you praise. They silence your enemies who were seeking revenge.

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers - the moon and the stars you have set in place - what are mortals that you should think or us, mere humans that you should care for us? For you made us only a little lower than God, and you crowned us with glory and honor. You put us in charge of everything you made, giving us authority over all things - the sheep and the cattle and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents.

O Lord, our Lord, the majesty of your name fills the earth!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Bounty at the Ballpark

I rushed to get the girls to the ballpark this evening, so dinner was postponed. I had decided that this might need to be a "cheese stick w/ranch" night for them. Two bucks and it occupies them for at least one inning. Though I enjoy the aroma of pickled peppers soaking in a pond of cheezy goop and salty chips, I was seriously regretting not packing something more healthful. Just as I sat down to cheer Luke on, my friend walked up with a deep silver dish. She sat down and began serving her family homemade pizza supreme - complete with whole wheat crust and minimal cheese. And oh, the toppings! Spinach, onions, peppers, olives, tomatoes, mushrooms, and beef. I complemented both her culinary technique and its unexpected portability. As her family was chowing down and watching the game, she announced that she had several extra pieces. I would normally be far too proud to accept such an offer, but with "trans-fat in a foam bowl" as my next available option, I had me a piece o' the pie! It tasted even better than it smelled. Thank You, Lord for good friends who are good cooks with leftovers. I am blessed.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Cousin Pix

Ardyn and Johnathan cuddling on the couch.
She is so good with him. She'll be a super mom someday.

The boys have watched 6 of the 11 episodes of "Man vs. Wild" that Aunt Kathy recorded for them. They are literally pacing themselves. This media blitz has resulted in a daily installment of "Boys vs. Culdesac". They have killed a snake, eaten a crayfish, and set a trap for a rabbit.

Ashli and Johnathan sharing sleepy time. She has been a huge help this week. Wow, is that baby cute, or what?

Mari Alice has found fleas? She was jealous the first day, but since then has found great purpose and pleasure in monitoring the baby's every need...even grooming.

Ranger Game Photo

Kathy sent me this photo from our Ranger Game datenite. I'm high speed this week...which means I was able to receive this photo, view this photo, and post this photo...all in a matter of seconds. Woo-hoo! Just thought I'd share the fun. Enjoy your day!