Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday Evening Post

We have had the best, big fat family day ever! It started when Philip took the girls to the "doe-nup shop" as Mari likes to chant. After a quaint breakfast, they stopped by the store for some onions because we had huge plans to cook another round of deer meat.

We cleaned off the patio. Philip laid the last three tiles last night, so the saw, the table, the mounds of JUNK could finally be removed. While the boys worked on the patio and garage, the girls and I cleaned the living room and rearranged the furniture to accommodate the Christmas tree.

Though the onions may have been purchased a bit prematurely, Philip was able to carve up some backstrap medallions. I inserted a jalapeno slice into each piece and wrapped them in bacon. We had those little "nibblers" with peas and linguine alfredo for lunch.

We hauled off the debris from the remodel, and brought the tree inside. The guys made a quick trip out to the lease, and we women "decked the halls". In all the fun, Mari completely skipped every opportunity for a nap. She's in the bath right now...I can see her from my desk. She loves baths - always has.

Sadly, she will not be able to participate in the piece de resistance: the back yard bonfire. JW's back from Missouri and we have coat hangers, mallows, chocolate and grahams.

As we hung the stockings, we realized that before next year's festivities, we'll need to purchase one more stocking for the tiniest Johnson due to be born in June. Cool, huh?

Thank You, God for all Your wonderful gifts!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Friday Flashback Foto

1994: Philip is laughing so hard he can't hear James asking, "Where is the little Nerf football that you got me for Christmas?" Poor little Matthew is innocently unaware of the warped sense of humor shared by his dad and "Uncle Phil-nop".

Attitude of Gratitude

Several years ago, I read that upon entering a crowded parking lot, the fastest course of action is to park in the first available spot, then walk to the storefront. I was skeptical for sure. But after years of informal field tests and several brisk walks to win the imaginary race between me and the woman who drove into the lot just before me, I began to confidently endorse this theory.

After having kids, I continued to practice my park ‘n’ walk routine…. but abandoned any notion that words like fastest, easiest, or quickest would ever again be used to describe my shopping trips. I remember one day in particular, I was headed to the store to get just one silly ingredient I had forgotten the day before…. It was raining…. I didn’t have much time…I had a growing baby girl who would need her carrier seat lugged in with her, and two attentive young boys who were enthusiastic, yet oblivious to the tension of the day…. did I mention it was raining?

I needed to catch a break. Not a big one. I just needed SOMETHING to go in my favor. Driving down the initial aisle of parking spaces, I wondered: how drenched is too drenched? Then, I saw them … through my windshield…. the blurred red and white taillights backing out of the parking space nearest the door! With overwhelming relief I shouted, "Thank You, God, for a great parking place!”

I don’t honestly remember how the rest of that trip went. I’m sure we found what we needed, and I’m sure we got a little wet. I had merely survived another morning of motherhood. But my children had been listening…

To this day, whenever, and wherever I park my car, the boys joyfully exclaim, “Thank You, God, for a GREAT parking place!” I often snicker that they express such exuberant gratefulness even when our car is half a mile from the entrance --wedged between a huge, muddy 4x4 truck and a collection of abandoned buggies! The Lord has used their absolute gratefulness to convict my heart of all the days I’m NOT thankful…as though the only time for praise and gratitude is when I’ve been spared some discomfort or granted extra blessings. That is not the attitude the Lord requires.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good….” Whether our day is sunny or soggy; rushed or relaxed; burdened or blessed; we should be grateful –not necessarily because of our circumstances, but because God is good and His loving-kindness is everlasting!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Tuesday, November 25, 2008...

Outside my window...quiet darkness.

I am thinking...that dinner was sort of a let down. I'm usually a pretty good cook. BHG usually has pretty good recipes. My crock pot meatballs with a cranberry/chili sauce missed the mark. It was mostly a consistency issue. Folks seemed to choke it down alright, I was just mildly disappointed.

I am thankful choir. I went to rehearsal last night feeling weary and worn. After an hour of orchestrated, unified harmony, I left a refreshed woman.

From the learning rooms...This week is Thanksgiving break! Books stand silently at attention in the shelves, patiently awaiting next Monday. The kids roam noisily about, purposely in denial of next Monday.

From the kitchen...I did the dishes tonight. All the kids were outside admiring Landen's spike he harvested this evening. (I KNOW! More meat to process! How do you do that 'purposeful denial' bit??) I have a couple things to cook tomorrow for our trip to Tyler, but first Ardyn has requested waffles for breakfast. Her dear friend is in town and my daughter wishes for nothing less than the perceived wonderment of toasted, frozen waffles. Seriously. There are also about five bananas who have seen better days. Shocking.

I am jeans, Philip's polo sweatshirt and socks.

I am creating...a printed program for the Christmas musical. Eleven days, people!

I am visit with my friend, Jessica tomorrow as our kids play. Then it's off to Grandmother's house, we go.

I am reading..."The Shack" by William P. Young. I read it last year, but this time I'm using a highlighter. It is such a provocative read.

I am doesn't rain as predicted on Thursday. It's such a challenge to maintain an attitude of gratitude when the kids are either cooped up inside or they all have muddy shoes. Which is worse? OOh, what if they get cooped up inside AFTER all their shoes are muddy? Both/And!!! Bleck!

I am hearing...the "Hallelujah Chorus" being sung in my mental background while the thunderous rhythm of two simultaneous showers fill my physical space. After 8 people have rotated in and out of my bathroom over the past month -for various, repetitively relentless reasons- our having both bathrooms functional is a fabulous thing.

Around the house...Philip is outside finishing up the buck, JW is in B-town. Otherwise, it's movie night. In Cinema One, we're showing "Angels in the Outfield" and in Cinema Two, we're showing an encore presentation of "Kung Fu Panda" in honor of Abbarooni who has yet to experience it. "There is no charge for awesomeness...nor attractiveness!"

One of my favorite a clean & tidy room. The girls and I spent all day yesterday and the first part of this morning overHAULING their room. I black garbage bag to the trash, two tubs to storage, 16 Clorox wipes, and two loads of laundry happy, healthy, hopefully-gonna-stay-that-way-or-I'll-have-to-hurt-somebody pretty, pink room! Priceless.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Friends tomorrow, Family on Thursday, Christmas tree set-up on Friday, Cabinet doors hung by Saturday, Corporate Worship on Sunday. Nothin' but Fun!

Here is picture thought I am sharing..."As you deer panteth for the waters, so my family longs after you..."

To participate or simply enjoy more daybooks, visit The Simple Woman.

Over and Out

Friday I had a doctor's appointment all morning and then napped and then went to dinner with my woodsman husband who harvested a 6-point while I napped. Friends came over to visit and then Friday was over.

Saturday I worked on the bathroom all day, then Saturday was over.

Sunday we worshipped, ate pizza, napped, watched the Cowboys win, rehearsed with MP3, stopped by the store for "milk'n'bread", worked on the bathroom and then Sunday was over.

Monday I WORKED ON THE BATHROOM, showered, attended choir rehearsal, went to W*lM*rt for Thanksgiving stuff and came home just in time for "House of Payne". Then Monday was over.

Today we have had guests under 12 all day. I have spent tons of time with Mari, sanded cabinet doors (that's the only thing left:) and cooked a couple meals. Now I'm blogging for the first time in almost a week, and today will soon be over.

Thank You, Lord for a bountiful week. Thank You for my family and our home. Thank You for blessing our bathroom looks good, huh? Thank You so much for last Thursday with the kids. It was such a fun day. They are such great kids. I'm a rich woman. Actually, the riches are all Yours, and You are so good to share!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Good Day, Good Night

"Today was MUCH better than yesterday!" Ashlin exclaimed as she rode along happily in the back seat. She confirmed popular opinion by asking for a show of hands. "Guys, raise your hand if you like today better than yesterday!"

Thursday began a little earlier than normal. My first conscious breath almost choked me. The unwelcome, yet lingering scent of meat and onions was more than I could lie there and injest. Despite the 40 degree morning, I scurried around the house opening windows and lighting creme brulee candles. I made sure that the sink and trash were clear of all remenants from the previous evenings' activities. As part of the housewide fragrance strategy - and to add to the general spunkiness of the home - I brewed an especially strong pot of creme brulee coffee.

Then I had time to make paninis for Philip and JW to take for lunch. I started some laundry and bid the menfolk farewell. It was almost 7. I used some leftover rice to make some cinnamon & craisin rice pudding. My aromatic assault must have been working because children began to emerge from their rooms. Groggy-eyed bedheads wondering about the "delicious smell".

While the kids ate breakfast, I called the retreat center where I left my pillow a couple weeks ago. I've tried to sleep without it and I can't. It's the perfect combination of thick and smushy. Not to mention the four year laundry process it has taken to achieve optimal pima cotton softness! The kind and understanding receptionist at the camp assured me that it was safe and sound and encouraged me to bring the kids and come get it. "Road Trip!"

After quickly finishing our lessons for the day, I told the kids to load up. Later as we arrived at a park, I was impressed that they had thought to bring baseball gloves, tennis balls, a bat, and plenty of bottles of water. We enjoyed a "Bueno" picnic lunch, but had to cut it short in order to dash across the highway to the T*rget to use their facilities...and buy dessert.

We drove a little farther to the encampment. I happily collected my pillow from the office and asked permission to hang out by the dock for a minute. We parked and walked around. We sat around an ashy campfire from the night before, gathered rocks and skipped them across the water, and walked out onto the pier to throw more rocks.

As I was sitting on a stump, enjoying the view, I saw Ashli running down the hill toward the lake. Her pockets bulged on either side of her thighs and eventually the weight of ammunition caused her wind pants to slowly slide down her slim hips as she ran. She never missed a step. She just laughed a big belly laugh, girded up her rock-pockets and made it down to the water's edge before her brother.

After a beautiful afternoon, we stopped at the bookstore where everyone was able to purchase a book of their choosing from the clearance table. I think we may have coached Mari a few too many times: once or twice she reminded an innocent shopper, "One book! No two, no free...One book!"

The ride back home was dome-lit and quiet as each child read his new book. We arrived home in time to get the kids a bath and run my pillow through the laundry. An hour and a half later, we were all snuggled in for a VERY good night's sleep.

And if I had to vote, I'd say "Tonight is MUCH better than last night!"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nothing Better to Do... But Blog

Bathroom containers are old news.

This afternoon was THE day for venison processing. We were supposed to do it last evening, but Philip was called out to work. So today at 4:00, he began grinding. At 4:45 I started browning. It's 8:30 and the last two pots of ground venison are on the stove.

The first year we processed our own meat, we put it in cute little wrappers and froze it. It took forever and then I still had to defrost it and cook it each time I wanted to serve it for dinner. The next year we wised up. We ground it right into big cooking pots that already had chopped onions and peppers in it. After we had browned all the meat, and let it cool, we stored it in zip lock bags. All year long, I was 15 minutes out from spaghetti, taco salad, or whatever.

This year there were three deer to process! Philip froze lots of steaks, I cooked SEVERAL pots full and drained them, now I'm waiting for them to cool. I also made a HUGE batch of meatballs and a meatloaf. I baked them and they are ready to freeze as well.

I skipped choir for two main reasons: I needed to finish this butcher shop project sometime before midnight PLUS ALSO I smell like a large, gamey, sauteed onion.

I'm waiting to finish before I wash this stench right outa my hair. I can't wait to shower! For now, Mari is enjoying a solitary bubble bath. She has been singing, "Bes-sed be da name of da Load...He gives an takes away...Ma hot will choose to say...bes-sed be da glow-ree-us name!" When she heard Landen ask about the deer meat, she stopped her song immediately and exclaimed, "I LOVE meat!"

Thank You, God, for a good day. Thank You for providing for us in so many ways. Your Name IS Glorious and we bless You for who You are!

Habitat for Happiness

Ashlin and Mari Alice and I just returned from W*lM*rt. We are so excited!

Let me back up... a few weeks ago, JW was listening to the kids argue over toothpaste in all the bathroom hub-bub. He proclaimed, "If I ever have a bunch of kids, their bathroom is gonna have tons of drawers: one for everybody. Everyone will have his own toothpaste and deodorant and hair brush, etc."

We don't have a bunch of drawers, but we do have two doors concealing 4 shelves. Since Mari still needs adult supervision, we'll let her have one of the drawers.

Today we decided to purchase 4 plastic bins, and then five color-coded toothbrushes, toothpastes, scrubbies, deodorants, hairbrushes, and hand towels. Ashli sorted it all out in the back seat on the trip home. "Blue, blue, blue, blue; Green, green, green, green; Pink, pink, pink, pink; Purple, purple, purple, purple..." She was in organizational heaven!

Now, (meaning, when the cabinets are finished) the kids can go into the bathroom, get out their personalized bin, and take care of all their personalized business, and then slip their bin back under the cabinet. We'll add "tidy bathroom bins" to the weekly chore list, and the counter top will be free to remain tidy and uncluttered.

Sing it with me, "Hallelujah! Hallelujah!"

Monday, November 17, 2008

My New Do

Jessica gave my blog a makeover! Isn't it cute? I just wanted to give credit where credit is due. And offer apologies to the other 3 dial up queens out there...I can't even load the welcome page to scrapblog in fewer than 7 minutes. It's discrimination, I believe. Anyhoo, Jess is high speed, highly talented, and highly interested in my overall cuteness. Great combo.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mighty Fine Weekend

Friday after I painted the second coat of "Rain" paint on the bathroom walls, I showered and headed to L'view for some shopping. Confirming many truths of predestination in my heart, Kohl's began their 18 hour, half-off sale shortly after I entered the store. Nice.

I found THE perfect shower curtain, rugs, some hand towels and a message board. Very nice.

With both my desires and budget satisfied completely, and with a little boost from St*rb*cks, I traveled back to Marshall to meet some friends for dinner. We lingered late and spurred one another on toward good works. Very nice, indeed!

Saturday, I painted the cabinetry in the bathroom a deep shade of "tree bark", fed the transient deer hunters, and hung out with my giggly girls.

This morning MP3 sang in both AM services. They did such a great job. I love those kiddos! Philip treated us to an Italian buffet for lunch and then, while he hunted, I literally took a 3 hour nap today. UNBELIEVABLE! It was one of those good, drooly ones that doesn't end a moment too soon. I gathered my thoughts, patted down my hair, grabbed the kids and headed to the church house for MP3 rehearsal. Only three weeks until our Christmas musical!

While the kids tidied up their rooms, I baked some whole wheat biscuits in which to nestle the left over smoked venison sausage. Yummy. I made Philip's lunch for tomorrow, and he'll have a few biscuits to take for breakfast over the next couple days.

The tractor beam called "Cowboy Game" has held my family's attention for the last few hours, so there is freedom in Bloggerville!

My dear friend called me this week with this scripture. She encouraged me to stand firm and love my children in truth and discipline them in HOPE.

"Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death." Proverbs 19:18 The King James version says, "Chasten thy son while there is still hope. Let not thy soul spare to his destruction."

Last week at the Women of Gold meeting, I heard two things concerning marriage and family that caught my attention.

"Rules without relationship lead (not to respect, but) to rebellion."

Dr. Tony Evans: "If you women really knew what submission is, you'd be all about it! Submission is when you sweetly offer your opinion and then duck so God can take out the right person!"

Dear Father, thank You for this week. Thank you for this day. Open the eyes of my heart and my spiritual ears so that I may see and hear You. Give me vision and give me Your Word. Nothing has the power to save, but Your Name...oh, for grace to trust You more!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Today's Great Idea

Someone emailed this idea to me. We have done it twice in the last 24 hours! It is so much fun. I've already decided it will be our new Christmas tradition...assemble and refrigerate on Christmas Eve and cook with sweet rolls Christmas mess!


(This works great !!! Good for when all your family is together. The best part is that no one has to wait for their special omelet !!!)

Have guests write their name on a quart-size Ziploc freezer bag with permanent marker.

Crack 2 eggs (large or extra-large) into the bag (not more than 2) shake to combine them.

Put out a variety of ingredients such as: cheeses, ham, onion, green pepper, tomato, hash browns, salsa, etc. (I used frozen onions, peppers, hash browns, and mushrooms)

Each guest adds prepared ingredients of choice to their bag and shake. Make sure to get the air out of the bag and zip it up.

Place the bags into rolling, boiling water for exactly 13 minutes. You can usually cook 6-8 omelets in a large pot. For more, make another pot of boiling water.
Open the bags and the omelet will roll out easily. Be prepared for everyone to be amazed.
Nice to serve with fresh fruit and coffee cake; everyone gets involved in the process and a great conversation piece.

Imagine having these ready the night before, and putting the bag in boiling water while you get ready. And in 13 minutes, you've got a nice omelet for a quick breakfast!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Flashback Foto

1999? This is Anna Rice, Landen & Luke "back in the day". I'm not really sure where the other cohort, Luke Rice, is... one can only imagine. I'm just tickled to see my Lukie taking his role of chaperon so seriously. Celina and I used to enjoy the uninterrupted chat time that institution-wide naps could afford. The back of the photo says "Our Dads are at the Ranger Game". Good times indeed!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

From Mrs. Mullikin

Mrs. Mullikin went to be with Jesus a couple years ago. She is a precious saint of a woman...married at 15, raised several Godly kids, and knew how to grow a mean elephant ear plant and bake a mean Banana bread. Her last activity on earth was attending a prayer meeting.

I remember meeting her when I was a newlywed. She offered me the most challenging, sweet advice. She told me, "I always tried to make our home a little piece of heaven for my husband to come home to. I'd have it tidy and smelling nice when he came in from a long day in that dark, cruel world." I hope her bread recipe is merely a symbol of the wonderful wisdom she has passed along.

This is Mrs. Mullikin's famous "Hawaiian Banana Bread"
Beyond its fabulous taste and texture, you only need two measurements, so it's easy to remember and has fewer utensils to wash.

Dry Bowl:
3 c flour
2 c sugar
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

(whisk and make a well in the middle)

Wet Bowl:
3 eggs
1 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 8oz can crushed pineapple
4-5 ripe bananas - peeled & mashed
1 cup chopped walnuts
(whisk and pour into middle of dry bowl)

Mix well & bake in 3 loaf pans for one hour on 350.

NOW: over the years I've changed a few things.
I only use one bowl - that whole aversion to massive clean-up
(it works fine)
I usually bake in one bunt pan and one little pyrex bowl (for taste-testing)
Muffins work also, and tiny loaf pans are the cutest for gifts.

When we're feeling healthful, I use a blend of whole wheat flour or spelt flour.
I have cut the sugar in half and used only Xylotol. I have used applesauce instead of the oil or at least cut back on the oil. (this changes the density, but it's still a nice treat) I've replaced the eggs/oil with flax, and now even if I follow the recipe, I always add milled flax seed.

I love to add shredded coconut to push the Hawaiian envelope. And when I don't have pineapple on hand, I've substituted 1 cup applesauce.

And in case you don't have time to bake at the exact moment the bananas are "turning the corner toward compost". You can peel, mash and freeze those jokers in a zipper bag. When you're ready to bake, thaw them and go.

Thank You, Lord, for Mrs. Mullikin and her unmistakable love for You. Thank You that we still have reminders of her wisdom and ways. Until we can all sit down for a nice cup of coffee...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

You Might Be Married to a Redneck...

If 5 out of 8 people (male and female) sitting around your dinner table are wearing camo...

If your two year old can distinguish her daddy's dual exhaust Chevy V-8 from the other ones on the block...

If ALL of the Creative Writing essays you grade begin with "Once upon a time, my daddy and I were deer hunting..."

If your husband owns a flashlight (as Lisa Smartt says, "the size of Colorado") and all the kids know where it is and how to charge it...

If your husband calls at 2:30 in the afternoon and asks which of the children deserve to go hunting today...

If when discussing the dissection of a frog with your sons, they assure you it won't be necessary because last night when Daddy gutted the deer, he showed us the liver, small intestine, ribs and "ever'thang"...

If 60% of your freezer space is occupied by stuff wrapped in white butcher paper with your husband's initials...

You might be married to a redneck.

AND...Last, but SO not least...
(I'm not making this it's still basically happening outside as I type)

If you hear your husband drive into the driveway, and then immediately hear a shotgun blast, and then one of your children races in the door to exclaim that daddy just shot a wild boar that was headed into our neighborhood...

You are MOST CERTAINLY, yet happily married to a redneck!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Retreat Recap

The weather was gorgeous! Cool, crisp Autumn breezes and warm, bright sunshine.

I had my own room in the lodge, so I was able to sneak in and "get my wits about me" between sessions. It also made it easier to dispel the temptation to stay up late giggling with "the girls". Incidentally, I was able to frequent the potty in complete solitude without interruption for a full 24 hour time frame...not since 1996, I believe.

The theme for the weekend was "True Beauty". I led worship and shared messages for four sessions:
"Beauty Rest: Receiving the Gift of Sabbath"
"True Beauty: Nurturing a Gentle, Quiet Spirit"
"Radical Transformation: Body, Mind & Spirit"
"Beautiful Feet: Sharing the Good News"

I told the ladies Friday night, "If you dig me, you are gonna LOVE this weekend! However, If I'm not your cup o'tea, you're probably gonna leave here sick o'tea!"

I arrived early Friday afternoon to get the sound system checked. Everything was great. The Zune worked wonderfully...I felt like I was playin' keyboard with a praise band! Then I went to "freshen up" before supper. I was just going to go change clothes and put on make up...I thought. You see, God is funny, funny guy. Just to verify that I was practicing the "inner beauty" theme that I was fissin' to preach...He ordained that I leave my cute little clinique bag ON MY BED AT HOME. Funny guy.

I most certainly rely on my inner beauty to provide whatever security I might need in my appearance. HOWEVER, I felt my glossy, splotchy face with sunken eyes might indeed be a distraction to the worshippers. So I implemented a pre-supper "love offering". I went around to the rooms of folks I knew and asked for "Alm(ay) for the poor." Do you know how many blue eyed friends I have? Soft brown earth tones, people! That's all I'm askin' for. Sheesh.

We got a good laugh and a better dinner before we dove into our time together.

The Lord definitely met with us on the hilltop by the lake. He brought 6 months -of focused listening, careful note-taking, and just plain livin'- together to bless us. I feel sort of selfish because I may have received the biggest blessing. He's just SO good! I noticed lyrics in the songs and links in the passages that I had never noticed before. He's just SO good!

Preparing for this retreat and seeing it through was a almost exhausting. But after two good nights of sleep, I think I'm ready to do it again someday. One of the biggest blessings was having my mom, and all my pals lifting me WAY on up in prayer. I absolutely felt it. I was never nervous, not for one moment. There were no technical difficulties to speak of, and my health and spirit were strong. Plus on having friends who love Jesus!

oh- I failed to mention the MAIN reason it went well. "Every day with [Rebecca] is a holiday!" Rebecca and Amy were the only ones not from the host church, so I'm sure it was not huge fun for them at first. Celina came through with her divine hostessing/fun friendship skills and we were all hangin' out and gigglin' before a new day had dawned. Thanks to my [not-so-stinky] brother in WA who flew Beck down. I love that girl! Leaving her makes me cry. I'm crying right now just thinking about telling her good bye on Saturday. ok, dry it up.

Ladies Retreat = Huge blessing
To God be the Glory!

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, Monday, November 10, 2008

Outside My Window...rhythmic raindrops escort the cold gusts of wind into our yard. Under the boat shed rests the remains or our first harvested deer of this season. Ardyn and Philip brought her home Friday evening.

I am thinking...that it's good to be home with the kids and back on blogger!

I am thankful for...the kids in MP3. There were 33 of those little boogers in choir last night. We are just weeks away from our Christmas musical and they are doing a fabulous job.

From the kitchen... Landen and Ardyn are working together to do Luke's chore. He has a headache. He'll be able to cover for them after his healing. Meals will be scaled back today because I need to get the bathroom primed before Philip brings the counter top home today. But this paragraph is not about the's about the kitchen. Mac'n'cheese for lunch and chicken puffs for supper. And hopefully a replenished milk supply and a floor mopping by morning. JW is going to the store tonight. Who will mop the floor? One-two-three-NOT-IT! For now, we're rationing milk and ignoring the floor.

I am wearing...painting pants, painting shirt, and I'm seriously considering donning a painting doo-rag. Primer in the hair is no fun...though my graying strands give that impression most days.

I am creating...nothing really. Grunt work planned for most of the week. I do look forward to matting the sepia photos of the kids to hang in the freshly painted bathroom.

I am a women's ministry dinner tonight. The kids and I are having a Kit Kittredge get-together tomorrow with some friends. Wednesday is choir/AWANA. And Friday I've invited homeschool moms over for a fellowship.

I am reading...nothing - haven't opened a book in over 36 hours. I even looked over Philip's shoulder to read the scripture yesterday in church. I have enjoyed the rest, and now I get to start something new. I want to read "Passionate Housewives, Desperate for God" but Lifeway didn't have it Saturday (again!) I'm sort of in the mood to re-read "Redeeming Love". We'll see.

I am make each of my children feel special in some unique way this week. (Last week I failed to accomplish this to the extent I had hoped I might, so let's give'r another try)

I am hearing...the snagging rustle of Oscar's paws on the carpet as he rough-houses with the kids. The warm rhythm of the dryer. Rain playing arpeggios along the edge of the metal roof.

Around the house... Philip is gone. James is gone. Luke is down. Landen and the doo-wop girls have completed their chores and await my next instruction. Read: "Mom is blogging, so we should probably get a snack and watch some PBSkids."

One of my favorite painting. Not art on a canvas, but a new mood on the walls of a room. Three years ago, I painted every inch of this house. What a wonderfully fresh new start.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...Luke helping Philip a couple weeks ago in the beginning stages of the bathroom makeover. Are you nuts for the dimples?

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...Philip and I have a tag-team timeline laid out for the bathroom's completion. The kids and I will dutifully and joyfully complete our 15th week of school. Other than that, we're playin' it by ear.

Want to participate? Enjoy other Daybooks at The Simple Woman.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, Monday, November 3, 2008

Outside My Window...crisp morning air breezing across a messy patio that speaks of all the effort offered toward a new bathroom.

I am thinking...that I am a rich and blessed woman. The Lord has been so good to me. He has basically given me exactly what I would have chosen. In so many ways He grants my preferrences. And in the ways He has not, I submit what I perceive as my preferrences to His perfect will.

I am thankful brother, James. He is such a blessing to have around. I absolutely enjoy his personality, wisdom, and wit. And he's just so darn cute.

From the kitchen... Leftovers for today. I'll cook for Rebecca & Amy tomorrow. I bought bananas this week and wouldn't you know it? These folks are gonna be the life o' me! Good news, Amy! Banana bread just officially made the menu.

I am wearing...jeans and a black tee ol' standby. No matter the time of year, you can totally get away with this ensemble. No ironing, no shoe anxiety, just get it and go!

I am creating...the final, polished notes for the retreat. (I promise after next week you won't have to listen to my mental consummation concerning this ladies' retreat.) I am SO excited, I can hardly wait.

I am take a break from blogger and facebook this week, so I'm sure to use every available moment to invest in what God wants to do through us this weekend. I'll be back next Monday. I'll still check email, if you miss me:)

I am reading...American Girl, Kit; ESV study Bible; the biography of Eric Liddell (chariots of fire dude), and Lisa Smartt's first book.

I am make each of my children feel special in some unique way this week.

I am hearing...a quarter slide round and round like an extreme skateboarder inside my dryer. I should go rescue it. Perhaps it's having fun. I'll wait.

Around the house... one handsome husband, five beautiful children, one awesome brother, one clean dog, and too many dirty clothes to discuss. (not one thing has changed since last week)

One of my favorite the entire first season of Little House on the Prarie that we own on DVD. It truly is "family" entertainment.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...This is the symbolic backdrop of my life. These are the two dominating stags that set the tone for our entire existence. Aren't they cute?

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...My AWESOME sister-in-law is coming for a visit on Tuesday, and choir is Wednesday. Other than that, my eyes are set toward Friday & Saturday. Focus, focus, focus!

Enjoy other Daybooks at The Simple Woman.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Resting in Peace

Update on my funk with Lukie: I went into his room late last night. It took a few rounds of "Lukie -- wake up," beckoning in my strongest whisper. He finally rolled over and squinted into the light. I said, "Luke, I'm sorry for this morning." He tried to roll back over as he mumbled, "It's ok.". I stopped him and shook his leg to make sure he was conscious.
"Luke. Listen to me. I'm sorry for this morning."
"It's ok, Momma."
"No it's not ok. I was wrong to lose my temper. I need you to forgive me."
"It's ok."
"I need you to forgive me."
He propped himself up on his sleepy elbow and smiled a squinty smile.
"I forgive you."
"Luke, I love you."
"I love you, Mom."
I rubbed his back a few strokes and he returned to rest.
I walked back to my room knowing that I would be able to rest as well.

Thank You, Lord, for mercy and forgiveness. Thank You for healing. Thank You for discipline and self-control. Thank You for patience.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Back and Forth

Today was such a bi-polar day with Luke. It began with the rolling of his eyes, the huffing of his words, and ultimately -after I totally lost my cool- his leaving. I've never had a child run away from home. He didn't run. He walked. After I cooled off, or found my cool...whichever the case may be, I looked around for him and couldn't find him. My wounded heart began to palpitate just a bit as I wondered how far he would go. Had I run him off? Why do we have to do this EVERY day? Why can't he just obey me cheerfully? Why does he hate living here? with me? Is he coming back? Is he angry with himself or still with me?

He came back. And like usual, with few words, he just began to obey me quietly and diligently. Then, as we began to accomplish some things together, we slowly began to talk and laugh and work in harmony. Each of us too prideful or too ashamed to talk through the previous events.

The afternoon progressed without incident, then I took him to his friend's house for the evening. When the whole family was back together tonight, he whispered to me on the couch, "Do you want me and Landen to go back to our room for a while to give the girls a chance to talk to Dad and love on him since they haven't seen him much?" How sweet? How thoughtful? We worked harmoniously in the kitchen on the crock pot meal I had planned for tomorrow's lunch. Then in an enormous display of affection, he offered to finish alone and follow the recipe. He came in to my room a while later to show me the bowl of sauce. He wanted my approval before he poured it over the chicken. He put it in the fridge, and cleaned up his mess.

At odds in the A.M., evened out by the P.M. Really strange.

I know Luke needs my attention. And he has proven over the last decade that he is willing to get it at any cost...and on some level, it doesn't really matter whether it's good attention or bad attention. It's been this way for years. Philip says we're too much alike, but on this point, we are opposites. I can't stand negative attention. It makes me physically ill. Maybe he shares this feeling, but needs attention so badly, that a little sickness is worth it in the long run. I DON'T KNOW!

I LOVE HIM! I told him that today in tears. He doesn't say those words to me. The other children say it constantly. I tell them each and all that I love them all the time. He doesn't hear me. I want to get through to him. I want him to love me, but I loved him first, and I'm not gonna stop loving him - no matter what.

Dear Father, thank You for Luke. That's all I can say with out bawling. You know my heart. Forgive my outburst of anger. I know I need to ask Luke to forgive me too. Maybe I'll go wake him up. Thank You for never sleeping and for loving us first. You're a great papa! Please bring healing to our home.