Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Flashback Foto (For a F-Abby-lous Friend)


2003: Ardyn carefully feeding Abby a bit of slushy at a PCBC softball game.

By Ardyn Grace:
Abby is a very good friend to me. I've been to every one of her birthday parties...every single one. I like her new room and her big bathroom. Her little sisters are very cute too.

We love to do arts together. One time we went to a tree and painted a stick, a pine cone, and a leaf. Then we found this old can and we painted it red, white, & blue to match the sticks. Then we came back in and had lunch together, but then she had to go home.

My favorite thing about Abby is her hair. It's short and pretty. We are good friends because we pretty much like all the same things.

Happy Birthday, Abby. See you tonight.
Love, Ardyn

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Full and Rich

Last night my parents-in-law came to spend the evening. Upon their arrival around suppertime, we seemed to have an immediate gift exchange. The kids wanted Papaw and Grandma to open their gifts "hurry, right now!" Next the kids opened their gifts. And just when I thought "Hurray! We get to eat!", Fred came around the room with another round of fun. He had a plastic coffee container filled with loose change. He allowed each child (and ultimately each parent - yipee) to dip their hand in, and grab as much money as they could.

He loves to tell the story of my niece, Mallory's first experience with the "money can". She reached her hand in, but once it was full of coins, she couldn't quite squeeze it back out. He advised, "Loosen your grip, a little." His young, but savvy granddaughter retorted, "No way, Papaw! Then I'll loose some of the money!" We giggled at Mallory's plight as we each strategized our own dive. In those brief moments of housewide grabbiness, I thought, "We are a greedy bunch, aren't we?"

Then I looked a little closer. Everyone was giggling and chanting...Freddie, by far, the most enthusiastic of the lot. "Git in there, kiddo! Gitya all you can!" he would cheer. He even let Ashlin's little hand go one more time. As capacitated fists emerged from the can, renegade coins escaped between fingers to go bouncing and spinning along the floor. In full participation, our cozy crowd applauded the spectacle. Each counted his bounty and finally washed up for dinner.

I am so thankful for the kind generosity of my father-in-law. He definitely passed it along to his son, and I reap the benefits and blessing almost daily.

I'm even more grateful that my Father in Heaven is the generous giver of Life! He sent along His Son to make all things possible. His kindness leads me to repentance.

This Christmas Season, my prayer is this: as the Father offers you a portion of His wealth, I pray we have the confidence to dive deep into His riches, hold tight to His precious promises, and be willing to share with others out of the overflow of His blessings. His desire is that you come away from time spent with him with boundless joy and peace...and an undeniable hunger for more!

"David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying.
'Praise be to you, O Lord, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name."
"But who are we, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand....I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. O Lord, God of our fathers, keep this desire in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you." 1 Chronicles 29:10-18

"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:4-7

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tis the Season

Mari strutted into the kitchen dragging her plush puppy by the leash. I sweetly asked, "Are you walking your dog?"

"Nah, I shot a deer."
"Mom, I need a shop knife to cut the guts out."

(I took her that instant to have a bubble bath and paint her nails. Poor thing is apparently suffering from an environmental testosterone overdose.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook



FOR TODAY Monday, December 15, 2008...

Outside my window...muggy and warm. Where is my reason for a fire in the fireplace? Please, come back, dear brisk wind. ***update: After blogging in her well insulated home, she went outside...prayers have been answered. Apparently a cold front came through overnight while I slept without covers. (thanks for the weather update, C!)

I am thinking...that Christmas is VERY soon! I feel as though I've been celebrating for weeks. I love that about December.

I am thankful for...my family of worshippers at IBC. Sunday's gathering to sing "Glory to God in the Highest" was wonderful. How encouraging to meet with friends who share a consuming love for the Creator!

From the learning rooms...This will be our last week for 2008. Ashlin is hoping to start her 1st grade curriculum after the new year. Ardyn and I have been working together to help her stay focused. She is making strides in the right direction. I asked the boys if they would consider going back to DVD's next year since I would be nursing a newborn. They moaned, "Oh, Mom, please teach us." That's great for my ego, not so much for next Fall's schedule. I'll see what I can do.

From the kitchen...except for the floor, all is tidy. I need to mop BADLY. Saturday night I made Ginger Citrus Talapia with Jasmine rice. Yum-double-my. And it will be "double me" if I don't steer clear of the jasmine rice. woo, hoo that stuff is good. Lukie put Taco Soup in the crock pot Saturday night so we were able to eat the moment we walked in from church Sunday. I was responsible for taking a bread to Sunday School. JW let me go see "Fireproof" with Philip and he made pumpkin bread for me to take. Does he rock or what?

I am wearing...black valuer pants with black cami and purple long sleeve shirt. Red finger nails....special for the holidays. I painted them late Saturday night and after cleaning the kitchen, they're already needing attention. Back to a'la natural...

I am creating...not much. I think I'm created out. Sad.

I am going...to be sweet to my kids this week. All my outside responsibilities have subsided. This week I can just concentrate on being kind and setting a gentle example. Lord, please help me.

I am reading..."Wolves of Willoughby Chase" to the kids in the afternoons. I've almost made it through my December magazines and catalogs. I look forward to the trip to Mom's so that I can start something new.

I am hoping...to find the motivation to paint the hallway. It still sports a splotchy, primer finish. The trim is done. It wouldn't take long, I would just need everyone to stay in their room for a couple hours. Hey! I think I just found my motivation!

I am hearing...the hum of the computer tower and the wind chime on the patio.

Around the house...everyone is on task. A structured little home, we are! It shouldn't last long, so I'd better type quickly.

One of my favorite things...is PBS. Last night there was a David Foster special. Josh Groban. Brian McNight singing "...after the love is gone...what used to be right is wrong..." from Earth, Wind & Fire. Andre Bocelli singing "The Prayer" with Catherine McPhee. They should have called it "A Little Program we put together just for our friend, Cari!"

A few plans for the rest of the week...Philip's parents are coming Tuesday for dinner. There is an Adult Choir party Wednesday...not sure if we'll make that. Last minute shopping Thursday or Friday. Hopefully a haircut and lots of packing. We're meeting Josh & Kathy at Mom's next week. Huge Yuletide Fun!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...With Christmas musicals on the brain, I found this photo this week. It is from a Christmas Program at MBBC in 1982. **that's my brother, Tim, two people diagnally to the left of me, in a gray, v-neck sweater. (I'm hoping this is not "Joy to the World"...by the frightened facial expressions, Mrs. Badry must be commanding the "Silent" part of the night.


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

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Joy of My Desiring

I like to believe I live a reasonably contented life. There are very few things "I want". But one exception comes to mind.

There is a nativity set that I have seen in stores for years. It is absolutely lovely. A new character is created and introduced to the collection each season and they never go on sale. Every time I see it, I stop and worship for a moment. Then I walk away - grateful for the opportunity to experience the beauty again. I love it and want it so badly, but when it is on display, my attention and monies are usually already allocated. No time to splurge...

Two weeks ago, a large, mysterious package arrived at my front door. I opened it and began to weep. The UPS box contained dozens of smaller cardboard boxes. Every available piece of my longed-for nativity set! I continued to cry. The kids asked me what was wrong. "I've wanted this forever!" I sobbed. "I could never afford to buy this. It's so beautiful. I love it." Luke said with bewilderment, "Momma, I've never seen you cry happy." Over the next half hour, the kids helped me unpack each figurine. They carefully displayed them in the stable while placing the stars and angels in "just the right spot".

As I stared in adoration at the cast of nativity characters, the extravagance of the gift overwhelmed my heart with gratitude and joy. When I called the mystery sender, she was careful to explain, "This is not because of any of the wonderful things you do. It's not because you're such a very fun girl. It's just because I love you and you are special to me."

From now on - until my grandchildren come gather around this nativity scene and worship the King - I will have this precious memory of lavished love in my soul. The clarity of strong desire. Knowing for certain what would bring me joy...not being able to meet that need on my own...knowing the sadness of living without...and yet the anticipation of hope for the future...unexpectedly receiving the gift that I could never repay. And from now on I will remember those priceless words on the telephone.

The Christmas message that comes straight from the Father's heart: "This gift - the life of my own Son -is not because of anything you do, not because you're good. It is just because I love you and you are special to me."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Field & Stream

The alarm's ring barged into my fragile sleep at 5am this morning. I lazed around until Philip was dressed and going to awaken Ashlin. I must admit I do enjoy the hair & make-up prep time involved in such an early excursion. One bobby pin, two pigtail holders - positioned low to accommodate the wool mask, and "nada" as far as cosmetication.

Ashlin had slept in most of her clothes, I think, so we were on our way in no time. The cold, dark drive to the deer lease was comfortably quiet. We parked inside the gate, mounted the four-wheeler, and rode to the far side of the lease. The rest of the trek was on foot. Over a hill, through a creek bottom, down a few paths and ultimately into a bit of clearing where the "King Delux" deer stand waits to comfortably accommodate multiple hunters of all ages, skill levels, and attention spans.

Two years ago, we built this stand on the base of a boat trailer. Philip laid a floor then welded four walls to it. It is insulated, carpeted, and has wrap-around window openings that drop down for optimal marksmanship. After a slanted tin roof was added, all we needed was my artfully applied faux finish. I actually had all my kids plus their neighborhood buddies out in the yard with paint. Newborn Mari oversaw the whole operation from her infant carrier. The genius of using a boat trailer for the platform came shining through as we merely hooked it up to the suburban, hauled it out to the perfect spot on the lease, and parked it there.

Appropriately furnished, the "king delux" has two padded, rolling, swivel office chairs available for panoramic scouting. Taking full advantage of the vast square footage of the family stand, this morning Ashlin spent the majority of her "hunt" snoring in a sleeping bag on the floor in the nose of the trailer. Hunting is tough business. At one point, I was able to turn my chair away from Philip and subtly prop my head back on the chair. With the mild mechanical pivot of my left foot, I tried to convince him I was "keeping a look out"; when in reality, I was thieving precious moments of secret dozing. I could tell he did not trust the diligence of my efforts as his own scans became full 360 degree revolutions. I was just not doing my part.

We stayed for a couple hours. We saw no deer. We saw the sunrise. We saw birds. We saw squirrels. We saw no deer. Ashli said she was ready to go. Philip told her to check with me. I winked at her through my mask and she assured her dad we were "all" ready to go.

As we tromped back through the woods, Ashli made sure that IHOP was next on the morning's agenda. One of the most challenging side effects presented during this pregnancy is an uncharacteristic lack of decisiveness. The anxiety of choosing one set of eggs and one version of breakfast carbs at IHOP and then having to commit to those choices was nearly overwhelming. I selfishly probed to see how firm Ash's decision was. When I explained to her that Golden Corral had fresh fruit [and many, many choices to which you must offer little long term commitment], she enthusiastically changed her request. She even asked that we find a table near the fruit.

What a fun breakfast! Just Dad, Mom, & Ash...and platefuls of fresh fruit. Except grapefruit. She said "Greatfruit is not great!" As we left the restaurant holding hands, she looked up at me and said that this had been the most special morning in the world.

Thank You, Lord, for today. You are the Creator and Sustainer of all things. We PRAISE You! Thank You for Ashlin and all that she means to us. Thank You for calling her to Yourself. Help us continue to be sensitive to Your Spirit's prompting on her life, so we can make the path straight for her. Thank You for a wonderful morning. Thank You for the quality time!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook



FOR TODAY Thursday, December 11, 2008...

Outside my window...cold, peaceful night.

I am thinking...that I didn't intend to boycott Blogger, it just happened. I've had SO much on my mind, and yet very little freedom or opportunity to share.

I am thankful for...God's sheer Goodness. Sometimes life is hurried. Sometimes it's hilarious. Other times it is just plain hard. But God never changes. He's the same Love & Light & Life that He was in the beginning, and that He will continue to be forever!

From the learning rooms...We finished this week in four days despite Monday's post-musical cleaning blitz. Everyone agreed it would just be wrong to do school on Ashlin's birthday. So we doubled up and hurried through and we're done. Luke and I had a lengthy, impromptu discussion on economics today. He wondered why I wasn't going to order pizza for Ashli and her friends. I told him that I thought I could get the supplies to make personalized pizzas for less than the $30 I would pay the delivery guy. Ashlin and I went to WallyWorld this afternoon and I am happy to report that I purchased pizza ingredients, drinks, stuff to make & decorate cookies, goods for the goodie bags, and the junk for her cake. I spent $31. He was anxious to meet me in the driveway to see how I fared. He seemed pleasantly impressed.

From the kitchen...the lingering aroma of fresh baked sugar cookies and coconut cake. The fellas produced an emealz recipe for everyone before basketball practice. Ashlin and I ate 99 cent cheeseburgers "cause we were starvin'!" on our way home. The kitchen is more of a wreck than I usually allow the sun to set upon...but I'll be back in there first thing tomorrow...so for now, I blog.

I am wearing...blue jeans, JW's navy & red thermal Henley, and I still have my tennis shoes on because it is cold! (O WOW, I didn't have to change a thing from 10 days ago. If it's any consolation, I haven't worn this outfit in the interim. NOPE, that was very little consolation.)

I am creating...a few gifts, a few lists, a few plans, but otherwise, I'm concentrating on creating a warm, nurturing environment. (Momentarily failed miserably when Luke yanked a grocery bag out of the car and shattered a glass jar of (necessary)Pasta sauce onto the frigid, dark driveway. I'm better now) Warm...nurturing...concentrate...create.

I am going...hunting Saturday morning. This is what my birthday girl wishes for. "I want to go hunting at the deer lease with Mom & Dad." I'm gonna find some warm socks and some ear plugs in case I need to bust me a monster buck. I literally had a nightmare that I shot a deer, but the blast left me temporarily deaf in my right ear - to the point that I botched my solo the following morning during the adult choir's musical. I'm a nerd. Ash has already announced that we shall be breaking fast at IHOP. NOW we're talkin'!

I am reading...I'm reading "Wolves of Willoughby Chase" to the kids in the afternoons. I use my best British accent when called for. The kids think it's wildly entertaining in a "Mom's such a nerd" kind of way.

I am hoping...Ashlin enjoys her special day tomorrow. Her brothers and sisters have some special activities planned for the morning. Her friends should arrive in the afternoon. Pizza & cookies by request for the evening. And Uncle JW is making her biggest wish come true (aside from the parental hunting excursion) by taking her ice skating tomorrow night. Who wants to go with me to video the 6'2'' twenty-one year old -who hasn't donned even roller blades since the early 90's- "teach" the six year old to ice skate...IN PUBLIC? UTube, here we come. Seriously, he is the greatest uncle on earth. Can I get a witness?

I am hearing...Philip is already asleep and breathing deeply. Also, PBS "AniMusic" broadcast from the corner of our room. It's my little way of masking the noise of my nails clicking along the keyboard. Everyone else is silently asleep.

Around the house...The fire that has warmed our house all day has sunk into a heap of hot, glowing coals. The house is dark except for my room where the flicker of the television, the blue hue of the computer monitor, and the crisply lit red digits of the alarm clock provide a balanced triangle of subtle light.

One of my favorite things...is alone time with each of my kids. The Home Finance Lesson with Lukie was definitely a bonding session.

Today's errands with Ashlin... She asked me, "Have you ever seen JW cry?" I told her that when he was a little baby he cried. "What about when his dad died?" I told her that I didn't see him cry that day but later when he really started missing him, he cried. "Yeah, like how I miss Papa Hank? I want him to still be here so he can show me his card trick." Then we hypothesized several possibilities for leisure activities in heaven.

Then, tonight Mari helped me bake. She was helping put the Diet Dr. Peppers under the cabinet. She couldn't open the cardboard box. "Mom, I need a knife," my two-year-old said to me. "No, you cannot have a knife." "Ok, I need scissors." "No, you may not have scissors." "Momma gonna open this box???" Considering the recently offered options, I responded, "Sure." When she had emptied the box of all the canned beverages, she hopped up and began jumping on the box. "What are you doing?" I asked. "Gotta mashit down fo the trash!!" Made me laugh.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Party Central tomorrow, "Brrrr de lease" and a grand slam Saturday, Adult Choir Sunday, then it's T minus 5 days for the trip to Missouri. Yay!

Here is picture thought I am sharing... Since we're expecting, well...not to be crude... but there are mass quantities of "items" in my linen closet that I won't be needing for a while. I thought I'd recycle AND be creative...let me check my list to see if "holiday slippers" is written by your name...


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

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Oblivious to the Tag

I've not been on the computer much in the last couple weeks. A friend in town referenced something that happened to my sister-in-law, and I just stared at her. She scolded, "Don't you read her blog?" Well... I do. In spurts.

This morning I was catching up on some of my favorite "reads" and discovered that over the holidays I had been tagged. Yikes. Hopefully, "Better late than never" can absolutely apply to this tardy situation!

1. Two Names You Go By: Momma and Babe -I've always hated hearing other people call their loved one "Babe", but somehow when Philip uses it to refer to me, it sounds quite nice.

2. Things You Are Wearing Right Now: fleece pants, fleece shirt (notice the trend?)

3. Two Things You Want Very Badly At The Moment: a tidy house and ready-made dinner

4. Two people who you look up to: Nan Myers and Pricilla Shirer.

5. Two things you did last night: watched a cooking show on PBS and went to bed early.

6. Two things you ate yesterday: oatmeal and quesadillas ...not in the same meal.

7. Two people you last talked to: Mari Alice & Ardyn

8. Two Things you're doing tomorrow: Choir rehearsal and set up stage for musical.

9. Two longest car rides: TX to Washington and Tx to Niagra Falls

10. Favorite Holidays : Thanksgiving and Christmas

11. Favorite Vacations : Hot Springs when the boys were little, Missouri the first year we were married

12. Last trip: Does Tyler Thursday count? Weatherford Labor Day

13. Two favorite beverages: Folger's Creme Brulee & Diet Dr Pepper

This is where I get to tag folks....hmmmm, let's see....
Rachel
Rebecca
Kathy F
Carrie
Weaver

Ready, Set, Blog!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook



FOR TODAY Monday, December 1, 2008...

Outside my window...the boys are raking pine needles to fuel our next mallow roast. The dark, billowing clouds conceal the sun's last rays of daylight.

I am thinking...that it was cold today. Just plain ol' cold! But that's a good thing. Snugglin' weather!

I am thankful for...Christmas decorations. They bring me vast amounts of joy. Since my basic color scheme in the living room is "pine" and "cranberry", I live year round with an underlying palette of cheer. The week of Thanksgiving I simply pull out the color-coordinated stops!

From the learning rooms...The boys and I are shifting focus from China and Japan to Russia. Ardyn is struggling to concentrate, but doing well in all her subjects. Ashlin is the poster child for "slow and steady gets the job done".

From the kitchen...quesadillas tonight. We've been living off leftovers for a couple days. I was so tired of venison, that I made some wonderful "Crispy Almond Chicken" on Saturday. The recipe calls for 2 Orange Marmalade, 1 T crushed read pepper, half'n'half, and toasted almonds. Yummy! Sunday, Landen was sharing my exhaustion with red meat. "I made chicken," I reminded him. "You mean that creamy crud?" he commented with great disappointment. Well then.

I am wearing...blue jeans, JW's navy & red thermal Henley, and I still have my tennis shoes on because it is cold!

I am creating...an Advent calendar to hand out at the Christmas musical Sunday night. Prophecies & Promises...Fulfilled & True!

I am going...to TRY to sand/prime/paint the sad, pitiful, lone cabinet door that got lost in the shuffle last week. It hurts my brain to think about it.

I am reading...the Musical script over and over and over. I keep thinking, "I've missed something...how will this work...does everyone know what they need to do?"

I am hoping...to get several good nights of sleep this week. With the musical looming on the horizon, my mental wheels may put up a stiff fight when it comes to settling down each night. My pre-natal nausea is directly linked to fatigue, so if I can't get rest, it ain't gonna be purdy! Chamomile & lavender anyone? Nyquil might be more like it...kidding.

I am hearing...the girls scurry around to find socks so they can hurry outside to "help the boys". Nightfall will soon mercifully adjourn the "group project".

Around the house...Philip is at work. JW is ...working, playing racquetball, writing a paper....you pick; I can't remember. As of that last door slam, I'm the only one inside....no, Ardyn is still here finishing up her spelling list. She's humming her solo to the musical, and I assume alternating legs to kick out to the side while she twirls her paper around one rotation between each word. Bless her little unmedicated ADHD self!

One of my favorite things...is my big electric griddle. I will be able to make 6 quesadillas at a time which will make up for the time spent blogging.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Adult Choir Wednesday, Kid's choir Thursday and Saturday, SS party Sat pm, Church on Sunday am, then "MYSTERY OF THE MANGER" 6pm Sunday. Come if you can!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...Christmas 2006


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