Thursday, September 29, 2011

To Be Honest

My wedding ring is still missing.  Every time I think to pray for its return, my heart turns toward Mari Alice.  This has been a long journey for her.  We talk about it daily.  Some days she speaks with matter-of-fact, objective certainty, other times, she breaks down into a swamp of emotions and remorse.

During Monday's revival service, she seemed stirred.  I wondered if there would be a confession forthcoming.  A confession of faith.  A confession of what really happened to my ring.

She knows she should never have touched my ring.  She knows it was wrong.  She knows she sinned.  She knows she is forgiven.  But it is still unresolved and mysterious to us all.

Several times a day, we ask her again.  Her story is always the same.


I want to share this thought about thankfulness from one of my hero writers, Jill Carattini...

Our complaints are not only
a choice to overlook the good around us,
but the choice not to ask where or from whom our blessings come.

The attitude of thanksgiving, on the other hand, makes the choice to inquire.

Being thankful is therefore always more than a
glib note of gratitude or a warm sentiment in general;
it requires something far more personal.

It not only chooses to recognize the gifts before us,
but recognizes that there must also be a giver.

There is Someone to thank.
There is indeed One from whom all blessings flow.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Half the Work, Twice the Fun

One of the staples at our house is twice-baked potatoes.  I am surprised when I hear people speak of how laborious and time-consuming they are to make.  Not ours.  They may not be perfectly uniform, but they are fun to make, taste great, and complement many different meats.

This is how we do it here.

Wash a bag of potatoes.
Place in baking dish and bake for an hour (or so) at 400.
Once a fork can be smoothly inserted, they are pronounced "done".
Let them cool for a bit.
Cut each tater in half, lengthwise.
Scoop the "innards" of each half into a gallon size zipper bag.
Place each little carved potato canoe into baking dishes (the one already in use plus one more) or they could even snuggle up together on a cookie sheet.

Now, to the zipper bag of tater guts, add...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Multitudes 9.26.11

Giving thanks to God in community for His gifts ...

corporate worship
young sisters who beg to play together
my husband - extraordinary and adorable
avocados - ripe with tasty potential
"strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow"

piles of laundry that testify to a weekend of fun
teachers and students - what a lovely dynamic of discipleship
clean feet
shoes for so many feet
cheerful friends

kind words
the process of parenting....purposeful living at its core
perfectly sharpened map pencils lying in a staggered rainbow
my soft warm which every day begins and ends

grilled onions to improve any dish
plenty of books all around the house
the clean smell of lemon
pen and paper
"His divine presence to cheer and to guide"


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Simple Woman's Flashback

FOR TODAY, September 22, 2008

Outside My Window...Darkness, which woudn't be frightening, except that Philip is watching "The Village" behind me, and the music is creeping my brain out. Plus, in the driveway, James' car is the "bad color". I'm not kidding - there are woods at the back of our property, and "the ones we do not speak of" live just beyond the pines. "Do your very best not to not be frightened, it is only farce."

I am thinking...that we got so much accomplished today by unplugging the phones and turning off the computer. But I'm also thinking that I have several voice mail and e-mail messages to respond to.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Potty Talk

“YAY!!!”  Cheerful applause echoes from the hall bathroom.  Privacy is overrated.  The toddler has triumphed yet again at the toilet, and we have cause to celebrate!  Elizabeth is my sixth - and most likely last - child to potty train. In response to the many questions I receive: "Yes, it does seem to get easier." "I'm not sure if girls are easier than boys." "Yes, every child is different...every potty training experience is different."

I trained Landen by myself.  The onset was effortless in an instant. He was in the bath. Supper had settled, and he had a need. I opted to set him on the potty instead of strapping a diaper on. He delivered. He purposed in his heart that this newfound method was preferable. And so it was: Landen's #2 training.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Excerpt from "Grace for the Good Girl"

The following is a paragraph from "Grace for the Good Girl: letting go of the try-hard life" by Emily P. Freeman. 

Some of these words describe my sinful perception with frightening precision.  Surely there are some whose hearts resonate along with mine.  And to others, this may seem shocking and cold-hearted....or just plain pitiful.

Here, read for yourself....

"My fear of, regret over, and inability to handle failure has kept me in hiding. 

But it isn't only my failure that keeps me from living free.  I hold myself to an impossible standard, but I hold you to it too. And I hold him to it and her to it and them to it.  No one is exempt. 

Sometimes it seems justified, the unwillingness to let go of others' failures. His failure affects me, hurts me, and cuts me deep.  Her failure offends me, insults me, and disregards me.  The failures of our parents, spouses, friends, and co-workers are especially offensive to good girls. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Friday, September 16, 2011...

Outside my window...
The sun sweetly sets, as a lazy day musters its strength to roll over into evening.

I am remembering...
So many women have spoken truth and encouragement into my life...and sometimes without uttering a word.

I am thankful for...
My kids.  With the boys, a tiny bit of absence has made the heart grow fonder.  With the girls, more opportunities for quality time has produced sweeter kinship.

I am creating...

Thursday, September 15, 2011


"Abandon yourself to His care and guidance, as a sheep in the care of a shepherd, and trust Him utterly. No matter though you may seem to yourself to be in the very midst of a desert, with nothing green about you, inwardly or outwardly, and may think you will have to make a long journey before you can get into the green pastures. Our Shepherd will turn that very place where you are into green pastures, for He has power to make the desert rejoice and blossom as a rose." -- H.W. Smith

And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought. - Isaiah 58:11

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Seven Hundred

When I created this blog nearly five years ago, I didn't know how much joy I would "certainly discover" through the process of writing.  Voicing my thoughts and the occasional feeling or two...posting memories and photographs and scripture...what a lovely hobby.
In October of 2006, I had a six-week-old baby plus four other darlings.  I had dial-up and no digital camera.  I had a blog.

Today, I have six children with my choice of two computers, three cameras, and high speed is the only way we roll. (Thank You, God, for Philip....without him, I'd never upgrade ANYTHING. Ever.)

And I still have a blog :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First Things First

No ring yet. But much searching, much discussion.

Luke 15:8 "Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?"

The urgency with which we initially searched for my ring  sounds like this woman who has lost a coin.  Since my lost wedding ring has been the topic de jour for prayer and ponderings for over a week, I wonder if the Lord isn't trying to show me an area of my life where I am missing the mark.

Yesterday morning I awoke at 3:30...wide awake. 

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Key-Ring History Lesson

I lived a harried, yet monotonous life back then.   Supporting my husband as he worked long hours...and as he played long hours too.  Teaching two energetic young boys while caring for a toddler and an infant.  Leading worship, coordinating MOPS, learning how to cook more healthfully.  I was sleep deprived and a little out of sorts a lot of the time.  Almost a decade ago.

In the mayhem of one of those days, I lost my keys.  I looked everywhere.  I retraced my steps.  I tried to convince Philip that I had indeed carried out those two strategies.  (tiny sheesh)  "Yes, Honey....I looked there....Yes, Philip....I checked there too....No, Sweet.Heart.Darling.Friend.of.MINE....I did not take them outside."

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Until and For

I usually do not get upset.  I get angry when things aren't done right.  I get aggravated when I'm not heard.  But to be upset or worried or anxious is not a typical reaction for me.  Today I am.

There are wildfires burning all around us within our county.  The sky is filled with smoke.  My home is filled with a haze.  Our hearts are heavy and our throats burn.

I wonder if I should follow the advice of "evacuation preparedness" and have our shoes by the door, our water hoses connected, and valuables like photo albums in a central location.

Speaking of wedding ring is missing.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Psalm for Sunday

How many are Your works, O Lord!
In wisdom you made them all; The earth is full of your creatures.

These all look to You to give them their food at the proper time.
When You give it to them, they gather it up;
When You open Your hand.  They are satisfied with good things.
When You hide Your face, they are terrified.
When You take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.

When You send Your Spirit, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
May the Lord rejoice in His works - 
He who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

I will sing to the Lord all my life.
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.
But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more.
Praise the Lord, O my soul.  Praise the Lord.
-Psalm 104

Thursday, September 01, 2011


For the first time in my marriage, I have lived an entire year without repainting/redecorating a room.

Last Labor Day weekend, I repainted the dining room and ended up with a bulging disc and a month of bedrest and physical therapy.  For some reason, I have not been just hopping to start a new project.

But after three hundred and sixty-somethin days...I think I'm ready.

Our bedroom walls have been tan since I painted them Christmas of 2005.  Well, actually two years ago when we remodeled our master bathroom, I had to "touch them up".  Do you feel afraid by that phraseology?  Understandable.  Philip had knocked out a wall to get the one piece tub installed.  He had repaired the wall with new sheetrock and it was my job to prime & paint it.  I was already a tiny bit tired of tan walls, and hoped to redecorate the bedroom too at that time.

Ok, follow me, here....   We had to pay the plumber WAY more than we budgeted.  So all the "decor" money was gone.  Since I couldn't fund new bedding, I wasn't sure what color the room would ultimately be.   I had to repair some old screw holes with spackle and primer. I primed the big rectangle from the tub passage and then used the leftover cream paint from the bathroom to cover the primer.  I knew a big creme-on-tan rectangle with four odd looking splotches on either side would just look silly.  So, as the primer fumes infiltrated my senses and sensibilities....