Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thankful for Family

It's nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of our everyday life. We headed out to the old home place, my grandparents farm, 60+ acres of woods and meadow, 5 miles from nowhere, and an hour from any major after Thanksgiving shopping sales. My grandparents are not with us anymore, but we still have the farm. Being there reminds me of all the fun I had with them as a child; exploring the woods, running through the fields, gathering hen eggs, picking tomatoes, getting chased by Brahma Bulls, and fishing in the pond. I hope your Thanksgiving was like ours, filled with family fun.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Smells Like Christmas

Every year about this time, typically the day after Thanksgiving, I clear out a spot in our front room to set up the Christmas Tree, we use and artificial tree, the others make me sneeze. I try to do an extra good job of dusting and rearranging so that we have plenty of room for the tree, presents and Christmas decorations that find their way from the attic into the house. I also take this time to toss the old scented plug-ins and replace with my favorite Apple Cinnamon or similar Christmasy smells. When I did this last year, "the inventor" walked into the house after I had transformed the front room, saw the Christmas tree up, took a deep breath and said "Ah, Christmas air". I didn't tell him that it wasn't the artificial tree that he was smelling, but the wall plug-ins that I had just replaced. Why burst his bubble.

By far the most fun I have about this time of year is baking cookies. One of our favorite family traditions is baking and eating cookies while we put the ornaments on the tree. I do like Thanksgiving, but for me it is just the first celebration of the Christmas season. It's the warm up band for the main concert. When the last dish of the Thanksgiving meal has been washed and dried, I'm ready to break out the Christmas CD's, warm up the oven, and mix up a batch of cookies. Here's a great place to find those recipes that you can't seem to locate in your recipe box.

Mrs. Claus' Cookbook

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Fall Garden

Every time I work in the yard or the garden, I can't help but have scripture pop into my head. I realize that when Jesus spoke to his disciples in parables he used stories that related to their lives so that it would help them remember the lesson he was teaching them. So it is with me, I go to pull up weeds and Matthew 13:30 comes to mind. I gather tomatoes or squash from the garden and John 15:7-9 echos in my head.

I promise, I do not have a green thumb, but this year I have had the best garden and I have no explanation other than God saw fit to send the rain. I am terrible about watering regularly, and I haven't put in a drip system because I don't really have enough square footage for the garden to merit that kind of attention. This year we did have a lot of rain and I am still reaping the fruit of the harvest. My tomato plants are so loaded with tomatoes that the tomato cages that I set up to support the plants are groaning under the weight.

This summer the hubs, the kids and I enjoyed, corn, canelope, squash, bell peppers, jalepeno peppers, tomatoes and peanuts (they're still drying). It really has been an unbelieveably good gardening year, and I can't take credit for the bounty that we have harvested. What is most surprising is that I'll probably pick three dozen tomatoes off these vines within the week, thanks to 80 degree temps for the past few days which will continue on until Wednesday. It was so warm yesterday that my oldest put on his swim suit and hopped into the pool. I admit, its a little too chilly for my liking, but the kids aren't as particular when it comes to water temperature as I tend to be.

Even the rose bushes are still working overtime, which reminds me that I need to prune them back. I usually forget and they get all gangly and ugly looking by spring, and by then I hate to cut them back because they've already started flowering.

Thank you God for a wonderful summer garden and the extra fall fruit!

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Prayers and Petitions

Have you ever had one of those light bulb moments? It's a feeling that washes over you, and out of the blue you finally have that moment of clarity and understanding. When I was in college, I often went to bed late at night after a grueling day of working homework problems for some of my math and engineering classes. There were always a few problems that I couldn't quite finish. Many times, I would wrestle with that problem in my dreams and wake up the next morning able to sit down with a pencil and paper and scribble down the solutions to complicated equations that I had solved in my dreams. I attributed that to divine intervention. I figured God was being merciful to me, because he knew I was in over my head.

Yesterday, I had a similar light bulb experience, thankfully not about math problems. I was listening to a woman I know talk about prayer. She made the point that prayer's purpose was not for me to change God's will about what ever was concerning me, but for God to change me so that I could follow his will for my life. "Hello!" I know probably all ya'll mature christians already knew that, and if I thought about it long enough I would have agreed as well. But honestly, I don't think I really have thought, I mean really analyzed my prayers. God's probably rolled his eyes at me on multiple occasions as I posted my "wish list" up to him..."and I'd like this and I'd like that"...instead of praying how I ought to pray, with praise and thankfulness while I petition him for his help.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Now that I've got that off my chest, I'll just fess up, that I also don't like it when God says "No". Have you ever had that happen to you? Well it's not fun, and when things don't go my way, I'm sure that I haven't acted like a happy camper. Thankfully, I haven't been struck by lightning for throwing a tantrum when God says "no". He is so patient and kind, much more so than I am with my children, but I'd hate to press him on an issue, just in case, remember Korah in the OT, Numbers 16. (shiver).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Retro Giveaway

It seems that retro sells, have you seen the Flintstones in the insurance commercial? I loved the Flintstones when I was a kid and that commercial does what it was designed to do, catch my attention when it pops up on the TV. Now what I'd really like to see is a commercial where Gilligan is selling beach front property.

Maybe this is just me, but I like to buy toys for my kids and things for the house that remind me of my childhood. Retro things spark those nostalgic memories of growing up in the 60's and 70's, where things were made well and held up for 20 years. Not like our current DVD player which is broken right now and is made so cheaply that it's not worth it to get it fixed, but cheaper to just replace it; which we have already done multiple times. In my mind, the stuff of today is disposable, and the toys I had as a kid were built well and timeless. That's why I got so excited when I saw that 5 Minutes for Mom was having a Retro Giveaway . What I'd like to win is this Crosley Traveler Stack-o-Matic record player! It looks exactly like one I used to play with as a kid, except I think I had colored all over mine. If you'd like to check out this giveaway and put your name in for the drawing, head on over to 5 Minutes for Mom. You might also want to check out their store Pedal Cars and Retro Collectibles. The winner will be drawn on Friday November 30th, just in time for Christmas.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday Monday

I can remember when I did not like Mondays. Monday morning always came to soon, and I was dead tired from a busy weekend when the morning alarm pulled me out of a deep sleep. If I had rested or played all weekend I would probably have not had such an aversion to Mondays, but because I worked all week, my weekend consisted of all the stuff that stay-at-home moms take care of during their week; going to the grocery store, shopping for kids clothes, replacing things that break around the house, paying bills, not to mention the standard housework, yard work and other non-fun stuff. I didn't have that free time to regroup and reorganize myself or the kids, so when Mondays came I was wishing for an extra night of sleep.

I can remember slapping around on the night stand in a half awake stupor, trying to quiet the buzz buzz buzz that interrupted my drowsy world. When I'd finally opened my eyes enough to see that I was running late, the adrenaline rush would catapult me from my cozy cocoon and get me up and running in a frantic rush to do everything that I should have taken care of the night before but didn't have the energy (like lay out my clothes and the kids clothes and pack the diaper bag for daycare).

I'd feed and dress the toddler and the baby, take them to daycare, peel them off of me and head for work. Of course, no morning is complete without that dose of Mommy guilt that comes with leaving my children at daycare. It begins with the babies crying Moooomeeee" and holding their chubby little arms out as I drive away, which I would think about over and over, all day, until it distracted me so that I'd have to call the daycare to make sure that everyone was still alive. I'd work all day, watching the clock slowly wind it's way towards quitting time. The moment the clock struck 5 I was outta there, heading for the daycare to gather up my little chicks to take them home, play with them, feed them, bathe them and put their sweet little chubby cheeks to bed, only to do it all over again the next day.

It was an exhausting time that taught me to trust in God and that he would provide all we would need, even if I could not imagine how he would do so. This is my verse, the one that I held on to during that time:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future...Jeremiah 29:11
I am happy to report, I no longer have to take the kids to daycare. My oldest, the one with Down Syndrome, (he was 4 at the time) bit a daycare worker in the stomach and got kicked out! So I quit my job. That was ten years ago and I am still at home, and I don't mind getting up on Mondays.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bloggers Block

When I typed out my first little blog entry earlier this year, I wasn't sure that I would be able to think of anything else to write after that first day. I had Bloggers Block. I didn't really have much to say, and in fact, I never was able to keep up a diary, as a child. So as you can imagine, this blogging thing looked a little daunting, but I wanted to give it a try. What I soon came to realize, and what all of you probably already knew, is that blogging is not at all like writing in a diary. Bloggers get comments and Bloggers give comments, and that interaction with other people can be tons of fun! Plus, I don't have to get all dressed up and go into the office to interact with smart people. I can just blog along writing nice things, and you'd never know that I was sitting here in my fuzzy rabbit slippers, with my hair in a ponytail on the top of my head, wearing my glasses on the end of my nose, while sipping on a diet coke and eating a Hershey's chocolate bar (the diet coke cancels out the chocolate bar calories, you know that don't you). That's what makes this bloggy world so much fun.

It's even more exciting when you receive an award:

I am one of the recipients of the Blog Friend Forever (BFF), awarded by Hol&J, and I am honored to be the recipient of such a great award. Thanks!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Wisdom In A Pan of Biscuits

My grandfather lived more than 80 years in a tiny Oklahoma farm community. His formal education stopped at the 8th grade, but I thought he was the smartest man around. He was a tomato farmer during the depression. He was a husband and father to three girls. My grandparents eloped when they were teenagers, because my grandmother's Papa didn't think that my grandfather would be able to support his daughter. He would tell my my Grandmother, "he ain't no count". I understood what that meant when I learned how to play 42. Fortunately for all of us, they enjoyed a long and happy marriage, I was a teenager when they celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary, and they went on to have many more anniversaries.

By today's standards, he would be considered a progressive man. He used to brag to the grand kids that he could cook breakfast better that my grandmother. He said that by the time she got the biscuits cooked, her eggs had gotten cold. And if she cooked the biscuits first, then they'd have cold biscuits when the eggs got done. He would tell us, "I can take 'em all up at once, Granny can't do that!". Meaning not only could he cook the biscuits, eggs, and bacon, but he could time it so that they'd all be done at the exact same instant and he'd put them all on the table at the same time. Surprisingly, he could do that, and my grandmother would just laugh and let him do all the cooking when we were visiting. Now who's the smart one there?

I remember one morning he pulled the biscuits out and they were flat instead of fluffy. I said, "grandpa, what happened to those biscuits?", and he said, "they got cooked in the squat". "What do you mean?", I asked. "Well", he said, "they squatted to rise and got cooked in the squat. That happens to people sometimes too". He went on to explain that sometimes people get all ready to do something great, and something happens that discourages them, or causes them to doubt. So instead of doing that "great thing", they quit. Just like those biscuits, they get cooked in the squat, about to rise to the occasion, only to fall instead.

So on those days when things don't go as I had planned, and my enthusiasm gets squashed, my kids are less that helpful, and I can't find any clean socks in the laundry, I think about my grandfather. I think about how difficult his life was compared to mine. I remember his wisdom and his love for his family and I am glad that he warned me about getting cooked in the squat.

Monday, November 5, 2007

It Was Just Right

We had the best weather for our Girl Scout camp out, not to hot, not to cold, it was just right. And I felt like little Red Riding hood, traipsing through the woods, but instead of looking out for the big bad wolf, I was dodging spiders and poison ivy.

We did archery, games and a ropes course.

The Girls

By that evening everyone was beat. We finished up our day with skits around the campfire, and peach cobbler baked on the coals. Yum.

A perfect end to a perfect day.