Have a dressed up day!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Time to Quilt and A Time to Quit, Lessons Learned

This one may be a little long, but bear with me.  Lessons learned are worth sharing.

Monday morning Izzy and I awoke to twenty-three blocks left to quilt.  That's not quite as bad as waking with a toothache, but almost.

Ingenuity kicked in and our brillant minds came up with a plan.  First things first - teacher declared a holiday and principal He's Too Good To Me approved it - so, we set about trying to find twenty-three fun ways to quilt blocks.  Twenty-three different locations. We had a few laughs, squenched a few thoughts, high-fived a few, and then hit the road.

Believe me, I've had better ideas.  Remember, it was a school holiday - it started out as fun, but not too far into it Izzy realized this was not fun for her - no, it was much, much work.  Ten year old hands were not made to quilt twenty-three blocks in one day.  At least not in this century on your first attempt at a quilt.

After one teary plea to stop I watched her soldier on and thought of all the things I've "begun" in my life and never finished.  Specifically in my Christian walk.  Kindness, charity, tackling projects at church - all my good intentions.  Then there's the monster, the king of them all, my biggest failure - daily quiet time and prayer with my Lord. 

I'm not talking about praying while you drive or cook or clean.  I'm not talking about sitting down to read HomeLife.  Sure, those things have their place, and, of course, God hears every earnest plea, but I'm referring to my small promise I made to Him in response to His unending promises to me. 

The kicker - He keeps His.

Just a little of my time.  Not time split between Him and whatever urgent (if only that were true) activity I feel needs my attention; but my undivided, exclusive, unbroken quiet time with Him.  Time to hear Him speak.  Time for Him to reveal His plans for me.  Time for Him to make me understand why the answer is no, or wait.  Time to take pleasure in my King and friend. Time to immerse myself in His immeasurable love and goodness. Time to learn and grow.

Psalm 25 tells us, if we seek Him, who God will teach.  Verse 14 says that the Lord confides in us.  Can you imagine that?  It gives me finger and toe tingles to think about the maker of everything sharing a secret with me.  Little 'ole me.  But that is what He desires, an intimate relationship with me.  What is keeping me from reaping the full benefit of this?  You said it honey -  me.

Just look at what He revealed to me Monday in that quiet moment of watching my child.  No one was around.  All I could hear was the birds, tools from the shop, and an occasional sniffle from Izzy.  He spoke and forgave my disobediance.  I made a new committment, arose, and took my daughter home. For the time being quilting had come to an end.  Such a simple lesson because I became quiet and drew unto Him.  Imagine what He could have taught me if I was reading and soaking up His Word at that moment.

I required too much of Isabela.  I require too little of myself daily when I excuse disobediance and laziness. Quiet morning time with Him allows me to begin my day with His instructions.  Maybe that's why Monday fell short.  The teacher approved it, the principal approved it, but I forgot to check with the Headmaster.  We left Him out - and because we know better - our glory was cut short.

Sandy Smith, wife of evangelist Bailey Smith, says, "It has taken me years to realize that God doesn't love me because I have a quiet time - He just loves me!  This knowledge alone has increased my desire to be with Him."

" . . . resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."  Colossians 2: 2-3

Tomorrow I will post some pictures of places she is quilting blocks. Three days have passed, she is asleep in her bed, and there is only one block left to quilt. We missed our deadline but the world did not end, the earth did not stop spinning in orbit. And, all in all, we are creating a good memory.  Lessons learned.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Have a Thing for Porch Swings

When you walked out Ma and Pa Foster's back door there was a large pear tree straight ahead and a car shed and gas tank to your left.  To your right, before the pasture and garden, was a porch swing.

This swing had been painted green once but was now chipped and the chains were rusted from the weather;  but in my memory it is a vision of loveliness.  This is where my sister, cousin, and I would sit and shell peas with Ma, watch Pa plow, or we would cook up our adventures. And by the looks of this picture I may have been rocked to sleep once or twice in it.


This is a photo of me, on the left, with my mama and sister, Janice.  My Aunt Bea and cousin, Alice, are on the right.

My grandparents had a nine acre farm in Walnut Grove, nothing fancy or special, but to me it was Shangri-La.  This is where all of my favorite childhood memories took place.  They are wrapped up in a fuzzy, cozy space in my brain and heart.  The porch swing is always there.

Many of you have a porch swing and all of you have memories of one.

They are charming and romantic.  I love them so much that this summer was the ten year anniversary of me having one hanging inside my home.

This is a picture of the first one inside my home. 

Delia's bedroom was redecorated for her tenth birthday.  Who needs a chair when there's a swing that needs a home? Izzy was a newborn and I sat up many late nights swinging her.  Delia would be diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes the next year and at night, when the house was quiet, I would sit in that swing and watch her sleep, praying.

When we moved the swing was placed in our living room.  Sometimes mamas get to be selfish, it's in the rule book.  Just ask any mama.

The swing was the place to be.  Looking back I should have had a sign-up list and a timer on a cute little table beside it.

In our home now a new swing has lent its charms to the kitchen area. With a pillow and your foot placed in just the right spot on the wall even schoolwork takes on a note of pleasure.

Songs about porch swings have been written for years.  There's the slow, mournful sound of Gene Watson singing, "Old Porch Swing."  From births to deaths to romance he celebrates the porch swing.  Great song but a little too sad for me to pass along.  But if you have a hanky and a hankering -


There's Elton John's tribute to Elvis Presley.  I love Elvis so this one's a favorite.  Hush 'yo mouth and listen to  "A Porch Swing in Tupelo."


And if you've ever been a country fan or known a country fan you've heard John Anderson's "Swingin'."
Mamas, if you've got a Charlotte Johnson you might consider putting your porch swing in the house.  There's a better view.

Go porch swingin' today.  If you can't find one come on over to my house.  It's bug-free, air-conditioned, and the swing is close to the fridge.  Just put your name on the list and listen for the timer. "Time's up - my turn."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Max Sings His AC's

Because it is four days from the fair project deadline and two days from the finished quilt deadline, there is not much time to blog - but don't go away. 

To put a smile on your face I'm sending out one of my favorite videos of Max. 

In my spare time I'm scribbling down porch swing thoughts. Stay tuned.

For now, enjoy my little Einstein.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Gorgeous Gourds Part 2

I know some of y'all have been tossing and turning -  you can't sleep because you are itching to know what is going on with the gourds.  No?  Sorry, my mistake.

The cleaning of the gourds went fairly well except I now have 243 bleached towels.  What does one do with 243 bleach speckled, hole-filled towels?

The gourds are cleaned out to be filled with rice. The musical instrument ones are glued shut.

Oh, how I love those hands.

For the rainsticks you need skewers . . .

Lots of skewers.  Love those pink fingernails.  I just can't seem to pull that off.  Dishwater hands, you know.

For gourd purses you'll need . . .

fabric scraps . . .

Mod Podge (in a pretty little yellow bowl) . . .

and a clown.  For good measure.

or an alien, either will do.

Soon these gourds will join this one . . .

Izzy's first gourd.  The creme of the crop, the cat's meow.  She painted this gourd over the summer at Camp Agape Children's Camp in Tennessee.  My sister, P., is children's camp director there and she brims over with great ideas.  They just tumble out of her brain as she uses the Word to teach children how Jesus loves them.  She teaches young girls how to be princesses and young boys how to be knights.  She teaches modesty and chilvary and love for every culture and race.  She teaches that God is our Redeemer.  She teaches Truth.

Trust me, SHE'S GOT CAMP.

Finished gourd rainstick.


 Finished gourd purse.

She looks so proud. Pride can sometimes be a good thing.  So, for now I'll let her bathe in her accomplishments.  The smile on her face is worth packing away in the corner of my heart.
The mess in the kitchen - worth putting off until tomorrow.

Remember in the last gourd blog I asked you what shade God has given you lately?  Don't forget to thank God for that shade, lest a little worm comes and devours it.  And love your fellow man - more than yourself.  It's a Jonah thing, it's a gourd vine thing, it's a lesson. 

It's a God thing.

But this video is a private homeschooling mom thing.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Life, A Death, and Pasta Salad

I have a recipe for you. It's tangy and zangy and zippy and I promise you will like it. 

But first I must reminisce about a friend who was an excellent cook.  I dined with her on many occasions, usually walking away thinking that I really needed to get her recipe for another scrumptious treat she had made.  She is gone now and I have only one of her recipes.  The irony?  The name of it - Confetti Pasta Salad.

The definition of confetti goes something like this, "enhances the gaiety of a festive event . . . carnivals, weddings, parades."

Marianne was born twenty-three years before me.  She was twenty-nine and I was six when we met.  Marianne was my Girl's in Action leader at church.  I remember slumber parties at her house and baking cookies for the nursing home.  As a child I remember hearing the women of our church speaking of her miscarriages, one after another for ten years before she was blessed with rocking her firstborn, a son.  A year later, the added blessing of a baby girl.  That baby girl would one day babysit my own little girls.

When Gregg and I married, Marianne and her husband were the first to treat us as adults.  She left my childhood in the past and gave me my first "duties" at church.  I never remember a time that Marianne was on the outside looking in.  We did not always get along.  Probably because in the grand scheme of things we were two peas in a pod, and sometimes there is only room for one (at least that's what peas like us think).

In 2004 Marianne was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and by the spring of 2005 she was face to face with Jesus.

"Dying is a very dull, dreary affair.  And my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it."
W. Somerset Maugham

Marianne was never dull or dreary, not even in the last days of her life.  She would not have liked that quote. She faced the giant of death as she did all other giants in her life - she put it in it's place.

I never got the opportunity to comfort her - I would cry and she would comfort.  I sat at her bedside less than twenty-four hours before she died.  Pain medication made her speech slurred and she rambled some, and nothing could hide the regret she had that she would never know the ones who would love and marry her children and that she would never hold a grandchild.

Marianne taught me many things from the years of being my teacher to my mentor.  By her example I learned what to be, and she would not mind me saying - I learned some ways not to be. Even with her no longer here I catch myself wondering, in certain situations, what she would do.  There are times I want to respond exactly how she would and other times I know to run in the opposite direction.  But aren't those the only kind of friends worth having?  The ones that let you see who they really are - and you love them anyway, and they you.

She was kind with high expectations, stubborn with high expectations, gracious with high expectations, and critical with high expectations. She was loving and she was my friend. All that mushed up together made one incredible and real woman.

Marianne was a Christian, a musician, a seamtress, a gardner, a mother, a wife, and a cook.  She "enhanced the gaiety of life."  See the irony?  Confetti Pasta Salad, my one and only recipe from her. Life's sense of humor.  Good thing I've got the memories. 

Miss you, Marianne.  Keep a bowl of pasta waiting and one day we'll catch up.

"The only service a friend can really render is to keep up your courage by holding up to you a mirror in which you can see a noble image of yourself." - G. B. Shaw

Marianne's Confetti Pasta Salad

12 oz. Vermicelli pasta, cooked and drained
1/2 bottle (2.62 oz.) Salad Supreme seasoning
1 pkg. dry Italian dressing mix
1 1/2 c. Italian salad dressing
1c. chopped green pepper
1 small chopped purple onion
1 flat can chopped black olives
1 can diced tomatoes, drained

In large bowl mix cooked vermicelli with all above ingredients.  Toss well.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Toss several times while it marinates.  Add more liquid dressing if dry. serves 12.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Come Back Tomorrow

I won't be blogging today.  A sleepless night caused me to oversleep this morning and I've been behind all day.  Come back tomorrow; I'll talk about a friend, a death, and pasta salad.

In the meantime, check out some of my older posts - Gorgeous Gourds is my favorite - how I love those VeggiTales.

Love to all.  Rie.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bragging Rights

When we become mothers our world becomes wrapped up in a whole new realm of responsibilities.  There are the practical ones - diaper changing, feeding, wiping hineys, wiping up puke, etc.

There are the joyous ones - singing them to sleep, kissing bobos,  first steps and first words, etc.

Then there is the responsibility of bragging.  It comes with the territory of parenthood.  So, excuse me while I brag.

My daughter, Shelby (the one with the dreaded middle child syndrome, just like her mama), loves everything about the kitchen - its sights, sounds, and smells.  She dances to the rhythm of the mixer, the color of food puts a grin on her face, and she taste samples everything in all stages of the cooking or baking process.  Her entire soul goes into each recipe.  Shelby's idea of a good time on Friday night is going to the grocery store.  If you want a smile or two just sit cross-legged on the kitchen counter and watch Shelby cook.

Last year, her senior year of highschool, she participated in our local Junior College's Vo-Tech Culinary Arts program.  Now comes the bragging - her awards.

Shelby received several awards - Dean's List, Most Trustworthy, Attendance - but I'm going to focus on one.  One student is chosen from all of the Culinary classes to receive the Director's Achievement Award.  This is the outstanding student award.  My baby.  The poor stupid homeschooled girl with no socialization skills. Way to go, baby.  She's just beginning in this life to show 'em all.


Pretty impressive, huh?  But, not as impressive as this one.  At the end of the school year all vocational training classes take an examination called the CPASS.  Yes, I'm beaming with pride right now.  Shelby scored the highest in Culinary Arts on this exam throughout the entire state - every Junior College, every student. 

Yep, it's the little girl who couldn't ride a bike until she was eleven, can't spell, who crys with the simpliest of algebra problems, and who cannot pronounce the word onion.  The young lady who wants to be a children's minister and dreams of traveling overseas to teach proper nutrition to impoverished countries.  Our Shelby.

It's the praying - the praying while you rock.  Stay tuned.  I rocked four babies to sleep.  There's no telling who I'll brag on next.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lovebugs and the Ocean Floor

Today I pondered the lovebugs on my windshield while carsitting.  There they were, in all their glory.  I felt like the one person on the "nuddy" beach with clothes on.  Maybe I shouldn't be watching.

A few facts about lovebugs.  They are also known as the honeymoon fly or kissybug.  There is always a larger bug (the female, of course - must be her metabolism). 

After mating the male dies - guess she "bugged" him to death.  Ouch.  He is then dragged around by the female until she lays her eggs, about 350 of them.  Can anybody say, "Epideral, please."

The female will live for 3-4 days.  Ladies, you'd die too if you had to drag your deadbeat husband around.

There doesn't seem to be much love to these bugs.  One is always looking ahead and the other one can only see where he has been - never where he is going.  Even though they are "joined at the hip" you might say, there is no unity.  Even sadder was the lone lovebug on the right side of my window.  It had no partner.  It was slow moving, erratic, and appeared to be in a drunken state.  It was wandering and would die alone.

Watching these bugs brought to my mind a life without Christ.  If you are the smaller one the devil is dragging you around by your tail; taking you where he leads, and all you can do is follow.  Why?  Because you have no control over your own existance.  You are lost in sin.  And that, my friend, is a bad kind of lost.

Then there is life with Christ.  You are dragging Satan around.  All he can do is chase after you, trying in vain to take you where you cannot go.  Away from Christ.

I got to pondering more and wondered if a lovebug's life would be better lived another way.  Then I looked again at the lone bug who had layed her eggs and shed her mate.  It really was sad looking, seemed to have very little life left.  God did not create the lovebug to live alone - just as He did not create us to live alone.  Only life lived in Oneness with Him is a life worth living.

And with this life there is no dead weight, just a glorious freedom that comes from the forgiveness of sin.

I don't know about you, but I'd rather live the life Micah speaks of in the Bible.  "God will cast all of our sins into the depths of the sea."  Micah 7:19

Burden of sin verses the relief of forgiveness - with the added bonus of Jesus.  Sounds like love to me.

Psalm 103:12 says this, "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us."

By the way - that gross smear on your windshield - it's not the lovebug's insides, it's their eggs.  Mamas, have a great day.  Be thankful you are not a lovebug.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Moody Monday

 This is what is on my living room floor right now.

- 2 Dove chocolate candy wrappers
- throw
- throw pillow
- one used pull-up
- toy electric drill
-14 Fisher Price little people
- 3 markers
- one used paper towel
- 3 pairs of shoes
- tv remote contol
- dirty fork
and finally, a cup dripping no-no (that's milk, don't ask me why)

Ma and Mama always said if you drop a dishtowel it means company's coming.  Lord, please don't let me drop a dishtowel.

Here's what is on my sofa table.  A dozen Rose 'Honey (I looked them up) apricot colored roses from my daughter Delia's boyfriend, Ruben.  A little birthday present to me guaranteeing he stays on my good side. He doesn't have anything to worry about. My thoughts go out to his mom, T., today.  I hope I never have to find out what a mama's heart feels like when it swells with so much pride and so much fear at the same time.

Anyone out there want to trade floors, or houses for that matter?  I'll keep the roses, thank you very much.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

When the Roll is Called Up Yonder

 When I blogged last and shared our birthday adventures at Mom and Dad C.'s house I purposely left off my favorite all-time theme.  It deserves its own moment in the sun.  Scavenger Hunt.  Two groups of five.  He's Too Good To Me and I  were with his brother M.,  wife R., and their daughter C.

On the opposing team were my daughters with their own R. and C.  They were the lightweights.

Mom and Dad did not go, they stayed at the house to keep Max and, most importantly,  prepare a party for us when we returned. 

We were given a list Mom and Dad created.  Rules: there weren't any, with the exception of NO SPEEDING!

Ready, Set, Go!  First thing my group did - SPEED!  Had our opposing team done the same they would have been grounded.  Oh, the pleasure of motherhood.

We were in Hubby's and brother's home turf.  Just a minor unfair advantage.  From looking for abandoned homes to schools  to cows they seemed to know exactly where to go.  Poor lightweight team - they had to do alot of searching. Cry me a river.

R. and I finally relaxed and left our inhibitions back at the 45 mph speed limit and went with the flow of our competitive husbands.

The winner, you guessed it - the over 30 (and 40) crowd. Rah! Rah!

The prize - bragging rights.  And boy, did WE brag.  We gave them a hard time.  Not only did we win, we won by 45 whole minutes.  That's alot when you consider our age and speed of mobility.

Here are some of the items we had to find.

Funny Faces.  That one wasn't too hard.

The Winners.

The losers.

Blowing Bubbles.

The Winners. We did both kind because we were not sure which one Czar would count as correct.

Blue Tounges.

The Winners.  Blue M and M's.

The Losers.  Blue airheads. How appropriate.


The Winners.

A Wal-Mart employee.

The Winners. This is the one the other team could not get - no one would pose with them. Cry me another river.

Garage Sale sign. 

The Winners.  This one we lost because we had a Yard sale sign. Go figure, I thought there were no rules.

Licking Ice Cream Cones.

The Losers.

Sunglasses.  The tags make all the difference.

Still the Losers.  But aren't they cute?

Good thing about family.  It's a good thing. 

There's a different kind of list - and a different kind of party.  God's Word tells us in Revelation 20 that we will all one day stand before the throne of God.  A book will be opened, which is the Lamb's Book of Life, and only those whose names are written on this list will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Believe me when I say that we were all desperately seeking the things on Mom's list.  This list had everything to do with her, she created it and she would be the one to judge us. We needed to win - and above all else, we had a party to attend.  A party with good food, excellent company, and love abounding.

We are on Jesus' list.  He created it and us.  From the time we are born we are on a scavenger hunt. We  search for the things on our list that we think will make us happy, the things that will help us win this game of life. We are desperate.  If we are wise enough to accept the true gift of salvation that is Jesus Christ Himself then our search is over.  Call upon Him, admit your sins, accept Him, confess Him, and you have won.  Your name will not be blotted out of this book, you are forever saved from the damnation of Hell.

Remember the yard sale sign? How close it was - close but no cigar. It wasn't good enough. There are no shortcuts, no alternate routes, no back door entries into a life with Christ.  There is but one way.

And the party -WOW!  What a party there will be.  Jesus is there now, preparing our place at the table.  There will be good food, excellent company, and love abounding. 

Are you looking for something fun to do? It only costs a little gas so take your family on a scavenger hunt, there is nothing like it for a little bonding time - and a little fun-loving hassling.  No speeding.

Call Mom, she's got the list.

And the Book of Life - is your name on the list?  If not, you're gonna miss the party.

“The grand question of life is, Is my name written in heaven?” -D.L. Moody

The Lord is ... not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:9

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Birthday is Tomorrow. . . to Nana's house we go

My mom-in-law is the ultimate hostess.  When she plans a party or family gathering then you need to come hungry - and bring a camera.  If you tend to lean a little on the "it's freezing in here" side then bring a jacket, also.

She is a great cook.  Mom doesn't experimate with a lot of new recipes.  More our fault than hers, I think. We have our favorites and she knows them.  They are tried and true.  From Shelby's favorite lasagna to Delia's, "Is Nana cooking roast tonight?"  None of us can figure out how her steaks are always juicy and her baked potatoes are always perfect.  Who needs a steakhouse?

If there was a Smithsonian for good food hers would be in there, behind thick plateglass, close enough to make you drool but just out of sensory reach.  Like's Fonzie's jacket or the original Kermit the Frog (I just revealed too much of myself).

Back to the camera.  But, don't worry if you don't have one.  Mom has had one surgically attached to her right hand.  You'll need one to capture all of her beautiful "tablescapes".  Was that a word before Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade?  It's not in the dictionary.     Ummm . . .  I need to invent a word.

Back in 2006 Mom decided that she'd do "themes" for our birthdays.  Birthdays are a big deal at her house.  It's not up to you if you want to let your birthday quietly come and go without  a lot of hoop-la.  It's up to her.  Like when I got all of the "Over the Hill" dead black stuff and my sister-in-law  got the "30" theme - we won't talk much about that one, it's touchy.

We've done these.

The Pirate Theme.

Complete with costumes.

The Movie Theme.

Complete with an embarrassing photo of us at the theatre, with STRANGERS standing around watching.

There has been the Blue Theme, High School Musical Theme, Softball Theme, Fishing Theme, Bowling Theme, Baby Shower Theme, Hawaiian Theme, Hunting Theme, Garden Theme ... the list goes on and on.

Starting in January of this year she dropped the theme celebrations.  Most themes were already used up.  It's been a hard addiction for her to break - and for us.  We still get beautiful tablescapes accompanied by "my mama cooked it" food.  That's the best kind. The greatest theme of all - family time - that we still have.

We love our Mom and our Nana. She was sick a few weeks ago and many prayers were lifted up on her behalf. She brings us joy.

My birthday is tomorrow.  Jealous?

Her children rise up and bless her. . . Proverbs 31:28

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Chicken Dances - in more than one way

Before you read any further I must warn you.  If you are the type of person not interested in where your food comes from because it "grosses you out" you might want to stop right here.

To get the full effect of this post you must listen to music.  Go to my playlist (sing-a-longs) on the right and click onto the Chicken Dance. Trust me, it will be a whole lot more fun this way.

We have chickens.

I love my ladies.  We're good to them.  We feed and water them regularly, give them treats (fruits and tomatoes are their favorites because of the water in them), and He's Too Good To Me has built them a nice coop - no running water or air conditioning - but leaky free with nice big roosts.  Ever so often they are let out to roam free for their favorite snacks, bugs. My chickens give me delicious, fresh eggs.

But . . .

No more eggs, no more chickens (live, that is).

Slaughter time at the 'ole homestead is fast approaching.  This was last years.  Not long after this photo was taken my freezer was full.  No, Max had no nightmares.

That's a bad word - slaughter - sounds like Freddie or Jason or Michael might be coming to visit.  I prefer "taking their last voyage," "a leap into the unknown," or maybe "going on a holiday!"

This is a photo of some of our newest ladies. After fall we will be down to just them and it will be several years before another slaughter. They should be giving me beautiful little oval gifts in a couple of weeks.

This next photo is the best one of all.  Last year they lined up for their doom - really, seriously, I kid you not.

I know how much you are enjoying this, but please, no gifts.  Especially t-shirts, like this one.


Chickens for peace!
We’re chickens for peace!
And we don’t want to fry!
Chickens for peace!
We’re chickens for peace!
One little war, and we’re chicken-pot-pie!

Chickens for peace!
We’re chickens for peace!
And no one respects, a chicken who begs!
Chickens for peace!
We’re chickens for peace!
One little slip, and we’re hard boiled eggs!
Written by Peter Alsop, ©1985 Moose School Music (BMI)

Why did the chicken cross the road?  To get away from Here!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Book Recommendation. . . Because I Can!

My friend, J., posted on her blog last week about the troubles with her children and the words, "I can't!"  Typical troubles, same as you and I have.  Got me to thinking about my kids and these words.

I'll start with the oldest and go down from there.  Better to embarrass the big ones first, don't you think?

When Delia was younger she got stuck in a tree while climbing onto the roof of the house.  She was pretty afraid to come down - oh, I mean, she was pretty stuck.  No amount of coaxing her could stop the words, "I can't!"  

Delia hates to write.  So for every book report, every paper, every answer in paragraph form, we heard the words, "I can't!"

Shelby was afraid to learn to ride a bike.  You know the kid in every neighborhood that learns to ride last?  Yep, proud parents we are.  "I can't! I can't! I can't!" She was eleven in case you're wondering.

Shelby hates math.  Algebra, to be exact.  You got it - "I can't!"  That one we are still working on.  One hundred and eleven years old, maybe? (I thought an algebra equation would be cute there, but ... "I can't!")

Izzy was the baby for so many years.  She never had to do much of anything on her own, so many people to pamper her. There weren't alot of "I can'ts!"  Just much bellowing for her sisters.

Izzy loves science.  For every other subject - need I say it?

Now Max is the baby.  Might be pretty cruel to talk trash about the baby.  He is a baby, though.  He'll never know.  Max doesn't want to learn to use the potty.  That's a post all its own.  So far we haven't heard those tender, beloved words.  Just a bunch of, "No!"s.  But they are coming - sure as the sun shines.

This blog belongs to me and I make all the rules so you are not going to get to hear all of my cannots.  He's Too Good To Me might not be so good to me if I told you all of his cannots.  But I will give you this - drumroll - another book recommendation!

Many of you know this book, 'I Can't' Said the Ant.  It's an absolutely delightful story by Polly Cameron about an ant who wanted to help Miss Teapot when she fell over. "'The tea was too hot.'  'Push her up,' said the cup. 'I can't,' said the ant."

The book continues on with these charming rhymes until - well, I don't want to spoil the ending. Once I cried and my children laughed at me.

Perfect to read to a toddler but with some words difficult enough for a third grader to read independently. Well, my third graders anyway.  'Cause, you know, they might not could before then. But you'll want to read this one with them,  it's appealing to any age.  Makes you want to break into song.  Here's a perfect one.

Here's the bad news, my friend.  This book is out of print.  But as luck has it, Amazon has a few new and used copies through independent sellers.  Buy yourself one, I can't give mine up.


Monday, September 14, 2009

One Heart

Thanks to everyone who prayed me through this weekend.  This is still too emotional a subject for me to post about, later maybe, when I can  find some small amount of humor in it. He's Too Good To Me is back home from the hospital, with his heart still intact; and me knowing more than ever, if his goes, mine goes.  Love to all.

Proverbs 30:18-19

There are three things that amaze me—
no, four things that I don’t understand:
how an eagle glides through the sky,
how a snake slithers on a rock,
how a ship navigates the ocean,
how a man loves a woman.

. . . and vice versa

Friday, September 11, 2009

Do We Have to Remember?

In 2001 He's Too Good To Me and I were going through some financial difficulities.  Once you manage to drag yourself through the trials that are life you draw closer to one another.  It passes down from generation to generation.  Back to the beginning.  Wonder who was angrier?  Adam?  Because Eve had succumed to temptation and eaten the fruit?  Or Eve? Because Adam was not strong enough to stop her?  Can't you just hear the conversation, "You should not have done it!" "Why didn't you stop me?"

Once they got over blame and anger and adjusted to their new life, I imagine they must have drew into each other. 

On this day in September of 2001 I had left the house early to go pay a bill, scheduled turn off day.  As I parked my car the news was reporting a plane crashing into the World Trade Center.  No one was speaking of it in the store; it was, at that moment, just another sad tragedy that was happening far away.

While I was driving home the second plane hit.  All at once my problems were small and I would now witness a nation drawing into each other.

I had left the girls at the house; Delia was 12 and I would be less than 2 miles away. No one had spoken of an attack on America in the minutes it took me to get home.  There was confusion and rambling on the news and my heart was in a state of panic.  I needed to get to my babies.

I remember watching all day, crying as I tried to explain to their young hearts and minds what I could not understand myself. I wanted my husband, Gregg; only he can wrap his arms around me and make me feel safe, no matter what.  I wanted my mama and daddy, I wanted my sisters.

When the sounds began of bodies hitting ground as desperate people chose another way out of that horror I no longer had the strength to stand.  I remember sitting on the bathroom floor with a towel held to my mouth to stifle the sounds I could not contain, but I don't remember what I was thinking.  Fear was mixed with a desperate need to stay calm.  A sadness overwhelmed my heart that was so shattered for the pain of others and it was more powerful than anything I had ever felt. So I just sat there, cried, and prayed. 

Adam and Eve, the first of us, God's creation to bring Himself joy.  Their fear must have been the same, the unknown was before them. Not a very good comparison, I know, but what do you compare 9/11 too?  Life changed forever for them, as it did for us in 2001.  It had already begun to change for me, on Oct. 1, 1997,  the saddest day in the history of my hometown, Pearl.  I had babies at school, I had a sister there, friends and their children were there. 

Generation after generation from the beginning -  trials of life - anger, sadness.  We were created to bring Him joy and look what we did to ourselves.  Look at what He gave us and look at what we did with it.

Look at what God did then.  Jesus.

In time we have gotten past some blame and anger, we have adjusted to a new life after September 11.  That ability is another gift from above.

So, do we really have to remember?  

I move through my days loving my husband, caring for my children, and treasuring my life.  I pray to God when times are good for Him to prepare my heart for the bad times that are coming.  Days like today, when my Daddy's doctor gives us news that's not so good, and surrounding all that - it's September 11.

So, for me, I have to remember.

My friend S. has to remember.  Today I sit and watch her cry for those families and we remember together.

I remember with the help of words from a song I love, "In your eyes I see the pain, come soak this dry heart in healing rain ... Lift your hands, they can be held by someone greater - the great I Am."

That's Healing Rain by Michael W. Smith.  Listen to it and close your eyes and don't remember the horror.  Remember the families, lift your hands for them.  Remember your families.  And, with joy, thank God.

and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 
2 Chronicles 7:14

This post from archives.

Today she comes home!

My oldest daughter, Delia, took that great big step into dorm life in August.  She ran past Go and did not even ask - Mother, may I?

Doesn't that mean she has to go back to the beginning?

The first couple of weeks she came home during the week, even spent a night or two at home.  Even though I know it wasn't to see me, it was to see her sweet young man, Ruben, I still got to reap the benefits of it.

 Then Mr. Know-It-All-Mike told me that would not last.  He jinxed me.

This is her cute dorm room she shares with Lana.  Didn't they do a great job!  We painted her rug and now will paint Lana's with turquoise flowers.

This is the first week she stayed all week - all 4 days of it after Monday's holiday. Today she comes back home.  Hurry home, baby girl, we miss you.

O God, Thou hast taught me from my youth; And I still declare Thy wondrous deeds.  Psalm 71:17

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shelby finds . . .

Yep, Shelby's home.  I'm going on a diet - tomorrow.

This is a favorite recipe of ours from hubby's mom. It's a creamy chocolate filling, like the unforgettable chocolate pies Ma used to make, with just enough pecans on top to make it perfect. 

Chocolate Pecan Pie.  On the top of Dad Cupstid's list. Of course, out of respect for the man, I'll fight him for the last piece.

1 1/2 c. sugar
3T. cocoa
1 stick melted butter
2 eggs
1 small can evaporated milk
1t. vanilla
1c. chopped pecans

Wisk all together.  Pour in unbaked pie shell.  375 degrees for 10 minutes, then 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until set. Do not overbake!  It should jiggle some, like I do from eating too much of this stuff!

Thanks Mom Cupstid, or Nana, as she's affectionately known.


This is the perfect diet pizza.  No white creamy, fattening, mama's got junk in the trunk sauce.  Choose your cheese carefully and, of course, wheat crust.  Homemade preferably.

Prepare chicken (grilled or pan fried, in olive oil, please).  Or do the Sandra Lee thing and buy precooked in those little expensive packages that can't really weigh what they say they do.  Salt and PEPPER it well. 

Brush pre-baked pizza crust with olive oil.

Spread drained can of Italian style stewed tomatoes over crust.

Top with chicken, bacon, and mozzarella.  Sprinkle basil, red onion, and parmesan cheese on top.

Bake till bubbly and don't share.  Unless you're on a diet.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

When will I learn to listen?

Last night while sitting on the sofa watching TV, which was my first mistake, I got one of those gut feelings you get, out of nowhere, that tells you to do something.  My second mistake was being too lazy to get up and do it.  It seemed like such a trifle thing, didn't even make sense to me to do it.  So ... I ignored the little persistant booger till it went away.

Today I found myself in a situation where my pride was more than a little scraped (He's Too Good To Me had to tell me how to spell that, instead of scrapped. He did it with a little phonics lesson, vowels and such.  I think I will change his name now).  This happened because I failed to follow my gut last night.  Mind you, it really did not make sense then, I could see no purpose in it, and, above all else, I did not WANT to do it.

Should have done it.

While chewing on this today and trying to figure out how to kick my own self in the hiney (used to could do it, not such a pretty sight now) I thought of something our pastor preached on recently.  Jesus did not WANT to die on the cross.  The Word tell us in Matthew 26 that Jesus prayed three times asking God if there was another way than the cross.  The Message  says, "He plunged into an agonizing sorrow".  Though He was eager and willing to do whatever His Father required of Him to save His children, the human in Him could not help but fear the pain that would come from that type of death.

When Jesus was assured there was no other way, He returned to His disciples and told them the hour was at hand. He became our salvation and the only way to our Father God.

When you become a Christian you receive a truly wonderful gift - the Holy Spirit. Now, I'm not sure if last night's prompting was from the Holy Spirit or not, the only one hurt by me ignoring the feeling was myself, and then it was only my pride.  I know it was the wisdom in me that comes with age (I can't believe I just said that) urging me to be smart, and had I listened, I would have been just that - smart.

Oh, but with sadness how I must admit my failure in leaning my ears and my heart into the quiet still voice of my God. When He speaks I must listen. In order to do that I must seek Him out, He does not move, I do.

Thank you, Jesus, for doing what you chose to do. Please give me strength to do what I must.

Jesus answered and said, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him."   John 14:23 

holy experience
Drawing of me losing my cool courtesy of budding artist, Izzy.

Have a dressed up day!

. . . put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12