Have a dressed up day!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My First Giveaway

We have a winner - Audrey.

Congratulations. I'll be emailing you soon.

Thanks CSN Stores for the giveaway.

Remember how I love porch swings?  I'm celebrating spring and porches, and one of my readers will win a onetime $40 gift card from CSN Stores.

I'm excited to be offering this giveaway.  You can purchase anything from corner TV stands to bedding to pencils and pens.  If you want it, one of their stores has it, and many items have free shipping.  I covet free shipping.  Don't you?

Some of you know I was an interior designer before I plunged into the homeschooling world eleven years ago.  And I'm married to a carpenter (check My First Ever Cell Phone Conversation to see how we met).  So, I know a pretty piece of furniture when I see it.  I also know the dreaded I have a corner in my room I don't know what to do with, or the I wish there was a better place for my TV woes.

Check these out . . .

and these - which all fall in the $40 range . . .

Just a small samplin', with over 200 web based stores, CSN stores has got you covered.

Now, this is why the giveaway is in celebration of spring and porches.

No matter what the season, a porch can be an outdoor haven. Springtime, though, is when I get in the mood the heaviest to spruce up my porch.

Right now what I want is an outdoor rug. I really want a whole new floor on my porch, but since that ain't happening, a new rug will do. An outdoor rug.

When CSN Stores contacted me to do a giveaway the first thing I did was check out their site.  And there they were, outdoor items - at great prices.
These are my two favorite rugs.

Their rugs I like. They have a huge selection, every person's style at really good prices, and from companies I recognize and have used before on the job.
What's left - making up my mind.
Because I choose to stay home means there won't be a rug for every season, so I must be picky.

I'm not compensated, but because I like their stuff and am sure you will, I said yes to the giveaway.

Cue the confetti.

You can earn three chances to win.

All you have to do is comment on your favorite out of my two rug finalists and you're entered to win. Your choice won't matter, just your comment is your entry. My blog is not all that big, so your chances are excellent.

If you post about my giveaway on your site (which doesn't have to be a blog, you can use facebook, twitter, or email all your friends about it - don't forget to leave a link to the giveaway post) you get an extra entry. In your comment send me the link to you spreading the word about it and you're entered again.

And, if you grab my button and place it on your blog you get another entry.  Leave the link in the comment so I can check it out.  They say the third time is the charm.

You must have a valid email address to enter 'cause that's how CSN will contact you if you win.

The giveaway ends at midnight on Friday, May 7 and the winner will be chosen randomly.  I will post the winner on Saturday, May 8.

You can buy your own outdoor rug like mine or in a style such as this . . .


 or anything in between.
Like I said, you can choose anything.  They ship to Canada and the U.S.  Selected items have shipping charges and international fees will apply for Canadians.
Go on, play now.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What the Word? Wednesday

Welcome back to What the Word? Wednesday.

What Max has to say this time is not hard, the tune will give it away.  There's a cute story behind it that I'll tell tomorrow when I post the answer.


Comment on your guess and check right back here tomorrow.  Remember, I'll hold all comments until the end of the day.

Alright, I was wrong, this wasn't an easy one.  Maybe he's out of tune, I don't sing so . . .

Many of you got the sunshine word right.

Maxster is saying, Walking on sunshine, walking on sunshine, woa. Don't it feel good.

That video is actually the first time he sings, Don't it feel good. Most of the time he sings, It don't feel good. Walking on the sun would not feel good, he says. Cause it reely hot, Mama.

Just for your pleasure I'm attaching another video of him singing one of his favorite songs.  If it doesn't give you pleasure you need to check your adorable meter, cause it's broken.

Yeah, a little prejudice.

Monday, April 26, 2010

It's Never Gone


That's not good enough.

One day I want to remember how it feels.  I want to remember more than the simple joy, I want to feel the slight weight of his arm as I remember it wrapping around my neck.

His hand does not stop and rest on my back or my shoulder. 

That is not Max. 

His arm continues until his hand is resting far beyond most - and then it stops and finds the side of my neck, he holds tightly and I feel the warmth of his fingers on bare skin. 

There is weight and skin touching skin and the gentleness of tiny fingers fluttering against me as they move with his words or thoughts.

It is noticeable. 

It is unique.

It is pure happiness.

And it will end soon. 

For in life there is no other way. 

And when it does I will never feel it again. 

Even if I ask he will not be able to do it.  Because he does not know. He does not know how.

He just does, and then it's gone.

Just like the smell of sweet baby skin and the softness of Delia's breath as I rocked her, my first child, as I then barely comprehended this gift.

Or the feel of Shelby's nose on my face as she squenched it when she gave me eskimo kisses, almost always missing my nose.

Or the velvetness of Izzy's tiny hands on my cheeks when she told me a story - don't look away, mommy.

It is here and it is gone.  It can't be bottled or tied with a ribbon and gently tucked away.

Or can it? 

It is.  It is tucked gently away inside my heart.  Like a child would tuck a favorite stuffed animal against him as he sleeps. 

It is bottled up to escape and sweeten the air when I remember.

It is good. 

But feel it?  I will again.  As the ground on my face when I fall at my Savior's feet and the ripple of skin beneath my fingers when I touch the scars in His hands.  

I will thank Him then for the gift that is His goodness to me in the life of my babies.

I will thank Him - face to face, touch to touch.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day

Earth Day.

Celebrate Earth Day.

Earth Day Network.

Earth Day Blow-Out.

Earth Day Campaign.

Earth Day Community.

It goes on and on, and on. 

Yesterday Izzy told me it was Earth Day.  I'm a little behind the times - apparently since the 1970's - so I had to ask, What is Earth Day?

She just stared.  And stared.  Not because she did not know, but because she could not believe - oh, mama.

So I googled it.

Some of the above titles popped up. 

But . . .



No God.


Not anywhere on any site.

No mention of the Creator.  Celebrate His Earth, design millions of dollars of plans and organizations but do not mention the One who Created this Earth?

Please don't read between the lines, Earth Day, I know, is a good thing.  Awareness is always a good thing.

But to make it better would be to start with the word God and go from there.

He started with Eden and will finish with Eden.

I do know this.

God is who shaped this Earth and God is who filled this Earth.  God is who I came from and God is where I am going.

First this:  God created the Heavens and Earth - all you see, all you don't see.  Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness.  God's Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.  Genesis, The Message Bible

And then He spoke and all was created.  With just His words.

Eden was born.

And then sin, black and evil and destroying man and the glory of creation. 

So this . . .

The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the exalted of the earth languish. The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth's inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.  Isaiah 24:4-6

The greenhouse effect, icebergs, global warming - this wisdom granted unto men because He knew we would need it, and because of this . . .

You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.  Psalm 8:8-6

We are protectors of this Earth that belongs to God.

But soon this . . .

Eden restored.

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.  Isaiah 11:6-9

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  Revelation 21: 1-5

Our minds can hardly comprehend this.  But the promise is sure.

Man, with the wisdom granted by God, invented Earth Day.  People dedicate their lives to this service and we join together to fix what is broken. 

This is a poster in our neighborhood.

Precious Emily dedicated her ocean box for co-op to making others aware of the dangers of polluting our waters.

My final thought on Earth Day. Because of this . . .

"There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying." (Hosea 4:1-3)

our creation lies in wait, mourning with labor pains the birth of a new Earth.  And regardless of all of our efforts one fact stands alone. The one thing that man can only hope to do will one day be accomplished by our Lord.

Regardless of the doom and gloom, we can look with great hope for our future.  God, with His Son Jesus, will restore Eden - an even greater Eden.

That's why I don't think there's any comparison between the present hard times and the coming of good times.  The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next.  Everything in creation is being more or less held back.  God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead.  Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.  Romans 8, The Message Bible

You can share in this new Earth.  With the promise of salvation He gives the promise of this Heaven. 

So, He will restore - but will He do it with you or without you?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm standing at the bathroom sink, white knuckled hands gripping the edge, sobbing.  The water is running to drown out my sound and I watch as my tears join the water swirling down the drain. 

They are so easy to wash away, they fall and disappear but the pain remains.

It's been a bad morning.  I stare at myself in the mirror, desperately seeking to forgive and find forgiveness, needing grace to flow over me.  I am angry and disappointed.  Which more? I don't know.  I am looking for this joy in life I am striving to be aware of each day.  Where is it today? 

I cannot see it.  It is out of my reach.

I have become what I would never be.

My hair falls in my face and my eyes burn but that is not why I cannot see.  I cannot see because I am not worthy.  I cannot see because of blue eyes and tiny fingers gripping and why can't I just accept?

Composure is forced.  A smile is weak as I drive to where I need to be.

Don't take it out.  Don't take it out on the darlins' in the back seat.

We drive up at the same time.  She looks lovely today with her hair growing long and her new blouse on.  I notice right away, maybe it's the sun.

I made you something, she begins. 

She doesn't know I can still feel the sting of tears and the anger and shame. 

Don't take it out, I think again.

I had lost it but then I found it, she continues.

And there it is in her hand.  A snow white hand towel she monogrammed with Rie's Kitchen and an ice cream cone.

I am immediately struck with the knowledge of the thought put into this gift.  It is my colors.  The colors of my life - which are the colors of my home.  Teal, brown, apple green, orange. . . an accent of red.

It is me and she knows it.  It is why she chose it.

She left nothing out.  There is love.

I can barely say thank you because of the threat of the tears. I don't even know if I did.

I sit inside and think, maybe I have not become what I did not want.

She sees something.  She has chosen me to be her friend.  It is a privilege.  She does not choose lightly - this I know.

She has chosen me and God has chosen her and this moment for her to find it and gift it to me.

This moment she does not know would matter so.  The snow white of it, the colors of it, the thought.  The greatness in something so small and simple.

Without touching this cloth to my face it has dried my tears and there are no more today.

I hang it here.

Out of reach of the grime. 

Next to this . . .

and down from this . . .

Reminders of my daily filth and breath of promises to my soul.

Promises my Savior added to today with the gift and the giver.

Donna and the towel that is snow white - except for her color.

What the Word? Wednesday

What the Word? Wednesday is back.

This is short and not very sweet.  Maxster was being a monster and not wanting to cooperate.  I had to promise to "lea me 'lone."

I feel very confident no one will get this.  That is the point, isn't it, to stump y'all?

Penny, if you do, I'll drive eight hours and bring you a Dove bar.  You and I really are too much alike, you know?  Bloggers everywhere give great expensive gifts away - but you and me, we'd always settle for chocolate.

Post all guesses right here and check this same post tomorrow for the answer.

I have successfully succeeded in stumping y'all.  Emily didn't comment, or I probably wouldn't have.

Max is saying You're Welcome.

Thanks for playing, see 'ya next week.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesdays Daybook

Outside my window...
it is a beautiful day.  Makes me want to break into song, Oklahoma - Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day,  I've got a beautiful feeling, everything's going my way . . .

I am thinking...
when I finish this I'm going to the Netflix site and ordering Oklahoma.  Izzy has never seen it and will love it.  Anybody wanta come watch?

I am thankful for...
right now, Netflix and good clean movies I'm not embarrassed or ashamed to have my kids watch.

From the learning rooms...
finishing up the ocean box for science co-op, math, and Seabird.

From the kitchen...
leftover Ham Tetrazzini tonight.

I am creating...
See Katie over at An Every Day Adventure - wish I had said that.

I am reading...
Burn by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy.

I am hoping...
for a little bit of energy to come my way.  I had a sleepless night.

I am hearing...
Izzy practice the piano.  That's not sounding good - is it her or the out-of-tune piano?

I am remembering...
something said in Sunday School this week.  What is my motivation for loving God?  Think about it.  I am.

Words I am pondering...
the above.

Around the house...
Vacation Bible School stuff sits everywhere.  I'm working on our luncheon and donation bulletin board - die-cuts are overtaking.

One of my favorite things...
cheese toast.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
co-op, Bible School planning with dear Sandra, softball games all weekend, Bible School luncheon for Sunday.

A picture for thought:

My Mama's and Daddy's even dozen.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Red Carpet Affair

They walked hand in hand like this.

This was their night.  Anticipated for months. 

The glam of old Hollywood.

Ruben and Delia.

The Prom of 2010 - A Red Carpet Affair.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mama, Can I Drive?

Buckling Max into the car seat today.

Mama, can I dive?

No, baby, you're not big enough.

I big nuf.

You're not old enough.

I old nuf.

No, you're only three.  You have to be sixteen to drive.

I si-teen.

No, you're three.

Wha yoo nuber, mama?


I fort-for.

No, you're three.

No.  I fort-for.

You want to be little, baby.  It's fun being little.

No it not.  It not fun.


See my bobo, mama?

I can only see it a little bit, baby, mama's driving.

I see it lot bit, mama.

I see bobo on nother knee lot bit too.


Mama, can I dive?

I fort-for hunded, ike yoo.
(I forty-four hundred, like you.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Shelby Find - Ragin' Cajun

I haven't posted a Shelby Find in a while.  So here's a good one.  A really good one.  It's not your typical pasta - it is rich.

This recipe came from Food Network a couple of years ago on the Emeril Show.  It is courtesy of Dave DeRousse of Chicago, IL.

It's spicy, so adjust the heat as needed for your family.  Try it, it's yummy.  We half the recipe for our family and it is plenty; but it's really good day old, so leftovers are nice.

Smokin' Dave's Cafe's Fiery Cajun Shrimp Alfredo

1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 tbs Essence
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
10 ounces andouille sausage, chopped
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 shakes Worcestershire sauce
1 pound linguine
2 c. heavy cream
1 c. whole milk
1 tbs black pepper
1/2 tsp hot chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, sliced
1 1/2 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
chopped parsley for garnish

Place the shrimp and 3 tbs Essence in large resealable plastic bag and shake.  Place in fridge while you prepare the sauce.

Heat deep skillet over medium high heat.  Add 1 tbs olive oil and the sausage.  Saute sausage for 2 minutes, stirring often.  Add onions and saute for 2 minutes.  Add crushed red pepper flakes and garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add Wors. sauce.

Meanwhile, be cooking pasta.

To the skillet add cream, milk, remaining Essence, black pepper, chili powder, and salt.  Stir to a consistent color.  Add butter and stir until melted.  Stir in cheese until melted.  Lower heat to a simmer.

Heat the remaining olive oil in another large skillet over high heat and add shrimp.  Saute shrimp for 1-2 minutes per side or until they just start to turn pink.  Add the shrimp and cooked drained pasta to the first skillet.  Stir to combine and blend flavors, about 1 minute.

Wow, that's long, but I don't want to mess with anyone else's recipe -and trust me, this one needs to be left exactly the way it is - if you have a water hose handy.  If not, cut back on the Essense, chilli powder, and red pepper flakes.  It is fiery, but it is delicious.

Serve with salad and garlic bread.  Better yet, maybe your kids will cook it and serve it and you can 'tend (thank you, Sophie) you're in a fancy smancy restaurant.

Like our kids did for us on our twentieth anniversary a couple of years ago. 

Let me know if you try it and what you think.  Don't blame me if you follow it to a T and your tongue falls off.

Happy eating.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Joe

He's nineteen today.  He was born in Oregon - nine months and 3000 miles from where my baby girl Shelby would be born.

Time flies to 2005.  Our nation is devastated and heartbroken over the disaster of Hurricane Katrina.  His world, which is now in Slidell, La, is torn apart.

His family, which includes his mom, sister, and younger brother, head here - a little dot on the map 200 miles from their destroyed home.  They have family here - loved ones who will help them find a new home and start over.

It is damage done to the heart of a young man already damaged.
He lost his father to cancer when he was six.  A little red-headed boy without a daddy.  A loving mama living for two parents.

A new home.  A new church.  A new youth group.  Falling for a girl named Shelby.  My girl.  My girl falling for the new guy at church.

The new guy who talks funny, wears his hair way too long, and has a slight chip on his shoulder.  The guy who loves motorcycles, scary movies, and swimming; who loves Ireland, knows way too many facts about stupid stuff, and is sarcastic.  The guy who loves cajun food and sucks the heads of crawfish, but hates sweets.  A history teacher in the making.

Joe.  He has become our Joe.  He still has a slight chip, but I watch him soften every day as he becomes a man letting the damage to his heart mold him into what he is meant to be.

He's Larry and Annis' little red-headed boy.  Now he's Shelby's, too. 

 For how long?  Only time will tell.  But we like having him around.

What a small world.

Happy Birthday, Joe.

We love you.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Baby Showers

This happened a couple of weeks ago.   I quickly sat down and blogged it, then forgot about it.  I'll post it now, when I'm too busy with my sisters and eight neices and nephews to blog anything new.

My daddy is in the hospital and I ask for everyone's prayers as they do tests to find out what is wrong.  Thank you in advance.

It is fairly early, especially for around here. I've been emailing back and forth with some friends planning a baby shower. 

Delia is gone, Shelby is still sleeping, Izzy is working on rewriting a poem, and Max is on the computer playing Handy Manny.

I need a shower, bad.  Really bad. 

Everything is still and fairly quiet so I sneak off to the bathroom.  When I say sneak, I mean sneak - literally.

I hear Handy Manny say, Hola, Amigos.

I tip-toe, literallydown the hall and around the corner from where Max is.

I hear Manny say, We've got a job to do. 

I quietly get a towel out of the dryer so Max won't hear me open the linen closet door.

I hear Manny say, Building a racecar will be fun.

I hold the doorknob as I softly close the bathroom door so Max won't hear it.

I faintly hear Manny say, Click here for this tool.

So far, so good.

I turn the water on steaming hot and step in.  Oh, it is nice.

And then . . .



"Yes, son?"

"Can I ge 'n wi ou?"


"Yes, son."

"O-tay, tank ou."

I adjust the water and think, where did I go wrong? 

Maybe it was the showers when he was a baby, holding him in my arms and twirling under the warm water. I remember him laughing a toothless grin as he tried to hold on while slipping.  You won't fall, baby, mama's got you.

Maybe it was the first time I allowed him to stay in after me and play with cups under a soft flow of water trickling. Just this once, baby.  Yeah, right.

He's still in the shower now and I hear him rambling on and on about the fireman's water.  I sit here typing this quickly so I don't forget.  I never want to forget.

And just now,

in the background, I hear Shelby say . . .

"Max, get out, I have to get ready for work."

I hear Max say . . .

"Fi mor' minuts, peass?"

Sigh. Smile. Sigh again.

I didn't go wrong.

Monday, April 5, 2010


If I'm needed this week I will be with my sisters.

It only happens a few times a year so excuse me while I take a blog vacation.

Sisters - maybe God's second greatest gift.

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