Saturday, June 30, 2007

Chocolate or Chocolate???

I received an email with the following signature line:

"Save the Earth; it's the only planet with chocolate!"

Now that is one Save the (Whatever) slogans that I can really get into. While I don't have a problem with save the whales or save the spotted owls I just don't feel really passionate about either of them. They are fine in themselves and I'm glad God made them, but it's not my cup of tea.

Chocolate now, that's another matter~! I read where women need chocolate at certain times. I was really glad to see that someone else agreed with me. It really didn't matter though, because my daughters and I already knew that. We have made many chocolate runs from this house. It's a good thing we don't live far away from the store or I would have to stockpile it for those occasions. Then it would be really hard not to indulge.

The first picture is one of our favorites. It's a Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake and it is served with Hot Fudge Sauce. Um...Um...Good~! Even the guys at our house love this one. In fact, Daniel requested this for his last birthday, hence the candles.

The other is a delicious cheesecake that Rebekah made for me on my birthday.
See the delicious chocolate drizzled across the top? It was sooo good~!

I can already tell that this is one of those days when I'll be needing some chocolate.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Down Comforters

I am back at home in my own little world today. We are still officially on "vacation"; at least Donald and I are. The kids are working as they have already had theirs....vacation that is. I came home to one very clean and sweet smelling house. I paid Hannah to clean for me while we were gone. It was worth every penny I've yet to pay her~! I absolutely hate coming home from a trip to a messed up house. It doesn't take long after unloading the car to have things setting around waiting to be put in place. I used to be hyper about it and would immediately start unpacking and putting away. The first thing I did last night was come directly to the computer. We had computer access in our very lovely hotel room but they charged for it. Why spoil a "free" night by paying for something?? We also declined the valet parking for $14.00 and walked.

Donald used to travel in his job and had points for a free night that he had earned. We stayed at the RENAISSANCE AUSTIN HOTEL and experienced "an authentic luxury hotel in Austin." You could even call for a turn down service. If I had known they wouldn't have charged for it I might have called; however since I have expertise in that area (and I am also on the cheap side) I did it myself. They had fancy bottled water for $4.00 if you cracked the seal. I was completely satisfied with my Diet Coke. Donald had one iced down and oh so cold for me when I woke up yesterday.

The reason we chose Austin was to see Monte Montgomery. He can play one mean guitar. I was mesmerized by how fast his fingers flew up and down his guitar the first time I saw him. I don't know squat about music, but that guy can play~! He was at the Saxon Pub and we saw another band before he came up. I enjoyed them a lot. One guy was really the entertainer and I almost got dizzy watching him bob his head. They did a fantastic job of "Jackson" or maybe that's not even the name of it, but it was great. They had my foot tapping for sure. Monte was alone and I missed his band, but he was still fantastic. If you're interested here's his web site. You can listen to sound clips from some of his albums. I didn't see my favorite on there, "I Know You By Heart." He did it Wednesday night though and it was awesome~!

Vacations are meant to be enjoyed. I just gave Donald one little item on his "honey do" list. He's already taken care of it for me so he can enjoy the next several days. Am I awesome or what??

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mum's the Word

We are on vacation this week~! I love not having a schedule. I'm sure I would tire of it eventually, but it's pretty awesome right now.

We went out of town today for reasons I won't disclose. I am trying to protect someone I love by not giving too much information. (I guess I do have a habit of doing that sometimes and embarrassing said member of our family.) It was a lot of fun though and I got to eat at Schlotzsky's. I love Schlotzsky's and wish we had one here. We did at one time, but for some reason they went out of business.

Maybe I'll have something interesting to write about later, but for now I'm pretty content to keep quite.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Bird Caught in a Storm

Bethany and Ben returned from San Antonio last night. They had been gone since Saturday. Bright was SO excited to see them. The rest of us were also, but I dare say we didn't grin as much as Bright did. Now you may think I'm crazy, but that dog DOES grin.

I had bought a large plastic container and put all my cards, artwork, etc. in it day before yesterday. It had been in several containers and boxes all crammed under my bed and I had run out of room. We ended up looking at and laughing over some of the early artwork and letters the kids had blessed us with when they were young. Bethany had drawn "mom and dad holding hands." I was pretty big since I took up most of the page. Donald was drawn very small down in the corner. I like to think that is the way she saw me, larger than life so to speak. After all I was the one with her day in and day out while Dad had to go to work to take care of us.

Daniel had drawn soldiers and one "Zorro" that made us laugh. Hannah had written "books" and stapled her stories together for us. Rebekah contributed many also and made one cute plea asking Donald if she and Bethany could sleep on the sofa sleeper that night. If not, she advised him that they would gladly sleep in their beds. How can you turn down a request like that???

The one though that disturbs me the most is the one I can't find. Ben had drawn a lovely picture which he proudly presented to us. It was rather hard to tell exactly what it was or which side went up. He was more than happy to tell us it was "a bird caught in a storm." I put it somewhere for it is one of those keepers you always treasure. And now I can't find my treasure. I have searched and searched and can't find it. It will drive me crazy until I do.

I have several more places to look which will require some time and effort, but with God's help I will find it. Since He knows the number of hairs on my head, I'm sure He knows where my picture is.

I think I rather feel like the woman who lost her coin and searched until she found it. Luke 15:9 says: "And when she finds it you can be sure she'll call her friends and neighbors: 'Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!' "

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Our Grand Dog

I imagine a lot of blog owners post pictures of their grandchildren. Since I don't have
grand kids yet I decided to post pictures of my "grand dog." And a grand dog he is~!

Bright has been a part of our family now for over four and a half years. He loves people. He always wants to be in the middle of whatever is going on. He celebrates all occasions with us. Christmas finds our red minivan full of our family and Bright as we drive around looking at Christmas lights. We took him with us the first Christmas he was ours. He sat in Bethany's lap. Now it is a tight squeeze but he has to go~!

A few weeks ago Sonic had free root beer floats. We were minus a couple of kids as they had
other plans. But we loaded up those who were home and Bright and went for free floats. He ate small bites from a plastic spoon. Bethany has taught him all manner of things. He really is an amazing dog.

We took him for obedience training when he was young. I watched as he dragged Bethany all over the fairgrounds. The next lesson he did much better. I guess he was excited to be out with all the other dogs and people and wide open spaces. Soon he was sitting for treats, and staying, and walking beside her. Proud "grandma" watched from the sidelines. It's amazing what he will do for a bite of string cheese.

We have a lot of people coming and going at our house. Our kids have lots of friends coming by and he gets really excited when the doorbell rings. He loves it and has made quite a few friends who always have to pay attention to him when they are over.

I never imagined I would be this crazy over a dog. After all he is just a dog. Although it is quite amazing to me how he knows what we say. If someone drops food in the kitchen we can call out "clean up on aisle three" and he comes running to clean it up~! He knows the words out and go and is always ready to run to the van and wait until someone opens the door so he can jump in. Of course the word bone has great meaning for him also.

Bethany can say just about anything to him and he understands.

I couldn't resist the picture of him wearing the
birthday hat. And I have one with him
in a tee shirt and......................

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Stopping to Think

Did you ever stop to think about your life?

God could have let me
be born anywhere in the world. For me He chose a small town in Texas with under 300 people. I lived in the same house all my life; no moving around for me. In fact, my mom has lived in that house since she was about eight years old. That means she's lived there almost 80 years~! Why that house? Why that town? Why that state? Why this country?

Psalm 139:15-16 says: "You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know
exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you. The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day." (The Message)

Isn't that incredible? How can I doubt that God

loves and cares for me?

This red step stool has been in my mom's house as long as I can remember. Each of my kids sat on it while eating at my parent's table. In fact,
they still do~! It's as much a part of the house as the house itself; at least in my eyes. And I think
my children would agree. There are so many
things that are the same when I go home. My parents provided stability and love for me and
my brother. They were always there for us. I think my mom is one reason I wanted to be home with my children. Even after I graduated
from high school and got a job I loved having her there when I came home. She worked hard and did so many things for us.

I may not have had an exciting life in that small town, but it was a good life. God made the best decision for me. After all He planned it all~!

The song I woke up with today is:
"I will make my plans Lord, but you direct my steps." I guess it goes along with this post quite well.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Apple, Coconut, or Pecan?

Summer has finally arrived at our house. We are finished with school and the kids are scattered. Bethany and Ben are in San Antonio visiting some dear friends. Rebekah and Donald are at work, Daniel and Hannah are sleeping. I have let Bright out and fed the cats and should be doing some things around the house. However I'd rather be blogging. I really do need a digital camera. I have never felt the need for one before I started my blog. We have lots of photos thanks to the kids and Donald. I will be doing something and think what I could write about if only I had a picture to go along with it. I think the saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" perfectly describes my thoughts here.

We celebrated Father's Day yesterday with brisket, potato salad, baked beans, and three kinds of pie: pecan (Donald's request), coconut (for Rebekah) and apple (for whoever didn't want the other two). Ben if you read this they were really good; I'm sure there won't be any left by the time you get back from your trip~!

As you can see I really don't have any inspired thoughts at the moment. Not that I ever do, but one can hope. If we had an IHOP here I'd wake Daniel and get some breakfast. That kid loves IHOP. Right now it sounds pretty good. Maybe I'll go see if there's any pie left.
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Saturday, June 16, 2007

New and Improved

Cora sent an email that included this picture. It is pretty obvious if you come to my house that our computer isn't broken~!

Actually I've chilled out A LOT about...... oh, so many things. I used to stay uptight about the house and wanting it to be clean and perfect. No more. Several years ago God released me from my perfectionist nature and I'm enjoying life much more. I believe God wants us to be happy and enjoy Him and those he has put in our lives.

I do clean sometimes; I'm just not as uptight about when it gets done. In fact, I cleaned our bathroom last night. Every day this week I would say I was going to get to it that day.....maybe. Eventually it happened.

Several years ago I decided I could either home school or have a very clean house. But not both. Now the kids do help a lot, but they don't always do things exactly the way I would. Or sometimes even in my timing, unless I get nasty and insist it be done right then. But it really isn't that important to me any longer. Meet the new, improved me (at least in my own eyes).

Now that my bathroom is clean I'll have to decide on another project to get done sometime next week~!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Another Grace Like Rain Day

I can't get the phrase "Grace Like Rain" out of my mind. God is so terrific~! His grace is so awesome~!

So many things about God are so inconceivable to my mind. Just the thought that God IS and always WAS with no beginning and no end is so
impossible to comprehend.

I know I keep quoting things our pastor has said. It's because God's Words through him have changed my life. The whole grace concept has revolutionized my life. I love one of the definitions of that word......

3: to change fundamentally or completely In this case to revolutionize me~!

Okay, I got off on another train of thought there. I do that quite often, but back to the words our pastor said. I can't remember if he was quoting someone or if these are his words, but Donald wrote them down and I still have them in my Bible. "Grace is not something we opt into; it is something we have to opt out of!!! It is everywhere."

I have known about grace all my Christian life. It never seemed to reach further than being a word though. There is a big difference between knowing and KNOWING. I realize there is much more to grace than what I KNOW now.

That is one of the neat things about belonging to God. Just through the simple act of faith in believing in His son, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit belongs to us as well. We have access to Him at all times. We don't have to stagnate in our Christian lives. We can keep growing and learning and discarding some of the things we have believed, but find out later weren't quite right. I'm not sure I'm even making a lot of sense. There are so many thoughts swirling through my mind right now.

Enjoy God today. Revel (take intense pleasure or satisfaction) in His presence~!

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Grace Like Rain

Thanks to my sweet daughter I now have a totally cool blog. If you haven't heard "Grace Like Rain" by Todd Agnew turn on your speakers. It is an incredible song.

Thanks, Hannh. You are awesome. I love you~!
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Could this be me????

I just came inside from cleaning our fence. It has been over a month since I did that. There are creeping vines and vicious things with thorns all in the corner of our yard. They go wild in the springtime. They climb and coil and spread like wildfire. I have battled them each year for the past eleven years. They seem to be winning.

I would like to go to the chemical store and get some poison that would wipe it out. It would have to be safe for pets and be okay with my neighbors though. They have lots of it in their back yard. I'm not sure if they grow it or just don't battle it like I do. I am in a bad sort of mood since the last time I did it I got into poison ivy. I have never had poison ivy before and believe me I will be much more sympathetic the next time Ben gets it. A few years ago he had the series of shots to keep from getting it and he still got it. We have made several trips to the doctor when we couldn't get rid of it. Thankfully he handed me his prescription poison ivy cream which did the trick. So now I am wondering if I'll need to use it again.

I took precautions this time. I wore a long sleeved shirt and gloves and had everything covered except my face. I guess if I was a bee farmer I could have worn the big thing they wear to cover their faces. I probably would have looked pretty weird though. I think I found the creeping kind that is creeping from the fence row into our backyard. I got the bottle of poison ivy spray from the garage and doused them all. Then I came in and got into the shower immediately and scrubbed myself and washed my hair. I picked up the dirty clothes with a towel and carried them quickly put them into the washing machine with lots of soap. It wasn't a "I Love Lucy" move where the machine overflowed with suds, but it much more than I would have used under normal circumstances. Dire circumstances call for dire measures you know.

Now I am trying to decide what to do with the rest of my day. There is plenty I could do, but what do I want or need to do today? I guess I really need to finish grading a few chemistry questions so I'll be completely finished with school this year. I have books to try to sell and have to get my list ready for the curriculum I'll need for next semester. I also need to clean off the bookshelves as I do this each year after we finish school and get it ready for next year. I guess I just decided what I'll do. I'm sure it will be safer than my battle with the vines and poison ivy.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pursue Love

1 Corinthians 14:1 says, "Pursue love......"

Merriam-Webster's online thesaurus defines pursue as........Function: verb; to go in search of.

"The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (1John 4:8)

1Corinthians16: 13 "Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you've got, be resolute, 14 and love without stopping." (The Message)

1 Corinthians13:2 "If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing." (The Message)

I can't truly love if I don't know God, because God is love. God speaks much about love. Mark 12:28 "One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: "Which is most important of all the commandments?" 29 Jesus said, "The first in importance is, 'Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; 30 so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.' 31 And here is the second: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' There is no other commandment that ranks with these." 32 The religion scholar said, "A wonderful answer, Teacher! So lucid and accurate - that God is one and there is no other. 33 And loving him with all passion and intelligence and energy, and loving others as well as you love yourself. Why, that's better than all offerings and sacrifices put together!" 34 When Jesus realized how insightful he was, he said, "You're almost there, right on the border of God's kingdom." After that, no one else dared ask a question."

I think he was right on the mark when he realized that kind of love is better than all offerings and sacrifices put together. I'm going to pursue love.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Green Hope

I have been trying to make my requests known to God and trust Him with the outcome. I had an opportunity with the window in my van not working; it was on the driver's side no less. Several times I would start to drive through someplace and remember it wouldn't come down. It's rather awkward to drive through McDonald's and have to open your door to pay and then again to get your food. Or to drive through the ATM to buy stamps and actually get out of your car only for it not to be dispensing stamps at that particular time. Now I realize this doesn't constitute an emergency or world crisis, but it is my world and did put me in a pinch at times.

I decided it would be nice to have it fixed. Usually when we've had a problem with automatic windows it ended up being rather costly. I needed it fixed, but didn't need it to cost an arm and a leg. After analyzing my situation I decided I would take it to our auto collision repair shop and get an estimate. That estimate would determine my future so to speak, at least where my window was concerned. On the way I decided to let my request be made known to God, but to be okay with whatever the outcome. So I told Him that I really would like to have the window fixed, but to do that I needed it to be something small and not too expensive. I also told Him that I knew I could trust Him regardless of the verdict.

Now to make a long story a bit longer, it was just the switch and not the motor or other more expensive part. So I was able to get my window fixed for $106 and I already know what I can't do. I can't make this a "formula" for my next request. For example, I prayed and let God know what I wanted and He let me have it. So next time I want/need something I'll do the same thing and maybe it'll work again. WRONG~! So not true.

I do have another request I am talking to God about, but I also know that what I want may not be what He wants or what He thinks is best for someone I love. I do know, however, that I can trust Him and the outcome.

Romans 15:13 in The Message says: "Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!" I'm not sure what green hope is, but I sure like the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit part. That is an apt description of the Holy Spirit as far as I am concerned.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Family Night

Today has been a great day so far. This morning I had a tire fixed that kept getting low. The car dealership had already checked it and couldn't find anything wrong. However it was ten pounds too low the next day. So back I go. They send me next door and these fine people find a nail in it. I'm wondering how hard it is to find a nail in a tire. I really wouldn't know as I've never fixed a tire. Then I ran several errands and surprised Rebekah and Bethany with a drink from our favorite place. That always earns me some brownie points~!

I had a good conversation with my husband at lunch, did some ironing and laundry (the number of loads of laundry I do each week could be a noteworthy subject sometime), had another good conversation with one of our children, made a phone call and spoke with a dear sweet friend, and now am tackling some pre-algebra problems with Hannah. This last endeavor is the low point of my day. Will we ever be finished with school this year???? Yes, Hannah, even moms don't want to do school sometimes.

Several months ago we started family night. It seemed that we hardly ever sat down and ate together as a family. With seven people in the house and each having different jobs, schedules, activities, school, etc., it became a lost art to sit at the same table at the same time and share the same meal. I only cook once a day so breakfast isn't an option here unless we have it for dinner. Bethany decided we needed to do something about it and the rest of us agreed. So tonight is family night. Sometimes we order pizza, sometimes I cook a special meal, and sometimes we eat out. I am cooking Elegant Chicken for tonight and our house smells oh so yummy. I have a Broccoli, Bacon and Cheddar Cheese Salad in the refrigerator. I haven't decided what else to have with it but it could be steamed carrots.

It won't be long before people start arriving home so I need to clear off the dining table. It is covered with the usual schoolbooks and papers as it is also my teacher's desk. Nothing like a dual purpose piece of furniture~!

And one day in the near future we will be finished with school and I can put all the books away for a few weeks. Then I'll probably pile something else on it and have to clear it off next Thursday~!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Lamentations, not what you may think~!

It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

It's fantastic the way some days are just different. I had been up but a few minutes this morning when the words to a song started going through my thoughts. "Oh Lord, great is thy faithfulness." You know how usually when you ask someone how they are doing you do it just to have something to say? Or maybe to be kind and let them know you care about them? Have you ever had someone really tell you how they are doing in reply to your question? Did it catch you off guard? Did you really want to know?

I find it very hard to hide my feelings. When I'm happy........I'm happy. When I'm down, I'm down. Maybe I'm one of those people who make you feel uncomfortable when you ask me that simple question. Perhaps I need to find some even ground with my emotions. "Tears of a clown" just doesn't describe me.

His mercies are new every morning
New every day
Oh, Lord, great is your faithfulness.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Longings from my heart

Our pastor has been teaching us oh so many things. It has been an incredible journey for me. I get waylaid at times, but God says in James 1:2-4 .......

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.
You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.
So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (The Message)

I'm afraid my true colors aren't very pleasant to look upon at times. This verse is certainly true in my life. Life has been a challenge lately to say the least. However I'm not discouraged; at least not today. Nothing is really wrong except me and the way I look at and react to circumstances.

Our pastor has talked about making our requests known to God. Phil. 4:6-7 says...

Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. 7 Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. (The Message)

How I long for God to settle me. I have walked in this at times; I want to walk in it consistently. I think that's why I've been struggling lately. I'm really not sure that "worry" is the correct word to describe my battle though. I am trying to make my requests known to God and trust Him for the outcome. There are no better hands than His to leave myself in.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Good night and may God bless

I was thinking about my childhood and remembering some of the TV shows I grew up watching. Weeknights I could choose what to watch, but Saturday nights belonged to my mother. We watched Ernest Tubb, Whispering Bill Anderson, Buck Ownes, Lawrence Welk, and others. I was enthralled with the Lennon Sisters; Janet, the youngest, was my favorite. I even had Lennon Sister paper dolls which I painstakingly cut out and kept in suburb condition. On weeknights I watched shows such The Mod Squad, Daktari, Mission Impossible, Carol Burnett (with Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, and Vicki Lawrence), The Wonderful World of Disney, and remember seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan for the first time.

For some reason I loved Red Skelton. Mostly I remember him as "Clem Kadiddlehopper," but he also did "Gertrude and Heathcliff, the Two Seagulls" and "George Appleby." He was a true clown and his gentleness always showed through, as least to my child eyes. He would end his show each week by saying, "Good night, and may God bless."

As I grew older I watched my teen idols, Bobby Sherman in "Here Come the Brides," David Cassidy in "The Partridge Family" and swooned over The Everly Brothers and later Davy Jones of the Monkees. I watched Tom Jones sing "Deliah" and "It's Not Unusual" (or at least I think that's the names).

There wasn't much going on in the small town I grew up in, but thanks to our black and white television I was transported to another place most nights. And now I think I need to transport myself off to bed. I'll leave you with Red's gentle words, "Good night, and may God bless."

Friday, June 1, 2007

Disagreeable Shopping

I said in my first post I had nothing to say. Nevertheless, I seem to have said plenty. Maybe it's because I'm rather talkative and I tend to be fairly open and honest about my life. Anyway it's been fun so far. I have found though that blogging has shown me that I am in dire need of some technology in my life.

I find myself wishing for a digital camera. I see so many things I need a picture of so I can blog about it. Rebekah and I were sitting outdoors the other day and three squirrels across the street in our neighbor's yard caught my attention. They were all sitting there in a row in exactly the same positions, each behind the other, just begging for me to take a picture and write a story about them. Rebekah ran in and got her camera, but of course the moment was lost forever by the time she returned.

Then there's the bird nest on our roof that the wind and rain blew out of the tree the other day. I find myself wondering if it belonged to the birds that kept pestering our cat. They seem to be leaving him alone so I guess their young are grown or deceased. That's a sad thought, but I did find one baby bird in our back yard and a wing beside the house so I'm not being entirely morbid. I don't blame them in the least for trying to attack Jupiter. In the end I think he was beginning to tire of their harassment. We certainly were getting tired of all the noise they made.

It's been a fairly uneventful day except for grocery shopping at Walmart. The kids are thrilled to have a full pantry and refrigerator so I guess it was worth it. I'm just glad no one asked me at the time, for I'm sure I would have disagreed~!