Sunday, June 29, 2008

looking good

I just woke up from a nap, a three hour nap actually. I well deserved it too!

I know my blog has been all about the changes our front yard is undergoing. Well, this one is more of the same so if you're not interested you may want to find something more interesting. I won't be offended at all. Shucks, I won't even know unless you tell me!

I have been so blessed and so amazed at what my heavenly Father has done for us. Our yard has been a really pitiful sight for a long time. Pam and Rick blessed us with the soil, Barb's friend gave me LOTS of plants, Ben bought me some stones for a walkway, and Connie has plants for me when I get to the other part of the yard! Pam told me this morning at church that they will be taking some up more soil in the future and we can have it also! I am so grateful to God and all our friends who have helped.

Friday I spent about 12 hours setting out plants. Friday night I HURT SO BAD! I didn't sleep well at all. I decided about 5:30 to get up and take some ibuprofen. I checked email which I had neglected and planned to go back to bed and sleep a while longer. By then I was even wider awake and it was cool outside so I thought I'd just go out and set out the rest of my plants. I worked for about 4 hours and had gotten them all in the ground except for the flat of Mexican Heather I had bought. I had NO IDEA where to put it and wasn't even satisfied with some of the places I had put stuff. I was just finishing picking up things when Barb drove up. She said she had 2 hours to give me!!! I really think it ended up being longer, but I'm not complaining. I showed her what I didn't particularly like and she made some suggestions and it is perfect! She is so good at gardening! I dug up some of the stuff I already had and we set it out with the heather. She has a natural ability at knowing where to put things so they will look good.

I will definitely have Hannah take pictures soon and hopefully I'll have something new to talk about. Now I have to go buy cat food as the poor cats will have to eat dog food for breakfast the way things stand. I have totally neglected things around here! But oh, our yard is looking good!

Friday, June 27, 2008

oh, what a day!

I had the most wonderful day yesterday, and I mean all day. It started off by meeting Barb at 8:30 and we dug ajuga and monkey grass in her neighbor's yard. Her neighbor had graciously shared with me. We worked until after 11:00 and decided to take it my house where Barb would help me with the layout.

On the way we decided to drive through McDonald's and get lunch. We saw Sherian inside and I started waving and saying her name. I think everyone in there saw me, except Sherian. Finally one of the employees took pity on me and went and told her there was a lunatic at the drive through window waving frantically and disturbing their dinner run. We decided to take our food into the restaurant and crash Sherian's dinner date with a coworker.

Now remember we had been working outside all morning and weren't exactly dressed for the part. That's one of the neat things about getting older, at least for me. I just don't care if I'm not all slicked up when I go out in public. Now I wouldn't go to a wedding in that attire, but you get my drift hopefully. We had a fun lunch and on the way out saw Rebekah in the drive though line and said hi to her.

We arrived at my house and unloaded the plants. We then went to Reno to buy some more plants. They were having a sale on them. Barb helped me choose caladiums and another flat of something I had bought the day before. I can't remember what it's called and there wasn't one of the little thingies telling you the name. Then we went shopping at Tuesday Morning, still in our garden clothes. I was having so much fun I really don't know if we got any looks or not, but we obviously didn't care! We selected a gift for Cathy, Barb's neighbor, and Barb found some stuff for herself. We came back to my house where Ben was working on my berm. I had made it too straight.

By this time it was about 4:00 and Barb needed to go home. Ben went with us and after we dropped her off we went to Atwoods where he bought me some flagstone for my path by my berm. He's even going to lay them for me. What a neat son! After we ate I went outside to lay the stones so Ben would know where to put them. I ended up having them pretty much in a straight line and they just didn't look right. I was thinking that I wished Barb was here and not too long after that she, Jon, and Logan drove up! She showed me that they actually fit together! I got totally frustrated trying to figure which way to turn them to get them to fit so she ended up doing them for me. I think I got one right.

It's a wonderful blessing to have good friends. It seems they often have the knowledge and abilities that I lack. Hopefully I have something I can share with them at some point.

I've already spent 3 hours in the yard and am on my way back there now. I just had to tell you about my wonderful day. It's been a "l-o-n-g" time since I've spent a whole day having fun!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

it's a bird, it's a plane, it's... a squirrel??

I was outdoors early taking advantage of the cool morning. I was also praying for my family and thanking God for the cool breeze that was kissing my face. I got a lot done and now need more ground cover or mulch.

As I was raking I heard a crash behind me and a squirrel whizzed past me and ran across the street to our neighbor's huge tree. A small dead branch lay about 4 feet behind me. I guess he was going about his morning business and the branch wouldn't support his weight. Poor fellow; I hope he wasn't hurt. If I had been a few feet over he might have fallen on me! For a moment I felt that I had stepped into a Rocky and Bullwinkle show.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

berms and ground cover

Yes, I'm still around. Since basketball is over I had to find something else to do! I have been working in the yard every chance I get. I didn't even cook a meal last week because I was outside or trying to catch up on what had to be done inside.

Our front yard needs so much work. I had prayed several times for soil. We can't grow grass underneath the sweet gum trees and soil had washed away and tree roots are all over the place. Since we had rather eat than buy dirt, I finally just prayed for it. Our friends, Rick and Pam, had a huge pile of dirt in their backyard that they didn't want. They gave it to us! I am so excited about it. (You are probably thinking I get excited over strange things, and yes, I do.)

Connie and Eddie loaned us their truck and Donald and the boys spent Saturday hauling soil. Three truck loads to be exact! I went for the first load and spent my time in the back of the truck leveling it out and pushing it to the back. It was HOT in the sun. So I opted to stay behind in our yard for the next two loads and work in the shade. I spent much time praying for the guys (and Rick) who were sweating it out in the hot sun.

I LOVE Pam's back yard! It is perfect! I told the guys to look closely because that's what I want someday. They probably rolled their eyes behind my back, but it is so beautiful. Then we were at Jon and Barb's Saturday night and I decided they could probably build a deck also! My ideas always mean work for them.

Anyway I sorta kinda have built a berm. I have decided I want to be creative and not just have a flat yard, thanks to ideas from Barb and Pam. I'm just going with the tree roots, high places, the existing ground cover, and adding to it. I'll have to get pictures when I've made more progress. It is going to be wonderful!

Earlier last week I bought some St. Augustine sod and the boys helped me get the ground ready and lay it. It's only a start, but it will look good in front of my ground cover. It gets sun there and I've been watering like crazy, so hopefully it will live.

The switch from watching basketball to yard work has been quite a change for my body. I have plenty of muscles that are protesting my strenuous labor.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

adjectives and verbs


Smoking the net
Put the clamps on

What do these words have in common?? They describe the NBA Celtic Championship Win last night! I have a whole new bunch of boys! Now I still like the Mavs, but since they didn't stay in the playoffs very long I am just thrilled that Boston won it! I don't think there's one on their team that I don't like. I really do like them; it just wasn't because I DO NOT like the Lakers. Here's a couple of words from some sports articles that describe them. Their list wasn't quite so long.

Lakers didn't show

Now this is the probably the first and last time you'll hear me praise Kobe Bryant so don't miss it. This is what he said according to Fox Sports, ""They were definitely the best defense I've seen the entire playoffs," Bryant said. "I've seen some pretty stiff ones and this was right up there with them. The goal was to win a championship, it wasn't to win MVP or anything like that, it was to win a championship." He must of been in a daze. He's usually much too arrogant to do anything other than praise himself.

Final Score: Boston Celtics 131 Los Angeles Lakers 92

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

a done deal

I awoke this morning and lay in bed thinking for a few minutes. I was so relaxed and had been blessed with a great night's sleep. I contemplated about how blessed I am that God doesn't hold my sins against me. That sure is a good thing, for if He did, He would have quite a long list under my name. Now others might, and often do, but God does not.

God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he's rich in love. He doesn't endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him. And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins.

It's things like this about God that cause me to love Him even more.

Monday, June 16, 2008

home again home again

We made a rather quick trip to Lafayette, Louisiana this weekend. We spent one night at the Hilton. It was an older Hilton and not quite what I had expected. It was clean though and that's the main thing. The bathroom was small, the view wasn't that great, and we didn't even take time to go on Cajun Jack's Swamp Tours. Maybe next time. We did eat at a Cracker Barrel and had a very nice waitress and excellent fried chicken tenders. I tried some fried apples which were really good. I also enjoyed the trip down memory lane. I had never been to a Cracker Barrel before and enjoyed looking at the candy from years gone by. I LOVED my candy growing up! If I had fifteen cents I thought I was rich and could buy LOTS of candy with it. We had penny candies that had five pieces inside. Now I'm beginning to sound old.

I promised I wouldn't blog about why we went. Those of you who know......well you know.....the rest of you will find out later. I think our kids feel like bugs under a microscope since I have started blogging!

It's nice to go and even nicer to get home. My washing machine is humming and I'm about to load the dryer and start another load to wash. My dishwasher will be full as soon as I finish loading it and it will work for me also. I think of Proverbs 31:15 which says, "She gets up before daylight to prepare food for her family and to tell her servant women what to do." Well I certainly didn't get up before daylight, but I thank God often for my "servants" which make my life so much easier. And no, I am NOT talking about my children! Although that might be an idea for the summer. Hannah wanted another book so she earned money Friday. It was nice for our bathroom to be clean without me doing it. Our children clean their own bathrooms, but I don't require them to clean ours. Enough said, gotta go and get my servants started.

Friday, June 13, 2008

my day just got better

I was trying to use my sewing machine this morning to hem a towel that the edges had come unraveled. Somehow in the past few days of sitting unused on my table the thread had gotten messed up and it wasn't threaded correctly. It took me a LONG time to figure this out and I experienced much frustration. Exasperated I said, "I am having the horriblest time."

Hannah said, "Mom, horriblest isn't exactly a word." A home school mom's delight!!!! Okay, then, I am having the "most horrible" time.

I think it's time to put the sewing machine away!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

go to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200

Wow, I'm hot. I have been ironing for at least the last hour and a half. That's what I get for neglecting my ironing basket. I have been busy doing other things so it wasn't intentional; well, maybe just a little bit. (grin)

I also slept in this morning. It was one of those rare mornings when I didn't have to have a car so I took advantage of it. I am still taking advantage as I am still in my comfy pj's. I am convinced that if we need clothes in heaven they will be as comfortable as my pj's. I was up late this morning working on my summer class taping schedule. I am taping a year's worth of Biology and Chemistry in 6 weeks. It is a LOT of work making sure the timers are set correctly, that they record, and then I review the tapes to make sure I got what I needed. I'm still doing it the "old" way with VCR's. We are almost finished and except for the lack of space required for the tapes, I can't think of a reason why we need to spend all that money to update. I hope the VCR's hold out until we finish. You can't buy just a VCR at Wal-Mart anymore. They are a DVD/VCR combo. We already have quite a few DVD players so I don't need those.

While I was ironing I was thinking about things. Ironing is a good time for me to think and talk to God while I work. This morning I was mostly thinking. Hannah is sitting in MY comfortable chair reading a new book. That's where to find her if she's reading. I was thinking about years ago when we first started homeschooling. We received quite a bit of opposition when we announced our plans to home school Rebekah. Back then it wasn't nearly as common as it is now. We had people telling us we would go to jail, that we couldn't do it, our kids wouldn't be socialized, etc. I remember someone asking us incredulously if "we" were going to teach our kids to read. Home-SCHOOL remember? Yes, we will teach them to read.

And read they do. All of them, except one, LOVES to read and the one who doesn't love to CAN read. Huge difference.

We are officially finished with school! My next two projects are to get all the books off the table in the dining room and get organized for the fall. Now I have to go find a place on the bookshelves for the tapes I'm recording.

Life is good. Thank you Lord for my family and home and friends and..............

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

say when

It's getting late and I'm tired. My brain doesn't want to slow down though. Hannah and I went out of town to register for our fall classes . I saved 20% and got free shipping by going. I was trying to decide if the 20% would cover the cost of gas but needed to go to Sam's Club anyway. It was kind of the old "two birds with one stone" concept. I let Hannah choose where to eat lunch. It was after 2:00 p.m. and neither of us had eaten. She chose Olive G.

I'm wondering if they have certain qualifications for their waiters. It seems we always get one with absolutely no sense of humor or one like today. First let me back up. Enter said restaurant to a very loud and boisterous greeter/decider of where we shall sit. She's honey-ing and sweetie-ing and enjoying herself immensely. Hannah kept giving me those looks which said she wanted to laugh but would be nice. I'm wondering what she's been drinking........the lady, not Hannah. She seats us at our table and then returns to the front to await her next hungry patron. Once they arrive she starts her scenario over again, much to her own delight.

Then our waiter comes offering us appetizers (for a small stipend of course) and taking our drink orders. Water and water, please. "My pleasure" he says. Everything was his pleasure. Each time he returned to our table and Hannah thanked him for something it pleasured him greatly. From taking our order, to bringing our water, to grating the cheese on our salad and then on our meal, and bringing the extra plate for the meal we shared, everything was his pleasure. At first I thought it rather quaint, but after the fifth or sixth time of him repeating the same phrase I began to wonder if it really did bring him so much pleasure to serve or if he just had a limited vocabulary.

You may remember the commercial where the waiter is grating cheese on some one's meal and tells them to say when. The pile of cheese grows and grows and they still haven't said when. Several years ago we were in the same restaurant chain and I was trying to be nice and make small talk with our waiter. He was much too dignified and rather obviously showed us he didn't care to talk. Stoic and staid describes him perfectly. While he was grating some cheese for our meal I remembered that commercial. I started laughing and tried to tell him why I was laughing. He kept a straight face and didn't crack a smile. That just made me laugh harder. He was much too restrained to succumb to my laughter.

I'm wondering if they have special training to teach them how to be so dignified, stern, and unapproachable. I bet if I ate there often enough I could coax a smile. Kind of like, "Your mission, should you choose to accept it."

Monday, June 9, 2008

when it rain it sometimes pours

pretty petunias More pretty flowers in a not so pretty pot.
Trio of tomatoes with grass trying to spread!
When it's not too hot we love to sit out here with the fresh air and flowers. The cats usually come up and get in our laps when we relax. Even the girls bring their books out to read and often sit here just talking. Rebekah blessed me with two more of the chairs last spring so four of us can sit quite comfortably.

Another tomato begins to turn

beautiful begonias

mix of petunias and begonias
my first tomatoes! I plan to eat them tonight.
yellow squash
blurry, but a baby squash ( I took all the pics except the red tomatoes.)
another squash beginning to grow
These are quite an accomplish in my mind. However to stay quite positive I did NOT get a picture of the dying plant in our hallway. I have a very difficult time with houseplants. We just don't get enough direct light for them to thrive.

tomato plant in the front yard
It is absolutely pouring outside. It just started in the last few minutes. Guess I won't have to water tonight. That's where I got the idea for my very original title.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I have always known we should spread the gospel. Sadly for me that brought bad recollections and fear. Years ago we used to go on weekly visitation with our church. We would present the gospel, ask them if they wanted to be saved, then lead them in a prayer of repentance. For me, it's like if they didn't pray THAT prayer I couldn't be sure if their salvation "took." I hated going and would often pray that no one would be home so I wouldn't have to do it. I'm sure those "good works" went up in flames as they meant little.

I'm afraid because of those experiences I have taken the opposite side of the fence. I didn't do anything. Oh, I would mention God's name every so often, but that was about the extent of my missionary work.

Last night in Life Group we talked about 2 Corinthians 5 again. Now I have been a Christian a long time. However God revealed something totally new and exciting to me through Pastor Paul. He was talking about Christ reconciling the world to himself in Christ. Okay; check, I thought I knew that. Giving us the ministry of reconciliation; check. God doesn't count men's sins against them; right, if you are a believer I thought, sorta check this one. We are Christ's ambassadors; definitely. These next words floored me........

as though God were making his appeal through us.

Christ has already shed His blood for EVERYONE. He has ALREADY reconciled them to Himself. All they need is to realize that and accept it. I'm not sure why I've never exactly seen that. It's like I knew that Christ had died for us all, but I never thought about everyone already being reconciled to Christ. How sad that people can miss salvation, something that's already been done for them, simply because they haven't been told.

I'm still mulling all this over in my mind. I'm not even sure that I'm making sense here with my words. It's so huge. It's so incredible. Salvation is really all about God and I don't have to do anything to get anyone saved. I don't have to say the right words, carry the right pamphlet, come at the right time. All I need to do is let people know that God has already done it all! All they need to do is accept that.

Romans 10:9
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

I love the way The Message says it:
Say the welcoming word to God - "Jesus is my Master" - embracing, body and soul, God's work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That's it. You're not "doing" anything; you're simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That's salvation.

Once again it has EVERYTHING to do with God and NOTHING to do with me~!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bethany Erin

Our daughter, Bethany, has written things for as long as I can remember. She's actually a great writer. She's written some of her feelings about her writing on her blog.....

She's written a children's book and the founder of a publishing company read it at a conference a few years ago and loved it. He told her if she ever wanted to have it published he would! How exciting is that?? It costs a LOT of money to have your book published though. She has taken some time off from college and is working and saving and WILL see her dream fulfilled.

How I would love to just hand her a check for the whole amount and tell her to go for it. I'm sure it will mean more to her that she's done it this way. I think we as parents often make things too easy for our children. I know I would if we were able to.

I'm so very proud of her. She has a way of putting words on a page that makes me almost envious. Note I said "almost." I'm thankful that God has given her that ability. He will use that in her life because it is a gift He has given her.

You can be sure when her book is published I'll be one of the first to proclaim it. I guess maybe I ought to let her be the first.

Bethany, I love you! Go for your dreams; God says He will us the desires of our heart if we seek after Him. You make me proud!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

intelligence report

I have been a home school advocate for over twenty years now. I deeply believe in it. I would never try to talk anyone into homeschooling though. I believe you need a calling from God to be successful in it. If you disagree that's your right, but at least try it for a year before you make your final decision.

It is not easy. It is a major lifestyle change. It CONSUMES your life at times and brings much frustration and even deeper joy. The things that I am most grateful for are our children's relationships with God, with each other, and with us. Now you definitely can have those things without homeschooling. We have friends who have awesome children who attend public school. They have what I strive for in our children. I think the key is parental involvement, whichever way you choose to educate your children. They are your children and you do have a responsibility to see that they are educated. I can't imagine having children and not wanting them educated!

I received an email from a home school group I am a member of. I am quoting this from The title is "Intelligence Report.....Education: Should Homeschooling be Illegal?" They even have a poll that asks this question: "Should parents need teaching credentials to home-school their kids?" I voted and was quite pleased to see the following totals:

Yes 6%, 2406 votes

No 94%, 34,731 votes

Now you may wonder if homeschoolers have bombarded this site and voted many times. I tried to vote again to see what would happen. It stated, "Thank you, we have already counted your vote."

I am copying the first two paragraphs. It is very short if you want to read it. You may even want to voice your opinion and vote. Here's what the article says in part.......

"In February, a California state appeals court ruled that unless parents have recognized teaching credentials, they must send their children to school. The judge, citing a state education law, said that “parents do not have a constitutional right to home-school their children.” Parents and politicians were outraged, and the court will rehear the case this month.At stake is the education of the 166,000 California children who currently are home-schooled. But the court decision also could influence laws across the country. Nationwide, up to 2 million children are taught at home. Experts estimate that the number is increasing 7% to 12% a year."

I thank God for the freedom, opportunity, and grace to teach our children at home. I thank my wonderful husband who works so hard to provide for us so I can stay home to do so. I thank our children for their forgiveness for all the times I've messed up and gotten frustrated and made them sad. I thank them that they kept on studying and obeying and am grateful that they have turned out to be the responsible young men and women that they are. I am thankful to God for all that He has done in their lives. I am grateful to have been a part of it and to be able to witness His faithfulness.

Three down, two to go.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

freely and lightly

We've been going through a book in Sunday School called "Grace Rules" by Steve McVey. It has been a thought provoking class with lots of comments and much thankfulness for God's amazing grace.

A few weeks ago I wrote this thought down (I think it may have been a direct quote from the book). "There is a difference between Christ being in my life and Christ being my life." What a truth! I know when Christ was just "in my life" I found myself very critical, judgmental, and condemning. I was extremely self-centered and self-righteous. I was very legalistic and bound by the law. It makes me so sad to think about my life then. I am grateful that He had saved me, but my life was pretty miserable.

I am so grateful to have just a taste of Christ "being my life." HE makes all the difference in the world. When I focus on Him instead of me, and His grace instead of man's rules, I truly experience His life. I now better understand Matthew 11:30, "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." I love the way The Message puts it....."Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

I found Matthew 11:30 terribly confusing and untrue in my life while trying to live by the law. I don't think I ever would have understood even a little if God hadn't revealed His grace life to me through Pastor Paul. There is absolutely no comparison between the two.

God's salvation is a wondrous thing. His living each day inside us is such a miracle. He wants us to experience much more than just His salvation. He wants an intimate relationship with His children. I now think of myself as a child of The King instead of a a poor sinner. I don't worry about pleasing God anymore; I do please Him.

In my Pharisaical life I would never have dared to say that. But you see, it's not me that's pleasing Him. It's Christ in me that makes me pleasing to Him. It's really all about Him!