Mom's Home!

(First 60 Seconds)
Ashley: I had math homework, but I did it on the bus and can you help me figure out how to clean my clarinet, like REALLY clean, with a Q-tip and alcohol and...
Riley: You're not working tomorrow, are you? I have to be a little late coming home because of color guard. Oh, and Tammy called and wants you to call her back...
Mom: Is it okay if I put my bag down?

(5 Minutes Later)
Mom: I'm taking a hot bath. If the house is on fire, please alert me. Otherwise, please leave me alone for the next 15 minutes. I cannot: answer the phone or door, your question about homework, sign a paper, or get down your snack. I can help you in 15 minutes.

(4 Minutes Later)
Riley: Mooooooom? Can I go next door?
Yes, I've read the book "5 Minutes Peace". Still not very cute to me. Just a little too close to home...


Hallmark, I'm Not

Because it's the first week of school. Because I'm horrible about birthday cards and gifts. Because I know my father will wake up at some ungodly hour in the night, prowl around the house and at some point click on over to my blog:

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Dad has endeared himself to my blog readers by his funny comments (check THIS ONE out!) and his never-failing pride in his daughter. He also has a child-like curiosity about people, vehicles, nature, animals, your hobby, your family, and probably your pets as well. He's pretty easy to talk to, as you might imagine. I generally have so much fun with mom and dad -- and, yes, sometimes it's at dad's expense. But he's a good sport. And a great gran'dad. Well, great as in, excellent. Since my middle schooler is his oldest grandchild, he won't be a great-gran'dad for LOTS of years. But he'll still be fun.

Dad, we're all over here wishing you the happiest of birthdays. About the time you are reading this I will be hustling home from the gym to shower and roll weary bodies from beds and do the whole shuffle-off-to-school routine. Hope your day is full of big real estate deals!


Quote for the Day

Thing One commented that we don't have school next Monday because of Labor Day.

Thing Two pondered this in his heart and then asked, "Is Labuh Day the one where you wear gween so that you don't get pinched by a lepwechan?"



First Day!

I have such a weird life/ occupation. I spent all last week getting ready for school to start. So, what happened today? School started -- and it was my day off! I took my own babies to school -- shed a tear or two over having a middle schooler -- and had coffee with friends, a doctor's appointment, gave blood, did some housework, yada, yada. 'Lest you think I need to move my bracelet, I am NOT complaining! But I did feel disconnected somewhat. I couldn't wait to hear from Kendra, and she reports that we have an awesome class, of course. I hope I don't run out of blog material from Room 24 (like THAT will ever happen! :-)

Everyone in this house had a great first day and all were smiling after school. God provided friends for my middle schooler at every turn. I am so thankful. And tomorrow we will all get up and do it again -- only this time, I will go to school, too!

I need to share some of my new favorites with you! I mentioned a little over a week ago that Paula lost her dad suddenly in an accident. As one who speaks as only one who claims eternal hope can, she wrote of the last public prayer her dad led and how he prayed that he longed for the day he would worship the Lord forever. Oh, that those words would be remembered as our last prayer! Paula went on to mention that it made her think of Chris Rice's song, "Circle Up". So I had to head over to itunes and check it out.

Maybe it's the James Taylor-type style of the song, maybe it's the friendly visuals the song calls to mind, and maybe it's a musical evidence of the hope Paula has in a difficult time, but this is one of my new favorite songs. I just love it.

And, I wanted to share it with you so desperately, this has become my new favorite website because I learned how I can post music on my blog (without you being blasted with it every time you pull up my blog because that is a peeve of mine that causes me to move my bracelet incessantly until I close out the blog).

Enjoy. I hope everyone's first day of school was great. Now grab a hand, twirl a dance, circle up and worship Him!


Good Things Out There

I don't know where Pioneer Woman lives, but I think I need to spend a few lifetimes there.

I endeared myself to my pedicurist yesterday when I told her how she could use her DVR to record Gunsmoke and The Rifleman while she's treating other people to pedicures. It's the simple things in life.

I need to read this post every day. So do you.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10, 11

This is from my church this morning. It made me cry. Indeed, please pray for us!


My Attitude is GREAT, thanks for asking!

Okay, I just have to comment on some of the comments from the last post. You people are SO funny!

I really don't think -- or I DIDN'T until I posted that -- that I'm all that Zig Zigler-ish type positive and don't think it's that big of a deal to simply strive to keep my mouth shut when appropriate. But, indeed, I am striving to be a star in the universe.

Kristy -- no doubt a combo stop complaining/ bracelet-moving exercise program would do some people a LOT of good! Great thoughts!

Brandi -- so I guess you look like a jerk if you complain to the "no complaining" people that you never received your "no complaints" bracelet. That made me laugh more than anything. I should give each of the parents of my class a "no complaining" bracelet. Or simply post this:

And Kendra is absolutely right -- complaining, done correctly, can be HILARIOUS. Hence my personal struggle with trying to quit. I do, actually, find much humor in Kendra's humor. I have had a great time getting my room ready with her. She says all the things I want to say -- she just says it funnier. And she thinks 11 year old boys are the best folks to hang around -- and not in a creepy way. She's just a hoot. Sadly, now that school is starting, I'll see her about 2 more times this calendar year!

Updated -- forgot to mention Miss Bits and Pieces. I used the word 'rumor' because I simply couldn't believe that this tiny, mild-mannered, little china doll of a gal would do such a thing. I still haven't confirmed it with Bits and Pieces, but have heard it from several other sources. Which just proves -- we all have our limit. Please do not try to find mine.

Have a great Sunday -- maybe we could at least take the Lord's day off from complaining! (I think that will be the hardest day for me NOT to complain!)


How's Your Attitude?

This week, as teachers, and soon children, return to school, our campus is participating in this project wearing these bracelets:

You can read the "instructions" here, but the simple idea is this: Wear the bracelet. When you catch yourself complaining, gossiping, or criticizing (I just this minute saw that gossip is included -- I have some work to do!) you move your bracelet to the other wrist. Obviously, the point is to make yourself aware of your behavior so that you can change it. The difficult part is that you are to take your bracelet off after you have gone 21 days without complaining, gossiping, or criticizing. The preacher who started it all confessed that he went through three bracelets before he made his 21 days!!
So, y'all know I am on board with this, since I'm trying to shine like a star in the universe. And let me also confess my pride. The first day I did all right -- I moved my bracelet twice, and once was when I chose to gripe about Heelys and just moved my bracelet as my "payment" for griping! But, pride and the fall, don'tyaknow.
Did I mention that it's the week before school starts? And my class list is 2 over state regulations? And we're out of lamination film until Sept. -- because of that whole clever budget idea, remember? And special ed. has new regulations AGAIN about referring students -- but I do love how our counselor refers to the federal regulations as "The Feds", as if Men In Black will come in and mow down our school should we get a percentage wrong in our referrals. It's been a challenge not to complain. And, I failed at not gossiping or criticizing, but I plead ignorance.
I have cracked up, though, at the lengths people will go to in order to ignore or rationalize their behavior. Which, in all fairness, I don't think this is something you can foist off on people and expect that their hearts are ready to buy into. Sometimes it's all you can do to put one foot in front of the other -- and you need to gripe that you got it done! So I think people should choose if they are ready to change this behavior about themselves -- not their place of employment decide FOR them (it's not a requirement where I work, but it was quite a bit of peer pressure).
So, I think some people are not quite ready for this. The folks who take their bracelet off so that they can gripe freely -- then put it back on -- I'm not sure they're ready! Rumor today was that one lady cut her bracelet into pieces. Not sure she was ready. People are also ready to help you rationalize. When I made a disparaging remark about someone yesterday and said, "I probably need to move my bracelet for that," one sweet soul said, "No, that was simply stating a fact." Okay. So if your griping is fact, it's okay. I have also noticed -- especially this time of year -- that my griping stems from my problem solving thought processes. I see a way this could be done more efficiently, or I don't understand why we do what we do. So I have decided that unless I have the financial resources and/or the time and energy to fix the problem, I better keep my mouth shut.
It's been an interesting experiment. I plan to keep at it. I'm afraid, though, that as I get busy and tired, I will just go 21 days without realizing that I'm griping, gossiping, or criticizing. One of "the rules" of the project is that if you point out to someone else that they need to move their bracelet, then you also must move your bracelet (plank from your own eye and all that). I had to make a new rule for my bracelet today -- if you are not wearing one, you may NOT point out to me when I need to move my bracelet. Especially if you are married to me. It could be bad for your health.


Public Service Announcement

I pride myself on being a "fair and balanced" blog. I believe that every story has at least two sides, and I think we all should strive to see things from others' perspectives. Let's all hold hands and sing with me, "We are the world, we are the children..."

That said, this is my blog. Therefore I have a hard and fast stance to communicate unapologetically. You are welcome to disagree with me -- on your own blog. I will read it, not leave a comment, but shake my head and say, "Bless their sweet soul." For you will be wrong.

Please note these shoes. The marketing world calls them "Heelys" because they have the oh-so-clever skate wheel in the heel.

I prefer to refer to them as, "Satan's Handiwork."

Here is a partial list of all the places these shoes do not belong. I, as the blogger at hand, reserve the right to add to this list at any time for any reason:
  • a grocery store
  • a restaurant
  • a gimongous discount store
  • a tiny convenience store
  • a department store
  • the mall
  • my classroom
  • amusement parks
  • a church building
  • any place people may be walking carrying food or small children
  • any place people may be pushing a shopping cart
  • any place people may be walking that deem their own toes valuable

Here is an extensive list off all the places these shoes are appropriate. This list is complete as-is and will not be ammended:

  • a skate park
  • a neighborhood sidewalk

Stay tuned for the regular blogging to continue.


What Is Your Legacy?

I kind of had thoughts of "what we pass along to our children" last week -- I'll explain why shortly. Then, our sermon on Sunday was about legacy. We saw this video of a wonderful young man at our church:

Then I came home to read this article in our paper -- that tells of the most recent homicide in our town. A mid-30's woman was killed exactly how her own mother was: in front of her own home by domestic violence. That lady has a daughter and granddaughter already. What is their legacy? Do they have any hope?

Yesterday I visited with a young mom who mentioned that she isn't close to her mom, and hasn't ever been. From watching her with her own girls, I know she is intentional about changing that emotional legacy.

Before Sunday my thoughts were of financial legacy. Part of my staff development over the last year has included reading this book: A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne. She uses the phrase "generational poverty" to describe those whose habits and lifestyle will keep their family at poverty level through several generations. I visited with a gentleman last week that illustrated this clearly, while my work brings me in contact with people in the same situation. Later I would like to devote a post to that -- generational poverty and the habits that keep people there. I find it interesting and eye-opening, but I'm not sure I will ever "get" not wanting to change that legacy.

I'm sure specifically talking about financial legacy sounds shallow and materialistic of me, but I think as we ourselves prepare for our future and our children's future, we leave them a legacy of security and generosity. Or, I should say, we can. We could also leave them a legacy of greed and hoarding.

All of it -- spiritual, financial, and behavioral legacy has given me pause. We all KNOW that we are passing along a legacy to our children. Just sometimes I wonder if it's the one I WANT to leave.

My favorite quote through all of this is from Chris, the young man in the video. He said, "My family history doesn't define me. God defines me." If I can instill THAT in my children, we're good to go.


Good Things Out There

*sigh* This is "Good Things Out There", but I'm still grieving and I ask that you join me in a moment of silence -- for a pair of shoes I can never wear. I came to grips many years ago that the only part of me that can be accused of being "long and lean" stays horizontal and on the ground all the time -- but sometimes I just have to grieve missing out on cuteness. Like these, for instance. They are precious. They call to me. Alas, I must leave them be. If you have a foot shaped like an ample egg, these are for you. And they are on sale at Target this week.

If you aren't from Texas or married to a Texan, you won't appreciate this post. If you are married to a tried-and-true Texan, or even are one yourself, you will simply nod and understand it ALL. I love it.
I've never showed you the wonderful table my Texan made for our home. I confess that I was VERY nervous about exactly how rustic it was going to look. I also confess to growing weary of the empty frame and then rustic slab of wood -- with protective ratty towel -- being in my entry way. But it has SO paid off! Now, however, I THINK we still have another time of dry/ then sand, so it still sits without anything on it in my entry way. But isn't it pretty? (Warning: Y'all know I am all about using words and LOTS of them, but the piece about the table has lots of "blah, blah this tool" and "blah, blah, this kind of epoxy". Just look at the pictures! It's pretty!)
The guys that do this enjoy their job. I like that.


(Non) Flood Update

We are still here, high, dry, and sane! And SO very thankful. Several neighborhoods were evacuated -- I assume homes were damaged, but I've not heard anything yet --, and one poor lady was killed when her car was washed away in flood waters.

I have been very impressed with the city's response. It seemed we all learned something last flood. There have been constant updates and monitoring, as well as upkeep of the creek beds where all of this water drains away from our city. We have gotten two "reverse 9-1-1" phone calls. They weren't horribly informative (be prepared to evacuate, Elm Creek may spill over its banks in 3-4 hours) but it at least made me realize I may want to pay attention to the news/weather -- which I hadn't been doing.

In case you are wondering, yes, I made a few preparations "in case". The kids are in Louisiana with Nonna and Grandad, so I went into their rooms and made sure all clothes and any electrical item -- CD player, etc. -- were off the floor. (Kids -- a)you have some things to take off of your bed when you get home and b)we need to have a little conference about the fact that you aren't supposed to eat in your rooms...) One thing that I learned last flood -- any dirty clothes on the floor, in baskets, whatever -- I had realized they were there, but thought, "I can wash those" -- yes, you can wash them until the creek runs dry and they will still be UT burnt orange due to the red clay mud that washes in with the flood waters. So I picked up dirty clothes baskets off the floor. I put some things in the bathtubs to keep them dry. I also made sure any clothes in closets that still touched the floor were up off the ground. In my closet, I put Rubbermaid tubs on the floor and put the ends of the clothes in there.

There were three things that I didn't get to, but could have done "last minute" (unless we were prevented from returning to our home after church, like some people in the evacuation area were). I hadn't yet gotten my scrapbooks off of the bottom shelf of the bookcase, I hadn't unplugged the computer tower and picked it up -- way too many cords -- and I didn't get the kids' gamecube and that other thing we have -- playstation? something --out of the bottom of the entertainment cabinet. And if the water got deep enough -- it would have all been gone anyway.

Dean is expected to bring even more rain next weekend. I can't spend my week worried and stressed. Here's what I know: if your area is declared a federal disaster, FEMA will buy your home from you at (pre-disaster) appraised value. However, they do that so that they can flatten what's there, and NO BUILDING may ever be built there again. They figure a one-time purchase of a home in a disaster-prone area is cheaper than bailing people out every 3-6 years (and they're right!) Anyway, my neighbor and I decided that if we flood, we will load up what's left, say "Thank you very much" to FEMA for the purchase of our home, and we'll let the neighborhood remember us fondly when they build a park, volleyball court, retention pond, or neighborhood pool on our two lots.

And through it all, God is faithful!


Lord, Plant My Feet on Higher Ground

So the rain. It's raining. A LOT. This desert where I live is gorgeous and green and mild temperatured in August. Not bad. However, the rain just keeps on coming. Tropical storm Erin brought a wash yesterday and through some of today. Next week it will be Hurricane Dean.

Usually, at this time of year, if we are facing the prospect of getting some rain from a hurricane or tropical storm, we silently nod and act as if we are really upset for those poor folks on the coast who are washing away in the storm, yet on the inside we are leaping for joy at the possibility of actual moisture falling from the sky onto our parched and cracked earth. However, this year we're already a little soggy, and the 8 extra inches of rain we got last night is a bit much. At this point, "less is more" is a good mantra.

I have mentioned here, a time or two, that our house flooded shortly after we moved in. I don't think I have mentioned, however, how much we were blessed and carryed along by our surrounding community in that horrible time.

I have gotten 5 phone calls in the last hour: one was my wonderful city -- a recorded message -- telling me to prepare to evacuate. It wasn't an evacuation order, but a "heads up" that they might give one in a few hours. The other four were some of that wonderful community -- checking on us, seeing if we would need a place to sleep, or help filling sandbags. Okay, actually, one was my next-door neighbor, who I initially came to know while mopping out our homes from the flood. She was just telling me that she didn't want to go through this again. I agreed.

For now, we are dry. For always, God is faithful. I did just move back into my house from the jackhammer/ Elegante' Suites adventure. I'm fairly certain that a flood would cause State Farm to wash their hands of my family. I can't worry, though. I can prepare and what will happen will happen. And, already, I'm thankful for the lessons I've learned the first go-'round. I'll keep you posted!


We Interrupt this blog...

I paid $2.48/ gallon for gasoline at a Wal-Mart in Weatherford, Texas.

I needed you to know.

That is all.


School Days, School Days, Good Ol'... Oh, Never MIND!

If you live in Texas and send your child to a public school, they are still underfoot. School in Texas is under some new law about school starting in conjunction with Labor Day, the first full moon after Yom Kippur (I kid. It's just another arbitrary thing that makes as much sense as reality), and yet still before any district's new budget kicks in (I don't kid. Districts start school without campuses -- campi? -- being able to buy Sharpies or plan books b/c new budgets don't start until September 1).

But in my little dusty, wind-blown district, school is in session for the teachers. Today we are all back on contract -- I marvel at the teacher's I met this week who didn't know when they were supposed to go back. You have missed some serious last-minute fun if you didn't know when the fun would end!

So, of course, all the irritation gods conspired against me. Because you KNOW I left at the precise moment that I could get to my campus with 17 seconds to spare. So, of course, MY intersection where I turn to my school was completely shut down and torn apart. Pardon me? Did you not have ALL summer when I WASN'T going to be turning there to do that? When did the city quit consulting me about their construction? Actually, sometimes I think the city follows me around for a month before they decide where to start construction. It's usually in my three most frequented routes.

Then, at lunch, I stopped at my house for a quick bite of lunch but was (cue horror music) OUT OF DIET COKE at the house! So, with about 2.2 minutes to spare (are you catching a theme) I run into my local not-very-convenient store. They are not very convenient because the drink machine was frozen up. Pardon me? I am in desperate need of Nutrasweet and caffeine in that beautiful, bubbly form I love oh-so-much, and your machine picks THIS MOMENT to freeze up? I really try to hide my eye-roll and disgust (I hope you people who said you "loved my transparency" were being honest!) but I think I was fairly transparent at that moment, as well.

I am nothing if not a)resourceful and b)desperate so I remember that the donut place across the street has jumbo drinks for $.99. Why didn't I think of that earlier? My spirits lift as I wheel my car up. AND it's even drive-thru -- I should have come here first. I place my order and dig out my $1.07 ready for the trade. Kind lady says, "That will be $1.38." WHAT??? I KNOW-- it's $.31. AND, 'lest I leave you hanging, YES I paid it! I would have paid $3 at that point. But, people! For my first day of up on a schedule, with clothes on, and no pool-lounging, I am really needing you all to work with me here!

I am NOT going easy into this whole schedule/ routine business...


For My Yoke Is Easy

I started to send this in an email to a select few folks who will know the whole story (and by "select few" I mean, "anyone who happened to be standing nearby while I was whining about this situation"). But I have often said that I am all about transparency, so I shall transparently tell you of my ugly pride and how it continues to stand in the way of the Lord's work.

As the previous post mentioned/ illustrated -- I interpret for the deaf at our congregation. This summer, with college students gone, I have taken on most of the interpreting. As in, all of it. I had a few people who said they would try to help as they could, but, like most folks, they were in and out, and I didn't think any of them were really comfortable with doing most of it, so I forged ahead. For many weeks, I simply considered it my honor to be able to serve. I preached, led singing, shared a communion meditation, prayed, and read scripture, then taught a Bible class -- in my second language. Then, I staggered to a restaurant for lunch, then home for a very long nap. And thus it was.

At one point I figured out that one woman really would help out, she just needed a little advance warning/ notice. So I got her all lined up to help me out on the Sunday I was traveling to Houston -- then her husband got very ill suddenly. And died the next week. And I was SO sad for this precious woman who has become very dear to me and at the same time I was continuing to wear myself out. I prayed and prayed about it. I gave it to the Lord many times over.

Until I finally said, "That's it. I can do no more. During August I will sit. I will not interpret. If our deaf friend would like to know what's happening in service, I will tell him. Otherwise, I will be sitting." I can't tell you the guilt and agony over that one decision. It goes against every bit of my training, but was all I knew to do to save my sanity. Other people who had initially offerred to help were shocked, I guess, and a few started back-pedaling, "I'm not sure how much I can do." or "I may still be gone a lot in August." I told them, "I had to make that decision for me -- whether or not anyone else would step up. Do whatever you are at peace doing -- for that is what I am doing."

So as August has gone on, and people see that I really am sitting, it gets under the skin of some of the interpreters out there, too. They can't let church go by without being interpreted. I truly THOUGHT I had given one and all every opportunity to take my place. Maybe I gave off a "vibe" that I didn't want anyone else to do it. Maybe they weren't ready to take it on. But it seems that now that I am out of the way, interpreters are coming out of the woodwork.

I have repented so many times over of missing the Lord's leading. I think of it as God's work is/ was a steamroller, with me running along in front of it. The Driver was shouting SOMETHING to me, but over the noise of my life, all I thought He was saying was, "Run faster! Run harder! Don't quit! Run faster!" NOW I know He was saying, "GET. OUT. OF. MY. WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Again, with the perfect vision of hindsight, I have also recalled Matthew 11:28-30:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

His yoke is easy! His burden is light. Which should have told me all along, "Hi, Jack. I'm Annette. You're doing it wrong." I was doing it wrong. I let my pride tell myself that surely I had to do it. Surely the Lord needed ME. Now I know that the Lord can use so many more people if I will get out of His way!


How Beautiful

by Sarah Stirman
on heartlight

She drove to mid-week service in a stupor. Stress of the day and physical weariness consumed every fiber of her being. She tried to relax, breathing slowly and praying.

The praying became pleading, "Lord, I am honored to participate in my ministry — signing for those who are hearing impaired, but Father I am so physically weary. I know it needs to be done tonight. I know others are depending on me for their worship experience. Father, let me remember that it is for You. It seems like it's for others, and taken for granted that I will do it; but Father, let me always remember that it is service to You. Continue to lead me to serve You faithfully."

She made it to the church building and wandered inside, smiling wearily at the church family she encountered. Her heart still prayed; her body still weary.

With a few blissful moments before duty was required, she reveled in the singing voices around her. With closed eyes she joined in the songs of praise and prayer, still pleading with the Lord for a clean heart (Psalm 51:10-12).

With the first few lines of the next song — "How Beautiful" by Twila Paris, see full lyrics below — she was sure the Lord was speaking directly to her:
How beautiful the hands that served
the wine and the breadand the sons of the earth.
How beautiful the feet that walked
the long dusty roads
and the hills to the cross.
How beautiful
is the body of Christ.

She began to pour forth praise that she was a part of the body of Christ, that she was able to serve, and that the Lord was reminding her through these words, which come from HIS word (Isaiah 52:7), that serving hands are beautiful hands to Him.

The tears flowed freely as the song continued:
How beautiful the radiant Bride
who waits for her Groom
with His light in her eyes.
How beautiful when humble hearts give
the fruit of pure lives
so that others may live.

How beautiful
is the body of Christ.
How beautiful the feet that bring
the sound of good news
and the love of the King.
How beautiful the hands that serve
the wine and the bread
and the sons of the earth.
How beautiful
is the body of Christ.

Yet again, the Lord was so faithful to pour out His Spirit and fill her empty soul. Not only did He give strength to the weary (Isaiah 40:29), He reminded her that she was beautiful in her service to Him! And every woman loves to hear that she is beautiful. The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord (Psalm 45:10).

He was enthralled by her beauty. The beauty was the beautiful hands that were serving Him. The beautiful, serving hands would honor Him and praise Him for the rest of her days.



Good Things Out There

Tammy mentioned my "new look". I spent a little while Saturday afternoon playing with my template/ layout. I especially like my new little sidebar button.

Soon I will tell you why that verse has new significance for me.

This doesn't exactly fall under "Good Things Out There" category, but we can be Christ's body to a hurting sister. I learned this morning that a precious woman of God that I know lost her father in a tragic accident this week. My heart is heavy and I am so sad for Paula and her family. Please say a prayer and remember all of them.

I like to consider Antique Mommy a personal friend. I'm sure you do, too. Even though I have never laid eyes on her in person or heard her voice, she touches my soul. The last few weeks she has had a lengthy series that talks of a legacy-altering event in her family's history. You need to read it.
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

**Updated ** I almsot forgot this little treasure: Go read this adorable story.

Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4

The first time I got this video in my email inbox, I couldn't wait to share it with you. The fifth time I got it in my email inbox, I was fairly certain you saw it recently. But it is PRECIOUS. Can you do this?



Nathaniel got the closest guess to the cardboard tube conundrum at my house. Indeed, if the Harry Potter craze isn't over soon, I will not have any hangers for pants! We are casting spells on each other, Mom, Dad, and the dog. Expelliarmus!

You MUST see Paula's idea for diverting grumpy shoppers in her comment under "A Plan". Aren't digital cameras the best thing ever? "Sure, take 48 pictures of your thumb! No sweat!"

I'm doing "assigned writing" today. Now I remember why I don't consider myself a writer -- assigned writing is also what I refer to as "forced writing" because I have to force myself to do it. To me, it's like building a brick wall using only my hands -- no tools. It's messy, each word is laborious, and when it's finished it's as attractive as a brick wall built using only hands. My writing, the writing that pours from my soul, does just that -- it pours out of me, as frantically as an artist who MUST get their work on canvas. I can't write or type fast enough. Unfortunately, I have to wait for that kind of writing to wash over me. As you have noticed, if you're still hanging around this blog, I'm in quite a dry spell lately. So "forced writing" is about the only writing happening these days!


Pop Quiz

What fascination is currently gripping my family (okay, my children) so that I don't have one hanger in my house that still has a cardboard tube on it?


In Christ Alone

I awoke to these words on my radio this morning:

In every victory,
Let it be said of me,
My source of hope,
My source of strength,
Is Christ alone.

Psalm 23 says "He restores my soul." This week my soul has been restored. And, amazingly enough, as much as I have professed being an introvert -- He has restored my soul by talking to other people. Soothing people -- you know the kind: the opposite of chafing people. And you KNOW the chafing people. I'm thankful for those soothing people. I'm thankful for my restored soul. And I'm thankful for my victory -- in Christ alone.

In every victory,
Let it be said of me,
My source of hope,
My source of strength,
Is Christ alone.


Good Things Out There

So much I want to share you with you!

First, this isn't a good thing, simply my observation for today: don't ever underestimate the soul-nourishing value in simply sitting amongst believers letting the word of God be spoken to you, and time to sing praises in return. Please don't ever let me take that for granted.

On to good things:

Think what you will about our military, government spending, or the war in Iraq. Good things are going on in our military and here's proof: Read about my friend, Jumpin' Jack Flash's opportunity to be pilot for a day at our local air force. But, most importantly, check out the BEAUTIFUL pics his photographer mom took here.

Celebrate a very special anniversary with another Sarah and her gorgeous girl, Addison.

Lastly, I have mentioned my good and faithful mechanic here before (and here, too). In fact, there was a point in time that I LONGED to make a blog post, "An Ode to My Mechanic", but since I am poetically challenged, I could only make it look like this:

Oh, John W., we love you.
Oh, John W., we'll be true.
When you aren't with us,
We're blue and our car is, too.
Oh, John W., we love you.

"The poet laureate of Dogwood Lane" -- that's me (quick, where's that quote from?)

So, thankfully, John W. can let you see for yourself why our family thinks he's all that and a box of dougnuts:


A Pic for Saturday

It's not always an entirely bad thing to have to make your 2nd trip of the day to the grocery store. If you keep your eyes open and look around, you'll probably find a blessing the Lord has for you.


Who Should You Call for Help?

Borrowing Denise's "Friday Fun Zone" idea... I saw this at a teacher workshop yesterday. Currently, it's about all I remember from the workshop!


A Plan...

Seriously, you've gotta try this:

When kids are too old to ride around the store in the cart but too young to be elsewhere in your eternal summer days while you grocery shop, do this: Give each kid a $10 bill. They are free to spend up to $2 of it on candy, the rest is for snacks and/or breakfast items that they generally harass me about unmercifully and I never buy. They will be gone for about 7 minutes and return with their sugar-laden bags and, depending on the kid, anywhere from $5 to $.07 in change. Then, when they continue on your trip with you and MUST have something, you can reply, "Do you have any money left?" Well, then.

The only drawback is when one child runs into a former teacher and explains, "My mom paid me $10 to go away." I'm expecting that phone call from CPS any moment.


Dear Children,

Yes, indeedy, I realize summer is dragging on. And, this year, we have an extra couple of weeks of summer. And, because God is so very funny this way, this is almost the rainiest summer in our little town's history. So we have more and more weeks of indoors togetherness. I know you are wearying of me. Your none-too-pleasant words and tone of voice have illustrated this. The following is a list of answers to your questioning retorts. Feel free to use any or all of them at your leisure. I've found it best if I not speak right about now:
  • I do NOT have to explain myself to you -- I gave birth to you.

  • Because I said so.

  • Because you live in my house, eat my food, and breathe my air, that's why.

  • How 'bout I just let you continue living in my home rent free and we'll call it even?

  • Nothing -- but I can tell you what I WILL give you if you DON'T.

  • (Fill in the blank with whatever you deem satisfactory just do it for the love of Pete before my head blows completely off my body).

Summertime and the livin' is mouthy...

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