Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Life and Death here in the Far Country

One of our family's favorite songs and helpful reminder
Andrew Peterson's "Far Country"
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 10:31 AM

Early this morning, my sweet grandmother went to be with the Lord.  Her mother passed away six years ago almost to the day at the age of 102. Funerals at Easter time always seem to take on an even more special feeling as they remind us of life everlasting.

What a blessing and cherished responsibility it is in so many ways to be a covenantal child in the Kingdom of God and in this long lineage of Christian believers.


Friday, March 22, 2013 9:17 PM
Oh, sweet friends, I have to tell you how God has answered our prayers!!  The girls and I just returned from Nashville (Eric returned earlier for work); it was too much to text/email on my phone, nor did I have the time.

Yesterday was spent standing around my grandmother while the family all took turns crying, whispering, making sure she was comfortable, reminding her to breathe on her own while she still has the assistance of the machine, singing hymns (those that we knew with tears in our eyes and wandering minds…ha!) and comforting one another with anxious hearts/minds all while keeping the room very quiet.  After protocol was followed, most of us left the room for them to withdraw the ventilator.  Praise the Lord….we still have our Meemaw!  Albeit shallow breaths, she is breathing on her own!!

Today was a much brighter day; we’ve taken turns entertaining one another in the cafeteria and standing by her side answering her when she speaks and respectfully asking her to please not talk so that her vocal chords/breathing airways can heal.  And we just have to giggle at the comments that she says repeatedly on a loop. “I can’t get my breath.” “My mouth is dry.” It does become humorous when it’s every three seconds; we act like we’re fixing her breathing mask and offer her a miniscule piece of ice. J

We’re still far from being out of the woods, but this afternoon she was moved upstairs to a hospice room, which is fantastic!  Today I had a sweet moment alone with her and told her that I loved her and wanted God’s will to be done; I also told her that she had many praying for her. I asked her what was most specific that we could pray for her. She said, “That I can get my breath. My mouth is dry.” J  I told her that I would be asking for that very thing.  So please do continue to pray for our Jessie Pearl to be able to get her breath and for safety as we travel back and forth!

Love to you all! 

Monday, March 18, 2013 12:11 PM

To our small group and friends:

This past week my grandmother was placed in ICU in Nashville with an extreme infection in her lungs.  Last night she was put on a ventilator.  During the night they did a CT scan which showed that the lining in her lungs is too thin to heal itself, so the family will be making a decision of when to take her off of the ventilator.  I think it’s especially sad, knowing that she was scared to go on the ventilator; her having been a nurse for so many years, I’m sure she knew what to expect.

She is a strong believer, and the last time we were with her the girls sweetly sang to her some of the songs that they’ve learned in choir.

I ask for prayers for our entire family but especially my father, his sister and brother.

Prayers greatly appreciated.


Friday, December 11, 2009

A laborious, gigantic career...

A sweet friend sent this to me...it was a word of encouragement to me...it may be to you as well!
Thanks, Carolyn! This came at a perfect time for me to read!

"How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about arithmetic and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe?

How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone and narrow to be everything to someone?

No, a woman's function is laborious because it is gigantic, not because it is minute."

G. K. Chesterton

Monday, October 26, 2009

Dishin' out the candy!

As the days grow shorter, the nights grow colder, the leaves begin to turn, our minds start to fill with excitement of upcoming birthdays, family celebrations, dare we mention Christmas....lots to make a girl smile!

With all of these thrills that we've come to expect, so does the question, "So, little girl, what are you going to be for Halloween?" My girls used to respond to the staring gaze of a stranger...with a staring glaze, then when they grew older they'd say, "I don't like Halloween...it's scary!" And now, our little Cricket has overtaken all of the answering for everyone; she'll say (with great enthusiasm!), "I'm going to be a cowgirl!" (every year!)

In the past, we have either just taken the girls (dressed up, if they wished) to the homes of a few of our closest friends, out to dinner, or out for ice-cream and fun with other friends, etc., and we've not really made that big of a deal of Halloween. My girls naturally turn their heads from "yucky" billboards, TV ads, etc., and we've openly discussed our viewpoints on Halloween, but this last year we decided that we'd take back the holiday and embrace it as a Christian holiday, which is how it began.

So as Ricci and I age and mature (I'd like to think), our viewpoints naturally age and mature along with us. So as the little girl that was out tricker-treating with her daddy and terrified by a neighbor, Suzy Johnson to name, I'm now proud to say that I'm over it (not really!) and am ready to arm myself with candy to give and to receive.

Our little Lovey will be our darling Eloise, proudly living at the Plaza!

Our spunky, little Cricket...you guessed it...a cute, little cowgirl!

And our sweet AngelWings is planning to be our effervescent Vitameatavegamin Girl.

I love Lucy Vitameatavegamin 10 min - http://www.youtube.com/

So after answering a fellow homeschooler on this same topic, I thought I'd also post my response here, including a blog posting written by Doug Wilson:


This blog posting by Doug Wilson was very encouraging, and I thought you might appreciate it as well.

Wilson is a CREC (Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches) pastor in Idaho, and he is also well-known for his numerous books, particularly on classical Christian education, courtship, and marriage.
Anyway, on this Halloween blog posting, I especially liked his point about how Christians should be more giving (i.e., candy), for recently our pastor (Pastor Jeremy Jones) recently spoke to us on how Christians should be seen as bigger-givers than stingy-keepers (my simple words not his which were much more eloquent!) to show that we more fully appreciate all that Christ has given us.

Doug Wilson's blog posting: Halloween
Here is a brief something I sent out to our church a few years ago. Some of you all might find it helpful. I forget if I have posted it before.

- Halloween -
As another Halloween approaches, and as many of us are working on building alternatives, I wanted to take the opportunity to offer a few thoughts and pastoral suggestions.

Here is the background. First, November 1 is All Saints Day. The All Saints festival was first established during the times of persecution in the early church when the number of martyrs accumulated to the point where it was no longer possible to commemorate them all. In the time of John Chrysostom, all the martyrs were remembered on the first Sunday after Pentecost. In 608 A.D., the Pantheon, a former pagan temple to all the gods, was dedicated in Rome as a Christian church. The date of that dedication (May 13) became the day of "all saints." The day was moved to November 1 in 741 A.D. with the dedication of the Chapel of All Saints.

Second, in the British Isles, the day was known as All Hallows Day. The "eve" of that day, the night before, was known as Hallowe’en. In the minds of simple people, the night before the day of the holy ones was thought to be a last ditch party on the part of unholy ones — devils, witches, fairies, imps and so forth. With this kind of superstition, of course, we have nothing to do. Obviously, the custom of kids dressing up in order to play trick or treat did descend from this view, but the thing that is objectionable here is not the dressing up in itself, or the consumption of candy, but rather the dressing up as wicked creatures.

Third, Reformation Day is on October 31 and commemorates the posting of Luther’s famous theses, which is usually regarded as the inauguration of the Reformation. It is frequently honored by churches on the last Sunday of October. As it happens, Reformation Day is also Halloween.

Fourth, and the bottom line for us, is that both of these two days belong to the Christian church, and not to the pagans. And the days have been ours for many centuries, despite certain pagan encroachments of late. We should keep the days, and fight off the encroachments. And so . . .
Here are a few things to do: We are encouraging parishes to hold Reformation Day/All Saints Day parties and gatherings. The mood should be festive and filled with rejoicing — an exhibition of our gratitude for the faithfulness of the martyrs of the early church and the martyrs of the Reformation. This obviously can (and should) include kids dressing up and getting boatloads of candy, but I would strongly urge that no one have their kids dress up as members of the other team — witches, ghosts, devils, imps, or congressmen. We do want to urge a high level of celebration, but we don’t want to take our cues from the surrounding culture. So if you take your kid around to grandma’s house dressed up like a red M & M, or like Theodore Beza, don’t have them say trick or treat the same way some ghost or witch would. Of course, repent or perish or sola fide probably wouldn’t work either. Let’s do this differently, and intelligently, and still have fun. So have them say trick or treat the way a cute M & M would.

What to avoid. We want parish parties, not pious parties. So when neighborhood trick or treaters come to your door, I would encourage you to give them more candy than unbelievers give, as opposed to a glare and/or a tract about the fires of hell. We want to behave during this time in such a way that their celebrations are revealed as far more anemic than ours (not to mention twisted and gross). We do not want our parish parties to be a cheesy alternative, a sort of faux-Halloween. It should be a true All Hallow’s Eve, a true Reformation Day blow-out.

On a related note, there is no way to do this without kirkers differing among themselves about what is appropriate. This is reasonable — up to a point. We know the general direction we want to go, and we want to get there together with unity of spirit. This means learning to lighten up on details. So don’t freak out and rebuke someone if their kid goes over to an aunt’s house dressed like John Knox, but he cackles evilly instead of saying soli Deo gloria. But feel free to be concerned if someone from the Night of the Living Dead shows up at the parish party.

All for now . . .Posted by Douglas Wilson - 10/2/2008

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Too many posts...too little time!

Fast-forward three months....

It seems that life has gotten so busy around her that something's gotta give...and sadly, it's been the blog...and laundry, but that's another topic!

I understand that seasons of life come and go, so for now... this season of life doesn't leave much time for too much bloggin'! I say this sadly, for I do so appreciate the archival aspect of blogging memories and photos, but I also understand that this season of life has brought more opportunities and more time/ability to seize those opportunities!

So until I find the time to post some pics and catch up a few postings from great memories we've made this summer, I think I'll post what I have for now and then hope that I can find time to do a monthly entry, but for now I'm going to have to forego the blog for a while, I think!

"I thought you were a professional!"

Growing up, my only experience with a library was the one that we owned and the little bus that came to park in the corner of the Handy-Andy every Monday morning. I still think it's amazing that this stranger (a librarian, I guess) would allow us to board her vehicle, which had its walls lined with books and then allow us to borrow as many books as we wanted! Thanks, Mom, for taking us!

Then my next memory was in high school going to the college library with the rest of my class. And I can now appreciate the looks from the "older kids" (college students) who were annoyed that our class was even there. We would go over to OW and have to walk through the metal detectors...I still have no idea why they're there in a library, nor do I like them to this day! We learned how to use the Dewey Decimal System, microfiche (which Chip Adams could still get me giggling when he asks 'where the aquarium is'), and supposedly work on our term papers. [;)] All of this to say, it was quite a production, and I still to this day do not like large college or downtown libraries! Boy-am-I-thankful for the use of google...and my little library that I use today!

We do have the quaintest, little, satellite library with the most reliable, wonderful, helpful "Mr. Greg" and "Miss Hallie." Honestly, it's not that much different from the library that I used when I was little...it's just stationary, and it has TWO librarians! Yes, it's tiny; there's no metal detector, and it's always such a joy to walk in and be greeted by name. So today after running around town (and finally going to get an x-ray of my foot that's still bothering me), I quickly ran inside our little library to pick up some books that we had on hold.

As I picked up one of the books, I asked, "Hallie, have you read any of these books by this author?"

"No, I haven't. Have you?"

"No, not yet, but some of our curriculum calls for one of them, and the other book looked interesting as well."

"What grade do you teach again?"

"Actually, I teach all of them [the girls] together, so 2nd, 3rd, and 5th."

"Oh! That's right; you home school...I thought you were a professional!"

You've gotta love our little, quaint library and the blessed ones that run it!

We just had a good laugh about it! "Bless her heart!"

(By the way, Ricci did just tell me that they aren't "metal detectors" but that they are "scanners"! Same dif!)

My New BFF!

Written back in August....

Last Wednesday afternoon, when I spoke to Miss Craig, we postponed a busy, shopping trip that we gals were going to take, for she had lots to do as did we. Fast forward four hours, and our phone rang...she had fallen…backwards...4 feet off of the retaining wall around her garden! Oh, the horror!

Thankfully, that afternoon, her kids called to talk to her and noticed that she wasn't herself...then she admitted that she had fallen. So on another line, they called us, and we ran up there...she looked fine, but she was already getting dressed (to the 9's, of course!) to go on to the hospital...she knew she had to go. She had a huge knot on the back of her head, and it was bleeding.

Thankfully, she really did seem to be fine, but she was complaining about being sore and having lots of pain on her right side (apparently the side that took the brunt of her fall), so once we got to the E/R, I just grabbed the closest wheelchair to keep her from having to walk, and when we wheeled her in, I explained to the receptionist that she had fallen close to 5 hours ago...a friend had told me to make sure that they knew the timeline...so they immediately came over to us to examine the back of her head while they handed me "the all-dreaded" clip-board and just told me to sign it for her. Of course, she hears EVERYthing that one says around her...can't see it, but she can hear it!

Craig said loudly enough for all to hear, "Sign your name and just write "BFF."

WHAT?!? I know she's "up with the times and all" but even I don't use that term...and last time I checked...neither of us text message anyone! (Well, maybe she does and we just don't see her do it!)

I, the receptionist, and the security guard were laughing hysterically! Later I asked her where she had heard that term, and she said, "I just made it up! You'll probably have to explain it to them."

I said, "No ma'am...I think they know."

She said, "How could they? I just made it up!"

As she was speaking...an ambiguous young guy was walking by, so to prove to her that it's a popular term, I said, "Hey! What's BFF?" And without stopping he just said, "Best Friends Forever."

She was shocked...put her hand on her forehead (like she always does) and giggled to herself.

So we continued to sit there...chit-chat, giggle, doze off; chit-chat, giggle, doze off.... and after several CT scans and X-rays, they revealed that there were shockingly no broken bones (angels had to have helped her land!), but she did have a nice gash in the back of her head with a small (quarter-size) hemorrhage in the front of her brain. So after sitting there for hours in the E/R spening boughts of allowing her to rest, lots of phone calls, and laughing at this and that, she was finally admitted to a room so that she could be observed for a few days as well as continue to get CT scans to show improvement in the hemorrhage, Lord-willingly!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Pride Goeth Before A Fall!

As if this saying couldn't be true enough...pride definitely goeth before a fall...we just hope that it doesn't happen in front of others!

Ever since the girls were itty-bitty and ready to have some fun... whenever we have taken them to Sams, we'd put one girl in the back of the buggy, another in the floppy seat (man, I miss those days!), and one girl in the stroller. And as soon as the girls were old enough, they'd say, "Faster, momma/daddy, faster!" And off we'd go in a race to see who could go through the entrance doors faster...the grocery buggy or the stroller?!?

Now as the girls are older, we're still occasionally seen racing to see who can make it inside the store the first....often it's a mad dash at the last second. Yesterday went no differently!

Being the day before a holiday, the parking lot at Sams was JAM-packed! So once we found an appropriate (first!) parking spot, we unloaded the car and proceeded to walk through the mass of people going/coming! Ricci, Cricket, and Lovey were walking ahead while AngelWings and I closely followed...racing never crossing any of our minds, for I'm telling you...I've never seen so many people at Sams! Then I noticed that every couple of seconds, Lovey would look back at us and smile...I just thought she was sweetly keeping up with knowing that we were still there. Then as we got closer and closer to the entrance doors, her grin grew larger...and I knew what she was up to. So I whispered to AngelWings, "Come'on...let's beat 'em!" And off we went trying to make our mad dash around them...not even being respectful of the others also trying to enter Sams...yes, we may have taken out an unsuspecting elderly person or two, but I tell ya...the adrenaline over-took every heart-beat or care! And then there we all were...entering the store all shoulder to shoulder...neck and neck, if you will. Who was going to be able to proudly say that they were the winner?!? So with one last stride, I made it a little longer than I should have....and came down on my bum foot! OH! We were all laughing so hard and giggling with glee that it didn't appear to others that there was anything wrong...they just saw a family that was enjoying being together...hopefully! (Or just an odd grouping of ages that don't know how to act in public!) Then I tried to step out of the way of the entrance door, and there was absolutely no way that I could bear ANY weight at all on my right foot! Oh, the pain was unbearable!

In the midst of the laughter and crying (although it was painful, it still was very funny!), I just couldn't take a single step...although Ricci and the fella at the entrance kept nodding their heads toward the automatic wheelchair seats with buggies...um, no thank you! I didn't want to draw any more attention to myself than I already had! And I was very thankful that no one else had been hurt in any way as our family rudely careened into the already opened doors!

So after deciding that we'd abandon all other errands and just go on home (versus the emergency room), Ricci went to get the car and pulled it as close to the building as possible, and with his help I somehow managed to get into the car. So we all just went back home, and oh...the pain, and oh...how anxious I was...we had friends' coming over to celebrate Independence Day with us the next day! We still had sooo much to do...there was still a house and yard to be readied, food to be prepared, fun party favors to create, and oh-yeah...packing for our upcoming trip! (Of course, the first thing that anyone said to me, "Oh...that's your driving foot!") I was/am fearful that God has other plans!

Once we got home, Ricci helped me upstairs...I couldn't bear ANY weight at all on my right foot, and he and the girls immediately got me set up with ice and lots of ibuprofen. I love you all so much for all of your help! (Cricket has even provided me a bell in the event that no one is upstairs with me and I need something...too precious! I like it!)

Today...I can bear 'some' weight on the front part of my foot, so I just sit here while I keep ice on my heel and field questions from my precious lovies as they are generously preparing for our party this afternoon and also being sure to attend to my every whims. I am in such awe of everyone's pulling together! The good thing in this is that those coming over this evening to celebrate with us are some of our closest friends...more like family...so all will work out, Lord-willingly!

So today is our great country's 233rd birthday! 233 years! So many things have taken place in 233 years! In some way that seems like a very long time, but in light of other countries and their heritage, it doesn't seem like much time at all! Either way, I'm so very grateful for what we do have! And I do remember that our freedom isn't free; we must all do our parts (simple or large) to declare and protect our independence. I do pray that we all enjoy this holiday and are able to celebrate the rich heritage with which our great United States has been blessed!

I pray for our great country and those that serve and lead it.
Blessings on each of you this Independence Day!

Happy 233rd Birthday, America!

~ the unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America ~

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

-John Hancock

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

crying couch vs. ball room

After such a long weekend, this Sunday afternoon Lovey was having a difficult time pulling herself together after getting her feelings hurt over something pretty simple, so as I was going over to check on her, I saw Ricci sweetly laying her down on the sofa, and I overheard him tell her,

"Now we do have a crying couch, but we don't have a ball room!"

Of course, she let out a little giggle, and I just thought that it was so precious the way he sweetly reminded her to control her spirit yet still allowed her a little wiggle room to cry!

Inside extended family joke: "Everyone needs a good cry!"

Thank you, Ricci, for being such a loving father!

Monday, June 29, 2009

HGTV & the World's Longest Yard Sale!

It's almost that time of year again when our little pocket of the world turns into slow-moving tourist after slow-moving tourist! But with the excitement in the air of a steal here or there, who cares?!? For it's the "World's Longest Yardsale"! Hereafter referred to as WLY for short!

I'm not a yard-saler (don't have the patience or the personality to walk away empty-handed from a hopeful seller...I don't want to hurt their feelings!), but I do like to take one of the days of the WLY with friends/family to get in the congested traffic and hope that you are the one to walk up and get a treasure for a steal! I know..it's a gamble, but I think I'm ready! I just checked the WLY dates, and they're August 6-9, 2009! And while I was on their website, I came across this little bulletin...pretty fun! Just thought someone here might be interested!

HGTV is Looking For Outgoing Yard Sale Shoppers attending the World's
Longest Yard Sale!!

HGTV's "Endless Yard Sale" will be back filming this
year's special and we're looking for fun, energetic shoppers to feature on the

Specifically, we're on the hunt for teams of neighbors, friends
and co-workers (must live in the same town) who'd be willing to compete against
each other in a yard selling competition. Each team will be given a budget to
makeover a room in their home.

If you'll be shopping 'til you drop
between Chattanooga, TN and Jamestown, KY on August 6-8, 2009, and you (and your
friends) think you have enough personality to share with the nation, e-mail us
the details. We want to know your mission and what you love about the "World's
Longest Yard Sale"! Please include a photo of yourself.

We are casting
NOW, so please don't wait!!

Send your email to: eys09@live.com

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Favorite Quote of the Week

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says “Oh, crap! She’s up again!”

*Taken from SouthernPlate.com, a blog that I've
really enjoyed lately. She offers great recipes and tips on how to serve yummy
meals, inexpensively and quickly!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Savory Summertime Snacks

In my continuing attempt to "be a better mom this summer," here's a list of some yummy snacks that I thought I'd share. I found them at SparkPeople, and I'm really hoping to be more consistent this summer in serving snack-time treats to my fam....in hopes that my new 'habits' will contiunue into the new school year...and beyond!

On a side note: these 10 savory snacks are all under 250 calories (not that we all need it! I do!)

Mini Chicken Fiesta
Fill 1 small corn tortilla with 3 oz chicken. Sprinkle on 2 Tbsp cheddar cheese and top with 2 Tbsp salsa. Warm in microwave if desired.

Better than Wings
Dunk 2 celery stalks in 2 Tbsp light bleu cheese dressing. Drizzle with hot sauce to taste.

Creamy, Crunchy, and TangyToast
1 slice multigrain bread. Spread with 1 Tbsp goat cheese then cover with 1 sliced tomato. Add plenty of black pepper and a pinch of dried thyme.

What a Pita!
Fill a 6-inch whole wheat pita with 2 Tbsp hummus. Squeeze with lemon juice and sprinkle with paprika.

Cheesy Dunker
Dunk 1 piece of mozzarella string cheese into 1/4 cup warm marinara sauce.

No-Cheat Chips and Salsa
Drag 15 baked tortilla chips through 1/2 cup salsa. Try raspberry-chipotle, tomatillo, or spicy mango varieties.

Punched-Up Popcorn
Pop 1 bag of 100-calorie popcorn. Season with 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp chili powder.

Filling Carbs-n-Protein
Eat 1 hardboiled egg with 3 pretzel rods.

Bean-n-Guac Rollup
Fill one small corn tortilla with 1/4 cup mashed black beans. Top with 1/4 avocado (diced) and add 2 Tbsp salsa.

Lett-uce Eat Tuna
Mix 3 oz tuna with 1 tsp lemon juice and 1 Tbsp light mayo. Season with black pepper to taste. Place mixture in 1 cup of lettuce leaves.

Oh! To be a better mom this summer was just recently finalized and posted.

Poll results for indoor/outdoor pool

Thanks, y'all, for the help! The poll results are in for the indoor/outdoor pool question about which you think is more sanitary.

25% say indoor pools are more sanitary, and 75% say outdoor pools are more sanitary!

Hmmm....I have a few of you that I'd like to talk to...indoor pools; really?!? I'm still convinced that outdoor pools are more sanitary, and the joy that my grandmother has while watching all of the great-grandkids' playing in the hotel pool is priceless! Thanks for the responses!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Help Wanted

Poll: Indoor vs. Outdoor pools!

Okay, y'all! You've gotta help me out here! I've set up a poll on the right sidebar, for Ricci and I need your help settling a "spirited discussion" regarding indoor/outdoor swimming pools!

One of us firmly believes that one over the other is healthier, for when we visit my grandparents, we stay in one of two hotels...both nice hotels, but one has an indoor pool, and one has an outdoor pool! If it were you (just judging on the pool situation!), which hotel swimming pool would you prefer? Indoor or Outdoor?!?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Are we rednecks or what?!?

Sitting in the front yard this evening, it occurred to me that we couldn't look more like a redneck family if we tried to this evening! And if I had the ability to capture time in a bottle, surely I would have chosen to do it this evening!

We've had such a busy week, so today we purposely made an effort to stay at home, and it has been sooo very nice! Surprisingly, none of us slept in this morning...I guess we were eager to just have a day at home! And I know that we've all been busy doing this or that around the house, but I'm surprised to say that the house doesn't show for it! Oh well! Tomorrow's another day! Right?!?

This week while L and I were out gallivanting around town while the girls were at music camp, we caught a great sale on meats at Sams, and yesterday we enjoyed picking up some fresh veggies and fruits at Linda's Produce. So today Ricci made an incredible spice rub, and we were all looking forward to ending our day with a yummy cookout!

But this evening if you had driven by, you would have thought we were such happy rednecks! You would have seen Ricci diligently watching over his grill, my sitting beside him (in my newly white painted Adirondack chairs!) snapping beans while we were watching Lovey ride her bike with training wheels up and down the driveway while AngelWings was manning the 'boom box' (her mp3 player attached to some speakers was sitting atop the back of Ricci's car) for Cricket who was proudly singing "Ready to Run"! Yes, the girls were puttin' on a "Creekbend" (instead of Riverbend) show for us. There was Cricket singing, standing atop my gardening bench and singing with all of her might...

"Oh yeah!
Ready, ready, ready, ready....ready to run!
All I'm ready to do is have some fuuu-uuuun!
What's all this talk about looo-vvvve!"
Such fun, blessed days! The joyful sounds of the children's voices, the smell of Ricci's grill, Sir-Barks-a-lot sitting at my feet, plenty of fresh air, our health (nothing more than tiny scratches and bruises from various bike falls), and the excitement of eating our yummy dinner! Yes, if I could capture time in a bottle, surely I would have chosen to do it this evening!

"That's the news from Lookout Mountain, where all the women are strong,
all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average!"

"Father Knows Best!"

I have to say that I do think "Father Knows Best" in so many ways! My Heavenly Father! My earthly father! And of course, who doesn't have a glimpse of a smile come to their face when they see Jim Anderson and how he loved his family?!?

Most afternoons after school, Jen and I would watch every episode that we could of "Father Knows Best," one of our favorite childhood shows from the 50's. (I feel that I should clarify...the show was from the 50's; this childhood memory was from the 80's.) I guess a local TV station was re-airing them.

And just like Betty, Bud and Kathy, I still like to think "Father Knows Best." I have an amazing daddy; my girls have an amazing daddy... and we all have an amazing Father.

This week, I just knew that it was going to be rough to accomplish all that was going to be on our plates and we all know that humorous saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." I had Him laughing hysterically this week....

Sunday night we laid our clothes out and went to bed early (well, early to us!), and we all awoke bright and early to get out the door at 8AM! That's WAY early for us! The girls were participating in a Music Camp this week...on the other side of town!

Daddy set out the Starbucks card and made sure we had everything and headed off to work. So we finished getting ready and headed out the door on time...shockingly, I know! While paying for my 'skinny, iced coffee...two pumps of mocha...hold the whip' (160 calories...yum!), I got the phone call for which we'd been waiting...we needed to make the decision as to when to return to Louisiana for a family funeral. It's a sad time, but it will be nice to see the family out there...if we go now or later!

Then we continued on to Music Camp where I dropped off the girls...oh, it's so cute to see an assembly of children excited about a new adventure! And then you should have seen the moms...excited for the same reason! After we got the kiddos settled, L and I took off for a play day just for us. All along, we kept mentioning more fun things we could do that week while the kids were busy at Camp, and I kept telling her, "Oh! I haven't even told you about Tuesday! I don't know how I'll get everything done!" So after we went back to pick up the kids, we all ran over to Taco Roc (hmmm!) for a late lunch, and she helped me create a way to accomplish 'most' of what was on my plate the following day. (Music Camp 8-12/board meeting 12-1/ setting up an event at Riverbend for Bethany 1:30-5/ helping host the event 5 'til / book club 7:30-9ish...all or most with chauffeuring...you know the type of day where you can mentally figure out how you can do it all, but if you write it down, you'd know immediately that it will never work!) Then we had to segregate the Chans from the Champs (very difficult to do!) so that we could get our girls up to their swim lessons.

And whew...it's been SO hot and humid this week! And swim lessons weren't any different! While we were there, I was fine one second, and then the next I thought I was going to pass out! Needless to say, I think I may have gotten some heat exhaustion (at least that's what I'd like to think!), for after I managed to get us all back to the car and back at home, I started to feel better after showers, some fruits and plenty of fluids! The next mornin'...not so much! I woke up not feeling too great and was "ill" for most of the day!

Yep...Father knows best! He completely took care of my to-do list...wiped it clean, in fact! And my more-than-wonderful husband picked up where I had left off! He took the girls to camp, delivered the 1000 balloon ribbons that we had cut (yes, that's another story in itself!), took care of me, made some returns for me, picked the girls back up, made supper...all the while he worked from home. The next day was more of the same while I recovered. Thank you, my love!

Thankfully, the rest of the week has gone very smoothly! We have loved every minute of Music Camp (the girls' learning all of the new songs, games and friends AND the moms' child-free shopping and lunch dates)!

Do you see what I see? Um...gum behind the ear? This child is so 'function before fashion'...and WHO ON EARTH taught her that?!?

Thank you, love, for loving me and helping me as you did this week!
Thank you, daddy, for loving us and sharing your wisdom with us!
Thank you, Father, for loving us and knowing what is best for us!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


This spring we read the unabridged story of The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo before seeing the greatly anticipated film (book was WAY better than the movie!), and we also enjoyed listening to the audio book narrated by Graeme Malcolm...who's voice and accent(s) was absolutely perfect to a 'T'!

If you have a chance, we HIGHLY recommend your listening to this audio book this summer! Get to know Despereaux, the Princess Pea, Chiaroscuro (cripes!), and Miggery Sow (“Gor, ain't it pretty? Gor, ain't it something?!”) as you will quickly get wrapped up in the sweet story filled with humor, sadness, hope, revenge, forgiveness...it's truly incredible!

***NOTE: All PETA members, please stop reading now!***

"I will have no more mice babies! They are such the disappointment!" says Despereaux's mother!

"I will have no more mice babies! They are such the disappointment!" screamed ME!

If my ribs weren't sore enough already from two days of my "being sick as a dog," then they are plenty sore from my girly shrieks this evening!

After two days of my not feeling so great, this evening I thought it'd be nice to sit outside with sweet hubby and take in a few (albeit shallow...sore ribs!) breaths of fresh air! Ahhh! It was nice!

Then we turned to walk inside, and Ricci (being the gentleman that he is) opened the door for me to walk inside first, and my radar eyes saw Despereaux run across the kitchen floor! Now of course, I was two rooms away, but I saw him! With both hands clasped tightly over my mouth..."Shriek! A mouse!" And other evenings, my Wonder Woman supersonic ears have heard him as well! And each time I've awoken Ricci to "What's that sound!?!?" And he's sleepily rolled over and said, "I don't hear anything!"

"Aha! Now I have proof!"

"Well, I didn't see anything! It was probably just a roach!"

"It was tiny, but it was too fast and too big to be a roach! Please stand right there while I go and Google 'how...many...babies...mice'!"

"Whatcha not doin' at your post?!? You're looking over my shoulder!!! Then you can clearly see what I'm reading on UGA's Co-op Ext. Serv. for Agricultural and Environmental Sciences....

"They usually have about 8-12 babies in one litter, but can have as few as 1 and
as many as 20 babies at a time." "Rats and mice breed fast."

"Mice can get through any hole that will admit the tip of your little finger. Seal small holes and cracks by stuffing them with stainless steel scouring pads, then caulk over them."

"Mice like peanut butter."

and my personal favorite...although I don't completely agree....

"Shooting is not generally effective for controlling rats and may be hazardous."

Tiny marital squabble...followed by "Yes, dear; I'll get dressed and go to the store at this late hour and buy some traps!"


Sweet fella returned home safely with four mouse traps...and more stories than I needed to hear of how the his fellow, late-night shoppers and grocery clerks have gotten rid of their mice and/or rats...dare we say that word out loud!

The dog and I greeted him at the door; I already had the suggested peanut butter waiting! So like a good, supportive wife, I helped him bait the traps. (Oh...who am I kidding...it was all for my pleasure! I wanted proof...once and for all...that Despereaux was indeed living in our home! And after I had returned him to the library!)

So 'we' baited one trap and set it gently to the side (not on the floor...we have children and a dog, ya know!); 'we' baited the second...it didn't work; (oops! I dropped a dab of peanut butter on the kitchen floor); 'we' baited the third and fourth. Sir-Barks-a-lot came in to see what we were doing; we praised him for cleaning up the peanut butter I had dropped; 'we' turned around to repair the final trap, and...





Sir-Barks-a-lot thought he'd check out the rest of the peanut butter that we'd set out; after all, we had praised him for cleaning up the other! Poor thing was looking at us like..."WHAT THE HECK was all of that?!?!? I promise I will NEVER try to sneak food again that's not on the floor!"

Oh! The poor, terrified animal...thankfully was unhurt! Yes, if he were 'on guard' all of the time, we probably wouldn't be having this problem, but oh...my poor boy! His look was simply pathetic!

So after more of my screaming like a little girl and a few of Ricci's 'choice' words followed by our doubling over from so much laughter (again...sore ribs!), 'we' finished baiting the last mouse trap, and Ricci pulled the stove out...that's the only place where we can figure they're getting into this 'ole house! And I have to say that I'm not a morning person, but I will be wide awake to hear the results!

Thank you, Ricci, for being the most wonderful husband and father! I rest knowing that God gave me you and that you're protecting us!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Will Blog for Food, I mean... Comments!

Blogging for Food Comments:

Okay... some of you gals (and you know who you are!) crack me up by emailing me your comments instead of posting them! I really do blog just to keep up with our own day-to-day life and help myself remember little things (since I don't scrapbook anymore!), and I also blog for those friends and family that live far away! But I have to say that a blogger doesn't know if one has stopped by for a visit, unless one leaves a comment!

And who doesn't want to know if they've had a visitor?!? I certainly do!

Has Peggy Post written a book yet on Bloggers'/Readers' Etiquette? I'm sure that there's one written by someone out there!

Defending my pals that have leaving-a-comment fears, I will say that Blogger isn't the easiest blog publisher to use when it comes to finding where to place a comment, so until I find another way to enable a "click here to leave a comment button," please say hello when you drop by...it's not scary! I promise!

So for those of you who have asked (Jen, Carolyn, Mimi, Bonnie)... here's how to leave your comments...

at the bottom of each posting there's a posting-time-stamp with a link for comments next to it. Click on that, and then one can write their comment and choose how to sign it by either leaving a link back to your blog if you have one or by just signing your name or by just signing it "anonymously."

I do love your emails, but I'd also like to have your comments!

Hope that helps!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Album and a bag for under a buck!

Here's a deal that's really great (we have Andrew Peterson to thank for directing us to this!):

Several of the artists with Andrew's new label, Centricity, are offering digital downloads of their entire album for $.99 for a limited time. Click on the store tab and then the digital download banner.

Going to this site, we were introduced to a new group, Downhere, that we have really enjoyed! We downloaded their newest album, Ending is Beginning, (for $.99!), and we're addicted to it! The sound of their music has lots of piano and symphony in it. (Hey, Carolyn...this isn't going to be your kind of piano/symphony cup'o'tea!)

Our favorite two songs (right now) are "My Last Amen" and "Hope Is Rising." (Tiffy, I think y'all will like them too! Want me to get you a cd for our Christmas present?) Great songs on there for the treadmill!

Their newest album, Ending is Beginning, reminds us that the end of our life here on earth is actually just the beginning! And I just have to give another plug for Andrew Peterson, for his song Far Country on his Far Country album, for it has the same premise; here on earth we are living in the far country, and one day we will truly be home. It's hard for me to mentally put a grip on that concept (Labronda, don't get a tummy-ache!) , for I so dearly love life here on earth with the amazing family and friends with which I've been blessed; however, I do have hope and faith that the life to come is going to be so much more!

I remember sitting on the "brown, leather sofa" as a little girl with my mom and 'confessing' to her that I couldn't say that I loved the Lord more than her, and she hugged me and sweetly said that God loves me more than she ever could and that my understanding would only grow in time...hmmm, that momma of mine seems to know what she's talkin' about!

On a completely different topic...enjoying life here in this far country...here's a great bag that I found online!

It says, Save Water/Drink Riesling!

RieslingRules.com is giving away this free reusable shopping bag when you join them in raising awareness of the precious nature of our water resources.

Click here to order.
Now go back and get that album before times up!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oh...to be a better mom this summer!

This week has been so wonderful...other than Cricket's first bee sting (ouch!) and the pain in my right heel...too much running around in my YellowBox (summer-time must have's for me!) and exercising on the treadmill, I guess!

Yep...Cricket's hand is still pretty swollen today after she was stung by a bee (on Tuesday night!) while she was helping take supper outside for the family. He just sort of landed on her hand, and while she was trying to see what it was, he stung her! Bless her heart! Today she says it doesn't "pinch or itch"; it's just still pretty puffy! Thankfully, it was on her left hand!

But the house is still pretty clean from having company (one reason why I like to keep having company!), and it's been so nice to not feel the pressure to stay on a school schedule...funny thing is that I'm probably doing better now that we're off of a schedule; I just hate the feeling of being behind the 8-ball, so now that I'm more relaxed I've had more time and enjoyment of getting things more organized around here, washing/ironing, playing (dare I say the 'craft' word! blech!), keeping bedrooms straightened, etc. I LOVE summer-time!

I'm really trying to get more habits formed around here. I've always kept a schedule around here that has our 'let's just at least aim for this' plan, but as the girls get older and our family changes, I need to update it and tweak it a bit for next year's school schedule.

I'm really trying to work hard toward getting on a schedule that flows naturally as a result of habits, and I'm also trying to get back on a schedule of planning our meals...it really helps me when the "freak-out hour" comes just before supper-time, and I feel as though I'm behind the 8-ball! So I'm working on some new recipes for our family, and I'm trying to clean out our pantry and out-door freezer in preparation for the new school year. It'll be here before we know it!

I think I'll keep the same plan to keep the house straightened (until our Bonnie comes back!), but I'll just work harder at stickin' to my plan! I'm such a perfectionist that it's more my nature to let it all go....so that I can get it all back together, but doing a little bit each day really does help! But... oooh, I really struggle with staying on top of our laundry! But this summer, I'm going to try to curb that struggle as well as try to rid our home of some of the extra clutter and get us more organized for the new school year. (Tips?!?) Yes, we're working on railing those daily habits!

Until 'my Bonnie comes back' here's our house-keeping 'let's just at least aim for this' schedule:

Monday – Organize calendar/meal plans for the week; Water houseplants; De-clutter tabletops; Change bedsheets; Tidy bathrooms

Tuesday – Clean windows/mirrors; Tidy bedrooms/closets

Wednesday – Vacuum & Mop; Dust

Thursday – Grocery shopping and errands

Friday – Clean bathrooms

Saturday – Laundry? Offer help with Honey-Do's?

Sunday – Lord's Day / Ahhh! A Day of Rest!

Everyday tasks: Make the beds. Do a load (or two!) of laundry...I guess that means that I have to find a workable way of returning the clothes to their rooms too! Clean kitchen counters. Keep kitchen sink shiny...this really makes a difference for me! Unload and reload Dishwasher. Keep things picked up and in their place!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Memorable May!

Whew...is it already the end of May?!? It's really hard for me to believe that May is almost over...which has had a lot goin' on!

We "wrapped up" our school year this past week; so we are thoroughly enjoying this week without having many commitments. {Hence...time to catch up on my blog...woohoo!}

Of course, this past weekend was a holiday weekend, and we successfully squeezed out every memorable inch out of it! And now it's Wednesday, and we're already closing in on next weekend when Daddy doesn't have to go to work every day! So now I look back and wonder where the heck May went! I still can't account for every day, but there were some pretty memorable days in it!

At the beginning of this month, I began (once again) Weight Watchers, and I'm so thankful for the great group of gals that are in it with me...it does make it more enjoyable! I think it's what works the best for me...I enjoy the monotony of writing things down (give me a checklist, and I'm all over it!), and the girls enjoy helping me track the calories, fiber and fat grams. I did really well on it after I had Cricket, so we'll see how I do on it this go-round! So after I attended my first WW meeting and took Cricket to soccer, we ran out to get last minute things for our cinco de mayo party...and stayed out way too late, for the next morning was the Belk Sale benefiting Bethany! And of course I didn't have time to sell as many tickets as I had planned on selling, sooo...I guess that meant I had to spend them, oh well...shopping for charity!

For those that know me, they know that I am NOT a morning person...but tell me that there's a sale that will end at 10 AM, and somehow I can muster up the strength to become a morning person! Oh my word...next year, I'm going to really push this sale! It's a great fundraiser! Bethany was able to sell tickets to Belk for $5, and Bethany was able to keep the profits! The tickets got one in the doors early at Belk and I'm telling you....everything was marked down drastically! It was like I was living a dream! You know...the dream where everything is marked down and you can grab what you can before the time runs out! The stores were so quiet (with the exception of cash registers' ringing and people hollering over sales!), and there were coffee stations with Krispy Kreme donuts (I did well, WW friends!) I'm telling you it was a dream! We bought a couple of little Ralph Lauren dresses for Cricket and Lovey (they're Lovey's favorite, and I'm pretty sure that they were only $10!), a RL shirt for AngelWings ($10), an MP4 player for $17, Ricci bought me some more Estee Lauder pleasures for Mother's Day (thank you, Ricci!), and I can't remember what other things we bought...I'm telling you...great sales all throughout the store; then they started to take the magic signs down when they opened up the doors to the public!

One thing that I've learned...being on the board of directors for Bethany means...fundraising! Previously, I didn't really know that 1/2 of Bethany's funds come from donations, and the other 1/2 comes from adoptions. There is no charge to the moms that come through and receive counseling and then choose to use another means of adoption. So this next year's sale, I'm going to come and get you gals to purchase these tickets and put on your shopping shoes...cause we're hitting the Belk stores early! In the name of charity!!!

Yes, I began WW just in time for our 4th annual cinco de mayo party...oh well! And for some reason, I didn't seem to get the camera out as often as I usually do, but here are a few pics of some of our closest loved ones that celebrated the special day with us.
As our tradition, I served the usual: Alals' chicken-spinach enchiladas, black beans with lime, Spanish rice (I ran out of time and fudged on this one with a semi-homemade version...if anyone has a good recipe for Spanish rice, I'd love it if you share it with me!), and for the first time I served a new appetizer, Black Bean Tartlets, that I thought was really yummy. Try it...I'm sure you'll love it too!

Black Bean Tartlets
Yields: 32 appetizers

Garnishes: sour cream, fresh cilantro

Ingredients for the tartlets:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with peppers
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons ice water

Combine first 8 ingredients in a food processor; pulse until blended. Add butter; pulse until mixture is crumbly. Add egg and ice water; process just until the mixture forms a ball.
Divide dough in half; shape each half of dough into 16 (1") balls. Press balls into lightly greased miniature (1 3/4") muffin pans, pressing evenly into bottom and up sides.
Bake tartlet shells at 450° for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove shells to wire racks, and cool completely.

Ingredients for the Black Bean Salsa:

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet yellow pepper
1 plum tomato, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, tossing well. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Spoon 1 tablespoon Black Bean Salsa into each tartlet shell; garnish, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

I found this recipe in the Christmas with Southern Living 2000

We served mango tea with fruit for the kids, sangria and a selection of Mexican beer for the mamas and the papas, and for dessert we once again served vanilla ice cream with your choice of toppings (toasted coconut, chocolate sauce, and Uncle Charles' roasted Spanish peanuts...thanks, Uncle Charles!) Of course, we were having such a great time that I didn't even start the waiting coffee...we were with such close friends and family that it was a very relaxed evening; it was wonderful!

Thankfully, God doesn't give us more than we can handle; the rest of that week I spent recovering from a ruptured ovarian cyst; Ricci took a day off of work to allow me to rest (there's not much more one can do but keep still and just rest...ahhh...that part's nice!), and he helped the girls with some of their schoolwork. There's nothing like knowing that you're in the home stretch...summer's awaiting around the corner!

Later that week, we celebrated 58th National Day of Prayer with our community. I have to say that I really appreciate this national holiday, and I also have to say that I struggle with knowing that others don't hold the same value of it as I do...why is it not more widely attended?

On the first Thursday in May, every community across the US is encouraged to hold an event at noon, and the theme for this year was “Prayer…America’s Hope” based on the verse from Psalm 33:22 which states, “May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Oh! How we need His unfailing love to rest upon us, and oh...we need to be faithfully putting our hope in Him!

This is the second year that I've helped facilitate our location's event, and I love seeing who participates in it! It's such a sweet time of coming together (denominations set aside) as a body of believers that desire our God to hear us as one church. Our pastor Jeremy led us this year, and he did a fabulous job; he opened up the time with a reading of Psalm 33, and then we spent time in prayer for our government, our military, our media, our businesses, our churches, and our families! What a sweet time it is! I'm thankful that my girls have the opportunity to hopefully grow up remembering this experience as a special one in our community.

That afternoon, we spent some time playing outside with Savannah, Ben, Emmaline and Jonathan (the creek is so full from all of the rain, and it's just irresistible to children!), then we had a memorable late lunch at Piccadilly (I'll spare you the details!) with friends before a play date at our new favorite park...welp...almost our favorite...I had to call the girls back to get back in the car...we'd have to come back to the playground, but not today...the battery was flirting with death! So after "I" took care of the car (at the fixit shop, of course! "I" meaning...I ordered a new battery, watched it being installed and paid for it! Yes, Daddy'd be proud!), we were on the road again!!

That next Saturday Jenna graduated from UT-Martin! Woohoo! We're all sooo very proud of you, Jenna! We were supposed to go to her graduation, but after the car was acting up and we were all so exhausted from busi-ness, we decided to play hookie and stay at home...I hear they call that a "staycation"! LOVED~IT! (Sorry, Jenna!) Others thought we were out of town, and it felt sooo good to just stay at home....the girls played while Ricci and I spent the day binge-watching this season of LOST. Wow~it's really picking up the pace....but now we have to wait until 2010?!? What's up with that?!?

Mother's Day couldn't have been sweeter...every year is sweet, but this one tops them all! The girls took the opportunity to call it a Mother's day weekend...who am I to argue with them?!? They started giving me gifts on Friday and Saturday....they're like their mamma, who just can't keep a gift a secret! Ricci bought me two new Adirondack chairs....I love'em! Come over and sit a spell in 'em with me! And they all made me breakfast in bed while the girls made me special cards and gifts.

AngelWings made me these gorgeous earrings...including the beautifully, wrapped box! Thank you, MaeMae! And thank you, girls and Ricci, for loving me and thinking that I'm the mom you say I am! I love you all...to the moon and back...and around and around....!

Speaking of Mother's Day, the end of this month has been a little discomforting (is that a word?) because our family will be getting together to 'lay to rest' our dear Alal, who has been so incredibly important in all of our lives. The flip side...we get an extra trip to see the rest of our family in Louisiana! That's good!

This past week, we've thoroughly enjoyed participating in some of the gardening lectures and workshops with Rock City's 1st annual Southern Blooms Festival! We've learned a lot and incorporated several of the lessons into the end-of-the-year schoolweek!

This past weekend, we did our usual Friday craziness and then had some friends over for an early Memorial day cookout. After we ate some yummy BBQ, we headed over to the Wilderness Theatre to see the movie, Night at the Museum 2, which was really good! There's nothing like sitting out under the stars with friends and watching a movie on the "world's largest movie screen"!

Here's a couple of pics...taken in the pitch-black; sorry for the blindness y'all experienced afterwards! You know...it's important to make memories!

The three amigos! Marion & Indiana Jones!
Two peas in a pod!

George & Wendy and Co. (couldn't find the rest of them in the dark!)

Saturday morning, we all awoke a little later than we had planned...we had to get over to RC to make our hypertufas! (Don't worry...I had to look up the word as well!) "Hypertufa is a man made substitute for Tufa rock. Tufa is a spongy cellular rock found in limestone country and especially where water has been involved in the wearing and leaching out of the original materials to effect a porous spongy consistency. In many countries throughout the world this natural stone has for centuries been hollowed out and carved for tubs and planters." (quote taken from here)

We each made a garden container out of a mixture of Portland cement, sand, peat moss and perlite. Camera? Didn't even think of it as we ran out of the house! oops!

That evening, we ran up to Sewanee for dinner with Aunt Jan, Uncle Eddie & Erich. We made our traditional pizzas and ice-cream, and let the pups have a good time...mental note...next time remember to bring an extra tennis ball!And the girls gave cousin Erich quite the workout! They had him running them all over the house..Macy was riding on his back for at least 30 minutes straight until we told her to get off...then he just took the fun outside on a wild chase all over the property with flashlights....what more fun could a girl have?!? Thanks, Erich, for all of the fun!It's so relaxing being up there...well, I'm not sure it is for Erich! The waterfall was huge after all of the rain that we've had this month; it was difficult to hear one another when on their deck overlooking the falls. Before we left, I had to snap these photos...I know it's poor lighting...I just had to get this photo before they all moved!

Unknowingly, Erich's moving in for the "my favorite cousin" title! Sorry, Will!

I just couldn't resist this photo! I could make a collage of all of the different pictures of the girls and Uncle Eddie still looking for Waldo! This is my Uncle Eddie that partook of teaparty after teaparty with me as a little girl! We love you, Uncle Eddie!

Ooh...it is exciting that we've wrapped up our school year! Now, of course, I had planned way more than was reasonable, so we'll still be doing some readings together over the summer, but I find that enjoyable and not feeling like I'm behind the 8-ball! And the girls are participating in some summer-reading-programs, so they'll get to count their free-reading assignments as books that count toward these extra rewarding programs...woohoo! We're also enjoying soccer practice, swimming and will be enjoying tennis and music camps! Woohoo, Summer, bring on the F-U-N!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

To blog or not to blog!

It seems that time has picked up and just will not slow down! It seems that my list of "things to do" doesn't seem to end...which is not a bad thing at all; it just seems that there's little time left to blog!

I still haven't jumped on the whole Facebook wagon, and I can tell you that I haven't even a clue as to what Twittering is! I don't think I'm interested in having one more thing to do! I do still like the 'ole pen and paper, telephone, etc. to keep up with close friends and family, so my question remains...to blog or not to blog.

I like to blog as a way to remember things (since I can't seem to find time to keep up with our family scrapbooks!), but I don't like the pressure of knowing that I haven't posted anything in quite a while...I just don't seem to have the time! And then I feel like I'm behind the 8-ball to update what/when/who/etc.! I'm hoping that this summer I'll have more time to get things done...like repaint the kitchen, learn some new recipes, take a cake decorating class, get out the sewing machine to make some fun things with the girls, read the books awaiting me in my mental queue), oh...and keep up with my blog!

Between traveling (we've done more than the norm this spring!), fundraisers, taking girls to classes/clubs, book clubs, hosting friends/family, etc. life has seemed to have sped up...everyone always said that this would happen as the girls got older...now I know what they meant!

So with open arms, I greet the warmer days of summer arriving! We're ready and waiting for some fun, lazy days at the pool with friends! I've got the beach bag packed and waiting with camera! Still lookin' for that extra time-slot to keep up with the 'ole blog! Maybe once we "wrap up" this school year (this week...yeah!), we'll have more time!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

My non-working spouse!

Oh! What a fun day the girls had at "Take Your Daughter To Work Day"!

Last year, AngelWings came home telling us of all the wonderful things that she had gotten to see and do, so this year Cricket was thrilled that she was old enough to attend the festivities as well!

So the previous evening we laid out our clothes, Daddy prepared Cricket with her hot chocolate and AngelWings with her "coffee" (mostly milk...you haven't tried to wake up this tween!), and they headed out the door!

Lovey and I had a fantabulous time just spending the day together...we went out to breakfast together, did some shopping, got our hair cut (thanks, Maria!), lunch, more shopping...a wonderful day spent as "just you and me time"!

That evening when we were all back together, the girls told me of their wonderful day with their daddy at work. One of their favorite (and most memorable!) activities was the game that they played called "Reality Check." They were each assigned different jobs/incomes/familial situations, and they had to go to different booths...bank, realty, automotive, insurance, clothing stores, daycare, utilities, grocery, entertainment/recreation, additional education, and their favorite..."that's life," which was unexpected events!

AngelWings' "reality check worksheet" showed that she was an Group Underwriter, making $60,700 with a college degree; she was married with two daughters, ages 4 and 6, and one son that was a year old....and a non-working spouse, who was able to take care of her children while she was working.

Cricket's "reality check worksheet" showed that she was a data entry operator, making $18,000 while she was working on her college degree; she was married to a working spouse, and together they had a two-year old son. She quickly came up with the idea of saving her daycare money and having grandparents watch her son.

Ricci said that it was so incredibly interesting to watch how the girls made their decisions as to how they spent/saved their money. AngelWings rented a huge, flashy townhouse while Cricket bought a small, modest home. AngelWings went clothes shopping four times while Cricket bought only necessary, store-brand items...although she did immediately acquire a cell phone and extensive cable tv! They both chose a used vehicle (although Cricket's first choice was a Hummer until she saw what it cost to operate it)! They both also enjoyed going to the "That's Life!" booth where they would draw a card which was some life event: receiving an inheritance, taxes' being due, kids' needing to go to the hospital, receiving bonuses at work, needing to do home repairs, needing dental work, winning the lottery, etc.

AngelWings benefited $100 from a bank error...to which she told the lady at the booth, "I'm going to go back and buy me a new pair of shoes!"

Each of the scenarios had options of with or without insurance, so the girls learned quickly that if they had already purchased health insurance then they only had to pay a co-pay versus the full doctor's bill. Auto-insurance: deductable vs. full cost of replacing a car. This activity provided all of the children with a good sense of the benefits of having insurance and also real world experiences.

Later that evening AngelWings questioned us as to what the word 'spouse' meant...I guess that word hasn't come up as of yet with the girls! And we've spent the rest of the week laughing that she had wondered all day long what it meant that her spouse was broken...as in her non-working spouse!

What a fun day they had....and the fact that Ricci got any work done that day is beyond me! The fact that he set that heavy work-day aside for the girls to enjoy this experience is just one of the many reasons why we love him as husband and daddy! Thank you!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Supper time with Cricket

Supper time with Cricket is a hoot and a half! Every night...she keeps us rolling with laughter at what she either says or does. She always has! She just seems to have the perfect comedic timing and hilarity in how she describes everyday, normal things! This evening was no different!

On nice evenings we've been enjoying eating supper outside, and this evening while eating her supper, she loudly exclaimed, "This corn is freakin' good!"

Uh...I'm not sure where she learned that word...hmmm, but it was really good corn on the cob tonight! (I've been tossing an ear or two or five into my buggy at the grocery store every time I go since they're apparently in season [where? I don't know!], and Ricci's been grilling them for us! Hmmm!!)

Yes, Cricket has always (since she was eensy-teensy) kept us roaring with laughter at the things that she tells us....especially at the supper table.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

"It's better to burn out than to rust out!"

Another great Steve Hartman interview which will sweep you away...I'm sure you'll enjoy!

This video reminds me soooo very much of my great grandmother, Mother Simpson. She died at the age of 101; she still lived alone and was still cooking...although not as frequently as she'd have liked. Those who knew her know that she fed half of the south in her lifetime....either in her restaurant or her home. I clearly remember a specific holiday when she sent my dad and I all over town to deliver meals to those that needed somethin' extra.

This spring marks the second anniversary of her death. Most of the town attended her funeral, for they all knew that something great was missing from here on earth. Yes, the day her spirit left the earth was a sad one, but we rejoice knowing that she is in heaven with her Lord. She served Him by serving others all she was able while she was here on earth! She's still quoted as saying, "It's better to burn out than to rust out!" What a lovely character she was!

We miss you, Mother Simpson!

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Please get the snow out of your sand pail!"

With snow falling, we somehow managed to get the car loaded up for our Easter trip. We didn't leave as early as we had intended...partly, because we Southerners were enjoying the snow...even though we were shouting, "Don't forget the beach chairs!" "Do you have your new swimsuit?" And "Please dump the snow out of that sand pail before you put it in the car!" How exciting!

Ever since the girls were little, I've taken photos of them when we're embarking on a trip...never intentionally; it's just something that's always happened! These I thought were pretty telling...

Lovey with her lovies and her shades on....ready to hit the beach!

Cricket watching a movie on her mp4 player (it's sitting atop her lantern where she's cocooned herself in the back of the car)...I wonder if Gramma and Grampa knew what doors they were opening when they gave her this! Thank you, again! This gal thinks she's in heaven between singing with Judy Rogers and watching Ratatouille!

And AngelWings, sitting there all pretty...pretty excited like me! "Let's get this show on the road! We wanna see our peeps and smell the salt air!"

So with the mail stopped, everything turned off, house locked up, Brody over at Zachary's and Mama Maria's, and Bluey in the capable hands of Connor and Emily, we got on the road! It snowed on us (I guess, I should technically say the word "flurried") at least until half-way to B'ham! We grabbed a quick bite to eat at the Summit (again...can't go through B'ham without at least driving through the Summit!) and continued on our way! First stop...Uncle Charles!

We pulled into the restaurant parking lot at the exact same time he did, and we had a nice supper together and then drove over to his house to see his new, little puppy, Little Girl. Sadly, I look back and see that we didn't get one picture of the girls with Uncle Charles! In the cold weather, I guess we were in a hurry...then once inside, we had Little Girl(s) quite excited about seeing one another! It was a fury of activity! And Uncle Charles just sat there and didn't seem to mind the loud squeals and giggles! We love you, Uncle Charles!

Then after we said our goodbyes and accepted all of the gifts that he had for us (toys for the girls and boiled & raw peanuts...it's the "Peanut Capital of the World," ya know! Thank you, Uncle Charles!), we headed on to Mimi and Pawpaw's. We got in a little after midnight, but Mimi was still waiting up for us and had a fire going in the fireplace....again, this global cooling has got to go!

Oh, it was good to be home! I'm so sentimental, so the smells, sounds, etc. are so special to me! We stayed with Mimi and Pawpaw for a few days...long enough to start a demolish job in her bathroom...we ran out of time to finish it...oops! I guess we'll have to make another trip back! And one night we had Jen and Nate over for a cookout and another night we all went bowling...grandkids love it, and the adults don't mind it so much either...pretty fun stuff with all of the fellas with us this time! Let's just say that P-Daddy had to show us all a thing or two! My score's not even worth mentioning! On the kids' lane, once again...Macy did really well!

After a couple of days, Ricci and the girls and I headed over to stay at the condo, and what fun it was! Driving there wasn't the fun part; I had one of three migraines in my entire life, so I was trying not to "get sick" (I know that's improper English, but you know what I mean!), and the spring break traffic's flood gates were opened! And we had so much stuff in our car that we could barely see out...and I'm not kidding! And of course, there's a mandatory sign when you get close to the beach that one HAS to stop at Wal-Marts (again, deep south) and pick up more than you can carry back to your car.

Um...somehow we all forgot that there wasn't any room in the car in the first place. I still don't know how Ricci packed us all in WITH the added plastic bags from WallyWorld! We had to roll the windows down and hang our legs and arms out with the bags...this time I am kidding. Somehow we made it to the condo, and Ricci and the girls unpacked the car, I went to town doin' my thing: ever since I was a child, I've tossed what I can into the dishwasher (plates, utensils, cups, etc.) and always empty out the ice to start fresh. Whew...it was nice just being at the condo. And then the fury of questions began, "Can we get our suits on? Can we go down to the pool? Can I blow up the beach balls? Where are the towels?" I have to say that I was just as excited as they were, and thankfully my headache subsided after everything settled down and we got something to eat! So we made it down to the beach just in time for the sunset!

A storm was a'brewin', so we couldn't stay out there for too long (and it was still a little chilly!), so when Jen and Nate got there for supper, we ate and then let the kids play in the heated indoor pool. Camera? Urgh...I got everything else but my camera!

The next morning, we woke up bright and early to hit the beach! Man, I married a sweet fella! He doesn't question a thing when he helps take the umbrella, cooler, two beach bags (one for toys and one for towels/sunscreen), oh yeah...chairs, etc. We all love just being on the beach, and it's so much easier now that the girls can carry their own (literally)! We stayed out as long as we could, and then I remembered...Easter shoes! We still hadn't bought the girls' Easter shoes! Man, why do I do this every year?!? I guess I'm waiting for the sales: supply and demand! And one certainly can't wear white shoes before Easter Sunday! It's just not proper!

So we made our way through the crowds at the Sandestin outlets, grabbed what we needed and headed back to the condo, for Meems and P-daddy were coming over for supper! After supper, the girls showed Mimi and Pawpaw their new tricks in the pool before they left, and then Ricci and I got busy getting ready for Easter Sunday (Easter baskets, Easter lunch, Cricket's bday cake, birthday party goodie bags...)

The next morning we woke up and headed off to church; it was great to see everybody, and then we all went back to the condo with Mimi & Pawpaw, Jen & Nate & Co., and Greg & MaryAnn & Co. to have Easter lunch together and to celebrate Cricket's birthday.

Jen brought this amazing appetizer; maybe she'll share the recipe with us; maybe...Jen?!? Lunch was yummy...it was the same menu that we served for Cricket's baptism luncheon (sniff, sniff)...garlic and herb chicken-pasta salad, a really yummy salad with cranberries, sugared pecans, and bleu cheese, and croissants. Some ate in the condo, and some ate out on the balcony! And her birthday cake was just a simple pound cake (Sorry, Carolyn, I used a cake mix...we were on vacation!) made in a fun sand-castle Williams-Sonoma cake mold that I thought I'd never find! [Ricci finally found one online on Friday afternoon, ordered it, and it was shipped to our condo the next morning...AND it was less than I would have paid for it in the store...amazing! Way to go, Ricci!] And I just added some seashells and raw sugar around the base of it! (So I now have the form, if anyone wants to borrow it!) Simple and fun...much like my Cricket, who loved the cake!After lunch, we ate some birthday cake, opened some gifts (Seriously, we weren't expecting gifts! And y'all gave her some really great ones...thank you, again!)

Then we went on a treasure hunt! I hid all of the kids' goodie bags inside a treasure box (I forgot that at home, so a simple Rubbermaid box had to do!), and Ricci and James hid the box somewhere along the beach. Here's the poem that Ricci wrote and had them follow (smart fella; he is!):

Out the door and to the left,
Around the corner and down the steps,
Look across; it stands so high;
Better go under, unless you can fly!

To the left or to the right,
Go the way with the beach in sight!
Go to the end and wait right there!
Read the last clue at the very top stair!

He Is Risen!
We heard it in church!
The treasure is hidden
By a man on a perch!

The weather had once again turned colder, so once the buried treasure was found, those of us that were brave enough (not me!) got into the outdoor pool, and those of us that weren't brave enough stayed in out of the wind and just watched everyone play from a distance and gabbed!

That evening after everyone was gone, Mimi stayed with us to spend our final night on the beach, and we had such a good time enjoying our last night there! It was actually the first time that I had to sit down and just relax, have a glass of wine and unwind! I guess there's no better test of a great vacation than one that makes you go back home to get your relaxation!

The next morning we awoke to terrible weather and waited out the storms that were covering the southeast; maybe I shouldn't admit this on the world-wide-web, but my all-time, recurring nightmare is being with my family...overlooking the water...and seeing a water-spout or tornado coming at us. Aghhh! (Maybe confessing this is good therapy!) We kept the local weather on all morning, and that's all that was being reported...water spouts and tornadoes...right where we were! Again, aghhh! Finally, the weather somewhat subsided, and we HAD to leave to get Ricci back to work, so we got our car and Mimi's car loaded up and got on the road! Boohoo!

Thankfully, we made it "back up north" (to B'ham...as Mother Simpson would have said), and we met K-Ren at our usual Cracker Barrel; it was great to see her, and then we headed on home!

Ahhh...home again, home again, jiggety jig!