Monday, June 29, 2009

Weeee're back...

...& we had SO much fun. In a nutshell:- Vermont. 16 people. Fun Fellowship! TFDs (Tin Foil Dinners) & MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat - courtesy of our Marine :) Hiking. Kayaking (Lake & River). Swimming. BIG bubbles. Fireside guitar lesson. Doughboys, Poorboys & s'mores. Scrabble. Cards. Nice weather almost to the end.

Hmm - is this how you do it?!

Panama Jack - Handsome huh!
Strike is still sleepy this morning....
Sissy is too!

TFDs (Tin Foil Dinners) - Steak & Potatoes. YUM!

The view from our sites... at night it lit up w/ lightning bugs :)

Me -n- Strike on our hike...

What would I do w/o him?!

God is awesome!

We made it ... to the top!

Solar Shampoo....
Oooohhhh - that feels SO good!
Pick a color...


Strike n friends on the river...

Playmaker looks good in blue :) ...
and in a tablecloth too!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How did we ever survive?

I cut & pasted this from an e-mail forward. Rarely do that but this one took me back to simpler times that I miss for many reasons - for one: I miss the lack of fear (phobia) & OCD that now has such a tight grip on people - but for many other reasons that's the subject of a future post :)

I'll think I'll call it: How Did We Ever Survive? or actually I like this one better: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger.

Black and White (Under age 40? You won't understand.)You could hardly see for all the snow,Spread the rabbit ears as far as they go.Pull a chair up to the TV set,'Good Night, David.Good Night, Chet.'

My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread Mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn't seem to get food poisoning.

My Mom used to defrost hamburger on the counter and I used to eat it raw sometimes, too. Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper in a brown paper bag, not in ice pack coolers, but I can't remember getting e-coli.

Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring), no beach closures then.

The term cell phone would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school PA system.

We all took gym, not PE...and risked permanent injury with a pair of high top Ked's (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors. I can't recall any injuries but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now.

Flunking gym was not an option... Even for stupid kids! I guess PE must be much harder than gym.

Speaking of school, we all said prayers and sang the national anthem, and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention.

We must have had horribly damaged psyches. What an archaic health system we had then. Remember school nurses? Ours wore a hat and everything.

I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself.

I just can't recall how bored we were without computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital TV cable stations.

Oh yeah... And where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting? I could have been killed!

We played 'king of the hill' on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites, and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48-cent bottle of mercurochrome (kids liked it better because it didn't sting like iodine did) and then we got our butt spanked. Now it's a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $49 bottle of antibiotics, and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat.

We didn't act up at the neighbor's house either, because if we did we got our butt spanked there and then we got our butt spanked again when we got home.

I recall Donny Reynolds from next door coming over and doing his tricks on the front stoop, just before he fell off. Little did his Mom know that she could have owned our house.Instead, she picked him up and swatted him for being such a goof. It was a neighborhood run amuck.

To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family. How could we possibly have known that? We needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes. We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn't even notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac!

How did we ever survive?


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I think this is beautiful

I think this is just
BEAUTIFUL & want to use this color scheme (red, black, off-white, & white) for my new bedroom redo ...not sure if I'll buy from this particular collection or try to create a similar look myself by mixing & matching things I find here & there.

click HERE. I also think this is very pretty. Click HERE

Do you like one or the other better?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What's the first thing that comes to your mind?

Camping FUN in 2001.
Marc - remember this??
We STILL have Moo Cow Baby :)
- in fact he's in Strike's bed as I type :)

Edit: Playmaker just saw this... must've been way past her bedtime when this pic was taken... as she recognized that face as the one she still makes when she's tooooo tired :)

We are going camping soon - but haven't been camping in a long time - & so ... I'm making a list of Things NOT To Forget When We Go Camping. - won't publish it here but ph you can help by sharing the first thing that comes to your mind?! :)

This is my plan....

My previous "Think Summer" list/post could have also been called "Simple Pleasures" or "Cheap Thrills". We are in $ saving mode but truth be told, I'm not even wishing we could do more or go on an expensive vacation. That list is packed w/ things I really want to do (ph I should have called it "My Really Want To Do List" :).

Following is my:

"Really Want to Get Done but Don't Really Want To Do List"


The Master Bath
The Girls'/Guest Bath
Our Bedroom

It may be short but there's a lot's of work to be done nonetheless!

Yesterday in my Dove chocolate wrapper (wish I saved it!) I found words of wisdom to this effect (...mb I should go eat some more to see if I can find the exact quote :)

Add some life to your life...Stop planning & start doing!

so - that's my plan :)

- but I have one more list to make first & ph you can help me ....(stay tuned for my next post next post :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Think Sunshine!

It's official - Summer vacation has begun! hooray! ... but judging by the weather, you wouldn't know it... we've had SO much rain! I love the rain - but I'm kinda hopin' if I "think sunshine" it will brighten my mood a bit! Here goes ....

Read (Little Women, The Mother Daughter Book Club, Mistaken Identity) *
Drive In Movies *
Camping* Kayaking * Bike Ride & Hike new trails * Homemade Ice Cream & Snow Cones * The Beach * Picnic * Backyard BBQ * Fireworks * Wiffle ball &/or kickball * Frisbee! * Water Balloon Fight * Fly Kites * Swimming at local State Parks.

Hey - whatdyaknow(!) ... it worked :)

We Survived!

We survived!! ... almost NO TV for one month (w/o complaining!). Really - they should make a reality show on that premise! The line blurred & did get crossed on-line at times & we decided not to apply the challenge to when the kids were out & about at friends' houses, etc.'s kinda hard to say "We're not watching TV so you can't either!"

I think "No complaining about No TV" was probably more challenging than the "No TV" but I'm glad we included it!!

I'd do it again in a hearbeat....but I think my husband is mulling over another challenge (one I probably wouldn't enjoy as much!) ...has to do w/
not buying anything we don't really need for one whole month. Yikes.... I may try to negotiate/manipulate(?!) to include cable TV -- as we don't get any reception to speak of w/o it :)

P.S. Strike decided not to apply her "prize $" to her IPOD touch fund but got a cell phone instead (likely subject of a future post) ... so she's STILL earning/saving :)

When you care enough to send the very best....

...snip it out of the Sunday funnies!

Yesterday doubled as our anniversary & Father's Day. Imagine my surprise when I found my anniversary card tucked inside my favorite sale bill in the Sunday paper. In return, I cut out the following comic from the paper & placed it under my husband's coffee cup. It was perfect! "Cathy" said so well what I couldn't have said better myself....basically, I hope somehow I manage to teach my kiddos to be more like their dad - but he's SO unlike me....that it could get complicated! :)

Can't read it? Just double click on it.

Thank you for asking! have and to hold from this day forward,
for better or for worse, ... until death do us part.

My Dearest Friend,

Thank you so very much for asking me to marry you. 23 yrs has flown by SO fast & I'm a lifetime could possibly be long enough?

Love Always, j

(note: this is not our wedding - don't even know this beautiful couple - it's the song I was after.)

by Sara Groves

Speak in a summer tone
Pause in the after glow
Tenderly whisper my name
Tell me once again why I am your bride
So I can fly
So I can fly

Pause in your busy day
Look extra long my way
Wink at me across the room
Kiss me longer
Touch my arm when I am by your side
So I can fly
So I can fly

Oh how the little things
Strengthen my tiny wings
Help me to take on the world
When you love me there's nothing I wouldn't try
I might even fly
I might even fly
I might even fly

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Is it time for dinner yet?!

Not a great pic bc my daughter took it w/ her phone...but doesn't Mak's head look HUGE & oddly out of proportion in this pic? :) Just weird ... but it explains why it's not a good idea to leave food out & unattended in our house.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Do you know what this is?

Do you know what this is?

: It's a vanilla orchid!

Question: Did you know that the vanilla orchid blooms for only one day a year & must be pollinated (often by hand) on that day.

Question: Do you know what this is?

Answer: It's the ingredients for homemade vanilla extract (below). Basically cheap alcohol & vanilla beans!

Cost ??: Aprx $3 per jar

My husband I made homemade vanilla for the first time tonight. SO simple! Fun too. I was inspired over here & ordered my Tahitian vanilla beans on e-bay here. I slit & placed three beans in each jar & filled them w/ heated vodka (the cheap stuff!) & a splash of rum. Now we just have to store them in a dark place & shake them every few days - & wait patiently for several weeks before using (that will be the hardest part!)

View a quick(!) tutorial here then try it! I think you'll like it :)

Then (23yrs ago!)

My husband asked last night if I'd heard this song. I couldn't place it. My dd played it on the computer. hubby & I danced in the kitchen. I cried. Indeed it was very familiar ... but this was the first time I really listened to it.

It's timely - bc 23 yrs ago Sunday, I married my dearest friend - & I tho't I loved him then ... but I couldn't even imagine then how much I'd love him now.

I can just see you - w/ a baby on the way
I can just see you when - w/ your hair is turnin' grey
What I can't see - is how I'm gonna ever gonna love you more
But I've said that before

Now you're my whole life
Now you're my whole world
I just can't believe the way I feel about you girl

& I thought I loved you then...

Sharing ...a part of me

About 16yrs ago God gave us a baby & within about 2 hrs, He took him to heaven - tho' He gave us very strong indications (via ultra sound) early on that that was what He was gonna do. My husband & I spent the next several months hoping & praying for a miracle but bracing ourselves for the worst. When God took our baby, He took part of me to be w/ Him, & a friend gave me this song: (embedding has been disabled - so you'll hafta click HERE). It's become a part of me that at times I share w/ others - & this morning I shared it w/ another someone who is part of me too - & for whatever reason (don't always know why I do what I do...) I'm sharing it here & hoping the encouragement it contains makes it's way into the hearts of those who need it most.

Note: It's an oldie but a goodie...the video's a bit dated ...but I love the dress w/ the brown overcoat that she's wearing!

Excerpts from God is in Control - by Twila Paris:

This is no time for fear
This is a time for faith and determination
Don't lose the vision here
Carried away by the motion (my note: emotion?)
Hold on to all that you hide in your heart
There is one thing that has always been true
It holds the world together
God is in control!


History marches on
There is a bottom line drawn across the ages
Culture can make its plan
Oh, but the line never changes
No matter how the deception may fly
There is one thing that has always been true
It will be true forever
God is in control!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tho't for the day

He will always be a slave who does not know how to live upon a little.

Horace - Roman lyric poet & satirist (65 BC - 8 BC)


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mother Daughter Book Group

Strike & I are starting up a Mother Daughter Book Group & hopin' this ends up bein' a fun way to read some classics - & to make some new friends over the summer :)

We're beginning w/ the following two books & a trip to (tour of!) Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House: Home of Little Women for our first meeting. Maybe we'll follow it up by watching the movie Little Women too.


Four sixth-graders sign up for a book club, in which they'll read Little Women with their moms. In alternating chapters, each of the four girls describes a meeting. There is aspiring poet Emma, whose librarian mother started the group; Jess, Emma's best friend, who lives on an organic farm; hockey-playing Cassidy, daughter of a former supermodel; and popular Megan. Despite their initial resistance to the club, the girls experience joys and sorrows and develop a closer bond, just like the characters that they grow to love. ..... A book discussion guide is included.

In the second book of the series ( Much Ado About Anne ) the book club reads
Anne of Green Gables together - & we just might do the same :).

big dilemma in our little bathroom - solved :)

Finally ... a practical but pretty way to store towels! You'd never know (unless I told you) that it's a winerack incognito! I'm so pleased w/ it that I may get another - for our master bath - which is also very small.

dyanamic duo

Found them at a yard sale....$2 for the pair :)

I'm speechless! - let her 4 fingers do the talking

Ok - if she can do this, surely I can - at the very least - stop complaining about things I can do nothing about.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

She had a ball - in the rain.

Life isn't about waiting for the storms to pass
- it's about learning how to PLAY BALL(!) in the rain :)

Photo courtesy of "Doc" - Thanks, Doc!

Unfortunately they didn't win the championship game - but Strike had a ball playing in the rain!! --- Thanks to her devoted fan club - aka the drowned rats (myself included!) - who stuck it out to the end despite the rain!

Some idle (idol?) thoughts....

- Idleness is the parent of psychology. -

Nietche said it well & I agree - but I'd go so far as to say that I think idleness has become an American idol -
& that society's obsession w/ doing as little as possible is the cause of much mental illness - bc it defeats our purpose (!) by contradicting...

why we were created - for relationship! w/ God & others

- &

what we were designed (programmed!) to do -good works

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:26

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy,
to offer your bodies as living sacrfices, holy and pleasing to God
- this is your spiritual act of worship.
Romans 12:1

...whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
I Corinthians 10:31b

Summer Reading

Our book group is reading this next.

When five Taylor University students and staff were killed in a tragic accident, one survivor---hospitalized and in a coma---was identified as Laura Van Ryn. Another young woman, Whitney Cerak, was buried. The discovery that the girls had been mistaken for each other changed their families forever. An amazing story of healing---and the bonds of faith! 288 pages, softcover from Howard.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Creation AND Restoration provide Inspiration

recently that a beautiful garden/bridge was the "big draw" to an "arsty" town - & that the garden & a scenic riverbed (God's artwork) were the two places people tended to be the most impressed with & to linger the longest.

A river watering the garden flowed from Eden;
Genesis 2:10a

- and that much, if not all, the manmade artwork in the town was inspired by The Creator's earliest Works. Everything that was handmade was made w/ some combination (manipulation) of "stuff" that had already been made at the beginning of time (fibers, metals, sand, dyes, etc.) - & fashioned into some representation of something God created in the beginning (nature!).

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made;
without him nothing was made that has been made.
John 1:1-3

Wondered - What it was that set apart the really impressive hand made works of art in this town & made them so "valuable" (expensive!).

Concluded - it must be either, or some combination of, the extraordinary amount of time &/or money sacrificed in their creation, the materials they contained, the purpose for which they were created, &/or their exquisite beauty.

Pondered - Genesis 1:26 in church yesterday:

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, ...

Tried to comprehend how passionate God was to redeem & restore only that which was made in His image (most valuable to Him?!) after sin corrupted creation's perfection. So much so, that He fashioned part of Himself, to some degree, into our image!

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
John 1:14a

Was amazed(!) that He set Himself (Jesus!) apart to become the perfect sacrifice that was now required:

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29

Understood that now,

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

Realized that requires sacrifice too...but nonetheless,

...I was inspired!

...whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
I Corinthians 10:31b

Note: Scriptures from NIV via

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Kitchen Dance

Honey & I were doin' the "kitchen dance" again this mornin' - -- you know...

... that shuffle thing ya do -
as you bump into each other
while one is trying to do one thing
& the other is doin' another :)

anyhow - it brought to mind a song I love but haven't heard in too long:


He who is not contented with what he has,
would not be contented with what he would like to have.
- Socrates -

Friday, June 12, 2009

Are you up for a challenge?

"I urge you to consider and actually live as though
each person you come into contact with is Christ.

Crazy Love
by Francis Chan
w/ Danae Yankoski

Sad - but "this" is what I need right now

It's sad that a book designed to help you pray more (& more effectively!) - in just 10 minutes a day (ugh) - is exactly what I need right now...

I've said before that if I spent as much time praying as I do thinking about how much more I should be praying, my prayer life would be much more time consuming! All I know is my prayer life needs to be much more than it is.

I'm revisiting this book that's been sitting idol for too long - by placing it front & center on my desk w/ the intent of getting my prayer life on track over the summer. It was written w/ me - (a busy mom!) in mind - as a structured 20 day (5 days a wk) prayer "cycle" that covers six daily categories (Praise, Self, Husband, Children, Personal Influences, Reaching Beyond) w/ a specific focus for each category each day. It encouarges prayer journaling & it includes applicable scriptures - which I love bc I'm convinced there is power in speaking the Word of God as you pray.

I wish prayer wasn't something that so easily gets pushed aside in my busy schedule - in much the same way this book at times gets pushed aside in my office. I'm really looking forward to spending more time in prayer bc I know the time it consumes will be well spent & precious. And - hopefully as I try to pray more faithfully "this (structured) way", it will become more natural to spend more time in prayer & my prayer life will be more of what it should be w/o me having to try so hard!

James 5:16b (NIV) ...The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I'm reading...

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations

about a teenage rebellion (rebelution!) against low expectations. Written by teens for teens. So far, SO good!

crazy love

The love for equals - is a human thing.

The love for the less fortunate - is a beautiful thing.

The love for those who suffer, are poor, are sick, the failures, the unlovely. - This is compassion.

The love for the more fortunate, those who succeed where we fail, the poor for the rich - is a rare thing.

Then there's the love for the enemy who mocks, threatens & inflicts pain. The tortured's love the for the torturer - This is God's love. It conquers the world.

My summary of Frederick Buechner's quote
from The Magnificent Defeat
found in Crazy Love

cuppa "Joe" - or Al - or Matt

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

wandering in the woods

Strike took all of these pics today.
This one w/ the deer she actually
took right in our neighborhood from our car
as we were heading out for our hike.

Did I miss my calling?

When I study alongside Strike, sometimes I wish I became a

scientist bc I'm sure it would help me & others understand the Creator better.

or a teacher or a politician - bc we study HIS story which includes all that's missing from most history text books & from it I can pretty much tell where the future is headed & I can tell people haven't learned much of anything from what's taught in many schools.

or a mathematician bc once I figured out that math seems to be part of a "code" that when "cracked" points to God, suddenly I wanted to understand so much more right now(!) - but I still have so much to learn.

or an author or public speaker bc communicating well (Language Arts) is critical when you have something important to share (& I do!)

or an artist bc creatively expressing who God is would be awesome & I'd love to be able to do it well!

or a nurse! - I've always wanted to be one - how useful that could be in sharing God's love & compassion w/ those who are most needy!

Hmm. Did I miss my calling? Or has God been continually calling me from every direction as if to say "Just DO SOMETHING!" - so I answered by becoming a homeschooling mom - so as not to limit my options & to enjoy the freedom to dabble in all of them but not for the love of money - & to attempt to help my children discover their calling (passion!) & do the same?! All I know for sure here is that I passionately love what I'm doing.

...whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
I Corinthians 10:31b

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bored Games

Can't read it? Just click on it. Hopefully then you'll get the bigger picture.

What else should we expect from a society that's obsessed w/ doing nothing? This was in our Sunday funnies - but mb it would have made a better editorial cartoon? ... I did chuckle tho' bc from a parent's perspective it is kinda ironic how fast a kid can be cured of boredom once you find something for them to do :)

His Majesty

I mentioned our Sunday drive to a flower covered bridge - but didn't mention that it was such an incredibly beautiful display of God's awe-inspiring splendor (see previous post) that it literally felt like an extension of our Sunday worship.

From a distance, the bridge/garden is pretty no doubt - but unless one walks in it they'll miss much of the treasure "hidden there for all to see". Even then, only those who take the time & make the effort to look
really close will see His splendor revealed at an even more remarkable level. Those who go yet another step further & study what they find (botany) at the microscopic level are likely to be even more awe inspired(!) as the closer they look, the more they learn & undersand about His Majesty!
"They say that I can find You in a flower
But I need You in the car"

From: The Emptiest Day - by Caedmon's Call

Come near to God and he will come near to you.
James 4:8

Note: These pics are courtesy of a friend I'll call "Doc" - who visited the same place recently. - Thanks for sharing, Doc! :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Flower Covered Bridge

Sunday after church we went for a drive & visited a flower covered bridge. SO beautiful! Strike (12) snapped pics almost continually & following are a few of my favorite shots.

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Matthew 6:28 - 30