Tuesday, September 26, 2006

BIRTHDAYS...a time to look back AND look forward.

Four of my children all have their bday within a 2 month period. For us, that means that late summer and early fall is not only filled with tons of cake, icecream, gifts, and the HAPPY BIRTHDAY song, but also reflections on the past. I usually get a bit teary eyed when I think of how big my little ones are getting. But today, as I was getting a bit maudlin over the fact that my babies wouldn't be babies for too much longer, I decided to turn my thoughts to the future.

My kids, as kids are apt to do, frequently talk about what THEY will do when they are parents and spouses. One vows that she will NEVER cook cheese grits. Another has often said that their children will be able to eat as much candy as they like. I thought it would be fun...and more than a bit insightful....to ask those who have just celebrated a birthday, or are about to celebrate, what THEY want their future to look like.


As my blue-eyed T just turned 3 yesterday, I thought I'd start with him. Here are the results of that interview:

Are you going to be a daddy when you grow up? Probably not.

Are you going to have any kids? A lot of kids so I can spend money and get all the M&M's.

Who are you going to marry? M [his baby sister] and my M&M's.

Where are you going to live? Mississippi and have a volcano...a blue volcano and a yellow volcano.

What kind of house are you going to live in? Playhouse.

(We gave him and his 2 youngest sisters one for their bdays)

What job are you going to do when you grow up? Clean off the table.

Well what kind of job will you do where you have to leave and go work like Daddy does? Cook.

What kind of car will you drive? Blue and red race car with a playground in it.

What kind of pets will you have? All the puppy dogs, all the cats, all the kittens, and all the puppies.


Then I asked the same questions of his older sister LG who will turn 5 in a week. Here is the transcript of that interaction:

Are you going to get married and who are you going to marry? Yes. Mr. Chris [Chris Blackburn...a 40 year old friend who used to go to church with us at Calvary Chapel]

How many kids are you going to have? 10

Where are you going to live? Rankin Hills [a neighborhood about 2 miles from here]

What kind of house are you going to have? Amber's old house [a double-wide trailer]

What are you going to do when you grow up? Have a job or stay at home? Stay at home with my kids.

What kind of car will you drive? Blue SUV like Daddy drove for work and a red car like Daddy drives [an aged maroon LeSabre]

What kind of food will you cook for your kids? Cheese grits, pizza, cookies, pancakes, angel hair pasta, cornbread

What kind of food will you NOT cook for your kids? Chili and Chili Mac

What kinds of things will you make your kids do? 6 hour nap every day and 10 hours and then the next day 11 hours at night.

How many pets will you have? 10 kittens, 10 cats, 2 puppies, 6 dogs.


Our second daughter turned 11 in August. B answered the questions this way:

Who will you marry? The man of my dreams.

How old will you be? 20, 21, 22...something like that.

Will you go to college and have a job? Go to college but no job. Maybe a writer or artist at home.

How many kids? At least 3.

Where will you live? We're going to be rich. [We'll] live in an English cottage, have a house in London, NYC, Hollywood, the Caribbean, Mississippi, and Alaska.

What kind of car will you have? Nice van with doors that open on both sides, 2 DVD/TV sets, CD players, and massaging seats.

What kind of food will you cook? My maid will cook some food but I'll cook as much as I can and it will all be from scratch.

What kind of rules do you want to have for your kids? My kids are going to see LORD OF THE RINGS when they are 9 unless they are big worrywarts and will freak out. I want my family to have a family night one night a week where we read a book out loud or play games outside or spend the night in the kids' rooms. I don't want my husband gone all the time.

What kind of education will your children have? I'm going to homeschool.

How about pets? A dog, some cats.


And last but not least, I interviewed M (who just turned 1 last week). She was completely speechless at the thought of predicting the future and decided to instead just live in the moment and enjoy the satisfaction of chewing on her bib.


Maybe there's a lesson in that for me. Memories and thinking ahead are both good but don't let myself get too wrapped up in either. Instead, live life to the fullest and seek to enjoy where God's got me right now. And right now? I'm off to go do some Mommy stuff and then FULLY enjoy an afternoon nap!


"It is an odd business: the more I live, the more I fail. The more I fail, fall forward, and am caught by the arms of grace, the more I reveal the message of the gospel. The more I pretend to have arrived and offer others advice on how they can do the same, the more I become like the prodigal's older brother, self righteous and angry. The ironic truth that those who proclaim the gospel need it more than those who hear it is not new. It just isn't being said loudly and clearly enough in this day of spin and professionalism and big programs." Dan Allender, Leadingwith a Limp

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Drum rolls please.....sound the trumpets....roll out the red carpet....get the tiara ready. Yet another QUEEN is being crowned by Elysa Mac, Ocean Springs Fire Prevention Queen of 1983. Yes, I once wore a tiara as I rode around in a red convertible during the firefighter parade. But just looking cute and answering a silly question on stage is NOTHING compared to what my friend is doing that earns her a crown.

Nearly 2 years ago, she and her husband's beautiful daughter was born. Because of various circumstances, including the fact that her husband worked at home, the decision was made for my friend to keep her job and her husband would stay at home with the baby. This had many good things going for it, but all along, my friend's heart was at home...as were her thoughts. Being away from her little one day after day was harder than she had ever imagined.

But tomorrow my friend leaves the office and goes home not just for the weekend, but for good! The brilliant mind and work skills that made her such a valued employee will now be used primarily to raise her beautiful little girl into a beautiful woman and support her husband as he pursues a new adventure in his career field. Its not been an easy decision, and in fact, its been downright scary at times, but she's followed her heart and done what she believes God is telling her to do, and tomorrow she'll say goodbye to the rat race and hello to the full-time world of snuggles, storytimes, baby dolls, and playdates.

So let's all give a cyber-cheer for Deidra F. I'm crowning her Queen for the Week, but in reality, because of Deidra's great love and commitment, she'll always be queen in her daughter's eyes.

I'm proud of you, Deidra!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


*Rachael Ray's new tv show!!! For years, she's only been on cable and we do NOT have cable. Now she's got a show that comes on every single morning on CBS. It is SO fun, the food is way yum-o, and she's so down-to-earth adorable!!! http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/
*Cold pasta salad made with a yummy Asian peanut sauce (a RR recipe). YUM-O! http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipe/27794/
*D.E. Stevenson's books (nice, cozy stories). http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Garden/1024/
*HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL. Okay okay, I KNOW its a movie geared toward the generation that's a LOT younger than I am, but its so CUTE and the music is GREAT! It really has the feel of those great old musicals from way back when. Everyone, except Daddy, is eagerly looking forward to the sequel!!!!
*Scads of beaded jewelry
*The book GIRLFRIENDS FOREVER by Susan Branch http://www.amazon.com/Girlfriends-Forever/dp/0316106232/sr=8-1/qid=1158779448/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-8998109-6650352?ie=UTF8&s=books
*Seeing my 2 oldest sons dressed in their new Cubscout uniforms. So handsome! ;)

Folks who say that males and females are basically the same, have obviously NEVER raised both types of children. I think this quote says it all:

"When women are depressed they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking." Elayne Boosler


Monday, September 18, 2006


My good friend and fellow homeschool mom Dawn sent me this quote. Its from Charlotte Mason who was an English educator in the 1800's---

"The wonder that Almighty God can endure so far to leave the very making of an immortal being in the hands of human parents is only matched by the wonder that human parents can accept this divine trust with hardly a thought of its significance!"

It really is humbling to think that the PERFECT parent trusts me, a VERY imperfect parent, to raise 7 of his children. May I never take this responsiblity lightly. May I ALWAYS remember that they are HIS and as it says in Matthew 25:45b, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me".

And as I face this challenge to lovingly and wisely raise my children, I can get so overwhelmed with the magnitude of the job. I must always remember that "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me". It is not through my goodness that I will raise them as I should, but through HIS loving goodness dwelling and flowing through my life.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


The past few months have been full of life, love, and laughter. We've had our share of tears as well, but for the purposes of this blog, we'll stick to the good stuff.

To start with, we'll go back to before summer's official start to the late spring.

B, our 11 year old daughter, and D, our 9 year old son, both played ball for Florence city teams. B scored a homerun her very first game and her team, The Florence Freeze, went on to the league championship tournament and came in 2nd place for their division. D was given the team ball when he made his first run of the season. His team, The Florence Eagles, were the 1st place champs for their division.

Most of the kids attended the Vacation Bible Schools held at the 2 country Baptist churches out here near our farm. They had a lot of fun with the ARCTIC EDGE and SON TREASURE ISLAND themes.

A.C. and B both attended summer camp for the first time. CAMP GARAYWA was where I attended camp as a girl (and cried nearly every single night from homesickness) and later served as a counselor during one of my college summers. Despite the fact that they both went to the same camp, they went during different weeks. They enjoyed sharing similar experiences and being able to compare notes, but also enjoyed getting some time away from each other. A.C. especially enjoyed making a new friend who lives in a town not too far from us (NO long distance phone bills!) and participating in the creative writing class. She did NOT like the scrambled eggs---"they were SO disgusting" and having to take a partner to the bathroom at night. B says that her favorite parts of camp were "having so many girls that were going through things just like me, being with my friends, being near God, and having a BLAST!" She also enjoyed participating in the recreation class which included some ropes course activities, water games, and a silly game called "Girl, Gorilla, and Gun". Neither one of them were thrilled with the EXTREMELY short showers!

Calvary Chapel of Jackson held several "Fun Friday" events that included worship, Bible time, and outings plus games. Some of our best homeschool pals, The Lewis Family, joined in on the events with us and added to the fun of it for my kids ( and I enjoyed spending extra time with mom Mary). The Ag Museum ( http://www.msagmuseum.org/ ) was our favorite outing but they still had a great time at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science( http://www.mdwfp.com/museum ) though we go there a few times a year due to being members.

Our 11 year old daughter began clogging in August at Clear Branch Baptist Church. After an introductory class that lasted 6 weeks, they had a "graduation" and performed songs for the family and friends in attendance. B is continuing to be active with this group and will perform next at a benefit to raise money in the fight against cancer to be held at the MS Braves stadium in Pearl. After that, they will be gearing up for multiple performances at the Mississippi State Fair. http://www.clearbranchcloggers.clogdancing.com/index.html

We enjoyed 3 birthdays over the summer.

On July 22nd, Jim turned 41. We celebrated the event by taking the whole family (except the baby) to see the movie CARS. I have a feeling THIS movie will be making an appearance in the form of a Christmas gift come December.

B turned 11 on August 2. To commemorate the day, her bestfriend Candace spent the night and the day with us and we met several homeschool friends for a free movie (HOODWINKED) and then lunch at a BackYard Burger with a super duper indoor playground. Afterwards she did a little bit of shopping with her birthday money. Shopping is ALWAYS a fun event for Miss B!

Our little baby hobbit turned 1 on August 25, just days before the one year anniversary of Katrina. We spent a lot of time talking about what all had gone on one year ago and how Katrina had affected our life. We also talked about what a blessing baby M is...so content and full of merriment. Her birthday was on a Friday but we actually had a small family-only party on Saturday, the 26th. The faces she made when given her first bite of icecream were a hoot to behold and yes, she made a good mess of the chocolate cake. Her favorite gift out of everything she received was a soft teething ring.

For our last big hurrah of the summer season, we took the kids to New Orleans on Labor Day. We visited the zoo (hence the photo above at the elephant fountain), ate lunch in the French Quarter at the Market Cafe', toured the aquarium ( http://www.auduboninstitute.org/site/PageServer?pagename=homepage ), and had beignets at Cafe DuMonde ( http://www.cafedumonde.com/ ). A visit to N.O. just would NOT be complete for our family without eating some of those super sweet delicacies, blowing powdered sugar on each other, listening to the street musicians while we indulge, and watching the pigeons argue over crumbs right at our feet. We saw plenty of Fema trailers and blue tarp along with some businesses that have failed to reopen, but all in all, it was good to be back in New Orleans and see that at least many areas have recovered and in some cases, come back even better. I know that there are many areas that are still in desperateneed of help, but compared to what the city was like a year ago, its come a long way.

The kids had been bugging us to take them back to N.O. since we took them last summer for Jim's 40th birthday. We really weren't sure what we were going to experience due to the hurricane's damage, but we were pleased to find a city that could still offer a good time!

P, our 7 year old, says this about our day in N.O.: "My favorite part was when we went to the aquarium. My favorite part about the aquarium was when we saw the sharks, the stingrays, and the jellyfish. I like them because they are cool."

D's favorite part was "when I fed the pigeons at Cafe' DuMonde some of my doughnut. It was fun watching them come and eat. And also I liked the aquarium when it looked like I was in a diving outfit."

L, our 4 year old says that her "favorite part of the zoo was getting to see the elephants far away and getting to swim [in the African splash area the zoo has built]."

B "thought it was special to go back to the place we had visited before Katrina and see how they are rebuilding and growing back. I liked the zoo a lot and all the birds in it. The city was very beautiful."

T, our nearly 3 year old, liked riding on the endangered animals merry-go-round. He says that he did NOT ride on the alligator but rode on the monkey. He also says that "I like crocodiles". T. loves bridges so he was happy to see that the aquarium had a bridge that he could walk over and see me down below. Travis says that he also had a dream about New Orleans, that he went "in the water" at the zoo's "Monkey Hill with the waterfall". Travis says that next time he goes back to the zoo he wants to ride the frog and crocodile at the playground.

A, our soon-to-be 13 year old, says "that they made a lot of improvements since the hurricane. It was cool to see the little baby piranhas at the aquarium. They looked like little shimmers in the water and I was the first one in the family to notice what they were. Also, I helped a lot of people at the zoo find the wild African dogs because it was hard to see them all the way in the back."

Summer 2006 is nearly over. Cooler temps are finally here and the leaves are beginning to transform into brilliant splashes of gold, crimson, and orange. We will soon be entering a new season of the year, a new season of life. We look forward to embracing all that God has planned for us in the months to come....especially the cooler temps! ;)

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I love to cook and I love to create while cooking. A year or so ago I came across a recipe in a Southern Living cookbook that was good, but it wasn't a perfect fit for my family's nutritional needs. It included a good bit of refined sugar and other ingredients that we are trying to avoid. So I tweaked it here and there and created a dish that tastes just as good as the original but I can feel better about my family eating.

So many people have requested this recipe that I decided to go ahead and post it here on my blog. The dish is similar to sweet and sour chicken or pork in its taste but without the deep frying and with more nutritional impact. If you decide to give it a try, I hope you enjoy it as much as my kids do, though I will be honest and admit that one of my favorite families in the whole wide world has deemed it to NOT be one of their favorite recipes in the whole wide world. Oh well...I'll keep the recipe AND my friends. Great minds might think alike, but there's no predicting where taste buds are concerned! ;)

Happy Eating!


2 lbs of boneless pork, cubed (you can also substitute chicken which I usually do)


Chili Powder

Garlic Powder

2 tablespoons of olive oil, safflower oil, or other "good fat" appropriate for medium/high heat cooking

1 cup of ALL-FRUIT or JUST FRUIT peach preserves/jam (if you can't find peach, apricot works just fine)

1 16oz jar mild salsa

Hot cooked rice (white, brown, or a combo of the two)

Sprinkle the meat generously with the 3 spices. I'd do about equal amounts of chili and cumin and a little less of the garlic. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat and cook. Stir constantly until browned/cooked on all sides. Stir in preserves and salsa; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Okay, I am SO new to this blogging thing that I don't even KNOW what a "meme" is, but a sweet Five-in-a-Row Mom "tagged" me to answer these questions so I'm trying something new. Hope the homeschooling things that have helped me help someone else!


2) ONE RESOURCE YOU WOULDN'T BE WITHOUT: My local public library system...especially the folks at the Richland Branch.

3) ONE RESOURCE YOU WISH YOU HAD NEVER BOUGHT: I never bought a stinker, just some that we ended up being too busy to use. Oh, there was one reading curriculum that I bought at the beginning of my hsing adventure but it turned out to be WAY too confusing to use. I don't even remember the name of it now.

4) ONE RESOURCE YOU ENJOYED LAST YEAR: SPELLING POWER (though my oldest girls weren't "enjoying" it too much...but then again, they DID win 1st and 2nd place in the hs group spelling bee and they DID enjoy that!

5) ONE RESOURCE YOU WILL BE USING THIS YEAR: Our wonderful support group, THE FLORENCE-RICHLAND HSERS. We've been a part of this hsing fellowship for 7 years now and it just keeps getting better and better. I have learned so much from these ladies (and a few men, too) and their families and the interaction we have enrich our homeschooling experience more than I can ever say. Whether its organized activities such as science fairs and field trips, or just having a group of folks I can turn to for advice, I don't EVEN want to think about how hard it would be to homeschool as a "lone ranger".

6) ONE RESOURCE YOU WOULD LIKE TO BUY: The A&E version of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Hey! That covers literature, history, & social studies, ;)

7) ONE RESOURCE YOU WISH EXISTED: A high quality, general interest (not a science or "schoolish") homeschooling magazine geared towards children and one for teens. Something such as the AMERICAN GIRL magazine. If anyone knows of one, let me know!

8) ONE HOMESCHOOLING CATALOGUE YOU ENJOY: I used to rate ELIJAH PRESS as my fave catalog but they no longer do a paper version. I would say that its tied between CHRISTIAN BOOK DISTRIBUTORS Hsing version and VISION FORUM's catalogs.

9) ONE HOMESCHOOLING WEBSITE YOU USE REGULARLY: Five in a Row Boards (The FIAR curriculum is also excellent!)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

QUEEN of the week!

In an earlier post, I had mentioned the women in my family who have blessed me with who they are and what I can learn from them. I have been reminded lately of how much I treasure my friends and how blessed I am by so many. As a token of my love and appreciation, I'm going to crown one of the women in my life as "QUEEN" each week on my blog. Its just a simple way of letting them know that they are valued and that their beauty if not unnoticed.

For my very first Queen I crown Kelly Leggett of Colorado Springs. Kelly turns the fabulous 40 today. She's an ecclectic mom. She homeschools her 2 high school daughters and has her middle school son at a an excellent charter school. This is a symbol of Kelly's life and the path God has ordained for her. She is someone gifted from God with a great deal of compassion and empathy. And because of the many diverse things that she has experienced in life, she has the special ability of seeing "the other side of the coin". She's been the one hurt and afraid yet also the defender and overcomer. She's been a homeschooler and also a parent who has had her kids in school during different seasons. She's spent part of her life not knowing the Father and the greater part of her life living in His grace and security. She's known what it means to toil for just the basic needs of life and what its like to live in a more comfortable spot. She's lived in many different places so she can understand various cultures yet she values home and stability and makes a home for her family wherever they are. She's ached for friends in lonely seasons but the majority of times, she's been the one true friend that someone is desperately in need of. She understands and fights against her own monster of clutter yet doesn't hesitate to go help a friend slay her piles. She knows the bitterness of tears yet can tell a story that will leave those around her howling with laughter.

Today Kelly turns 40. I hope she receives some really nice gifts. But as nice as those gifts may be, they can NEVER truly reflect the gift that Kelly is to those around her and will continue to be for all the days of her life.

Enjoy wearing your imaginary tiara and know that love you!!!!

Monday, September 11, 2006


Today marks a tragedy in the history of the world, and especially for us as Americans. Five years ago today, thousands of people died because of hatred. Five years ago today, all of us, whether we personally knew someone or not, were reminded in a horrifically real way that evil exists and it lives to bring death. But if that's all that happened on 9/11, then the tragedy is made even worse.

No, the innocent victims who died on that terrible day left behind a legacy that will live on in the lives of their loved ones. In their last moments, so many only had thoughts of the ones they were leaving behind. Due to the modern miracle of cell phones, they were able to call those dear to them and leave messages of love that will bear fruit for years to come. Hatred may win for a day, but love truly DOES conquer all in the end.

I was reminded of this in Peggy Noonan's column in the WALL STREET JOURNAL editorial page. To read I JUST CALLED TO SAY I LOVE YOU, go to http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/

And remember always...

"Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.


I Corinthians 13:6-8a

Remembering and praying for those who are still hurting.


Okay, so most of you are wondering what in the world I'm talking about. But a small minority of you know that one of the reasons my college years were so special was because of the sisters I had in The Troubadour Social Club. When I pledged back in the Spring of 1985, I was the only pledge with just two active members to bring me through the trials of pledging. It was rough at times, and to be honest, I couldn't have done it without my friends who were already members in Silhouettes, another W club. Though it wasn't kosher, they supported me through a challenge that at times seemed impossible to make it through. Early morning roll calls and memorizing lists of names are not in my top ten lists of things I relish.

But through pledging and then being a member for 3 years, I learned and gained so many things. I learned to work hard for something that was worth sacrificing for. I gained skills in organizing events and people that would still benefit me to this day. I learned to work toward a common goal alongside people that were often very different from me and what I was used to. I made some incredibly good (and silly) memories. And I was blessed with lifetime friends. Only having a brother in my family, I gained the sisters I had never had....sisters that I loved then and still love today.

Over 20 years ago, I stood on a stage during Songfest with 2 other Troubadours and sang the club song---

"Like a tiny spark of fire,
Troubadour spirit will linger.
Though at times it may grow dim,
It will always live in our hearts.
So when we part,
Let's keep in our hearts,
The tiny spark of love we've gained---by being a Troubadour."

Who would have ever thought that one day that club would be picking up the biggest pledge class on campus and I'd still be gaining new friends with every group of girls that starts the journey towards "being a Troubadour". Today was bid-day at The W and a new set of pledges will soon be learning songs, painting stuff blue, favoring blue M&M's, and building lifetime friendships.

I love you, my Troubadour sisters, and may the spark of love always shine brightly.


Sunday, September 10, 2006


I was thinking tonight... thinking and wishing.

I was wishing that I had Condoleeza Rice's brains...

Jane Austen's writing abilities...

Cindy Crawford's figure...

...and the list could go on and on.

But then I had a thought ( maybe from God?)...

...if I had Condi's brains, Jane's literary gifting, and Cindy C's figure, I wouldn't be ME.

And if I wasn't me, I wouldn't be married to the honorable, loving, loyal, and hardworking man that chose ME nearly 16 years ago. And if I wasn't me, I wouldn't be the mother to the seven treasures I have...children that I dreamed of all my growing up life....children that are uniquely mine because they have their father and me as their parents.

Yes, there are many I can learn from....and not just famous folk. God has blessed me with so many in my life who have giftings that I can benefit from. And the women in my family alone offer a wealth of inspiration and wisdom---

My mom, cousin B. and sister-in-law D and their skills in organizing and cleaning.

My husband's mom and her ability to raise a son who is hardworking, intelligent, and the most honest person I know.

My husband's step-mother and her way of adding a bit of creative artistry in every corner of her life...something she's passed down to my husband's sister.

My dad's wife and her classy elegance plus her amazing sewing skills.

My Grandma Harvey and her deep, abiding, loyal, and adoring love of my Grandpa Harvey who was more than a little crusty around the edges.

My sister-in-law S's willingness to move far away from all she knew to start a new life with my brother in a land fraught with hurricanes and bugs.

My Mawmaw Dortch, a woman who outlived two husbands, worked hard, and kept her family together as she raised eight children in a very hard time in our nation's history yet she always emitted an attitude of thankfulness. Her home was always open to the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren until she just physically couldn't do it anymore and we had plumb outgrown her small 5 room house.

My Grandma McElhaney's ability to never forget birthdays and her special way of letting her descendants know she's thinking of us.

My husband's Aunt Cathi and how she reaches out to my children and works at keeping family bonds tied despite the miles and the fact that she's never even met most of my children.

The list could go on and on when I think of all the other women I am blessed to have as family. And though at times I get frustrated that I can't do something as well as one of them can and I get caught up in the comparison game, I have to remind myself that I am God's precious child. He has made me uniquely His to fit into His ordained plans. Yes, I should strive to grow and learn and become all that He has created me to be, but I must never forget that what is written in Psalms 139:14-15:

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

HE knit me together. HE designed and created me. He loves me just as I am...messy paper piles, forgetfulness, lack of self-discipline, and all.

I used to think that we as people had to deserve God's love. Oh, I didn't verbalize it, but deep down inside it was there. Then one day, through the Bible teaching ministry of Steve Brown, God showed me an amazing truth. God doesn't love me because I sing well, make good biscuits, and can organize people. BECAUSE God loves me, I can sing well, make good biscuits, and can organize people.

Every good thing comes down from the Father in Heaven, and every single good thing in me is evidence that He loves me. Its a gift. And to each of us he has given us special gifts.

Think how boring it would be at Christmas if as parents, we gave all of our children exactly the very same thing. Yes, it is tempting at times, especially when we see them argue over each other's toys. But still, how boring it would be for us as parents to not get to spend time picking out just the right gifts...the ones we know will bring a special smile to each child's face. And in the long run, our kids wouldn't have as much fun because they wouldn't get the benefit of getting to play with the DIFFERENT gifts that their siblings received.

So tonight instead of wishing to be like others and wishing that I had all the same gifts, I will pray that He will help me learn and benefit from those around me, but never forget that He loves and accepts me just as I am. For when I look at others and see some beauty and goodness, I'm seeing the Father's hand...because He also loves them and has "fearfully and wonderfully" created them, too.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

"I will make you my promised bride forever. I will be good and fair; I will show you my love and mercy. Hosea 2:19"

For all it's peculiarities and unevenness, the Bible has a simple story. God made man. Man rejected God. God won't give up until he wins him back.

God will whisper. He will shout. He will touch and tug. He will take away our burdens; he'll even take away our blessings. If there are a thousand steps between us and him, he will take all but one. But he will leave the final one for us. The choice is ours.

Please understand. His goal is not to make you happy. His goal is to make you his. His goal is not to get you what you want, it is to get you what you need.

From Max Lucado's A GENTLE THUNDER

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


  • When in doubt, mumble. When in trouble, delegate!
  • If you have trouble getting your children's attention, just sit down and look comfortable.
  • God grant me the senility to accept the things I cannot change, The frustration to try to change things I cannot affect, and the wisdom to tell the difference.
  • Children are natural mimics who act like their parents despite every effort to teach them good manners.
  • Bungee jumping and skydiving are for wimps. If you want to experience true gut-wrenching terror, have children.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


•Faith gives us night vision goggles.

•If your wife doesn’t treat you as she should, be grateful. [And I'd say the same applies to husbands! ;) ]

  • It is better religion to be kind at home than to pray in church.

•Only criticize as much as the person can correct.

•When we stop learning, we stop living.

For more of Fred Smith's down-to-earth wisdom, check out http://www.breakfastwithfred.com/core.php?content=home

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Books to RAVE about:


  • THEY CAME TO BAGHDAD---Agatha Christie
  • THE TALE OF HILL TOP FARM---Susan Wittig Albert
  • Robert Whitlow's legal thrillers/mystery novel
  • WHEN DID WE LOSE HARRIET?---Patricia Sprinkle
  • MAISIE DOBBS---Jacqueline Winspear
Books set in "The South"

  • HER OWN PLACE and CLOVER---Dori Sanders
  • A SONG I KNEW BY HEART---Bret Lott
  • A TABLE BY THE WINDOW---Lawana Blackwell
  • CHRISTY---Catherine Marshall
  • WHEN DID WE LOSE HARRIET?---Patricia Sprinkle
  • Jamie Langston Turner's novels


  • ALL of the books in the ANNE OF GREEN GABLES series---L.M. Montgomery
  • LITTLE WOMEN and its sequels---Louisa May Alcott
  • AN OLD FASHIONED GIRL---Louisa May Alcott
  • THE LITTLE HOUSE collection---Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • JANE EYRE---Charlotte Bronte
  • CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN---Frank B. Gilbreth


  • Miss Read's English village books (VILLAGE SCHOOL, FRESH FROM THE COUNTRY, etc.)
  • Jane Austen's novels
  • JANE EYRE---Charlotte Bronte
  • WIVES AND DAUGHTERS---Elizabeth Gaskell

Historical Fiction

  • DOWN THE COMMON---Ann Baer
  • THE LITTLE HOUSE books (though they are based on Laura's life, they are fictionalized in parts so aren't considered true autobiographies)
  • PETER LOON---Van Reid

Old Fashioned Love Stories

  • GREEN DOLPHIN COUNTRY (some editions are entitled GREEN DOLPHIN STREET)---Elizabeth Goudge
  • CIVIL CONTRACT---Georgette Heyer
  • YOUNG AND FAIR---Rosamund DuJardin
  • JANE EYRE---Charlotte Bronte
  • THE BLUE CASTLE---L.M. Montgomery


  • WHAT A GIRL WANTS and its sequels---Kristen Billerbeck
  • BAD HEIRESS DAY---Allie Pleiter
  • SAHM I AM---Meredith Efken
  • SISTERCHICK series---Robin Jones Gunn

Clean, Contemporary Fiction

  • THE OUTSIDE WORLD---Tova Mirvis
  • THE LIVING END---Lisa Samson
  • LEVI'S WILL---W. Dale Cramer
  • FLABBERGASTED---Ray Blackston
  • A PERFECT DAY---Richard Paul Evans

Suspense and Thriller

  • MONSTER---Frank Peretti
  • SHADOWMANCER---G.P. Taylor
  • THE LAZARUS TRAP---T. Davis Bunn
  • WORMWOOD---G. P. Taylor
  • IMPOSTER---T. Davis Bunn

Anecdotes and Memoirs


I have MANY more to list but the kiddos are calling. Ta for now and HAPPY READING!