Monday, March 29, 2010


I'm writing this internet missive from my friend, Robin, er, I mean, Rhonda's cabin by the lake. She's such a good friend. She not only still loves me even though I call her by the same moniker on a frequent basis, but she also lets me hog her pc and washing machine on an equally frequent basis...and that's saying a lot.

As I type, she is demonstrating her neat0-keen, pants-slapping-after-she-irons-them technique. Oh, the things you learn about someone when you have to hang out at their house for LONG periods of time.

At which, Wyatt her husband says "have to?".

Okay, yes, GET TO!

It is a truly righteous privilege to spend copious amounts of time with such an esteemed family.

ANYWAY, as I wait for my family's unmentionables to be cleansed, I'm trying to get caught up on email, facebook, my Five in a Row boards, etc. etc. For a gal who was used to accessing the internet a few times every single day, I truly don't feel like I ever catch up anymore.

Oh well, I'll survive.

I guess.

No really. I'm adjusting okay. It is weird at times because I was so used to using the internet for so many tasks from looking up a store location to sending out announcements to our homeschool group, but I'm rediscovering how to use a phone and even learning how to text and can actually type more than just two words a minute now.

Oh great....Rhonda just reminded me that April Fool's Day is this Thursday. I used to like that day. I thought it was fun. That was until my SEVEN kids discovered April Fool's Day and now it is just a long litany of pranks ranging from the simple, "LOOK!" at which point a sibling turns around to see what they are pointing to only to be told "APRIL FOOL'S DAY!!!!" to the more complex and even at times painful such as dumping a load of pine cones from the 2nd floor balcony on top of an unsuspecting sibling's head or doing very annoying things with other people's underwear.

Of course, I only have myself to blame. My husband doesn't have one ounce of pranksterism in his entire being. So yep, I can lay all the blame for their shenanigans squarely at my slightly singed door.

And on that, I bid you adieu and if I don't communicate with you again between now and then, hope you have a not too obnoxious first day of April.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Tomorrow will hopefully be the last day that we will be sorting, cleaning, and trashing our house contents as we recover from our house fire of nearly five weeks ago. If you have been wanting to help us, or if you know of someone who mentioned helping out, now is the time!

We should start working around 9:30 and work til we're done....maybe til around 4:00?

If you want to help, call me on my cellphone!

Thanks so much,

P.S. If you're not local and can't help us hands-on, would you please pray that enough folks can come and help us get finished tomorrow? As soon as we finish with this task, then our contractor can start getting our house ready for us to live in. He is hoping it will only take four months which means we could move in before our September Swaziland trip which would be fabulous!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


It has been over a week since I could blog. We had hoped to get a laptop that we could access the internet via cellphone in our RV but alas, we live too far out in the sticks to receive affordable coverage. Sigh.....

So, I'm now set to hook up to the internet via my cellphone but since I have the simplest, most inexpensive phone that AT&T carries, I'm very limited. Yes, I'm not really thrilled with not having consistent internect access for the next four months but what's a girl to do? Just make the most of it and be grateful for pcs at the library and friends' houses. Hopefully, as soon as we get the house contents cleaned up from the fire, I'll have more freedom to get away from the farm as needed. Til then, my internet time and blogging will be greatly impaired.

Speaking of cleaning up from the fire, we hope to finish with the "salvage or toss" process this Saturday so our contractor can start getting the house livable again next week.

Soooo-oo-oo-o-o---0...if you have been absolutely DYING for a chance to get good and dirty, call me! This Saturday is your last chance to participate in BIG TIME FUN! Really.

The main thing we will be doing is cleaning scads and scads of books and washing things that just need a good bath such as some pots and knick-knacks.

Other news, Hunky Hubby is now driving around in a fine, silver, pickup truck. We took it for a test ride yesterday while I indulged in boiled peanuts and plenty of good music on the rawkin' (and countrying'in') stereo system. It was Mississippi living at it's finest! We needed the truck to replace the white van some friends had given us last year as an amazing love blessing. The van served us during a time when we really needed it but it dying a slow death and even our faithful mechanic of 17 years can't fix the thing.

Also related to Hunky Hubby, the Mexico Missions team had a great experience in Juarez last week and made it safely home. Later on, I'll give more details from him and our three kids that took some Jesus lovin' south of the border.

Gotta run for now. My thirty minute allotment of library pc time is almost up.

Thanks again for all your prayers!

Friday, March 19, 2010


Just some random things related to our post-fire life:

*Now, not only do I have a Go-Potty and Pod in my yard, I now have a dumpster! Woo-Hoo!!!

*We almost---ALMOST---have one whole room cleaned out in our house. Only 9 or so more to go! Woo-Hoo!!!

*My mom is visiting for several days. It is ONLY because of her that I have managed to get ANYTHING done! This woman is incredible.

*We've are very appreciative of the scrumpdishious meals folks have brought us. SO very nice after a hard day of sorting nasty, smokey stuff.

*We took a break from the post-fire work and headed down to Hattiesburg yesterday. We took the three little kids and one of their friends to the zoo, stopped by my sister-in-law's house for a quick visit, and enjoyed a fab lunch at La Fiesta Brava....all while sporting our St. Patrick's Day themed clothes.

*Silent E is a Ninja.

*It was very sad finding one of my childhood dolls all covered with soot. I didn't have the heart to throw her out. I wiped her as clean as I could but I'm afraid her hair tint will forever be Ash Blonde.

*I'm still only online every once in a while, usually at either the library or my pal Rhonda's lakeside cabin. We hope to be wired in the RV sometime next week...or the week after...or.....

*We still continue to be blown away by God's amazing care and provision. His goodness is sustaining us and gets me through the sad times.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I shared in my last blog post that a team from our church, including four of my family members, was in El Paso, TX, and due to cross over the border at Juarez to go build a house for a family as part of a mission trip. We've been aware from the very start of the trip planning that violence was a very real and sad issue in Juarez. But when three Americans were targeted and killed earlier this week, the continuance of the journey was in question. The team and family members back home immediately began seeking God and asked for prayer coverage.

I wanted to give you an update.

First, thanks so much for your prayers. God moved BIG TIME!

ALL OF THE TEAM MEMBERS...including the parents back home who had sent pre-teen/teenager kids with other adults...felt very clearly that God was telling them to go. This is a HUGE big deal for our church as it is the very first missions trip for our church and for most of the team members and nearly half of the team is comprised of minors. But all of our leaders along with the team were unified and have been experiencing such joy and excitement.

They arrived at the "compound" yesterday afternoon on the outskirts of the city and worked hard today on the house they are building. Tonight they are meeting with a local Mexican pastor. Tomorrow they will finish the house and then do a food/children outreach to the neighborhood around the house. Tomorrow night they will attend church with the family whose house they are building. Then it is a very, very early rising for them to cross back over and either catch the train or plane back home.

Please keep on praying. I can't wait to see what God is going to do with this!!!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


My husband and 3 of our children arrived in El Paso, TX today with a team from our church. They are suppoed to be crossing the border into Juarez tomorrow to build a house on the outskirts of the city. The area that they will be in is supposed to NOT be a part of where the horrible violence is going on but it is still potentially dangerous. My husband is leading the team and called today asking for me to ask all my praying friends out there to lift the situation to the Lord. 3 Americans were killed yesterday who were connected to the U.S. consulate.

My husband, the church leaders, and the others involved need to hear from God BIG TIME on whether to proceed into Mexico or not. If it was just my husband, he'd press on and just trust the Lord with come what may. But he's leading the team and others have to be considered, including several teens/pre-teens.

I believe firmly that God wants His LIGHT to go into the DARK places. I know that God can and does protect His children. But I also know that there are times when bad things DO happen to good people...even those on missions trips.

Basically, they need a lot of direction and peace from God.

Please pray that God will make His will ABUNDANTLY clear to them and that the team will be unified in that decision.

This is our church's very first missions trip and the very first missions trip for most of the team so it is especially a difficult decision.

Thanks in advance,

Monday, March 15, 2010


My house catches on fire and I live in a hotel for 2.5 weeks??? No problem.

Leave me in an RV alone with 3 little kids for 3 hours??? BIG PROBLEM!!!

Yes, I was reminded this morning how challenging it is to parent young'ns when you don't have your teenagers or big boys around to help.

Pray for me! I know this sounds silly, but this is the biggest challenge I've faced in this whole adventure.

Lord, help me. I'm such a wimp. My four oldest are gone for a few days and I'm definitely already feeling it.

Friday, March 12, 2010


You're invited to dig thru the smokey rubble with us tomorrow at Graceland as we sort and salvage. This will be the first of many amazing opportunities to party hard amidst the piles but tomorrow will be focused in on rescuing books, hundreds of them library books.

Call me if you want to join in the wild fun!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


We are now in our RV working at making it home. My internet access will be SEVERELY limited for the next few weeks so if you need me, CALL!

We'll soon start sorting thru stuff and salvaging so if anyone wants to help, let me know.

Off to go buy the last things we need for our "cozy" new home.

Thanks for y'all's love and keep praying! Last night's thunderstorm brought out the scaredy cat in me.

Monday, March 08, 2010


...but yes, my family of 9 will be moving into an RV tomorrow and starting a brand new adventure in close-knit, coziness.
Our insurance company called today and gave us the funds to rent an RV and get back on our farm to start the intense work of salvage and clean up as well as overseeing the rebuilding/remodeling of our home. We are so thankful to God for this provision.
I know it is going to be a challenge in many ways, after all, we are the normal American family and not used to living in such tight quarters. Plus, organization and minimalistic living have never been my natural gifts. But we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, and that includes living in an RV for 6 months and still loving each other at the end. Hopefully, we'll even love each other and the Lord even more than we do now.
For a while though, I might not get to blog as regularly. I'm just not sure how long it will be til we have our computer up and going in our new compact abode. So til things are back to normal, please keep us in your prayers, call me if you need me urgently and know me in real life, and think of us with a smile whenever you pass a porta-potty.
Yep, we at Graceland now are the proud renters of a Go-Potty. So with our RV potty and our high tech outhouse, we will have the blessings of two places to powder our noses.
Does life get any better than this?

Sunday, March 07, 2010


...this is the kind of fasting God desires:

To all appearances they're a nation of right-living people—
law-abiding, God-honoring.
They ask me, 'What's the right thing to do?'
and love having me on their side.
But they also complain,
'Why do we fast and you don't look our way?
Why do we humble ourselves and you don't even notice?'

3-5"Well, here's why:
"The bottom line on your 'fast days' is profit.
You drive your employees much too hard.
You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight.
You fast, but you swing a mean fist.
The kind of fasting you do
won't get your prayers off the ground.
Do you think this is the kind of fast day I'm after:
a day to show off humility?
To put on a pious long face
and parade around solemnly in black?
Do you call that fasting,
a fast day that I, God, would like?

6-9"This is the kind of fast day I'm after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
cancel debts.
What I'm interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You'll call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am.'

A Full Life in the Emptiest of Places
9-12"If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people's sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
firm muscles, strong bones.
You'll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You'll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again.

Isaiah 58:2-12

Saturday, March 06, 2010


For my birthday, my oldest girls took me to see the new ALICE IN WONDERLAND movie by Tim Burton. I expected the creepy, the fantastic, the sly humor, and the awesome, visual impact. I did not expect the tears.


This movie was, surprisingly to me, about friendship and love and sacrifice and doing the impossible for a cause that must be fought.

And as I think about this and type those words just above, I get a better grasp on why this movie touched my heart.

Alice at one point says "this is impossible" and the Mat Hatter tells her "only if you believe it is". I don't want to say too much and give spoilers here, but near the very end, Alice is faced with an impossible task. It is not one that she is capable of. She's not trained for it. It doesn't fit her personality. She is actually a very poor match for the task put before her. But it is her calling. And it is a calling bigger than she would have ever wanted for herself, in fact, she ran from it.

But the success of accomplishing that task taught her a very important that would stay with her long, long afterwards.

Too often, we limit ourselves and we limit what God can do in our lives. God is so much bigger than what we can imagine. And His dreams and purposes for us seem impossible for us mere, everyday mortals.

And they are.

God's plans are impossible....apart from God and apart from us saying "yes" and being willing to believe in the impossible.

I want to believe in the impossible. I want to live out the God adventures that seem crazy and beyond all practicality.

I want to let Him work in me to fulfill whatever HE has decided my calling is.

Near the beginning of the movie, Alice asks her father if she has gone mad. He tells her that she has. That she is bonkers....but then, all the best people are.

I want to be around the bend, bonkers-crazy, for God's purpose and His beloved people. No matter the cost, no matter the sacrifice. I want to be mad for my precious Lord.

Friday, March 05, 2010

What is it about quizzes, memes, and questionnaires that draw me like a moth to a flame? Maybe it is being an extrovert? Maybe it hearkens back to my student journalism days and interviews? Or maybe they are just brain candy when I'm wanting some Internet interaction but not up to doing much deep thinking? Or maybe a mix of all. But for whatever reason, when I saw this weekly meme over at fellow MUW alum Lydia's blog, I just had to snag it. Now that I think about it, the cute little image that goes with it probably had a lot to do with it.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Staying up most of the night on the Internet when hubby isn't home. Sometimes I stay on so long that my arms are aching, my eyes are cottony, my tummy is woozy, and my bum is complaining.
What is your favorite TV series?
Not a favorite series per say but I'm a sucker for the FOOD NETWORK and the TRAVEL CHANNEL because, well, I love food and travel! And living in the hotel for two weeks right now due to the house fire has given me ample opportunity to get my fix.
Can you speak any foreign languages?
Pig Latin. Okay, I guess it doesn't count as a real language. I have a smattering of a few languages such as siSwati, Arabic, French, and Spanish but no mastery of any of them. Maybe one day, Lord willing, I'll have lived long enough in Africa to speak a second language fluently.
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Not nearly as many as I used to and that number is quickly shrinking. Pre-fire, I probably was down to 12 pairs as opposed to probably twice that number a couple of years ago. Now in my possession are two pairs of shoes. One is the pair that I wear almost every single day--black,leather, super-comfy, Dansko clogs. The other is a brand new pair of stack flip-flops that my 8 year old daughter LG gave me for my birthday. I've yet to wear them due to the wintry temperatures but I gotta tell you that these silver glitter and black babies are tres' cute!
What's your favorite kind of M&M's?
Blue, dark chocolate ones all the way! They make my taste buds stand up and sing!
By the way, if you'd like to participate in FIVE QUESTION FRIDAY, check out this website:
And here's the link to Lydia's blog:
She's got some cute and easy craftsy things going on.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


After living with our big family of 9 at the local Country Inn & Suites for nearly 2 weeks now, I've decided that you know you live in a hotel when...

...your every day china is Styrofoam and your good china is the cute, paper line from Target.

...parental supervision on the computer means you literally are required to be with your children when they get on the lobby pcs because of hotel policy. have to do your hair and makeup plus put on appropriate foundation garments and street clothing before going to the breakfast room.

...your driveway is a parking lot with a shuttle bus frequently picking up and dropping off airline attendants and pilots., someone who normally serves mostly all natural and/or organic foods, find out after reading labels that Fruit Loops in the complimentary breakfast offering are actually healthier than the yogurt.

...doing your laundry provides aerobic exercise as you go up and down the flights of stairs between loads.

...accents from all over the nation and even the world are heard on a daily basis. wake up your children by calling them on the phone.

...70+ cable TV channels don't seem like that much anymore.

...a heated pool, hot tub, and fitness center are just an elevator ride away. of the main things you say every day is "don't run down the halls"

...another thing you often say is "remember, there are other people in the rooms around us".

...clean, bright, white, folded towels appear wondrously in the bathroom everyday. go out to run errands and come back to find your bed made and the carpet no longer sprinkled with microwave popcorn.

...if something gets broken, you don't tell your husband but the front desk instead.

...home cooked meals delivered to your room by friends are better than Domino's.

...your door key stops working because you put it in the same pocket as your cellphone.

...the thing you love most is when folks let your kids go over to their child-friendly, loud-laughs-welcomed, no-neighbors-just-on-the-other-side-of-the-wall, yards-to-run-in, toys-aplenty, outside-voices-allowed homes!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Today is my 44th birthday and God, my family, and friends have spoiled me rotten! Here's a quick rundown of my over-flowing-with-blessings day:
*Yesterday's cold dampness was replaced with good-morning sunshine and birthday kisses
*Five younger kids at a church friend's house for playtime so the teenage girls and I could have a day away
*Delicious buffet lunch at The Thai House with A, B, and the Hunky Hubby
*Shopping with the big girls and bought for myself the book FAITH LIKE POTATOES
*Greetings via phone calls
*Scores of thoughtful birthday greetings and prayers at Facebook and the Five in a Row Forum
*Supper at Cracker Barrel with the whole family thanks to a gift card from another church pal
*HUGE, butter cream, birthday cupcakes
*LOTS of gifts...a fun pop-up book, three pairs of cute socks, Burt's Bees lip balm, sparkly silver and black flip-flops, Hello Kitty water bottle, LITTLE WOMEN DVD (because the girls find Christian Bale to be so dreamy in it), money from relatives, and a drop-proof digital camera to replace the one killed by a name-withheld-to-protect-the-not-so-innocent member of our family.
Thanks to all of you who were a part in making this such a fabulous birthday! I was truly, truly blessed. God is so good to me and y'all are a part of that goodness.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


...or will your children change the world? That is the premise to Julie Ferwerda's ONE MILLION ARROWS. In it, Julie discusses the importance of not just raising "good" kids, but kids who will be instrumental in shaping the world around them for Christ.

As Ferwerda says, discover what's possible for your children by:

*Recognizing that time is short and they are here to help save lives.

*Helping them discover their unique God-given mission in life.

*Shaping them as arrows in the hands of Jesus Christ, ready for the mission.

*Creating a sense of adventure for the whole family.

*Engaging in the lives of others, especially children around the world.

*Watching them live out God's dreams for them.

To read more about the book ONE MILLION ARROWS and read stories of families who are living out the call to change the world, visit .

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; —Psalm 127:3-5

Monday, March 01, 2010


Lauren Edens is a 20-Something from my neck of the woods. But this young woman won't be around these parts much anymore, she's flying today to Tanzania, Africa, where she will be running a home for girls and women escaping human trafficking and the sex trade. Watch this great video about her ministry and then join me in praying for her as an amazing, adventures chapter in life unfolds.

I am so excited for her. And yes, I admit it, just a wee bit jealous. Okay, more than a wee bit.....