Saturday, September 6, 2008

A New Journey

I've written this post about a thousand times in my head. I keep thinking that there has to be a better way, but the truth is that I just need to step away from blogging for a while. There are other priorities that I need to focus on, and the extra time just isn't there. I will leave the blog up, and hopefully get back to it someday soon!

Friday, August 22, 2008

We'll just call her Elphaba from now on

This is the exact reason why Kate doesn't go to bed earlier than the other two kiddos:

I love that she actually looked ashamed for a moment in that picture. And, since I'm sure you're wondering, NO, it didn't come off in the bath. She's still plenty green today.

I'm not sure where exactly she found the paint, since it is a standing rule in our house that art supplies are not allowed up in the bedrooms. For those of you that followed my HSB blog, you will remember why:

Can I count that as "art" on our homeschool log?

Monday, August 18, 2008

At the Well: Sweet Talk

I'm taking a break from my Olympics-induced, coffee-slash-sleep-deprivation-euphoria to join in with the gals At the Well today. (Have I ever mentioned I start using big words when I'm tired? Yep, I actually sound smarter when I'm exhausted. Not quite sure that I like what that says about me.)

As soon as I saw the topic for today, I knew exactly what I wanted to talk about. When it comes to sweet-talking your spouse, I don't know any better than my Aunt Ruth. Ruth is a mama to six, a grandmother to four, and a lady who longs to know the heart of Jesus like no one I've ever met. I could go on and on about how she inspires me to worship, how welcome she makes me feel in her home, how transparent she is about her weaknesses...but one thing that is truly evident to me is how much she loves her man. Uncle Aaron has always been one of my heroes anyway, but she makes it clear that he's also her hero.

You see, one of the things that Ruth has taught me is that it's not only important to sweet-talk to your man. It's also important to sweet-talk about your man. Let other people know what you appreciate about him. If he's within earshot, even better! If someone else says something good about him when he's not there, make sure to tell him!

I think one of the reasons this works so well is that it takes away the pressure to reciprocate. If your husband's anything like mine, you try to sweet-talk him and you get one of two things: a grunt as he changes the channel, or one of those awkward compliments like, "Well...uh...gee, your hair smells terrific." That's just not the way he's wired. But talk about him, and he can just sit and enjoy!

How do you sweet-talk your man? Cindy Beall is hosting At the Well this week...head over to her place and let us know!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

20 Fun Links For You!

We're in full "back-to-school" mode here, which of course means trying to figure out why the printer isn't working and wondering where on earth that teacher's manual has gotten to. Here are a few of the links that we're utilizing in our home this week.


I'm not usually a big fan of ebooks. I like to have something printed in my hand. But here are a few neat site for those of you without library access. (Or in need of something to help you sleep!)

Planet eBook- Free downloads of classic literature. Extremely readable print.

Read Print- Online classic literature and author biographies.

Full Books- Lots of harder-to-find online books.

Bibliomania- Online classic texts, study guides, interviews, poetry, short stories...

Diploma Guide's Archives- List of sites for free, unabridged online books. Links at the bottom for audio books!

And if you're having trouble deciding what to read:

100 Best Novels- Two Lists from The Modern Library, one from their board and one by readers.

Some more word fun:

Dr. Grammar's Frequently Asked Questions- Quick answers to those grammar questions that you usually don't think to ask, but your kids always will.

Etymologic- Touted as "the toughest etymology game on the Web." For word-geeks like me, pure bliss.

Chores & Housekeeping

Chore "Time Cards"- This download from Happy to be at Home is different than anything I've seen when it comes to chores.

Cooking & Recipes

World Hearth Recipe Collection- Recipes organized by country. This would be great for unit studies!

Chocolate Cake in 5 minutes in your microwave- I haven't tried this yet, but I'm just one "He's looking at me" fight away.

History & Geography

Outline Maps of Ancient Greece and Egypt- free downloadable pdf

Just Maps- Maps from anywhere in the world. Flags by country.

Art & Music

Musicovery- I can't even begin to describe how neat this site is. Basically, you pick your mood, what genres you'd like to listen to, which decades of music, and how far outside your circle of favorites you'd like to go. What you end up with is kind of a road map of music. Depending on which song you listen to, it will lead to other choices you might like. Unlike other online radio programs, it shows several choices at a time so you end up seeing music you wouldn't have thought to add in. Like Dr. John's Iko Iko. (What on earth is this song about, anyway???)

Sand Dancer- This guy's art is amazing! Think...crop circles in the sand.

This one doesn't have a title, but it's an amazing piece of art. See how many historical figures you can pick out. I was amazed at how many my kids knew! Click to zoom.

Their Circular Life- See and hear a full "day in the life" from a fixed point. Great to teach your kids observation. (Which means, great to sit your preschooler in front of while you're trying to cook and tell them "watch this and let mommy know if something moves.") ArtPad- Make yourself a masterpiece. My kiddos love this one!

Amazing Stairs- Exactly what it sounds like. I especially like the bookshelf stairs.

Write Like an Egyptian- Your name in Hieroglyphs. Boy, I'm glad we don't do this today. I'm not much of an artist. People would have been mispronouncing my name all over the place.

Happy Surfing!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How you know the grammar lessons are, sticking

Overheard at our house today:

"Hey, poop is a noun!"

(And of course, the only good "homeschool mom" answer:

Why, yes it is! And how do we turn it into a verb?)

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook- 8/4/08

For more daybook entries, click on the graphic to visit ~The Simple Woman~

Outside My Window... it is going to be a hot August day! I need to get outside in a few minutes and water my plants while it's still relatively cool.

I am thinking... of what a wonderful quiet time I had this morning. I'm following along with Prairie Chick on her Scripture schedule this week. This morning's reading was Genesis 39. The story of Joseph has always been one of my very favorites, but I gleaned a lot out of it this morning that I hadn't seen before.

I am thankful for... having the freedom to teach my children at home, especially as the public schools begin another year here today.

From the kitchen... a "use up the leftovers" day!

I am wearing... my pajamas. My clothes didn't get fully dried in the drier last night and I'm still waiting on them.

I am creating... lesson plans, chore charts, and checklists for the kids' schoolwork.

I am going... to the library today with the kids to find some books on explorers.

I am reading... The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

I am hoping... that even though I didn't get much sleep last night, I can stay on track today.

I am hearing... the air conditioner running...already!

Around the house... The girls are playing quietly in the living room, and Ben is still asleep upstairs.

One of my favorite things... is cuddling with my kids in the morning. Kate woke up early today and we snuggled together and watched a Blue's Clues video.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
~ Moving back toward our school routine.
~ Possible company for Friday night dinner.
~ Printing off a few pictures, and inviting a friend over this weekend so that we can work on our scrapbooks together.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...(add your picture here)

That's "Dr. Lily," working her magic. Poor Kate was hornet stung last night while we were walking, and Lily was trying to cheer her up. Evidently it worked well, because Kate seems to be doing fine today!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Guess where I'm going...

I'm so excited!!! I won a free ticket to Heart of the Matter's Homeschool Virtual Conference, which starts this Thursday. Although this will be our 6th year homeschooling, I have never been to a conference, either in person or online. I'm looking forward to some fresh ideas!

I won't be posting this week as I'm getting some housework done, both literally and figuratively, but I'll be back after the conference with some ideas to share and maybe a surprise or two...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's the leaving them there that's hard

Have Faith in God

It's my grandfather's favorite hymn, and the third verse is especially meaningful to me tonight.

"Have faith in God in your pain and your sorrow,
His heart is touched with your grief and despair;
Cast all your cares and your burdens upon Him,
And leave them there, oh, leave them there."

I've been working on a post about worrying for over a week now. I read about it, researched it, defined it, but all the pieces never came together quite right. But was different. Let me explain.

My grandfather got a haircut today. I know that seems to have absolutely nothing to do with worry, but wait.

As far back as I can remember, Papaw has never had a full head of hair. Mamaw tells me that as a child, I used to climb up and draw hairs on his head with an ink pen. Why he let me, I don't know. I suppose that's just part of the wonderful mystery of grandparents.

I spent part of every school break with them in the mountains. One summer my Papaw, a carpenter, took me to work with him every morning. Sometimes I would hand him nails; sometimes I would find a corner and just sit and read for hours. By the time we left for lunch, Papaw's glasses were always covered in sawdust, his sparse hair plastered with wood shavings. It's hard for me to imagine him any other way.

But today, reality hit. Shortly after our visit with him in June, Papaw was diagnosed with cancer. There had been a sense that something just wasn't quite right for a while, and we had steeled ourselves for the possibility that the tests would not come back in the way that we hoped. The prognosis wasn't good, but the doctors have moved quickly, setting him up for chemotherapy in which he has had a miraculous lack of side effects.

Except for his hair. I called to check on him tonight, and my Mamaw answered the phone and chatted with me while she shaved his head. I could hear the buzz of the electric razor in the background while we talked of the kids and her garden, but as soon as I hung up the phone I felt numb. I just couldn't bear to think of Papaw without those darn shavings stuck in his hair.

After I tucked the kids in tonight, I came back upstairs to find those verses on worry. But a funny thing happened. I couldn't find the verses I had looked at earlier. I thought I had pasted them with my notes, but they weren't there. Knowing that I wanted to quote chapter and verse, I did another search for verses on worry.

And the first entry brought fresh tears to my eyes:

"And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows." ~Luke 12:6-7

As hard as it is for me to imagine, my Papaw is even more precious to God as he is to me. When I see him sick and in pain, I am reminded that the One who created and sustains him sees it also. My mind keeps coming back to a simple sentence written by a professor friend of ours to me after hearing about Papaw: We must trust in the mercy of the Lord.

"Have faith in God in your pain and your sorrow,
His heart is touched with your grief and despair;
Cast all your cares and your burdens upon Him,
And leave them there, oh, leave them there."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A joke from Uncle Billy...

"Well, sir, this preacher didn't want to tell 'is wife he was speakin' to the Rotary on th' evils of adultery. She was mighty prim, don't you know, so he told her he was goin' to talk about boating.

"Well, sir, a little later, 'is wife ran into a Rotarian who said her husband had given a mighty fine speech.

"'That's amazin',' she said, 'since he's only done it twice. Th' first time he th'owed up and th' second time 'is hat blowed off.'"

The Simple Woman's Daybook (7/22/08)

Click the graphic for more daybook entries at ~The Simple Woman~

I missed this yesterday due to some unexpected company, so I thought I'd do it today!

FOR TODAY:Tuesday, July 22, 2008...

Outside my window... it's sunny, and a little chilly for summer. It's not quite 70 degrees outside yet.

I am thinking... that today is going to be a rough day for the kids. Their best friends just left for their new home in North Carolina a few minutes ago, and they are all very sad.

I am thankful... that my kids come to me when they're upset. I don't like to see them hurt, but I'm so glad that they trust me enough to tell me how they feel and allow me to comfort them.

From the kitchen... a yummy hashbrown casserole for breakfast this morning! We've had the ingredients put back for a while, and I was glad to have something to whip up fairly quickly this morning for Jenny & the kids before they left.

I am wearing... my pajamas, still! Actually we're all in our pajamas. We were up way past bedtime and rose before daylight, so I have a feeling we're going to be in our pajamas until noon. Some days you just need to, you know?

I am creating... plans for our homeschool this upcoming year.

I am going... to take Ben to the library tomorrow and let him get his own card. Lily got hers on Saturday.

I am reading... the books on my sidebar, plus the book of Genesis while listening to J. Vernon McGee's commentary on it from Blue Letter Bible.

I am hoping... to get some work done in the yard today. My tomato plants need tending and we need to clean off the front porch.

I am hearing... Unknown by Lifehouse

Around the house... we're starting to get a good pile of things to get rid of. I'm going to have to make a Goodwill drop-off this week!

One of my favorite things... listening to Kate make up words to the songs she things she knows. (Last week the Christmas version of Matt Redman..."Ho ho ho, You never let go...)

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: continue decluttering (will I ever be finished?) Other than that, not a lot. Just enjoying being at home, I guess.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

One of the views from our yard.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturday (07/19/08)

This is one of my favorite Andrew Peterson songs. (Okay, okay, so I have a lot of favorite Andrew Peterson songs.)

Something to think about while you’re listening: we’re never just standing still. The absence of chasing one thing is not stillness, it’s chasing something else. What are you chasing?

Andrew Peterson- The Chasing Song:

Now and then these feet just take to wandering
Now and then I prop them up at home
Sometimes I think about the consequences
Sometimes I don't

Well, I realize that falling down ain't graceful
But I thank the Lord that falling's full of grace
Sometimes I take my eyes off Jesus
And you know that's all it takes

Well I wish that I could say that at the close of every day
I was happy with the way that I'm behaving

'Cause Job, he chased and answer
The wise men chased the Child
Jacob chased her 14 years and he
Captured Rachel's smile
Moses chased the Promised Land
Joseph chased a dream
David, he chased God's own heart
All I ever seem to chase is me

Well, they say a race can only have one winner
And you know you've got to pull out front to win
God knows the only time I'm winning
Is when I'm chasing Him

Well I wish that I could say that at the close of every day
I was happy with the way that I'm behaving

'Cause Samson chased a woman
and he chased the Philistines
I'm not quite sure what Jonah chased
But I know he caught the sea
Cain, he chased the harvest
While Abel chased the beasts
David, he chased God's own heart
All I ever seem to chase is me
And Jesus chased the moneymen
And he chased his Father's will
He chased my sin to Calvary
And he caught it on that hill
Saul, he chased the Christians
Till his blindness made him see
David, he chased God's own heart
All I ever seem to chase is me

Thursday, July 17, 2008

July 4th: The very picture(s) of procrastination!

Some pictures of the 4th of July parade and our friends!

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook (7-14-08)

Click the graphic for other daybook entries at ~The Simple Woman~

Outside My is another beautiful, summer day. We've had quite a bit of rain this weekend, and it's good to see the sunshine again!

I am thinking... about the things I need to accomplish today. I need to pull out my notebook and make a list.

I am thankful for... watermelon. Need I say more?

From the kitchen... lots of free & fresh produce from the garden of one of our deacons and his wife. Potatoes, onions, and squash! Yum!

I am wearing... a sleeveless green blouse, a black linen skirt, and my black Skechers.

I am creating... hmm...nothing that I can think of. My energy is going into decluttering at the moment.

I am going... nowhere today! Tomorrow the kids and I will make a run to the bank and the library.

I am reading... the book of Genesis and a book about family photography.

I am hoping... that I can push ahead the due date on my student loan payment for the month. How's that for transparency?

I am hearing... not much, actually. Faint sounds of the girls downstairs.

Around the house... Ben is in his room playing with legos. We had ordered a free DVD from Fisher Price not too long ago, and it came yesterday. He watched it this morning and immediately started with the "I-want-it's." We had a fun chat about marketing, and how I just knew that he could create a similar toy from what he already had. Now he's creating a dinosaur with an imaginary GPS system and control panel.

The girls are playing dress up downstairs with some Christmas dresses that they found while we were cleaning out the attic this weekend.

One of my favorite things... good music. I love turning some on during the cooler days, leaving the windows open, and being able to hear it while I'm in the yard.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
~ More decluttering! I want to get rid of as much stuff as I can!
~ Getting some flowers into the boxes that are growing out of their pots.
~ Staying off the computer as much...ouch, huh?
~ Continuing with my 5K training. I will get there eventually!
~ Guests for Friday night dinner! A couple my husband knows will be joining us.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
I found this on and got such a kick out of it that I had to share it! I hope it gives you a little chuckle as you go about your day.

An E-Book Review: Relaxed Homeschooling

I remember well our first day of homeschooling.

I had spent literally months researching. I had written down our plans in a notebook. I had risen early to prepare myself.

And then I broke my foot.

With a coffee cup.

Don't ask.

After spending the day in the emergency room, I was even more determined to get started on the right foot. (Pun completely intended.) I stepped up our lesson plans, insisting that Ben & Lily sit at attention at the kitchen table and raise their hands before speaking. Within a month, I would almost cry watching the school bus go by in the mornings. There was no other word for it folks, we were miserable.

Sure, I had heard of this concept of "relaxed homeschooling." At the time, I was an active member of the Elijah Company's message board, where there were scores of relaxed homeschoolers. But I just knew our family could do it differently. After all... my children were brilliant!

Oh, how I wish that I would have had this ebook before I had started.

The author, Kelly Crawford, does an amazing job of outlining what you truly need to know to enjoy homeschooling in a relaxed way, whether you're just starting out, switching over from a different method, or simply need a refresher course in why any of it matters.

This is just brass tacks, the whys and hows that you need for everything from the planning stages to preparing for college or the workforce.
There isn't a lot of extraneous philosophy in here, which is easy to find elsewhere.

I appreciate most the emphasis on a Christ-centered home, and why that is essential to homeschooling success. And it isn't preachy in the least. On the contrary, it's wonderfully warm and encouraging.

As the start of the school year gets closer and closer, this would be a great guide to have in your hands!

ADDED NOTE: This ebook was scheduled to be on half-price sale until this morning, and last I checked it still is. HURRY!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday's Feast (7/11/08)

Appetizer: When was the last time you had your hair cut/trimmed?

Let's see, I had it butchered cut at Not-So-Fantastic Sam's the first week of April, right before Lily's birthday party. I don't get it trimmed at all during the summer, usually. Why bother when I'll probably be wearing it up every day, right?

Soup: Name one thing you miss about being a child.

This one is easy...camping! I have so many memories of camping that I could literally write all day if I had the chance. There's just something about being out in nature, with few distractions, that calms my soul just thinking about it.

Salad: Pick one: butter, margarine, olive oil.

Hmm...well, if we're going for what I use the most, that would be olive oil. But who doesn't love butter?

Main Course: If you could learn another language, which one would you pick, and why?

Spanish would probably be the most useful, but I would love to learn Greek. The kids and I adore Greek food and have been mentally planning a trip there someday.

Dessert: Finish this sentence: In 5 years I expect to be…

I can't say that I really expect anything. I don't want to come across as not caring, I certainly have goals and dreams. It's just that I've learned the hard way that our goals and dreams aren't necessarily what God has for us, and that we need to remain flexible.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

9 on the 9th! (7/9/08)

I found this fun little meme over at All That Naz today!

You can list any nine things that you like, and I picked the 9 fiction books on my shelves that I want to read before the summer's over. I am a bargain book shopper, and I pick up lots of books for a quarter or fifty cents here and there. If only I could get around to reading them! Here are the top 9 that I'd like to tackle next:

1. The complete Chronicles of Narnia. We've had this collection since picking it up for next to nothing last year, but I have yet to read through it completely. (Although we have listened to The Magician's Nephew and Prince Caspian on audiobook.) I really enjoy the puns and general word fun that I find in Lewis' fiction.

2. Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts- This author's Where the Heart Is remains one of my favorite books of all-time. I loved it so much that I picked this book up off the clearance rack at Barnes and Noble without even knowing what it was about. I still have no idea, but I'm determined to find out.

3. Family Linens by Lee Smith- I'd read her Fair and Tender Ladies in a contemporary American lit class in college, and I've loaned it out to everyone that would take it. Something about the personal style of writing in letter form, plus the familiar setting of the Appalachians...(I am a Tennessee girl at heart, y'all)...well, that book just tore at my heart. I picked up this book by Smith for a quarter at a library sale, and it has decorated my bookshelf very nicely ever since.

4. Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy- This is a total guilt read. My AP English teacher in high school assigned me a paper on this book. I read part of the book, then got the Cliffs Notes and wrote the paper. (Hey, now, don't tell me you've never done it!) It has always bothered me, though, and this book still sits on my shelf unfinished. It's time to end the guilt!

5. Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally- Okay, truth be told, I just want to read this so that I can watch the movie. I have this thing about not watching the movie until after I've read the book. It's just not the same.

6. Night by Edie Wiesel- I think just about everyone in the world was assigned this book at some point in time except me. My husband has even read this, and anything that he finishes has got to be really good. And historical.

7. Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth- I have heard so much about this book, and it's been on my list for a long, long time. I found it at Goodwill (oh, excuse me, the G.W. Boutique) a couple of months ago for a big whopping quarter. I might start with this one because Ben wants me to hurry up and pass it on to him.

8. Heavenly Date and other Flirtations by Alexander Mccall Smith- This was another one that I picked up just because I loved the author so much. And if you haven't read any of his No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, you are missing out!

9. Eragon by Christopher Paolini- Okay, so I know it's not very "girly," but I loved this movie. Loved it. And I heard the book's better. And, well...I borrowed it about 6 months ago and haven't given it back yet. It's time to stop procrastinating.

What books are on your shelves that you'd like to finish this summer? And while you're thinking, hop on over to All That Naz and read about her top 9 favorite love songs!
A snippet from the dentist's office Monday morning:

Lily: "Mommy, did Kate have to have a filling too?"

Me: "Yes, Lily, Kate had to have fillings when she chipped her teeth."

Lily: "Ohhhh....(giggles)....did she have to wear the pink nose like I do?"

Me: "Yes, as a matter of fact, I think she wore the same one you're wearing."

Lily: "Hahaha. We're related."

This is followed by complete silence by Lily, in which I am desperately trying to control my own laughter. A few seconds later...

Lily: "Mommy, please do not put that on your blog."

Me: (still snorting) "Well, we'll talk about that later."

(This post brought to you courtesy of nitrous oxide.)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

During our recent road trip I had the opportunity to rediscover some old CDs that I hadn't listened to in a while. I was listening to Watermark's self-titled CD, which I have always adored, when a song hit me in a way it never has before:

(For some reason I'm having to push play twice on this song before it will play while I'm previewing it. I'm not sure that will be the case once I've posted it, but I wanted to give you the heads-up so that you don't miss it.)

Walk Your Road - Watermark

Verse 1:

Dusty feet, tired from walking

But You have beautiful feet

You walked those roads, and You gave hope to me

Calloused hands, tired from working

But You have beautiful hands

And the wounds therein have given life to me


And I want to know Your beauty

To hold it here in my heart

Oh Lord, of only I could make my road look like Your road

If I could love the way You love

If Your word in my heart was the only thing I used to fill me up

I want to place my feet where the wounded walk

Where you learn to love no matter what the cost I want to go

I want to know how to walk Your road

Verse 2:

A broken heart for the wounded

And Yours is the most beautiful

Looking past our faults, dying to meet our need

Weeping eyes for the sinner

There's nothing more beautiful

And Lord, I want the passion of those tears

Repeat Chorus

What if His word in our hearts was the only thing we used to fill us up?

What if, when we found ourselves empty, we ran to Him every time?

Last week, with five kids playing outside in hot summer temperatures, I made a lot of lemonade. If one of the kids came in for lemonade and the pitcher was empty, they would bring it to me and ask me to refill it. Then they would stay next to me and wait until the pitcher was once again full, and they could get a drink and get back to the important work of getting their feet dirty.

When our own "pitchers" are empty, where do we go for a refill? Do we pick up the phone to search for a listening ear to commiserate? Do we pick up the remote for a little down time? Or do we sit at the feet of the One that can refill the pitcher, so that we can get back out and get our feet dirty?

You see in the long run, it's not the pitcher that matters.

The kids didn't care that our pitcher was plastic. Or that we bought it at Big Lots. Or that it had cracked, and Jonathan had glued the outside of the crack so that it wouldn't leak. (Although they thought that was pretty cool!) They just knew that it held what they needed.

I know that when people look at me, they know that I'm not perfect. They're going to see my cracks. But my prayer is that they're going to look at me and see what I'm filled with, and that I'll be able to point them to the One that will give them the strength to also walk His road.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Did you know that there are meanings attributed to each of the 13 folds of the American flag? According to Truth or Fiction, neither these meanings or even the ceremonial folding practice are included in the Federal Flag Code. However, both have become widely accepted, even being included in government and military manuals.

Here is the list of meanings (also from Truth or Fiction):


Have you ever noticed on TV or at military funerals that the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the American flag 13 times?

I've known how the 21 gun salute was determined (adding the individual digits of 1776), but only recently learned why the flag was folded 13 times when it is lowered or when it is folded and handed to the widow at the burial of a veteran.

HERE IT IS: The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.

The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.

The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.

The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong."

The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States Of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day.

The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.

The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.

When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our nation's motto, "In God We Trust". After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today. There are some traditions and ways of doing things which have deep meaning. You will see many flags folded in the coming weeks, and now you will know why.

All graphics from

Monday, June 30, 2008

The simple woman's daybook- June 30, 2008

To view more daybook entries at The Simple Woman, click the picture!

FOR TODAY (June 30th, 2008)...

Outside My Window... It is cloudy and windy. Quite a change from the heat of last week, but a welcome change!

I am thinking... about how quiet the house is with Lauren and Delanie gone back home, and how much I miss them already!

I am thankful for... my family. Every time we meet I'm aware of more personality traits that I have somehow missed along the way.

From the kitchen... Simple sandwiches for dinner. And watermelon!

I am wearing... My "work" clothes. A t-shirt and shorts, plus my Skechers!

I am creating... A fun weekend for our friends. We always have company for the Fourth of July!

I am going... nowhere, today at least. I'm going to stay home and begin catching up on housework.

I am reading... In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner. One of my favorite authors.

I am hoping... that I can find some books I've been wanting to read at the new library we've been going to.

I am hearing... Lily singing to herself while playing Chuzzle downstairs.

Around the house... It's mostly quiet. I think everyone is ready for some rest.

One of my favorite things... knowing that my children are really getting to know their cousins. Watching them play together for the last week has absolutely been a joy! (Ha, I accidentally typed job. That too.)

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Going by the library tomorrow to take back some movies, and pick out some more things to bring home. The parade on Friday with our friends, and then a potluck that afternoon.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... I thought this was the funniest thing! I had no idea that potatoes could be Christian! Do you see the ichthus?

Delanie saw it and said, "Oh, you have just got to put that on your blog." I think I'm sending that girl home with a blog addiction...

Friday, June 27, 2008

This is my day today...

(From left to right, Delanie (10), Gabby (11), Lauren (12), Nicole (8), Lily (7), Ben (9), Kate (3), and Danny (6)

In the event that this blog should become unmanned, I would appreciate your prayers for my sanity.

Lessons learned on vacation

Some practical, some not so much...

~ Pack each child their own "snack kit" in a lunchbox or a bag. It's a great way to make them feel special and to keep the snacks at their fingertips. It's also a great way to keep your 3 year old from opening every granola bar in the box and eating precisely half of each one.

~ Flat tires can happen to anybody. Always carry a few quarters with you in case you need to pay for air after the gas station is closed. They also make very handy tire gauges with magnets on the back of them so that they will stay where you put them. (Just make sure that where you put them isn't too close to your ear while you're wearing earrings. The whole silver hoop, red tire gauge look hasn't quite come in vogue yet.)

~ When taking pictures at family gatherings, check your background! Nothing is as disappointing as hearing, "Wow! That's a great picture of front of that bright yellow port-a-potty."

~ If your car doesn't have air conditioning, bring along a spray bottle full of ice. As it melts, you can take turns squirting the kids (and yourself) for a little relief.

~ And last, but not least, if you do any shopping on vacation, remember that shirts with smocking tend to run a size smaller. If you don't believe me, that's fine, but make sure you take someone along with you to help you pull the shirt off your head when you get it irreversibly stuck around your elbows. (And again, thank you Mamaw. I doubt you thought you'd have to undress me at this age.)

Thursday, June 26, 2008


This evening I took the kids across the road to see the frog pond and walk the trail for a few minutes. Lily, as usual, was being dramatic about every leaf, for fear that it was poison ivy. Delanie remarked to me that she was pretty care-free about such things, just "happy-go-lucky."

Kate replied back, "Yeah, well I'm happy-go-crazy!"

I couldn't agree more.

Some pictures from our trip!

Most of these are from Father's Day, which my grandparents always spend at New Prospect. It's the old church in the community where my grandmother grew up. The church isn't used most of the year now, but every Father's Day they have a service and a meal afterward, and decorate the cemetery.

I didn't get many pictures of the rest of the week at my grandparents' house, as I was playing taxi driver!

Be sure to stay tuned for the last picture of Kate and her Papaw, it will just melt your heart!

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Just so you can laugh at me too

A pastor friend of my husband's called a minute ago. It should have been a simple phone call...he was just checking to make sure an email he sent had been received.


As I picked up the phone, I realized that the pen I had been making a list with had leaked black ink all over my hand. Which I had scratched my eye with. And wiped my nose. And evidently touched my ear at some point.

Yes, so get the whole mental picture in your mind. I'm somehow trying to check my husband's email, typing with one hand. Trying to clean off my face with a wet washcloth in the other, so as not to get ink on the phone. Wondering why Jonathan's password doesn't work. Having a telemarketer call in on the other line. Wondering for the thirty-eleventh time why our phone has this weird series of obnoxious sounds to let you know there's a call on the other line, instead of a nice short beep like our old one had. Realizing that Jonathan's password wasn't working because I had jabbed the caps lock key while trying to juggle all this. Verifying that the email was received. Trying to make small talk while looking in the mirror to see exactly how much ink was in my ear. Just knowing that this man thought I must be the flakiest woman on earth.

It did cross my mind to explain to him the situation, but I didn't think it would help my case any.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Recipe for (near) disaster

Begin with: one mommy, already exhausted from a week of shuttling kids back and forth to VBS 45 minutes each way, and with a sick tummy to boot.

Into a minivan with no air conditioning, add 5 kids and all their luggage (and two tomato plants, some marigolds, and possibly a partridge in a pear tree.)

Stir in two hours sitting at nearly a dead stop in traffic, officially making it an 8 1/2 hour road trip.

A wonderful added ingredient here is the sunburned farmers tan that the mommy will get on her left arm from hanging it out the window, desperately trying to catch a breeze.

Yield: one even more exhausted mommy, who is grateful beyond words for...
~ two wonderful, precious, beautiful young ladies (my cousins) that helped me entertain Ben, Lily, and Kate all the way home, and will be staying with us for a few days at least
~ Prince Caspian on CD, and Lynne Redgrave's lovely, calming voice
~ the coincidence (and you know I don't believe in those) of stopping for a bathroom break a mere couple of miles before we hit traffic, and buying the Gatorade that was on sale
~ need I mention ibuprofen and aloe?
~ a wonderful friend who picked up pizza, so that I didn't have to cook
~ and last, but certainly not least, a wonderful husband who brought me an extra strong cup of coffee in bed this morning...yep, he's a keeper!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Vacation, all I ever wanted...

The kids and I are leaving (early) in the morning to spend a week with family! We'll be back next weekend, with lots of pictures, I'm sure.

See you soon!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The bestest creamed corn

I found this recipe from Down Home with the Neelys on Food Network. I think they are just too cute, and I love to watch them cook. I made this recipe a little while back, and it was so delicious I had to share it with you. It's definitely not the most healthy, but it's a great standby for all those summer barbecues! I added just a touch of hot sauce because I felt it was missing a little kick. Here's a link to the original recipe.

Southern Creamed Corn

  • 8 ears corn, husked

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • (Kosher) salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup cold water

  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease or butter

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • hot sauce (such as Tabasco) to taste

  1. In a large bowl, cut the tip off cobs. Cut the kernels from cob with a small paring knife. Using the back of the blade, scrape against the cob to press out the milky liquid.
  2. Whisk together sugar, flour, and salt and pepper, to taste. Combine with corn.
  3. Add the heavy cream and water. Mix.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat bacon grease (or 2 Tbsp. butter). Add corn mixture and turn heat down to medium-low, stirring until it becomes creamy, about 30 minutes. (NOTE: I used a saucepan for this recipe, and it increased my cooking time to about 35-40 min.)
  5. Right before serving, add (1 Tbsp.) butter and hot sauce to taste.


Monday, June 9, 2008

The simple woman's daybook

For today- Monday, June 9th, 2008

Outside My Window...
it's dark now, but it is finally raining. It caught us by surprise earlier, and Ben and I ran for the laundry on the line. We hurried and scrambled at first, but then gave in and just had fun with it. There's nothing better than a clothes-pin duel in the rain.

I am thinking... about how funny it is that Ben gets "cannibalism" confused with "capitalism"

I am thankful for... the rain! And the trip we are taking to my grandparents' house next week. How blessed my children are that they get to know their great-grandparents.

From the kitchen...
tonight we had "big bird burgers" leftover from the weekend. They're a new recipe for me, and they're a hit!

I am wearing... a green top and black shorts, barefoot.

I am creating... I'm ashamed to admit I'm still working on Kate's dress! The bodice is mostly done, but I'm having to redo my gathering stitches because I made them too short. I'm still on a search for my seam ripper...

I am going... downstairs, to read and wait on Jonathan to get home from work.

I am reading...
all of the same things as last week, except I finished Crane's Maggie.... I'm still trying to recover.

I am hoping...
to get the car packed and ready for our trip before hand so that we don't have to rush.

I am hearing...
Ben still awake in his room, making little boy noises that come few and far between these days.

Around the house...
it's very, very quiet.

One of my favorite things...
watching Ben take the lead in "manly" things, like helping Lily fix her bike today.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
getting all the laundry caught up, picking up a few groceries and snacks for our trip, having company on Wednesday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

The first purple shamrock this year, just coming up this morning!


As in, six is the number of shirts that Kate had on when she came downstairs this morning. Six. At one time. And only four of them were hers.

I suppose she's just a fan of the layering look...

Saturday, June 7, 2008


I ran across this song this week and I knew instantly that I had to share it with you.

Storm - Lifehouse

Storm by Lifehouse

how long have I
been in this storm
so overwhelmed by the ocean's shapeless form
water's getting harder to tread
with these waves crashing over my head

if I could just see you
everything will be alright
if I'd see you
the storminess will turn to light

and I will walk on water
and you will catch me if I fall
and I will get lost into your eyes
and everything will be alright
and everything will be alright

I know you didn't
bring me out here to drown
so why am I 10 feet under and upside down
barely surviving has become my purpose
cause I'm so used to living underneath the surface

if I could just see you
everything will be alright
if I see you
the storminess will turn to light

and I will walk on water
and you will catch me if I fall
and I will get lost into your eyes
and everything will be alright

and I will walk on water
you will catch me if I fall
and I will get lost into your eyes
and everything will be alright
I know everything is alright
everything's alright

The line that hit me hardest in this song was, "I know you didn't
bring me out here to drown."

When I'm in the middle of a crisis or just a down period, it's so easy for me to forget that God has the perfect plan for each of us. This song reminds me of the comfort that I take from the Psalms. God can handle our anger. He can handle our frustration. We just have to keep giving it to him and meditating on the truth that He will catch us when we fall.

Some "thingish things" for the weekend

Last night our good friends Ryan and Starr came over for dinner, along with newborn baby Ary:

Starr and Ary with our girls. Jonathan and I were able to see Ary in the hospital, but this was the first time for the kids to see her up close. I have to chuckle every time at Kate's face in this picture.

We all love when Ryan and Starr come to visit, because they truly are like family to us. We had a wonderful dinner of burgers and corn on the cob, and then we let Ben stay up with us "grown-ups" to watch National Treasure 2!

Today was so hot that we stayed inside most of the day, but after dinner we took an impromptu nature walk.

Our landlord planted this lily for us while we were on vacation last year, and it just started blooming today! Every time they bloom I am reminded again of what a thoughtful gift they were.

We also found some beautiful sights just across the road. I am badly in need of a good field guide to help identify these, but even though I didn't know what they were, I wanted to share them with you.

Kate was fascinated by the remains of the tree in this next shot. We were all watching a tiny frog hop through the moss when she stepped back, looked up and started laughing. I'm not sure what it was she found so funny, but I did think it made a beautiful picture.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The simple woman's daybook

Click above for more daybook entries

Outside My Window... the "bridge" that Kate drew across the sidewalk in yellow chalk, using the chalk holders that were a present from Daddy

I am thinking... how quiet it is in the house with "the boys" gone to church together

I am thankful for... the pond across the road, night noises that always calm me

From the kitchen... sadly, no more frozen lemonade met its tasty end today

I am wearing... my jammies!

I am creating... a dress for Kate, still

I am going... to brew a cup of chamomile and enjoy the silence

I am reading... three different non-fiction books. Emma by Jane Austen. Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. A novel by Jimmy Buffett, surprisingly good so far. Stephen Crane's Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. That should last me through the week...

I am hoping... to spend time with friends this week

I am hearing... the girls talking quietly in bed, making up songs for our friends Tim & Lisa

Around the house... things still out of place after a hectic weekend

One of my favorite things... beautiful bookmarks

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... an end of the year party for our Wednesday night Bible study, visiting a new library

Here is picture thought I am sharing... memories of last summer

Just when you thought there was a website for everything

This afternoon I was tidying up the kitchen when Kate came in. We have a computer in there, and our screen saver is set to rotate pictures that we have saved on it.

Kate watched for a minute, but then accidentally hit the mouse and the screen saver went away. She walked over to me, looking all disappointed, and said, "Mommy, I need you to make the pictures come back."

I told her that I couldn't make them come back, that we would have to wait until they started running again.

She shook her head and told me, "We don't have to wait, just type in pictures dot com!"

At least she's got an idea of how the whole system works, huh?

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Holy is the Lord

This song has been on my mind a lot this week. Andrew Peterson is one of my all-time favorite Christian singer-songwriters. This is a very powerful song, made even more so with excellent editing from the TNT movie about Abraham. You will need your hankie for this one:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

School's out!

Have I mentioned how much I love being the principal?

Each year we continue formal studies in language arts and math over the summer break, as well as whatever informal studies we can dig up! (No pun intended...)

This year, though, I'm going to take a couple of weeks off and tackle our closets and basement! The weather is still cool enough outside so that the kiddos can get out there and play most of the day, and mommy can get busy decluttering and organizing.

We've taken more time off than usual this year, but as I've heard so often, that is the beauty of homeschooling. We'll have all the time in the world to catch up when the weather is too hot to get outside this summer! We're probably going to jump back into the middle of things around the beginning of July. If anyone knows of a great unit study for the 4th of July, I'd love your recommendations!

Until then their main subject will be:


Alas the best-laid plans...

I had truly meant to show you pictures of my clean refrigerator and dining table, but I took the pics without my memory card in the camera and I haven't yet worked out all the kinks to get those to where I can post them.

Now that my fridge is clean (and empty!) I'm finally starting to meal plan. I looked at tons of sites last week on the best way to get started, and here are some of the helpful links I've found:

I've gotten a lot of menu planning ideas
from Life as Mom recently. Here's a link to Meal Planning the 1950's Way . I think this is a fascinating idea and would save me loads of trouble...if we were eating more meat. As it is, we've cut way back on meat to save on cost and calories, and it just gets too depressing writing out "pasta" or "vegetables" for every night of the week. Maybe after I get a larger recipe bank built up I'll be able to categorize better and utilize this idea.

And here is a link to her last week's menu plan.
(And a quick note...looks like she also posted on meal planning today, but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet!) Instead of listing out the menus day-by-day, she lists the number of dishes she will have for each type of meal. I'm not sure how to explain it better than that...just go check it out! I think that this will work fabulously at our house, as we typically change our minds about what we'll be having for dinner, or inviting people over at the last minute. Truthfully, that's one of the reasons I've been procrastinating about meal planning. I guess this takes away my excuses, doesn't it?

I love the way that Michele lists her menus at Frugal Granola. Here is her most recent. She lists items to do along with her daily menu so that everything will be ready for the next day! I'm hoping to incorporate this somehow, I'll have to let you know what I figure out on this one.

And for those of you who like more specific meal planners, here's a link to some beautiful FREE meal planners from Heavenly Homemakers. She also has tons of meal planning and
healthy eating ideas on her blog.

I'm actually excited about grocery shopping this week! I'm starting out with just three days' worth of meals until we find a greater variety of healthy meals that we love. Baby steps...


Please continue to pray for Beth and Jimmy...