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