Something to hold on to...

"Today I am one day nearer home than ever before. One day nearer the dawning when the fog will lift, mysteries clear, and all question marks straighten up into exclamation points!
 I shall see the King!"     Vance Havner

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Dreary Days and Random Thoughts

It is dreary and gloomy as I write today. Husband is doing that which he does best on Sunday afternoon: snoring away in the recliner, the cat and dog are both napping peacefully, and I alone am awake and somewhat alert. The weekend has been a good one.

Friday night we went to our small group party from church. I love these people. They are some of those that I hold very dear to my heart. We went to the home of one of the couples in our group and I should tell you that this couple defines the word hospitality. Their home is a delight and quite the winter wonderland. I know they must start decorating for Christmas in September. I think we counted 6 fully decorated trees with countless other decorations, too many to count but such a treat to see. This couple decided that this dinner would be their gift to us and said that none of us were to bring anything. We walked in to a true feast of ham, noodles, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, (hungry yet?) fruit salad, local famous steak house rolls, plus - pumpkin pie, apple pie, coconut pie, and pecan pie. Other than the rolls, which everyone locally loves, everything was made by scratch and by love. What gracious wonderful people these two are. I wish you all could be so lucky as to share a meal in their home. This was one of those nights when the party starts at 6:00 and before you know it you look at your watch and it is 10:00. The room was filled with both laughter and tears as the evening progressed and I left with a full heart knowing that I am loved. It is good to share life with those that know you best and love you anyway.

On Saturday I admit I was pretty lazy, as it too was a dreary day. Oldest son was busy getting things together for a trip to visit youngest for a few days so I helped with his preparations and made brownies and gathered food and supplies to send to the apartment. Saturday evening husband and I did some Christmas shopping and spent the rest of the evening at home.

Today after church we grabbed a quick bite and made another trip to the mall. You know how purchasing one item sometimes snowballs? Well, last night I purchased a holiday type blouse to wear to husband’s company dinner tonight. I was sure I would wear this with my black dressy pants and was quite proud of the bargain I found. The problem is that when I returned home and tried on my ensemble I discovered that my black dressy pants would probably fall off if I wore them and that might not be appropriate at the company dinner. So, today it was a trip to the mall for black dressy pants in a size that fits. I had not intended on a complete outfit, but now that I have it I wonder if I should press for new jewelry, shoes, and a purse to match? No.

With all the parties and shopping going on I realize that the Christmas rush is upon us, but I vow to cherish every moment this year as the gift it is to me. The gift of friends, family, church programs, and even school programs (although they can’t say it) all point to the reason we celebrate: the birth of a baby over 2000 years ago who came to give us relationship with His Father.

If I get too busy and do not write again before Christmas (I am known for long intervals) please know if you are reading this then you are more than likely very dear to me. My desire is that you would also take time this year and remember this baby, which is Jesus Christ our Lord.

Monday, December 3, 2007

May I have a full order of sleep please?

December is upon us ready or not. Actually, I am ahead of the game. I have done well on shopping, (never did the find missing gift) and most of my decorating is complete. I would still like to hang a few wreaths outside, but I am a wimp in the cold so they might not get done this year. Saturday I spent the entire day at home doing the basics that had been neglected. Oldest helped all day until the house was clean and tidy and the laundry all caught up.
Saturday night I spent most of the night on the couch with very little sleep. Husband’s snoring combined with a blossoming migraine do not mix well. I even had to hide the living room clock because in the middle of a migraine the battery powered tick-tock sounds much like a repetitive gong.

On Sunday we ventured 3 ½ hours south to see our newest great niece. We had hoped to combine that trip with a visit to Farm Wife and her family, but they were fighting colds and not up for company. It was a long hard trip due to relentless rain and a problem with the wiper switch on our car. After such a long trip we were only able to stay about one hour. Fortunately the rain stopped on the way home. We got in relatively early and I went to bed by 9:30.
It was a sweet visit though. I wish I could post a picture but I am not sure how my niece would feel about that.

Sunday night brought the return of the migraine. I took today off from work and have felt pretty blah most of the day. A day off in early December could be so productive, but not when you are wiped out from two nights of a pounding head and no sleep. I feel better this evening so hopefully I will return to school tomorrow.

I plan on finishing the book The Shack for my second time tonight and then going to bed early. Hopefully the gongs will stay quiet for me tonight and I will sleep peacefully.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Missing gift

I am sad to say that the missing gift is still in hiding. I did however go out tonight to purchase the same item over again. If the original is found it can be returned. At least I am not going nuts about it anymore.

Book review

** I wish that Blogger would allow me to underline book titles, please know that I tried**


I know I run the risk of not many people seeing this post because I have been so random with this blog, but I am writing about something today that I am very passionate about. I am writing my book review of the book, The Shack, by William P. Young (or Paul Young as he goes by in his non-writing life)

First I should say that fiction is not my genre of choice. I am normally a “baby” theological type reader with an occasional Karen Kingsbury thrown in as an escape. However, when I do read my usual fare I will even fluctuate on my preferred authors. If I am wanting something a bit light, but with a good lesson or two and some pretty witty sayings I will pick up something by Max Lucado. Then, if I choose to go just a bit deeper I will turn to John Ortberg, I always enjoy the analogies that he weaves into his lessons. And when I think I can handle the even deeper stuff I bravely pick up something by Philip Yancy, although sometimes I find my self re-reading a passage or two and thinking, “What was that again?”

I sometimes find though that all of these authors share a common theme: Do this or that and you will be a better Christian. Memorize these cute alliterative sayings or take these steps and you will finally have a deeper relationship with God. Well, I guess I am not much for all the steps involved (patience is not one of my virtues) because I just want to jump to the end result and have a deeper relationship with God.

This book, The Shack, has simply blown me away. This book seems to have been written by Max Lucado, John Ortberg, Philip Yancy, and GOD all at once. Not to sound sacrilegious there, but there is something about this book that makes me wonder how any human on this earth could have such knowledge and depth of insight. I think Paul’s prayer for the Philippians (Philippians 1:9) was answered in William P. Young, because he has a great handle on what love and relationship are supposed to look like. I will say that I know this book, or any book for that matter can never replace or be a substitute for The Bible, but I also know that this book has done more for my understanding of who God is and has increased my desire to know Him more that any book other than the Bible ever has.

I will not get into anything here that would spoil the plot, but I will say that this book is so much more than the fiction story that underlines its main purpose. This is not “fluff fiction”. This is a very purposeful work of fiction written in order to reveal great truths. William P. Young is an incredibly gifted author and has challenged my thinking and understanding beyond what I could imagine. He has caused me to think about things I thought I knew and has me seeking to know even more.

At times you may feel this book is a difficult read, and I agree that the plot is a tough one to deal with. Further reading causes you to realize that such a plot is necessary to fully understand the main theme of the book. I am currently on my second reading and feel I will immediately read it again when I am finished. The worst part about this book, is I want to share it with everyone, yet I am selfishly reading it again and do not want to part with it. I very smartly took the advice of others from the get go and ordered two copies. This has allowed me to keep one and share one. I have since ordered three more copies and I know I will soon order more. I urge any of you to just go to Amazon.com or theshackbook.com and read the reviews, then go ahead and order 10 or 12 copies. It is that good.

It's about time

I have decided that it is time for my quarterly post. I really wish I would do this more often. Perhaps something will put me in a permanent mood. It has been brought to my attention that people really do check every now and then to see if I have updated, so if you are one of the few who care, here goes.

So much has happened since I last wrote.

When you last heard from me oldest son was half way through his 6-month adventure in Amsterdam. He is now home. Very recently I might add. He flew home on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I know, that is a terrible day to fly, but he wanted to surprise Grandma and Grandpa. Surprise them he did! It was a pretty exciting day. We had even kept his secret from younger brother and that was a fun revelation. Oldest truly lived an adventure and has realized that Amsterdam is a city of both beauty and ugliness. There is much in that city that we as Christians just do not understand, and I am very proud of our son for his willingness to put himself in a position of ministry for these last 6-months. Now he is to starting the process of finding a real job. Pray for him as he works on his resume and begins his search.

Youngest son is doing well in his apartment in his college town. He lives with two other guys and I am very pleased with the way he keeps his place neat and tidy. He has done great in his classes this semester and is trying to figure out his schedule for the next one.


Another update is that I am a great-aunt again. My sister’s daughter gave birth to her baby girl on the evening before Thanksgiving. This makes number 65 for me as far as a total of all nieces, nephews and greats (plus one great-great) on my side and my husband’s combined.

Now, for my current events: Tonight I have spent my evening much like a raving lunatic because I have misplaced something of value. One of the Christmas gifts that I had purchased early has gone AWOL. I have searched thoroughly tonight and cannot find it. Replacing it would not necessarily break the bank, but it makes me very frustrated to think that I have lost a gift. I fear that I actually threw it away with a bunch of shopping bags that I decided I did not need. I hate it when I get in this situation because I start thinking it is the end of the world if I do not find it. I need to just let it go, and move on. It can be replaced. Husband tells me to forget about it and then start looking fresh tomorrow night. I am sure I will look again tomorrow night, but husband does not know what he is asking when he suggests that I forget about it tonight. I do know that God has many other things to deal with this evening, but I still feel that he loves me enough to care about my stress when something is lost. I need to turn this over to him and be done with it.

Okay, that is it for tonight. I am already planning my next post, and perhaps you will not have to wait three months to read it. Hopefully, I will report on the missing Christmas gift.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Labor Days







Husband and I are off in about an hour for our annual Labor Day trip to the Cincinnati area for a softball tournament. We have a great time with about 40 of our friends. We save all of our pocket change for the entire year and it will completely cover our hotel and expenses. I highly recommend this method of saving for an annual event. If you are diligent about not spending any change and pay cash for most of what you buy instead of writing checks you will accumulate a lot of change.

And, for another type of "Labor Day", I want to take some time here and brag about my sister. Once again, she has out done herself. She will be a grandma for the first time in November. Her only daughter, my niece, is expecting a baby girl. My sister had some antique furniture just waiting for something special to bring it back to life, and, what could be more special than your first grandchild? I am posting pictures of the nursery and pretty much every item you see was a gift from my sister. Every piece of furniture was refinished, painted, commissioned or readied. Every fabric item: curtains, beddings, (both crib and single bed) the quilt on the wall, the mobile, and even the back rest cushion in the crib was designed and hand made by my sister. This was truly a labor of love. My niece knows how fortunate she is, and how much her mother loves her. This little one will soon realize it as well!

Well, that is all for now, we have last minute details to finalize. Youngest is on his way home for the weekend to baby-sit the animals, eat our food, and do his laundry. Soon, we are outta here!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Whew! Here goes!

Exhale.

I am updating. Take a big breath though when you finish because it could be a while before my next entry.

Okay, I really really want to do this blogging thing. I just get so caught up in the mundane and I forget there are people out there who actually like mundane! So here goes, some mundane, some insane and some (What else rhymes?? Too much pressure for that.) lame (?)…details of my life.

First for the updates.

Oldest son is still in Amsterdam. I am really missing him right now. It has been nearly 3 months. He loves it. He is making friends, going places and learning all the ins and outs of the Hostel business. There are some areas he would rather not work though, he really does not like being the night man and being in charge of the place in the wee hours of the night. He is not too fond of reception duty either. If you know him, you know his personality and being the front man at a reception desk is not exactly his cup of tea. He loves tea though. Just thought I would throw that in. He does okay with cafĂ© duties and the sleeper job is not so bad. He actually stays at the hostel, has duties for part of the night, and then gets to sleep there the rest of his shift. I could do okay getting paid to sleep. Only, he actually does not get paid. He will though, starting next month. He will draw a whopping monthly salary of almost $60.00 (U.S. Dollar). I guess we cannot feel sorry for him though; he is living in Europe with free room and board. He thinks he will be coming home sometime late November. He had thought of staying longer, but probably won’t.

Youngest son is living in an apartment in his college town with two other guys. I really like his two roommates. One of them just feels like another son because I know him so well and like him so much. I get pretty neat phone calls. Such as, “Mom how do you know when the waffles are done in this waffle maker?” And, “ Mom, tell me again how you cook your frozen corn on the cob”. Now, that is a tricky question because I do cook corn strange. I learned years ago from an old cookbook to add lemon juice and sugar (equal parts, about 2 TBS each and NO salt) to the pot of water. It sounds strange but the corn is always delicious. So, he had to be sure his would taste like his mom’s. He is excited about his classes this year, excited about living in his apartment, and quite honestly he is happier than I have seen him for a while. He recently obtained his driver’s license for those of you who might be wondering. He was holding out like I did until after turning 21.

So, both boys are happy, and that makes Mom really happy. It also makes Dad happy. When children and Mom and Dad are all happy it is a good thing.

So, now we are on to me. I had a pretty good summer. I accomplished a few of the tasks I had planned, but not all. There is one looming task in my house that I really need to take care of, but have not found the motivation as of yet. Perhaps I will take care of it someday.

I have returned to school and our class seems like a good one this year. 14 kids so far, which might seem small by some standards, but we have challenging students and a very small room. I have been praying that God will use me in a special way this year and that I can be a blessing to these kids.

Currently I am reading a very good book, "God is Closer Than You Think" ( I wish blogger would let me underline that title, I will just have to use quotes) by John Ortburg. It is reminding me to live in the moment and to meet God right there. He is already in the moment you know, we just forget to look for him. I recommend it highly.
I have not done as well as I had hoped in the Bible reading department. That is always a goal of mine. I want to do better.

I know there is a lot more to update, but this will have to do for tonight. I can’t catch up the last 2 months all in one shot. So, hang on for more to come. Some pictures will come as well.

You should probably inhale now. Take your time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Don't hold your breath...

I am returning to blogdom. Do not under any circumstances though hold your breath between posts...
More later

Friday, June 29, 2007

One month down...


Oldest son left for Amsterdam exactly one month ago today. He has already learned much, met many people, and has left his comfort zone behind. I must say that I am so very happy for him and the things he has done so far. For those that know his timid nature, he has really stepped up and has taken on various duties much unlike him. He has taught a small group Bible study, has worked the reception desk, and is meeting and hanging out with many new friends. When I think of how rich his life will be after this experience it makes my heart truly happy.

On the other hand, I really am missing him. I am blessed to have very close relationships with both of my boys. They are becoming amazing young gentlemen that I enjoy spending time with. This communication age that we are in has really helped, in that it has always been so easy to email, phone, or instant message them. Oldest and I seem to catch each other online about every other day. There is a seven-hour time difference from here to Amsterdam, so that makes conversations interesting. I usually start by saying “good morning”, then I realize it is not morning for him.

He has not taken many digital photos as of yet. I was hoping to post a few pictures every now and then to show you all some amazing sites of the Netherlands. He did take a bike ride to the beach about a week ago and shot this picture on his way. Can’t really prove it is from Amsterdam though. He has a thing for miniature horses; they make him laugh, so it was natural for him to take this picture. I will post some other pictures when they come my way.

Technically he has 5 more months to go, but is already thinking he might try to stay longer. I say, go for it. He is living one of his dreams right now, and there are not many of us who truly get to accomplish that.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Date Night

Tonight was “date night”, but of a different type. Youngest son and I went out for the evening. Husband is away on a church elder field trip of sorts, so that left youngest and I alone for the night. While I am busy reading “To Kill A Mockingbird” and really wanted to finish it tonight and move on to another classic, I decided a night out with youngest would be wise. We went out to eat and then to the movie, “Evan Almighty”. Now, I will say that I had reservations about this movie and was afraid that it might compromise my beliefs, but on the contrary, it reinforced them. It is a delightful, fun, movie that has many lessons to remind us of how God wants us to live. Go see it.

I was also very thankful to spend the evening with youngest. He is such a neat guy. I know there won’t be a lot of date nights in our future (at least not with each other) , so I am grateful for these moment we do have.

And the Award for "Most Experienced Aunt" goes to...

Me!
With the addition of Farm Wife’s new Bitsy into the family, and in the tradition of Farm Wife’s animal count, I thought I would stop and do my own tally. Mine, however is the tally of nieces and nephews. Sad to say, I cannot just come up with this number off the top of my head. I actually had to plot a crude graph on paper and put tally marks under all of husband’s siblings and mine. Here goes:

Husband’s Side:

3 Nieces
3 Nephews

3 Great Nieces
4 Great Nephews

My Side:

12 Nieces
9 Nephews

17 Great Nieces
12 Great Nephews

1 Great-Great Niece

Grand total of Nieces and Nephews for Husband and I ………..64 !! Plus, I am pleased to say that one of my nieces is expecting in late November! We might even hit 100 before you know it!

I think I should have a new title, like Most Supreme Aunt, or Greatest of All Aunts, Most Experienced Aunt. Surely there is a title more fitting to be had than just “Aunt”.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fruits of my labor



This is the earlier described dining room table and my newly designed dining room to accomodate my church pew which was a birthday gift from husband a couple of years ago. My sister decided we should actually use it for seating.

They sure are cute when they are little



I know these creatures can be a gardener's nightmare. However, when youngest son found this last night before mowing, we sure did enjoy it for a few miutes before releasing it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I am not a good stripper

Well, let me explain.

For the past week I have been working on our antique dining room table. It was getting quite sad looking and needed sanded, stained, and a few coats of polyurethane. I was getting along peachy until I noticed that one half of the table lacked the luster and shine of the other half. Panic set in and I was about to wonder if I had messed the table up forever. Thanks to the wise counsel of a brother-in-law and my friendly neighborhood paint store I am now well on my way to a beautiful table. For those taking notes, I believe you should always do business with the neighborhood father and son businesses when possible. My particular guys are brilliant when it comes to anything pertaining to wood or paint and have saved me on several occasions. Some may think that the prices in these small stores are too high compared to the “mega-marts” out there, but you will never match their knowledge and customer service. The man GAVE me enough of a product to use which was the remedy to my problem. Last week he worked until he could blend a stain color, which matched my antique table exactly.

So, thanks to those smarter that me, I am learning to strip, and re-finish, and eventually my projects will be completed.

Friday, June 22, 2007

EXTRAordinary life

It has been hard to come back to blogging after experiencing the pain that my friend has gone through this last week. I feel guilty knowing that my life has changed little in the last week, while hers will never be the same.

I will say this; we all take way too much for granted. Part of me thinks that my everyday life is not worthy of writing about; while another part of me now realizes that my everyday life is not only worthy of writing about, but also worthy of celebrating. We all need to come to this realization and enjoy every part of our lives.

I have had a good week. I have spent each day with cherished family or friends. The events of this past week have helped me to realize just how important those moments have been.

Sunday was Father's day, and while my own Father has been gone for many years, I have an incredible relationship with my Father-in-law. We spent Sunday at their house and were reminded of the gift we have been given. My husband has always had a precious relationship with his parents and I am bleessed to have married into this.

On Monday night I went out to eat with my amazing group of girlfriends. How fortunate I am to have this circle of friends. We are not able to get together often, yet when we do, we have loads of fun. The eight of us all belong to the same church and share our faith. We are truly sisters.

Tuesday afternoon, I spent lying on a raft in the pool of one of those friends. Just soaking up some sun, catching up on family, and laying aside the cares of this world.

On Wednesday, My sister, brother, and sister-in-law came to visit. I do not get to see this brother and his wife enough. Every time I do though, I am reminded of the miracle in his life. He is a heart transplant recipient. While he is nearly 70 years old, his heart is much younger. He recently celebrated his 7th "birthday". The four of us met another brother for lunch and had a wonderful visit.

Thursday found me having lunch again, this time with my dear friend and co-worker. She is the teacher in the class where I assist. I have been truly blessed by being able to work along side of her for the last 10 years. Not everyone can be as lucky as I to be able to not only get along with, but to cherish the person you work the closest with.

Then, on Thursday afternoon my friend Chrissy came to visit. We just sat for an hour and a half in my living room talking. She has a long road ahead of her and I still ask for prayers for her. I am reminded every time I am near her what an amazing young woman she is.

Today, Friday, I spent the morning with my husband and youngest son going to yard sales. Okay, I know that is not for everyone, but it is something we like. There seems to be buried treasure waiting to be found, and we enjoy the thrill of the hunt.

This evening, his best friend from college is spending the night; we all went out to eat. I love it when my boys have friends over. I try to spoil them and make them feel truly at home.

Tomorrow, I will travel the one-hour to my sister’s and to go to a ladies’ brunch at her church. I will also get to see my niece and spend time with each of them.

You see, I am so very blessed. God has put incredible people in my “ordinary” life, and spending time with them will never seem ordinary again.

Now, I realize that we are not always able to have a week where we are free for lunches, visits, lounging in a pool or trekking around to yard sales. I also realize that my having the summer off from work makes this type of week possible. I just ask that when these moments present themselves that you intentionally be in the moment. Enjoy the company of those dear to you while you can.

I urge you all to take stock of the relationships you have in your life. Make it a point to spend time with those you can, and to call those you can’t spend time with. Do not take anyone or anything in your life for granted.

I also must take advantage of this moment and ask that you also take stock of the relationship you have with the Lord. If this most important relationship is not where it should be, then do what you can now to make it right. I know that it is my relationship with God that enhances all of my other relationships. He makes my “ordinary” life extraordinary!

Friday, June 15, 2007

For Chrissy with love

Tonight was an extremely sad night. We spent the evening at the funeral home for an 18-year-old young man. Seeing the pain in the eyes of his mom, dad, and sister was something that will be etched in my mind for a long time. More than possibly 100 schoolmates came in groups of 3-5 into the funeral home. Big burly boys were reduced to tears in a matter of minutes. They just stood for over an hour, almost a huddled mass of teenagers; silent and staring, and then every few moments, breaking this silence, someone would erupt into deep piercing sobs.

In another room a video played on a loop to repeat throughout the night. Images of this young man’s life were visible for all to watch. Eighteen years compressed into a few minutes. Those that knew him would laugh, cry, and remember him well. Those who never met him, but knew the family, would watch and wish for more. Wishing for the lost chance to know the boy behind the photographs.

My eyes would sometimes gravitate over to where the mom was standing, and at times I did not know what kept her on her feet. Then I would see the daughter, holding her mother's face in her hands and comforting her. This daughter worked the room, being brave and strong and supportive for everyone, for her mom, for her dad, and for her brother's best friend. She is an amazing girl. Some might wonder what is it that keeps her going? But I know the answer to that one. She is totally and completely in love with Jesus and it just oozes out of her. She is just doing what Jesus would do, what Jesus did do actually, because even with His own heart breaking at the death of His friend, Lazarus, Jesus comforted others.

I am so fortunate to have her in my life. You see, she is one of “my” girls. Most every Wednesday night during the school year, she was one of the girls who graced my home with her wisdom, her passion for the Lord, and her laughter. That infectious laughter is silent for the moment. She has suffered the terrible loss of her only sibling, her brother. He was just a little over a year older than her, and they were best friends. She loved him completely and unconditionally.

When I lay down to sleep tonight I know my mind will be filled with images of this evening. Of grief in a room so thick you could nearly see it lingering in the air. Of teenagers facing the horrible fact that death does not care if you are eighty or eighteen. Of a mother and a father grieving so deeply in the loss of their firstborn, their only son. Of friends searching for the right words and realizing that there are no right words. Of hugs that were so tight that you knew they were not only hugging bodies, but hugging their souls as well. And, of a girl, much too young to suffer such a loss.

My mind will be filled with prayers for this family as well. I ask you to pray for them also. Tomorrow morning they will see this boy’s face for the last time on this earth. They will say their goodbyes and their tomorrows will never be the same. They will need strength from many and the boundless love of God to carry them through.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Summer Job?

I love summer.

I am off work, but in many ways I work harder.

I have started right in this morning doing all sorts of things. So far today I have:

~Woke up early with husband, fixed him some toast and saw him off to work
~Made the bed.
~Ironed 8 pieces of my clothing (Last week I re- configured my closet and added a lower bar- twice the room for clothes, and since it is all fresh and nice inside with new paint I am motivated to keep my clothes nice as well.)
~Started the dishwasher...boy, that was hard work- ha!
~Walked outside for 25 minutes
~Put two coats of polyurethane on my newly re-stained dining room table (it was getting ugly looking. Third coat will go on later today.
~Watered all my plants
~Washed the car, only to discover there is a problem with a rear window, it has fallen and can’t get up! (Nice thing to discover when you are washing the car!)

Soon, husband will be home for lunch, then I am going out to lunch with girlfriends, and afterwards I am taking 5 skirts that I can once again wear to Mother in Law’s house. She will help me mark them because I have decided I no longer like the long skirt length. I am just too short. I am going to have them marked just at the knee, but not over.
I love it when I am highly motivated!


** Just to let you know, oldest son is doing great in Amsterdam! He is meeting lots of people and doing great things. This is just what he needed to get out of his shell a bit! He was thrown in with a bunch of kids near his age and no one knew each other. It is easier for him to meet people like that when they are all "equal" and no cliques or groups are already established. Continue to pray for him. I am praying that he is having the time of his life and that God stretches him in many ways. I do wish he would email some pictures or update his sites. So far, I have no proof that he is really in Amsterdamthough, he could be in New Jersey for all I know!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Girl's Day Out

Today I traveled the one-hour drive to my hometown to visit my sister and my niece, who is expecting her first child. We spent the day first going to resale shops, because we are all bargain hunters and are trying to make the most of our money. At two shops I managed to purchase a total of 5 items. Now that both my sister and I have lost weight, shopping for clothing is once again fun. Well, except for the fact that we are so close to the same size right now, that it makes finding the best bargain a trick. Especially when you both spy the same item at the same time. Finding a top for 3.49 seemed like a fantastic buy. It was a fantastic buy, until after our tasty lunch when we went to Kohl’s and found that their clearance sale blew the resale shop’s prices out of the water. Tee shirts for $2.40, before an additional 15% off, and slacks for $3.60! I am quite happy right now at the amount of clothing I purchased with very little damage to our budget!

It was a good day: good shopping, good lunch, and good visiting. These past few days have been full of wonderful visits with family that I just do not see enough. My summer is turning out just fine. I am missing oldest son though while he is away, but I am so happy for him that it takes the edge off.

Youngest son is in a happy place right now as well. His new computer speakers arrived today and provide quite a nice sound. He is working this summer with his dad, but really needs an additional job.

Well, a short post for now, but I at least am posting. Must figure out supper.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Remember me?

I am the world’s worst blogger. I did start with good intentions. Maybe now that school is out (did you hear me scream yippee?) I will do this with some regularity.

So, at this point the major events that I had been awaiting have passed. Oldest son has graduated college, actually walking in the ceremonies from two colleges on the same day, and receiving two degrees. The graduation party was wonderful with many good friends coming to see him and wish him well. He also has left for his trip to Amsterdam. We took him to the airport on Tuesday, and while I held it together during our goodbyes, I did start crying immediately afterwards. Ironically, God provided a diversion though when we got lost in the airport as we were trying to leave. And I have only cried once since then. The communication age has been a huge blessing though, as we have emailed a few times and instant messaged as well. He is doing well, adjusting to his position and is anxiously awaiting a bike, which will be provided for him when one is available.

Youngest son is home for the summer and has worked hard to get his room just how he likes it, including all 300 plus books which he has collected. Somehow my boys have acquired the collecting gene, which is not necessarily a good thing when you long for less clutter. Although, I am not really referring to their collections as clutter.

So, please hang in with me. I will get back into this blogging and just might surprise you all with my words of wisdom.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

100 Years Ago Today



On this day, 100 years ago, my Father was born. That is a bit strange to even type, thinking that if he were alive he would be 100 years old and we would be throwing a huge party. However, he passed away when he was 72, so he will forever remain that age in my memory. But just think, he was born 100 years ago. I surfed the Internet and found many sites devoted to life 100 years ago. Quite interesting.

Now, in case you think I am 75 or 80, I am not. I am the last of 9 children, born to an already “older” father. The first photo was taken when he was about 27 years old, the other at my wedding in 1978. He passed away in October of 1979.

Happy Birthday Daddy.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Art and coffee



We traveled to college town tonight to see youngest son’s exhibit at a local coffee house. What a fun night. Youngest had a few of his unique paintings on display and worked on one throughout the evening. There were local bands and individuals singing and others also had their works on display. We met quite a few of our boy’s friends and we delivered the cookies and boxes of groceries for the starving artist and his big brother. It was a late night for us, but I am very glad we went. In case you are wondering, I did not drink coffee. I am not old enough to do that. I had a cup of hot tea as did youngest, although I thought his tea tasted like dishwater. Maybe it is an acquired taste.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Baking Marathon




One batch oatmeal raisin walnut …………………….45 minutes
One batch brown sugar ……...……………………......45 minutes
One batch chocolate chip……………………………......45 minutes
Double batch peanut butter………………………….....One hour

Look on college sons faces
when we deliver them tonight………………………....Priceless


Youngest lives in a dorm, and his best friend lives in an apartment with two other guys. Youngest visits there often. Oldest lives in an apartment with 2 other guys, so the cookie eating potential is high. Every now and then you just have to spoil them. Just in case you are wondering, husband might get a few of these as well. (If he’s a good boy.)

Now you know why I wanted the extra large canister set!
Take a close look at the peanut butter cookies. I discovered a time saver. The tenderizer side of my meat mallet makes a perfect cookie masher. Saves time from going over them twice with a fork, and makes an interesting design.

***Commercial endorsement*** If you have never tried them, might I recommend Dough Maker’s cookie sheets? (Check out doughmakers.com) They are lightweight, aluminum, naturally non-stick, and bake very evenly! (I just wish I could get stock in the company, or free product every time I give them a plug.) They are a little more expensive than some, but I am fortunate to live close enough to the company to take advantage of factory sales. The great thing is, I will never have to replace them. With that in mind, they are a bargain!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Penny Saved...



Okay readers, I have wanted to share this for a while, but have not taken the time until now. I have quite possibly the secret to financial freedom and have been keeping it mostly to myself. Inkling knows about it because I have shared it with her, but here goes readers, my recipe for…

Homemade Laundry Detergent! Now, let me tell you that I stumbled upon this recipe on the Internet about a year and a half ago, and since then I have been using it almost exclusively. I have bought perhaps 3 bottles of the pricey stuff when on sale for a back up, but this is my main detergent. I am posting pictures of the ingredients just in case you are like I was and wondering what in the world I am talking about. Now, mind you, this is not goofy science here, we are not using Kool-Aid and Hubba Bubba and turning them into detergent, these are actual laundry products that with a little work, a little mixing, and your own tap water end up making a liquid detergent that saves you big money. I can purchase enough of these products for a year’s worth of detergent for about $10.00 and just today in Meijer’s ad, you can get 2 bottles of Tide for $10.00. Hmmmm…To save even more money, I have found that I can wash everything in COLD water and still have excellent results!

I will tell you though, that this detergent will not have the same consistency as what you buy, this will be more of a gel like substance. However, if you put it in the washer with water before adding your clothes you will never have a problem. It is wonderful at getting your clothes clean, and yes, I do still use a purchased product for pre-treating tough stains when necessary. I have altered the original recipe to one that I like best and will give you my version. I purchased a large tub with a lid at Wal-Mart and make a huge batch at once. Husband carries it to the basement for me, and when we use it ( yes, husband does laundry) we scoop it out with a long handled ladle. Of course you can funnel it into old detergent bottles, but this works best for me. The hardest part about the whole procedure is grating the bar of soap. Once that is done the rest will take only about 10 minutes or less. Here goes:

Homemade Laundry Detergent


6 pints water
1 bar Fels Naptha Soap, grated fine
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
4-6 gallon bucket or tub
2 quarts hot water
More Hot Water

Mix grated Fels Naptha with 6 pints of water and heat on low until dissolved. Stir in the Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat. Add 2 quarts Hot Water to a large bucket, add soap mixture and mix well. (I use a whisk) Fill bucket with Hot Water to equal 4 gallons, and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours, or until thickened. Use ½ cup of this mixture per load. You may mix this again to break up the gel consistency after the 24 hours.


Let me know if any of you are brave enough to try it. I will never go back to spending what I used to knowing that for just a fraction of the amount and my own water I will have the same results.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Back to School

I returned to school today, much to my dismay. Our weather for spring break was quite awful. I did accomplish quite a bit at home, so even though the weather was yucky I guess it was a good break. Youngest son finally did begin to share stories about his trip, and it sounds like it was a great week. The work they set out to do was completed and for a treat at the end of the week, they took 20 children from the slum (those with the best grades at school) to a giraffe park to feed the giraffes. He escaped any form of stomach bugs, although some in their group were hit hard. All in all it was quite an experience and he is willing to go again if the opportunity presents itself. Now to move on to the next family challenge: Number one son’s upcoming graduations and trip to Amsterdam. I do not know what I will do this summer when there is no major event to be planned out (or stressed out because of). I guess I will have to hire my services out as an event planner and fundraiser. I think there might be a great corporate job in my future if I try hard enough. If only they would let me work in my pajamas we might strike up a deal.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter-Anniversary




I am proud that two very special days have converged into one on this date. The first is Easter, and the second, my 29th wedding anniversary. Now, I am fine with giving Easter top billing. I know that the very fiber of who I am is dependant upon the circumstances of this day. I am grateful to have a Lord who loved me enough to die on the cross to forgive my sins, and then rose again to ensure my own resurrection some day.

The second event, my wedding anniversary also speaks volumes as to who I am. I have loved and lived with this man and have carved out a life on this earth which includes him. That these two days are celebrated together this year is quite a blessing.

I say all of this to introduce my walk down memory lane. I would like to reminisce for a while and explain how this wedded union all began….


If you remember from earlier posts, husband and I went to the same small town Bible College. That is where we met and this is the how:

I was a cheerleader on campus and a friend on the basketball team first introduced me to future husband, he was a nice guy and it seemed he was at all the games, so I saw him often. Soon, these meetings became slightly intentional and we entered into the pre-dating phase of a relationship.

I held an on-campus job, which in itself speaks of the 70’s. I was a receptionist in the lobby of my dorm. This was in the day when there were no cell phones, and no telephones in the dorm rooms. A single pay telephone was positioned in the middle of each hall. However, when prince charming had no pocket change he would resort to the other method of communication for his potential princess. Each room was equipped with a state–of–the-art intercom system. That is where my job came in, if I were on duty, it was my job to buzz whatever room and announce to the resident that prince charming was in the lobby. (Or possibly the pizza delivery guy)

Now, the single most important dating event of the campus was approaching and a poster for this event was positioned right behind my desk. Not only did I have to buzz other girls for their dating opportunities, but also I had to endure staring at that poster each night I worked. Dateless me helped further many relationships while I longed for a date to the Ball. Did I say Ball? Oh no, let me explain that. Remember, this is a Bible College. In the day, no honorable Bible College would host a dance; they just could not take the risk of what that might lead to. Instead the most important event of the year, one that any girl seriously working on her “M-R-S” Degree would aspire to attend, was The Winter Banquet. I was no exception. So far, a date for the banquet had eluded me. But, the very job, which seemed a curse, would also prove to be a blessing. On this particular night, my prince charming had decided to spend his evening hanging out at the desk!
This was very nice, because it gave me a chance to get to know him better and I did not feel so sad as I buzzed girls to come to the lobby. As we sat there that night and made small talk, I noticed he got rather quiet for a moment and then he quietly pointed to the poster on the wall and asked if I wanted to go to THE WINTER BANQUET. My heart leapt as I turned to him and sweetly answered yes. His next words should have spoken volumes about this man as he said, “Well, not with me, I just wondered if you wanted to go”. It took a moment for me to gain my composure and decide my next move, and while still deciding, he said he was kidding and did indeed ask me to go.

So there it is, that is how prince charming and I began this wild ride of a life together. We were married two and a half years later, have two great sons, and have been blessed beyond what we feel possible. The bottom photo is of The 1976 Winter Banquet, the date which started it all.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Kenya Homecoming

My Kenya traveler is home. Sleeping. We picked him up at his college tonight rather than the airport. After hello, his next words were, “I am so tired”. I asked if he had the cable to his digital camera so we could see pictures at home and he informed me, “I didn’t take any pictures, only about four. I will get copies of everyone else’s”. At that my mouth must have dropped because he asked if I was all right. Then he said something quite profound; he said, “I figured I should have either been working or playing with the children, not taking pictures”. I guess he has a valid point, but how can a mom show off her son’s trip to Kenya without pictures? I guess I will wait for those copies. He then wanted a milk shake but we did not stop until an hour into our trip home in order to get the best one. At that point we woke him, he took a few sips then went back to his deep sleep for the rest of the way home. Upon arrival at home he said, “ I am going to bed real soon”. He did. Five minutes after walking in our house he is fast asleep. So there you have it. I must wait until tomorrow to get any details of his trip, and that is okay. He is safe on American soil, looks healthy to me, and evidently had a good trip. I have to remember that with travel, layovers and the time change he had been awake nearly 3 days. Thank you for your prayers for all of us. I will have more details to share at a later time.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

HmmMM....


Okay, so I have too much time on my hands. But, they say you are what you eat….

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Kenya Bound

Tonight husband and I drove over to the Bible college town to see our youngest and to take him out to dinner before he leaves on Thursday for Kenya. Usually when we show up to take him to dinner he asks if a few friends can join us, (we have had as many as 7 before)…we lucked out tonight, only one friend joined us. This guy is also going to Kenya and we were glad to meet him. We went to the local Cracker Barrel. Yum. I figured a tasty All-American meal would be good for the boys. We also delivered airplane goodie bags for youngest to pass out to the kids on the trip. It is a long flight you know.

So keep him in your prayers that God would bless their labor and help them be a blessing to those they meet. Pray that God would prepare their hearts for what they will see and experience. And while you are praying you might put in a word or two for me. While I love it that he is going, I know I will be at greater peace when he is home. I thought I was fine, but the tears came when we said goodbye. I am sure he expected that.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Globetrotters

I know I have really been slacking off in my blogging lately. I am truly sorry. Both of my sons have big events coming up and the details have me very busy. Youngest leaves this Thursday bright and early for his trip to Kenya. He is getting very excited. I spent a good part of today running around and purchasing various items for the trip. I think he is basically ready. We are making a trip this Tuesday to take him out to dinner and take him all his trip essentials. I am also getting excited, and I can honestly say that at this point I am not apprehensive at all. If I were to see him off at the airport, I might think differently, but as for now I am fine. We will see how I feel Tuesday evening. I still think I will be fine, because I know how well suited he is for this trip.

Oldest son is also making preparations for his upcoming trip. Today we purchased his ticket for Amsterdam. This is an item for prayer. He will have to have a special permit allowing him to stay and “work” for six months. Anything less and a permit would not be necessary. Ironically, you have to pay for this permit, and they are not cheap. This will cost about $600.00. Pretty hefty, when he will not be paid anything to “work” there his first 3 months, and after that he will receive only about $60.00 a month. Plus, these permits take time and are a bit of a process. As for now, since the permit will not be finalized for about 6 weeks, and since rarely they do not go through, we purchased only a one-way ticket. As soon as we know his return date, hopefully in early December we will watch for our best price to purchase the return ticket. (Unless he falls in love, marries, and decides to stay…)

Oldest son is also making preparations for his graduations this May from his two colleges. That will be a hectic day for sure, one commencement at 10:00 am, and the other, 30 miles away at another college, at 2:00 pm. He is not really anxious about the second commencement, but he is doing it for Mom. Then he will have 17 days at home before Amsterdam.

So, I do have good reasons for slacking off, and once again, I will try to do better.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

This and That

I want to thank you all for your prayers on Saturday, I am much better now, it is just a one-day a year funk that I go through. I am focusing this week on the here and now. Meaning, our youngest son, who is here now for his college spring break. I will be very busy this week cooking real food, as he does not want anything from a microwave or remotely considered fast food. Yesterday I made him a Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake, which I hope he eats lots of. Two of his friends are coming to visit later in the week and he wants steaks when they come, but I am not sure the new budget will allow them. We will see, maybe if I buy nothing else at the store...for a week.

He is getting very excited about his upcoming trip to Kenya; we will go out later in the week to pick up trip necessities. His group will have a six-hour layover in Zurich, Switzerland. Oh, how he is hoping to get out of the airport. One of his goals in life is to visit all seven continents (I questioned him about Antarctica, but it is still on his list). He is planning on counting Europe when he lands in Switzerland. What do you think Bloggers, is that legal. Believe it or not, after Kenya he will have 4 of the 7 off his list. (If we allow Europe)

Well, now much more for now, but I wanted to let you all know that I am doing fine.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

March 3rd

I do not like this day. I never will. It is odd that an event, which happened 29 years ago, would shape my life forever. I have often said that I do not want to be defined by the events of my life, but rather by my reaction to them. I am not so sure that my reaction to this event has yet been finalized. I am still reacting to it. But does this event “define” me? I never wanted it to, but in some ways I guess it does. I changed forever that day.

29 years ago today my mother died. Most people step around that word, calling it passing, left, departed, lost, even expired. I just say it like it is. She died. The word and everything about it is ugly. I know it has to happen, and that it’s the way God created us, but it still stinks.

I was 21 years old. Five weeks until my wedding day. Five weeks to adjust from the saddest most hurtful day of my life to the most wonderful day. I still miss her. I miss our times together, but mostly now, I miss what we did not have, and what we will never have. I have lived more without her than I did with her, and my entire married life has held this huge void. Not once could I call my mother for a recipe, household tip, or parenting advice. Never did she hold, kiss, or baby-sit my boys. She never visited my home, commented on my decorating, or helped me pick out curtains and wallpaper. Yes, I miss my mother, but I miss the idea of a mother just as much.

To be fair, I must tell you that God stepped in to help with that void, as two incredible people became valuable mentors in my journey to womanhood, and without them I cannot tell you what I would have done.

One is my sister. I leaned on her hard in those early days. We both hurt so badly and in many ways wanted each other to fill the void that we felt. I tried to turn her into a surrogate mother, and looked to her for all types of advice and assistance. I just did not realize that being “my mother” was not really a role she desired at that time, she was grieving too hard. She needed to be just my sister, and I was grieving too hard to notice. Over the years though, our relationship as sisters is stronger than ever, and our now our roles are clear.

My other anchor became my mother-in-law. I know, it does not fit with conventional wisdom, that I would have an incredible relationship with my husband’s mother. On the day of my mother’s funeral, my soon to be mother-in-law whispered in my ear that she did not want to replace my mother, but that she would “be there if I needed her”. She did not know what she getting herself into…I have never stopped needing her!

There are few bonds stronger than that of a mother and child. That this bond would be so strong this far from the grave is a mystery to me. Will I still ache on this day 29 years from now? Will I still grieve and have pity parties when I think about the times we never had? I guess time will tell.

In the past, I have tried to use this day to celebrate her, rather than grieve. I have worn my mother’s favorite color: pink. I have gone to visit my sister and aunt and we all wore pink. I do not know yet what all this day will bring. I will try to focus on the best parts of the time I had with her, but yet realistically, I will be sad as well.

If you have a living mother, take a moment for me, and think of her. Think of the ways she has enriched your life. Think of the things you take for granted, and cherish them now. And while you are thinking, think of me please, just on this day. I still hate it.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lazy?

Sorry all, I know that I have been lazy in my blogging. I am not a lazy person; quite honestly I think I am a very productive person. I am just not able to sit at the computer as much as I would like. I have been lost in recent days to tax prep, FAFSA prep, and various types of paperwork.

I am currently reading 3 books, The Bible, Mean Girls ,(a great book I am reading with my high school girl group) , and Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey, (reading this and doing a 13 week financial study with my adult small group) and I have 2 Karen Kingsbury books calling my name. By the way, I highly recommend the Dave Ramsey study. ( I tried to underline these book titles, however Blogger would not let me)

Husband was off all weekend and we kept quite busy. It was wonderful having him help with the Saturday cleaning. Having small group meeting at your house seems to motivate you into cleaning a little deeper. On Sunday we went to SAMS and added to the Walton family inheritance. Big shopping day.

All for now, I know I am lacking in quantity. Perhaps more later.
Oh- Inkling, I am so glad you are enjoying your cookbook. I wish I could be there as well and have you or Henry David cook up something wonderful for me.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Bible Reading Update

Thank you Queen Mother for asking, you are the only one who has. I have suffered a bit with the Israelites. I guess I am still wandering in the desert of Exodus. Actually in late January I began Exodus, but for some reason, I stopped after the 4th chapter. I am however still reading. I have continued in the Gospels, and have since late January also finished Mark and Luke, I am now in John. I plan on returning to the desert and with the Israelites soon though. I have skipped some days, which I regret. I still desire to get to the point where reading my Bible comes as natural as breathing. I am going to continue to pick it up though, even if I miss a few here and there. The more I pick it back up, the more natural it will become.

Please continue to keep me on track.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

NINE, count them, NINE Children





You might think I am in a nostalgic mood, because my recent posts seem to be based upon old pictures. Actually, I am in love with my scanner and computer and am learning new tricks. As I play more with this technology, I am finding great pictures from my childhood, motherhood and every other important “hood” of my life to scan and then import into my photo program, and eventually into my blog. Some members of my family are getting about 3 emails a day of old pictures which I have dug out of their hiding places. So far they have not complained, but soon when I uncover the vacation photos they just might start.

So, here we go again with some exciting photos from the archives of Silver Belle.
You might remember from my early posts that I am the last of 9 children. I thought you all would like to see the family photo. Well, the “almost family” photo. You see, in the first picture, my mother was pregnant with me. And wouldn’t you know it, this was the last family photo they bothered to have taken. Why, you might ask? Good question. We believe that due to the twin 's (top row middle 2 boys) upcoming trip to the wild blue yonder with the United States Air Force that a photo at this stage of Mother’s pregnancy must have seemed like the thing to do. Who knew that one of the twins would decide to make a 20-year career of the military, pretty much preventing another family photo opportunity?

But alas, thanks to the modern marvel we call Photo Shop, my oldest son was able to fix the problem of the missing baby belle in the family photo.
Photo 2 clearly shows an adorable baby girl upon her daddy’s knee.
Photo 3 is the one, which was shrunk, flipped, shadowed, “noised”, (technical term) and then added to the gang.

Yes, there are a few things that could have been touched up, but all in all I think it is a fine job. I finally have the much-needed place in the family photo and my dad has someone else to smile along with him in the shot.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sunday, February 19, 1984


The day began with a phone call. At 1:00 in the morning our friend called. He was taking his wife to the hospital because she was having labor pains. I had told them to call me no matter what time it was. I did not tell him that I was possibly in labor as well. It was too early to know for sure, and I had not told husband yet. I returned to bed to inform husband of the news. All of it. As time progressed we were convinced that we would be making the same trip. By 7:30 we were entering the labor and delivery department of the local hospital. As I was being wheeled into a labor room, my friend was being wheeled out of the labor department and into a delivery room. Shortly after, we heard the news of their new healthy baby boy. What an encouragement as I prepared for the day’s events. This labor proved to be hard, with much intense back labor. Then, at 4:05 pm our firstborn arrived. He was perfect.

So, Happy BIRTH-day to me. What an amazing day it was. I do not want more children at this point, but I would live that day over in a heartbeat. To experience that joy again on this earth would be wonderful. That one day defined euphoria.

Our world changed that day, and for the better. The last 23 years have been a wonderful ride. Our son has grown into an incredible young man. The world is out there just waiting on him to finish school and soak it all in. God has plans for him, which he cannot imagine and we are so anxious to watch these plans unfold.

So, Happy Birthday to you oldest son, enjoy this day and think of the incredible adventures this year will bring. What a year it will be!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

"Aunt Silver Belle, tell me about when you were poor"


(This is the actual outhouse from my childhood.)



Many years ago, a delightful little brunette would climb on my lap and beg for stories about when I was poor. I thought it no big deal that I actually had the experience growing up of trekking to the outhouse in the middle of the night, or using the “thunder bucket” when the rain and winds prevented such a trip. I thought nothing of telling how my sister and I made our own paper dolls cut from old pattern catalogs, or that clothespins carefully placed around the perimeter of my skirt would be the perfect substitute for the fringe on a cowgirl’s costume, just like Dale Evans wore. I could see the wonder in this brunette’s eyes as I described the way I would swish that skirt back and forth to hear the clothespins dance.

This little girl would listen as I explained having to go outside to the pump and work the handle up and down to get water, and how we were fortunate to have a similar pump handle next to our kitchen sink as our only means of inside water. She loved having me describe lying in bed and watching the flames flicker inside the coal stove and seeing the glow reflected on the wall. The stories of her aunt sitting in a cold metal wash tub in the middle of the kitchen floor to take a bath and how Aunt Silver Bell’s mother would heat the water to just the right temperature would make her happy for her own warm baths.

She could not believe it when I would tell her that my family did not go out to eat, that a restaurant was for the rich, and that even the most popular fast food establishment was reserved for the rare trip to the south to visit family. That, only after begging our father to please let us have something to eat other than the cold ham sandwiches our mother had packed. Knowing his love for Coca-Cola, we were able to persuade him on a few rare occasions.

She loved the stories of how my sister and I would get excited when bags of clothes from who we thought were rich cousins would arrive. Cousins we had never really met, but whose mom was anxious to get rid of some old clothes. Clothes that we thought would elevate our standing to that of a rich kid. Clothes were magic that way.

Little brunette could not understand how my family could not afford snacks at the grocery. Basics were all my parents bought, and those only if they were on sale. My sweet tooth was satisfied by the occasional taste of powdered Jell-O, I would sneak from the cabinet. (I am convinced I should have invented Pixie-Stix)

Yes, Farm Wife, Aunt Silver Belle was poor. But I am rich in memories, which provided a vast amount of stories to tell that curious little brunette. Make memories for your own little ones; tell them all you remember about your childhood. You can even tell them about when Great Aunt Silver Belle was poor.

SNOW DAY !!

I know that God is able to do exceedingly more than we ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20) but let me make something clear. When I requested a snow day, I really did not ask for a BLIZZARD. Looks like it is here though in full force. I will use this day wisely as I am snuggled in my house, but I pray for those who must get out in this mess. Blizzards do not come often in my neck of the woods. I remember one way back when husband and I were dating, and miles apart. I do not think my boys have truly experienced this extreme weather.

I plan to post later today, another request for Farm Wife, but for now that is all. Keep warm, and safe.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Wally

Dear Readers,

I have had a special guest this weekend. Please welcome Wally into the world of blogging. He is the class penguin and he is traveling around the class enjoying big adventures. Much like Flat Stanley.

I tried to make Wally's weekend fun, so you will see in the previous posts that he was quite busy.

I will resume my regular blogging at a later date. These are for the kids in our class.

I am watching the big game. I was nervous for a while, especially when the Bears came out so strong, but the Colts did it. Mrs. W. sure was happy.

Mrs. W. and I made cupcakes for the big game. I especially liked this one.

The pews in Mrs. W's church sure are big, and they are blue like the Colts!

Yeah Colts! I knew you could do it!

Sorry Bears.

I loved the big chair in Mrs. W.'s Sunday School room.




This picture is of Wally in Sunday School today. He is reading the Bible.

Wally


This is me sleeping in my cozy bed. It was a bit warm. I wanted to sleep outside, but Mrs. W. had a problem with that.

Wally's Wonderful Weekend....


I loved the Outback Steakhouse.
The food was really good, and Mrs. W. has some really funny friends.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Wally's Big Adventure


Note to my regular readers.
Tonight’s post is different than most. The class penguin is spending the weekend with me and he has a lot to talk about…


First I want to thank whoever is in charge for the great weather here. I am feeling right at home and I love the wonderful temperatures. It is still a bit warm for me, but I am doing all right.

I am having a great weekend with Mrs. W.
On Friday night, she and Mr. W. took me out to eat along with some of their friends to The Outback Restaurant . It was a lot of fun, but it was hard to decide what to order. I shared a steak with Mrs. W. and it was quite tasty. Their friends had shrimp but didn’t even offer me any. I found that a bit rude, but I will get over it.

Today I stayed at Mrs. Walter’s house while she and her big boys went shopping all day. I thought one trip to the big city was enough, plus, I really wanted to sleep in.

I can't wait to see what else we do!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Great News

I am the worst blogger. Someday, maybe when I am old and retired, I will get to this more often.

I have great news. Oldest son has been accepted for a ministry position in Amsterdam!
He will leave in June for a six-month position at The Shelter Jordan, a Christian hostel in the heart of Amsterdam. He, and an international team, will be responsible for basic duties, such as checking in guests, some cooking, and maybe light cleaning, but will also be trained to lead small group Bible studies in English to the travelers. He will be trained for other mission outreach areas as well. To say that he is excited would be putting it mildly. He actually stayed in this hostel when he went on a short-term mission trip to Amsterdam, so he knows what it is all about and has been anxious to return. He will graduate on May 11th from both of his colleges with two bachelor’s degrees, and then will leave the first of June. He will return at the end of November. At that time he will look for a real job. How could he pass up this opportunity?
You should “Google” the Shelter Jordan, and it’s ministry programs. I am quite impressed with their mission.

My boys are becoming grown-ups right before my eyes and I am powerless to stop them. I actually do not wish to stop them, but my, the times they are a changin’. (Reference to an old song, for you young bloggers thinking I am making huge grammatical errors.)

All, for now, I am in the midst of a very busy week with something on the agenda every night. I will fill you all in at a later date.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Happy Anniversary Mother and Daddy

My parents are no longer living, but today I would wish them a happy anniversary. 72 years ago today they were married. It was on a Sunday, and after church, they were wed. My father proposed to her through a courtship of letters. He mailed her the dress he wanted her to wear. They were together for 43 years before she passed away.

Big Decision

Today's post is actually a copy of a letter which I have written to our choir director. It is from the heart, and I thought that it might be of interest. It is just a revelation that we all have gifts, given from God. We should not try to manufacture one to suit us, but that we should go with the gift He chose.

Choir Director, (names omitted)

At one time you asked us to write, “What I learned in choir”. I am as usual, a bit late. However, in one way, I am writing this at just the right time.

I do want to tell you what I have learned:

• I have learned that one, can in fact sing in the choir with no knowledge of how to read music, and that they will be accepted.

• I have learned that we are not singing to the masses, but that we are singing to an audience of ONE.

• I have learned that while our singing is partially intended to bring others into a state of worship, the biggest benefit for the choir is that it brings US into that state as well.

• I have learned that I am no longer a soprano, and made the switch to the alto section, (which still can seem like a foreign language at times).

• I have learned that when you cannot make the note, DON’T TRY. Just let the sweet sound of silence escape your lips.

• I have also learned the greatest lesson of all: I have learned, after the last 4 years or so, that, while I love the fellowship, I love the music, I love the times of sweet worship, I am truly not finding my best “fit” in choir. And I am okay with that. I have said that I actually, feel like a fish out of water. I truly feel that my gifts are best suited with the student ministry department. I find myself missing the youth while I am struggling to sing each song. Honestly, choir has always been a struggle for me, and while I feel I have improved over the years, and have gained confidence, it is not the best use of what God has given me. It still feels very unnatural. So, what I have learned at this point, is that it is time for me to bow out. Will I will miss it? Absolutely. Will I be tempted to sing along every time you are on stage? Probably. I will just let that sweet, sound of silence escape and sing along in my heart.

Many thanks to you, your husband, and the entire choir for welcoming a novice, for boosting my confidence when I had none, and for being a team which works together to make praise and worship to our Amazing Lord the most important task. I am proud to have been a part of this group.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Equal Opportunity



Decided it would not be fair to post a picture of Katie the Wonder Dog without posting a picture of Abby the Amazing Cat. I was tempted to do a "Farm Girl" technique and only show them from their backsides, but I am taking a risk and posting their adorable faces. I really don't have a cat story for you tonight. But, I am sure she will create one for you before long.

A Trim in Time Saves 90...


Word of advice: if you have a dog. Do not delay in having their nails trimmed. We knew that our black lab, Katie needed a trim. We talked about it several times. But, as things go, we just put it off. I do not trim her nails. They are all black and I am never sure where the quick is and I get scared. So we knew that a trip to the vet would be necessary.

Last night she greeted husband at the door as she always does when he arrives home from work. She was ready to play. She has a great dog-ball, with a built in handle so she can bring it back each time husband throws it. After about 3-4 times fetching the ball, they came back into the house. Immediately we noticed blood drops on the floor. Big ones. Luckily they had entered in the kitchen and I quickly blocked off the entrances to the carpeted areas. Upon examination we discovered that the poor girl had broken a nail. Now, that is bad enough when us real girls do that, but this was a small disaster. Blood everywhere, and neither husband or I quite knew what to do. We grabbed a fabric band-aid which stayed on for 3 seconds, then had better luck with a second band-aid. A brilliant thought entered my mind, and we slipped a sock up and over her paw, stretching halfway up her leg. After taping this snugly around the top we finally had her set for the night and she was welcome into the rest of the house.

Today, husband took her to the vet for a “removal of broken toe-nail”. This is where the story really gets ugly. Any time there are the words “removal of” in a medical procedure you can expect to pay the big bucks. $91.50 later, Katie is good to go. All nails neatly trimmed, antibiotics sent home and weeks worth of treatment: orally and topically.

I guess she is worth it. She was husbands 25th anniversary gift. It is just too bad she is not on husband’s insurance.

The picture is before this event. And yes, her nails were too long.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Silver Belle's Butter Bell



These pictures are by special request of the Queen Mother. Sorry Q.M. I am late reading my comments, so I just saw that you made this request.

This item is by far one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. It is a butter bell. From what I have gathered, they were first made in Normandy in the early 1800s. They work like this: You place one stick of softened real butter in the inside of the bell. About 1/3 cup of cold tap water goes in the open crock. The bell is then turned upside down. The water forms a vacuum seal, which keeps the butter fresh, not rancid, on your countertop for at least one month. This is dependent on two things: 1. You change the water to fresh tap water every 3-4 days, and 2. The butter will actually stay there a month. If you are like my family, having fresh, soft, real butter on the counter at all times is an invitation to make toast. I must admit, this item has been used daily for the last year and a half. (No, it is not the same stick of butter- I would not want to tell you how many pounds of butter it has seen so far)

Where do you buy these wonderful items you might ask? They are becoming quite popular and most mail order catalogs carry them such as, (Chef's Catalog, King Arthur's Baker's Catalog to name a couple). I purchased mine at a Doughmaker's Bakeware Factory Sale. However, I have found a local retailer that is willing to order these in special for me at a great price.

Reading update

For those of you who might wonder, I am continuing with my Bible reading. I have finished Genesis and will move into Exodus tonight. I am also reading Matthew and will finish that tomorrow night, then move on into Mark as well. It is becoming easier, and I am beginning to desire getting into the Bible more. Keep me accountable.

Dust, Email, and Snow

Finally. I have returned. I really do not like being away; it is just that I seem to always be in a flutter. I will try to catch you up with my exciting life as best I can.

On Saturday I cleaned oldest son’s room. He is back at school you know and I felt a certain urge to get down and dirty in there. My mother always said when she cleaned that someone was either coming or going because, “from dust we are created and to dust we will return”. Let me tell you that there were many coming and going in there. He has simply not acquired the cleaning gene. Nor have I for that matter. Anyway, I pitched things, sorted things, moved things and now it looks quite nice. The trouble is, I was wiped out after that. A bug, virus, or whatever got hold of me on Saturday and I was “spent” for the rest of the day. Youngest son’s room will have to wait until this coming Saturday.

Yesterday I spent the better part of the afternoon trying to fix an email problem with the new computer. Seems no one was getting my emails even though I received them just fine. It was not an easy job. Oldest son tried everything he could to diagnose over an instant messaging session of just what the problem was and how to fix it. We tried countless things. Finally he had me change a few things and he took over my computer. He is about 100 miles away and actually took over the controls of my computer. I had to change a few settings for him, and then he did his thing. It was like watching a ghost inside my computer bringing up programs and typing away. However, it did not fix the problem. I quickly changed those settings back and gained control once again. At that point, I called our ISP and they enlightened me. It seems that when you get updates online through Apple, they change security settings, which play havoc with the email program. Fortunately I was speaking to a tech that actually knew what he was talking about. After maybe 5 minutes, the problem was solved and I am good to go. I apologies to those who thought something should have had a reply…I did not know things were not going through.

Today I went to school, reluctantly. I am waiting for a snow day. We did have snow this weekend. About an inch and a half. Not enough. I want lots. Just once, I want enough to wake up to the exciting news of school being cancelled. I know I am spoiled, but there is just something about that unexpected day off that is by far grander than any planned day off. I feel so productive on those days because I am immediately in a good mood after hearing that announcement. So, I will keep wishing and hoping.

I should go now. Meat loaf is in the oven and I want to prepare some potatoes to oven roast along with it. I will try my best to update more often.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Silence and Slugs

The silence is strange. Number one son left Monday for his last semester of college. Both of the boys are now gone and the house is not only quiet, but a bit empty. Literally. They take so much back and forth with them. My sunroom is once again mine instead of being filled to the gills with game systems, stereos, vinyl albums (yes, vinyl- they are popular once again) and all sorts of college guy paraphernalia. Our dog is now moping through the house. She is used to sleeping with one of them during the night and lying across them in the daytime. Now she is quite confused. I am not moping, but I am finding the house to be a bit too quiet.

Now would be a great time for all of those winter projects that I keep putting off, however, I do not seem to have the motivation required for such tasks. Usually after school, and endless errands I just feel the desire to be a slug for the rest of the evening. Am I the only one who truly deep down feels like a slug at times? I hope I am not.

Perhaps after a few more days of adjustment I will find a neglected task or two to dive into. That is, if a slug CAN dive…

Monday, January 15, 2007

Recipe Request for Farm Wife

Snicker Doodles

1/2 cup margarine (soft)
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1-teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cinnamon/sugar mixture to coat

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix margarine, sugar, shortening, and eggs until creamed. Blend in dry ingredients.
Shape into balls and roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture.
Bake 8-10 minutes.

Kitchen Toys



These are my new toys. I actually received them about a week ago, but had problems uploading the photo. It is a set of English Baking Canisters. They are beautiful light tan stoneware with very nice gasket seals inside. I love them. They are huge. The flour canister holds a whopping 10 pounds as does the sugar canister, while the brown sugar one holds 3 lbs. I am not a daily baker, but I do bake often enough that a typical canister set can be a pain when you have to refill them constantly. It is a serious hobby. Today, I baked mint chocolate chip cookies to send with one of my college boys.

In my list of favorite things, I mentioned kitchen gadgets. These are not quite considered gadgets, but they are for the kitchen and they do make me happy. They rate right up there with my cookbook collection. I may have to post a photo of that at a later date.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sister Belle

I have one sister. Coming from a large family with many brothers, I am blessed that God decided that the only two girls should be placed next to each other in the birth order. I am the baby and “Sister Belle” is nearly 2 ½ years older. Our relationship has come a long way, a very long way. Today, I was fortunate to spend the day with her and I was reminded just how blessed I am. As children we had a typical love-hate relationship. Sometimes we were the best of friends, but often we wanted little to do with each other. Then, in high school the gap widened. We really did not like each other for a while. Then changes began. She married. She became a homemaker extraordinaire. She gave me a nephew and niece, both of whom I adored. I moved away to go to college and realized how much I really loved her, and missed her. She became my best friend. Then about 11 years ago, she became a true sister. She gave her life to Christ and was baptized. I cannot tell you how much closer we have become since that day. We live one hour apart. I know that is a mere stone’s throw to many of you, but it is too far. I would have her as my next-door neighbor if possible. We are very close, and we take the time to remain close. She is still a “homemaker extraordinaire”; she cooks, bakes, quilts, paints, and has an incredible flair for decorating. I am amazed at all she can do, and do well. Recently, she met an important challenge head on and has come out the victor. I am very proud of her. Our relationship is "real". She can be honest with me, and I with her.

So, “Sister Belle” if you happen to read this post, please know how much you mean to me. How much you have blessed and enriched my life. I just don’t take the time to say it often enough. I love you.

Hi, My Name is Silver Belle and I can't Spell...

First of all let me get something off of my chest. It has been brought to my attention that I should not proclaim myself as an educator on one post, and then have a spelling error on the next. Let me come clean. I, much like Farm Wife cannot spell. There, I feel better already. I admit, I sometimes try to use big words but don’t know how to spell them. When youngest son is home I can use him as a walking and talking dictionary. However, he has returned to school. But to my defense, I only work with challenged students. I know the words that I teach in my spelling group; I just don’t think I can bump these kids up to a higher level just yet. So, if you delight in picking out my errors, go ahead. I might even have a daily contest for the one who can pick out the errors the fastest and then make a comment to my post. I am thinking that just maybe, if I blog daily that I will learn a few new words along the way and teach the teacher a thing or two.

Something else was brought to my attention. In an earlier post, the one titled “This is Me”; I accidentally mentioned that my father passed away 2 ½ years after my mother. I do not know why I said that. He died just 1 ½ years later. That had to be a typo. I know the time frame all too well.

So, now with corrections and confessions made, I can get on to the true reason for my bogging. To empty my mind of the trivial, and excessive thoughts that must find a place at the end of the day. So, hang on, there is more to come…