Friday, March 29, 2013

It's 'Bout That Time!

I remember one year my mother said she was putting me in charge of dying the Easter eggs.  I was thinking about this the other day and had to chuckle.  I was the only one available to dye the Easter eggs, but I was still "in charge".  That meant that mother was working on other things that had to be done, and I was capable of taking care of the egg project on our To Do List.
  It's 'bout time to dye eggs around here.
  I think I will find someone to be "in charge"!
My mother had such good ideas!
I just didn't realize it.
 I think I dyed 108 eggs that year.  Our chickens laid the eggs, so we had plenty.  I remember longing for white eggs instead of brown eggs because I thought the dye would make prettier eggs if they were white.
I got them all done though.  Easter was fun around our house hold.  Mother wanted to have a big Easter egg hunt every year.  We invited the church kids and neighbor kids and pretty much anyone who wanted to come hunt eggs.
We didn't have any of the "fancy smancy" plastic eggs filled with candy.  No siree...they were the old fashioned hard boiled ones with a yellow yolk inside.  Yes, a dry crumbly yellow yolk.  And I loved them.  I still do!
The old spillway, Lake Fort Smith State Park, Mountainburg, Arkansas
We would go to Lake Fort Smith State Park, in Mountainburg, for the egg hunt.  The park was beautiful with this gorgeous spillway and huge swimming pool.  It had a playground, a picnic area, and a road that wound through the park. 
 It was a fun place to hang out.
  I made wonderful memories here.
My husband and I had a picnic here for our rehearsal dinner the night before we got married.
Yes, a picnic!
  We wanted everyone from both our families to be together and this is where it happened.
I may not have a beautiful park to take everyone to, but I am planning on making memories hunting eggs again.  So Sunday afternoon our yard with be filled with as many children as I can find to come join us for our annual egg hunt!
Call me, text me, send me a message on facebook.
I need to know how many eggs to have ready...the plastic candy filled ones, that is.
Have a wonderful Easter weekend, celebrating the reason for a New Life.
"Amazing Love! How can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?"
   Charles Wesley

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Humor Me Yet Again

Thank you for your patience with me as I post yet one more blurry picture of the sleeping duckling. 
 We have a bazillion pictures of these two and scads of video footage.
  In this digital world is it still called "footage"?
Yeah, probably not. 
 It sure has been great Spring break entertainment. 
 I know that for sure. 
 What a blessing!
May I present just one more photo from Kerry?
"This was the hardest photo I have ever taken. I had to climb a tree, balance on thin sapling branches and hold the camera with one hand, all while trying not to shake the branches. I had one shot. I am so glad it turned out and that guy didn't jump on me and poison me."

The photo and comment above is taken from Kerry's (my niece)face book timeline (with permission).
So see, yesterday I wasn't joking about what she goes through to get a photo she wants.
Only, I thought it was a picture of a snake...I was so focused on the green branch, trying to figure out the "snakeness" of it that I didn't even see the little frog...
...silly me...if it was a snake it would have bitten me.
See the red/orange frog?
It's right there on the green snake, I mean, branch.
Oh yeah, now you see it too, huh?

Have a good day.
Don't climb too many trees.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Kerry Does It, So I Think I Should Too

A couple of days ago, I introduced you to Marshmallow and Smore.  I am so disappointed that this photo is blurry, but it took much tip toeing across the tree branches and hanging suspended from a rope and arching my back at a 45 degree angle, while crossing my fingers and all 10 toes in hopes that I didn't fall, to get this fantastic, yet blurry, picture of the sleeping duck. 
Well really, I didn't have to go to quite that extent of physical duress to photograph my subject of choice, the duckling.

However, my niece Kerry balances on cliffs and palm branches  or hangs suspended from 40 foot grapevines and other dangerous things like that, to take photos of poisonous snakes and rare birds in the jungles of exotic places. (I might have exaggerated slightly, but probably not much!) And she gets some freaky awesome pictures that way. See the one shown above.  I am so proud of her.  She took it. 
  I just wanted to see how it would sound if I pretended to photograph in dangerous situations too!
Eh, not so great. Huh?
Actually, it was very mundane and quite routine as  I  walked across the floor to take the picture of the sleeping ducky.  I would see my daughter flailing her arms to come quickly because obviously something was going on with the ducks.
Every time that I would assume approach mode, to take the picture the ducky would wake up.
  That was quite interesting also.
    The ducky's little head would pop up and wobble as though it was so tired it could hardly lift its head. 
 The little black eyes would open, close and blink, blink, and then plop,  back down the head would go,
  sound asleep once again, sort of.
So in case you have never seen a little yellow duckling stretch out and sleep, well...there ya go!
I sense your enthusiasm.

However in honor of a truly miraculous bird sighting, I submit to you what Kerry wrote in the comments of her face book post under the photo of the bird shown above.  The bird is the Quetzal, national bird of Guatemala.  Kerry and her husband live in Costa Rica.  Their photography is "jaw ~droppingly" beautiful. I have used her photo and comments with permission.
"we saw him in Monteverde.
Donnie and Ralph, we actually saw two! A pair! And it's not even quetzal season. We were incredibly lucky, for sure. We actually learned today that there are only about 200 left and none in Guatemala anymore because of deforestation. This is our second time at this forest and our second time seeing one. The first time was in 2006 but it was just a female."


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Feelin' Puny

"Oh hi!  Spring!  Is that you?  How are ya?   Feeling kinda puny are ya?   I'm SO sorry! Well, you'll be better and fresh as a daisy soon!"
In spite of the fact that Spring arrived WAY back there on March 20th, we had 9 inches of snow fall between 5 P.M. Sunday and yesterday afternoon.
Spring is here.  Yes it is! 
 It doesn't matter that there is snow. 
 I'm sure it will melt soon.
I'm SURE of it!!

Oh the power of postive thinking!

Monday, March 25, 2013

May I Introduce You

 Hello World, meet Marshmallow and Smore.  They are our newest additions to the family.  They have become great Spring break entertainment since we are all snowed in.
Fortunately we know the CEO, COO, CFO and chief cook and bottle washer out there at Heritage Summit Farm just west of town, out toward the setting sun. 
Hopefully in a couple weeks she will have a couple new pets out there to call her own. 
She says they have a special bond. 
I'm sure they do.
Yes, I'm quite sure they do.
P.S. To the CEO, COO, CFO and chief cook and bottle washer:  the son said we could, well, because the son did it too!!
 I realize this statement doesn't make much sense at all...isn't that the way it always is with the fine print?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I Think There Is Hope!

Yesterday, one of my five amazing brothers texted this picture to me with this message,
 "This flower knows today IS the first day of Spring!!"
That totally absolutely emphatically made my whole day!
Ah, such cheer.
So encouraging!
Brave fragile life.
Spring is here!
All 17 degrees of it!!
Is 'texted' a word?
Everyone says it...
...uses it.
Spell check and auto correct don't recognize it.
I just wonder if it will eventually be a word like "deer".
She "text" me.  I "text" it.
You know like, burst, burst and burst...
not busted, bust and busting...
That's all weird!
At least in my opinion it's weird.
Deer ~ is a noun. 
 Text ~ is a verb.
Uh, is it?  Or, are they?
 Maybe not.
  I better ask the English teacher.
The deers texted!
I need to stop thinking about that.
I'm all mixed up now.
Happy Spring y'all.
Do you say texted?
And also, thanks to my amazing brother for joining me on my treasure hunt for sightings of Spring!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I Wonder Why?

Today, for the record,
it's 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
It feels like 17.
It's the first day of Spring!!
I thought I'd tell ya that,
just in case there was a question.
I wonder why people choose to live in this cold country?
Maybe we should move to Alaska.
Uh, oops, never mind.
I just checked.
In Fairbanks it is -9 degrees F.
Feels like -19.
I'll pass on that move.
At least for today.
So what's the weather like in your neck of the woods?
P.S.  If you are wondering...I did NOT just pick those flowers shown in the photo above.  But maybe I will pick some like them about May 20th...unless I've moved to Alaska by then!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Considering What?

If we've told our kids once, we've told them a hundred times, "Don't say I can't.  Say, I will try!"
The other night she said to me, "Mom, you aren't considering God when you say that it is impossible to get this tangle out, because with God nothing is impossible.  You should have said it will be very hard to get this tangle out."
"Yes, you are right, I should not have said it is impossible.  I should have said it will be very hard.  Thank you for the reminder that God can do anything."
I've been thinking about that matter of fact reminder all week...
...all TWO days of this week.
Great food...for thought.
Nothing is impossible...even when it doesn't go the way we wish.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Seriously! What Should I Do?

There are a lot of things that I would like to do that I don't do...for a variety of reasons.
There are  foods that I would like to eat that I don't eat very often.

Can you hear me say, "Fried potatoes!!?"
Oh and don't even get me started on Dr. Pepper...I LOVE IT!!
I rarely drink it.
Popcorn! I love it!  I eat it!  Bless its heart!
I have gotten rid of things I like.
Across the years,  I've tried to simplify in a balanced sort of way.
There have been times that life has screeched me to a stand still and I've been stymied in my tracks.
I've been hindered.. and.not made much progress.
Always, in my heart I am trying to take a step forward, toward improvement.
I tell my kiddos, "Clutter is unhealthy...physically, financially, emotionally and spiritually."
We deal with clutter around here. 
We are a sensitive and emotional crew.
Of course, we feel sorry for the trash.
It might get its feelings hurt because we threw it away.
At least that is what my son said when he was but a wee lad.
Now I had never thought of it that way.
But of course I think of it now.
We still throw trash away.
I just thought you should know that.

Each person has their own definition of what they consider clutter.
I'm not just talkin' 'bout "stuff" clutter, but also "LIFE" clutter,
 the things that hold us back and hinder us from truly being successful.
I keep considering this stack of magazines.
What if they get their feelings hurt because they hear me say they are taking up prime real estate?
I mean come on. 
They are my favorite ones that I have collected across several years.
They go back to 1996, I think, maybe farther.
I've made friends through them.
Well, the friends I have made don't know that we are friends.
Oh, but we are!
Yes, we really are.
I "know" the editors, stylists and contributors.
We are on a first name basis I tell ya.
It's sick.
Do I need these magazines?
I take two or three on road trips.
Road trips rarely happen.
I grab a couple as I head out the door to read while I sit at a stop light or wait in line at the bank.
Do they bring me joy and relaxation?
There's nothing like following the styling antics of Sunday Hendrickson or Fifi O'neal.
Could I use this space that they occupy for something else more productive?
The fashion designs that I do for my clients requires all kinds of bits and bobbles, fabric, lace, thread, bobbins and needles.
It has to be organized or it slows me down and I waste time and money.
This magazine shelf is starting to look like prime real estate.
Do I let go of something else that I love (magazines)?
The bits and bobbles are used to serve my family.
The magazines don't serve my family.
They fulfill a need (or is it a want) in me.
I wonder if Princess Catherine would want the 12 or 15 that I have of Princess Diana.
I mean the royal grandbaby will certainly need remembrances of the late Princess grandmum.
Yes, what an excellent idea.
Thanks for talking me into it.
I think I will see if I could have those shipped to her.
Priority of course!
Y'all have these conversations with yourselves too, don't you?
You are constantly letting go too, aren't you?
Yes, I know you are!
What a trivial thing to consider when there are life changing events happening all around.
If this decision is as bad as it gets, then that is pretty good.
Yep, that's a pretty good deal for a girl like me.
I think the magazines may be out the door soon.
Sob and sigh.
Start the gloom and sadness soundtrack.
 Good bye Romantic Country, Victoria, Tea Time, Southern Lady, Mary Englebreit's Home Companion, Romantic Homes, Cottages and Bungalows, Cottage, Flea Market Style...
I've gotta stop it.
Will I regret this?
Seriously! What should I do?

Friday, March 15, 2013

I Have No Idea How This Will Come Across!

I've seen parents who have followed all the rules of successful parenting from A to Z.  They've read the books and applied the principles for greatness in children since their children were conceived.  And their children are wonderful.  The parents seem to bask in the glow of their success.
I have seen other parents do all of the above and they have suffered tremendous heartache with their children.  The parents shake their head in wonder at what they could have done differently.  They hold their head in shame.
I have seen parents who are neglectful of their children,  seemingly uncaring of what comes or goes and their children are a true delight and compliment to society in spite of their parents apparent neglect. 
I have never felt like I was one of those "great" parents.  I know I have always tried to do my best, but I never felt like I "measured up".
  It seemed like I was so busy learning all the lessons that God was teaching me about my faults, through the moment by moment life of rearing my children, that I really didn't feel like I had much of a "glow in which to bask".
I have prayed for my children constantly.  I have prayed for their past to be redeemed.  Their present to be filled with wisdom.  And their future to be fulfilled with God's plan.
As our older sons have matured it is neat to see their friends turn to them for guidance in life issues.
Everyone is busy.
Everywhere you turn people are hurting.
Around our home there is very little down time...including night time.
His flight was leaving early.  The alarm should buzz about 4:15 a.m. and then in fashion typical to our household a quick bustle to head out the door for the airport would rapidly ensue.
He awakened me a little before 1:00.
"Mom, I just want you to know that my friend is sleeping on the couch tonight", he said softly.  "I didn't want you to be startled if you went downstairs." 
"What's up?" I asked.  "He called me a few minutes ago and asked me if I could come get him.  He needed to leave the place he was staying.  It wasn't safe."  was his reply.
Our son never slept that night before his flight left.  I was up a lot too, making sure things were ok.
In the morning I found our son's Bible laying on the arm of the sofa. 
My heart sang.
His present is being filled with wisdom.
  His friend's present was being filled with wisdom through our son's advise. 
I saw the power of prayer.
I have no idea how this will come across to any of you. 
I know there are discouraged parents out there.  You have tried your best to "follow the plan for success" but you don't feel successful at all. 
I feel pain with you.
It is so easy to compare ourselves to the parents who have their plan together and the children are following it to the T.  I admit, I've been right there comparing myself too.  I think that is probably wrong.  God fulfills His purpose in each of us.  We don't fulfill it for HIM in our children.

I believe we have a responsibility to train our children the best we know.
I have no idea how this comes across.
I do know the power of prayer.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Cute pi Shirt and Yummy Strawberry Pie Recipe

Today was pi day at school.
For all the math wizards in my family (which would be everyone except me) having pi day at school on 3.14.13, was a "no brainer". 
Well, I admit, it took me a second.
Maybe you can google it if  this makes no sense to you. 
I can't figure out how to explain it!
Silly, silly me!
She said there was a pi party at school today and to go to the party you had to bring something having to do with pi. 
She decided  what she wanted to take.
She needed a white shirt, fabric markers and the computer.
She bought her shirt and markers with her own money; googled the pi equation and symbol...then got to 10 p.m.
I remember starting projects late at night like this.
I think I might have made my mother a little crazy.
I'm reaping what I have sown.
I may have a little designer on my hands.
Her shirt was adorable.
I did NOT help with it at all.
I only gladly rushed in every .4 seconds every time I heard her yell, "Mom, please come take a picture."
Then I stood admiring her every tired and loving mom should at 11:15 p.m.
Life is interesting here.
She agonized over her mistakes and figured out a way to camouflage them.
Today is 3.14...pi day.
Our college son was home for spring break last week.
Strawberry pie was on his wish list.
I made three.
That was LAST week.
I won't do THAT this week.
Strawberry pies don't last long around here.
Here is my family's favorite recipe.
I got it from my sister in law Joy.
She is pure joy.
You need to know that.
This scrumptious pie is pure joy.
You need to know that too!
Strawberry Pie
1 c. water
1 c. sugar
3 T. corn starch
3 T. strawberry jello ( dry straight from the box)
3 c. fresh sliced strawberries
1 pie crust already baked
In a sauce pan combine water, sugar and cornstarch.  Bring it to a boil stirring constantly and cook it until it is thick like pudding.  It will start to pop and make little bubbles that burst and burn your arms.  I warned you...but it is SO worth it.  Your kids will call you supermom.  When it is really thick, remove it from the heat and stir in the strawberry Jello (dry) and mix it well.  Pour the glaze gel over the fresh strawberries.  Mix well. Pour glazed strawberry mixture into a previously baked pie crust.  Chill until ready to serve.  If you can wait that long!
If you want to add cream filling underneath your strawberry filling, here is a general idea of how I do it.
Cream Filling:
Cream ( if you want it) this is where it gets a little ditsy.
I just guess at this part and figure it out as I go every.time.I. make.this. pie!
Ugh...makes me crazy really.
I wish I would stop doing stuff that makes me kinda' crazy.
But I just use a little cream cheese and a little powdered sugar and a little half and half and blend it until it is smooth.
If it doesn't taste right or look right, I just keep adding and tweaking those three ingredients until I am happy.
It doesn't take much to make me happy.
My family has never said, "Moooommmm, this is SO disgusting.  You tweaked the cream filling again."
Nope they always want the cream filling, so I'm always flyin' by the seat of my pants...or something like that to make the cream.
And in the full disclosure of total honesty, the cream filling in the pie I made last week was cream I had left from the crepes I served on Sunday night.  It was the same ingredients that I mentioned above...just more of it and fluffier because I used more half and half.
My sister in law didn't tell me to put the cream filling under the strawberries.
So it is optional.
Oh, I already told you that.
Oh, and uumm, I make three strawberry pies at a time.
So I just triple the ingredients in the recipe above.
Because I'm efficient like that. ( totally...not)
Actually I make three pies because my pie crust recipe makes three pie crusts.
And I LOVE my pie crust recipe.
It is fun.
And besides, seriously, who can stop at only one pie?
So happy pi day.
Now go make some pie.
Or tell me your favorite recipe that you got from YOUR sister in law Joy.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's Back!

Fast and furiously the snow fell last night.
It was dizzying to look up into the darkened sky and watch the flakes swirl to earth.
They were large and fluffy, round and three dimensional.
It looked to me as though it was snowing cotton balls.
It's still cold.
I long for Spring.
Outside the snow continues falling.
When Spring comes, the snow will turn to rain.
I wonder will anyone be happy...
I have honestly tried to not complain.
I don't think I've complained.
Have I complained?
I can't stop the snow.
I can't cause the sun to shine,
or the rain to fall.
I can't will the flowers to bloom,
by grumbling and complaining.
Grumbling will only steal my joy.
I will be robbed of the energy I need for today.
Oh lands... I ever need energy!
I hope I'm not grumbling.
Ok...don't grumble!
All I can do is look for a new perspective.
I can control my attitude.
I can change the negative things I might say
to positive words.
Snow is amazing.
It is beautiful.
The swirling snow creates a picturesque backdrop.
To an  artistic eye, I suppose it becomes a stunning study in black and white.
Is it still snowing where you are?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How Can They Do That?

I saw my first sighting of spring flowers yesterday. 
 I was flying down...well driving down actually...the street and realized that someone had purple crocuses blooming in their flower bed.
I was thrilled for them.
I wanted some.
I don't have purple crocuses.
 Because I was flying...well driving actually...
I didn't take a picture of their crocuses.
I thought that might not be safe.
I went into my archives of photos and found one that I had taken another time I had found an accidental sighting of purple crocuses.
I wanted those in my flower beds also.
I wasn't coveting. :)
When I looked at the photo, I sighed as I admired the soft "purpleness" covered with dew drops.
I don't think "purpleness" is a word, but it works.
You are sighing too, aren't you?
I know you want some too.
But you aren't coveting either!
How do those crisp and fragile flowers have courage to bloom in weather like this?
It's cold! 
In the past I have seen crocuses blooming in snow. 
Bless their little hearts...well they probably don't have hearts...but bless their little hearts.
They thrill me so.
Have you seen your first flower sighting for the spring. 
This is not to be mistaken with a "Big Foot" sighting. 
Yeah, flowers, have you seen any?

Monday, March 11, 2013

This Is All That Is Left

  The big. huge. "ginormous" snowball that I thought might last till July was just a tiny hand size snowball when I took this picture this morning. That is a pair of plastic toy arms with hands and a broken carrot nose. There are times I feel like this...kinda scattered and dissolved. That is all that was left... 
...of this.  And the big. huge. "ginormous" snowball became the base for the largest snowman.  Our snow family melted and drizzled down into the cold winter soil.  Yep, they melted, but the kids froze!
Spring IS coming!!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

It May Not Stop Traffic, But It's Ours!

 As we were getting in the car for the ride to school yesterday she said, "Mom, this is perfect packing snow. I came out and checked."
   So after school the snow fun started.   Yes, I helped.  (In case you were wondering.)  At some point it turned into a family affair, which relieved me to stand back and take pictures as I chuckled to myself at the sillyness. 
This humongous hunk of snow was taller than my waist.  And two  could no longer budge it. 
So while our sculptures probably won't stop traffic in the middle of the street or make national should be known that we have a very large snowball in our yard and we're happy about it. 
Who knows that snowball may last till July!
Won't that be grand?
Have you ever built a snowman?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What's In A Decade?

 This day, ten years ago, dawned much the same way it did today.  Then as now, a late winter snow storm swept through and left us gasping with its beauty.
 I've tried to find words to match my feelings as I looked at this in amazed wonder.  Words fail adequate expression.
 White beyond white etched a line around nature.
 The flakes came steady and quickly.
Close to 1:00 AM, I stood in the darkness peering at the phenomenon that fell before my eyes.  I moved from room to room watching the snow from different windows.  I was immersed in wonder.  And though the warm covers of bed beckoned me I wanted the unfolding of nature etched in my memory. The sky was light with the white of snow and I tried to embrace and capture what I saw.  I sighed and as I did it seemed as though ten years brushed past.  It seemed I saw the laughter and tears, the joy, the pain and sorrow, the happiness.  My memories swirled around me in much the same way the snow swirled earthward.
 The morning she was born a decade ago, we woke to a similar scene.  I remember on that night before, watching the snow fall through the night as the moon shone amidst the white, scattering the shadows. 
 That day brought excitement as we welcomed a new darling to our family.  We were thrilled and overjoyed.  Our pre-teen sons were uncertain as to how life would change.  For that matter we were uncertain, though thrilled, we realized every event brings change. 
 And change has come.  Change comes to everyone.  No one can escape it tentacles. We have chosen joy and happiness and carried deep discouragement and sorrow.  We are changed.  Through this night my heart recounted a decade of memories.   
 I inhaled and tried to hold onto the beauty and what I know. 
 The snow will melt. 
Spring will come.  Change will come. 
 Embracing this moment is all I have.   
I'm reminded again how richly I am blessed.  A decade has passed.  Many times across these ten years,  I have wondered how a day would unfold.  And in the unfolding, life happened.
  Glorious wonderful life.
Ten years of life.
Rich rich blessed blessed life!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

In The Stillness

Be still and know...
Our daughter said to me, "Mom, one thing I find interesting is how much Moses knew God and how much stronger his relationship with God was, than his brother Aaron who knew about God much longer."
(Moses was raised in an Egyptian palace by the princess, not with his Hebrew family in which his siblings were raised.)
I said, "Yes, when we pursue God and He knows we want a relationship with Him, He makes His way clear to us."
Just being...still...

Monday, March 4, 2013

Spring Is Just Under The Surface!

About a week and a half ago I was delighted to see that some of our daffodils and tulips had ventured to stick their crisp green sprouts through the cold hard soil.
As time passes and winter continues here, I wanted to say, "Quick run for the hills or head south or get outa Dodge.  Ice is on its way."  But the amazing beacons of Spring just stayed right where they grew.  They seemed steady and sure of themselves that the weather was sure to change and sunshine and warmth would come.
What a neat life lesson I learned as I pondered my annual delights of color; hold steady, stay the course, wait for the sunshine.  The cold winds blow, icy coatings bring pain, but tomorrow will be a new day.
I think I want to know...are your tulips and daffodils blooming?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Do You Know The Answer?

It's cold and dreary,

gray and cold.

There's no wind, but it's cold.

There's a  spattering of snow,

and it's cold.

It's wet and drizzly and

yep, you guessed it...


Did March come in like a lamb,

or lion?

So here is what I question?

How did March march in, in...

(that's a weird phrase)

...your neck of the woods?

How did March march in, in your neck of the woods?

I wonder if that  previous sentence is a real sentence? 

Or for that matter, are any of these sentences real?

 I should ask an English teacher.

Bye now, I am off to ponder more pressing questions.