Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Three things you need to know...

Steak Taquito

This is a steak taquito from Taco Bell. It is quite good and comes with one of three dipping sauces. You may not find this useful, but for a girl with $3.00 and an empty belly I found it delightful.


This is Jenn. Not really Jenn, but the expression that Jenn is probably making right now. Jenn is many months pregnant and is *having a kidney stone* as she puts it. Let's pray for Jenn and if you live nearby, let's bring her vanilla icing (no spoon necessary).

Finger Splint

This is a finger splint. It is really a wonderful contraption to use when you leave your finger in the door jam after you have forcefully tried to slam the door (the big- metal- heavy- front door) and the finger prevented that from happening. My finger has undergone some color and size changes over the last 24 hours and just let me tell you this. Never scoff at someone who has slammed their finger in the is searing, nauseating, breathtaking pain. SV, if you are reading this all I can say is.....I have come so close to feeling your pain and HAVE MERCY! I gripped my lame hand with my left hand and in those 4-5 seconds following the "event" when I was screaming HELP ME CHRIS, HELP ME GOD, HELP ME CHRIS, OH HAVE MERCY, OH HAVE MERCY, OH HAVE MERCY there were about 14,000 thoughts that rambled through my brain in the way that mother's do best..... O.K., find the finger, put it on ice, call DT to come and get Samuel and Hannah, Emma is at gymnastics, she will need to go home with a friend, will they spend the night with someone while I spend hours having my mutated finger put back together, what about tomorrow, who will drive for preschool, oh we need to pick up the Volkswagen from the shop, who will write the kids their notes for their lunchbox....(be sure to read this really fast so that it doesn't make any sense, because that is exactly the way these notions blasted through my peanut brain)

Enter --Husband who is nothing if not "chilled out" so just his presence alone brings an immediate calmness to my ever so freaked-out mind. Well it was his presence and him saying, "calm down" in a way that I sort of felt like an 8-year old kid.

O.K., so I look down ready to behold my mangled appendage and I'll be darn if the thing wasn't still there just throbbin' away! (with a fair amount of blood mind you) O.K., (first breath so far) I am calming down but still making more racket than I did during childbirth. Kinda like moans coupled with WHAT DO I DOOO, WHAT DO I DOOO, WHAT DO I DOOOO? (again said very fast, very incoherent, kinda like a coyote)

Enter--Hannah.....child of mine who has inherited my uncanny ability to remain calm and so she begins to scream hysterically, OH MOMMA, OH MOMMA, OH NO, OH NO, OH NOOO MOMMA, MOMMA, MOMMAAAA!

O.K. times up. Whistle has been blown. Flag has been thrown. This little episode of mom's hysteria comes to an abrupt end. Man, can't a woman flip out anymore? Nope, not once she has kids. Even if she chops her ring finger off, she better stay calm for the kids sake. Agghhh, the sacrifices never end. I say to Chris through clenched teeth....get that child out of here right now....she is making things worse!

So as I begin to realize that the finger is going to remain united with my hand and Hannah clears my space because two hysterical females = one male ready to fly the coop and I certainly need him to stay around, the adrenaline finally starts to clear the air. As we clean up and I call Hannah downstairs to smooth her feathers and reassure her that I am fine and remind her that momma's freak out too, I remember Samuel. Oh little Sam! Where is he? Oh bless his heart, he's probably hiding in a dark closet somewhere, stroking his little bear and crying in fear over his mother's suffering.

"Sam.....Samuel where are you?" From about 10 feet away in the living room, lying on his belly, he calls out...."I right here... I laying right here.... (exasperated sigh) I just watching Peter Pan." (insinuated-duh)

Thanks buddy.

Hannah's advice when it was all over was two-fold. First....."Mom, you know Jesus knew this was going to happen all along." Thank you God for teaching Hannah about your sovereignty, even during my times of extreme pain. Next time, can you grant her with divine peace so that she doesn't flip her wig?

Second....."Mom, don't you think we should take a picture for your blog?" Now that right there, makes a bloggin' momma proud.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Housewife Fantasy...

This vintage postcard has the title of "Housewife Fantasy". Sorry fella''s sad, but true.

Sure, roses are great. Jewels aren't so bad. But if you do the dishes.....well, there just aren't words to express the infatuation for my man when he empties that dishwasher. It is a beautiful thing.

Leslie has written a fantastic post today about being a "Great Wife". She has been reviewing Ginger Plowman's book, Heaven at Home and chapter 3 was a swift kick to the shins....for me anyway. I reluctantly admit that I have often felt like passing the baton when I see Dad pull into the driveway. Of course, this is not honoring the biblical call of being his wife....their mother....a holy-homemaker. Ginger's word on persevering is a great reminder:

"You absolutely can't do it in your own strength. You can never be strong enough, smart enough, resourceful enough. Putting others first just doesn't come naturally. Laying aside what you want, to serve another with grace and contentment--that is what God calls you to."

I have not read this book yet, but I am anxious to do so. As Christian women we are all striving to create a heavenly haven for our husbands and this post was a real encouragement to do

Monday, February 26, 2007

Susie's been here...

I've had a little bluebird visit my blog and my-oh-my, if I do say so is definitely my color :) The bluebonnets make me draw a deep breath and slow down for a minute or two.
I have not laid my eyes on bluebonnets in full bloom in almost 8 whole years and that is just plain wrong.

Oh well, I can gaze at them here on my blog and remember Susie and her sweet patience. Thank you Susie!!!

Preschool it's best

What you need to know is that the lock was placed on the *outside* of the gate with the sole purpose of keeping the boy inside the fence. I thought we had at least another year before he could reach over the top to flip the latch. I underestimate the boy.

I guess we will have to keep the prison yard free from sticks and do a pat-down search of all visitors to check for contraband.

Lord, please use this criminal mind to bring you glory. Amen.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Amillia Sonja Taylor

She was born at 22 weeks gestation.
She weighed less than 10 ounces when she was born.
Her mother lied about the age of her baby because she knew they would not attempt resuscitation if they knew she was less than 23 weeks.
Her mother and father took her home on Friday, February 21st 2007!
Our creator knew Amillia's miraculous birthday long before we did....

"Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16

It is often argued that abortions performed after 20 weeks gestation represent only 1% of the total number.

...that would equate to over 15,000 "Amillia's" per year.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I was tagged by Christina to answer a few little ditties about myself. Her questions are answered in more of an essay format, but I'm lazy so I copied the original quiz from Zoanna. It would be better if I tried to make it mysterious and changed a few around to let you guys try to guess but it seems funnier to just go with the one that was there....especially the first question.

1. Which dramatic role have I never had?

a. Rumpelstiltskin, title role, 4th grade skit
b. Amaryllis, piano lesson girl in "The Music Man", 6th grade, community musical
c Fairy in "Dance of the Swan" , 3rd grade ballet
d. Emily in "Our Town," high school play

None. BUT- I was Sleeping Beauty in the 2nd grade (ohhhhh- says the crowd) Now picture this. I attended school in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade in South Dallas and for most of those years I was the solo, uno, single, only one, nobody else, solitary......white girl. Yesiree, I was a little blue-eyed, freckled face sleeping beauty and my prince was a 7-year old black boy named Jerome. No big thang these days, but boy howdy it threw my daddy for a loop! It still makes me laugh out loud, just thinking about!!!

2. On which athletic team did I never compete?

a. softball
b. field hockey
c. tennis
d. swimming

O.K., now before my husband reads this and has a chance to comment on my athletic prowess, I will say that I didn't stand a chance. I had one of those crazy yelling daddy's that never made competitive sports much fun. I did however play one of the above sports (softball) but I stunk to the high heavens and spent most of the time in right field. We had never heard of field hockey until we moved to VA and drove by a field where some girls were practicing. Now our Hannah will start practice in just a couple of weeks! That should be interesting :) We did not have swimming teams in Texas that I knew of (back in the 80s) and my pagan family did play tennis on Sunday mornings, but I usually sat and guarded the comics and the donuts.

3. What kind of lessons have I never taken?

a. piano
b. riding
c. tap dance
d. etiquette

Well, (d) would be a given if you spent my time around me and mismatched purse and shoes. I took ballet, tap, and jazz for about 5 years and that was probably the greatest love/hobby/dream of my childhood. I never took riding lessons because we had horses and the lessons sounded something like this: GET BACK UP ON THAT HORSE AND QUITCHER CRYING..... We rode western and I did a few shows, but I always dreamed of learning to post and ride English, so........ I would tuck my hair in a baseball cap, tuck my jeans inside my boots and then lay out railroad ties in the pasture and make my Shetland pony, Sugar take the jumps! "Off you go Sugar, off you go!" while threatening to whip her with my flip-flop.
......oh did she ever hate me :)

4. Which type of vehicle have I never driven?

a. stick shift car
b. dirt bike
c. pickup truck
d. ATV

Well, we had all the above and I've driven all the above. As a matter of fact, for a good time, when we were in middle school, we would drive the truck around the pasture and pretend that we were cruising in town. Seriously. For hours and hours. It didn't take much, did it? As far as the stick shift, I learned on Chris' Toyota when we started dating. I was 17 years old and had driven a stick before (that's what I told him-wink, wink) After a couple of clutches I was all found out.

5. What is my favorite genre of literature?

a. historical fiction
b. science fiction
c. romantic fiction
d. nonfiction

Mostly nonfiction and blogging has definitely sparked my love for reading again. I do love fiction as well but I haven't read any lately. As a child, reading was a complete and total escape. I acted out so many of the plots that I read in my books and they were such solace for me. I am filled with a sweet joy when I see the love my girls have for reading.

OK, now the tagging part. I would love to hear from so many people, but then it leaves less people for those people to tag. (confusing?-hee hee)

Leslie, Jenn, Kim (Lifesong), & Kelly (A Spacious Place)...give us the skinny! Come on now, off you go!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

This Baby Girl

On February 20th, 1995, this baby girl was born...

8 lbs 4 oz of beauty and she brought with her some of the greatest changes I have encountered thus far.

This baby girl came to some really young parents. Somewhere around our 2-year anniversary at the ripe of old ages of 21 & 23 we decided to embark on parenthood. We felt like in those two short years we had encountered a such an immeasurable amount of wisdom and growth that we were certainly ready to become parents. Ignorance was bliss.

The nine months that I carried this baby girl were healthy but hard. I commuted to Dallas a total of 3 hours every day and worked in an environment of all women. You would have thought that with me being enveloped by mothers all day long, I would be encouraged to relish my pregnancy and seek out a way to spend as much time with my baby girl as possible. This was not so.

So I drove home each day and sobbed into the chest of my young husband, because I knew that I would soon be leaving our baby girl for another to hold and cherish. It never really made sense. The lives of the ladies that I worked with were all nestled around their desks. Pictures of their babies and children.....their favorite cups.....back pillows. Ways to get through the day and still feel like they were close to the people & things that they loved. Phone calls from the babysitters who had their sick little ones, always yielded unpleasant reactions from our boss. "Can't someone else pick them up?" Sometimes they would cry but mostly they would just work....and work......and work. All the while, I was taking mental and emotional notes. Could this really be the plan for our baby girl?

So, we met with a babysitter home care provider. She was pleasant enough and had a warm home with all the right safety features, stimulating toys, and adult/child ratios. Yep....all the ducks were in a row. She was definitely the one. Now, she wanted to know, "did I understand that when babies cry they don't always get picked up?"

Well, sure I knew that but what was her point? I'm paying you to pick MY baby up when she cries.

She continued. "You understand that while we don't use the playpens very much, they are sometimes necessary and it's actually good for babies to cry"

"Okay" I said and my chest started to hurt with the most incredible pain. "Sure" I nodded and rubbed my tummy and tried to catch a breath that never actually came. I knew this fact. I had been around babies my whole life and I knew they could -cry- and still *survive*. Why was this statement so profoundly difficult for me to hear? When we got in the car, I mumbled in a voice that was hardly audible, "I want to decide......I want to decide when our baby girl's cry should be ignored." I didn't say it very loud. But I didn't have to.

So while God had been working in my life from the get go, I began to truly see his hand quite clearly when our baby girl was born. He was revealing His sovereignty by unveiling a plan that was certainly not our plan and most definitely one that *NEVER* worked on paper! I have come to learn that His plans hardly ever require paper.

Baby girl was born and have mercy was I ever scared to death! My mother had passed away several years before and Chris' mom was wonderful, but she came from the decade where women were clubbed over the head and then woke up to their little red bundles of joy. I really didn't have anyone to cling to for advice and because I was but a spring chicken myself, most of my friends were just standing around with their jaws gaped open. Let's put Chris in that category as well, because for goodness sakes he was such a young man and what experience did he have??? Yes. Yes, without a doubt, I recall his jaw gaped open rather widely at certain points of the event. I tried not to look his way too often, but rather dig my fingernails into his skin hold his hand for support.
So there I am, looking for some good ol' fashioned motherly advice when in walks the most cleverly disguised angel I've ever seen.

-Let me pause here for a question to the ladies--- Ladies, have any of your friends ever prepped you for childbirth (think....razor) and then inserted a catheter?.... That's what I thought.

So when Nurse Tricia (my friend- who I did not realize worked at this hospital) came in and oh was she just squealing with excitement to see her girlfriend all "ready" to have a baby, I did not see this as a good thing. Of course (in His sovereignty) it was completely perfect. What a precious addition she was in the birthing of our baby girl. Kind, patient, funny, & discreet. You know, I think that's why I could never be a nurse. Because there are some fun-ee things that happen during childbirth and I'm not sure I could selfishly keep them all to myself!

Time passed ever so strangely after the Demerol and I have vague memories of trying to establish a protocol for bowel movements and how to ensure the security of that happening discreetly. Then.....the blessed epidural and without much time to enjoy that.....we met baby girl.

I remember silence in the room, even though it was not silent. I distinctly remember her eyes. They were open so wide and so determined not to blink.....and blue. Then she cried, then I cried, and I looked at Chris and he had been crying. God, you are okay with this? You believe we will do right by her? I felt like asking the hospital the same question.

So we took home our sweet baby girl and we spent the next several weeks trying to tread through the murky unknown waters of parenthood. On the good nights we would rock you to the sweet sounds of Kenny Loggins sing about Christopher Robin & Pooh Corner. On the bad nights, I would stand in the kitchen in my gown that was dripping with milk, on the phone with the hospital. Yes. The hospital. Because I could not fathom that babies actually cried like that for no reason. Something was terribly wrong. "No, she's fine" they would say and I could actually hear the snicker in their voice.

Hmph. I thought, well you just wait. A baby is going to cry to death for the first time in history and it'll be mine, I tell you!!!!

When we took baby girl on our first outing, we both wanted to cry because she wouldn't stop crying and for crying out loud (pun intended) it was just to the stinkin' Kroger! Not even necessary, but remember our blissful ignorance as you peer into our history. The very clever, newly invented carseat-that-hooks-to-the-grocery-buggy was causing the biggest ruckus of all. While Hannah did the full-on, "ha-waaaa......HA-WA-A-A-A" billy goat impression you've ever heard, her young daddy tried to manhandle the babyseat from the grocery cart and just at the point when he began to violently shake the metal contraption that was clinging to our firstborn, it broke lose.

Can you see both parents in a full sweat and real tears and little baby blue-eyes was a'cryin no more. Mercy. Thank God for sweet mercy because we did improve over time...especially with the carseat.

As the 6-week mark rolled around I had come to the most difficult and precious realization. I could not leave this baby girl. On the Sunday night before I was to return to work, I sat with Hannah in my arms. I wept for what seemed like forever and as my tears fell on her sweet face I came to know this....She belonged with me. She should be in my care all day....all night. Even if I couldn't console her or even if I couldn't get her blasted carseat off the buggy, she was still our baby girl and she belonged with me...disabilities and all.

The lady with the really safe and sterile "home care" environment could let "other" people's babies cry. Not mine. Now I was Mommy....full-time...forever.

This baby girl could invoke so many different story tellings from our life. Like the story of how God used the beginning of that precious life to change ours forever. How our desire to become "better" for her only revealed how truly sinful we are. It was on that journey that Lord converted two wannabe parents-of a baby girl into two saved by grace- children of God.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl! Twelve years have gone by way too fast. You are an everyday reminder of God's grace and mercy. We are forever humbled by the truth that He chose us to set your path on this earth. By His grace and wisdom alone, shall we find favor in doing so.
We love you Hannah Marie!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

More is not always better...

Twice a month, I clean an office to make extra cash. Truth be told, we all know it ain't "extra". Actually, I began this miserable chore wonderful opportunity several years ago to help pay for piano lessons and gymnastics. It really does work out well (usually) and pays quite nicely. In the summer, I make encourage with great authority, the girls to take turns going with me, so they can appreciate how humbling it is to clean up after people who are not your family and also understand that our family has made sacrifices in order to provide them the experience to pursue their hobbies and interests. O.K., all that blab blab to get to the point.

A little over a month ago, Hannah had an incident with her violin bow and the bow lost. Apparently it was behaving badly and Hannah's discipline method rendered it........well.......worthless. So, in an effort to purchase a new bow and also learn the rigid lessons in discipline, self-control and most importantly, MONEY DON'T GROW ON TREES, YA KNOW, Hannah has been my little employee.

I have enjoyed her company during the cleaning time, but we have had an especially good time just on the drive to and fro. She's quick with the comeback & full of wit and is one of the few people that make me truly laugh out loud. On the way home, we pulled through a car wash so we could take Big Daddy's truck back to him in pristine condition. While we waited this big ol' white school bus with an obnoxiously loud engine pulled into the gas station. We both laughed hysterically at what we saw.

The bus was basically a diner on wheels and there was no hankering that these guys couldn't satisfy. Here's a list of the delectable items you could purchase:

Sub Sandwiches, Chips, Cookies (normal enough, right), Philly Steak Sandwiches, Candy, Oysters (yep, right after the steak sandwiches), pudding, hamburgers, steamed crab legs......CRAB LEGS ON A SCHOOL BUS!!!! Who is the brave soul that eats crab and oyster off a school bus? I am a seafood lover, but I draw the line when the exhaust smell is competing for my attention.

I know I have whet your appetite for more, so here ya go. You could also get snow-cones and shrimp.......Oh yeah, and cigarettes.

My thought on this food fair was that how could any of it possibly taste good? I mean, the chips and candy were fine because they were prepared in a place that focused on making chips and candy. The other stuff would have to all taste like imitation something-or-other, fried up in some portable vat of grease. You really shouldn't half-way do something as special as crab legs or oysters because when you miss the mark on this kind of seafood, you get something downright vile and might I say....dangerous???

Focusing on too many things in order to please the masses will always yield the same results....more quantity, less quality. The effort to make so many different kinds of food, leaves most of the food lacking in something. More often the food that is the least healthy and of the lowest value will taste mostly like it should. However, the higher end product will suffer the most. It is more costly to purchase, more time consuming to prepare and requires a higher price from the consumer.

This old white bus is a great portrait of people today.. This defines who we are in 2007. A people who want a bus that serves kool-aid on ice and oysters. We want a school that takes our kids early, keeps them all day, teaches them *everything* they need to know, and absolve us of any responsibility. We want a store that sells all things-all the time. We want jobs where we can do what we "dream" of, but without any hard work, dedication, or disappointment.

Church is hardly the exception, but more often the rule. What do the people want?

Oh, the people would like to come dressed more casually? No problem. How about Flip-Flop Friday, Sundress Saturday, & Short-shorts Sunday?

What's that? The people would like to sing more and pray less?
Oh, and hear less preaching.
... No problem. Everybody likes some good singing.

Question now is what kind of singing?
Ohhhhhh, we need ALL kinds of singing. Country & Western, Pop, Rock & Roll, Traditional, Blue Grass, Hip-Hop, you name it, we got it.

Oh, yeah and the preacher can't say Crucifixion, Jesus Christ, resurrection, and sin. Sin is an absolute deal-breaker. People hate to hear that. Can you cut that out?
Certainly, we can cut that out. We certainly don't want anyone to be offended.

Do remember though that when we focus on flip-flops, electric guitars, laser light shows and shallow thoughts from a motivational speaker RATHER than God's Word you will end up with everything tasting rather bland, possibly even vile, and might I say......dangerous?

"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." 2 Timothy 4:3

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Picture Plethora

I have met people through blogging (what a sweet blessing) and I have friends who read my blog because they know about it, know me, and would rather read about my life and try to escape the "preach" through their obligatory reads of my blog. Then there is Gigi. Gigi is Chris' mom, very much vicariously my mom, and she is very far away (like, get in the car, drive until this time tomorrow, and you are still not there, kinda far).

She loves to be "in the know" and like most good grandma's, she loves to watch our kids be the very best gymnast, runner, reader, hopper, climber, grandbabies in the whole wide world! While I would rather her be watching from right here in my living room, curled up on the couch, peering over her book; I will take what I can get and give her a little bloggy peek, through my plethora of pictures.

Here's a glimpse of the last week. Happy Balentimes Gigi & Papaw! We love you and miss you very much.

Super Sam & Josh Groban (via the Internet) in their debut duet.

When you hear Josh Groban's name, you might think..."piano". Well Samuel would like for you to think..."guitar". There was no "joshing around" (hee-hee) when it came to this compilation. Sam was all business.

Teddy Bear Picnic- Gymnastics Meet

Sounds innocent enough, right? WRONG. Put a bunch of 6-12 year old girls together in room for several hours doing strenuous gymnastics routines and them taunt them with baskets of plush teddy bears that only a select few girls will go home with. Absolute mayhem. Sure, sure only the best get the "blue ribbons" or the "gold medals" but people....we are talking about teddy bears and you don't deny young girls teddy bears unless you want a full on riot. Well bring on the stun guns because it was not pretty. Emma shed her first tears at a gymnastics meet and it wasn't over scores, tumbles or pulled hamstrings. Nope. It was over those stinkin' bears. Some little well-intentioned child on her team (who by the way, went home with a bear) told my bear lovin' child that she would certainly get a bear, oh yes she would, without a doubt. Lies. The girl tells lies and she better keep that bear in a safe spot....that's all I've got to say.

Seriously, everyone did get a small red & white bear (not cuttin' it for little E) but at that point, Emma's hopes were dashed and the faucet had been turned on. Luckily in the pictures, she wasn't completely aware of the travesty which was about to unfold....

3rd Place Tie- Floor

5th Place- All Around

Here's a shot where she was leaping on the beam and then the body snatchers came to carry her off. Do I need help with action shots or what? I have taken -zero- action shots that have come out clearly, but check out the ones below, that we bought from a professional.

Sectionals Meet- January 2007

WARNING-the following pictures of Emma reflect how much she has grown in the last few months. Do not....I not view these photographs if you are feeling nostalgic, sentimental or just plain moody. Our little pickle is growing up and she has officially kissed the smocked dresses and mary jane's, goodbye. Oh well, she still let's me put her hair in pigtails and crawls in my lap every single day, so it ain't all bad.

I know, I know Gigi. You want to know about Hannah. Well, she stayed home from the meet and her field hockey practices don't start for a couple of weeks, so I'll have to take some pictures of her eating. Cause that is what she does. All the time.

More Balentimes

We had some leftover yummies from the things we baked for teachers, so indulgence has been a bit of an issue. I consume large quantities of the cookie dough *while* I am baking the cookies, so I am usually nauseous at the thought of eating those, but I can put away the dipped pretzels all day long! The Rice Krispie Treats were a hit with Emma's class :)

We went to our favorite little (did I say, little?) Japanese restaurant, Hibachi Ichiban. We met Chris there for an early dinner because the girls had piano at 6:00 p.m. Well, obviously a "little" Japanese is just the thing to have for Valentine's Day because we were there for almost an hour before our dinner was ready. Apparently the thing to do is call the food in ahead of time (duh) and then come, pick it up, and eat at home. That would explain why there were only three other people in the whole joint and 274 little plastic containers lined up on the counter full of noodles & meat. Oh well, we took ours to go and did what our family is famously good at doing.... eating in the car.

The sun was beaming straight through the windows and while it was a bit annoying, it was beautiful on the "golden boy's" head.


Time to brag.....See the four beauties from my four beauties? Gotta give the Big Daddy credit, because he even picked out the pitcher vase! What style :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Samuel says.....

Samuel says (with resignation and defeat)- "Dad.... Janarary is dawn....It went to AWANAs. (sad face, shoulders slumped) It's Feberwary now" (deep sigh) The calendar page flipping at preschool must be weighing heavily on him these days.

So we reminded Samuel that February has some high points and this morning was certainly one of them.

So in the words of the greatest linguist ever, "Happy Balentimes Eveybody!"

The girls will send their wishes this afternoon :)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Ode to Big Daddy

Let me paint you a picture....It's early dawn and the sun has begun to rise. From the inside of my very warm and cozy home the bright sun is setting a cruel facade because outside it is unbelievably cold! The temperature is in the low 20's, but the windchill (what matters) is in the single digits. I am dressed and prepared to run about 5 miles. I would rather stick pins in my eyes and then go shopping at Wal-mart on Christmas Eve.....with the pins in my eyes. I am not an athlete and I don't have that, "O, how I just need to run" feeling in my bones. I run because I really like oatmeal pies, cake icing, and gravy......I really like gravy. I don't eat it that much, but as a side note (in order to impress you) I once ran about 18 miles and then I came home and made a whole can of Pillsbury biscuits & my very own skillet of gravy and then I sat right down and I ate all of it. By myself. Impressed?.... As well you should be.

Anyway, when I left this morning Big Daddy had a house full of kids and a sleepover guest. He was making pancakes for the crew and holding down the fort. (see the fire blazing, kids in pj's clamoring around the living room, smell the coffee brewing, pretty much blissful joy- all the way around)

Now switch to me....I was running on pavement that had little pockets of ice that were taunting me to take a spill. Usually after a mile or so, I remove my gloves and warm up. Today, I never (meaning not ever) got feeling in my toes. For the whole 45-50 minutes I could have been running on the nubby balls of my feet for all I knew. It couldn't have been over quick enough, but I can claim survival, inhale and say thank you Jesus that It. Is. Over.

When I got home the house smelled like a Bed & Breakfast and Big Daddy had fed all the children and was whippin' up the famous *Peanut Butter Pancakes*. I took a hot shower and came down for what I think will definitely be part of my death-bed dinner request (if there is such a thing).

Warm and getting warmer by the minute (all the way to the tips of my toes) and sitting down to something hot, savory, and sweet that was made especially for you, feels.... ummm......... like downright perfection.

Big Daddy- your pancake breakfasts are a special tradition that I look forward to. The fact that you love Jesus is enough to fill my heart with unspeakable joy, but loading the dishwasher and making me those peanut butter pancakes.....well......I am unworthy and very grateful.

Thanks for making me feel so loved.

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." Ephesians 5:25-27

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thirteen places we went in 06'

I was trying to post a "quick" Thursday 13 and it really blessed my day to remember all the wonderful places we went last year! It does make me itch for barefeet, though. If we really aren't going to get some snow, then I say, "Bring on the Spring!!!"

The 4-Him Farewell Concert

2) King's Dominion- Doswell, Virginia

3) The Battleship Wisconsin- Norfolk, Virginia

4) Chattanooga, Tennessee- for a ride on the train!

5) Rock City, Georgia- an unplanned surprise!

6) Tuscumbia, Alabama- Helen Keller's childhood home

7) Memphis, Tennessee- Beale Street for lunch

8) Somewhere, Arkansas (gas and a battery jump)

9) Frisco, Texas-friends we love so much!

10) Southbound I-35

11) San Antonio, Texas - Gigi & Papaw's house!

12) Fort Worth, Texas (a bit south)- Papa & Grandma's house, and visits with friends and family

13) Washington, D.C. - 15th Wedding Anniversary