Thursday, October 28, 2010

Simple Woman

(Don't forget to click on the picture above and visit Peggy's site!)

For Today...Thursday, Oct 28, 2010

Outside my window...a perfect fall day!  A blue sky thanks to the little bit of rain we got this week.  A steady breeze blowing the freshly fallen leaves.  Children playing happily in leaf piles.  And coolness!  It’s in the mid-60’s right now both inside and out, which means we are comfy in our fall clothes.  Love it!

I am thinking...about how to balance my responsibilities here at home with needs outside my home.  Not wanting to neglect either one, but realizing I can’t succeed in that without the Lord’s wisdom. 

I am thankful for...the six (I think) men who accompanied Doug to Horn Lake today to work on the house.  From what I hear, they’re really making it look great! What a blessing!

I am wearing...jeans, 3/4 sleeved turquoise top, hair down, bare feet (with chilly toes – love it!)

I am creating...the Christmas gifts I need to mail overseas and/or send with my dad when he goes back to Jordan in a few weeks.

I am remembering...what it was like to have babies around the house.  It’s been a while.  

I am going...to get lots done this weekend before we resume school on Monday.  Yes, I am.  Seriously.  Is that laughter I hear?

I am reading...Surprised by Worship by Travis Cottrell

I am hoping...the weather holds and the house sells.

I am hearing...the wind blowing through open windows. Steven humming as he looks for his puppy for naptime.

On my mind...A twitter status I recently read indicated that, because there are more people in Africa and Asia than North America, we should be more urgent about reaching the lost there than here. I don’t argue that urgency, but I can’t help but wonder why ministry to the individuals on those continents must be more urgent than the desperate young mother right here in my own town.  The urgency for harvest is world-wide, but let’s not forget the individuals as we contemplate the masses.  Sorry – a little soapbox.  I’ll come down now.

From the learning rooms...the end of our two-week fall break. 

Noticing that...Smokey the cat missed me.  Every time I’ve sat down for any reason, she has curled up beside me – and she’s not even a very sociable or loving cat! 

From the kitchen...the need to refocus after being out of pocket for a week.  

Around the house...floors that desperately need to be vacuumed.  

One of my favorite things...friends.

A few plans for the rest of the week...rest and recuperation, work on Christmas presents, school planning for next week, and church outreach activities Saturday and Sunday.

A picture worth sharing
...Napoleon trying to cook our dinner without opening the cans. He has since been banished from the kitchen. 
100_8125

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Needs and Wants

Those of you who have been following this blog or our lives for a while know that God has been amazing when it has come to provision of clothes for our children.  Other than various forms of underwear, we almost never have to make clothing purchases for our children.  And when we do, He always provides the money, or the material and patterns, in some unusual way.

This year was no exception.  Monday and Tuesday I sorted through fall clothes for the kids.  The provision once again just overwhelmed me.  I hope we never get used to it!  I never want to take it for granted!

Working on Steven’s clothes on Monday was nice, peaceful, and productive.  Sorting through the girls’ clothes Tuesday, on the other hand, was quite the adventure!  Olivia decided to be the star of an opera, so she sang in a loud operatic voice practically all afternoon!!  Hilarious and exhausting all rolled up into one, especially considering Olivia doesn’t multi-task well.  She would get caught up in a song or in fits of laughter over her own silliness and forget what she was supposed to be doing!   I can’t help but chuckle even this morning thinking about it.

Meanwhile, there was Angela.  I usually go through Olivia’s clothes first to see what she has outgrown so I can throw it all in a pile to add to Angela’s things.  So, we were in Olivia’s room and Angela’s pile was growing.  She scooped it all up and took it to her room.  Every few minutes she’d come in with a new outfit on.  Typically the outfit itself would match, but she would also have donned a plethora of “accessories.”  She would waltz into the room (to her sister’s singing, of course!), dash up onto a stool, and strike some sort of prissy pose. 

This was my favorite…

Angie

This morning they all just had to wear something newly pulled out.  The girls went Christmas-y with their penguin skirts and hats (which still fit!!  I think God miraculously stretches them every year!).  And Steven – well, I’m just not sure I have the words for Steven’s wardrobe choices.  And no, your eyes are not deceiving you.  Those are knee-high toe socks under camo shorts with a long-sleeve red Thomas shirt.  No words.

Sillies

But, the biggest fun of all was a treat for Angela.  One day several years ago we were out somewhere and Angela suddenly went nuts.  She saw something Hello Kitty and began jumping up and down and giggling!  We didn’t know she even knew who Hello Kitty was, but that moment showed us she not only was familiar with the character, but loved the character!  We have greatly restrained any Hello Kitty infusion into our home, but she has collected a few things.

Well, as Olivia and I were going through her things (and before Angela started her model show), we came across a pair of Hello Kitty pajamas.  They were size 10-12, but Olivia declared that she was not going to wear them at all.  Even if Angie couldn’t wear them yet, she was going to pass them over so they could be “new” for her little sister.  (Proud mama moment!) 

I was going to just pack them away before Angie saw them, knowing they would swallow her.  But, I didn’t make it.  She saw them.  So, I had her try them on.  Amazingly, they fit in the waist!!  The shirt is big on her, but once I hem up the sleeves and legs (probably five inches each! Yikes!), they will fit her! 

Hello Kitty

Needless to say, Angela was thrilled, and I was once again marveling at our Provider.  Every year He does something like that – providing not only every single piece of clothing they could possibly need (and in great abundance), but also at least one thing that just fits the personality of each child perfectly.  There’s always one big one - like this year’s Hello Kitty pj’s - for at least one child, and then something for the other two as well.  Can I just say that being the child of the King of kings is downright fun? 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Picture Worth Sharing…

Here’s the one I wanted to share yesterday only to find it was still on the camera!

The kids’ reaction to our first little bit of rain…I should taken a video instead since the energetic running up and down the sidewalk and the ecstatic cackles don’t show up in a picture!

RAIN!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Simple Woman

(Don't forget to click on the picture above and visit Peggy's site!)

For Today...Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Outside my window...clouds!  Dark, beautiful clouds!  Nothing coming down from them yet, but I have hope!  Come on  rain!

I am thinking...about how God cares about little details.  I love that!

I am thankful for...the fact that God’s math is very different from ours.  I can’t tell you how it worked, but bills – including the mortgage – are covered for the next few weeks.  God is good.  God is faithful.  God is trustworthy.  May I remember that next month as well!

I am wearing...jeans, 3/4 sleeve pink button-down top (yes, it’s actually relatively cool today – only headed up to the mid to upper 70’s), sandals, wet hair down and waiting to be “fixed.”

I am creating...Christmas calendars, still.

I am remembering...all of the different people God has blessed me to walk with.  My mom when I was growing up.  Doug from before we were ever married, then off and on through our married life (and it won’t be long before the kids’ ages will be such that we can do it again! Yay!).  Joanna, Charlene, Rachel, and Mary Ann in seminary housing.  Now I get to walk with Karlyn a couple of days a week.  Such a blessing!

I am going...to lunch with the senior adult ladies from church – their monthly luncheon.  Fun times!

I am reading...getting ready to start Surprised by Worship by Travis Cottrell and The Nativity Collection by Robert Morgan, both for review.

I am hoping...the rain really does come today and that cooler weather will come to stay (especially since fall clothes are finally coming out this week!).

I am hearing...Steven whispering as he “reads” to himself and plays with his airplane.  Birds outside.

On my mind...the challenge of learning the art of connecting in intimacy with my heavenly Father despite the chaos of our days.

From the learning rooms...A break for a couple of weeks while we do work on the Mississippi house and head to Jonesboro for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention’s annual meeting.

Noticing that...the clouds alone are energizing after days of glaring sun and heat.

Pondering these words... “If you are not praying, then you are quietly confident that time, money, and talent are all you need in life.”  Paul Miller

From the kitchen...Doug made rabbit, butterfly, and bear-shaped pancakes for the kids this morning.  So cute!

Around the house...Lots of clutter.  I’m getting behind on housework – need to remedy that.  Soon.

One of my favorite things...the excitement of pulling out “new” clothes, even if it’s just clothes we haven’t seen for a season!

A few plans for the rest of the week...luncheon today, church tomorrow, Doug and I to Horn Lake Thursday and Friday to do the indoor painting, rest day on Saturday (had to forego Ouachita Homecoming, but these things happen), church Sunday morning, then on to Jonesboro for the convention Sunday evening through Wednesday, then Doug (hopefully) back to Horn Lake for exterior house work toward the latter part of the week, followed by family fun activities at church Saturday and Sunday.  Yes, that’s two weeks.  No, there won’t be a Daybook next week.  Hmmmm…wonder why? 

A picture worth sharing...oops!  It’s still on my camera. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Air Show 2

And now for the exciting conclusion…

After we had meandered a bit, we found a lightly populated shady spot under a B-52’s wing.  It was a place where there wasn’t a great deal of direct visibility, so most people were crowded under the plane’s fuselage or under the neighboring plane.  But, for us it was perfect.   We could actually see a great deal of what was going on overhead, and just a few steps in either direction would take us to perfect viewing spots for things happening on the ground.  Those factors combined with the lack of close crowding made for a perfect spot for our family.

While several events that were of less interest to us played out on the runway and in the air, we rested a bit and the kids studied the day’s map and schedule. 

Air Show 1

Then came what I still say was, hands down, the highlight of the show.  Yes, even taking into consideration the grand finale with the Thunderbirds.  Ten C-130s lined up to fly in and drop 400 paratroopers right in front of us. 

Air Show 4 There is no way I could begin to capture on film the thrill of this display.  I can’t even explain why it affected me so, but it was amazing.  We looked out to one side and saw the planes flying in a beautiful line.  As they flew directly overhead, the troops began to jump, two at a time out of both sides of the plane.  Before long the sky was literally filled with men and women dangling from open parachutes.  All of these were volunteers who literally flew in for the show, jumped, and then prepared to fly right back home.  Another group came for Sunday’s show.   This picture doesn’t even begin to show how amazing it was…

Air Show 2

Three injuries from the jump delayed the progression of the show, but from what we were told all three injuries were relatively minor.  While waiting for the runway to be cleared, the C-130’s maintained their amazing line, circling the base until it was time to land. 

Air Show 3

After a few other exciting events, it was time to watch the Thunderbirds.  We decided to head back to the van for this last portion of the show, knowing we’d be practically front and center there, thanks to the awesome parking spot!  We couldn’t see the parade to the planes or much of the takeoff, but we couldn’t really get to a good place to see all of that from inside the gates anyway.  So, we took that time to gather our stuff, get to the van, and grab some water bottles while we waited. 

Air Show 6

Air Show 8

Doug and I got a few shots of the show, but mostly we just watched.  It was my first experience to finally see something I’d heard much about, and I didn’t want to watch it through a camera lens!  But, between us, we did get a couple of good shots.  Here are five of them coming out of a loop – they might as well have been one plane the way they flew so flawlessly together.

Air Show 9

But that was nothing compared to seeing all six of the planes fly together, flip together such that they were all flying upside down, and then rotate back over together – again, as if one plane.

Air Show 10

It’s not easy to tell, but those are the cockpits facing us.  Yeah.

As soon as they came in for a landing, we all piled into the van to make our way out and back home.  It took a little while.  After about ten minutes in the car, we weren’t more than two car lengths from our parking spot, but Steven didn’t care!

Air Show 11

Five minutes later Angie joined him in dream land.  An hour and a half later we were finally off base!  But, it was worth every minute of it.   It was a day we will all be talking about for days, weeks, and probably even months to come!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Air Show 1

And finally, the huge event of the weekend…the Air Show!  As I was looking through the pictures, I realized there was no way it would all fit in one blog post.  Even two is pushing it!  And I’m leaving a LOT out!  So now I take a deep breath and plunge in…

We got to the base entrance bright and early – about 7:30.  The Air Show gates opened at 8:30, but Doug knew what the traffic would look like going in!  The early morning paid off because we got front row parking!  I wish I had taken a picture of our first view walking in – all those planes lined up – and a view of the empty parking lot (and later the full one!).  It was hard to even begin to fathom where to start!  They were still working on some of the setup for the larger planes, so we headed first to check out  the smaller ones.

Remember the Trains! post mention of the Gatling gun?  One of the first planes we saw was the A-10 which was practically built around the Gatling gun!  And what better placement for a Gatling gun in an A-10 than in the mouth of a Razorback!   (This is for any of you who doubt the depth of Hog pride in Arkansas!). 

Air Show 1

After walking past a few more “small” planes, we headed to the jewel of the Little Rock Air Force Base – the C-130’s.  And yes, we had to walk through every single one! 

Air Show 2

We climbed into the cockpit of the first one.  Everyone sat in what would have been PopPop’s seat (and it’s even likely that he flew in this very plane).

Air Show 3Air Show 4

But as cool as it was to sit in the navigator’s seat, Steven couldn’t help but see what it would feel like to be the pilot of such an awesome plane.

Air Show 5

By this time the sun was climbing, it was getting warmer, and we’d been walking around for a good hour and a half.  So, while Doug went off to retrieve the sunscreen, the kids and I found some shade.  We started by going into a sheltered area to check out the Thuderbird plane on display. 

Air Show 7

Then we plopped down in the shade of the plane’s shelter for a little rest.  We would spend the rest of the day seeking shade wherever we possibly could. Doug joked that an aerial view of the Air Show would come nowhere near representing an accurate head count because of the massive number of people sitting under the planes seeking shelter from the sun!

Air Show 6

Next we visited the helicopters…

Air Show 9 Air Show 8

…and a couple of other things before we found shelter under one of the planes on the far end of the display area.  We ate lunch and watched the first part of the show from there.  (This picture is courtesy of the lovely photographer Angela.)

Air Show 10

We saw such awesome things as a pilot landing his plane on a truck (yes – this picture was taken as he was touching down on the racks on the truck – it was amazing!)…

Air Show 11

…a pink stunt plane doing some pretty amazing things (painted such in honor of the pilot’s sister, a breast cancer survivor – but Angela didn’t care why it was pink; she was just ecstatic that it was pink!)…

Air Show 12

…and crazy Canadians jumping out of a C-130 to pull all sorts of skydiving stunts.  Like this “Candy Cane”

Air Show 13

Or flying with legs linked until they were mere yards from the ground. 

Air Show 14

We also saw a reenactment of the attack on Pearl Harbor and several other plane demonstrations, including the rare sight of a World War 2 P-51  and a modern-day A-10 flying side by side.  Phenomenal!

Then came a lull in the action, so we decided to go meander a bit more.  We took a potty break, saw a couple of planes we hadn’t seen earlier, and found new shade for the rest of the show.

Which will come in the next blog post…

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trains!

Stop number two for our weekend was the Arkansas Historic Museum in Little Rock.  A man from Jacksonville has an enormous train collection, and he is putting 30 of his 70 sets on display at the museum between now and March.  But, Friday night was special because he was actually going to have some of them running!

Side note: Before we got to the trains, we passed through the room with the historic gun displays.  I thought I had good pictures of our explorations in there, but I don’t.  It was a fun room to explore, though.  The neatest thing was to see a replica of the first Gatling gun.  A quick history lesson of the Gatling gun came in quite handy on Saturday at the Air Show!  More to come on that…

And, back to the trains.

The displays were awesome!   There were all sorts of sets, including a set commemorating the bicentennial anniversary of our nation, the Polar Express, and this Boy Scout commemorative set.

Trains 5

The girls loved this set because it had pastel colored train cars, including pink and purple!  (I have no idea what Angie was going for with that wicked-looking grin!)

Trains 4

Steven was, I do believe, in complete awe.  He spent the whole evening with this expression on his face…

Trains 3   Trains 7

I kept trying to capture a smile, but I think he was too mesmerized to worry about such things as smiling and showing excitement.  He just wanted to study and look and study and look.

The most exciting part, of course, was watching the trains that were set up and going. 

Trains 2

There was even a steam engine that was really putting out smoke!  It’s hard to see it in the picture, but it was there!  I loved that one!

Trains 1

Steven and Angie even got to push the button to make the whistle blow when it was the steam engine’s turn to run. 

Trains 6 Trains 8

Much fun for a Friday family night, to be sure!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Simple Woman

(Don't forget to click on the picture above and visit Peggy's site!)

For Today...Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Outside my window...beautiful cooler weather and teasing, brief bursts of rain intermingled with sunshine.  Thirsty ground that still seems dry and dusty even after the rainbursts.

I am thinking...about the oddity of my Christmas gift list this year.  Typically Olivia and Steven’s lists are full of ideas before I ever come up with a single thought for Angela.  This year every idea is perfect for Angela and I am stumped when it comes to Steven and Olivia.

I am thankful for...the rain, no matter how little.  The cooler weather.  A wonderful home.  Our church family.

I am wearing...pale gray capris, a purple short sleeve Ouachita (that’s Wa-shi-taw for you non-Arkansans) Tigers polo, bare feet, hair down.

I am creating...calendar pages for Christmas calendars; lists of other gift ideas.

I am remembering...life with much younger children.  It’s a hard, hard time, but it’s worth every moment, every morsel of energy, every tear, and every struggle to see the people those babies are becoming.  It really does pay off – long before they become adults!

I am going...to get back to a regular exercise routine this week.  Started last night – had a few hitches, but it still felt good.  Despite the pain in my legs, I can’t wait to go at it again tonight!

I am reading...From Dust and Ashes by Tricia Goyer; just started A Praying Life by Paul Miller in my quiet time, so I’ll be in it a while.

I am hoping...for miracles – not just for us, but for quite a few others as well.

I am hearing...outdoors sounds through the open windows.  We had to close the windows last week, and it’s delightful to have them open again today.

On my mind...God’s invisible work versus glaringly visible circumstances; the need to focus on the invisible.

From the learning rooms...finishing South America; still reading about the gold rush and early settling west of the Mississippi; more study of electrical currents and inventions; lots of math review; Psalm 103; Steven’s learning about measurement this week.

Noticing that...I’ve become less stressed about “getting it all done” perfectly in line with the schedule.  There honestly isn’t enough time on the schedule each day to get everything done, but I have been trying to not stress about it.  Somehow by the end of the week we seem to have gotten it all done without the stress!

From the kitchen...Beefy Spanish Rice; hopefully the chance to make some granola this afternoon.

One of my favorite things...rain.

A few plans for the rest of the week...church, work around the house, and probably a whirlwind trip to Horn Lake on Saturday to get keys from the renters and take stock of the condition of the house. 

A picture worth sharing...the dust hanging heavily in the air.  Today’s little showers have reduced it some, but not much.

Dust2 Dust1

Monday, October 11, 2010

Visiting

We had such an incredibly fun weekend!  There is so much to share, and I can’t wait to get to it all!  But, I figured I’d take it one stop at a time.

First stop – family!

We were so excited to get to go see this sweet munchkin and her mama!

AbigailIs she not a doll?  I could just eat her up!  It was so much fun to see her and Ashley!  Ben was at work, so we missed him this time.  But, it was such a fun visit anyway!

Abigail is a ham – just look at her face!  She makes the cutest faces!

Ann & Abbie1

She seemed to enjoy having the kids play with her.  She had to show them her fun toys!

Liv & Abbie1 Liv & Abbie2 Abigail & Steven Angie & Abbie

I enjoyed getting my hands on her too, of course, while Doug and I visited with Ashley. (And the girls enjoyed getting their hands on my camera!)

Ann & Abbie2

Definitely a great first stop for a great weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Day at Hibbard Elementary

As promised, I finally got the camera into the school room this week!  How about a photo walk through a typical day? 
First of all, here’s our school area.  It’s one half of the “front room,” or what would technically be the formal living room.  The other half is the tv area.  We will eventually have a couch dividing the room in half once we get a chance to go pick it up (it will back up to the end of the bookshelf, and the table will be right behind it), and I’m sure we’ll do a lot of school snuggled up on that couch!  But, for now we have two lawn chairs in its place. 
School RoomWe start the morning around the table for Bible and whatever our first subject of the day happens to be.  We are on a sort of block rotation such that the morning subject is different every day.   Just as a bit of a side note, Steven’s age is a huge blessing this year.  It’s amazing what being four does for a child.  For the first time he is truly a part of what we’re doing. 
Ready!
On days when I am mostly reading to the kids, all three of them get to find a way to busy their hands while they listen.  They can play with Silly Putty, work puzzles, do word puzzles, etc.  This morning Olivia quietly built a fort while I read!  Angela loves to do critical thinking pages or color.  Here’s Steven doing one of his workbook pages while I read today.
Steven
Of course, science days are a different story because it’s much more interactive than read-aloud days.  We had our first experiment this week, trying to light up a bulb with a battery.  The girls then recorded which techniques worked and which ones didn’t while Steven took his turn lighting up the bulb.  ScienceScience 2
Next comes spelling.  Steven has been dying to take a spelling test like the girls, so this week we finally figured out how to include him.  After I call out their word, I call out a letter.  He finds the letter on his dry erase book and traces it.  He was so excited to have his own spelling test!
Spelling
After spelling the girls read their readers while I work a bit with Steven.  Then comes what so far seems to be everyone’s favorite part of the day.  While I rotate the girls through their one-on-one teaching time, whichever girl isn’t working with me gets to “teach” Steven for a few minutes.  The activity changes every day and ranges from reading him a book to helping him do a page in one of his workbooks.  They do lace-up cards, felt board play, flashcards, play memory games, etc.  This idea has been a huge answer to prayer and, so far, has worked beautifully!
Steven & Angie Steven & Livie
After lunch Steven goes down for naptime, the girls do independent work (anywhere they want to as long as they get it done in a timely fashion), and I have some “me” time.  This will be when I blog, study Polish, and (when I get a chance to start) work on my MA courses. 
Olivia  Angela
And that, my friends, is a day of school – at least for now.  The beauty of it is that when it gets old, we can change things up!  My hope is that this doesn’t get old for at least a little while because Mama likes this schedule!