Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Simple Woman

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

For Today...Tuesday, November 3o, 2010

Outside my window...mostly cloudy skies with an occasional clearing and a cold biting wind – it really feels like winter out there.

I am thinking...about Christmas presents, especially the few I haven’t quite figured out yet.

I am thankful for...a miraculously full freezer.  We have not been on a “real” (aka full or big) grocery shopping trip in two months, yet we have an abundant supply of meat.  Also thankful for a paid mortgage payment, also a miracle.  God is faithful!

I am wearing...jeans, green long-sleeve knit top, hair down.

I am creating...still secrets and surprises.  And also neckties!  Yes, I’m one of those strange mamas who likes to see her little boy in ties.  I don’t make him wear them every Sunday, but now and then.  He’s outgrowing his clip-ons, so I decided to see if I could find a pattern for “real” ties.  The pattern I found was a very basic guide, but after making one that was way too small, I succeeded on the second try!  Steven now has a Christmas tie (and Harvey puppy has a matching one thanks to the one that was too small) and he will get more for Christmas.

I am remembering...my first venture into homemade Christmas gifts.  Ten Christmases ago.  I’ve learned a lot.

I am going...to catch up on all of the blogging I intended to do last week.  Over the next couple of weeks I should be making up for last week’s silence!

I am reading...whatever I feel like picking up in brief moments when I get a chance to read.

I am hoping...to get quite a bit more done on Christmas presents before we head back into school next week.

I am hearing...Christmas music, crackling fire, the dishwasher running.

On my mind...Jacque Synco, a church member and friend who has been very, very sick.  It looks like they’re finally getting a handle on what’s going on, and we’re praying for speedy recovery with no need for surgery.

From the learning rooms...reaping the benefit of year-round schooling.  When I didn’t get school planning done last week, we just decided to take a second week off for Thanksgiving.  It does make those summer school days worthwhile!

Noticing that...the kids seem to have been getting along well the past few days after a couple of weeks of regular fights.  It’s nice.

Pondering these words... “When I begin praying Christ into someone’s life, God often permits suffering in that person’s life.” ~Paul Miller  (Also, when I suffer, I can take comfort in the thought that someone is praying this way for me.)

From the kitchen...inventory and menu planning.

Around the house...it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  I love Christmas decorations!

One of my favorite things...evidence of spiritual growth in the lives of my children.

A few plans for the rest of the week...dinner and planning visit tonight with some friends, school planning, working on Christmas gifts, grocery shopping, and probably a cooking day.

A picture worth sharing...Steven & Harvey with their matching ties.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

A Good Day

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s pretty special for a preacher daddy’s first baptism in a new church to be his own daughter.  Pretty special indeed.  This was one excited little girl and one special day.

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Look at that grin!

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Hold your nose!

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Welcome to the family!

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And we were blessed to have Doug’s parents there to celebrate with us. 

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Yes, definitely a good day.  

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Simple Woman

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

For Today...Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Outside my window...gray skies, an abundance of wet leaves from this morning’s rain, a steady breeze, and warm mugginess (we had to turn on the AC today!).

I am thankful for...the mildness of our stomach bug yesterday, and the blessings we amazingly saw even through something as icky as sickness.

I am wearing...jeans, a purple OBU polo, hair down, bare feet.

I am creating...surprises!

I am remembering...the last time we passed sickness around the family.  It was the flu, nearly three years ago.  I can only remember one or two other times we’ve all been sick in 12 years of marriage.  I do not cease to be thankful for good health – I know so many who do not have it.

I am going...to enjoy this week.  Much relaxation, plenty of time to space out housecleaning, lots of Christmas gift making, and decorating for Christmas this weekend.  Nice.

I am reading...um, reading?  Am I supposed to be reading?  Oops!

I am hoping...there is health in Almyra homes for Thanksgiving this year – this stomach bug needs to go!

I am hearing...the kids jabbering as they finish their lunch.  There’s a reason I gave up on sitting with them after I finished my lunch.  But, at least they’re eating today!

On my mind...friends who still have that lovely stomach bug – and who have it much worse than we did.  Praying for you all!!

From the learning rooms...the week off, except for a little bit of reading.  Maybe.

Noticing that...I just feel relaxed today.  It’s a good feeling.

Pondering these words... “When God seems silent and our prayers go unanswered, the overwhelming temptation is to leave the story – to walk out of the desert and attempt to create a normal life.  But when we persist in a spiritual vacuum, when we hang in there during ambiguity, we get to know God.” ~Paul Miller

From the kitchen...not much creativity (with the exception of Thanksgiving dinner plans).  Need to remedy that soon.

Around the house...gradual cleaning to prepare for Christmas decorations.

One of my favorite things...Christmas music.

A few plans for the rest of the week...house cleaning and continuing to recover over the next couple of days; Almyra FBC’s joint Thanksgiving breakfast dinner and service with the Methodist church Wed night; immediate family Thanksgiving celebration on Thursday; extended Hibbards celebration here at our house on Saturday; Angela’s baptism on Sunday. 

 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Prissiness & Praises

Can I just say that I have an incredibly prissy daughter?  Incredibly.  Her natural state of being is to strike a pose.  Don’t believe me?  Check out what happened last weekend when she put on this hat.  (And yes, she was striking poses before the cameras came out!)
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Her Aunt Alli asked where she learned such things.  My answer?  She was born with it. 
How else do you explain a five-month-old who falls asleep in a pose like this?
Sound asleep! (2-26)
Or an 11-month old who sits like this?  I mean, look at the hand position!  And, I clearly remember taking this picture – I didn’t happen to get the pose.  I got the camera out because of the way she was sitting. 
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Yes, I think the only answer is that she was just born with it!

When I first wrote this blog post, that was going to be the end of it.  But, there's more to this sweet little princess than just prissiness, and I am just dying to share.

Last Sunday night as Doug finished the sermon and started into the invitation, I noticed Angela start to fidget.  When the hymn number was called, she grabbed her hymnal, started to open it, and then closed it again and put it away.  She started to come close to me and then stepped away.  Finally she made her decision.  She stepped out and went to talk to her daddy - aka her pastor.  She told him she was ready to be baptized!

Angela has been asking questions and talking with us about spiritual issues for a couple of years now.  We told her the same thing we had told Olivia when she was asking the same questions..."It's up to you!"  We told her what she needed to do and left it up to her to decide to do it.  All on her own with no reminders.  Once she made her decision, we still wanted to make sure she knew why it was time to be baptized - to make sure she understood that baptism does not save her but is just a public sign of her salvation.  After that, we wanted to make sure we told a few people in person (like grandparents!) before making it known to all.  But now the time has come.  Next Sunday our sweet Angela will be baptized to tell her church family that she is now a Christian.  What a way to celebrate Thanksgiving! 

We love you, sweet Angela.  We welcomed you to our earthly family just over seven years ago.  Now we are proud and ecstatic to welcome you to our eternal family!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Like a Big Boy

Steven frequently sees his sisters curled up like this…

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…or this…

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And that’s just for school!  That doesn’t count their reading for “fun.”  Although he gets to do fun stuff in school, too, like create Mat Man

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…and now has a friend he can play with when girl-time gets to be too much…

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…he still feels like there’s just something missing.  So, despite the fact that I was hoping to wait until he officially started kindergarten next fall, I have finally acquiesced and am starting him on phonics.  He can write all of his letters (spelling tests consist of me calling out a word for the girls to spell and a letter for Steven to write), has his letter sounds almost mastered (short i and e just sound too much alike when you have a southern accent!), is continually telling me what this word or that word starts with, and now is trying to put letter sounds together.  I told him that after Thanksgiving we’d start with consonant-vowel blends to see how he does. 

“Deep breath, Mommy.”  If I repeat that enough to myself, will time and the growing up slow down just a little bit?  No, I didn’t think so.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving with the Brownings

Last Saturday we celebrated Thanksgiving early with the Browning side of the family.  Dad, joined by Ben, Ashley, and Abigail, will be leaving for Jordan this coming Saturday, so this was our chance to actually get as many of us as possible together to celebrate. 

It was great fellowship all around, but naturally the biggest entertainment was sweet little Abigail.  Have I mentioned before how cute that child is?  She melts hearts in an instant!  I don’t think any of us can get enough of her!

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But, never fear – the other cousins got plenty of their own loving, as usual.   There’s never any lack of that! 

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After a while, Steven got enough of the chaos and headed outside for some three-wheeler riding and open spaces.  Just what the doctor ordered!  (And yes, the tongue is necessary for important tasks such as pedaling!  I love it!)

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Thankful for another fun day with the Brownings, sadly minus Mom and DeAnn.  We’re counting the days until next fall when everyone is together again! 

PS If you’re friends with me on Facebook and are interested in more extended Browning shots, check the Browning Thanksgiving 2010 photo album. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Simple Woman

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

For Today...Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Outside my window...the sun beginning to peek through the clouds after a rainy night and cloudy morning.  Well, maybe.  It can’t seem to decide if it’s going to come out or not.

I am thinking...about a quick nap.  But there’s just so much to do this afternoon!

I am thankful for...the way our groceries seem to not be running out;  Angela’s mind becoming more and more opened to the truths of salvation that have long dwelt in her heart.

I am wearing...jeans, pink ribbed tank top with an unbuttoned black blouse over it, hair in a twist.

I am creating...a little bit of this, a little bit of that – and a few secrets in the mix.

I am remembering...lunches in the office at MDO, especially luncheon and birthday lunch days.  Those were fun times with precious friends.

I am going...to get pictures from the weekend up on Facebook and the blog soon.  Yes, very soon.  I hope!

I am reading...Pilgrim’s Progress; still.  My progress isn’t as steady as Christian’s was. 

I am hoping…my most recent Christmas gift idea turns out the way I see it in my mind’s eye.

I am hearing...Doug tapping away at his computer while he works; the scratching of Olivia’s pencil while she works; my own tapping; the crackle and hiss of the fire.

On my mind...friends who need prayer and the realization that I have not prayed very faithfully for them lately.

From the learning rooms...William Wilberforce, Harriet Tubman, more inventions and electricity, Psalm 103, about halfway through John, Thanksgiving books.  Angela – diving into multiplication and getting a great grasp on paragraph structure for creative writing.  Olivia – outlining (and doing super well, I might add).  Steven – writing his letters (primarily upper case) and mastering their sounds; he desperately wants to learn how to read.

Noticing that...early afternoons are so quiet at our house with Steven napping and the girls doing their independent work.  Such a peaceful time of day.

Pondering these words... “There’s within my heart a melody; Jesus whispers sweet and low, ‘ Fear not I am with thee, peace be still, in all of life’s ebb and flow.’ ”  From “Sweetest Name I Know,” one of my all-time favorite hymns.

From the kitchen...cooking up a bag of meat that mysteriously found itself out of the freezer and completely thawed (but thankfully not ruined!).  Making up some breakfasts and light meals to put in the freezer.  Later this week the kids and I will cook up and freeze the four little pumpkins  on the counter.

Around the house...we have a couch in the school room now!  Yay!  It is so nice!

One of my favorite things...cool fall days.

A few plans for the rest of the week...church activities, practicing a song with a friend, working on Christmas gifts, cooking.

A picture worth sharing...I just hate that school is so uncomfortable for the girls!  And yes, Angela is down there on the floor somewhere under all those blankets and behind that book.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Visit with Dad

Yes, I’m slow.  Last Saturday Dad arrived for a visit, and it was so much fun!  The kids had a great time playing with and loving on their papaw. 

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Then on Sunday evening Dad spoke at church for both church training and the evening service.  In church training he shared and answered questions.

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Then for church I got to “interview” him. 

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Such a fun visit! 

As this is posting, we are on our way to Judsonia for one more visit with Dad before he heads back to Jordan next Saturday.  Hopefully it won’t take another week to get that post up! 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Adjusting & Pictures

For a while now, we’ve lived in a community where people like to spend time together but prefer to do it in a neutral location – somewhere other than in each other’s homes.  In Almyra that doesn’t seem to be the case, and I must confess I’m loving it!  It is an adjustment, but it’s a good one.  The biggest adjustment is the comings and goings of our children that seems to be beginning.  Friends coming to our house and our children going to friends’ houses.  New and different for us, but such fun!  And yes, there will be pictures of the comings and goings forthcoming (when I remember to actually take them!).

Meanwhile, my favorite fall dresses came out this past Sunday – the girls’ polka dot Christmas dresses.  I just can’t help taking pictures when they wear these dresses!  Oh, and we curled Olivia’s hair with cloth rollers Saturday night.  The curls stayed for three days!!!  (Yes, I confess, she didn’t get a bath again until Tuesday night.)  Since her hair is typically straight as a board, we were really surprised they lasted that long.   She was glad to have her straight hair back, though!

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The other awesome thing about fall is the return of the fedoras.  I love seeing my handsome men in their hats!

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And, Doug wanted a picture of me with the girls.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Simple Woman

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

For Today...Tuesday, Nov 9, 2010

Outside my window...a mild, sunny day. A yard full of leaves, yet trees still full of their foliage.

I am thinking...about how easy it is to get off-track when we are not diligent.

I am thankful for...friends who give encouragement, and the promises of God from which that encouragement flows.

I am wearing...jeans, short-sleeve red polo, tennis shoes that never found their way off my feet after going to a friend’s house to gather pecans.

I am creating...still calendars.

I am remembering...having little ones at home.  There are many things I don’t miss, and I’m thankful for the increased independence of my children.  But, there are other things I do miss about little ones.

I am going...to conquer the chaos that seems to have settled over this house.

I am reading...the most recently updated version of Pilgrim’s Progress.

I am hoping...my headache fades soon.

I am hearing...the rustling of paper as Olivia works on her afternoon school assignments beside me. Otherwise, all is very quiet and peaceful.

On my mind...spiritual growth and how it must never stop!

From the learning rooms...William Wilberforce, more electricity experiments, outlining a paper about a made-up creature (Olivia has such a delightful imagination!)

Noticing that...I have noticed more of the little details of daily life since I started doing this daybook every week.

Pondering these words... “What does an unused prayer life look like?  Anxiety.  Instead of connecting with God, our spirits fly around like severed power lines, destroying everything they touch.” – Paul Miller in A Praying Life

From the kitchen...very little planning.  That must change ASAP.

Around the house...signs that we truly live here.  Some days it makes me crazy.  But, I would miss the signs of my children’s presence were they not here!

One of my favorite things... “light bulb moments” when my kids truly get what I’m teaching them.

A few plans for the rest of the week...work around the house; an early Thanksgiving celebration on Saturday with the Browning side of the family before Dad heads back to Jordan.

A picture worth sharing...the kids dressed up with Papaw when he spoke at church Sunday night.

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Friday, November 5, 2010

A Part of Our Lives

It’s so easy to take for granted the blessing of internet connection and the way things like email, blogs, and Skype can connect us across the miles – even around the globe. 

Last Saturday afternoon our time our friends the Choates left their city home in Honiara (Solomon Islands, in the South Pacific) to return to their village home of Marulaon for two months.  Every time they are in Honiara, I get spoiled getting to Skype chat with Joanna.  We both type quickly enough that it can almost feel as if we’re having a real live conversation!  I love it!  If we need to, we can step away from the computer to take care of kids or other business and then come right back to the chat.  It was hard to tear ourselves away from our computers last week knowing it would be our last chat for a long time.  We were both praying that they would have email in the village this time around (it is sent over radio, and it’s always iffy, but their last stay it didn’t work at all), but so far it seems they don’t.  That makes me miss them all the more.

So this week I’m not taking my ready access to internet connectivity for granted.  I am so thankful for blogs and Facebook and Twitter.  I've been able to pray for several friends today who just posted little statuses that let me know they needed prayer.  I’ve had the chance to rejoice with a few other people.  I got to smile at a post from a friend I’ve never met in person but whose words I have grown to thoroughly enjoy and treasure.  And, I get to share our day to day life with people we love but no longer are able to interact with on a daily basis.  Yes, I’m thankful.

Shortly after the Choates left for Marulaon, a package came in the mail from them full of samplings of the Solomons.  So, while we wait to get to “talk” to them again (and share in their daily life through their blog posts!), we’ll enjoy our taste of the Solomons and pray. 

Here are the kids in their Solomon Island t-shirts.

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So, to all of you who keep up with our family through this blog or Facebook or Twitter, thank you!  It is a sweet blessing to be connected, and I appreciate you for desiring to be a part of our lives!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Sweet Kids

I hadn’t finished all of my chronological Bible reading before activities of the morning began, so I sat down to finish it after breakfast.  The kids were getting started on chores, and I was barely into my reading before Steven rolled in with the vacuum cleaner. 

“I’ve come to vacuum your room,” he informed me.  “It might make your quiet time not be quiet, though.  Will that be okay for you?”

Talk about melting my heart!  And yes, amazingly enough, my sweet four-year-old did a great job vacuuming our room!  He might not have gotten every strip or corner, but it looks good!

Meanwhile, the girls have come in to tell me they’ve swept and mopped the kitchen, cleaned up the laundry room a bit, and now are starting on the dishes.  Which leaves me to wonder…who are these children and where have mine gone? 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Simple Woman

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

For Today...Tuesday, Nov 2, 2010 

Outside my window...a wonderful, cold, rainy day (hasn’t gotten out of the 50’s!  Don’t laugh too hard, Julie!). The rain arrived with thunderstorms in the wee hours of the morning, and it has been cloudy and rainy all day.  Normally this would be a gloomy day, but after waiting so long for rain and cold, the day is beautiful to me.

I am thinking...about just how much my sweet baby boy is growing up.  He is learning so much and branching out socially as well (even jumping at the chance to spontaneously go spend the afternoon with his friend Sawyer yesterday!).

I am thankful for...the fireplace and the provision of wood.

I am wearing...jeans, a brown thermal (aka comfy) shirt, and green fuzzy house slippers because my toes were cold.  Yes, that makes me smile.

I am creating...calendars, still.  And new ideas so that I can do more sewing for Christmas – there’s not much sewing on my list this year, and I miss it.

I am remembering...weeks early in the year when every one of my daybook entries talked about rainy days and how excited I would be to see the sun.  Am I fickle?

I am going...to be home this week.  All week.  More smiling.

I am reading...Still Surprised by Worship by Travis Cottrell.  Not because it’s hard reading, but because so much else has gotten in the way (such as needing to read Sing Down the Moon by Scott O’Dell so as to keep up with the girls in school).

I am hoping...my printer holds steady through calendar-printing this year.

I am hearing...kids playing happily together.  The tippity-tappity of keyboard keys as Doug works and I blog.  The soft, gentle rain falling outside.  The crackle of the fire.  Music playing softly.  

On my mind…my Memphis MDO friends.

From the learning rooms...Moccasin Trail, Sing Down the Moon, William Wilberforce & the end of slavery in the British empire, inventions, electricity experiments, Psalm 103, readings from John.

Noticing that...the day is almost gone.  Wondering where it went.

From the kitchen...Doug is about to get started on his first stew of the season.  Yum!  Can’t wait!

Around the house...order being restored.

One of my favorite things...children thoroughly enjoying playing together.

A few plans for the rest of the week…not much, which is nice. Then this weekend Dad is coming to see us! Yay!

A picture worth sharing...supper cooking over hot coals in the fireplace Saturday night.  Fun & yummy!

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Catching Up & Thankfulness

Now that the crazy two weeks are over, I think I can actually breathe again!  But, looking back, it was really a good two weeks. 

Thanks to the amazing love and generosity of our church family, we not only had two days of child care while Doug and I painted the inside of our house in Horn Lake, we also had a crew of six men travel up a week later to make the outside of the house look beautiful!  Between those gifts of time and energy and the many other ways they have showered us with love and appreciation, I am just overwhelmingly grateful and humbled by our church.  

Meanwhile, the AR Baptist State Convention’s annual meeting was wonderful!  We began with the Pastor’s Conference and Minister’s Wives Luncheon on Monday.  I can say without a doubt that my day was awesome!  We have such a fun group of minister’s wives in AR.  I pray even more wives can join us next year and be encouraged as we were last week!  Next we progressed on to the business of our annual meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday.  It was wonderful to see how smoothly all of the business flowed, and the preaching we were able to sit in on was really good.  It was also neat to get to introduce the girls to what a convention was like.  (There was child care for Steven’s age)  Although it meant we had to choose to be in fewer of the preaching sessions, it was worth it to include them this year.

We were a pretty tired bunch by the end of it, but the week wasn’t done yet!  We took care of some home business Thursday and Friday, and then thoroughly enjoyed outreach events at church Saturday and Sunday.  We start our new month hopefully getting back into some semblance of a routine!

And, as we try to settle back into a routine, we’re going to be trying to get into the habit of something as a family.  Increased thankfulness.  I have seen how much of a rut we’ve gotten into with our thankfulness around here.  What better time to break out of that rut than now, heading into the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.   I told the kids this morning that if we can find even the silliest things to be thankful for – and make it a habit – then it will be much easier for us to be thankful when things aren’t going so great.

So, this morning we’ve been thankful for Pull-Ups, a good night’s sleep, getting to stay home with Mommy, our microwave not exploding when Olivia put a spoon in it this morning!, enough dishes that we could have a messy kitchen and still have dishes for breakfast, a fire place and lots of wood (thank you, Gary!), and a good floor off of which we can clean the wood debris and other dirt that life brings through.  And that was all in the first hour!  Yay!  I’m excited to see what the rest of the day brings…

What about you?  What are you and your family thankful for?  I’m excited to hear, because I know it will open my eyes to more things we can be thankful for as well!