Monday, December 30, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today…Monday, December 30, 2013

In the great outdoors...we had a few snow flurries this morning! Beautiful! The roof was cold enough that the accumulation started almost immediately. But, the snowfall didn’t last very long, so nothing really stuck for more than a few minutes. It was pretty while it lasted, though.

Within our four walls...Christmas decorations are down, the library has been rearranged just enough to make my new work space more efficient, and Doug and I are trying to get back into work mode today. We are craving routine.

A heart of thanksgiving...for a week to get back in the swing of things before deadlines begin to hit again.

A heart of prayer...for sick friends everywhere. It seems that the flu, stomach bug, and general ickiness abound.

Random observations...I’m struggling with getting back into a good writing mode. I miss it, but I just can’t seem to get a writing flow going again, as is obvious on both of my blogs. I suppose that is a way you can pray for me. I really do miss regular writing.

My silly children...are watching The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for the first time. We just haven’t gotten around to turning it on for the girls, and we didn’t want Steven to watch it until he read the book. Well, Doug read that book and a couple of others from the series aloud for us this summer, and Steven has since read the whole series on his own.

Anyway…they’re finally watching it this afternoon. But, they have brought the book in with them so they can compare it to the movie (as if they need the book – the girls have read it enough times to quote it from memory!!). I can only imagine the angst when they finally watch Lord of the Rings!

Thoughts from the kitchen...Doug made a delicious pot of chili for lunch today. We are determined to get back to “real” eating this week. It started with smoothies for breakfast, despite the cold. Holiday food may be yummy, but it sure does make us feel lousy!

On my bookshelf...well…first I must say that my bookshelf is CLEAN again! Part of our reorganization effort involved moving it from its old spot near the big computer desk to a spot closer to my new work space. We managed to shuffle things and get it right beside me. Love it! And in the process, I actually got everything back in its place.

And now I can focus on creating a reading schedule and getting back into a habit of reading. 

Projects...As I was rearranging, I found several things that I’d forgotten I had! Now that Christmas sewing is done, I’m going to make it a point to keep up with sewing and knitting projects.

Sounds of the moment...sounds of Narnia wafting from the other room.

From Hibbard was grading day. We caught up on all of the pre-Christmas grading we hadn’t gotten done. Well, almost all of it. I still have a bit of language arts to grade. Tomorrow I will plan for the next couple of weeks, and then we’ll start back to school on Thursday.

A favorite thing from last was Christmas week! Lots of favorites! But especially watching my kids as they watched others open the gifts they’d put so much thought and effort into.

The planner...we’ll enjoy an early New Year’s Eve celebration tomorrow night (we all like to go to bed early!). Otherwise, we get to enjoy a week at home to restructure ourselves before life really gets back to “normal” next week.

Because visuals are son and his fashion statements.

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Advent Reflections: Week 3, Day 4

Week Three Day Four: The Sacrifice without Spot and Blemish

“I will not take what is yours for the Lord[1] or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” (King David) 1 Chronicles 21:24

It is easy for us to picture Christmas in light of the Hallelujah Chorus and sing “Wonderful! Counselor! The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace!” This is certainly the celebration of the overall character of Jesus of Nazareth, whose birth in Bethlehem anchors our celebrations. Yet Christians recognize not one Advent but two. The second is the one yet to come: when He returns and initiates the visible Kingdom of God in all things. The first Advent leads us to Bethlehem and the manger.

In the gap between the two Advents, something else had to happen. (click here to read more)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Advent Reflections: Week 3, Day 3

Week Three Day Three: A Sense of Destiny

“For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.” John 12:35 (NASB95)

The sensation that is myrrh, though, does not stop in everyday use. Myrrh was a portion of the anointing oil of the Tabernacle. In fact, it was the largest portion of this oil. Exodus 30 records this oil and its purposes. Whatever was touched by this oil was considered holy. It was to be used on the priests and the implements of sacrifice. It was used on the altar and on the Ark of the Covenant.

The Ark of the Covenant was the symbol of the center of God’s presence in those times. He never expresses Himself as limited to wherever the Ark is, but for the Israelites of those years, the Ark was where they could know God certainly was. The Ark was to be kept near to the altar for sacrifice and to be kept separate from the people by a heavy curtain.

Why? (click here to read the rest)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Advent Reflections, Week 3, Day 2

Week Three Day Two: A Sense of Intimacy

“All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.” Psalm 45:8 (NASB95)

For now, lay aside the thought of myrrh as a burial spice. Instead, let us consider myrrh and its place among the fragrances of intimacy, of relationship, of celebration. Myrrh carries a picture in the Old Testament that is quite different than what we see in the few references to it in the New Testament.

In the Old Testament, myrrh is a part of the marriage celebration. The Scripture above, from Psalm 45, is a good reference point for that use. The whole of Psalm 45 is a celebration of marriage. (read more here)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Advent Reflections: Week 3, Day 1

Week Three Day One: Senses and Sacrifice

“Then their father Israel said to them, ‘If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry a present down to the man, a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds.” Genesis 43:11 (ESV)

Coming to the last gift, we find myrrh. Myrrh, like frankincense, was an all-purpose spice. It is another agricultural product. Well, more like a silvicultural product since it comes from trees, but you get the point. It is not something valuable because it is rare. It is instead valuable because people liked it.

How do I know people liked it? (read more here)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thanksgivings and Birthdays

I’m pretty sure I took a few pictures while Doug’s parents were here for an early Thanksgiving celebration. But, I have to figure out where I put them! So for now…

I’ll post these from Judsonia when we went Friday the 29th for the Browning Thanksgiving. I didn’t take many pictures, and most of what I took were of this cutie pie!

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I love that smile! My niece Nora turns one on December 17, but we got to celebrate her birthday early as a family. Thanks, Ashley, for such a great idea!

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Big sister Abigail didn’t feel too well that day, so I didn’t get any pictures of her. But, oh is she adorable! I’m a bit partial to those two precious girls!

Meanwhile, my own young’uns had a pretty enjoyable time. These two thoroughly enjoyed the plethora of cats who roam around Nanny & Papaw’s yard!

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And this stinker knew just how to get good and relaxed! I think he was enjoying a new movie. Planes, maybe?

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Naturally, they all three had to find time to play Legos with Uncle Tim. That’s a must anytime, but especially when he’s around!

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After downing a fantastic meal, we had to wait a few hours before enjoying birthday celebration. Nora was pretty excited about her cupcake!

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Especially the icing!

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I tried to get a picture of Abby eating hers, but she didn’t want a picture. I snuck her into the background of one. Smile

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One of these days, my kids will teach Nora the art of eating the bottom of a cupcake first.

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Then she’ll get to enjoy the icing last with just a bit of cake to hold it together!

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And that was our Browning Thanksgiving. As I work through pictures over the next few days, I will hopefully find some from the Hibbard Thanksgiving!

Advent Reflections: Week 2, Day 5

Week Two Day Five: Priest Above All Problems

“Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor and make known the statutes of God and His laws.” Exodus 18:15-16

If a train leaves New York at 0545 traveling 60mph on the same track to Philadelphia as a train leaving Philadelphia leaves for New York at 0600 headed to New York traveling 45mph leaves on, how much time does the dispatcher have to warn both trains to stop?

Sound like a major issue? Maybe not if you live in Atlanta, but if you are on one of those trains, it is a huge deal. Yet what you see above is a typical story problem from a math book. It is, however, lacking information. For example, how far is it from Philadelphia to New York? How big of a train? After all, it takes longer to stop a 100-car banana train than to stop a 10-car passenger train.

Without that information, can you actually solve the problem? I’m not asking if your math skills are up to the division, multiplication, and addition necessary. You can see, though, that you do not possess all the information to solve the problem at hand.

This is considered a simple problem, one that a fifth grader may find in a math book. What about the problems we face in adulthood? (read more here)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Thursday, December 12, 2013

In the great outdoors...bright, beautiful sunshine! It’s warming up – actually up to 40 today! Heat wave!  

Within our four are started to appear under the tree as creations are finished. I haven’t been able to get pictures of all of them this year because the kids have worked a lot by themselves. But I will get pictures after Christmas!

A heart of thanksgiving...for answered prayers for my friend Joanna; for friends from church whose company we’ve been able to enjoy more than usual this week; for a warm house; for the cold and ice that will hopefully reduce the mosquito population.

A heart of prayer...for friends needing to make a major decision; for Joanna as she continues to recover from malaria & cellulitis; for peace to reign over the busyness of this season.

Random seven-year-old used the word “delectable” today. Correctly. The funniest part? When I asked him where he learned the word, he said, “I don’t know. I made it up!”

My silly children...need to be outside. It’s sunshiny and 40. They’re going out for a little while!

Thoughts from the kitchen...I’ve eaten way too much this week. Christmas parties can really do a gal in, especially when one of them offers phenomenal steaks! Oh. My. Word.

On my bookshelf...books waiting for Christmas break when I plan to read something just for the fun of it!!

Projects...I bet you can’t guess!

Sounds of the moment...rustling around as the kids find hats and coats.

From Hibbard Academy...sloooooow progress. We intended to have school three days last week and every day this week. Last week I ended up with laryngitis, so we just worked through what we could. This week it has been one thing after another. We’re still making progress, but I think I might call next week a lost cause. Sewing time!

A favorite thing from last week...enjoying an unexpected Sunday at home. I love our church. I really do. But when ice led us to cancel service out of concern for safety, we suddenly had a wide open day. It was so incredibly nice in the middle of two busy weeks. Thank You, Lord!

The planner...This has been Christmas party week! We ended up not having the senior’s party on Tuesday because of illness, but we’ve enjoyed being with the men’s Sunday school class and the deacons. Tonight it’s our Sunday school class. Then that’s it for this year! It’s been a busy week, but it’s a lot of fun to get to go to all of the parties.

Because visuals are fun...I must show you my most exciting accomplishment of last week. It’s two-fold. 1) A clean sewing desk. Yeah. I couldn’t get to the sewing machine before I tackled the desk. It was time. 2) A permanent work space! I love the flexibility of working with a laptop, but I really needed a base work station. As I cleaned off the sewing table, I realized that the end of the sewing table that is built for a second machine would be perfect for my computer. I’m so excited! It’s been wonderful this week!2013-12-07 12.08.36

Advent Reflections: Week 2, Day 4

Week Two Day Four: Priest Above All Practices

“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24 (NASB95)

If you live in the South, you probably realize that many Southerners do love football. Especially college football. The traditions and excitement that surround Saturdays between September and December overtake even the most casual of fans, and cause some of the sanest of people to do some rather crazy things.

The traditions of college football are as diverse as the crowds that do them. In Oxford, Mississippi, the well-dressed members of the football team walk through the tailgating crowd to get to the stadium. In Arkansas, grown people stand up and shout “Woo! Pig! SooIEEEE! to call the Hogs. Auburn University lets an eagle fly around the stadium.

Even the idea of “tailgating” is a strange one… (read more here)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Advent Reflections: Week 2, Day 3

Week Two Day Three: Priest Above All Division

“For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.” Ephesians 4:4-6

There are, unfortunately, divisions among those who claim the name of Christ. We tend to argue about things great and small. Where else can you find arguments so bitter that a person will not speak to someone five feet away?

Some of the arguments are necessary. It often happens that we take our eyes off the Cross and get greatly distracted. (Read more here.)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Advent Reflections: Week 2, Day 2

Week Two Day Two: Priest Above All Religion

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

The first place our minds go when we hear that Jesus is a “priest” is down the road to religion. Left to that path, we are headed to an unmitigated disaster if we do not put some hedges and explanations on that. The truth carries a much tighter focus than many of us like.

Most religions build on a structure of priesthood. The structure is this: there is something beyond what normal people understand, but there are a few that grasp the full truth. Those few then serve as intermediaries between ordinary folks and that something. You get this in Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Mormonism. You get it even in Buddhism and Atheism—yes, atheists have priests and prophets, too, who are out to “enlighten” everyone about the real truth that religious people ignore.

Even some forms of Christianity twist His truth and place additional layers between man and God. (Keep reading here)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Thursday, December 5, 2013

(a little late, but I got to it!)

In the great outdoors...getting colder by the hour as we wait for “Cleon” to officially hit. Will it fizzle out to just cold temps or truly be the ice storm craziness being forecasted?

Within our four walls...laundry is done, phones are being charged, and a fire is built. We’re as ready as we’re gonna be!

A heart of thanksgiving...for a fireplace and gas water heaters.

A heart of prayer...for those who have to work out in this wintry mess.

Random observations...I spent today focusing on work tasks that absolutely had to be done if we lose power as predicted. Now I hope we don’t lose power because that means I’m finally getting ahead – a huge goal of mine between now and Christmas break!

My silly children...well, let me just share a conversation from today.

Me: “Are y’all fighting?”

Angela: “No, we’re just misunderstanding each other!”

Me: “Well, misunderstand each other with sweet tones in your voices, please.”

Steven & Angela together: “Yes, ma’am!”

Thoughts from the kitchen...methinks soup will be somewhere on the menu for this weekend.

On my books awaiting review.

Projects...working on some knitting projects right now. I’ve restarted one three times. I got a good ways on it before I realized that the needles I thought would work just weren’t going to do the trick. But, in trying to improvise, I messed it up too much to salvage. So, starting yet again! Fortunately, it’s a relatively quick project!

Sounds of the jabbering as they finish supper.

From Hibbard’s been a bit of an odd week. We were gone Tuesday, and I had no voice yesterday. Still plugging along, though! Two more weeks!

A favorite thing from last week...watching as my children did much of the Christmas decorating. That was fun!

The planner...much of it has already happened. Work meeting day on Monday. Denominational meeting day on Tuesday, followed by a recipe party with the ladies from church. Church on Wednesday. Today I was supposed to go to Bernina Club, but was still recovering from voiceless Wednesday. So, we had a mostly relaxing stay-at-home day today. I think that will continue through the weekend! Read might be back on Saturday – if Cleon peters out and his mom has to work.

Because visuals are fun...Angie found this leaf. I’ve never seen one this big! None of the trees we’ve seen in town have leaves this big, so we’re not sure where it came from.


Advent Reflections: Week One, Day Four

Here’s today’s link:

Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent Thoughts–Day One

Need an advent guide for this year? Allow me to share my wonderful husband’s guide! He wrote this a couple of years ago, and this year he has edited it to fit on his blog. Every day he will be publishing a post. You can follow his blog directly (, or you can just come here where I will link his post every day.

Here are the first two links:


Week One, Day One: