Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Happy Birthday, Olivia!


Fourteen is the year she’ll start high school. She’ll probably learn to drive this year. And she’ll be in a full-fledged youth group for the first time…complete with boys. Whatever will we do?

What will we do? We’ll continue to watch her grow in every way. It has definitely been fun to watch her grow over this past year!

I don’t know that a whole lot has changed in the past year – just deepened.

She still loves most of the same things she loved last year. She’s making progress on that novel, and she’s learning to pace and schedule herself so she can get it written.

She’s discovering what it feels like to be a young lady – still fully her own person, not caught up in the aspects of girliness that she’s never enjoyed. But, discovering little things like the fun of experimenting with make-up and slightly more grown-up (but not too grown-up!) clothing styles.

But, she’s not too grown up for her siblings. Despite the different interests Olivia & Angela have developed, they still have such a great time together. And, Olivia is delighted that Angela now shares her love for Doctor Who. Olivia started back at the very beginning of the reboot to watch through with Angela. Fun stuff!

And she and Steven have such a sweet, sweet bond – she takes care of him and he adores her. He loves to dog pile on her, especially first thing in the morning. And, just today when Steven seemed a little melancholy, Olivia snuggled right up behind him and gave him a few minutes of her undivided attention, just to make him smile.

I love seeing Olivia continue to develop spiritually. She’s like me in that she is not one to ask questions very often. But, she loves to ponder. To talk things out. To make observations. And, when she’s asked a question, she’s going to figure out what she thinks about it!

In the coming year, Olivia’s practical way of thinking will probably be challenged. She’ll have to learn when to stand firm and when to rethink. She’ll also need to learn how to be tactful and loving as she shares her strong opinions. But I have no doubt she’ll rise to the challenge. She’ll make some mistakes and see some successes. But, she’ll grow. And I’m excited to watch.

Happy Birthday, Olivia!
We love you and are very proud of you!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, May 18, 2015

In the great outdoors...heavy; gloomy; almost an impending feeling. All of the storminess is currently south of us, but I think it’s only because high pressure is resting right on us. I can’t feel it weighing me down. Wow.

Within our four walls...lots of chaos that won’t go away any time soon! But, Angie tidied the living room this morning, even with the chaos. It’s those little things that make us all smile. Life goes on, and my kids handle it all with such delightful grace.

A heart of thanksgiving...for a house! We’ll learn the final details today on our new home – a home we will rent until we can work out the details to buy.

A heart of prayer...for challenges facing friends and loved ones; for our family as we continue to process through the emotional side of leaving.

My silly children...are handling the emotional upheaval so well. I’m proud of them! But, we’re still trying to think of all of the sad movies we can watch. After all, that’s our reason for crying, right? Yes, I know. We’re crazy. And we like it that way!

After all…as Steven is fond of saying, “I’ve heard of this thing called sanity. But I don’t think it exists.”

Thoughts from the kitchen...I don’t really want to even think about cooking. It’s getting warm. And we’re moving.

On my bookshelf...not much! Most of what was there is now in a box somewhere!

Projects...packing and purging. 

Sounds of the moment...the pop of a Nerf gun as Steven shoots into the holes of a stack of plastic crates. He’s greatly enjoying this new game!

From Hibbard Academy...it’s all packed up! That makes the kids happy. Olivia’s reading To Kill a Mockingbird so she can finish up language arts after we move. But, otherwise, we’re done for a little while.

A favorite thing from last week...finding a house. It’s amazing how quickly it all came together, really. But, when you’re in the middle of it and know you have a very limited time to work out details, a week and a half seems like forever!

I’ll be honest…I knew God would work it all out. But, I was also clinging to some pretty selfish desires. He had to cut those out of me before He could point me to the house He had chosen for us. Why? Because, although it’s a great house that I’m going to love, it’s not the one I would have picked. And I would have been wrong.

That was really more frustrating than the “delay” in our search. I don’t like to be worked on. But, I like the results every time. His surgeries always have perfect results. Always.

The planner...a meeting tomorrow, then a balance of move prep work and HEDUA/church work for the rest of the week. Oh, and an attempt to not let Olivia’s birthday sneak up on me! It’s a week from tomorrow, and I want to make sure to celebrate her fully, no matter what we’re in the middle of!

Because visuals are fun...and because we all know that every cat loves to be “horsey” for stuffed puppies.

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Then we had “King Jack” with his silky scepter. And no, he did not relinquish the scepter willingly!!

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Still True

As I sort and purge, I find all of the little places where I’ve written down the kids’ random, funny quotes.

What’s really funny is when I find them on a day when they’re still relevant. Like this one of Olivia’s from a few years ago:

I’m not sure I like being the inspiration behind some of Daddy’s silly songs.

We just repeated that same conversation this morning…

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Growing Girls

Yesterday was a proud day for my girlies. They handed over the last of what they owed for their new rings! I remember saving money to buy my first piece of real jewelry – such a big deal! So excited for them and proud of their diligence to work and save. And it was even more precious because my wonderful friend Jennifer helped with every step of the process, from selection to final layaway payment!

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, May 11, 2015

In the great outdoors...a rainy start to the morning, after a very rainy weekend. The swamp is back!!

Within our four walls...clutter and chaos. The clutter is being tackled. But, the chaos is probably here to stay until after we move.

A heart of thanksgiving...for the incredibly supportive and amazing people of Almyra First Baptist Church. Love them!

A heart of prayer...for house hunting success tomorrow. For East End Baptist Church as we make the transition together. We’re looking forward to what God has in store!

For AFBC as they begin to search for a new pastor – there is an amazing amount of growth going on in this church right now, growth you wouldn’t expect in a small rural farming town; praying that God will provide perfect wisdom, as growth like that does require organizational and relational changes. I’m excited to see what happens!

For the Choate family as they settle in and make some decisions about what to tackle and what trips need to be made first. Also for their financial provision as stateside life and Solomon Island life greatly differ financially – not to mention the necessary medical expenses of this trip.

Random observations...e-readers are amazing things. I love physical books, but the kids and I have hundreds of additional books on our Kindles, and Doug has thousands of books in his digital theological resource library. No, digital books will never replace the joy of holding a print copy in our hands. But, they are still a huge blessing!

My awesome daughters...have amazed me over the past six months! In early December, we went to Wilkerson’s, the big jewelry store around here, and my friend Jennifer helped each of the girls pick out their first “real” ring. Olivia had been wanting one for a very long time, and Angela caught the bug, too. They put the rings on layaway for six months. I never dreamed they’d earn all of the money in six months, to be honest, so we had worked out ways that we could pay the remaining balances after the six month period, then let them pay us back. But, nope! Thanks to diligent saving and taking on extra small jobs here and there, they will both get their rings today – fully paid for!

Pictures to come!

Thoughts from the kitchen...fresh eggs. Oh my, how I’ve enjoyed those fresh eggs! I want to fill every recipe and every meal with them. That just might not be the best idea.

On my bookshelf...lots of books that will have to be moved. Yes, that Kindle is very nice.

Projects...remember that purging I’ve been mentioning lately? Yeah…that.

Sounds of the moment...something just went thud. But there were no accompanying screams or cries. So, I’m ignoring it.

From Hibbard Academy...I surrender!

Actually, yesterday afternoon, I looked at the kids and said, “We HAVE to do school this week. We’ve got to be diligent, even with the move.”

Then, last night, Doug and I stopped and took a good look at it together. Angie and Steven are actually at a good stopping point. They are not on a very clear schedule. They’re almost done with language arts books, but just under halfway through their current math level. They’re right in the middle of our core curriculum, and at a very good place to pause.

Meanwhile, Olivia is doing that odd eighth grade stuff. You know, the “done this all before in elementary school and will do it all again in high school…and college” spot. She’s ahead on some things (as in, earning high school credit), and so close to the end on others. So, we’re going to relax...a lot. It’s all good.

  A favorite thing from last week...an unexpected Saturday at home. We were supposed to be on a Scout campout, but more than one of us didn’t feel well, including our young Scout. Meanwhile, a precious couple from East End was getting married Saturday, and we would have loved to have been there celebrating with them. But, since we were under the weather, we decided we needed to stick close to home and get well before Sunday. Yes, a Saturday at home was much needed after a busy week!

The planner...local errands today; house-hunting tomorrow. Oh, and this little exciting thing of getting to hug Choate necks!! I can’t imagine why we’d look forward to that. Yesterday I ran across some adorable pictures from this visit: The Joy of Friendship. They’re pictures that didn’t make the blog post, so I might have to try to get them scanned and shared. They’re too cute!

The rest of the week is pretty normal, I think. Well, as of right now. That can change at any moment!

Because visuals are fun...that’s one pathetic cat!2015-05-10 16.03.30

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Change is Coming

They say that where you live, where you work, and where you go to church are three of the most important decisions you can make.

For a pastor’s family, the three cannot be separated. And that, my friends, is what makes change so stinkin’ tough sometimes.

Yes, we’re moving.

It’s still a bit surreal, to be honest. We didn’t go looking for this. It came looking for us. But, a few months ago, I did tell a friend that I knew change was coming. I just didn’t know at the time that it would be this kind of change.

For the longest time, we could only think of what we’d be leaving. The peacefulness of a small town. The beauty of farm life. The amazing family we have here in Almyra. Oh my goodness, do we love this church family! And we have no doubt in our minds that they love us. I can’t tell you how precious it is to hear church members talk about how proud they are of my husband and to see them love on my children.

Because of that, we didn’t want to make the decision to leave. Even on the Sunday we were heading to the new church in view of a call, a part of us wanted to head back to Almyra instead! But, everywhere we turned, God kept confirming that we were supposed to go. So, we prayed that He would give us a sense of what we would be going toward. And oh, did He ever!

We knew we’d be moving much closer to Little Rock and to opportunities for our children like a real, live AHG troop and other enrichment opportunities.

But, on the Sunday we met the whole of the new church family, I realized that I would not lose seeing church members share pride in my husband. And my children would still be loved on. And we’d definitely “fit” into this church family from a ministerial/serving in the body perspective.
Add to that the fact that the kids will be surrounded by other homeschoolers – YES, we’ll be in a community and church with other homeschoolers for the first time ever! – and it really makes for a sweet attraction.

Pretty quickly after we made the official announcement yesterday morning (although most, if not all, of our church family knew by that time), Olivia posted this on Facebook. I think she sums it up pretty well:
We are going to be moving at the end of this month, so please pray for us as we try to find a house and get packed. This transition is very hard for us, but we are looking forward to making new friends. We feel that God has called us to move, but it has been very emotional for us. Please pray as we say goodbye to Almyra. I love y'all and you have been like family to me. Thanks for encouraging me and guiding me in God's ways as I grow up. I will miss y'all so much!!!!!
Please do pray with us over the housing situation. We want to search well and not just settle because of desperation to make a quick move. But, it still IS a quick move, as May 31 will be our last Sunday here, and we need a house to move into the first week of June. So, pray for wisdom and perfect provision!

And now, back to purging. Because we have WAY too much stuff to live with, much less move!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Review: Tales from the Circle C Ranch

Last week I reviewed Thick as Thieves from Susan Marlow’s new Circle C Milestones series. This week, I have Andrea Carter’s Tales from the Circle C Ranch. This book of short stories is a sort of companion volume tying all three Circle C series together.

I must admit that I have mixed feelings about Tales from the Circle C Ranch. It’s a cute book. In just a short time, I’ve come to enjoy Andrea Carter and her stories. But, is this little book really worth the expenditure for anyone but the avid Andi Carter fan?

On the one hand, my kids and I read these stories and know, without a doubt, that we are missing a lot. We have never read any books from the Circle C Beginnings or Circle C Adventures series, so the references to adventures from those books are meaningless to us. Certain characters, too, are strangers. So, on the one hand, I would say that this is not necessarily a book for an audience considering a new author.

And yet…

Tales from the Circle C Ranch does offer a great introduction to Susan Marlow and the world of Andrea Carter. The first story gives a little background, and each subsequent tale stands alone with relative strength. Yes, there are missing pieces. But, if you’re really in the market for new books for your children, this little collection might be just what you need to determine whether or not your children want to enter the world of the Carters and Circle C Ranch.

Bottom line: I would recommend Tales from the Circle C Ranch, whether to long-time fans of Andrea Carter or to newcomers who just want to get a feel for Susan Marlow’s stories. Just be warned – you might find yourself wanting more!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, May 6, 2015

In the great outdoors...today marks a full week of not just no rain, but abundant sunshine as well! I’m sure it won’t be long before the farmers need the rain again and can’t get it. But, for now, we’re enjoying the fact that the yard is dry and the sun is shining.

Within our four walls...chaos and insanity. Oh wait…that’s just normal life for the Hibbards!

A heart of thanksgiving...for supportive friends and for confidence in God’s plan – even when it’s not a visible path.

A heart of prayer...for one of our youth having surgery tomorrow morning; for our church family; for God’s provision in every detail; for the Choates as they travel from Dallas to AR today. YAY!

Random observations...I think all of my thoughts and observations are random right now. So, does that mean they’re really random, or are they actually normal? In that case, do I really even have random observations. (You might want to just stop reading now before you lose your sanity, too!)

My silly children...are completely silent right now. Should I be concerned?

Thoughts from the kitchen...kitchen? Food? No clue.

On my bookshelf...ack! A book I need to review this week! Oh wait…I already wrote that review. Just need to publish it. Whew!

Projects...sorting; organizing; PURGING! We have way too much stuff. 

Sounds of the moment...quiet. So much quiet.

From Hibbard Academy...today will be a “figure out exactly where we are” kind of day. We’ve been pretty sporadic lately. Need to get back on track.

The planner...trip to Little Rock tomorrow for an interview; Boy Scout campout this weekend – since the Girl Scouts will be there, too, our whole family is going so our girls can start earning some of their camping requirements. It’s sneaking up on me, though. I’ve done nothing to prep for this trip. After we get home tomorrow…

Because visuals are fun...we were joking about selfies the other day. We’re NOT selfie people. But, we decided to take one, just to be goofy. I love those sweet faces!

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