Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Welcome, Cookie!

We have talked for YEARS about adding a dog to our mix of craziness. But, we just never felt like we were supposed to go looking for a dog. We had our cats, and we knew that God would let us know when the time was right. He’s always so faithful to do that!2016-08-13 12.39.14-2

Well, when we were in Almyra a couple of weeks ago, we thought that maybe the time might be right. We met a beautiful chocolate lab temporarily nick-named Brownie. She was such a sweetheart, and we thought she might be worth taking home.

2016-07-31 15.32.40

The more we thought and prayed about Brownie, though, the more something didn’t feel right. But, a few days later, we learned about Cookie. Cookie, an older dog, belonged to a couple we’ve known since college. They are making a HUGE life transition – leaving a pastorate at an established church to go help restart a church in Texarkana. Even though this church is in a formerly established location, it’s essentially a church plant, requiring a move, new jobs for both of our friends, new schools for their kids – and a new home for Cookie.

2016-08-13 12.39.14-1

Something said that THIS was the dog we’d been waiting for God to provide. So, this past Saturday, we met his old family in Arkadelphia and loaded him up for the trip to his new home. He wasn’t too sure at first. As we pulled away, he barked and whined while watching his familiar people disappear. Every few minutes, he’d look out the back window as if to find them.

2016-08-13 11.30.28

But, as soon as we got him into the back yard, he seemed to have a great time bounding through the grass and exploring his new home.

2016-08-13 12.59.17

He quickly made friends with the kids, and playtime seemed to be mutually enjoyed by all!

2016-08-13 16.52.57

Especially when play time includes playing fetch with his ball! Although, as you can see, he isn’t always sure he wants to put the ball down. Ha! The kids just pull out another one and throw it, and he drops whatever’s in his mouth and takes off running.

2016-08-13 16.52.58

The kids (and the dog) didn’t even care that it was raining on Sunday afternoon. They still enjoyed a nice, wet game of fetch!

We hated to say no to Brownie (who is still waiting for a home), but Cookie just “fits.” He seems to be settling in well. And Smokey…well, he doesn’t even try to bother Smokey, but she stays as far away from him as possible. Maybe one day they’ll be friends, but for now we’re just thankful that he seems happy on his porch and lets her come and go through the cat door on her porch!

Best of all, as Steven says, this is one first step in helping our friends with this church plant. We look forward to helping in many, many more ways, but it’s fun to get to know that our delight in having Cookie is one little bit of help to someone else as they obey what the Lord has called them to do!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, August 15, 2016

In the great outdoors...wet and cool – the rain that has been pounding Louisiana is making its way north to us, although we are not getting nearly as much as they have been. Hopefully, though, that means they are getting relief! It’s awful down there!

Meanwhile, we’re also enjoying a massive cool down, for which I am abundantly thankful! It’s still incredibly humid, so the highs in the 70’s are still sticky and feel several degrees warmer. But, when our highs have been in the mid-90’s with 80-90% humidity that makes it feel like it’s in the 110’s, this feels absolutely incredible! 

Within our four walls...much quiet, as I’m completely alone in the house. It’s a stark contrast to this morning’s silliness. Much, much, much silliness. Wow. All I can say is that it’s a good thing our first day of school was two weeks ago – and that we are taking off this week so the kids can spend a few days with Nanny & Papaw. School would be very interesting today otherwise! Haha!

A heart of thanksgiving...for the cooler weather, for rain, and for a new addition to our household (I’ll share pictures soon!).

A heart of prayer...for kids and teachers/faculty as school starts around the state today; for those affected by the flood devastation in south Louisiana; for farmers as, once again, rains start about the time harvest is supposed to be starting. Fortunately, it looks like we’re slated for more here in the central part of the state than our farmer friends in the east are supposed to get.

Random observations...I always know exactly what I’m talking about when writing to-dos in my planner. Unfortunately, a couple of days later, I may or may not remember what my abbreviated instructions actually mean! Week before last, I jotted down a to-do on last Monday’s list. It took me a full week to figure out what I meant. I finally checked that to-do off today!

My silly children...are, as previously mentioned, silly. We’ve had extreme goofiness, a multitude of Princess Bride references while attempting to have our quiet times this morning (hard to read 1 Samuel 5 and 6 without ROUS comments), and a variety of other goofiness. Now, however, they are lavishing their silliness upon grandparents. I’ll miss it for the next few days!

Thoughts from the kitchen...this week we’re using up some of the meats that were mostly used for family meals, but have leftover portions too small for the whole family. Today was steak. The kids were not too pleased about the fact that Mommy and Daddy would be eating steak without them!

On my bookshelf...the same as last week. Reading very slowly these days, but I’m determined to always have one fiction and one non-fiction read going at all times.

Projects...I need to finish up those last little bits of school planning that didn’t get done before we started up two weeks ago. Shouldn’t take long. Meanwhile, it is my determined goal to get back to regularly writing and sewing. 

Sounds of the moment...crickets, an occasional bark, and the whir of the ceiling fan.

From Hibbard Academy...a week off while the kiddos have a late summer visit with my parents.

A favorite thing from last week...celebrating Steven!

The planner...with the kids gone, I’m mostly at home this week. Doug has a meeting this evening, so he’ll be out for a couple of more hours. I’ll pick up the kids Thursday morning, take Steven to the dentist, then go to a meeting of my own Thursday afternoon. And, I just remembered that there’s a baby shower this weekend! Hmmm…better consider some shopping!

Because visuals are fun...I looked up and saw this before church last night. Just chatting. Catching up. Looking forward to the new week. I love it!2016-08-14 17.56.22

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Happy Birthday, Steven!

When I asked Steven where he wanted to take his birthday pictures, he said, “On the farm!” Fortunately, we have farmer friends who are happy to oblige! (Thanks, Eric, Jennifer, and Read!)

2016-07-30 11.19.21

Our big boy was delighted to get to climb on farm equipment again, even if just for a few days. And, he was proud that he still fit inside tractor tires.

2016-07-30 11.12.38

Maybe he hasn’t outgrown tractor tires, but he’s still grown tremendously! It’s amazing to me how quickly my children can change.

2016-07-30 11.14.04

Steven is definitely growing up. He is maturing in precious ways, and I love seeing his physical, mental, and spiritual growth on a daily basis. I get to watch him invest in people and ministry, and I see how he handles challenges with increasing maturity.

2016-07-30 11.15.59

Fortunately, my little boy is still there, too. He’s still sweet and snuggly, and still loves his stuffies! Of course, he also still loves his Legos, not to mention Star Wars. And, he still really enjoys younger kids – playing with and entertaining them. It has been precious to see him with babies and toddlers at time, enjoying them as much as they’ve enjoyed him!

2016-07-31 15.27.23

I also love how he tackles things that used to terrify him. Like heights!

2016-07-31 15.27.15

Other things still bother him, but he has learned to face them head on and not give in to the overwhelming feelings. He’s enjoying trying new things and branching out into new experiences that he wouldn’t have even considered before!

2016-07-30 11.20.32

Probably the most social of my children, Steven still always wants to end the day at home, in the company of his family. He adores his sisters and wants to be just like Daddy. But, he’s still Mommy’s boy.

2016-07-30 11.29.35

Happy birthday, Steven! We love you!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, August 9, 2016

In the great outdoors...warming back up a bit today, but yesterday was amazing! It barely got into the 80s! After a month of insane heat, it was so invigorating! This morning is still rather pleasant. We’ll see what happens this afternoon.

Within our four walls...determination. We’re all so scatterbrained and still very behind on rest.

A heart of thanksgiving...that we are all back under the same roof – and in the same country – and on the same continent, for that matter!

A heart of prayer...for so many needs at church; for wisdom in a variety of things.

Random observations...I’m such a horrible salesperson. Really I am. I recently signed up to be an essential oils distributor because I wanted the kit, and because we’re finding more and more just how well the oils are working for us. But, this will probably turn out to be like my years with Mary Kay have been. I just don’t sell things well. But, if you have any questions or want a kit, I can hook you up! Haha!

My silly children...are settling in well to a new school year.

Thoughts from the kitchen...General Tso’s chicken bowls today. Mmmmm. Steven thought we were having them yesterday and got all excited. It’s fun that our children have caught on to the delights of Oriental food!

On my bookshelf...I’m trying Jane Austen again. I do understand that, at this moment, many of you are aghast that I am not a Jane Austen fan, but I’ve never made it all the way through one of her books. I don’t know what it is about her writing that I struggle with! I mean, one of my favorite books as a teen was Jane Eyre, and her writing style is not any more challenging than Charlotte Bronte’s. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t have access to Jane Austen as a teenager and didn’t try to read one of her novels until I was a sleep-deprived young mom!

But, Jane Austen’s work is referenced constantly, and I want my girls to at least give her novels a try. So, I’m diving back in.  I like the 1995 movie version of Sense and Sensibility (Colonel Brandon might be my all-time favorite Alan Rickman role), so that’s where I’m starting.

And no, I’ve never seen any version of Pride and Prejudice. Yes, I know. It’s appalling.

Projects...getting ready for a birthday tomorrow. All three kids in double digits! Also, finishing up the last few school prep items I didn’t get done before we started. 

Sounds of the moment...sirens somewhere on the main thoroughfare near us. We’re not far from the fire station, so we do hear sirens rather frequently. Today I think they’re testing – or perhaps just playing with – the sirens because of the abrupt on an off and the seeming silliness of the siren patterns. It’s making us chuckle.

From Hibbard Academy...Olivia is starting church history this year. Oh my. We’re having fun!

A favorite thing from last week...Saturday night. Doug came home. Nothing can top that!

The planner...we have an OBU alumni gathering tonight for the opportunity to meet the new president of Ouachita. I’m looking forward to that. Steven’s birthday tomorrow (which will probably stretch somewhat into Thursday since tomorrow is Wednesday). Otherwise, a normal week.

Because visuals are fun...it’s our sprawling tomato plants. Yes, all of that is tomato. Yes, we gave up trying to control or support it because there are four or five different plants there, all sprouted from last year’s fallen tomatoes. I have no idea if we’ll ever get any fruit from it, because so far we have just seen a few yellow flowers, and it’s getting pretty late in the season. But, we’ll see!

2016-08-06 13.54.09