July 31, 2005

Up Past my Bedtime

It's been ages since I posted a recipe on the Gathering Manna site - besides my grandmother's goulash. I guess I would have to admit that not only have I been too busy, but I haven't made anything to eat that just screams "AWESOME" in a while.... unless you count the breakfast tacos we LIVE on around here. If there were one food on the planet, I would want it to be breakfast tacos. Bacon, egg and cheese, please!

Tonight, I'm up late after tucking daddy in with a sinus infection, kissing the kids goodnight (who played their new Star Wars Lego game for most of the evening), and reading lots of other blogger's posts. I needed to escape reality after the mail came today, and we opened up our new mortgage coupon book... to find a house payment increase of over 1,000 dollars. Is that legal? Anyway - we have really started to boogie on the realtor's to-do list... because - come September 1st, if we haven't sold the house, the bank is going to be transferring our equity into their name! So, I've been painting light fixtures, checking out paint samples, buying house plants, and making plans to meet with friends to sew up some curtains.

I thought I would share with you some of the highlights of my surfing tonight. I'll list them by category...

Blog Posts That Caught My Eye and I Thought I Would Share
Victoria of Victoria Carrington's Journal has a nice little post about Pride on her site called The "P" Word.

Christina of Routon Family Homeschool has posted a bit on the upcoming school year and her plans. You can check out her post entitled "First Week of 5th Grade Starts Monday!" and see how her plans compare with yours.

Info for Fellow Bloggers
Dunmoose the Ageless
is hosting the 81's Christian Carnival, and has invited all to submit posts by August 2nd. You can visit his post entitled "Christian Carnival 81 announcement" to find out more.

Blog Posts to Make You Chuckle
Amy of Amy's Humble Musings has captured a Kodak moment with her youngsters that I think we moms can all identify with in her post "I prefer maps".

Non-bloggie Sites That Rock
Check out one of Beth Moore's latest weekly devotionals at Living Proof Ministries.

Ever wondered what happened to the Dinosaurs? Find out at the CSE Ministries (Dr. Dino) website in their article section. The title of this article is interestingly, "What Happened To The Dinosaurs?"

God is good. Have a good rest of the weekend. "See" you Monday!

July 29, 2005

Why I Homeschool

Now that the back-to-school sales have started, and the buses are making trial runs through the neighborhood to get their routes down... I confess, I am beginning to get anxious about starting the school year. I have not been posting much about homeschool because we have been on summer break, and have been preoccupied with our pending move and the sale (or lack of it) of our home. Obviously, from our blogrolls and my "about" section at top left, you can tell that we are a homeschooling family... and although we are not set to any state school schedule (being a Texas homeschool family - where homeschooling is free), we like to keep on a schedule similar to the public school's to help ourselves stay more accountable. This also makes visiting with family and friends who are not homeschoolers much easier.

I had a discussion today with a friend of mine over email. She was telling me of her thoughts about homeschooling, and the reasons why she has not tried it yet. It got me to thinking about my own reasons for homeschooling, and I thought I would share them since this is the time of year school is gearing up. One of my friend's comments was that she felt like she was too disorganized to attempt homeschooling, and she was afraid she would procrastinate the year away. This made me laugh, as I had this very same discussion with God in my prayer journal last night. Even veteran homeschoolers (of which I do not classify myself) have fears and doubts about their abilities. I am sure that many moms who would attempt homeschooling and have not, share this common fear as well. I am not any different, and I have homeschooled our kids for a total of three years. My children are only 8 and 6, but they are entering grades 3 and 1, respectively this year. I stay in prayer about my ability to pull off another successful year. The wonderful thing about my ability is that my ability is not all that is required of me - my obedience is. "God doesn't call the equipped; He equips the called." I would say that just like everything in life, homeschooling requires an amount of FAITH. At some point, each homeschool mother has looked a dwindling checkbook, a loss of free time, and a load of work dead in the eye and took that first step off the homeschooling cliff!

There was one year, when my children were in preschool and a second go-around at Kindergarten, that we tried a Christian private school as well. I worked as the school's registrar and kept their database of student records running. I saw the applicants files, their essays and test scores, their personal information, and medical information. I knew who was accepted and who was declined. I saw differences in the applicants who were from public school, other private school, and homeschool settings. I was able to see just from these applications what kind of fruit homeschooling produces. I knew who was expelled at our school (yes, they have discipline problems in private schools, too!) and for what reasons (the same reasons you would expect in a public school: "sex, drugs, rock&roll"). My kids attended school on their elementary campus, and I worked on their junior high/high school campus, so I saw most of the kids every day and interacted with many of them. Ours was a large private school, and very expensive (to the tune of ten thousand dollars a year for my two kids who were in the earliest grades). While there were many benefits to private school as opposed to public school (less competition and more ability to excel in sports and clubs, better quality of academics and teachers, more Christian values than public schools had to offer), I still saw a lot of the same problems and down-sides to the private school setting as opposed to homeschooling (which we had done for one year previous to my employment there). One of the main down-sides being negative socialization skills. My daughter came home with a new trick she had learned in her three year preschool class: eye-rolling. My son followed around another child who was sent to the principal every week, and ended up being extremely distracted by this "friendship" for most of the entire year. This child was later requested to leave the school (a kindergartener!) because of behavioral issues. It did not help matters that we had already covered all the Kindergarten material at home (and more), and he was somewhat bored. I was very thankful that we had such a lively and interesting teacher for him that year. She went out of her way to keep him engaged, and I was so thankful for her. Of course, in any school situation, there will always be positives and negatives, and I in no way want to cast all blame to any particular schooling method or group. We just learn as we go and make choices based on what we feel is best for our family. After being publicly educated, having our children attend a private school, and trying homeschool out... we made the educated choice of the later as the method that would be best for our family.

I found out that the private school I worked at where my children attended were using secular Science books (the same that the public school uses, in fact). For a Christian who believes in Creation, this concerned me. Secular books are full of macro-evolution and humanistic view points. The school's answer to me when I asked how the material would be presented was "It is up to the individual teacher how they present the material". Obviously, there was not an official policy regarding this teaching. So each year, I would be forced to confront my child's new teacher (who was busy with her other 20 students and their parents) and interview her on her beliefs. In homeschooling, I am the primary teacher, so I am able to teach from many different sources, and explain each subject in light of the Truth. We still learn about the theory of evolution, I admit, but it is taught in accordance with fact, and not many of the lies in the textbooks that are out today. And, we include the "theory" of Creation as well. I feel that this is a balanced view of Science, that my children may or may not get in private school, and most assuredly would NOT get in public school.

I also homeschool because I want to know my children and I want our bond to be so strong that when their teenage years come, they are not forced to look elsewhere for guidance or answers. I often feel sorry for the parents who's children will grow and leave home so quickly, leaving an empty nest behind and very few memories of time spent together... because they spent most of their time apart. Yes, I'm sure that there are involved parents in the public school system - I have heard of the PTA. But, honestly, what percentage of parents are really involved? If you are like me, and need a level of accountability to get things done, it is much easier to let things slip to some extent. With homeschooling, I have no excuse but to be intimately involved in my children's learning, activities, field trips, accomplishments, and difficulties. I am the one they run to when they "fall on the playground" or get bit by an ant. I'm the one who supplies their "lunch tray" so they get their favorite foods quite a bit more often, and I know they will be getting a much healthier diet at home! My son was given to eating white bread PBJ sandwiches, a chocolate chip cookie, chocolate milk, and greasy potato chips every day at his private school! I didn't find this out until half way through the year that he was opting out of the school hot-lunch tray with only the raise of a hand at the beginning of class!

Homeschooling provides a lot of time at home to bond and grow along side your parents... and this is a wonderful way to instill Godly values and virtues in your child that will be overlooked by the curriculum in the public schools. I have met some astounding teenagers who have been homeschooled since their early childhood years. It is so amazing to me in this day and age to see a teenager who can sit and enjoy an intelligent conversation with an adult! The many teens I have met who are homeschooled are much more reserved and polite than most teens I see today. Their parents are close to them. I see them hugging and holding hands with mom, walking arm and arm with dad, doing community service projects for others in need, and being much more attentive and responsible in college and political activism. I am sure that homeschooling is not the only reason for their positive character, but also, the involvement their parents have with them and the respect and love they have been nurtured by as they have grown. There is more time for involvement in your community when you are not bound by the same schedule as the school system. I have met homeschool moms who run campaigns for political candidates, meals on wheels, ministries with run-away children, and many other community blessing causes that have been manned by homeschool children as volunteers. These are just some of the positive extra curricular activities that homeschoolers fill their time with to teach responsibility and character to their children.

Academically, homeschooling has provided more than I would have dreamed possible. I was planning only to stay up to grade-level standards because my main focus has always been the character of my children rather than just the academics. But somehow, through God's blessing, my children have exceeded academic standards and much more. My six year old daughter can read on a 3rd or 4th grade level. She reads the Bible out loud to us at night, and hardly misses a word (unless it is a strange Hebrew name - and most adults would falter at this). My son who is eight can read encyclopedias, lengthy books about Scientific discovery, and short novels. He is reading on a junior high level, and has yet to enter third grade! My children have a love for reading and learning. They ask questions, want to look up answers on Google, help me pick library books and school topics to learn about, and request interesting field trips. I have read hundreds of times more along with them since I have started homeschooling (these past three years) than I ever read in my own elementary career in public school. They are able to devour library books (some 20-30 a week) because we make it a huge part of our schooling.

In Math, they are both either on grade level, or a bit above grade level. My second grader (not yet finished with second grade in April of this year) took a third grade public school Math test that I acquired online, and he was only three points shy of passing it! At least half of the material, we had not even covered yet, since he was only in second grade! There are so many wonderful curriculum choices you can make as the homeschooling community has grown and now offers such wonderful products!

History comes alive in our homeschool. When we studied American Indians for four weeks, we actually painted a teepee, went canoeing, made Indian crafts, shot bows and arrows, did a rain dance, visited the museum's Indian display, visited an Indian trade shop, and had an Indian feast with real buffalo burgers, pemmican, and maple sugar candy. When we studied Medieval times, we went to a sword shop, we went to a play, we went to see stained glass cathedral windows and built sand castles at the beach, we made chain maille from pop tops and beading wire, we watched videos about British history and the Black Death, and we had a medieval feast in our decorated garage with friends and family, serving up medieval dishes and dressing up as knights and damsels. The hands-on learning that we do really bring to life the material in the books we study from, most of which can be found in the local library. Our main curriculum is a "Unit Study" technique, which offers the ability to really dive deep into a subject and fully understand it as it relates to us now and our history and future. I can honestly say that I WISH I had been homeschooled in this manner! I have learned so much that I never knew after my public school career.

As for Science, we have had just as much fun! We have blown up volcanoes with real fire and ash, we have practiced mechanical erosion on sandstone and learned about different types of rocks, we have done chemical experiments and visited nature centers, we have taken field trips and watched videos. The list goes on and on. Many of our experiences would not have been possible if we were chained to a desk or limited to the use of a school bus for outings on occasion.

Another big plus is being able to teach towards your child's gifts. I was blessed to be able to have my children in an all homeschool choir this past year, and they did three concerts, two of which were in public. When you homeschool, you have much more time to really learn what makes your child tick, and to help them and encourage them in this area. My son is really interested in robots, engineering, and design. There are programs such as Lego Robotics clubs which allow children to hone these skills and compete in competitions nationwide. Many of these programs offer exciting benefits such as scholarships to colleges and college credit for courses taken. Colleges are also latching on to homeschooled children by offering incentives and actively recruiting them. Gone are the days when you might expect a jail sentence for violating truancy laws... the pioneer homeschoolers who went before us have suffered at our expense to pave the way to this blessed generation of homeschoolers. There are huge homeschool inter-city email groups and countless local co-ops to join. There are tutors, programs, sports groups, music groups, play groups, field trip opportunities, and more. There is no lack of curriculum or activities for you to participate in today in homeschooling, but rather a WEALTH of both.

To tell you that homeschooing is an easy choice, I would be lying. It is an arduous task that requires your full self to be poured into it. You have to plan, set goals, and carry through. You must study your children and learn how they can best be taught. You have to organize yourself, your school supplies, and your time. Each day is a new adventure. And for every perfect school day you have, there are at least three or four days where you wonder if anything sank in those little minds you are leading. The key to homeschooling is lots of prayer. And somehow, on your worst days, you will get a little hint from Heaven that makes the entire process worthwhile when your child will say something that lets you know he or she has truly learned what you have been trying to teach them. Or you will get a comment from a neighbor or friend about how well behaved and intelligent your children are. It is so wonderful to get encouragement - especially when you are your own worst critic. When you receive these small rewards, you will know that God is smiling on you and patting you on the back for your sacrifice. Even though you will have burn-out and bad days ahead, there will also be times of refreshing to keep you motivated to march on with the task you feel that God has called you to do.

Homeschooling is a heart choice... because if it were only a head-choice, many of us would have abandoned the ranks long ago! It is much easier to drop your children off on someone else's door step and work an eight hour job in the adult world. It is much more financially rewarding as well! There are many days when you have to budget luxuries out of the schedule. Not only are you making this sacrifice, but you are paying school taxes in to the public system anyway... and getting none of the high-dollar benefits. But, for all it's hard work and sacrifice, homeschooling is it's own sweet reward as well. The excitement in your child's eyes, the ability to be there and see them learn something new, the laughter and tears you'll share along the way, these are the beautiful gifts you receive as a homeschool parent. So if you asked me why I homeschool, in just a few short words, I would tell you this: "Because I love my kids... and because God entrusted their minds and hearts to me - and I want to honor Him by everything I put into them."

July 28, 2005

Medical Naziism In America

Does Anyone Care If a Child is Sacrificed for CPS to SAVE FACE?
Remember Katie Werneke? Well, I did as her dad requested and wrote my representatives. I also wrote to some church leaders who are nationally televised, and to the President. I made sure that everyone who got the letter saw the list of names on the bottom which I was sending it to. In case you are just joining in on the Katie case, you can read the details here: Katie Werneke Case Summary (this post is also available on Katie's Blog as well as current updates from her family).

Texas Apathy to Tyranny
I got a response back from one senator (Democrat) who asked me to fill out some paperwork before she would talk to me any further on the case because of privacy laws. I got a letter back from another senator (Republican) thanking me for sending me a copy of the letter I wrote to President Bush - with no other remarks. I then got a letter from Tom Craddick at the Texas House of Representatives (he is the Speaker) that seriously disturbed me as a Texas Citizen.

Here was Tom's reply:

Thank you for taking the time to write me regarding Katie Werneke. Your concern for Katie and her family is greatly appreciated. My office is closely monitoring the actions that Child Protective Services (CPS) takes in this case.

As you are aware, this widely publicized case is rapidly developing. On June 16, 2005, the court ruled that Katie is to remain in foster care while she receives treatment for her cancer. The court will reassess the situation very soon. Until then, Katie will remain in CPS care and receive immediate medical treatment per the recommendation of her team of doctors.

Child Protective Services has informed us that every effort will be made to include Katie's parents in her medical care, including their attending her appointments and treatments. The ultimate goal of CPS is to reunite a healthy Katie with her family.

Thank you, again, for writing. Please feel free to contact my office if we can be of further assistance.

Sincerely, Tom Craddick, Speaker

State Assumes Control of Your Kids
CPS's goal is to reunite a healthy Katie with her family? Since when was it the STATE'S RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE YOUR CHILDREN'S HEALTH? I thought we were a free country where parents raised their children in the manner they see fit, and have ultimate control over the family's medical choices?

Update on Kate
Since I last wrote about Katie on my blog, CPS has mysteriously produced what they claim as proof that Katie still has cancer (after six tests and an un-necessary surgery to remove her thymus gland). They showed the parents one slide with four cells that had an extra nucleus and told them that 90% of what was removed had been proven to have Hodgkin's. Although on the slide, there were hundreds of normal cells, and it was the only slide provided. They also have lied about meeting times and included people in the meetings that are not privileged to have Katie's medical information. They have put Katie in a home with seven other children while she is enduring chemo treatments, and the more exposure to germs you have during Chemo, the better your chance of infection is. CPS chose a drug that would sterilize Katie even though they had been requested by Katie and her father that they use a safer chemo treatment because she hoped to have children as an adult.

CPS has not allowed Katie proper healing time to recover from surgery before they started their harsh chemo treatment plan. They chose a treatment plan that would drag on for six months depending on her ability to handle it (and she has not been able to handle the chemo well so far). She will have to be separated from her friends and family for this unbelievably long period of time and forced to go to school in Houston during this time at foster home. Katie was allowed to get dehydrated because of lack of IV fluids by CPS after her treatments while in foster care... which is what we call MEDICAL NEGLECT (the same thing they took Katie from her parents for).

CPS has repeatedly denied visitation and religious rights to Katie and her family. They have refused to give medical information to Katie's family, even in a time of crisis regarding her blood count being dangerously low - and she has had to receive blood transfusions again from the public blood supply even though her mother has offered to donate blood for Katie. The list goes on and on if you read her updates on the Pray for Katie blog.

Blood Boiling
Does this sound like "care" that CPS is providing? Does it sound like "every effort" is being made to include Katie's parents?

I don't care WHAT CPS's ULTIMATE GOAL IS. THEY DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO KEEP KATIE WERNEKE FROM HER FAMILY OR DO ANYTHING MEDICALLY TO HER!!!! And YES - I AM SHOUTING! I hope they take all these people involved in this case DOWN over this. Especially the doctors and CPS cronies. These people need to be shipped to Guantanamo.

Minga Cam


Here's a lovely photo of my little "crybaby". She's got an active tear duct in one eye, and often is seen "crying". She milks this situation for all it's worth, though - and enjoys all the attention she gets. This picture was taken while she was sideways and her head was upside down - sunning in the corner of our living room on a chair. Her eyes are a greenish orange - very interesting color. Pretty kitty, is she not? You should hear her funny talk. I've never had a cat that could talk in so many different sounds!

July 27, 2005

Yummy Cookies and "Can Do!"


Today, we decided to do something nice for the neighbors who mow our yard for us all the time. We have not been able to pay them, so we made some home made chocolate chip cookies and put them inside an old popycock can that we cleaned out and filled with pretty pink tissue paper lining. We then peeled the can's original wrapping off and replaced it with white paper, which we sponge painted in two shades of blue and white to imitate the sea. We cut out little sea creature shapes and Mod-Podge-ed them to the can after the paint dried. We also used the Mod-Podge as glue to adhere some google-eyes to the creatures and make them more interesting. I did some detail work with a black permanent marker after that. We cut some old blue jeans up to make a round topper for the lid, and tied it down with a blue rubber band and a pretty multi-colored metallic woven string, tied in a bow around the edge of the lid. Now, we're off to show our neighbors the "depth" of our appreciation with a tasty, pretty treat!

We included a white sand dollar, a red squid, a green school of fish with tiny different-colored rhinestone eyes, a big yellow and orange fish, a black spiney urchin, a green eel, a blue seahorse, an orange crab, and a yellow starfish. We ran out of room for the turtle and whale we made. Oh, well! Surely, there will be a next time!

The idea came from a Family Fun magazine. I have put the link for you under the title of this post! So if you want more detailed instructions and a supply list, you can click the "Can Do!" at the top of this post and it will take you to Family Fun's project sheet for this project. You can see their photo of how the ones they did turned out. They have others besides just the fish. I love using Family Fun's craft ideas from their magazine. Last October, we did lots of their 4th of July type crafts while we did an election unit and prepared for a wonderful election party on election night. The kids had such a blast.

This would be a great craft for a friend who's having an "under the sea" birthday, for a housewarming gift in a coastal city, for a unit study on the ocean, or just for fun! Now if I could only quit eating all the leftover chocolate chip cookies!

July 26, 2005

Busy as a Bee


Quote of the day:
"English doesn't borrow from other languages.
English follows other languages down dark alleys,
knocks them over, and goes through their pockets
for loose grammar."
- Author Unknown

The quote has nothing to do with my short little post today, but I got it in my email box this morning from a friend, and had to pass it on. I'm buried under piles of paperwork and receipts that need to be entered into our checkbook software today... and a long list of things I need to get done. I'm sure my monthly bank statement will be waiting on me in my post office box today, also, and it will need reconciling. I've got to stop off and pay a few pressing bills and get a few necessary groceries, also.

The realtor has left me with another list of to-dos.... make a wreath for the door, paint the door black, pull out three overgrown and ugly lantana bushes from the flower bed on the front porch (which my next door neighbor has graciously agreed to do for me this afternoon), weed the flower bed, hang two light fixtures, find someone to help sew drapes/curtains/valances, buy a few hanging plants and hang them up on the porch, replace the lantanas with ornamental grasses and flowering shrubs or roses... and I'm certain that some time today I'll have to meet up with my swiffer and broom in the kitchen for a date.

But, even with my list of things to get done, I'm determined to make some time to sit down and have some time with the Lord... time to read, study, and reflect on His Word... and pray. I've been reading The Power of a Praying Wife, The Power of a Praying Parent, and a few other devotional books and keeping track of my prayers in a journal. All this takes quite a bit of time (but it's so worth it!), and I've been slacking quite a bit lately... so I'm going to get back on track today. It is amazing how the rest of your day falls in place when you put the Lord first.

I actually wrote that post this morning after breakfast... (my cable connection went down before I could post it and was down all day)...

...I'm way behind schedule on everything after a grueling bunch of desk-work... so the kids and I are going to treat ourselves to popcorn and a movie tonight - Mommy needs some cuddle time! Enjoy your babies! They are such a blessing! God is good - even in the chaos that makes up our lives. He sustains us.

July 25, 2005

Finally! The Cowboy Beans Recipe is Up!

Here's the link to Gathering Manna.

I'll be back in later today if I have some free time. Tonight is my co-op's July mom's meeting, though - so I may just make it Tuesday!

July 24, 2005

Wombat Returns from Walkabout

Scratching my head and wrinkling my brow over the strange leap in life-forms I made over the weekend. I guess evolution is quicker than we all think, eh? No need for all that "billions of years" mumbo-jumbo. You'll see that somehow I managed a macro-leap from Texas Blind Salamander to Wombat over the weekend.

Speaking of Wombats, we read the cutest book that I just HAVE to plug on my blog. We did a great little stint of learning on Australia this year in our homeschool. I also taught two classes for our local co-op of about 25 families and we made passports, colored maps, watched some National Geographic video clips on kangaroos, discussed Aussie slang (really enjoyed that), tasted Vegemite (yuck), and made toilet-paper-roll kangaroos. The book that I fell in love with from our local library was "Wombat Goes Walkabout" by Michael Morpurgo. Lovely story and wonderful artwork. I may add this one to our wishlist or buy it when we get ourselves moved. I didn't spend long enough on Australia. It is so rich in wonderful animals, plants, and interesting places and people that it would take at least a month to do it any justice on a topical study! We only spent two tiny weeks.

So, tonight, I'm just popping in to tell you we've returned from our little "walkabout". We rolled up the driveway after 9:30 PM from our long 4-day trip - and have been driving all day. The kids are running around my amazingly clean house (realtors here this weekend) throwing paper airplanes while they wait for me to turn the lights out and head upstairs for a bedtime story and prayer...

I guess whining helps - since I got 4 or 5 comments over the weekend and I wasn't even posting! Thanks to all of you who stopped in. I will be sure and give your blogs a visit after I get time to sleep and recharge my blogging batteries.

My husband, who we left about 300 miles behind, is finishing up his last few papers for a class he's taking at a Christian University. He did a few hours of community service this weekend where we went for a non-profit organization. It was very rewarding. It made me think a lot more about volunteering more time for others. Jesus was a servant leader, after all.

So... as I ponder that thought, I should head upstairs and hit the sack (lest I be picking paper-clips out of my hair and getting paper cuts on the back of my neck from all these paper planes whizzing by)! Good night blogging friends. Happy week ahead... !

July 21, 2005

Blogosphere Belittlement

In case some of you out there that don't blog are reading my site (all 6 of you), I would like to explain what the Ecosystem is. The TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem is a website that scans blogs and sees how many blogs link to your site. It is a way of ranking your blog in "importance" by how many people have a link to your blog on their site.

They have cute little names for the "food chain" of bloggers that rank you in order of animal/creature name. Here is the order that the rankings go:

1. Higher Beings
2. Mortal Humans
3. Playful Primates
4. Large Mammals
5. Marauding Marsupials
6. Adorable Rodents
7. Flappy Birds
8. Slithering Reptiles
9. Crawly Amphibians
10. Flippery Fish
11. Slimy Molluscs
12. Lowly Insects
13. Crunchy Crustaceans
14. Wiggly Worms
15. Multicellular Microorganisms
16. Insignificant Microbes

Today, I graciously accept a demotion from Slithering Reptile to Crawly Amphibian. Ha! So that means, I'm basically talking to myself in here! :) That's OK. I've always been a bit on the crazy side anyway. "And I'm Ok. And I'm Ok..."

I'll be back in on Monday to post again. Enjoy your weekend! I am making some pickled okra tonight with Uncle Joe, hopefully - and will get the secret recipe for it over to the Gathering Manna site soon (due to repeated request from Christi!). Happy belated birthday to you, Christi! I'll be sure and add the Cowboy Beans also... maybe tonight or tomorrow before we head out of town. Have a super weekend, and keep our house situation in your prayers!

July 19, 2005

To-Do List, a Mile Long

Well, I hired a new realtor today. Yep, I'm getting a new sign and a new flyer... and hopefully a CONTRACT! When my new realtor met with me today, she gave my house a thorough walking-through, and proceeded to give me a to-do list that was about a page long. I thought I was a neat house-keeper... with my color-coded rainbow closets, my tidy lined-up shoes, my spice baskets of 'greens', 'reds', 'baking/sweets' and 'everything else' and my children's toys in separate plastic tubs, stacked neatly in their closets. But, I was not spared a to-do list, even with all that hard work behind me! So, I'm off to locate moving boxes, a silver mirror to match my downstairs bathroom fixtures, and a can of caulk - and maybe a used rocking chair for the porch? I have quite a few assignments... so blogging may suffer.

In the mean time, please enjoy a couple of really fine posts from some fellow bloggers!

Too Bad Money Doesn't Grow on Trees by Cindy at Obstreperous Heart

REVOLT OF THE HOMESCHOOLERS By Michelle Malkin at her blog (called Michelle Malkin!)

Check back tomorrow and I'll post a couple of recipes in my recipe blog, too. I am doing some menu planning tonight, and I have a "cowboy" beans recipe to post that is one of our favorites. Chow Chow, a bowl of well-cooked pinto beans, and some cornbread - a meal no Texas Native turns their nose up at! True Cowboy Tex-Mex at it's finest.

July 18, 2005

Time Off for Good Behavior?

Well, I can't say I took the entire weekend off from blogging... I did a lot of reading (and some commenting)... but I was pretty convicted after reading another blog's post about how moms should be spending more time with their kids (didn't feel like a gentle reprove to me...so I figure God was trying to tell me something). You see, blogging is sort of a mind-escape for me since Daddy is away... and Sunday night after he heads out of town, we all fall apart. The kids play video games and help me clean up the house, and I usually post and read online. I started blogging (after our homeschool year was abruptly cut short) in early June. I have been a working mom since then, off and on (mostly on). It's hard to maintain a heart-at-home attitude when you're tired after working all day, and you only have time to cook, clean, and get ready for tomorrow. I can't imagine how you single homeschool moms do it. You have my complete admiration and sympathy! I have a friend who is going through a divorce, and I shudder to think of how life will be different for her homeschooled children when mom has to work, and worse - date. I wonder if they will be homeschooled much longer?

So, after being convicted to spend more time on the kids... I decided to make my blog habits a bit less overpowering... and I'm going to start blogging only 5 or 6 nights a week, instead of 7. So, Sunday, you are excused!

I cooked that "Perfect Paella" for church Sunday and it was all eaten up! I also cooked a cream-cheese icing poppy-seed cake that everyone gobbled up... and I'll post that recipe tonight on Gathering Manna. I'll have to get to that Health Series after the work dies down.

For now, here's a bit of good reading that I recommend (if you haven't seen these already):

London: Looking for a Muslim Response by Catez at Allthings2all

What the MSM won't tell you about Iraq by Danny Carlton at JackLewis.net

My Knight... by Carla at Joys in the Journey

Lessons of a Recovering Statistics-Addicted Influence Seeker by Joe Carter at the evengelical outpost

July 15, 2005

Popcorn Cats on the Rabbit Trail

I'm a pretty visual person. My favorite authors are those that can bring me into the story with each word, leaving me engrossed. I think that is a lot of how God must be - he wrote His story, and He wants us to read it... and He truly is found in the details. As you read this post, it may seem on the surface that these topics have nothing to do with each other. For most people, you would be right... but for people like me, who live life on the proverbial "rabbit-trail", it is possible!

Picture This...
You've been trapping cats all day. Not lions or tigers, silly - domestic cats that have gone awry. The cats don't know the property owner is upset that they seem to be multiplying at the speed of sound. In less than two months, there have been two or three litters of kittens born in various hidden locations on the property. One or two cats has now turned into fourteen cats or more. This was the case for me (a cat lover) last summer when I rounded up a stray (feral) cat colony at my step-father's property.

Diary of a Cat Trapper
I caught all ten cats in my colony over the weekend, excluding the four kittens that I had already taken to the no-kill shelter earlier that week. One of these cats was a drifter that only came around to help the colony multiply. He certainly wasn't friendly - not even to the other cats. I was surprised that he went into the trap. He ran the other cats off and stole their food, but he wasn't expecting that trap door to shut on him. What a shock. I have never seen a cat totally freak out like that. I made the mistake of thinking I could transfer him to a larger cage after he stopped screaming and hissing. He managed, somehow, to escape out of a tiny unhooked corner of my transfer cage during the process. The hole he squeezed through was no bigger than the palm of my hand... and this was a BIG, MEAN CAT. He came up out of that tiny hole with all his claws pointed towards ME and his eyes popping out of his head in what looked to be the epitome of evil! He looked like black cat ketchup - squirting out of that cage in a lump of fur. I stood back to let him go (I wasn't about to get myself clawed to death), feeling just a slight bit sorry for him because I knew the hook on the edge of the cage was slicing into his side. He streaked like lightning up the side of the hill. I knew he wouldn't be back for more stinky cat food from me! He was probably never going to be fooled by another trap!

Dumb Diablo
We called that cat Diablo for obvious reasons. He was wild and crazy... and scary! I caught all of the other cats without much trouble... but he was the one that got away. The term "popcorn cat" is one I use for the cats who, once caught, bounce around like a kernel of popcorn in the cage. They pop around in there without regard to the metal scraping against their faces and the insanity they display at hurting themselves so badly. A while ago, a little video about 'Pinkey the Cat' traveled around the e-sphere and made it's way to my e-mail box. I got a big kick out of seeing Pinkey acting a bit like a popcorn cat, but he had allowed the shelter volunteer to hold him before hand. Diablo was in no way going to let any human near him, even if it meant killing himself to get out of that cage.

Beth and Jesus
So where am I going with the popcorn cat thing? I've probably lost all of you dog people already! To make a short story long, I had an epiphany today as I was listening to a Beth Moore CD in my car. She's a Bible Teacher out of Houston, Texas that has some awesome material - mainly for women. She doesn't claim to be a preacher, but she does preach the Word in a women's Bible class and in seminars for women around the globe. Everyone has their favorite Bible teacher. She's mine. I have been moved to tears more times than I can count through her studies. If I sound like a paid advertiser, I'm not - well, at least I'm not paid!

Beth was talking about our focus on this particular tape. She was speaking of how our lives are so full of distraction that we are missing the real purpose - to know and love Jesus. I loved her terminology for a person who's attentions are spread too thin: "Two miles wide and a half an inch deep." I can certainly identify. She quoted Rick Warren in his book 'The Purpose Driven Life' as saying, "You become effective by being selective". This is so true. My father has said a number of times that PHD only means "Piled Higher and Deeper", and the more you learn about something, the less you know about everything else. Well, the same thing is true for the opposite. The more things you are trying to focus on, the less in depth you actually can focus on anything. Beth says we are "totally caught up in a thousand different things and not doing any of them well" and that "our divided hearts and our divided loyalties are the death of us". So true.

Colossians 3:4 - When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

He is supposed to BE our life. Our purpose.

Bunny Trail
Beth continued in this lesson explaining how her editor told her to remember as she wrote her Bible studies that she should "keep to her subject matter". He told her to ask herself in every paragraph if it is true to the one primary thing she is trying to say. She said that each of us is a book who's title is "KNOWING CHRIST" and each of us are the authors of our books. Every chapter is a season. Mine right now is what she entitled "Knowing Christ in the Rubble"! I hope that the next one is "Knowing Christ in the Renewal". As she was going on and on about how we have the opportunity to know Christ in each season of our lives, I promise you, the thing that came to my mind was....

... that CAT!!!!!!!!

I pictured that cat fighting against that cage, banging it's poor furry face against the bars until it was blood-stained and scratched. I related it to my life - and how I've been trying to figure out how to FIX my own situation with this house and our collapsing finances. Then, after I had this image in my head, I thought of...

... Gideon.

Who's Gideon? He's a "Mighty Warrior" whom God used to deliver the Israelites from the hands of the Midianites (found in Judges 6), some would say. But he didn't start out that way. The Bible introduces us to Gideon as a scared little Israelite who's hiding from his enemies. An angel appeared to him and greets him with this message: "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior". You see, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded Israel and burned their crops, so they had to hide their food from their enemies. Their enemies ravaged their lands and impoverished them. The Lord eventually used Gideon to lead a very tiny army of Israelites against the biggest force of ruthless warriors that Israel had ever been up against. It wasn't by their own strength that they won the day, though. God sent their enemies into confusion and they drew their swords against their own countrymen.

So here I sat and thought of how God turned an impossible situation into the most major triumph of Gideon's life. I thought of how senseless it was for that cat to fight in that cage. Sure - he had a way out, but at what cost? I don't think bleeding internally and dying a slow miserable death under a bush somewhere in the wilderness is a good plan. I wondered what way I was choosing: MY way - like the cat - or God's Way? Gideon was not a warrior when the angel gave him that title. He had lots of fears and doubts through the events leading up to his final act of obedience to God. God was patient with his doubts. I know He's just as patient with me. After all, I haven't been singed by any lightning lately, and I certainly have whined enough to deserve it! And there you have it, folks - that's where the rabbit trail ended. Popcorn cats, God's deliverance and our life's purpose, all coming together in a string of thoughts to create one of those eye-opening moments for me.

Time to be still in my "cage" - and know that God is in control. What a relief!

July 14, 2005

More soon...

Well, I've been extended at the "real job" and am working at least through tomorrow, and possibly some next week... so posting is grinding to a halt for a moment. I've done some blog peeking lately, and have no idea why that 4th link on yesterday's post didn't work. Sorry guys! I fixed the third link today - so hop on over and take the survey. I took the survey today.

Alas, there is no free time to write tonight (at least not write something interesting!)... even though I have a Health series I really am wanting to do a write-up on. It is amazing what we people put in our bodies these days - and we wonder why our health bills are "killing" us in this country.

I also am going to update my Recipe Blog soon. I ate the most fabulous meal at a friend's house the other night, and she was nice enough to share the recipe with me today.

Tomorrow, "Honey" comes home, too. Have I ever told you how much I love my husband? Well, these (almost) seven months apart have made me realize that commuting STINKS!!! It's not good for your creative juices either - when I'm in a funk, it is really hard to write. So... pardon my lack of enthusiasm and wit for the moment. I'm just trying to play the hand I've been dealt until the dealer calls a new game.

... and I'm busy praying the house sells soon!

July 13, 2005

Pitty Pot... and Other People's Posts

Here are some posts from other bloggers I have enjoyed the last few days:

Abortion Survivors
Posted by Headmistress Zookeeper at The Common Room

A Minor Whine
Posted by Holly at Threefold Cord

The Blogging Survey
Posted by Danny Carlton at Jacklewis.net

8th “circus” court rejects partial birth abortion ban
Posted by Danny Carlton at Jacklewis.net

Just popping in for a minute to let you know I'm alive and well. I'm also pretty beat (worked again today at a "real" job, cooked dinner, cleaned up the house, and went to church... so I just got home at 8:15pm). We are going to bed early tonight. I feel a little down tonight, as could be expected when one of your best friends is going through a divorce, your bank account is negative, and your husband is 300 miles away! So, I don't really want to write much tonight. Say a little prayer for me (and my friend, my bank account, and my husband) if you remember. Hopefully, God will deal with me gently (for being in my pitty-pot) and set me on my feet again tomorrow. I've got a bit of personal Bible Study to do tonight, and I want to snuggle and read books with the kids, also. So, if you came to read - sorry there's nothing really interesting tonight, but please link on over to these great articles that I have enjoyed in the last few days.

God bless you and yours. He is faithful. I keep reminding myself "This too shall pass".

July 12, 2005

Bless your Feet - Part 4 (4 Part Series)

I bet you are so excited I finally got to the end of this series! Sorry about all the distractions, but you know how life is... our little feet are constantly on the move. If you are just joining us, you can check out Part 1, 2 and 3 of this series to read up on what you missed. To summarize, we covered how the Bible has many verses that give mention to our feet. Most of those are about our Spiritual feet. We have talked about the Good and the Bad feet, and today, in post 4, I'm going to cover the UGLY feet! Today's foot post is about our PHYSICAL FEET.

Song of Solomon 7:1 - How beautiful your sandaled feet, O prince's daughter! Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of a craftsman's hands.

The God who wrote the Bible knows your feet pretty well... after all, he designed them. He gave you life to use them. He sustains them every moment. I know it's sometimes hard to see ourselves as a masterpiece when we are swimming in a sea of humanity, and sometimes feel like bottom feeders... but each and every one of us is a beautiful pair of feet to the Lord. We are here on this planet to be His hands and feet - to reach out to the lost and the needy and lend them our hearts and service in the name of Christ. I am glad that someone reached out to me.... I only hope I can return the favor.

Feetie Stuff
When I was a teenager, a girl down the street taught me a cute little song about a girl with a daisy on her toe. I sang that song all the time. It ends by saying "My right foot loves my left foot so!" Another friend of mine that I met at one of my first jobs had a little girl who spoke English and Spanish. She was only about three, and she called her feet "Feditos". Here below, I have copied a few feet tidbits that I found interesting. I gathered them from various places, and gave credit where credit was due. I hope you enjoy!

Physical Feet
Feet in the bible were constantly being washed... there are over 26 references to the washing of feet! God even gave the Hebrews a law regarding the washing of feet - the priests were to wash their feet before they entered the Ten of Meeting, and if they did not, they would die (Exodus 30:17-21)! I doubt if you never use lotion, never get a pedicure, and you let your feet get sunburned you are going to die... but it stands to reason that we should care for them - they are, after all, the only feet we'll ever get.

To get right to the point -- and to make a sweeping generalization -- men have the strangest notion of style when it comes to socks and sandals. How many times has your head swiveled in horror as your eyes beheld black socks with sandals on some amazingly pale man's feet?

Sandals & Socks 4 Ever is a salute to that international trend among men to make poor choices in this area. Scroll down the page to see photographs from around the world of men wearing socks and sandals. The good thing is that not all of them are dark socks, but that may not make up for the outfits and the bellies that accompany some of these images. Actually, there are instances where the dark socks look all right, until you notice that they only come slightly above the ankle, and are being worn with long pants. You'll be knee-deep in chuckles as you cruise through the shoes here.

Cay Dickson wrote "Sock It To Me" - she is a Web site designer in Houston. Her e-mail address is ocayd@ocay.com, and her site is www.ocay.com.
Take the Women's Summer Sandals Foot pledge!

  1. I promise to always wear sandals that fit. My toes will not hang over and touch the ground, nor will my heels spill over the backs... and the sides and tops of my feet will not pudge out between the straps.

  2. I will go polish-free or vow to keep the polish fresh, intact and chip-free. I will not cheat and just touch up my big toe.

  3. I will sand down any mounds of skin before they turn hard and yellow. I will shave the hairs off my big toe.

  4. I won't wear pantyhose with my sandals even if my misinformed girlfriend/coworker/mother/sister tells me the toe seam really will stay under my toes if I tuck it there.

  5. If a strap breaks, I won't duct-tape, pin, glue or tuck it back in to place hoping it will stay put; I will get my shoe fixed or toss it.

  6. I will not live in corn denial; rather I will lean on my good friend Dr. Scholl's if my feet need him.

  7. I will resist the urge to buy jelly shoes at Payless for the low, low price of $4.99 even if my feet are small enough to fit into the kids' sizes (this is out of concern for my safety, and the safety of others). I understand that no one can walk properly when standing in a pool of sweat, and I would hate to take someone down with me as I fall and break my ankle.

  8. I will take my toe ring off toward the end of the day if my toes swell and begin to look like Vienna Sausages.

  9. I will be brutally honest with my girlfriend/sister/coworker when she asks me if her feet are too ugly to wear sandals. Someone has to tell her that her toes look like they've been dragged behind her car on the way to work and no sandal in the world is going to make her feet look good.

  10. I will promise if I wear flip flops, that I will ensure they actually flip and flop, making the correct noise while walking and I will swear NOT to slide or drag my feet while wearing them.

  11. I will promise to go to my local beauty school at least once per season and have a real pedicure (they are about $15 and worth EVERY penny). I say spend another $15.00 and get an even better one!

  12. I will promise to throw away any white/off-white sandals that show signs of wear...nothing is tackier than dirty white sandals.

- Author Unknown (got this one on email!)

Foot photo compliments of Ray at www.ragingkraut.com

July 11, 2005



I thought you would enjoy a little bit of my 6 year old Morgan's accidental humor, today. My husband, being a motorcycle enthusiast (althought I would never let him own one), always points them out as we drive along. One evening not too long ago, as we enjoyed a drive downtown, I took a picture of a bike that was riding next to our car (photo included in post). Morgan asked me if it was "Hardly-A-Davison?" We all enjoyed a long belly-laugh and explained to her the real name for the bike she spoke of. It has become an inside joke with our family. We often wonder if we told it to a REAL biker, if we wouldn't get beat up!? Ha! Anyway, we love to watch the bikes go by.... but I know too many people who have had accidents (and skin graphs) to ever allow my husband or kids to buy one!


July 10, 2005

Sunday's Sermon

What more fitting a post for a Sunday than a sermon from the Word. I don't have to add nor take away a single word from this, as the Word of God speaks for itself. We had a guest preacher today who was really awesome. I like to hear preachers who don't mince words, and who can recite verses without hesitation... and especially those who are not afraid to "get in your face" about the truth of God's Word (no matter how hard it is to hear). Too many churches and preachers these days are just full of fluff and feel-good stuff. The meat of God's Word is not for the faint of heart.

Kev and I started the weekend out (especially this morning) in a rotten mood because of our circumstances with the sale of the house not going through. After a good dose of the Word in our worship service this morning, though, we both were set right. It is amazing how God's word is like sunshine - melting butter and hardening concrete. I have no idea where that saying came from, but it is very true.

The verses below are from 1 Corinthians 1:18-31:

Christ the Wisdom and Power of God

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."

20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."


Bible verses taken from the New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

July 09, 2005



On a completely silly note, I read a cute post by Carol at Carol's Storybook about her family's sayings: Click here to see her post. Every family has their own humor and silly quotes, so I thought I would try and gather a few of ours in one spot and make a list, also. It will be nice to have one day for the kids to look at - long after we have forgotten some of these sayings that are popular for the moment. So, if you have some funny sayings and you are a blogger at heart - go ahead and TAG yourself and make out your own list. Send me a link in my comments so I can check out your list.

What made me think of this, is not only Carol's post, but some funny things Kev and I were talking about yesterday. We have long been presidential 'Saturday Night Live' watchers. We only watch the ones pertaining to elections, and re-runs of the less tacky stuff on a few videos we have. I love election humor. Especially the Clinton and Bush stuff. So I thought I would also include my favorite nonsense words that Bush has coined since he took office.

The word Bushism, no doubt will soon be added to the English dictionary. It will be defined as “a sentence spoken with wrong syntaxes or omitted words, so as to convey a different meaning (sometimes hilarious), yet the original, intended meaning is understood without difficulty. The objective of the speaker is clear.”
– Neria Harish Hebbar, MD (October 10, 2004) as found on IndiaNest.com.

Here are some of my favorite Bushisms:

  • Hispanically - done in a Hispanic way?

  • Hispanos - many Hispanic people?

  • nucular - of or pertaining to a nuclear war or weapon

  • suiciders - suicide bombers

  • pre-decease - die early*

  • misunderestimate - mistakenly underestimate

  • strategery - effective strategy

  • embetterment - the opposite of embitterment/to improve your condition

  • WMD - woepons of mass destruction (not actually from Bush, but the spin doctors maybe?)

Of course, some of us are not as smart as our ivy-league, college educated president. I discovered on the net this interesting factoid about one of the above *isms*:

"Predecease" is not a Bushism. According to Black's Law Dictionary, it is a legal term meaning, "To die before another person."

Go figure!

Here are some of my favorite *isms* that we say in our family:

  • Nope. You can't make me! - Usual response when I ask Kev to check my blog out after I've posted.

  • Ack-er-mer-dink - Accident

  • Chick-a-fied - made girlish (or a person wearing a lot of pink)

  • Crackadon - before the sun rises (we also call this the Crackerbarrel, Morgan's baby talk that stuck)

  • Pop a Cap - affectionately jest that you'll be shot if you don't comply

  • Crackinal - Capitol (Kaden's baby talk that stuck)

  • Just Barely - recently (from a neighbor of ours once)

  • For Real? - honestly? (from the same neighbor)

  • air biscuit - a fart that hangs in the air and leaves a smelly cloud

  • floating on estrogen - PMS (wild mood-swings and lots of crying for no reason)

  • Dush - A Czech slang word that fills in for the American "Uh..."

  • sita - we add this to lots of words to indicate a fondness for that particular person or thing (ie. Mingasita - my cute little cat Minga)

  • twit - nickname for our cat when she's misbehaving ("twitty kitty")

  • snott - nickname for our cat when she's misbehaving ("you little snott")

  • money nazi - what my husband calls me when I do the checkbook

  • Igumpie - I'm grumpy (Morgan's baby talk that stuck)

  • Vomit Volcano - a baby that spits a lot

  • 4 Deep - having 4 people in a vehicle ("She's ridin' 4 Deep")

  • Lizard Mama - another nickname I have because I catch lizards and geckos when I see them

  • Dinosaur - any lizard we catch ("What a cute little Dinosaur")

  • Freaky Freak - a person who is freaking-out, or the act of freaking out (going crazy)

  • Coolie-Cool, Jazzy Jeff - Heather's weird slang word that can be used interchangeably with Groovy or Cool

  • Funkified - Messed up

  • Snickerdoodle - wonderful greasy sugar cookies with cinnamon and sugar coating/cute little kids

  • church hopping - going from church to church because you are not happy where you are

  • dingleberry - something yuck hanging on the fur/hind-end of a cat who's just used the litter box

  • Buckees - Starbucks

  • Scumbag - the person who takes the last Oreo from the package without telling you

  • Turkey - nickname for Pawpaw (also Pavo Grande)

  • Old Buzzard - nickname for Uncle Woodie

  • Naner - nickname for Nana (or Ma)

  • Longjohn - nickname for Papa John

Phrases we repeat randomly that we got from TV/Movies/Radio:"wrote a song about it, like ta hear it? here it go..." - In Living Color
"she just stepped in a big puddle of SASSY!" - Phil Hartman
"Take a pill G, but I can't B, cuz somebody's try'n ta kill me!" - some retarded rap song
"Best not be HALF-Steppin'" - no idea where this came from, but we say it all the time!
"Smigel loves the precious" - Lord of the Rings (Smigel is another nickname of mine because I squish on animals)
"I want to love it and hug it and kiss it for my very own" - Looney Toons, Elmira (Acme Acres)
"Do not feed my god peanuts." - Simpsons
"You F-R-R-E-A-K!" - Madagascar

Phrases from our idiot years (teen):
"Are your friends cool? Do you dance cool? Well, that's cool. ROCK OUT!!!"
Many other phrases can not be repeated here on a CHRISTIAN website. Those were our PRE-Jesus years.

Phrases we say to the kids that come from various places:"Kaden! Kaden Michael! King of the Wild Frontier!" - sang to the tune of Davey Crocket
"I like to eat, I like to eat, I like to eat on Kaden and Morgan!" - sung to the tune of Apples & Bananas
"apple pie belly"
Mishka - one of Morgan's nicknames
Boogar - a term of endearment
Boogar Pickers - our family (because of the photo we took in this post)
"blondie-lox" - a silly blonde (used often in reference to Morgan and her daddy)

Other random phrases:"Life is a stage and we are the actors - and I'm not getting paid" - Grandpa B
"Over yonder" - Big Pawpaw
"pissapouri" - Mawmaw (potpourri)
"HI-LO!" - Chickie
"Yeah, but it was a good miss." - Pawpaw (Come-back for "Did you miss me?")
"Not if I see you first." - Pawpaw (Comeback for "See you"/Goodbye)
"Are you on drugs?" (Are you crazy?)
"Prosti-Tot" - funny name for trashy kids clothing (from a homeschool friend)
"Hoochie-Mama Shoes" - tacky or trashy shoes (like one of the frayed denim rhinestone clog pairs I wear in summer)
"Fake-n'-Bake" - self tanning cream
"Snail Mail" - US Postal Service

July 08, 2005

Bless your Feet - Part 3 (4 Part Series)

In case you are just joining the foot discussion, you'll be completely lost without reading post 1 and 2 of the series first. We are talking about Spiritual Feet today... first we covered the basics, then we covered GOOD Spiritual Feet.... and now we're talking about the BAD Spiritual Feet - and what they may look like.

The devil has feet. Where do you suppose his feet take him? I can tell you - because it's revealed to us in scripture:

Job 1:6-7 - One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."

Satan is roaming on the earth. Why? Well, I can tell you that, too - again, it is found in scripture.

1 Peter 5:8 - Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Why would Satan want YOU? Because he's mad at God, and you are how he evens the score. Just like in the movies when the hero's family is in danger from the bad guys - you are a child of God whom the devil wants to destroy. The sad thing is, the devil doesn't have to really work hard on us. We are pretty easy to knock off track. All he has to do to some of us is get us busy, or tell us we are worth it, or give us some juicy gossip to share. Others he has to work on a little harder... but rest assured, he's going to keep poking around until he finds a button that works. Leave no area of your life un-prayed for... and read "Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis if you are interested in how the mind of the devil might be working against you. It is a very interesting book!

Examples of Bad Feet:

Wandering Feet

Jeremiah 14:10 - This is what the LORD says about this people: "They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the LORD does not accept them; he will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins."

1 Timothy 6:10 - For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Bad feet are wandering feet. They are often off-track and lead others astray (even unintentionally).

Not just unbelievers wander. We all wander. Some wander in our minds, others wander in our methods, and still others wander from the faith in sinful lifestyles that eventually destroy their faith. What we don't realize is that we are linked to so many other people, and they are watching how we act. We are the only Bible some people will ever read. If we do not gain direction, we may drag others down if we fall into a pit. You would think that we would want a purpose and destination in life. I know I never had one before I found Jesus. He set my mind at ease and gave me a reason for being. I don't have to wander any more. It is my job to follow now, and to keep my mind from wandering into sinful places. All things may be forgivable, but they still damage your mind. I can think of quite a few sins that I have been forgiven for which I regret having the memory of! If only we could video-edit our lives!

Misleading Feet

Job 18:9 - A trap seizes him by the heel; a snare holds him fast.

Proverbs 18:7 - A fool's mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul.

Bad feet are feet that are filled with worldly desires, and quick to ensnare others in sin. They are prideful feet, and self-absorbed.

Misleading Feet may be similar to Wandering Feet, but it mainly speaks of those who are aware that they are not doing what is right. Before you excuse yourself, though... I still do things that fall under this category, even as a believer. None of us are perfect. My mouth has been my undoing a countless number of times. You should ask my husband how many times he's asked me to "just keep your mouth shut" when we go to family gatherings. I tend to just say whatever I think - and not even realize that I've stepped on someone else's feet. I keep one foot shoved pretty deep in my mouth! Sometimes I say things I don't want my kids to repeat, sometimes I say ugly things about others. Sometimes I make really bad choices about what I do with God's provisions. It is not so hard to imagine yourself as the Misleading Foot if you can get your mind around the fact that God doesn't GRADE sin. Gluttony is just as bad as stealing. Lying is just as bad as murder. In God's grade book there are only 2 grades. One is an A+ (and only one man got it). The other is an F (yep- you guessed it - we all have a failing grade). The good thing is, Jesus died and offered us his test to turn in as our own. So we can get in on HIS grade, and not have to miss the graduation ceremony!

Busy Feet

Proverbs 7:11 - She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home...

Proverbs 14:1 - The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

Bad feet are busy-body feet. They are feet without direction that lack concrete goals. They tend to walk just for the sake of walking, and are often too tired to go where they really should be going.

OK, OK! I did include a HAND verse instead of a foot verse here, but you can get the picture of where I'm leading much better if you add both together. This has to be what I struggle most with. When we are constantly moving about, going here and there, we sometimes neglect the duties that are our priorities. I heard a story once about filling a jar with big rocks, pebbles and sand. The big rocks are GOD, your FAMILY, your FRIENDS, and all the MOST important things. The little pebbles are also good things, but they are not quite as important. The sand are daily duties that are mundane, yet still good... even necessary things! Some of us (me included) tend to fill our lives up with the sand, and have a really hard time fitting those rocks in later! Someday, our jars will be full... and our life will be laid bare. The only things you get to keep from your jar are the rocks and maybe a few pebbles. You don't get to take all the sand to heaven. So try and remember to fill your day up with God, Family, Friends, and good things that will outlive you. Make memories that will build your future in heaven and not just here on earth.

Fast Feet

Matthew 18:8 - If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.

Romans 3:15 - "Their feet are swift to shed blood..."

Proverbs 7:10 - Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent.

Bad feet are quick to rush into wrong-doing. They are careless feet that are not paying attention to what is ahead on the path.

I had to throw that third verse in there. I have just been appalled by the "clothing" that our young teens are wearing these days. I have always heard it said, "If you aren't in business, don't advertise!" I think that stands true. It is no wonder there is so much rape and abducting going on. When you wear a string bikini and 90% of your body is exposed even when you are "fully dressed" (your full belly is showing, your cleavage is popping out of your shirt, and your entire leg and part of your hind-end is exposed under teeny-tiny shorts), what do you EXPECT a man to look at? You are inviting a world of danger right up next to you. You might as well write "Come and Get Me" on your teeny-tiny t-shirt. A Muslim friend of my husbands that he met while in Iraq asked him "Do all teenage girls in America look like Brittney Spears?" How sad that I am somehow connected with Brittney's lack of morals through being an American. Who can blame them for thinking we have major morality issues?! Just look at what Hollywood churns out. The people over-seas don't see mainstream Americans, they only see our filth.

And, even if you are an atheist, surely you believe in a moral code of conduct. What would a nation be like that had no law? Lawlessness and anarchy are not peaceful ways to live. Each of us has an 'Achilles Heel'. We all have a certain one or two sins that the devil knows will be an easy button to push. The list of items gets more creative the more society spirals downward in moral decline. Even God sometimes gets surprised by our sinfulness. Don't believe me? Read it for yourself (Jeremiah 32:35, 19:5, and 7:31). The good thing is, God is ready to forgive us and able to turn our trashy lives into treasure. I am a living example of junk-yard art!

Lazy Feet

Proverbs 5:5 - Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 - Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

Bad feet are lazy feet that are unwilling to change. Even though they know they are neglecting the right road, they do not want to turn back because it is familiar ground. They do not want to give up their lifestyle, even though God's lifestyle for them would be so much more of a blessing if they gave it a chance.

A lazy pair of feet are always on the look-out for a short cut. I think we can all find ourselves sporting these kinds of feet now and again. We look for an easier way to tell people about Jesus than getting involved with someone's life as a friend (me included). We pray that "someone else" helps and encourages someone that we could be helping and encouraging ourselves. We find excuses not to do the good we know we ought to do. We remain ignorant of the details of God's will and plan for our lives because we lack the desire, will, and energy to do a basic bible study or spend time in the Word every day. Lazy feet are prayerless feet. We leave our life up to chance because we couldn't be bothered to pray for God's blessings in all the areas of our life that He longs to bless us in. A lazy foot is one that may be well dressed on the outside and have the name brand of shoe on, but inside, there are hidden issues - and a lot of stink! We have all heard it said that "The road to hell is paved with good intentions". If today is all you get, what will you do with it?

Changing Course
Jesus desires to keep us from the enemy's traps - but he won't force His salvation on us... that's where our free will comes in. Jesus has feet, too. They won't look like those same limp, bloodied feet that we imagined (as seen on countless of crosses and Sunday School art). Jesus' feet will be a big surprise - just as his resurrected, life-filled, human feet were to the ladies who came to his tomb to wash them on the day he rose. We, too, will be amazed at those awesome feet. And I long to fall before them and worship one day in person.

Revelation 1:15 - His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.

Psalm 31:8 - You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.

We each get to pick the road we will take. Just like the red and blue pills in the 'Matrix', there are only two choices. Where are your feet headed?

To move to the last part of this series, click here: Part 4.

All verses in this article are from the New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society unless otherwise noted.

July 07, 2005

Lazy Lurker, Prayers and a Medieval Feast

I worked today at my "real" job - you know, the one I get paid for. I've been doing contract work during the summer to help make ends meet while we wait on the house to sell. Commuting is expensive. I'm working tomorrow, also. I think the assignment is coming to an end, but it is always nice to have some extra money in your pocket to pay bills. Needless to say, I really don't have the energy to post the rest of the foot series, but I have really enjoyed lurking lately on other bloggers' sites, and I uploaded my Medieval Feast menu (recipes) for anyone who's interested at my other blog. Here's the link: Gathering Manna

Here are some other posts I enjoyed this week:

GOOBLATT All Over the Van by Obstreperous Heart - Quips and Essays from A Recovering Rebel

101 Things to Do During the Summer by MJ's This and That

Smells Like Church Spirit #2.5 by Home Front - BLOG of Chris Gonzalez
(Faith - Church - Marriage - Family)

New York man turns down prize because of greedy Uncle Sam by JackLewis.net

Some things we are praying for:

  • Rain

  • Our house to sell

  • London (Ian and Kat, are you both OK?)

  • Iraq and those trying to re-build and police there (and other countries where persecution, tsunami, war, famine, and catastrophe have claimed lives and made life harder for people)

  • Israel

  • Our Nation (America)

  • Kate and Josh

  • Wanda

  • Christi and Paula

  • Daddy to get home safe tomorrow

  • My mom and lots of other family members

  • ... and all you Blog-lurkers out there!

July 06, 2005

Bless your Feet - Part 2 (4 part Series)


Have you ever heard the song "HAPPY FEET" by Paolo Conte? Probably not, since only about a fifth of it is in English (the rest in Italian). However, I love that song. Despite the fact that I can't understand it, the song lends an upbeat feeling, and is cute and catchy. It's one of those annoying songs that you sing that 'ONE LINE' from because it sticks in your head and you can't remember any other words from the song. So, I apologize ahead of time if you end up singing it every time you take your sneakers off. I haven't figured out how to link music on my own site yet - I'm still learning - you'll have to cut me some slack. But, if you are just dying to hear this cute little ditty - here's a painless link to it without any annoying pop-ups:

So this is part two of my "Bless Your Feet" 3 Part Series - except tonight after typing this up, I discovered it is too much stuff to fit into 3 parts. Sorry I'm so long-winded. So, I'm changing my previous post to say 4 part series... and soon you'll see why!

Tonight I wanted to cover the Spiritual Feet. For those of you who missed the first part, we talked about how most of the verses in the bible regarding feet refer to our spiritual direction, and not our physical body. When our Spirit is healthy, our soul is joyful (even when our circumstances are not perfect). That is what the Bible calls the "peace that passes understanding". People just can't understand why you have a smile on your face even though your house hasn't sold in seven months and your bank account is almost negative. That's God's peace. It is very confusing to the world, but they somehow find themselves wanting it. I know because I saw it in my grandmother when I was not a believer - even when she was dying of cancer... and I saw it in other family members, too. I wanted it. I wanted to know how to get it for myself.

Everyone wants to be happy. So let's take off our shoes and see what's hiding in those spiritual socks of ours. What kind of feet do we have? Are they GOOD, BAD, or UGLY? Hopefully I'll step on your toes... I certainly got mine stepped on by a few of these definitions and verses. Today, we'll cover just the good feet. ...In my next two "Foot Posts" we'll discuss the BAD (Spiritual) and the UGLY (Physical) ones!

Examples of Good Feet:

Worshiping Feet

Matthew 28:9 - Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

Luke 10:39 - She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.

Good feet are worshiping feet. They are feet that know where they get their strength from - like Mary, the one who worships sits at Jesus' feet and makes the 'best choice'. Jesus' feet are where we should be falling, just like the woman who touched his cloak and was healed. Just like the disciples who gathered around him every day to hear his wisdom.

We all have our reasons for falling at Jesus' feet. So did the people in the Bible. God made each of us unique, so we all have a different story and the Lord knows how to reach each of us. Many people came to Jesus when their family members or friends were sick - they wanted his healing power. Many people came to Jesus and fell at his feet to have their family members released from demons - they wanted freedom and forgiveness from the curses they endured. Some rulers of the synagogue fell at Jesus' feet in a mock show of respect, even though they had plans to capture and kill him. Even demons fell at his feet in recognition of his authority over them... they begged him to not torture them. God looks into our hearts and knows why we come to Him. He made us to be a display of His splendor, to know and to love Him. But He gave us the will to choose the path we go down. We are not a people who's feet are chained by God. In fact, just the opposite. He longs to set our feet free - from the devil's shackles. Worship is a lifestyle of choosing God over our own selfishness. It isn't something we do only on one day a week at a church building.

Obedient Feet

Mark 10:50 - Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

Ephesians 6:15 - and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

Good feet are submissive/obedient feet. They are feet which do not hesitate or delay to do the Will of the Father. In my house, we have a saying: "If you are delaying, you are disobeying". I actually got that phrase from Tedd Tripp's book "Shepherding a Child's Heart". God has put everything under Jesus' feet. It is useless to kick against him. We forget sometimes that everything is under God's command - we are the only creature in this physical world who can choose to disobey Him. Not only does it benefit us to obey him with positive rewards, but it prevents us from being disciplined when we obey as well. Just like our kids when they choose to willingly do what we tell them not to, we bring disaster on our lives when we get outside of God's protective circle by not doing His will.

Loving Feet

Luke 7:38 - and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

Luke 7:45 - You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.

Matthew 15:30 - Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.

Good feet love the Father and are shamelessly open about it. Good feet are feet that have a ready word of praise to bless our Lord. We give Him credit for our successes and are eager to share what He has done for us.

Jesus was called a "Friend of Sinners" and although it was meant to dishonor and discredit his ministry, it actually was the most loving title a Holy God could have been given. For a perfect man or God to love a sinner, there must be a mountain of forgiveness and love. I know that most of us would admit that there are times when we are very unlovable. It is often said that it would be hard to "live with yourself". It is a good thing that God gave us each other - husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, teachers, and even animal companions to share our houses and lives. These people are not only gifts that bless our lives, but they are also God's children. He loves them as much as He loves us. His command is for us to love one-another. It is only second to loving God, and it should be equal to loving ourselves. We can only truly love others and ourselves if we love God first. He gives us the ability to forgive and serve each other - even when the other person seems just as much of a sinner as we are. Jesus was the perfect example of a servant leader. A man who leads others by serving them in love. I don't know about you, but I'm inspired by His love for me - and it makes me want to be a more loving person towards others.

Focused Feet

Romans 10:15 - And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

Hebrews 12:13 - "Make level paths for your feet," [ Prov. 4:26] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

Matthew 28:19 - Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Good feet are aware of their calling. Even if they may not know exactly what God has planned as a ministry for them, they know His Word and can test all things against it to know what is true and noble. They know their weaknesses and pray for guidance along the rocky path. They are not afraid to stop and wait for orders. They follow Jesus where He leads.

It is very easy to be distracted. We even get distracted by good things - things that are urgent and important - things that are church-related - things that bless our family. But, if we don't take time to keep our focus on the things of God, we can be spinning our wheels instead of moving firmly towards where the Lord is leading. It is the same in homeschooling. There are a million choices when it comes to curriculum, co-ops, field trips, books, activities, etc. - but if we try and do everything aimlessly, we will burn out and accomplish nothing. You have to simplify your life and find out what pleases the Lord... do what is necessary to move you towards His heavenward goal for your family, and learn to say "no" when you know it will overextend you. Make a list of what you know your jobs are according to God's word. It will make prioritizing your day so much easier when you ask yourself if it is part of God's plan for you and your family before you say "yes".

Friendly Feet

1 Timothy 5:10 - and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

John 13:14 - Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet.

Good feet bless the body they move - their support and strength helps others find their way. They are wholly dedicated to the destination. They prayerfully lead others, and they carry others burdens.

I think a lot of the reason why we endure burdens ourselves is to learn how it feels to carry them, so that when we see another in the same place, we can help them out. God gives us the ability to have compassion on each other when he lets us endure trials that give us kinship with each other. I certainly have been blessed by many friendly feet in my walk with God. We have had friends at church lend us a refrigerator when ours went out, we have had friends at church baby-sit for us so that we could work, we have had friends at church help us with financial burdens and lend things to us they knew we needed. We have also had friends who have been prayer warriors for our family and have given us genuine love and friendship through the years. I am so thankful that God gave us friends. I have heard it said that "Friends are the family you get to choose". This is true - you choose to be part of God's family - and they are very loving (despite being human). None of us are perfect, and we all require forgiveness, but friends are a treasure indeed! I pray that God makes me as good a friend as I want others to be to me.

To move forward to part 3, click here!

All verses in this post and most others are taken from the New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society unless otherwise noted.


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