Not Me - Again

So, here I am trying to feed the chickadees (don't laugh) who I'm thinking are desperately needy in the middle of a winter storm with everything iced over. I tried so hard to be acceptable/non-threatening/invisible! Brown coat and scarf, blue hat (with eye-hiding bill), white gloves...all natural and camouflaging colors! I thought the metal bowl might be less intimidating than feeding right out of my hand for starters, so that's what I used...at the beginning...
OK, so you probably already can guess how this turned out. Yes, I saw how it was going to turn out, too. Already being bird-rejected, I thought I'd just go for broke and try the seed in hand approach. My Dear Husband, having seen the videos I posted earlier of successful hand-feeders, dug out a handful of the black sunflower seeds for me. Nothing like being supported by your spouse in trying to achieve these life goals! My Manly Sons all ended up laying around in the snow watching to see if Mom would really make it this time. Eventually they left, I think I saw some head shaking, and went sledding. Thinking this (they) might have been the problem all along, I kept up holding my hand out there...Now I'm going to make the radical confession that will confirm to you all that I may be somewhat "misguided". I tried to lure the birds in by singing...the Doxology. Those Methodist roots do go deep! After more than 15 times through the Doxology, I gave up. Oh, no I did not throw the seed, yell at the chickadees who were perching (and laughing) nearby, or stomp around in the snow. No. How undignified that would have been. 
I gently put the seed in the previously empty feeder. Yes, I had left it empty for a couple of days trying to make them REALLY hungry - and willing. Went inside to see if I could feel my toes again and wash a few dishes.  This is what I saw out the window. Traitorous little birds in the feeder IMMEDIATELY afterward gobbling down seed. And laughing.  At me.


Faces Contest - Kid Entry - Joy

This is my second entry in the "I Heart Faces" contest.  You can enter too - here.

On the beach! A favorite pastime - finding live beach creatures. Our Youngest was ecstatic when he presented this sea snail to us! The photo is taken from my comfy lounge chair, low down in the sand. Doesn't it look nice and warm???


Why Not Me?

This is one of my life goals. I know, this is not big or impressive...but HOW COOL WOULD THIS BE?? Once, maybe twice a year it is prime time to try to accomplish this. Chickadees, the most clever, cunning birds of all, will come to eat from your hand most readily when food is at its most scarce - in the middle of a snow/ice storm. It is maddening to try because the smart aleck, cheeky, little birds sit in bushes all around, chirping (laughing) from the trees right overhead, but never come to hand. Their call sounds like a bird belly-laugh. This photo is of My Youngest, in 2007, trying to hand-feed chickadees right after the big ice storm we had here. I had already stood there with seed in hand, until I thought I would freeze my bunoonies right off! Seeing me give up and stomp off, he thought he would give it a try. So I watched and took some photos, of course. They did not come to him either. Probably because I was standing there. Humph!

It is somewhat discouraging or encouraging, choose glass half-full or half-empty, to see how many others have accomplished this. Here's a regular mom doing it, multiple birds at this hand, and even in the summer! Winter storm warning for today - you know where I'll be.

"All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been 
tamed by man... "   James 3:7


Prayer Crutch

I wish I was more spiritually disciplined. No godly-abs-of-steel over here, hate to say it. I've gone through times of intense prayer, and even fasting for one or another of my boys when a crunch is on, but I am secretly shamed when I hear Better Moms talk about wearing out their knees in daily prayer for their children. (sigh - a big one - puff your bangs strongly upward at least once - make it a long one if you empathize with me) So I've had to build myself some crutches. Best crutch yet - this prayer picture. When I fold laundry, I'm usually at the top of the stairs where this photo rests in a windowsill. While I'm down on my knees up there, no admiration - there's no place to sit, I use this photo as a prayer prompt. My Dear Sons look so sweet in this photo that it seems to help me forget what they may have done more recently and focus on prayer for their hearts, for their desires, for their tendencies, for their future and present work...and so on until the towels are all folded! 

I'm working on placing more prayer crutches around the house where chore work is focused, since I seem to be somewhat focused on chores. 

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2


The Bachelor and The Tube Top

Finally, I found a reason to be grateful that the Lord did not see fit to bless me with a daughter.  If I had a daughter, she might someday be a contestant on the Bachelor! Do I need to elaborate on the twisted sickness of having all those women in ONE house fawning over ONE man?!?!? Wow. If your children are sweet and adorable toddlers, you might still be reciting the mantra, "MY daughter would never..." sshh-Yeah. The scales have fallen from my eyes, friends, and now Dear Husband and I know for sure that the children will do what they will do as soon as they are able. I like what Brad Bigney says about this in his sorta-recent parenting series entitled - Myth: A Godly Home Guarantees Godly Kids  . Look at 2008 sermons, July and August. Looks like it's a five part series.

The other thing that makes me grateful to not  have a daughter? The re-occurring popularity of the tube top.


Good Ol' Puddleglum!

We listen to audiobooks. It's a simple way to get lots of stories in the kids even if they're doing other things - riding in the car, eating breakfast, whatever. In my short teaching career,  I was a big proponent of reading aloud, and I thought I would hold on to this when my own kids came. My husband and I read aloud to one another often, even on our honeymoon. While pregnant with my first, I read aloud to him in utero! While they were small, they would sit for long periods of time (OK, not all of them...) and listen to book after book. Then they got old enough for chapter books - WHAT, no pictures??? Yes, that was the end of Mom reading aloud. I just couldn't stand to interrupt a great story to say stupid things like, "Why did you chew on that?", "Stop touching/hitting/pinching!", or "Could somebody get me a piece of chocolate?" So I make them do an alone reading time - mandatory 35 minutes - 30 minutes of reading and 5 left over for going to the bathroom or other such foolishness. AND we listen to audiobooks. Lots of good stuff that they don't willingly read on their own. It's no work to get your elementary school age son to read Captain Underpants, oh no! They're dying to read trashy stuff like that, but they don't make it very far in the classics, with the older style language. At least MY boys don't. But they will happily listen to almost any story I throw on the CD player! So I throw on the good stuff. 

Recently, we were hearing the Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis. I bought ALL the Chronicles of Narnia audiobooks from Focus on the Family - a very worthy investment! No regrets! You can also get them from the local library - free! We listened to the third CD over several times. Puddleglum is just amazing! Not like many people you may know, but certainly all of us know at least one pessimistic Christian like old Puddleglum. In the story, the characters have almost given in to a spell-induced deception that Aslan and Narnia are all just a fairytale. In the pinch, at the darkest moment, Puddleglum comes through with the spell-breaking declaration you find here:

"With his last strength of will, Puddleglum steps into the fire, and the smell of his burning flesh weakens the spell. Then he replies to the witch:

'One word, Ma’am. One word. . . . Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things, trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one.'

This, he says, is “a funny thing.”

. . . We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.'"

Now more than ever, I can identify with old Puddleglum! I'm reminded of how Paul describes Abraham in Hebrews 11:13-16 when he says that, "Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one.The Christian life that we lead, the Biblical code that we follow, and the hope that we have in Christ may seem like a play world to others, but we must press on and live like "Narnians" and spend our lives looking for "Overland".
More great resources on Narnia, if you're a fan like me:  Narnia and the Bible a website,  Live Like a Narnian blog, and "Green Dust" article in World Magazine


Faces Photo Contest - Entry #1

Hey, here's something you all might like to do, too. This website is hosting a photo contest weekly of 'people pictures'. I know  how many of you are wonderful photographers - get busy entering!

Here is my kid entry:
It's My Middle Son at about five years old. He was looking out of our upstairs window, trying to figure out how to get himself out there, when I got this picture. He was only ever still for a few seconds at a time!


Sit By Me

Seriously, people. The perfect pair - grilled cheese and dill pickle slices. I thought these were passable for a winter's day lunch, but none can compare, and mine never shall, to My Dear Friend Pam's. I'm going to ask for some of Pam's grilled cheese at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. Sit by me, and I'll share with you - just a little bite, though.


Ponderable Words and Lyrics

I'm a sucker for words. When I hear some special phrase, I find myself saying it to myself, sometimes even finding paper to write it down before I forget. While playing cards the other night, one of our Friends said something about crossing a "line of departure" - he was speaking of military experience. And I found myself sitting there saying it over again - what a great phrase. Made me want to know more. Some words pack so much meaning...

AND SO --- This is one of my favorite Chris Rice collections. It's an old one - I like his older music because it has meaning. Real words about real things. The song below is probably my all time favorite song of his, and not one I've ever heard on the radio. The music is the perfect compliment, even though the words stand alone. The imagery in this is outstanding - lots of repeatable, ponderable phrases! In this song, he captures a sense of God's presence in every thing of creation, and Him being worshiped by every thing of creation. 
You can listen to it here...lyrics printed below for that early morning meditation.
(Maybe you'd share some of the words you love to ponder...)

I hear a sound and turn to see a new direction on that rusty weathervane
Suddenly the dead brown leaves are stirred to scratch their circle dances down the lane
And now the sturdy oaks start clappin' with the last few stubborn leaves that won't let go
I can hear Old Glory snappin' and her tattered rope now clangin' against the pole
And my breath is snatched away
And a chill runs up my spine
Feels like somethin's on the way so I look up to the sky, I look up to the sky and...
From the corners of creation
Comes the Father's holy breath
Ridin' on a storm with tender fierceness
Stirring my soul to holiness
Stirring my soul to holiness
I see the lifeless dust now resurrected, swirling up against my window pane
And carried 'cross the distance comes the long awaited fragrances of earth and rain
And out across the amber field the slender grasses bend and bow and kiss the ground
And in them I see the beauty of the souls who let the Spirit lay them down
And it takes my breath away
And a tear comes to my eye
Feels like somethin's on the way, so I look up to the sky, I look up to the sky and...
From the corners of creation
Comes the Father's holy breath
Ridin' on a storm with tender fierceness
Stirring my soul to holiness
Stirring my soul to holiness
And like a mighty wind blows with a force I cannot see
I will open wide my wings, I will open wide my wings
I will open wide my wings and let the Spirit carry me
From the corners of creation
Comes the Father's holy breath
Ridin' on a storm with tender fierceness
Stirring my soul to holiness
Stirring my soul to holiness
I hear the sound and turn to see the new direction on that rusty weathervane...

Thrift Find

This is my thrift store find for Monday night. I went with two Dear Friends, and all of us spread out in different directions as soon as we got through the door. I headed toward old aprons, purses, and dishes. This little copper pan was perched there with some poor looking, plastic dishes just calling my name! I have a couple of copper things, which I love, in my kitchen already - salt and pepper shakers and some old copper canisters. So I put this in my cart and pushed it around for awhile. One of the Friends, who knows such things, told me I had a real find! She pointed out the "Made In France" imprint near the handle. Bought it for $4 and I've been looking online to find out just what it is - I think it's a Copper Rondeau Pot. Compare the photos below to the one online, and see if you don't think I got the deal of the year at the thrift shop!

My little pot only measures 7 1/2" across the top, length-wise, and 3 1/2" in height, so it's a little smaller than the ones selling online - for hundreds of dollars!

Anybody  know anything more about this? Go ahead, don't be afraid to break my bubble...


A Favorite Photo - With Notes

I love this photo! Found it the other day when I was browsing the files of scanned photos to add to a genealogy page that Steve's side of the family has been adding to this year. Can't believe I didn't notice it before. It was taken in the Smoky Mountains while wading in a mountain stream.  My Youngest Son is running, arms outstretched, to My Wonderful Husband. So special!

January 16 -
The more I look at it, the more it reminds me of a joyful return. Will it be like this when we finally get there and meet the Lord face to face? I wish that great meeting to be filled with joy and outstretched arms like this photo! The best scripture I could find to go with that was Isaiah 35:10 -
"...and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; 
       everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, 
       and sorrow and sighing will flee away."

The photo also reminds me of joyful reunion, maybe in the vein of the Prodigal Son. How wonderful to see (or to be) the wayward soul who runs back into the arms of his savior! So how about Luke 15:20 -
"So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him."


Button Briday

Is anyone loving widgets like me? I, personally, love widgets and am having a hard time not crowding up the entire sidebar, making it two feet long with gadgets.  Especially LOVE my own font widget! Yes, I get on my own blog daily just to download the new font into our files. (Sure wish I could use more interesting fonts to write this blog!) The art of the day, yes, I peer at that, too. Not to mention the travel photo - someplace I might get to go someday...would love to add a map widget/gadget somehow. Or a button of the day widget! How cool would that be for button geeks like me? Too bad that "button" doesn't start with the same letter as one of the days of the week - then we could have Button Bonday (Button Buesday, Button Bednesday...) Everyone could share a photo of one of their favorite buttons.

I may need some counseling on being over-obsessed with the trivial things of life...I'm painfully aware of war in the middle east, world economies going on the crash, and the persecution of Christians throughout the world. Not to mention my own family dramas, teens getting ever more anxious to "grow up", and a mailbox full of bills. Maybe that's what makes me wish for Button Baturday?

"...casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." I Peter 5:7


I'm an Eye Roller

It's true. My feelings come right to the surface, immediately, and display themselves on my face. I've always wanted to be one of those cool and casual women, who seem to be perfectly in control of their emotions at all times. But I can't - I'm not. Even in my own kitchen with no one around, I find myself reacting to the radio announcer, the audiobook, whatever, with hand and/or facial gestures. Yes, sometimes both...and it's not pretty. At the grocery store, I feel my face making what I imagine to be the most ridiculous expressions of surprise, disgust, or pleasure. It happens before I can stop it, even though I know how bizarre it must look. If it was only appearing odd in public to perfect strangers, I could adjust to that. Or only being "expressive" in the privacy of my own kitchen - that would be OK. But this really does matter when having conversations with people whom I am not eager to offend. Or those who I wish would think me more mature than I am.   Or others who share shocking stories which they don't know ARE shocking until my face clues them in.

You can only imagine how I drive...maybe you'd better not.


Send the Big Snow!

I'm longing for some big snow! This photo was taken with my average-everyday-little-camera (wish I could use some letters and numbers to name my camera! oops - envy). It's the scene from our bedroom to the patio right outside. These chairs are the kind my grandma used to have - I got mine at a yardsale for $10. They need new red paint - something for a boy to do this spring. I love to look outside and see everything smooth and white, all mounded up and sparkly. It's actually snowing right now, though, big flakes coming down slowly. I should get the kids out there to catch some for "examination".  Very home-educational thing to do - use black construction paper and magnifying glasses. It's a great lesson in our uniqueness. And don't forget to give them the classic snow scripture, full of promise and hope:
"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; 
       though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."
Isaiah 1:18


Chocolate's not a "Love Language", but....

When I open my jewelry drawer, this is what I see. What a happy surprise every time! My Dear Husband gave me THREE bars of dark chocolate, all from exotic places around the world. How well he knows me! I love chocolate, the darker the better, and I love thinking about far-flung places on the globe. (You might be called to send me on a world-tour; pray earnestly for guidance.) He's speaking my love language all right!  Do not underestimate the power of using the correct love language! If you don't know yours, Lord help you, and take the quiz here.  If you don't know your spouse's, then you'd better hurry and take the quiz! It has been my experience that this can be a real enhancement for any marriage, and such a small way to make things more romantic around the house! Of course, it's an effort for me to make myself speak Husband's love language and not to just expect him to be fluent and frequent in babbling mine! :0) 

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 
Galatians 6:7


"Rocker Mom"

I got an iPod Shuffle for Christmas - How much fun is that?!?! Even though they officially gave it to me, My Wonderful Sons are somewhat dubious about this. I'm getting some serious sideways scrutiny as I go through their music on iTunes and put some of it on my new little bit of technology.  Emphasis on "some". Most of their music I don't care for, but yes, some of it is cool enough for me.  I did hear one of them mutter, "We've got a rocker mom."  heh heh heh  I love to ruin their staid image of me from time to time...not in a bad way, of course.  Oh, and now I can believe that they really DIDN'T hear me when I was talking or calling them while they had their earbuds in. Yes, it's a nice isolated feeling that I must not let myself like too much.

(Don't I look FIERCE in that photo above??  hahahaha  It's not me....you knew that!)


Last Sweets in the House

These are NOT extremely flat biscuits, as you might be thinking. They are glorious sugar cookies that I cut with a biscuit cutter which has wonderful flute-y edges. (I have the best recipe in the entire world. Let me know if you want it.) They made nice-looking Christmas balls, I think. There's hardly anything more calming and therapeutic than rolling and cutting Christmas sugar cookies....even if it is after Christmas.

And icing them, well, I do love that. The big icing bag was not necessary this year; I used  a ziplock bag with a tiny hole in one bottom corner. Yeah - I hate cleaning out the icing bag! I stayed in my pajamas and did these on New Year's Eve day. What extravagant luxury! 
Now, how can I behave properly in January with these in the house??? But they are too precious to just dump!  If any of you lived within walking distance, I'd leave them on your doorstep, in a lovely tin. True friends share their calories! (Especially in January!)

Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them...
1 Corinthians 6:13a


Smashing the Old Year

This is our second year making a gingerbread house.  Last year it was an end-of-the-year homeschool project, complete with homemade gingerbread dough, templates, warped walls and singed shingles.  I found this "from scratch" deal to be highly stressful, even though it did pull lots of subject areas for a practical, educational project.  We marked it with the year 2007, and it hung around the house for a couple of weeks, gathering dust.  I won't tell you what else it gathered, OK? By the time the New Year's Eve came around, I was trying to think of a non-offensive way to get rid of the thing. We came up with the idea of SMASHING it at the New Year's Eve party!  Sort of smashing the old year, and eating a triumphant bit at the same time. So we took it to our friends' house and announced our intention. I don't need to tell you how the other kids reacted, do I? Allowed to smash something...make a huge mess....with permission? YES!!  So at midnight, after the poppers (are those ever messy) and the sparkling grape juice, we let all the kids smash the 2007 house. They all scrambled for pieces to eat afterward, eating, as children will, right off the floor.  You know they do.

This year, I got smarter and bought a kit from Sam's.  Wow, so much smarter! No, it wasn't an educational project, but then, most of the rest of life is, so it all shakes out in the end. The whole thing was finished in one night, and then went on into glory last night at the party. It's the only thing that all ages of kids actually wanted to participate in! Smashing out the old year! Yeah! It was pretty, though:

Sam's - $9.95 - priceless memories.  Do it!