Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Have a Feelin'....

Today is the first day Flower has been home on summer break, and Daddy hasn't at home because of a holiday.  Now, that part is very important...the part about Daddy not being here.  You see, my kids act completely different when Dad is around.  They behave when Dad is here.  

Already today, I've been reffing fights between Flower and Little Man.  I've successfully stopped Little Man from being forced to wear a dress and makeup.  I've even been somewhat successful in helping Little Man learned to go potty on the big boy potty, and somewhere in between all of this, I have gotten all the laundry done, and most of the house cleaned.

Then Flower comes running into the house, with her friend from across the street.  

"Mom, we were wondering if we could borrow 4 thumbtacks, and the orange plastic bullets that dad used in his air pistol.
 Picture here an adorable little girl and little boy, 8 years old, smiling as innocently and sweetly as they can, hiding their devious little plan.
"Do you want to explain why you need those things?"
"Well, you better."
"Well.......see we were coloring.  And we made a bulls eye.  And we were going to hang it on his fence."
"For target practice."
"With a gun?!"
"Well, no, I mean, not like, a big gun, like, umm, the ones you and dad have, but, umm, its another kind."
enter friend, trying to help smooth talk their way into devious plan
"Yeah, its cool.  Its one my dad got me.  Its made for kids. And my mom is really OK with it."
"Did you ask your mom?"
"Well, no, not yet, I mean, we were going to get these things and since its OK with you she would let us."
Flower - "Besides, she's gonna hear us shooting anyway."
"No, you should ask before she hears you."
"Oh, yeah."
"I don't think I like the sounds of this plan.  You didn't really think this one through, did you?"
heads hanging low, like someone just took away their birthday
"No ma'am."
"Maybe better luck next time, guys."

I swear to you, 5 minutes later they came back.  The only thing they asked was "Is it next time yet?!"

This might be a long summer.  The unfortunate thing for me, is that Flower is just like I was at her age.  The unfortunate thing for her, though, is that she is just like I was at her age.  

Battle of wits....here we come.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Panhandle on Fire

As many of you know, from reading my blog, fires are one of my greatest fears.  There is nothing on this earth the grips me with fear like the word "fire".  I have progressed a little, I will say.  At least now I don't start shaking, crying and hyperventilate when I find out a fire is close by, though I still do get visibly anxious.  I start asking my poor husband where the fire is in relation to us, in the chance that we might possibly need to evacuate.  It isn't an unfounded fear, either.  There was a time when I not only wasn't afraid of fires, but actually enjoyed watching and playing with anything that was burning (much to my mother's dismay).  To keep from "loosing it", I won't go into great detail about why I am so phobic of fire today, but if you don't know, you can read my blog about it here.  Here are two videos regarding the happenings, as well.

Yesterday I wrote about how desperately we need rain, and how bad the winds were.  And wouldn't you know, fires started popping up around 1:30 yesterday.  A huge billow of smoke could be seen just east of my town.  I was calmed by the fact that the wind was blowing out of the west, so thankfully, the opposite direction of town.  However, it was dangerously close to a friend's house, and headed straight for another very small community.  The Palo Duro Canyon, one of the most beautiful places in our area, was also on fire (and the latest information I've seen this morning shows that is still is).  Families (and campers) have been forced to evacuate.  The Amarillo Globe News this morning says 30,000 acres have burned thus far.  It'll only get worse if we don't get rain: here is a map showing our wildfire danger.

The Texas Panhandle has some of the bravest, selfless firefighters I've ever heard of.  There is a very special place in my heart (as well as my entire family's) for firefighters...especially the volunteers.  With all due respect to all first responders, firefighters are grossly underpaid (I stole that from Barb Wire Man, by the way!  Thanks, honey!).  Perhaps I'm a little biased.  I know quite a few volunteer firefighters (and paid, as well).  I've drank a few beers with some.  I went to school with some.  I've worked with some.  They've saved the homes of close family members and friends numerous times in the course of the last 5 years.

There aren't very many paid fire departments in this area of Texas; I don't know exact numbers.  The volunteer firefighters don't even get compensation for what they do.  They put their lives on the line each time they go fight a fire, but don't give it a second thought.  Their families sit at home and worry about them while they are gone, but are staunchly supportive and proud of them.   I am not trying to imply that paid firefighters only do it for the money, but I will say this; it takes a special person to do this type of job for no other reason than their heart leads them to do so.  They only compensation a volunteer firefighter receives is the occasional "thank you".  No end-of-the-week paycheck.  No paid health insurance.  No holiday time, personal leave, sick leave, or paid vacation.  But when the beeper goes off, they immediately drop whatever they are doing, because they know they are the last defense between a raging fire and someone's life.  Not only do they not get paid, many times they have to pay for their own training.

Since the death of my Grandmother, my mom and her siblings have worked closely with their attorneys on setting up a fund specifically to help our local volunteer firefighters.  I know some of my readers are not from this area, but I also know there are many who are.  I'd really encourage everyone to please check out the 

Kathy Ryan Rural Fire and Rescue Endowment Fund.  You can also follow the twitter feed at @KathyRyanfund.  And if you feel like donating, that would be phenomenal!  We want our volunteer firefighters to know they are appreciated.  We want them to have the very best training available.  

Thank you, to all the firefighters, volunteer or paid, who do so much to keep our homes, land, and lives safe!  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

Isn't that the song most kids sing?  "Rain, rain, go away!  Come again another day!"

Not us!  We are washing cars, cleaning carpets, watering lawns, and doing rain dances hoping it will rain.

This drought is just absolutely ridiculous.  Even little Flower, at age  7  8 ends each prayer with "And please send rain Jesus!!"

Its bad when even the kids realize just how dry it is.  Flower told me the other day it isn't even fun to play outside because the dirt is so hard she can't dig in it!

We have recorded only .77 inch of rain since January, the last snow storm was....I don't even remember.  The sad part?  This is supposed to be our rainiest season of the year, and we should just now be getting into the dry season.  Fires are popping up everywhere.  The crops aren't getting rain.  The grass isn't growing, so cattle can't range.

I've heard they are predicting between the massive drought here, and the massive flooding of the Mississippi there could be food shortages!?  Wow.  Too bad we can't ship all that water from the Delta over to Texas!

So please pray for rain for Texas!  Like the weather man said, "We are so dry, even the lizards need lotion!"

2 days til school is out for the summer!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Circle of Life

What a crazy weekend this was.  One of those where you feel like you need a weekend to recover from the weekend.  We spent a great day as a family on Saturday, attending the wedding of a friend.  Barb Wire Man's parents, and his brother and his wife were all there, so it was a mini family reunion!  We didn't get back home until about 1:30 that night, so we were exhausted! 

Sunday was such a lounge day.  I admit, I didn't get to church.  I wasn't feeling too swell, and didn't get much sleep, so we just stayed home.  I was already laying down for a nap at 11:30!  The kids spent the entire afternoon playing outside in the backyard with our dogs.  By the time they came in, they were hot, sweaty and covered with dirt and grime.  But they had fun!  

Poor little Flower got a front row seat to some of nature's most precious, and most disgusting, shows.  I looked out the window, and saw a little birdie hopping around in the back yard.  Not a baby bird, but it wasn't flying due to a damaged wing.  Tank, our big Rottweiler was chasing it around, no doubt thinking it would taste pretty good.  Flower came running in begging me to come help the little thing.  Unfortunately, while I was in the process of putting my gloves on, Tank ate the bird.  Not completely, but he certainly killed it deader than a doornail.  Flower was devastated.  And by devastated, I mean sitting on the grass with her face buried in her hands, sobbing.  She finally stood up, walked over to Tank and starting kicking the poor dog.  "HOW DARE YOU BITE A POOR BABY BIRD YOU BIG BULLY!  I DON'T LIKE YOU ANYMORE AND I HOPE YOU RUN AWAY FOR GOOD!"  Like any good mom, I stopped my laughing long enough to explain to her that hurting Tank because he hurt the bird was no way to act.  I explained that is just how nature works.

She went about her playing, then I suddenly heard "OH MY GOSH MAMA YOU HAVE TO COME OUTSIDE RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!"  Now, Flower knows not to scream at me like that when they are playing outside.  If she screams, some one's arm better be broken.  I went rushing out, and she was jumping up and down, squealing "OUR BABY BIRDIES HATCHED MAMA!!!!"  (By the way, Mattie has two volumes; loud and off.  We rarely hear the "off" part.)

Sure enough, our dove's eggs hatched!  She was so happy!  Flower heard the eggs cracking and stood there watching as the little things came out.  How often is it that you see the cruel side of nature, and the most beautiful side all in one day...especially when you are 7!?  

It is a little hard to see, but mama dove didn't want me getting too close.  I don't blame her, I'm pretty protective of my little chicks, too.  But that little yellowish spot there under her?  Those are her two chicks! Hopefully we will get some more pictures of them as they grow, unless she starts attacking me when I take pictures.  And if that stupid dog eats them, we may have to get rid of him.  He's walking on thin ice with Flower as it is!

Flower also gets a special treat today!  Since there is no school on her birthday, I am going up today with some cupcakes to share with her class.  She doesn't know it, yet, but someone will be delivering a big balloon bouquet to her classroom, especially for her!  So, I better get ready to take myself to the school! 

Have a great Monday, everyone!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Israel, Prophecy, and the End of the World As We Know It

Its the end of the world as we know it...and I feel fine!  I've been singing that REM song since I first saw all the talk about tomorrow being the end of the world.

Before I go any further, you must know...there isn't much humor in today's post, so if that is what you are looking for, don't bother reading.  It is very religious, and I will be getting up on my soap box.  But it is my two cents worth, and something I am deeply, deeply passionate about.

So, supposedly, Christ will return and the earth will be destroyed at 10:00 tomorrow morning.  Let me just say that I do not believe for one second that any man is able, nor will ever be able, to predict the return of our Messiah.  Matthew 24:36 says "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."  The angels don't know when He will return.  The Son Himself...the one returning...does not even know!  ONLY FATHER GOD KNOWS.  So what in the world makes a mere human think he is so special as to be told the specific date and time?  Please.  Matthew 7:15 warns us, "Be careful of false prophets.  They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ferocious wolves."  This man, Harold Camping, is a false prophet, who is seeking nothing more than his 15 minutes of fame.  I also find it interesting that he also predicted the world would in September of 1994, and, they are creating a "fund" for their followers, just in case Jesus does not come back.  Remember that...I'll come back to that point shortly!

This false prophet has caused a greater awareness.  "What if tonight is the last night I'll be alive?"  I know personally, I've been thinking about how we can never take a single day for granted.  Am I where I need to be with in my walk with God?  Am I doing all I can, every single day, to serve Him, and show other's his love?  When I get to the pearly gates, whether it is on Saturday or when I am 90, I want to be able to tell God that I served Him to the best of my ability.  That I obeyed His commands.  That I loved my family, my friends, and yes, even my enemies.  No man knows the hour or the day, therefore, we should live every single moment in a close walk with our Savior.  I firmly believe this is just one of the many reasons God does not tell people when the Messiah's return will be.  I'm reminded of the story my husband tells about when he and his brother were younger.  Their mom would tell them to clean the house and do their chores while she was away at work.  Although they had all day to get these things finished, they would wait until she was on her way home from work, and rush to get everything done before she got there.  If we knew when the Messiah would be returning, we would live our lives wasting time, then rush around at the last minute to "make peace" with Him.

I've also heard that some of this false prophet's followers have neglected to pay their bills, pay their mortgage, and have even overdrawn their bank accounts.  Their thinking is "Why bother?!  I'm not going to be here to get in trouble."  REALLY?!  That is horrible stewardship, and I believe another reason God does not explicitly tell us when the Messiah will be returning.  Camping has two fund set up; one to help "those left behind", and the other for his followers "just in case."  Now, I don't know about you, but he certainly doesn't seem too sure of himself if he has to have a contingency plan to bail out those of his followers who neglected to take care of their worldly affairs.

I'm not saying the Messiah will not return tomorrow, but I am not putting my faith in this man's predictions.  My hope is in the Lord.  It could be tomorrow, it could be in the next 15 minutes, and it could be in 50 years. Instead of listening to a human being tell us he has divine revelation that specifically goes against the Word of God, we should turn instead to the Word of God, which says in Matthew 24:42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."  I've never seen a thief leave a note letting the homeowner know when he would be there.

Having said all that....
I believe that God has not completely left us in the dark concerning when our Messiah will return.  The Bible is chock full of prophecies, most of which have come to pass exactly as stated.  The only ones that have not, yet, are some of the ones concerning the end of times...thought many of those have already come to pass.

Here is a very brief run-down of a few key prophecies I think really stand out, especially today:
  • Isaiah 66:8 - Has any nation in history become a nation in just one day?  Only one.  It happened on May 14th, 1948, when the Children of Israel were gathered into their own nation.  
  • Zechariah 12:2-3  Jerusalem will be a troubled place.  (Ummhorrible as it looks, it is all apart of God's plans, and He remains in control.
  • Ezekiel 13:10 Everyone wants peace in the Middles East.  In fact, that is why Obama is calling for this...to try to create peace.  The only peace that will be created will be a like a flimsy, whitewashed wall.
  • Zechariah 14:1-2 Nations will turn against Israel.  What?  What did that just say?!  The nations will turn against Israel?  I see that happening before my very eyes. 

ALL of these prophesies are concerning Israel, so imagine my astonishment this morning when I turned on the news and saw what our nation's president had said.  I think a great many people in our nation stood with their jaws on the floor in shock when Obama stated that Israel should return Gaza, the Golan Heights, and even the area surrounding Jerusalem.  He even goes so far as to say that "we" are encouraging this because of our friendship with Israel, that the "status quo" cannot continue.

Wrong. On so many, many levels.

That land was given to the Jews a very long time ago.  And by very long time ago, I mean way back in Genesis (yes, the same Genesis in which creation was discussed!)  Here a few of the Bible verses which state this (and these are just the few I remembered off the top of my head)  Genesis 12:1-7, Genesis 13:14-16, Genesis 15:18, Joshua 1:1-11, Joshua 21:43-45.

 Obama is the first president in our nation's history to turn his back against the Israel.  Its is not "friendship". He is asking Jewish families to move.  To leave their homes, and everything else they have worked for.  That is not friendship.  It actually reminds me of the scene from Fiddler on the Roof, when all the families are being uprooted and being forced to move.  It reminds me of when the Nazis forced Jewish families to "relocate" to concentration camps.

Take a look again at Genesis 12:3: "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”  In other words, everyone on earth receives blessings in some way from Israel.  To those who bless Israel, the blessing will be returned.  To those who curse Israel, curses will be returned.  I don't know about you, but in no way do I want to be associated with the cursing of Israel.  Obama is leading people to believe that our country wants Israel to give their God-given land to the Palestinians, and under the guise of "friendship" no less.  

Mr. Obama, I am saying this as respectfully as possible.  You are walking on a very thin sheet of ice.  I do not think you realize the implications of what you are suggesting.  I do not think you have even begun to think this through completely.  This is not friendship.  You do not speak for me, Mr. President, and I do not believe you speak for most Americans.  I stand with Israel.

HERE is an interesting article I just stumbled across.  Please take a look.  Then pray.  Pray for our nation's leaders.  Pray for Israel.  But I take comfort in that regardless of what happens, my God is in control.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Oh What a Beautiful Day!

I've needed this day for awhile, now!  I woke up early, and managed to get the house straightened and even dusted before 6:30.  On top of that, I got 5 loads of laundry washed, and hung them out to dry!  I'm feeling very accomplished today!

I love hanging laundry out to dry, rather than using the clothes dryer.  I love being outside, and hearing all the noises of nature.  Well, until my neighbor started cutting rock that he is using to landscape his yard.  Oh well!  The sun is still shining, it isn't too hot, and surprisingly, wasn't even too windy!

Our little mama dove in the backyard is still doing well.  Yesterday, Barb Wire Man actually touched her, because she hadn't moved in 3 days.  We thought she might actually be dead, as she didn't even flinch when she was touched!  Today, though, I noticed that she had turned the other direction.  I'm going to do some studying, though.  I think she is just sitting on those eggs and protecting them.  I wonder if they eat a lot before hand, so they don't have to leave?  I guess even in nature, mamas will do anything they have to in order to protect their young.  Unless you are an alligator, who in fact eat their young.  Frankly, some days I don't blame them!

I've also been looking into how many different uses there are for olive oil.  And you thought it was just for cooking?  Holy moly, it can be used for anything!  I've been using one of the ways here lately that I now
l-o-v-e....face cleanser.  Seriously.  The first time I thought, "Oh, please.  My oily face is going to be even oily-er (I'm allowed one new made up word per week.)"  But the total opposite happened!  My face isn't anywhere near as oily as it used to be, and my complexion is looking a whole lot better.  So hopefully soon I will have a blog about all the new ways I have learned to utilize olive oil.  If you know of some interesting ways, please, let me know!

I hope each of you has a great day!  We are only one and a half days to the weekend, so it can't be too bad!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


So, yesterday I went to my first Zumba class.  Actually convincing myself to be apart of anything that even remotely resembles exercise is itself a major feat, but to actually follow through with it is amazing.  I really do not care for exercising.

However..... Zumba was really a lot of fun!  I wasn't as out of breath and exhausted as I thought I would be.  I can't decide if that was because I missed so many of the steps, or if chasing after all these kiddos is really more of a workout than I thought.  I'm not as sore today, either.  I'm pretty sure I will be tomorrow, though.  I'm planning on going again tonight (assuming the stars align, Mike is home, supper is ready, and the kids are good).

I found some more knitting patterns for hair kerchiefs, and I am making on of those now.  Its a lace pattern, and really isn't all that difficult.  It is quite tedious, though, in that I am knitting with crochet thread on size 1 needles.  Its like knitting on toothpicks.  I think it is going to be really pretty; very delicate and feminine, so I am excited to get it finished.  I'll post pictures when I do!

Six more days til school is out!!  YAY!!! And only 7 more til Flower turns 8!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Its Tuesday!

When the alarm went off at 5:00 this morning, I jumped out of bed and felt awesome!!!

That is how I would like to start this story.  Instead, when the alarm when off at 5:00 this morning, I hit snooze and rolled back over as close to Mike as I could, because I was freezing.  And then, 15 minutes later, I hit snooze again.  At 5:30, Mike finally got out of bed and said "You gonna get up or what?"

UGH.  I just did not want to get up!  I did get a lot of things accomplished before the kids woke up, and I got a shower.  But I have so little energy now, and its only noon.  So, I have decided to change things a little.

I've always used the fact that I'm a pretty small person as an excuse not to exercise.  I'm not overweight, quite the opposite, so I do not want to loose weight.  But I do want to be in shape.  So, I am going to a Zumba class tonight.  I have no idea what to expect.

I've always said that exercise is against my religion.  I really hate it.  I don't know why, but I do.  Mike says he doesn't bet my going to the class will last very long, but I'm going to prove him wrong!!! I'm going to do it! I'm going to hurt like the dickens tomorrow!

Pray for me!

Monday, May 16, 2011

What a Weekend!

The weekend is something I had really been needing, and for the first time in a long time, I woke up this morning feeling refreshed and able to tackle the week.

Barb Wire Man took me on a date this weekend!  We dropped the kids off at my parent's house (thanks Mom and Dad!), and left listening to Little Man crying because we were leaving.  Really, we should do this more often!  (No worries, he was fine within 3 minutes!)  Barb Wire Man took me out to eat at the restaurant where we had our first date.  We always go back there when it is just the two of us!  After eating until neither of us felt like moving, we took off to the mall.  The simple fact that he took me to the mall to go shopping is a miracle.  Barb Wire Man hates the mall and shopping in general.  We walked the entire mall and did a little shopping...for me!  After we were both pretty tired, we stopped and got a pretzel, and people watched while we ate.  Let me tell you, that had to be the best part of the day.  We saw some pretty....strange things.  Either I am way out of the loop on style, or those people had no clue what style was.  In the end, Barb Wire Man thanked me for being an All-American girl who dressed in jeans and t-shirt most days.  And I thanked him for  looking like a man all the time.  Of course, no trip to Amarillo would be complete without stopping at the Harley Davidson store, where I got a new shirt, and got the kids some presents for a later date.  We looked at bikes, and as bad as we both want a new one, decided now was just not the time.  We went back to my parents, and had a wonderful dinner to celebrate my sister's and aunt's birthdays.   We all almost fell asleep on the way home, then called it an early night once we made it home safely.  Sunday was another relaxed day.  Church was wonderful, and my spirit was refreshed there. The kids played outside, and Flower discovered something really neat.....

If you can't tell, that is a dove sitting on her nest!  Flower is so excited!  We are closely monitoring the situation, and are anxiously awaiting the new baby birds that will be here soon!  I will try to remember to post pics once the little things hatch!  I just hope my dogs don't hurt them!

Only 9 more days til summer, and 10 til my baby turns 8!  Wow, how time flies!  I really should not have an 8 year old.  In my mind, I'm still, like, 18!

Much to do today.  Laundry, cleaning, you know...the fun stuff.  I hope everyone has a really blessed week!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cheap Summer Fun!?

Eight and a half more days.  Flower and I have been counting down the days until school gets out!  I don't know about your house, but for us, the excitement of summer usually wears out at the beginning of week two.  When I was a kid, we never used the word "B" word.  At least not around mom.  If she heard us complain about being bored, she could find something for us to do in a matter of seconds.  The problem was that it usually involved some type of cleaning.  My sister and I were good at coming up with things to do.

Wanted:  Imaginations
Kids today have very little imagination.  When I was a kid, we did not own any type of gaming system at all.  We did not have cable TV.  And looking back, I think that was one of the best decisions my parents ever made.  We were forced to use our imaginations, and to be creative.  My sister and I spent hours upon hours playing "house".  I bet I spent half my childhood outside.  My daughter however, has to be entertained.  She hates going into her room and "just playing".  Her mind has to be stimulated every second by something...TV, Nintendo, games.  Well this summer, that is going to change.  I started thinking of some fun, free (or almost free, because let's face it...I'm a cheap-a$$) entertainment for my kids.  Some are pretty obvious, but hardly anyone does them anymore it seems!

What could possibly be cheaper than taking your kids to the park?!  Pack a picnic lunch of sandwiches, and let them play to their little heart's content.  There are benefits to letting your children run it out at the park, too.  One, you will all get a good dose of Vitamin D.  Two, you can get a nice tan.  Three, your precious children will sleep like angels later.

I love to camp.  I prefer camping in the mountains, but the closest thing we have to a mountain in the Texas panhandle is the mountain of trash at the landfill.  Gas is way to high to even think about loading up all the gear, and driving, so why not set up tent in the backyard?  Take the lantern, sleeping bags and everything out there, and get the kids involved in helping set it up!  Take a map of the stars, and see how many constellations your can find together.  Shoot, pull the grill over, fire it up and have a "bonfire"!  Make some Smore's, and sing a few songs.  I bet it will be something your kids don't soon forget.

I think I went to Vacation Bible School every year, and not just at my church.  I was a church hoppin' VBS kid.  I've yet to see a VBS that charges, it is full of fun, kid friendly activities, and it feeds their spiritual side.  Call around to the local churches, and find out when they are planning to hold their Vacation Bible Schools.

Field Trips
At least here, our volunteer fire department is super kid friendly.  Call to see if they give tours of the fire house!  What kids doesn't like a shiny fire truck?  Some stations do require a group, so call some friends and get a group together.  This is also a good way to teach kids about fire safety (and that is a pretty big deal for me).

Nature Walk
Set up a nature scavenger hunt for you kids!  We are blessed to be surrounded by miles and miles of Texas, where nature, wildlife and bugs are everywhere you turn.  Make a list of 15 or so things to hunt for with your kids, then take a hike!  Its great exercise, a great way to teach your kids how to respectful of the environment, and a great way to teach them about how the earth was made!

I like this one, because it helps me out tremendously!  Turn chores into something fun!  My poor Little Man is deathly afraid of car washes, and Flower asks to play in the water nearly every day during the summer.  Viola....I give Flower a bucket and sponge, and she washes my car for me.  She is helping me out, but has no idea!  She just thinks it is fun!  Find a field that needs a little trash pick up.  Have a race to see who can pick up the most trash, and give out prizes!  (Although I would recommend wearing gloves.  Seriously, use common sense, folks.)

Instead of demanding to be entertained, why not allow them to entertain?  Elderly people love to see children.  Take your kids, and "adopt" a grandparent.  Visit with them, make crafts for them, etc.  This is such a great way to give back to previous generations, and a great way for your kids to learn some really valuable life lessons.

County Extension Offices
At least in this area, our county extension office offers several summertime activities for kids.  They range from learning about gun safety, to learning to sew.  They rarely cost more than a couple of bucks.  Just call your local office to find out specifics.

Read a Book
"You just said to make my kids sit down, inside, and read a book?"  Oh yes.  I did.  Why do we, as parents, feel like it is our job to fill every second of our kid's lives with an activity?  Make them use their imaginations.  The more they are forced to do so, the better they will get!  What exercises imagination better than reading a book?  Make them read some classics, too.  Age appropriate, of course, but a little Trumpet of the Swan and Little Women never hurt anyone.

I'd love to hear other ideas!  Feel free to leave a comment if you have some fun ideas!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Maintaining a Positive Outlook

Before I get into today's topic, I want to encourage everyone to check out Giveaway Corner!!!  This is such a cool blog!  They have a giveaway each and every day!  Today, I happen to be the featured shop owner, and am really excited about it!  Go over, follow the blog, and start winning!  

"Life is only 1% of what happens to you, but 99% what you make of it."

I first heard that from my dad when I was just a little thing, but I have never forgotten it.  I've been accused of being a constant optimist.  Of being too naive to realize that there are so many bad things happening in this worlds, and of being blind to the severity of an issue in my life.  None of the above are true!  Right now, my life is peachy.  I have a wonderful family, we aren't destitute, and things just generally seem pretty good.  But there have been many times in my life where I wanted to just roll over and die.  Times when no one would have blamed me for climbing up a mountain and shouting "I GIVE UP!!!!"  A few days ago after a phone conversation with an incredibly negative person, I started thinking about why I am a generally happy person, regardless of my situation.  I'm no expert, but I believe I have a few reasons as to why, and thought I'd share them with you.

The first, and most obvious reason I believe I can maintain a positive attitude is because of my faith in an Almighty God.  I believe firmly that He alone is in control of my life, and that He loves me (all of us for that matter) deeply.  He does not want to see us hurting, but sometimes allows situations to happen.  Why?  So we can learn a lesson.  As parents, we don't want to see our children hurting.  We don't like to have to chastise them, but we do.  That is our job, to teach them.  But we always remind them of how much we love them.  God is the same!  He never makes us walk through a season of life alone.  He does teach us lessons, and many times, that lesson is about depending on and trusting in Him.
My first marriage was one of the worst times of my life.  My husband at the time had been having affairs.  I was pregnant.  I felt more alone and betrayed than I ever had in my life.  There were many other things going on, but I'm not screen writing for a soap opera, so I won't go into that.  I can say, without any hesitation, that knowing God was by my side was the only thing that kept me going.  The fact that I was a mom didn't even stop me from thinking some of the thoughts I had then.  I know, that the only reason I am here today is because all I had was faith.  Literally...I had nothing else!

Positive Thinking
I've never really been into the whole "positive thinking equals positive result" mumbo jumbo.  However, this is one time when I believe it has a place.  I don't care who you are, or what you are going through, there is something positive.  It might be something silly, or even the tiniest glimmer of hope, but it is there.  Anne Frank experienced some of the most horrifying experiences, that most of us will never be able to understand.  She had every right to mope, whine and complain about it, too, and no one would have judged her.  But she didn't!  She kept her eyes fixed on the few joys in her life.  Dwelling on defeat will only bring you further into the pit.  Find something about the situation that is positive, whatever it is!  The only thing that brought me joy during me divorce was knowing I wouldn't have to put up with crap like that anymore.  That made me smile.

End Results
Every bad situation I have ever been through has led me to something better than I could have imagined.  None of us know what the future holds, or the paths we will take.  Something better is in store for us!  After my divorce, I ended up moving in with my parents and sister.  My mom, dad, sister, my daughter and myself in a two-bedroom apartment.  That was rough, folks!  But looking back, it was all apart of the grand plan God had for my life.  I ended up becoming friends with my parents' neighbor, and a few years later, ended up marrying him.  Had I not walked that path, I never would have met my husband and best friend.  I wouldn't have a little boy (which, some days, doesn't seem like such a bad idea!).  Often times, the destination outweighs the struggles on the path we are taking.

I'm a much, much stronger person than I was 10 years ago, and it is most definitely because of the things I have faced in my life.  I've learned I'm stronger than I thought I was.  I learned what I will and won't put up with from people.  Take a step back from your situation and ask yourself what you can learn!

Avoid negativism
I don't care who you are...if you surround yourself with negativism, you will be negative.  I know two different women, who are the most negative, hateful and bitter people I have ever met.  I always joke that they can find something wrong with a rainbow and sunshine.  Sadly, its not that much of a joke. If I call to share good news with them, they point out everything that might go wrong with it, and even go as far to insist that it will go wrong.  I've found that when I spend any length of time with them, I begin to think and sounds just like them.  My husband can tell when I've been hanging out or talking with them just by the change in my attitude.  Its a plague...avoid it!

Remember that no one in this life is exempt from experiencing some type of painful experience in this life.  As bad as you think it is, it could always be worse.  Someone, somewhere would gladly swap lives with you if they could, and you might quickly learn your life isn't as bad as it could be.

Why I Chose No College

I feel certain I'll step on a few toes today, but really, has that ever stopped me?  Hardly.  And I will begin by prefacing myself.  No, I am not encouraging people to forgo higher education.  I will encourage my children to go. These are merely my observations after watching friends and family rack up huge loans, only to find out that their expensive education got them bumpkis.  I've seen people who had the opposite experience, too, but far fewer.

I've received a lot of slack over the years about my having not graduated from either a conventional high school, or a college.  I heard over and again that people who go to college make more money than those who do not. That is my number one reason for not going to college.  Certainly, there are some fields that do pay graduates higher than non-graduates.  (I, for one, would never go to a doctor who did not have a few degrees hanging on their wall!)  But, going to college is no guarantee that you will even get a job, let alone a high paying one!  Someone very close to me has 2 college degrees.  He had a job utilizing said degrees.  A superior informed him that they were hiring someone to take his place.  Why?  Because the new employee had no college education, but just as much real life experience.  They could pay him less.  So, really, who came out on top?  Joe Blow who worked his butt off learning from the real world...at least he had a job!

Which brings me to my next point.  College grads loose a few years of honest-to-goodness real world experience, while others are out there just learning the ropes.  They spend those 4 years racking up debt that will take forever to pay off.  And, really, what is better than starting off life thousands of dollars in debt!? I'm being sarcastic!  Consider investing that money!

Higher education.  I really hate that term.  There was a time when only a select few went to college.  That certainly gave them the edge on the great jobs.  But, these days, everyone and their dog has a college degree. College degrees no longer separate you from everyone else.  I've seen college graduates working at McDonald's, because their chosen fields were full.

But, here is probably the biggest issue I have with people who have a college education.  They become too "smart".  Not too intelligent, too smart.  Too smart for common sense.  Too smart to consider the opinions of anyone.  Too smart to trust God for anything.

Some of the world's brightest minds and highest paid people either chose not to go to college, or dropped out.  Quick!  Someone tell Bill Gates he could make more money if he had a college education!  Hurry, Mark Zuckerberg!  Go back to school so you can get rich!  Let's go back in time and tell eight Presidents of the United States that they could get a better paying job if they would go back to school! Of the successful people I know, most did not go to college.

As I was looking around, researching this a bit, I was surprised to see how many people this world deems successful with no higher education.  Eight U.S. presidents.  A plethora of TV personalities, news anchors, actors and musicians.  World leaders, world changers and authors.  Winston Churchill had no college education, nor did Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Benjamin Franklin, John D. Rockefeller or Andrew Carnegie.  I know its going back a ways, but even Leeuwenhoek had no formal education.

So in my opinion, not going to college has served me much better than if I had gone.  I've always had good paying jobs.  To this day, I have no desires to return to school.  I'm quite happy where I am at in my life.  Sure, I will encourage my kids to go to college, but I'm not going to force them.  You can shove a horse's head into the water, but that doesn't mean it will drink!  Likewise, I can force my children to go to college, but that doesn't mean they will learn a dern thing...the sure as heck might drink, though.

A few things to consider:

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 
(James 1:5)

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.
(1 Corinthians 1:27)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wait...it is only Tuesday!?

I woke up this morning thinking it was Wednesday, and was pretty happy about that.  School is almost out, and we have been counting the days here at my house...12 and a half days!  And then, I realized that it was just Tuesday.  I really hate when that happens!  It isn't so bad when its a Friday, and you think it is Thursday.  That's more of a pleasant surprise.  Oh well, there isn't much I can do about it is there!?

5:30 came way too early this morning, and despite actually getting a full night's sleep, I'm exhausted.  For some reason, I just haven't felt like doing anything lately.  I'm usually an "above and beyond" type of person.  If I need to straighten the kitchen, I end up scrubbing it from top to bottom.  If I need to make the bed, I end up rearranging furniture.  But for the last few days, I've barely been doing what I have to!  Last night, I put leftovers away, loaded the dishwasher, and left the rest because I just flat didn't want to do it!  I was so tired!  Maybe today I'll get some motivation back.  I think I may have a secret weapon...

Last night I went to the store for diapers.  That was all - diapers.  I came back with diapers and two 14 ounce containers of Haagen Daaz Dulce de Leche ice cream.  I don't buy it too often, because, well it is expensive and I am cheap.  But I couldn't resist its pull last night.  They are great for pulling out of the freezer when the kids are asleep, eating a little bit, then saving the rest for the next time.  Seriously, that is the best ice cream ever.  I love ice cream, and have eaten many different types and flavors.  Bar none, this is the best.

So today,  I think that will be my reward.  No ice cream until I finish everything I have to do!

I created something new to put up on my website.  Again, I need someone to take pictures and/or model for me before I can list it, but hope to do that soon.  But, I think I need some help.  I have no idea what to call this.  I found something similar to it, but not quite.  Anyhow, its about 50 inches long or so, and about 4 inches wide.  You can tie it around your head like a headband, wear it as a long skinny scarf, or wear it as a belt.  My husband even said it was cute, which he never does!  Its really versatile.  But, when he asked me what it was, the only thing I could come up with was, "Well, its a long, versatile....thing."  So be thinking of a good name, would you?  I'll post pictures later, if I don't run out of time, and if not today then tomorrow.  I'd love some suggestions!

Hope everyone has a great Tuesday!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Memory Monday

Happy Belated Mother's Day to all the mamas!!  I hope you all had a wonderful day!  I came to the realization that no matter what, moms just do not get a day off.  Ever.  I still had laundry to do and a house to clean.  If I hadn't, then I would have been working double time today!

We went to church and had a wonderful time.  Worshiping the Lord is one of my favorite things!  The church bought all the mom a long stem rose, and called the little ones up to the front to pick them up.  It was adorable!  My husband cooked supper out on the grill for me, and I made mashed potatoes and fried okra.  I had a day full of my sweet kids bringing me rocks, toys, and hand made cards, wrapped in whatever they could find as my "gifts".  Really, those are the best gifts!  Flower did try to help me clean up the kitchen a little, but she really isn't big on cleaning!

Just being with my family is enough for me.  I don't need gifts, cards, or anything special to know they love me.  My kids, and especially my husband, tell me everyday how much they love me.

I wasn't able to spend the day with my own mom.  Gas prices and really high miles on our vehicle put a damper on a lot of trips.  But, my mama knows I love her.  Of anyone I know, she has the most faith in me.  She always has, and likely always will.  In my top 5 friends in life, she is at the top.  I love her more than anything!

Today, I get to have a parent/teacher meeting at the the school for Flower.  I don't think it is anything, really, just an end-of-the-year progress report.  Flower and I are both so ready for summer....it is so close!  But, for now, I must get ready for the day.  I have too much to do!  One of these days, I won't have anything to do...no laundry, no dishes, no diapers, not a thing.  But it won't matter to much, because I am pretty sure that will only happen when I am dead!

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fairy Tales and Head Coverings

I haven't written in a long time.  Partly because I have just been too busy to sit down and do so, and partly because I just haven't wanted to.  I've had a wicked case of the do-nothings for awhile.  Little Man, along with every one of the daycare kids, has been sick this week.  Bronchitis...YUCK!  Having anything upper respiratory is always miserable, at least for me, anyhow.  I am pretty sure I am getting it now, as I woke up with a really chesty, painful cough.  SUPER!  There is nothing like being a sick mama!  (Yes.  I am oozing with sarcasm right now.)

A lot has gone on in the world as of late.  The prince married his princess, and the bad guy was killed by the good guys.  Almost sounds like a Disney movie, no?  Sadly, I really did get caught up in the whole Royal Wedding thing.  I secretly enjoy things like that.  Mainly, I just enjoyed looking at all the dresses, hats and fascinators.  I love them, and really, really, reaaaallllly wish women here wore hats more often.  It was awesome to see the fact that we finally found, and killed, Usama, but I'm not going to get into that too deep.  I don't feel like raising my blood pressure today.  I will say, however, that as Christians, we are told not to gloat when our enemies die.  God loved UBL as much as He loves any one of us, and hated his sins as much as He hates our sins.  And, he wanted to be UBL's savior just as He wants to be ours.  That's a hard pill to swallow when he was such a terrible person, but it is true.

Moving on....

I recently had a woman e-mail me about knitting head coverings for her.  Honestly, its never anything I paid much attention to, until lately, and I have found myself reading as much about it as possible.  Frankly, I am not sure how I feel about it.  I will wear a triangle "do-rag" on my head occasionally, but its mainly to keep my long, thin, stringy, drive-me-crazy hair out of my face when I am cleaning.  I wear a bandanna when I ride the Harley with my husband (which, if he is reading this, has not happened in over 2 years, so its time you get that thing out and take me for a ride!!!).  I always see Mennonite, Brethren, or Amish (I honestly am not sure which) women at our local store. They always wear some type of head covering.  Jewish women wear head coverings.  Muslim women wear head coverings.  I have even found that many born-again Christian women wear head coverings.  The verse in the Bible these women are following is found in I Corinthians...chapter 11, verse 5 to be exact.

But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head. I Corinthians 11:5, NIV

Like I said before...I am not really sure where I stand on this issue.  There is a lot that goes into it, and a lot of different views.  Some say a woman's hair is her covering.  Some say her husband is her covering.  Some say it was done away with when Jesus was born, crucified and raised from the dead, but then again, it is in the New Testament and the Law was not done away with but fulfilled.   Some say it is for modesty reasons, some say spiritual. I see each of those points, but can also argue against each of those points.  I'll say it again...I have no idea what I think, nor am I an expert on the issue.  I have no issue whatsoever with a women who chooses to cover her head.  In fact, it would save me a whole lotta time, because I wouldn't have to do anything to my hair!  I also have no issue against a women who doesn't cover her hair.  Truth be told, I probably would cover my hair on a regular basis if it weren't for the fact that my husband doesn't like it.  No, its not that he doesn't like it.  Its that if I have one on, he can't look at me with a straight face, and has to make a comment about my looking silly.  So, yeah.  I don't cover.  I would love to hear what other people think on this subject, so please feel free to leave me some comments!  What do you think?  To cover or not to cover?

Anyhow, that being said, I decided to knit up a few coverings of different types to show this lady.

Hopefully she will like them, if not, you can see them at 13 Plum, and you can buy them!  They are my featured items right now, and by using the coupon code FREESHIP you can obviously get free shipping!  They are kind of cute, and they look SUPER cute on little Flower when her hair is in braids!  I also knit some snoods for hair.  (I really hate that word.  It should be used to describe people.  "Did you see her?!  What a snood....")  I don't have pictures up of them, yet.  I've discovered it isn't very easy to take pictures of your own head from all angles, and have a decent looking photo.  I could ask Barb Wire Man to help me, but the pictures might come out blurry from him laughing at me.

I made a Treasury on Etsy yesterday.  Treasuries are created by the Etsyother Etsy shops.  I decided to do a little "thank you" to all the teachers I know.  (Which there are quite a few of.)  Would you stop by a take a look at it?  I'd love if you did!  I hope every one has a super weekend.  Doubt I will be back on before Monday, but hey...you never know.  Happy weekend!