Oct 31, 2008

Girls, Curls and Lipstick

The teens dressed up this week to attend a fall festival.
I loved listening to them talk to each other about their hair. And am amazed at the wonderous outcome of the using the old pink foam rollers.
The color of the queen's gown could be seen so much better while seated in her royal coach.
I couldn't stop admiring all these curls on my lipstick clad baby who was born bald as a bowling ball.
Thank you Lord for girls, curls and lipstick.

Oct 29, 2008

Italian Vegetable Soup

My sister-in-law shared this delicious and easy recipe that is just scrumptious this time of year. It has quickly become a favorite at our home.

Italian Vegetable Soup

1 pound ground chuck
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup sliced carrots
2 cloves garlic
16 oz. petite diced tomatoes
15 oz. tomato sauce
15 oz. light kidney beans, undrained
5 cups water
9 teaspoons beef bouillon
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups shredded cabbage (I use Dole Slaw Mix in the bag)
1 can green beans
1/2 cup macaroni
fresh parmesan, shredded

Brown beef, onion and celery. Drain any fat. Add all remaining ingredients except cabbage, green beans and macaroni. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer on low temperature for 20-30 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until tender. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve with parmesan.


Iron skillet cornbread, cheddar cheese cubes, crisp apple slices and red globe grapes make a great accompaniment to Italian vegetable soup (pictured in the lower corner!) I must have had a cornbread craving when taking the picture!

Paint By Number

Last night, after her first watercolor class, my youngest child started her assignment of painting a picture with complimentary colors. "Mama, what would you paint with purple and yellow?" It was difficult for me to "see" what could be created from two colors. Bedtime came and no purple or yellow had been brushed on her canvas. Wasn't it just yesterday she was painting by number? And didn't the guide state exactly which color belonged in which block to result in the puppy, flower or sailboat?

Sometimes, I want my adult life to be like a paint by number: 1=home, 2=family, 3=security, 4=health, 5=time, 6=energy, 7=dreams, etc. Life is not neatly compartmentalized into sweet little groups. The reality of life some days seems to deflate time, deplete energy and divert dreams from the serene Mary Cassatt scenes that paper my mind. The Lord gently reminds that we've graduated from the paint by number (limited cookie cutter outcomes) to the canvas of Eternal Life. When we said "yes" to the sweet Savior who bid us come, we entered the limitless realm of the "How Much More" God (Heb 9:14) who is not limited by numbers or blocks. His Word speaks "...Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts."(Zech. 4:6)

My mind drifted back to the might and power expressed trying to even think of a suggestion for the complimentary painting, and His Spirit prompted that there is one more color to factor in - the white of the canvas! There are three colors to work with! And dear fellow saints, we too, have the threesome of Divinity- Father, Spirit, Jesus - as we paint the beautiful canvas of life without numbers. He is calling us to so much more than we have ever seen, heard or imagined (I Cor. 2:9) And He is with us! Praise His Name!

Dear Lord,
Wake me from my perpetual slumber
I'm approaching life like a paint by number
Lord, help me to see how much more
Your eternal canvas holds in store! Amen.

Oct 20, 2008

Siesta Fiesta Fun

Yes, I have procrastinated. It is going on two months and I'm just posting about a the most wonderful trip to San Antonio for the Siesta Fiesta. The number one hurdle in the process was not having a blog; but obviously now, that little *thing* has been solved. I'm so thankful to my dear husband, The Salesman, who graciously and without hesitation gave me the trip as a birthday present. And I believe he had as much fun at home with the dear teenagers as I had on my trip.
It had been at least ten years since I was on a plane, so, of course, I had to take pictures of the clouds because they were gorgeous! And they seemed so indicative of how I felt about the trip - my excitement level was soaring and my feet were no where near the ground.

Thursday evening was a riverboat cruise and then dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. This riverboat full of Siestas was non-stop conversation and laughter and camera clicks.
Back Row: Kim, Tammy, Elizabeth, Patty, Georgia, Me, Nesha, Veronica, Melana
Row 2: Lisa, Brooke, Kathy, Jeanette, Kimberly and Grace and Joanne. San Antonio has amazing architecture. A classic old world look with definite Spanish flair. I could have cruised all day and enjoyed every sight my eyes landed on - the whole earth is full of His glory! I so want to comment on each and every one of these - the detail in the iron work, the stones neatly stacked, the sprawling vines; but they speak for themselves.









On Friday, we had lunch at Pico De Gallo. It was after looking at these pictures that I discovered I have a head tilting thing going on in the majority of them. I believe my head had a Siesta Magnet in it. Here I am meeting His Five Footer. Now I thought, it could be that I'm 5'10 and she's five foot. Oh, I wish that had been it!
Here is Marina, head straight and all, and guess who is tilting her head? Marina was precious - she'd squeal when she found out your name!
And Lisa, the Preacher's Wife - a doll! And I'm hugging her like a doll! So many times as I've read Lisa's comments, I just agree with her or laugh with her! She is cute as a button and kind and sincere.
My wonderful roomie Michelle from Because I Love You is seated on the left. Please read her post here about our time together - it was a God appointment for sure! I received so much personal encouragement from Michelle - she blessed me in many ways. And may I say, she continues to!?! I'm so thankful to the Lord, that we are still keeping in touch and praying for and encouraging one another.
We had church in our room several times during our visit to SA. God showed up in a big way in the orchestration of our rooming together - we serve an amazing God! Roomie Nesha is from Virginia (pictured on the right) and takes the most awesome pictures...ever! She is down to earth and so considerate! She loves her husband and dear boys. We met at the airport and she patiently and graciously waited for me while I waited forever and ever, amen for my luggage! Then she also darted out early one morning to save us a place in line! A true servant. We shared meals, taxi's and the room. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. She has an awesome testimony of coming to accept Jesus at a LPL event - praise His Name!
Getting another head tilt at the Alamodome with Nesha!
When I met so-darlin'-in-person Amanda, I was so excited to have a picture taken with her, I didn't realize my hair looked... umm, unkempt. But now I know why it looked that way - I'd been tilting my head to lean in to my new Siesta friends! I'm sure I would have tilted to Amanda, but there was this big rope separating us - for her safety (and her hair's safety)- I'm sure from tilter's like me! Right away Amanda looked at my name tag and asked me about my trip and drew me into a conversation. She is darlin'. And stylish. My dear teens would have loved her leggings.
Here I notice my head seems to be balanced when I'm equally distributed with Siesta's on both sides! With roomie Alexia, Nesha and new friend, Valerie. And thank you Kristen for taking the picture! Dear Alexia is from my home state! She is a gracious, gracious woman. She is gentle and caring in her attitude and actions. A nurse by profession and kind and genteel are her ways. She was super organized and a delightful room mate. I'm so excited to think that we may be able to meet when I go home for a visit!
More head tiltin' going on when I met the lovely Simple Wife, Joanne. She graciously answered a gazillion questions that I had about her writing. Thank you Joanne! Did you all know she has been on a radio broadcast at Focus on the Family?
I had stalked this young lady's blog for quite some time... Yes, I confessed to Ocean Mommy!
And Fran and I have a meeting of the heads at the Alamodome! She is so much fun!
Did anyone see Max?
But here is the main attraction, servant of God, Beth Moore. She brought the Word and spoke to my heart! There were literally moments when it was just God and me in the room. You know, when words come out of Beth's mouth that only God could know would speak directly to my heart?
I pray what I heard will grow and not depart
Yes, God, through Beth Moore, spoke a Word to my heart!
This Miesta and his friends - they can sing and they did. They brought us before the throne.
We worshipped at His footstool. Thank you Rich for the picture.
By the time I saw this picture, I was totally convinced I had a Siesta magnet in my head. I'm sorry Kelly Minter, before this trip, I didn't know I had this head tilting thing going on... My dear teens and I had done Kelly's No Other God's study over the summer and it was a treat to get to visit with her for a few minutes. Kelly spoke sweet words of encouragement over my budding musicians at home! And I had never heard Kelly sing before and we had flat-out worship with her song, Finer Day.
This kind lady has encouraged me so very much across the miles. It was my pleasure to meet live and in person Big Mama. I'm convinced she's Big Mama because of the size of her heart. Thank you kindly for your Big heart for others.
The incredible worship leader, Travis Cottrell.
Dear heart, Vicki Courtney, I so enjoyed our visit! She blessed my socks off! She so sweetly listened to me gush at how I'd been blessed by her book "Your Girl" and how the dear teens and I do her program of praise and the 31 Christian Attributes prayers. Vicki and I were still chatting when security sent us out of the building. And there's BooMama in the background - I love how Boo said my name - a fine and fun southern lady indeed!
And this darlin' woman, Margaret Kennedy, was precious. We visited for a short while before one of the sessions and she prayed a blessing over my oldest daughter's book. Blessed my heart in a big way!
The Siesta Fiesta - I loved seeing Amanda, Beth and Melissa all talk with their hands at the same time!


Siesta Mama, precious Melana and thank-you-for-getting-me-a-seat Veronica!

My head is balanced again by Big and Boo at the PJ party. Big had the cutest jeans with a rainbow on them - I so wish I'd gotten a picture of her groovy jeans! And BooMama, you are a great conversationalist! Talking to you was like talking to my best friend. And your earrings look like so much fun! You are both fun and such sweet southern ladies.
Back on the airplane home, I enoyed God's beauty again and the only thing my head was magnetized to was a fluffy little pillow. Sweet dreams indeed. I had to be wakened by a flight attendant; but it was so worth it.

The Winner Dance

The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy." Zephaniah 3:17

We are a game playing family. Not that we have a special time or day for games, we just tend to enjoy games. Checkers are usually played after a meal. If you drop by you may find Monopoly set up in the living room, or see a Clue box in the corner. The Uno cards are just held together with a rubber band and one glance at the Dutch Blitz cards and you'll know our game times are lively. There are times we think we are settled in for the night, all cozy, reading a good book, when a child (surely not wanting to delay her own bedtime) will come in with a word search book, and the game is on! I don't remember when the tradition started, but we have a winner dance. Probably a good thing that we live in the country, because what fun to sing and dance for joy after a competitive contest.

This morning the Spirit gently asked me "Who is dancing for joy over my life? My attitudes? My actions? My reactions?" Am I mindful that God is in my home as I open my mouth to respond? Or is the enemy the one doing the dance with shouts of joy over my actions? Someone is dancing over me.

Who is dancing over you? Who is celebrating over our attitudes, actions and re-actions? Wonder what is going on in the heavenlies when one of God's very own lays down self, sin or pride? Can you picture God, our victorious warrior, exulting over us with joy? Yes, He is also quiet in His love (like a mother holding a new born) but the Word also says "The LORD your God will rejoice over you with shouts of joy." Over you. Yes, you. Give him reason to dance and sing over you.

Dear ones, what will we do?
To know victorious God dances and sings over you?
Who in our lives in doing the victory dance?
Have a plan, be prepared, don't leave anything to chance
The LORD your God is in your midst, you must know
He loves you so, with grace and mercy He wants to bestow
God is the warrior who saves
He calls us to step up and be brave
Over us He has quiet moments of adoration
But let's not forget, He's a God of celebration
He will dance over us in joy
Oh beloved, to Him we are not a game or toy
A beloved soul, His hearts delight
Allow His joy, in us, to shine bright.

Weekly Word Devotional

Listening to the Lord brings me such great delight. And for quite some time now, the Lord has been prompting me to put together in a some sort of form, the words I hear Him speak. At first He gave me fifty some words that I scribbled down that appear to be topics. Then, as I sit by the lamp light in the wee early morning hours, He expands the topics and I am just writing them down. Just a ready pen Lord. Nothing that I am doing.

Soon I'll post the start of a series He seems to be starting in my life and we'll call it a Weekly Word Devotional. May your spirit be encouraged and refreshed as I share glimpses of what He, The Light, is speaking to me as I seek to listen, learn, live and love like Jesus.

Not that I always get it right, just along my pilgrim pathway, He is shedding The Light. Praise His Name!

Oct 17, 2008

Buds to Blooms

The loveliness of what was, not so long ago, just a bud.

Oct 12, 2008

An Early Mountain Morning

When I saw the beautiful pink masterpiece in the sky, I knew the camera *must* go out with me as I let Lilly Belle out this crisp morning.
As dear little dog meandered down the drive, so did I, closer it seemed to the beautiful pink greeting in the morning sky.



Then I was sidetracked by this velvety plant in the Author's herb garden, Lamb's Ear. It is shaped like and as soft as, you guessed it - a lamb's ear!
I was drawn across the lawn to pick up a few tobacco leaves that had fallen from an old truck that lumbered up the country road to deposit a harvest in the barn. On the other side, I saw this bright goldenrod, called firecracker with Wormwood as the sprawling background.
It seemed like I was closer to the pink on this side!


Then as Lilly Belle continues to sniff, I stoop to investigate the Yarrow -
A fern like addition with the most interesting seed pods,
So desolate looking, but full of seeds and life for another season, when my sweet, darlin' Maltese starts barking like she's a mad seal. Living in the country, I thought maybe she was sounding the alarm for a deer, a stray dog, a neighbor sauntering to their vehicle, which are normal *things* that signal the start of a good seal barking chorus. But, it was a young lady with ipod in tow taking her morning run. First thoughts in my head were - oh, how nice to see another young lady out running this morning. Wonder if she would like a running partner? Oh no, not for me, for my dear fifteen year old who loves to run. You know, she needs someone to run with her and ....Bark! Bark! Bark! Back to reality - "Lilly Belle! Ma'am, I'm sorry."
So, I take my ferocious seal (aka fluffy, friendly 10-pound-will-lick-you-till-you-pet-her dog) back inside. And by the time I got back to the pink, the Lord had started erasing His board for another day. Still lovely, indeed. Still pink.
And since my ferocious seal, was now sleeping inside, I enjoyed the mums and asters,
The blossoms and counting the buds yet to give beauty to their stem,
Dropping the tobacco leaves at the doorstop before opening the door to find sweet Lilly Belle asleep on the rug.