Thursday, November 29, 2007


Beck the Speck sent me some pictures she found on her computer (long story) of Ty as a baby. I was going to try to post them here, but they weren't saved as the right type. I'll have to post pictures of another cute kid instead.

This is Master B. What is it about cute kids that make all of us drop everything, just to get a smile or (bonus!) giggle from them? Here's Himself, setting up towers for him to knock down.

And because Master B has Himself well trained, he of course rebuilt the tower for several more rounds of "knock down."

Man, that's one cute kid.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thinking Ahead

I think I've made it through Thanksgiving without gaining weight. I think.
Isn't this a fun picture of Kelly?

Snyder took it. They were getting ready for Cornerstone last May. I just love it so much!

I'm glad Cornerstone only comes once per year. It takes me that long to forget how exhausting it is. I love it and all, but it certainly is taxing! Perhaps I should start working out now to prepare. I'll start by:

Unfolding and refolding camp chair

Picking up ten purses with one hand, camp chair with the other, and someone's glass lemonade jar with my toes

Gargling with saltwater

Practicing yelling at the top of my lungs

Insert and remove earplugs. Repeat.

Pack snacks other than raw almonds (will Jess ever forgive me?)

Stick close to Kelly so she doesn't blow her T-shirt money on a band she didn't really want

That should about do it!

Friday, November 23, 2007


Yesterday, the house across the street was broken into. Missing are laptops and digital cameras, electronics.

I thought this neighborhood was quiet!

No offense to Jack, but I felt a lot safer when we had a large dog around, barking her deep bark and letting people know someone was home.

I think the only thing saving us now is we're mostly home all day, plus with various vehicles it's hard to tell if anyone IS home.

Yesterday! Thanksgiving day!

We not only have laptops, digital cameras, and electronics, but we also have musical equipment (you know, the stuff I vacuum around and trip over?). These boys have worked so hard to pay for these things. It would be devastating to have a break-in.

I hate this feeling! I wish I could say like Bonnie when her van was stolen, "It's the Lord's van! He can do what He wants with it!"

Come to think of it, this isn't the first time that house has been broken into.

I hate this.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It Starts

Already, I can feel the pressure of mass consumerism building.

What are we going to buy everyone for Christmas?

Over the last decade, our family has tried to reduce the hub-bub that is Christmas. We've opened our home to international students. We've limited gifts. We've made Christ the priority in our holiday. Still, we feel so much pressure to include everyone we've ever known on either a gift list or a card list!

I haven't mailed out Christmas cards in years. I used to publish a family newsletter (written in newspaper headline format) but even that became too taxing. As much as I would love to include every nephew, niece, and cousin, my gift giving has been reduced to immediate family only. I hope my family knows I love them, since I try so hard to tell them.

Then why the guilt?

We live in the world, and we're bombarded with a secular worldview. Advertisements tout the need to buy gifts for loved ones. Commercials help us realize that unless a certain gift is given, we really don't love that much. Everything is about what our loved ones need and deserve from us. How could we possibly let them down? I have a ready answer for this kind of pressure and find it easy to ignore. I mean, it's a little obvious, isn't it?

What blindsides me is the pressure from the Christian world. Talk about bombardment! Every organization of good works steps up their game at Christmas. I'm sure they do quite well, or they wouldn't waste precious dollars on the extra advertising.

For these organizations, what makes giving at Christmas different from giving during the rest of the year? Most of the ones I know about are indeed worthy of sacrificial giving. By meeting the physical needs of others, we are able to share the love of Christ and minister to their spiritual needs as well. Why not all year?

Every Christmas, my Dad feels enormous pressure because he can't afford to send us gifts like he has in the past. Directly, he feels he's not being a good father/grandfather because he can't specifically send gifts at this time of year. I can't tell you how angry this makes me! I'm not angry at him, but at the lie he's bought into - If I can't buy stuff, I'm not good for my family.

How did this happen? How can we stop it?

I guess I need to ponder what I would consider an ideal Christmas. There's much that is obvious, but there's so much more I'd like to change from rabid commercialism to Christmas as it was originally intended. I'll have to get back to this.

Input welcome. ;-)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Drumroll, Please

. . . .the van has been recovered!

I returned home from church yesterday, and there was a message from Bonnie and Howard. They thought I should be the first to know! The only damage noted so far is to the ignition.

Last night was our annual Thanksgiving service at church. In the past, each family brought food to the church to share with those in need. There was an open microphone, and anyone who wanted to could go up and speak about what God had been doing in their lives. After the time of sharing, each family brought their food onto the stage, then knelt or stood and prayed together. The food was then distributed.

I haven't gone up in years, but I wanted to publicly thank God not only for the van's recovery, but for answered prayer in JV. I desperately needed help (or I wouldn't be able to do it this year). God answered prayer when BA and ML signed on for the job. They're such a perfect fit! I'm so thankful and JV is a pleasure with them there. I'm also thankful for Rebecca H, Zach S, and Paul H, our Leaders and LIT's. A true dream team.

This year, instead of bringing 40 cans of canned yams, the families were asked to bring gift cards in the amounts they would normally spend. There was a basket on stage and we all filled it with Publix gift cards. It was easier, and I'm sure the families who need it will be able to use the cards more effectively than the 40 cans of canned yams. Nice!

I'm sure looking forward to a week off. It's 10:00 and I'm still in my jammies. Kelly has history co-op tomorrow, but that's it.

Do any of you ever get so busy that you schedule sleep? I've been planning on sleeping in today since last week! Ok, I have to take Himself to the airport Tuesday, have to drive the Biology carpool on Wednesday, have things to do on Thursday, have to pick up Himself on Friday in the morning, do Kate's hair on Saturday, church on Sunday. . . . so MONDAY I'll sleep in. And that's what I did.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Today . . .

. . . I wore a sweater.

All day.

And there was great rejoicing.

This morning, it was even chilly in the house. In the house!

And there was great rejoicing.

Himself came home from Lost Wages this morning.

And there was great rejoicing.

The Band is recording two more songs this weekend.

And there is great rejoicing!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Beauty Right Here

Himself is in Lost Wages, NV. He'll be home Friday.

I'm so glad one of us got to go to the desert! I told him to breathe in the air and bring me a rock. A real rock, one picked up off the ground. Imagine that!

Tuesday at History co-op, CP brought out a chart showing the different plants the Navajo use to dye their wool. I could have looked at that chart for hours! Here were the plants I knew - pinon, goldenrod, sage, Indian paintbrush, mesquite, bluebonnet . .. . I looked at that picture and could practically smell each one.

This afternoon, I walked into the school room and found a small white vase with flowers in it. I recognized the flowers as the ones we have around our yard. It looked so pretty! Next to the vase was a note card that read:

Here Mom! I know you must be missing the beauty of the desert, so here's some beauty from right where we are! -- Love, Kelly

I can't tell you how much this touched my heart. What a thoughtful gesture.

I do long for the desert, but Kelly's right; I need to look at the beauty from right where I am! God has placed us here. There is beauty here, if I'm willing to look for it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Same Ole, Same Ole

Do you ever try to manipulate your family's wardrobe?

I remember getting rid of a perfectly good dress (forgive me, Grandpa Hay) because I was tired of looking at it and it was a pain to iron. It was Kelly's, and there was no way I was going to cycle it through for Glenna! (Sorry, Kelly. Now you know what really happened to the purple flower dress!)

Himself often wears the same t-shirts when he's home. There's nothing really wrong with them; I'd just like the rest of his wardrobe to wear out at the same pace. OK. . . . the truth is, I like variety. How many pictures did I have of him wearing the same blue Henley?

I started to "hide" the shirt. I'd fold it and put it under the other clothes.

I'd walk into the bedroom to find is closet in complete disarray. "Where's that blue Henley? I'll wear that one."

Then I'd try not washing it right away when it was in the laundry basket.

"I'm just going to throw a load of laundry in here, Hon."

I've also [gasp] thrown away pants because I kept ruining them. He had this pair of black wool pants that went with his suit. I can't tell you how many times I'd accidentally throw them in the wash! Then I'd have to try and rescue it with the iron. I always felt they came out horribly. The other day, I confessed to this:

"Honey, I threw away those black wool pants."

"What? Those were good pants!"

Not anymore.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Best Picture

So, what does one look like when he's totally in his element, completely comfortable in his own skin? What does it look like when one is doing what he was made to do?

Well, it looks a little like this:

Thanks to Beefy's sister (yes, that's what we call him) for this photo taken at one of their shows! Himself knew the fill was coming and told her, "Get ready! Take it . . NOW!"

Oh yeah.. . . Oh yeah. . . .

No update on the stolen van. :-(

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

It Finally Happened to Us

Maybe this is the wrong view to take on life, but when a crime finally happens to you personally, are you really that surprised?

I worked a book fair for some friends of ours while they were out of state. We had trouble with our vehicles, so they offered me the use of their van while they were gone.

Yesterday, that van was stolen from our driveway.

Apparently, someone wanted to steal some 22" tires from another place. They needed a van to load the stolen tires. They saw the van in our driveway, took it, drove to where the tires were, dumped out all the book fair merchandise, stole the tires off the other vehicle, then drove away.

So, all the merchandise has been recovered, but the van is still missing.

I can't tell you how it feels to have someone steal something from your front yard while you're inside your home, oblivious.

Blaze, in her glory days, would never have allowed this. I don't blame Jack - his room is upstairs in the far corner.

A van!!! Stolen!!! Has this ever happened to any of you?

Monday, November 05, 2007

El Chico Always Grins

As I mentioned in a previous post, there was a day when the youth group service project was cancelled, so we hung out at the church until prayer time.

Some of them played cards. I was wondering if I should join them or just give commentary from the peanut gallery. That's when I started to notice something interesting happening in the background. I love when something interesting happens and I actually have a camera with me!

Not playing cards were Pablo and El Chico. Pablo's wearing a hat. Usually, when this look appears on El Chico's face, something's about to happen. You can almost count on it. Right now, he's trying to convince Pablo of a scheme, and Pablo's trying to see the reason in it (or just get the rules right, one or the other. Pablo's usually pretty game).

The plan was evidently to play air hockey, but to alter the rules a little. Personally, I wouldn't want my face so close to the puck! Note the girls in the foreground, oblivious.

Evidently, sitting was too tame even for Pablo and El Chico. Standing became the next stage of the program. Understand; the whole time they're doing this, they're talking non-stop. They were talking about anything and everything, with the occasional punctuation about the game thrown in.

I'm smiling because I know something you don't know; I am not left-handed!

El Chico always wins! At this point, you can see Kelly (foreground, white shirt) finally notice what they're doing. The rest of the girls are still playing cards, clueless. I love to be a little fly on the wall when around these guys!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

El Chico Always Dances

Any of you who have ever watched Tyler play drums will know what I am talking about. When he plays, he's completely in his element; 100% comfortable in his own skin. There's not an ounce of insecurity, not a trace of self-consciousness . . . there's pure joy and abandonment to the moment. It's thrilling to watch, especially as his mother!

Yesterday, Kelly, Kate and I were able to witness another young man who found the right "skin" to be in.

I met Matthew when he was 6 or 7 years old. He was part of my group for the first VBS at our church. What a blast we had! That week, I seemed to form a life-long bond with the kids in my group. I know that I still talk to and care about each one of them. As the years progressed, Matthew picked up a nickname for himself called El Chico. He was doing well at a youth group game one night and he kept saying, El Chico always wins. Then he applied it to every situation. El Chico always has dessert. El Chico always needs a Slurpee. El Chico always holds the door.

When Matthew told us he was competing in ballroom dancing, we knew we had to go and support him! I mean, we've watched this kid in plays, musicals, and now this. He was so great about making sure we not only had directions, but he told us what to wear so we wouldn't feel out of place. We were prepared!

His first dances are what are called the "smooth dances." He did the waltzes, tango, etc. We clapped and cheered because it was so fun to watch him.

Then came the Latin dances.

Wow. . . Let me just say the kid is good and placed first in all but two of his dances (he did over 20), but that's not what had us on our feet and cheering madly.

Matthew may have been having fun before, but now he was ecstatic. We were laughing and crying and clapping because of the look on his face. His entire countenance was one of pure joy! The dance floor may have been crowded, but we sure didn't see anyone else when Matthew did the Latin dances! Everyone around us, even ones who didn't know him, was shouting, "Number 8! Number 8!!!" I could hardly believe this was the same little boy from my VBS group!

We were kind of upset because we noticed the judges weren't really watching him. What we came to realize (and what he later confirmed) is that the judges glanced at him, placed him in first, then immediately watched the others to see if they would equal or surpass him. If there was someone close, they would then watch him again, then the competition, then make their marks. It was thrilling!

A junior in high school, Matthew hopes to pursue dancing as far as it will go, hopefully winning scholarships through it.

I'm a believer, El Chico. I know you can do it! We will be watching from near and far, and we will be clapping and cheering like mad. Wow!

Thursday, November 01, 2007


How can it be Thursday already? Thursday, going on Friday?

I get to see Ruthie for my maintenance tomorrow. I'm so looking forward to it.

Saturday, Kelly, her friend Kate, and I are going to watch some Ballroom competitions! The Jr. competition is here in town, and one of my former JVers is competing. We're going to support and cheer him on! He emailed the girls and told us that it's a pretty formal event, so cocktail-type dresses are recommended. I'm glad he told us! I would have felt odd in my jeans!

Still working on getting school room pictures posted. BT, in Central Florida there are two main universities; Florida State University (FSU) and the University of Florida (UF). You are either an FSU Seminole or a Florida Gator. Neither one are here in THIS town, but that doesn't seem to matters. What matters is where you went, your pappy went, and where your grandaddy went.

Jess is a Gator fan. She bleeds Gator Blue!

Allie is an FSU Alumni. She actually probably doesn't care either way, but she's always up for a good razzin'. She did, indeed, declare it looked like an FSU room. Sorry, Jess! We need to get more blue and orange in there!

You probably won't hear from me for a few days. Hope you all have a blessed weekend!


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