Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 In Review

As I was driving in to work this morning I heard an interesting 'stringer' on the radio. You know, those things they use to tease you into tuning in to the program that will be airing the local news has the habit of doing every night to keep you tuned in to the 10 o'clock airing. The 'teaser' was in the form of a question..."What one word would you use to sum up the year 2007?" I am thinking on that this morning and will get back to you later with my one word. I need to ponder on this a little while. Feel free to share your one word summation in the comments below.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Around the Campfire

This afternoon, as I was putting the finishing touches on a pot of 'sausage & kale' soup for supper, I looked up to see my eldest son coming through the back door. I realized that he had been out back for a long time. I looked out the kitchen window to see this...

The rest of the crew were sitting around the brush fire where they had been cutting and burning tallow trees all afternoon. They had been hard at work since lunch time and were kicking back to enjoy time together before heading in for supper. The back three acres are looking better and better all the time...but this sight made me smile, pick up my camera and head out to snap a few photos before I totally missed the moment. This country life may be good for family bonding after all!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saturday Morning Live

It is Saturday morning and the house is quiet. The only sounds that can be heard are the gurgling of the coffee pot and the water running in the washer's rinse cycle. Even the pets are still sleeping. So, why am I up? Why, on a Saturday morning, can I not even sleep until daylight? Why, on the day we do not have to be at the office, am I wide awake and sitting at the computer? Why can't I feel this energetic and ready for the day on a Monday -- or any other day of the work week for that matter?

The sunrise here in Texas is gorgeous this morning. The sky is turning the most beautiful shade of blue. I haven't been outside yet, but I can sense the crispness in the air as I look out over the front yard. I enjoy sitting in the stillness of my home...and with three teenagers in the house, it is only still in the wee hours of the morning.

The sun has just peeked over the treeline, the rinse cycle is coming to an end and I hear Allie's collar as she climbs out of bed. It is going to be another beautiful day here at the 'homestead'! I hope your day is filled with beauty and joy as well!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy Birthday, Grandpa

I find myself thinking of my Pappaw Fulton this afternoon. If my memory and math are correct, he would have celebrated his 92nd birthday today. Pappaw Fulton was my mother's daddy. He stood about 6 foot tall and I can hardly remember him in anything other than his Dickie's work clothes...either the khaki's or a pair of overalls. They were his clothes of choice, except on Sunday's and special occasions when you would find him dressed in a suit. He was a welder by profession, a member of the Boilermakers Union and worked in large plants 'up north' until his retirement. He even spent some time in Texas building ships during WWII. After retiring, he and Mamaw moved back to our hometown and he operated his own welding shop for several years. About all I can remember is hanging out in the office area while Mamaw worked on 'keeping the books'...and the smell, I definitely remember the smell of burning metal. Occasionally Jim will have to do a little welding in the garage, the sight of the dancing sparks and the smell transport me back to childhood.

Pappaw, like so many in his generation, led a difficult life. Growing up on a farm as the oldest child, there wasn't much fun and games. (If I remember correctly my Great Grandpa Fulton was a sharecropper.) Talk about a work ethic though, the man hardly ever sat still. Even in his 70's he was up every morning doing something on the 40 acres that he and Mamaw lived on. There was always something to plant, something to pick, something to feed, something to mow or something to mend. He would work until lunch time, come in to eat, take a short nap and head out again until supper.

Pappaw was also very big on education. He only made it through the 8th grade, having to leave school to work full time on the farm to help out the family. Despite the lack of formal education, he was one of the wisest people I ever knew. Some of my most cherished memories of him are of the times he spent just after supper and the 6 o'clock news sitting in his recliner with his Bible open and a notepad at his side. In his later years he served as Sunday School Superintendent, giving the morning devotional before splitting into individual classes. Sometimes, when I am sitting with my reference books open all around me and scribbling away at my notes, I think of him and wish that he could have lived to see me following in his footsteps.

He has been gone for over 20 years and yet, on days like today...I still miss him like it was just yesterday that he suffered his fatal heart attack. I know he is in a much better place today, spending time with his Savior...with the Word made flesh. But I am still thinking of him and in my heart, wishing him a happy birthday.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It Was the Quickest Christmas on Record

Would you believe that my home is completely Christmas decoration free? Already??? I have to admit that there were not that many to begin with. As a matter of fact, even though we brought the tree home the week after Thanksgiving, the ornaments did not make it from Alief until the Friday before Christmas. We did not get them onto the tree until basically we had a decorated tree for two and a half days.

We didn't plan to have such a short Christmas. We usually leave the decorations out until after the first of the year (one year I think it was almost Valentine's)...but this year's tree seemed to go from green to fire hazard in about 24 hours!

The house seems a little empty tonight without the big tree in the dining room. The only remnants of Christmas (other than all the leftovers) are the poinsettias setting on the mantle. In a way, it feels like I am ahead of the curve for once. In another, it seems that I have just rushed past the 'hap-happiest season of all". So, my question to you is 'when do you usually take down your decorations'?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:
the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other."
Burton Hillis

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Wishes

The gifts are all wrapped and under the tree. We are getting ready to begin our Christmas celebrations. The kick off of Christmas for the Goode family is the traditional opening of pajamas on Christmas Eve. This year the packages will be opened in three different homes...but the tradition continues. The stockings will be filled with goodies as we sleep. The couples will arrive early in the morning for breakfast and presents. The afternoon will be filled with family, gifts and food (Jim's shrimp etouffee, for which we have been waiting all year!).

Wherever you are tonight and whatever traditions you are celebrating...we would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Hunter's Prize

Warning: If you are squeamish, you may want to skip today's post!

Here is the picture I promised of Will's big doe. She weighed in at 110 pounds. Pretty good for an Arkansas piney woods whitetail.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Christmas Reminder

Since moving out of the city, my music tastes have changed a little. I still enjoy listening to KSBJ, but they have been in Christmas mode since Thanksgiving...and I just can't go that long with all Christmas music, all the time. So, I have been getting back to my 'roots' and listening to some country music. The soundtrack of my young years was heavily influenced by Conway Twitty, George Jones, Charlie Pride, Freddy Fender and Patsy Cline with a little bit of Creedence Clearwater Revival and Elvis thrown in to insure I understood my Southern heritage.

Anyway, I was driving in to work yesterday morning and I heard Clay Walker's song "Fall". If you haven't heard it or can't recall it, the chorus is as follows:

So fall, go on and fall apart,
And fall into these arms of mine, I'll catch you
Everytime you fall, go on and lose it all
Every doubt, every fear, every worry, every tear,
I'm right here, baby fall

As I listened to the chorus the second time through, I couldn't help but think of the truth in the words. No disrespect to the songwriters or to Mr. Walker, I know that we all wish we could live out the words of this song in our most intimate of relationships. I certainly appreciate the romantic ideal of always being there for Jim when he needs me and I know that he feels the same way...but sometimes, we just can't be there for every doubt, fear, worry and tear. Sometimes the things that affect him are also affecting me, like situations in our family or at work. Sometimes they are actually caused by me so there is no way I can be there for him, I am the reason for the need to fall apart!

There is only One who has always been there with me. Only One has caught me everytime I fell. Only One who can comfort my every doubt, every fear, every worry and every tear. He is always right where I am and ready to catch me when I fall. Thank You Lord Jesus! May my heart remember during the hustle and bustle of this Christmas season that You are the One that we celebrate.

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We're Back

...and my, oh my, did we have quite the time! I wanted to post pictures of the bounty we collected, but I seem to have misplaced the camera. I really need to find it before Christmas!

Jim, Will and I made the long trek to the deer lease last Friday. We left about an hour behind schedule because I couldn't locate my hunting license. This is a big deal when you are paying for out of state licenses. I finally gave up and convinced Jim that we just needed to leave...we were 'burning daylight' as they say. I called the number on the back of his license and they asked me for my drivers license number. When I reached in my wallet to get them out...lo and behold, there were my hunting license. Jim got a good chuckle out of me not even getting to finish my sentence with the lady at the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission.

We arrived too late on Friday to get any time on the deer stands. Saturday morning we awoke to a heavy rain. Even though it kept us from getting out as early as we had planned, we couldn't waste time waiting for it to stop. Evidently the deer were wise enough to stay laid up in the thickets during the rainstorm. Will and I spent most of our time watching a hawk that perched in a tree near us. He didn't seem to be in any hurry to get anywhere either.

The rain cleared out around lunch, but it had ushered in a cold front with high winds. I sat on the stand that evening trying not to freeze to death. Nothing was moving around me...not even a rabbit or a squirrel. All I heard was falling limbs as the wind gusts came through. Just before dark I finally had a little activity...but Will was the big winner that day. He had gone with his Pappaw to a stand not far from their house. He knocked down a nice one at 110 pounds.

On the way out to the stands the next morning we got stuck in a mud hole that had been passable the night before. All three of us walked back into the woods together (thank goodness for my two guys! Jim carried my rifle and Will carried my bag!) and found a couple of nice bucks feeding. At 200+ yards it was too far for me to try my hand, but Jim took a 5 point. That evening Will and I both landed one. He still beat me by about 5 pounds on his second one.

So, even though we only had 2 days to do a whole season's worth of hunting...we brought home 4 for the freezers. I say freezers plural because the older two offspring have already put in their orders for some ground venison to make their chili, tacos and spaghetti. If I find the camera anytime soon I will post Will's picture with his prize.

Love to all...and a huge thanks to Daddy & Donna for providing us with another successful hunt.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Out Of Here

We are off first thing in the morning for an 'emergency' hunting trip. The emergency being that we missed our annual Thanksgiving hunt, this is the final weekend of modern gun season, a cold front has moved into the area of our lease and we have no fresh venison in the freezer so far this year. We will be back on Monday and I will check in with you then! Have a wonderful weekend ya'll!!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

At Which Point I Take A Deep Breath And Begin Counting To Ten

I was able to leave work a little early today. I had to drop some things off at the post office and needed to do a few last minute errands for our company Christmas party tomorrow night. I had just left and was running through the afternoon in my mind. I would run by the post office, stop at Hobby Lobby, meet Meagan to pick up Little D, go to a full service grocery store and then get home to fix dinner. It was at this thought that I remembered needing to thaw out the main dish. I was going to pick up the cell phone to call 'Child A' about it when I remembered that 'Child A' was fulfilling a commitment and was not at home. I thought that I should probably call 'Child B' at home to request that the meat be retrieved from the freezer. In that split second it occurred to me that if 'Child A' were on the other side of town fulfilling said commitment then 'Child B' was still sitting outside the school because 'Child A' is the ride home. [Deep breath...1]

I picked up my cell and called 'Child A' to inquire whether other means had been obtained for 'Child B' to get home. The answer was a shocked and stammered 'no'. [Deep breath...2] At this point, 'Child B' had been out of school for about 30 minutes and it would take me at least 30 minutes to make it there. [Deep breath...3] Jim was in East Texas, so that was not an option. [Deep breath...4] 'Child C' was the closest one to 'Child B'...however, 'Mom 1' had only the week before grounded 'Child C' from all cell phone use and driving privileges. (It is true that discipline hurts the parent more than the child.) [Deep breath...5...6] I called Meagan and moved up our meeting time as I would be driving right past her but would not be able to make it back before she had to leave. [Deep breath...7 ] Little D and I then rushed to the school and I bribed 'Child B' with a combo meal from Sonic. [Deep breath...8] I ran into the only grocery store in town for the few things I needed and then we came home, unloaded the suburban full of baby things needed to keep an infant overnight, retrieved the meat from the freezer and fed Little D his bottle. [Deep breath 9...10]

Now I need to get the clothes from the dryer, start dinner and play with my grandson before it is time to put him to bed. [Awaiting slow exhale.]

This is just a slice of what I call 'life'. Maybe you can begin to understand why I suffer from occasional bouts of pre-hypertension.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hello? Hello? Is There Anybody Out There?

If you are reading this blog would you please leave a comment for me today?

It is really easy. Just hit the comment button under the post and let me know that you are out there. You can even do so anonymously if you would like.

Thanks a million!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Memaw & Poppy Come to Town

Memaw and Poppy (Jim's parents) came for a visit weekend before last. This was their first visit with the new great grandchildren. It is always a pleasure to have them with us. We wish it could be more often...but at 74 we don't see them retiring any time soon. Poppy did retire for about 6 weeks, ten years ago! Memaw says she is retired, but she is very busy with her volunteer work. Look at them...they make this grand parenting thing look easy!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

All I Want for Christmas

Is it just me or are any of you having a hard time getting in the Christmas spirit this year? I really think that someone has snuck up on all of us and removed about three months worth of calendar pages. In these parts we are joking about having Christmas in July...not just because we are unprepared (though I certainly am) but also because of this unbelievably warm weather. It is currently 8 pm and the local thermometer reads 70 degrees! Today's high was around 80!

I went shopping with friends last night. The mall was packed with shoppers and every parking space was taken. All the store displays were decorated with trees, ornaments and other Christmas related items. Songs about Santa and snow and reindeer could be heard in every store. But really, who wants to shop for sweaters and coats when you are sweating buckets while you shop. I know I have to get busy and SOON...but what I really want for Christmas is a little bit of jacket wearing weather so that I can at least get motivated to shop!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

And Speaking of Disappointment

The Bulldog Nation suffered a disappointing defeat last night at the hands of the Broncos. The Dawgs faced the Broncs in the State Quarter Finals at the new Cy-Fair stadium (which is an awesome high school stadium, by the way). The Bulldogs went scoreless in the first half, going into the locker room with a 21 point deficit. Not to be rolled over, they took advantage of several turnovers in the second half to tie the score at 21-21. In the fourth quarter the Broncos pulled off another touchdown. With seconds left on the clock and 17 yards to the goal, it looked like the Dawgs were about to force an overtime when the Broncos intercepted the pass. The heartbreak of the faithful Bulldogs supporters was seen on every face as we exited the stadium. The Friday night lights may have been extinguished for the Bulldogs last night, but it was an exciting season. Go Dawgs!