Thursday, March 31, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
Congratulations, Naiz! We are so proud of you for chasing your dreams!
(She is the one on the back row, directly under the the 'R' in 'leaders'.)
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
After working on the back half of the property for most of the fall, the boys had it pretty thinned out.Jim could at least use the bush hog to mow most of the five acre homestead. By the fall of 2010, Jim and Will had almost conquered the Chinese Tallow trees which had been running amok for years.
In the winter of 2010, we had a great rain which left this view from my kitchen window.
And this is that view today. (Well, not literally today...but the picture was taken in the past few weeks.)
This was a picture I shared last May from our "Week In The Life" articles. Jim and Will were busy completing a new section of fencing for the cows to use as pasture.
And this is the view from the outside of that fence a couple of weeks ago.
Yep! We are getting a pond! And not a little one, at that. For the past month, every time I have walked out there it seems to be getting bigger and bigger.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Friday night, Bri and I just 'vegged' out in front of the television watching a few Chick Flicks while the guys were out fishing. That luxury is getting more and more rare as the boys now outnumber the girls in our household. We did take a little time to whip up a quick pasta dinner, but then we just piled up with blankets and chilled. It's great to have a girl around! (I missed her while she was gone for Spring Break.)
Saturday morning, I asked the Lord again to please open my eyes to see what was causing these feelings. And since we were expecting the whole family for a crawfish-turned-shrimp boil, I asked Him to please let me enjoy the time with them...whether or not the answer came. (And I am happy to say that He answered that prayer and we had a great afternoon.)
On Sunday morning though, heaviness still sat upon my spirit like a wet, wool blanket. I dressed for church out of pure obedience...though everything within me just wanted to stay home. I grumbled and complained in my heart through the first part of the service as I sat alone without a single person speaking to me. Not even the greeter at the door. Looked right past me. Didn't even hand me a bulletin with the sermon notes in it. Totally.Completely.ALONE.
I wondered why I came. I wondered if God even cared. I asked Him to soften my heart...to cut people some slack...and to answer the question that plagued me still, "why?".
And then, the pastor spoke about a visitor from a few weeks before. Another pastor and his wife who were in town to bury their daughter. The church surrounded them with prayer when they found out why they were there...but he told the Pastor that as they sat in church that Sunday morning, before anyone knew their circumstances, not a soul spoke to them. So, he made us stop and speak to someone we didn't know. To introduce ourselves and give a little background on why we were there.
God had heard my heart. (And I was more than a little embarrassed that I hadn't thought to start up a conversation with someone nearby myself!)
As I was driving to Meagan's to pick up her and Brianne for the last day of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (Kelli couldn't go), a piece of Scripture flitted though my head.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood
Oh my, why had I been so naive? Why had I not remembered that I have an adversary who prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour? What made me think that I could publicly share a decision to participate in Lent and think that it wouldn't be opposed?
The sermon yesterday was "God's Wake-Up Call" from Romans 13:8-14...and though I didn't realize it at the time I was listening to the pastor speak, I needed a wake-up call. I have been asleep for far too long!
And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. (Romans 13:11)
Please pray for me as I begin to once again flex the muscles of faith and to take up the full armor of God which has been neglected too long.
(Ephesians 6:12, 13; I Peter 5:8)
I'm linking up with Michelle at Graceful again today.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
There, I've said it.
I've been avoiding this blog like the plague because I didn't want anyone to know how weak I feel. And I certainly couldn't muster up the strength to 'fake it'. So, I just didn't write.
I found myself reloading the home page hoping for something new to miraculously appear. But it never happened.
So, here I am. Just being real.
The crazy thing about all of this is that I can't even tell you WHY I'm having a tough week. There has been no crisis, no bad news, no reason to feel like I do...yet I still do.
So, instead of staying quiet until the 'muse' moves me again, I have decided to share with you more of my grace gifts list. (And I am hoping it inspires me as I remember too!)
11. A peace that washes over even when looking at hard truths.
12. Sunroofs and worship music!
13. Four turtles lined up on the side of a pond, sunning themselves.
14. The sound of the carpet steamer coming from Son's room without being asked.
15. Seeing for myself the beauty of the pond that Jim has envisioned all along.
16. Being asked out for a date with my husband - TWICE in one week!
17. The sound of 'hi, mom' from behind a pile of laundry that arrives unexpectantly.
18. Riding four wheelers with Davin.
19. Pet dragons - the gecko that endured 8 gallons of Miracle Gro in the watering can before being shook loose into the flower bed.
20. New growth in last year's hydrangeas!
21. Stopping my pruning of said hydrangeas to check the Internet for proper care. There would have been no new blooms this year if I had kept going!
22. The hope of summer sunflowers buried with each seed in the front bed.
23. Listening to my husband plan a turkey hunting trip over the phone with my dad.
24. The whole household drifting out onto the deck in the early evening hours as we wait for dinner to be served.
25. Feeling like baking again -- Rice Krispy treats, banana bread & M&M blondies -- all in one afternoon.
26. Discussing Lent around the table with family...and not starting the conversation.
27. A hot shower.
28. Squirrel scampering across blacktop.
29. Pinwheels swirling pink and purple.
30. Red-headed woodpecker feasting at old tree stump for breakfast.
31. Worshipping with God's people, even if you don't personally know another soul.
32. Squirrels running under fence and over posts as car drives past.
33. Soft soil sifting between fingers.
34. Silvery clouds heavy laden and dripping with rain from heaven.
35. Darkness that lasts only a moment before yellow glow of lights fill the house again.
36. Sound of sister's voice crossing the miles just to catch up.
37. Three unfurling leaves of a Gerbera daisy increasing to eight.
38. A command to offer a sacrifice of praise in my weakness and the words on a iPhone to follow through.
39. A cup of coffee and time to enjoy it with two dear friends on an ordinary Tuesday morning.
I haven't added to this list in a few days, but maybe this will get me going again. I hope you are seeing His hand at work around you too, my friends.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
But sometimes, He chooses to get my attention through repetition...followed up with confirmation from an outside source.
And so begins my story...
Lately I have had the feeling that the Lord wanted me to 'participate' more actively in the celebration of Easter. I was pretty sure that He wanted me to offer a Lenten worship (for lack of words for a better description.)
Now, this is strange for me because I do not come from a background that observed Lent. I grew up worshipping in Baptist churches where I never even heard the word Lent...much less knew what it was about.
As I felt the Lord's call, I began searching for a devotional. Since I had very little knowledge of the subject, I figured I would need some guidance. Within a few days, Michelle at Graceful posted an offer for a free Lenten Devotional Booklet that her church is using this season. (She helped in the collaboration.)
A confirmation that He was indeed calling me to participate more fully.
I began to pray and ask the Lord what I was to 'give up'. My first thought was sugar. I need to lose some weight and this would surely quick start the process. Then I thought of a few things that others seem to typically give up...but they were not major sacrifices for me. When I began asking myself, 'What would I really miss?', the answer was clear...but not what I assumed it should be.
I thought it had to be a food or a drink, so I questioned the answer. Then on Ash Wednesday the Lord sent confirmation that it is not always about fasting from food. This time it was fasting from a pleasure that I overindulged in on a regular basis. (This decision has been confirmed at Bible study and then again in a blog post of Diedra's on Friday...and none of those sources even knew what I was considering.)
I check facebook multiple times a day. It is my companion when I am lonely, my distraction when bored, it is often the bookends of my day. So, I fasted on Wednesday...and again on Thursday...but I didn't feel like it made a difference.
That is when the Lord reminded me that 'giving up' is not always enough.
I stopped by WalMart on Thursday evening in search of purple hull peas for the garden. As I was leaving, I noticed a vehicle in front of me that had Texas LSU plates. Of course that peaked my interest. If LSU could have personalized plates in Texas, why couldn't a Razorback. I am not proud of the following, but I found myself obsessed with the thought. So much so, that I searched the web most of the way home. I felt a pressure in my spirit, but couldn't tell why exactly.
The next morning, I prayed for the Lord to teach me about Lent. As I drove into work, I began to notice the Lord's 'grace gifts'. It was then that He reminded me that when we give up something, we need to find something else to fill the void left behind.
That is when I decided to begin my One Thousand Gifts list. I have read a few chapters of Ann Voskamp's book, but with the Bible study and other things going on I have not been able to keep up with the book club's pace. I knew that I wanted to begin my list one day, when I had more time.
I knew, as I drove, this was the time. So, I stopped at Half Price Books and gingerly handled every journal until I found the perfect one.
When I finally had time to check the blogs that day, this is what I found. Another confirmation of God's voice, that it was time to begin the Grace Gifts Journal.
- The realization of how many dreams God has fulfilled above and beyond what I could have imagined.
- Jim's big heart.
- A peacock perched on a fence with his tail draped behind him.
- 4. A Robin all puffed up on barbed wire stretched tight.
- The realization that #3 & #4 are a minuscule fraction of the glory of my God!
- 'My Savior, My God' by Aaron Schust beginning to play just as #5 sinks in.
- Conviction that doesn't let go until obedience comes.
- Recognizing the unrest in my spirit as I tarried too long in the store lusting for fleeting desires of beauty.
- The challenge of an unlined journal -- forcing me from uniformity to freehand creativity! (A chance to think outside the lines, literally!)
- The confirmation in a blog post that God is calling me not only to give up something for Lent but also to fill that time with thoughts of Him!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
So, last May, before my gall bladder surgery, I picked up three plants.
I'm am not real good at keeping plants alive. The rosemary plant that I bought in January is turning black in my kitchen already!
But these Gerbera daisies thrived on the back step. This is what they looked like in October of last year.
And then, the Great Houston Snowstorm of 2011 hit in February. No snow to speak of in our neck of the woods, but we did get some freezing weather. And it took out my Gerbera daisies. The leaves turned from green to brown...and it was with great sadness that I plucked the dead stuff from the water bucket.
But, on Sunday morning I noticed this...
New growth springing forth from the barrenness. There are actually three new shoots emerging. The one to the upper right (near the label) is so small that it is hard to see in this picture, but it is there. I am so excited!
Now, if my mums can make a comeback too!
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Well, the cold weather turned the "we" into a "me". I knew that the strawberry plants were supposed to go in the ground last weekend. So, on Friday I stopped by a local Farmer's Market and picked up six strawberry plants. (I also have eight 'bare root' plants that I picked up at Lowe's last week...but those are in peat pots for now.)
Saturday morning we awoke to a very wet and blustery day. But I was NOT to be deterred! The book said plant strawberries, so I planted strawberries! I have a small flower bed in the back where I planted the irises from Lea Ann last year. They only took up half the bed so I planted some wildflower seeds. But those only took up a quarter of the bed...so I decided to put my strawberries out there to finish filling it in. (Plus, I will not have to stretch the garden hose across the front yard to my former strawberry bed anymore!)
Don't they look nice? I had two plants that survived the deer and the freezing temperatures in the front bed, so I moved them over to this bed too.
See my beautiful irises coming up on the left? The wildflowers are on the front right corner.
Though I really wanted to plant my strawberries here, I was a little worried about the deer. The more I thought about it, the more worried I became that I might not have strawberries come morning. After all, this is toward the back of the property where the deer travel.
They are brave little boogers! Last year a little one and I had a front yard face off over who was going to get the strawberries one late afternoon.
So, I took the idea of a cold frame and made it into a deer frame.
Now they can't eat my strawberries. And hopefully neither can the birds.
This weekend we are scheduled to plant some seeds...and maybe set out the Arkansas Travelers I found at the Farmers Market. (I'm very excited to have found them. Now if I could only find a few Bradley tomatoes!) We are thinking broccoli and green beans, for sure. Not sure what else as most of it calls for us to wait one more weekend. We'll see if we can contain ourselves!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Then on Friday night, the temperatures dropped...AGAIN! But we didn't let that hamper us too much.
So without further ado:
OUR GARDEN 2011
It's gonna be big y'all!
And here are pictures of Pappaw's Little Helper at work:
- Pulled up temporary fencing
- Marked off garden plot
- Broke ground
- Applied fertilizer
- Turned soil
Sunday, March 6, 2011
No french gourmet food ever reached her table. No Tex-Mex or Thai. No fancy serving dishes or exotic presentations were needed. For this woman knew how to use what the Good Lord gave her. And living off the land was her speciality.
On one warm summer afternoon, the table was spread with a bountiful feast. Taters were fried, tomatoes were peeled and you can bet there was some homemade cornbread with a perfect crust waiting nearby.
Dinner looked tasty and the family could hardly wait for the prayer to be said so that they could dig in. But the banana pudding on the counter is what really caught the eye!
Now this large, happy family were always ready to welcome a few more...but there was one cousin who always showed up with a crew just at lunch time on Sunday afternoons.
This particular Sunday afternoon, the family gathered around the feast. Heads were bowed, the blessing was said and just as the clatter of plates and forks began...a car door slamming could be heard. One of the sons, we will not mention a name, grabbed that banana pudding...lickety split...and shoved it into the oven so fast that everyone head was left spinning.
That banana pudding was enjoyed later that afternoon by the large, happy family...minus the cousin and crew. And that son hasn't lived it down yet!
The above is a true story. The names were omitted to protect the guilty party. But I think those genes may have been passed down. I am not sure that my youngest son is going to share the banana pudding with his brother today!
In honor of Grandma Jenkins' delicious banana pudding, I am sharing my recipe with you today.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
It seems like Christmas was just last week. Then there was Will's birthday, followed by Meagan's, followed by Maddux's...well, you get the picture.
We are experiencing some wonderful weather here in Houston this week. The nights are a little nippy still...which I love...but the days are sunny and warm.
In fact, it is so nice outside that Jim and I have already started thinking about our garden. We spent last Saturday shopping (yes, Jim shopping!) for a disc harrow and a middle buster (you knew there was going to be a catch to him shopping, right?). While we were at Tractor's Supply, I picked up a gardening book. (Of course I did! I have to read about everything, don't I?) This one looked too good to pass up. I bought The Week By Week Vegetable Gardener's Handbook. This is a book that lays out your growing season according to the average time of the last frost. Plus it has places for notes and journal entries...all the things I love in one place.
Jim and I are such newbies to this gardening adventure that we need even the most basic helps. And since this book is laid out by date of average last frost, we don't have to guess which date to choose from the back of the seed package for planting in Texas. (You know the ones: plant dates February to June. Okay, which one? February or June? Or sometime in the middle?)
So, after looking up the average last frost in our area, I found that we are three weeks out. Which means it is time to put out those strawberry transplants this weekend. I love fresh strawberries and can hardly wait for them to produce this summer.
Grandpa Fulton would be to blame for my strawberry snobbery. The man had a row of strawberries that must have been four foot wide and fifteen yards long. Talk about big and luscious berries!!! Those were the BEST strawberries EVER!!!! (Of course, he also spoiled me on tomatoes...as my Grandpa Jenkins spoiled me on purple hull peas!)
So, I guess this weekend will find us setting out strawberry plants and plowing up the garden spot so it will be ready for planting soon. I'm thinking we might need to get it done on Friday since the high will be 78 degrees and rain is expected on Saturday. It sure would be nice to have a good soaking rain on the freshly tilled soil. (The treated public water just doesn't have the same effect.)
We have other things going on at the house too. That will be a surprise for another day. I can hardly wait to post pictures of the completed project. I am just sorry that I didn't think to take any before pictures prior to the project beginning.
Well, Kelli is Spring Cleaning...and we are Spring Planting. What is going on in your neck of the woods this spring?
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Look at that Cilantro Ranch dip all over that sweet face!
If you remember, his birthday party was cancelled due to the flu going through their household. But then the next weekend, I was in Boston. So, Kelli called us all up on Wednesday and told us we were meeting up for dinner on Friday night. She wasn't sure where yet...but to mark our calenders for Friday!
Since this was the first time I had seen the grandchildren since Boston, I gave them their souvenirs while we were at dinner.
Aren't these lobster hats the cutest things? Davin loved his.
And Brooke called hers a 'crabby hat'.
Kelli made me promise not to post this one on her blog...but she didn't say anything about my blog!!! She tried on Maddux's to get a laugh out of him.
I think the birthday boy had a good time. He wanted to go home with Pappaw...but Momma wouldn't let him.
I think I have mentioned a few times how difficult it is to get a picture of all three at once!!! It happens once in a blue moon to be sure!