Finding Joy in Him

Through Every Season

Month: August 2010 (page 1 of 2)

The Nerds

Josh and Joel signed up for a free community class at Hudson Alpa, the local biotechnology institute.
Biotechnology is Josh’s favorite subject.. maybe he’ll get a research job there one day.
There were only two other people their age that attended the class.  
The classed filled up (250 people) only 10 days after it was advertised. 
Josh says, “Mostly old people are going.” 
Joel added, “And a few younger kids who were drug there by their Moms.” 
 
A few hours before class, Josh was dumbfounded when noticed in the 
class description that “business attire” was the expected dress.
We’ve been telling him that he should wear  
a pair of slacks and a polo shirt when applying for jobs.
He’d agreed to, but thinks we’re old fashioned.
He didn’t have much in his closest that fit the description, 
but was able to borrow a shirt from Mike.
When Joel and Josh came out wearing their “business attire,”
Judi totally freaked out.  All she could do was point and 
yell, “Nerd.  Nerd.  Where’s your pocket protector?”
Josh didn’t know what a pocket protector was.  
Most days they wear a black, Christian, hardcore T-shirt and a ripped pair of blue jeans.  
 
I couldn’t believe that they actually went outside and posed for pictures.
Aren’t they cute?  Don’t pay attention to the wrinkles.  
I haven’t taught them how to iron yet.
They kept asking me if I was sure they should go dressed this way.
I told them that a bunch of people would probably go straight from work in their suits.
I was right, of course, and they were glad they had listened to their old mom.  
The big announcement after the first class was that the institute is planning to build a giant 
replica of a DNA model.  It will be big enough to be seen from an airplane, 
so that Huntsville will be famous for two things, the rocket and the DNA model.  
πŸ™‚
Love,
J

Farmer’s Market

Mike went with me to the local Farmer’s Market this morning.  
I really miss the huge out door market that we had in Florida; one of my favorite things about FL.
Our local Farmer’s Market is much smaller, but everyone was friendly 
and there was a pretty good selection to choose from.  
Here’s what I got for $10.. Do you think it’s a good deal?
I was tempted to buy some watermelon, pears and yellow squash.. 
but we had apples, oranges, and strawberries at home.  
We just finished up some cherries.. Oh, my!  I didn’t know fresh cherries could be so good.  
I just ate a peach.. wonderful.. can’t wait to have some fried tomatoes, okra and onions for lunch..
I am not sure what I should do with the egg plant.  Any ideas?
Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!
J

Ugly Duckling??

When we were in KS, and I got home sick
the thing I missed other than my 4 guys was our lake.
It’s my favorite part of our house.  
I love looking out over it and 
spend as much time as I can in the rooms with a view.
There’s a group of 5 ducklings that grew up on our lake.
The story goes that someone gave them to a teacher who lives on the lake.  
She mothered them until they were old enough to live on their own.  
They stayed close by the lake and to each other all through fall and winter.  
When the lake froze over, they hid out in the large, cement pipes 
that drain into the lake.  I didn’t envy them.
Then this spring we started noticing that one of the ducks was falling 
out of favor with the flock.  At first, he was waddling a couple of feet behind the others.. 
then more and more.. until he was following more than 12 feet behind.
It was really sad.  I nick named him the Lone Ranger.  
Some days we didn’t see him at all,
 and I would wonder where our poor, Lone Ranger was.
Then one day I noticed that he looked dirty.
I thought, “What happened to him?”
Then while walking Sally, I got a closer look.
He wasn’t dirty.. he had brown and black feathers!
A few days later I saw him hanging out with the geese 
that fly around from lake to lake in the area.  
Normally the geese and ducks don’t associate with each other.  
The ducks just tolerate their presence on the lake and kinda ignore them.
There’s not much you can do about a group that’s bigger than you and out numbers you.
We normally have 50 to 100 Canadian geese visit at a time
from several times a week to several times a day.
I kept expecting them to fly South or back North.. 
The never did, so I am pretty sure they live here year round.
So our Lone Ranger has found a family in the Madison geese
and isn’t lonely any more.  Yay!

Family “JOYS”

I’ve been working on our chore chart.  I make a new one just about every year.  Anytime we move to a new house, we usually REALLY need a new one; new house; new era; new needs.

I switched a few chores around this time hoping to cut down the “I can’t do my chores, because someone else hasn’t done theirs.” syndrome.  Think it will work?  More than anything the charts are for me to define AND remember who’s supposed to do what.  When we don’t have a chart that balances out the chores, no one can agree who’s supposed to do half the chores, and I end up doing them.

I printed it out on light blue card stock and slipped it into a page protector.  It hangs on our fridge next to our school schedule.
I always date the charts and keep them in the computer, so I can compare from year to year who had what job.  Years ago, I’d planned to rotate jobs quarterly between the kids, but it’s turned out to be SO much easier to let the kid who’s really good at their job keep it, so Joel may never learn how to wash dishes etc.  My apologies to all their future spouses.  I do occasionally have training sessions where I gather everyone in one place and show them how a chore is done.

JOYS in “Family JOYS” stands for Joyful, Obedient, Youthful, Service.  It came from an article I read by Terri Camp about teaching your kids to see chores as an opportunity to serve.  Over the years, I’ve learned to love doing house work.  I see it as blessing those who live in and visit our home and I love that I can use the time to pray.

My “kids” (young adults) have pretty good attitudes about chores and are a BLESSING..  our main struggle is getting them done in a timely manner.  Our goal is to have the weekly chores done by Thursday at 4PM so that on Friday everything feels fresh and ready for a relaxed weekend.

If we continue to struggle with getting things done on the list, I might try making one like this:

http://www.howdoesshe.com/chore-chart-for-multiple-kids

I like it because it’s easy to see who needs to do what at glance.. without taking a lot of space.  I don’t like that it requires everyone to constantly rearrange sticks, and I am not sure if moving sticks will cut down on the number of times I’ll have to verbally remind them to do their chores.  What do you think?

I’ve charged fees for unfinished chores before.. and/or added chores to their lists.  “If you can’t do your chores on time and without complaining, you must need more practice doing chores.”  Now that they are all young adults, I don’t really say things like that anymore.  They seem to know that chores are a part of life, and don’t complain unless they think it’s someone else’s job.. and even then, they are willing to do it for me if I ask on occasion.  I did show them and threaten to make the chart with the sticks if they continue to need reminders.  Beyond that I am not sure what to do.  Take away computer privileges?

Next the new school schedule..

J

Welcome Home Gift

I returned home yesterday to a very nice surprise..
I am so blessed!  
πŸ™‚

Tanganyika Wildlife Park

Less than five miles West of Suzanne’s is this really cool Wildlife park.
The giraffes are my favorite.

Judi

Kevin is 11.

And Kyle just turned 13.

They like lettus.

They have the prettiest eyes.

Mama and baby.

So beautiful.

They had a pair of white Bengal tigers that were very entertaining.  
They only met a couple of weeks ago and are still getting to know each other.
Their names were Gerber and Icecess.
We enjoyed watching them sneak up on each other, pretending not to be by swatting a branch,
and I especially enjoyed hearing Icecess roar the one time Gerber got close to her.

The ring tailed lemurs were pretty cool.
For a dollar you can feed them a crainraisin.

The kangaroos were softer than we expected.

A couple were carrying joeys in their pouches.

These are white handed gibbons.

We were all very surprised to see momma and baby with different colored coats.

Kevin loved feeding the turtles.

They all went for their first camel ride.  The camel can hold up to 700 lbs.
J

Mark and Suzanne’s Wedding

My good friend, Suzanne, got married this past weekend.  We are so happy for her. 
After 10 years of living as a widowed, single parent 
God has brought her a husband and father for her two sons.
She met Mark over the internet almost a year ago.  
I knew right away that he was the one.  It took her a while to believe
that God loved her enough to bring her someone who really loved her.
God is so good.  Better than any of us could ever imagine.
Mark lost his wife five years ago and had been bringing up her two sons and their 
daughter on his own.  Both parents are so happy to find someone 
to help them love and raise their children for Christ.
Judi and I arrived Wednesday afternoon to help prepare for the wedding.
Judi and Michelle hit it off right away.  Michelle’s a year younger than Judi.
Judi helped Michelle with her make up.
Doesn’t she look great?!
Here’s the happy bride with her new daughter.  I am so glad she gets a daughter.
Every mother should have at least one of each.  Michelle is sweet, smart and a lot of fun.

Here’s the happy couple.  They were both so calm and took everything in stride.
Don’t you just love Suzanne’s dress?  She looks like a princess!
This is one of the prettiest dresses I’ve ever worn.  
I have the groom’s ring on my thumb.  πŸ™‚
Aren’t the flowers just gorgeous?

These flower girls are Suzanne’s new nieces.  They are just adorable, busy, funny girls.
I smiled for this one.  Smiling can be challenging for me.  I need someone to make me laugh.  

Here is the whole wedding party: Michelle, me, the bride and groom, 
Mark’s best friend, his two older boys with Suzanne’s boys on the end.  
Here’s the whole family.  Suzanne now has more kids than me and a daughter-in-love,
who couldn’t come because she is expecting their first grandchild!

They took this photo outside.. hoping later to photo shop in the missing daughter-in-love.
Don’t they all look so happy together?  They really are.  I’ve never seen Kyle so happy.
The wedding service was very beautiful, worshipful, full of thanksgiving and prayer.
Everything went very well.. Suzanne and Mark had a ton of help 
from friends and family who were all so happy for them.
J

Road Trip Day 2 Precious Moments

Our second day was much less eventful.  Yay!  Alabama and Mississippi were much prettier.  We had to drive a bunch of 2 lane highways.. but several of them had passing lanes every 10 miles or so.  It was nice when we got closer to Wichita and had a 4 lane divided highway again.
We got up early and decided to stop at the Precious Moments’ Chapel.  Last time we went was when Judi was still in diapers.. and I thought that it would be a nice girly stop.  It’s free to see.. huge gift shop and museum.  Mr. Butcher is now 71 years old and still paints in the  chapel occasionally.  It’s worth the stop if you ever drive by Joplin.
Supper sized!
Thai dolls in the museum.
Loved this painting.
I remember this poster!
Rock Garden
This butterfly flew over and stood still for a picture.. 
if only I could hold the camera still.  
In the Chapel.. “Heaven’s Gates”
Mr. Butcher has included true stories of people 
who have gone home to heaven in his recently completed painting.
Part of the ceiling.
The East wall has new testament scenes.  The West wall OT.
One of my favorites.
Can you guess this one? 
Love stained glass.
This castle built for the Butcher grandchildren made the biggest impression 
on me our first visit when the kids were all under the age of 7.
There were many new things to see.. can you see the angel sitting by the empty tomb?
Love, 
J

Mother Daughter Road Trip

You should see our van.  I’ll try to take photos later today.  It’s so stuffed.. only two girls .. but TWO weeks.  We spent all Monday afternoon taking stuff to the car.  Judi asked she could use a big black trash bag for her clothes.  It seemed a little odd, but I couldn’t think of a reason to say no, and was just glad she had had time to get her laundry done after just returning from youth camp in FL.  Got to love my big washer and drier.  

Judi told me later that she didn’t feel like she had time to plan out outfits and pack them all so threw ALL her clothes in the trash bag. Ha!  I mentioned hoping Suzanne had coset space for us.. she said.. all she needed was the floor.  Any given day, if you were to come see her room, you’d see a sea of clothes on the floor.  I’ve tried saying, “No driving ’till your clothes are picked up.” and that works sometimes…  I told her she couldn’t live like that at Suzanne’s.

Judi and I made it to MO yesterday.  It was a long drive.  Judi drove a total of 5.5 hrs and I drove 3.  So nice to be able to crash in the hotel.  It’s work for me when she drives, too.  

The very minute I started getting a little comfortable with her driving and the road we were on and thought about getting my knitting out she decided to try to throw away something, went off the left shoulder of the road and it was a few swerves before she had control of the car again.  Focus.  Shortly after an 18 wheeler decided to turn left and she just made it around his tail without hitting the car in the right lane beside her.  Does that count as my cardio work out for the day?

The only other scare we’ve had so far was when another 18 wheeler lost his tire and I had no time to go around it.. so I went right over it. It was almost a whole tire and felt a good bump under my car, flew up a little and the CD player stopped for a bit.  The car seems OK.  Thank you, Jesus and all the heavenly angels watching over us!

After lunch, Judi wanted to drive again and before we knew it we were in the Ozarks.  We cut through the Northeastern corner and they weren’t too bad.. up, down and around and around…  They had wide shoulders on the curviest parts.  There weren’t really any speed limit’s there.. just lots of caution curve ahead and a suggested speed signs.  The trucks coming the other way scared Judi at first.. especially the ones crossing the yellow lines but she got the hang of it and enjoyed the challenge.  

We had a good time listening to the new CD’s that we bought for the trip, ate lunch at a Cracker Barrel and dinner at an Applebees; threw away our leftovers because we don’t have a fridge. I found an all natural, corn free soda on a corn free list that they actually carry at this new heath food grocery store near us.  I got to drink a whole soda for the first time in 5 years.  Felt so spoiled.  The root beer was really good.  I won’t make a habit of drinking it.. ’cause they have a bunch of sugar in them.. but it’s nice to have a treat.
We’ve got 4 more hours to go ‘tll we get to KS and the wedding.  Keep us in your prayers.
Love, 
J

Summer Sewing

I’ve been sewing.. and even Judi decided that she wanted to learn to sew!!  
Just a day or two after I had resigned myself to the fact
that she’s not like me.. she has different interest and
I should just accept her for her beautiful self, she saw this
fabric and decided that she wanted to learn to sew.
We made this shirt together.  Isn’t it cute?
I read about a couple of new games while reading some blogs 
and decided that I had to make them to play with 
all my nephews and my only niece (so far) at our family reunion.
The ones on the blog were made on poster board.. I decided to quilt them – 
I made one game quilt for each family.  Can’t wait to teach them the games.
This side of the quilt is for checkers – 
I found the cute bug/nature fabric at Hancock’s – all the other fabric I had in my closet.
I love the little bag for the felt checkers.  It snaps onto the quilt on the other side.
Did you know to make three sets you need 72 checkers??
I think if I had known before I started I might have thought twice –
but I am a sucker for games.  I got a lot done while watching TV.
I embroidered a little crown on one side.
The cups are for a super Tic-tac-toe game on the other side.
You can look up “Gobblet Gobblers” on youtube if you’d like to learn how to play.
I also re-invented another game that I am calling 
“Don’t Spoil Your Dinner” to play with M&M’s on this side.
With my corn allergies – I’ll probably be playing with raisins.
I made these cami/dickey things yesterday.  I wish I’d known about them
years ago when shopping for modest clothing became so difficult.
They were so fast and easy to make and to top it all off
I had all the fabric and snaps sitting in my closet, so they were FREE! 
I have a confession to make.  I sew while standing up.  
Notice that my sewing machine is sitting on my island?
Every house is different.  I discovered while making the quilts that 
if I sew while standing, it’s a lot easier to get to my cutting mat and ironing boards.
I don’t have to slide out a chair and stand up – I just walk over or around. So nice.
To make the cami/dickey things all I did was cut them out so the top corners
will rap around my bra straps, hem the top edge and sew on snaps.
I didn’t bother to hem the other edges – they won’t show or fray.
And look how modest I can be now!  In just a snap.  πŸ™‚
One last project to share. 
(If your name is Suzanne, you have to wait a week before reading below.  
I am guessing that you’re way to busy preparing for your wedding 
to be reading blogs right now.  So stop reading and get back to work.)
I am not good at giving or receiving gifts.  Since God is strong in our weaknesses 
I’ve learned to pray and ask Him to help me think of and find 
the perfect gift when the occasion arises.
A few weeks ago I needed a baby shower present for my friend who recently adopted 
a precious baby girl, Emma.  I had already made and given her a crocheted blanket – 
turned out to perfectly match the colors of her room – I’d never seen but God knew.
She was so cute – offered to re-wrap it and bring it to the shower for me.  
  
But I had already prayed and God had worked.  He put it in my heart 
to give her a parenting book I have called 
“Raising your Child for Christ” by Andrew Murray.  It’s an awesome book!
My favorite parenting book.  I only had a couple of days and didn’t think I’d be able to 
find her a copy, so my response to God was – “She can’t have my copy!”  
Since then I discovered that it’s still in print and available on Amazon.. 
so I might be more willing to share my copy with someone else.  
God  took me up on the challenge.  
Mike and I were on an Anniversary trip in Chattanooga, TN at the time.  
We had some time to waste after eating lunch and discovered that there was a 
(you’ll never guess) a used book store next door.  We decided to go in.  
I found a copy of the book on a shelf lying there all by its self – the only book on 
that particular shelf – it was like God said, “I win.  I am able to provide.”
So months ago, before I actually knew Mark and Suzanne were requesting that
no one bring gifts – they are both widowers and have to merge a LOT of stuff into one house,
– I prayed and had this idea.. 
again I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to find anything like it – but God provided.
I found the plate and goblet at a local antique store.  
I was so happy to find a matching set in the last booth of the store.
I discovered that you can actually buy “communion chalice” sets on line.  
They don’t have a cool bread cover like the one I made,  
but I am thinking about buying a set for myself like this one for my birthday.
I made the cover with my surger, some hand embroidery and a crochet edging.
  Drawing the design was the hardest part.  I hope it’s not too fussy.  
I was very happy with how the crochet edge turned out.
It took a lot of experimenting to find an edge I liked. 
Having communion at home with family and friends is one of my favorite things to do.
I hope these will help inspire her to try it.
Want one?

Love,
J

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