Thursday, April 28, 2011

art is messy

I love small town America.
Tonight was art and music in the heart of Newton.
It was a perfect sunny and slightly breezy 72*.  The perfect evening to mingle with all the neighbors on Main Street.  The perfect evening to enjoy art and music with friends and family.

What kind of mom takes her girls downtown for art and doesn't take her NEW camera?!  me.
(Forgive the quality of the pics.  They were taken on my phone.)

I took my girls in to the Et Cetera Shop because all proceeds tonight went to support the art programs in our local schools.  My girls had never been to a second hand store.  They were not impressed.  I'm going to have to work long and hard to convince them there are treasures to be found in thrift stores. 
They are not believers.

However, outside the Et Cetera shop a mural was in the making.  Anyone could add to the mural.  That was something my girls could totally get into.

Abi is totally my girl.  Look at her palette.  No mixing.  No colors touching.  We try really hard to be artsy fartsy, but... 
"Art is messy, mom".

I was a good mom tonight.  I let the girls paint, create collages, cut, color, the whole nine yards. 
I got to see all sorts of my friends and visit with some bloggy friends. 
I love the heart of Newton, Kansas, America.

Monday, April 25, 2011

how great thou art

You may have already watched this video.
I can't imagine how many times I've watched it today.
I may be personally responsible for more than half of the 900,000+ views.  I've been singing it all day.
I love singing with this video.  My family may be tired of it.
I really love watching the crowd.  A moment of worship spontaneously erupts.
It reminds me of the words of John from Revelation 5, describing the 24 elders and four creatures worshipping our Lord,
"'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.' 
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever.  They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 
'You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created and have their being.'"
No matter how famous or rich or common we are, we will all bow down to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"

Easter, really?

I'm not quite sure what's going on in my head.
The kids had new Easter duds...but I don't have any pics.
I got some great pics of our Easter service at church...but none of my kids.
I think I was so determined to make this year about Jesus.  I wanted to make sure the new clothes and Easter treats weren't the focus. 
I wanted to make sure my heart was right. 
I wanted to really ponder the price that was paid for my soul...and to be so thankful for the sacrifice that was made.
I think I was so somber most of the weekend that I forgot to enjoy the precious blessings God gave me.

Thank goodness, Hannah's other mom got a great pic of her.  This is probably my favorite 2011 Easter pic.

She has a black hoodie on over her pretty pink Easter dress.  We're classy people.

She says she hates to be hugged so her "big brothers" from church make sure she gets lots and lots of hugs at church each Sunday.  She gets enough hugs to last her all week.  (She pretends to hate the hugs but we know she loves it.)

Don and Hannah share the same birthday but are 6 years apart in age.  How cool is it that my bff's son and my daughter share a birthday?!  I can't begin to tell you how many years Don has celebrated his birthday with me while Hannah has celebrated her birthday with the Reynolds.  Their birthday always seems to fall on Martin Luther King weekend.  We usually take the youth group to a winter retreat that weekend.  Don has been with us while Hannah stays in Newton.  Funny tradition, huh?

Anyway, this pic is the perfect representation of Don and Hannah's brother/sister relationship...and it's my favorite 2011 Easter photo. 
Not very Eastery, but very much like our life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

my morning pick-me-up

Some people drink coffee.
Others drink diet coke.
Some folks watch Good Morning America.
Some read their devotions.
Here's my morning pick-me-up.
I don't know which I love more - the fact that Abi's teacher is one of my dearest friends or that one of my dearest friends is Abi's teacher.

I get to spend time with these 2 fabulous friends every weekday morning at school.  Jody is Abi's 2nd grade teacher and Amy is a 1st grade teacher.  We chat, encourage each other and fill one another's love tanks.
Sometimes we laugh and other times we cry.  But I always feel better when I leave than when I walked in the door.

One day, this sweet little thang joined Amy and I.  We had so much fun I was almost late for work - yikes!

This is my morning crew.  We're totally doing life together.  Raising our kids together and encouraging each other to be better moms, wives, friends and Godly women.

I never thought I would say this but I don't want school to end this year.
What will I do this summer?

Abi knows this is part of our morning routine.  She loves it too.
Tomorrow morning is donuts with dad at school so daddy will take Abi to school.
Abi asked Mrs. Childs if mommy could come too since she knows how important our ritual is.  I think Abi likes mommy better after she's had her morning pick-me-up.
I guess tomorrow morning may be a good test for summer.  or maybe not. 
I think I'll go for my morning pick-me-up after donuts :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

burned biscuits

My sweet Hannah stepped into the teen years in January.
She has been a pretty easy kid to raise, with the exception of 3 broken arms and the related surgeries (she's very clumsy!).

This was her status on facebook last Friday - "Yeah my mom's not perfect. She dances in stores, burns my dinner, and blaims me for things I didn't do. But I still love her(: Love you mom♥"
Ok, so her spelling isn't perfect, she's still a good kid.  She's an oldest child like me and we seem to have a lot in common.  Sometimes this causes problems but I'm learning to like her during those times :)

Anyway, her status reminded me of an email I got from my sweet friend, Amy, last week.  Amy's email arrived at just the right time.  Funny how God uses our friends like that, huh? 

I think Hannah may have this whole thing all figured out already.  She's pretty smart for 13.

Burned Biscuits

When I was a kid, my Mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that biscuit and eat every bite!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I'll never forget what he said: "Honey, I love burned biscuits."

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides – a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!"

Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people. I'm not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. But what I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each other’s faults - and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences - is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that's my prayer for you today. That you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God. Because in the end, He's the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn't a deal-breaker!

We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!

"Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket – keep it in your own."

So please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burned one will do just fine.

Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

"Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil - it has no point."

I'm not a perfect mommy but Hannah seems to be ok with that.  She's not a perfect daughter and I'm thankful for that.  If she were perfect, I might be without a job. 
Remember to celebrate those relationships that are important to you.  Don't get distracted by little differences, imperfections or issues that really don't matter.  Remember, those are the "burned biscuits" of life.
Oh yeah, make sure you dance in public to keep your kids humble!!!

(Isn't she beautiful?)

Friday, April 15, 2011

how to win friends and influence people

This is a little tutorial on the best way to win friends and influence people.  You may or may not want to try this at home.
We learned this trick quite a few years ago when my kids were little.  It provided so many hours of laughs and entertainment.
I guess we thought we out-grew the trick and totally forgot about it until this afternoon.

We had some friends over to play this afternoon.  Eli was trying to impress his new 6-year old (slightly shy) friend.
And then we remembered the straw-in-the-armpit trick!  How could we forget this totally cool trick?!  This would surely impress our new friend. 

1.  Each friend needs at least 1 clean bendy straws.  This trick doesn't work well with straight straws.

2.  It seems to work best with uncovered skin.  Eli prefers to take his shirt off so he can use his armpit.  My girls just use their knees instead of their armpits.  The effect is the same.  Well, the sound effect anyway :)

3.  Stick the long end of the straw in your armpit or behind your knee.  Blow mighty hard on the short end of the straw.

The sound is absolutely tremendous.  It is totally a party in a straw!  You won't believe it until your kids try it.  Go ahead, throw caution to the wind!  Let your kids try it.  They'll think you're the most cool mom ever, I promise.

4.  Once you get the hang of it, you can strike a cool pose.  Or you can strike a very convincing pose.

You can have a contest to see how long you can blow or you can play a tune.  The options and fun are endless.

Ok, I can't promise you will impress any influential people but I can promise your kids will totally love this fun and cheap toy.  I can also promise the giggles are contagious.  You don't know the fun you're missing until you experience the great {farting} sounds that can be produced from a straw in the armpit.

This is truly the giggliest way to win friends and influence people, I promise.
(If you don't want your children to try this at home, please don't let them spend any time at my house.  You'll regret it.)

Monday, April 11, 2011


This little dolly joined our church family 2 years ago through a foster placement.  She has to be one of the cutest little things ever!  Her name is Eliza.  Even her name is sooooo cute! 
The court finally recognized her forever family and she is officially part of this wonderful, kind, loving and God-fearing family.

(ok, Pastor Jason is not part of their family!)

I learned last week that Eliza was born with a muscular problem.  Her muscles are very flexible and don't have a lot of tone.  She wears these adorable little ankle braces that you would mistake for cute little girly socks and she leans on all sorts of things, mostly her parents.  There is a fancy shmancy technical medical term for it but I can't remember what it is.  I honestly never noticed that she was any different than any other two-year old.  My kids still lean on me all the time so the leaning seems very normal to me.

It's interesting to watch sweet Eliza.  She totally and completely trusts her mommy and her daddy.  She knows they are close and she can lean on them for support.  She knows they love her and will catch her.  Many times, she is completely dependent on them for support.
Her parents shared in church last week that Eliza fell from some playground equipment.  She was more than 5 feet up when she fell.  She landed face down with her neck hyper-extended.  Because of her muscular "disability", her body was able to stretch and she didn't sustain any serious injuries.  The ER docs checked her out and cleared her for more play time.  Funny how God works isn't it?  He used what the world might see as a disability to save Eliza's life.

Are you seeing it yet?  Isn't that what our lives are supposed to be like?  We have a heavenly Father who loves us deeply.  We can trust Him with our lives.  He is always close to hold and support us.  We must lean on Him.  The world may see our dependence on Him as a weakness or a disability.  But His Word tells us "'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'  Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."  (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Lord, let me be dependent on you for my strength.  Remind me to lean on you and look to you for all fulfillment.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
     and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways acknowledge him,
     and he will make your paths straight."  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I had to include this pic.  I've been hanging on to it for a couple of months.  Eliza is listening to the kids' story in church.  I love, love, love this pic!  Silly isn't it?  I just want to scoop her up and give her a big smoochie!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Well, it finally happened.
Abi hopped into the van after school today and said "Guess what I had for lunch today, mom."
UGH!!!  I knew exactly what she meant when she said it.
I forgot to send lunch money with her to school so she had to have a pb&j.
She reminded me she needed lunch money at least half a dozen times yesterday afternoon, evening and this morning.  I still forgot.
I really started beating myself up and sat in the school parking lot whining, "What is wrong with your mommy, Abi?"
She's so sweet.  I'm sure I've mentioned that before but she is so sweet.  so, so sweet.
She replied, "There's nothing wrong with my mommy.  She's fantastic!"

I've had kids in public school for 8 years and this is the first time we've fallen victim to the "pb&j rule".  I'm sure it won't be the last time.
I guess I probably sub-consciously thought that no one in my family should enjoy lunch if I have to diet.  If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy, right?
Oh well, she doesn't seem to be any worse for the wear.  She quickly forgave me and I promptly ran into the school office to replenish her lunch money supply.

I will never forget this.  I hate the thought of my kids being embarrassed at school because of my oversight. 
I guess I'm giving my kids a lot of things to talk to their therapists about someday. 
(Abi and I having lunch together at one of our happy places, Red Robin)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

weight watchers

I've been on a roll lately.  I like my rolls with lots of butter.
and I LOVE cinnamon rolls.
I most especially LOVE Melissa Bartel's butterhorn rolls.
Those warm, buttered rolls and ooey gooey cinnamon rolls have turned into rolls around my tummy.
I'd show you a picture but you wouldn't want to be my friend any more.  You're pretty lucky I have some boundaries.

We got rid of our bathroom scale more than a year ago.  I actually felt liberated.  I lost 15 pounds in the first 9 months of 2010.  I only know that because my doctor told me.  And my clothes fit so much better.  I actually went down 2 sizes.  I felt pretty darn good about things!

Well, I found 12 of those pounds.  I had a sneaking suspicion that those lost pounds were lurking around my waist and thighs but my spring and summer wardrobe confirmed it.  I tried to convince myself that my closet just experienced some major shrinkage over the winter but I knew the truth.

So, I returned to my friendly weight watchers meeting Monday night.  I've done this program so many times I consider myself a lifetime member.  WW doesn't recognize my lifetime status because I've never reached my goal.  They are such sticklers on the details!

I weighed in and the scale confirmed what my closet shrinkage hinted at - ugh!!!  Thank goodness, I have friends from work and the neighborhood doing the program too.  It's so much more fun with support.  I'm pretty excited about the new program and the e-tools.  I can track my food, weight, and exercise all on their website.  It makes it fun.

I did something tonight that I haven't done before.  I took my measurements.  I'm going to record those online and track them also.  I was really worried the tape measure wasn't going to make it around my hips.  how embarrassing.  (I'm not posting my measurements here.  I do have some pride.)

Oh well, I'm climbing back on the bandwagon.  I'm going to lose some weight, get healthy again, feel good about myself and fit back into my spring and summer clothes.  I'm telling you this so I stay honest and you hold me accountable.  Please be gentle with me.

WW recommends taking a "before" photo.  I just don't have the nerve to do it and post it here.  I hope I regret not having a before photo but I'm just not there yet.

(let me be abundantly clear - this is NOT me! - this was just too funny not to include)
Forgive me Pastor Norm if I have embarrassed  you :)