My Fab Fam

My Fab Fam
Photo by Thousand Hills Photography. Click on photo to visit their site.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer High of 70!

Today is gorgeous! It is 8 am and 66 degrees outside. I'm in the hammock with a sweater. The sun seems so bright and yet so soft. I love this weather!

I am marveling over the garden this morning. It has certainly had some hurdles - tomato hornworms, squash bugs, vine borers, several unidentified pests, deer, and now raccoons - but God keeps sending a harvest! So much that I can't get it all put up before some goes to compost. I am grateful. 

I just wanted to share this vision of beauty from my deck, plants revived from a cool night's rain...


As you can see, even the okra (next to the rock path) has recovered from the deer's attack. Here's a visual reminder of how the deer trimmed every okra plant to its stem. 


Breeze is blowing. Wind chimes singing. Perfect day for weeding. Ta-ta y'all. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Life in the Kitchen

My life has been lived in the garden or the kitchen this summer.  Good, good times.  Here are a few of the things I've been mixing up.

My own MSG-free SEASONED SALT:


4 T salt
4 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cornstarch

CHILI POWDER:

2 tsp. paprika
4 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. oregano
4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder

TACO SEASONING:

2 T. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. paprika
3 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. black pepper

ZUCCHINI BREAD:
(From allrecipes.com)

3 c. AP flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon

3 eggs
1 c. vegetable oil
2 1/4 c. white sugar
3 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. grated zucchini
1 c. chopped nuts (I opted out.  But I did add blueberries to one batch.  YUM!)

Directions

  1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Summatime Studies

So, I've been studying David this summer and have been reminded of quite a few things.  Painful things and promising things.  

First, I am a little slow on the uptake as we all know by now, but in all my years of hearing about David's life, it never really sunk in to me that David was anointed King then had to go back and take care of the sheep.  I mean, really?!  How must that have felt?  "David, you are the next king, it is a certain thing, but right now you need to go take care of the sheep."  Dirty, alone, fighting bears and lions, with this promise hanging over him, yet to become reality.  I would have struggled.  "God, really?  I'm going to be king!  Why am I having to stay out here with the sheep, sleep on the ground, go without baths or good food?  When is my promise going to be fulfilled?"

Moreover, he was eventually summoned by the current king, Saul, to play the harp.  "So, here I am in the king's palace, as a servant.  Well, it's a step closer I guess, but when is it my turn?"  

Did David say that?  Did he question God.  I don't know, but I'm guessing probably not because I've also realized he was insanely humble in light of his promising future; so, perhaps he didn't struggle with the wait as much as I would have.

How do I know he was humble?  Well, after he kills Goliath (oh, yeah, more about that in a minute), he is offered the king's daughter as his reward.  He declines!  In great humility, he declines.  And I quote, "Who am I, and what is my family or my father's clan in Israel, that I should become the king's son-in-law?"  And again later, when Saul offers his second daughter, David replies to Saul's messengers, "Do you think it is a small matter to become the king's son-in-law?  I'm only a poor man and little known."

David!  You are going to BE king!  In comparison, yes, it is a small matter to be the king's son-in-law.  But he must have understood that God had David right where He wanted him for the time.  In great humility, he not only accepted his current position, but he refused to take a position of honor or entitlement if it wasn't God's will and in God's time.

So, back to Goliath.  I have found myself feeling a bit of sympathy for poor David, living under a promise without seeing its reality, but I especially felt bad for him after he killed Goliath.  After this great conquest, Saul turned to the commander of his army and basically asks, "Who IS this guy?"  When I read this, I was incredulous!  Saul!  All those times an evil spirit was tormenting you, "this guy" played his harp and soothed your nerves.  He has brought you comfort numerous times, sitting in your palace, serving you, and you don't know him?  Poor David.  King to be.  Comforter to the king.  Slayer of giants.  Unseen.  Unknown.  In waiting.

Speaking of waiting, don't you know that when God speaks a promise and there is some time before its fruition, there is an enemy doing everything he can to prevent that promise from becoming reality?  During the wait, Satan attempted to destroy David several times.  Three times Saul hurled a spear at David.  Another time, Saul sent David to kill 100 Philistines, promising his second daughter as reward, hoping the Philistines would instead kill David.  (David went ahead and killed 200, just for good measure.)  Once Saul just sent men to David's house to kill him.  Three times, Saul sent men to follow David to Ramah, and when none of them killed David, Saul went to Ramah himself.  Time after time, Saul tried to take David's life.  Time after time, Satan was at work, trying to thwart the plan of God.  Every time David escaped.  Every time God prevailed.

Here's what I've learned so far.  When God speaks a promise over you, you might have to wait a while before you see the promise become reality.  During the wait, humbly accept the job God gives you, be it a lonely shepherd, or a sometimes-lonely job of momma-gardener.  These interim positions are preparing you for greater tasks.  And, finally, Satan will come after you.  If Satan knows God has spoken a promise over your life--and He has, sister, no matter who you are, He has said, "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  God has a promising future for each of his princesses--then he (I'm back to talking about Satan) will do everything in his power to keep you from seeing God's promise fulfilled.  Satan wants nothing more than to destroy the children of God, but since he can't destroy us, he will work to destroy our hope, our joy, our abundant life.  But, praise our awesome Father, because nothing, absolutely nothing can thwart the plan of God.  

Look at David.  The promise made.  The anointing.  The lowly menial task of a dirty shepherd.  The king-to-be serving the king.  Slaying lions.  Slaying bears.  Slaying giants.  Unknown.  Humble.  Killing 200 Philistines, the mighty enemies of God's people, to earn the right to be the king's son-in-law.  Escaping three spears.  Running for his life.  Living in a cave.  Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting.

But we know the end of the story.  We know Saul dies.  David reigns.  David births Soloman, who births Rehoboam, who births Abijah, who births son after son after son, until the Son of Man.  Jesus.  The King of Kings, born of a king.  Now, we see why Satan was so hell-bent on thwarting God's plan, determined to prevent the promise, intent on killing the life that would eventually bear the Life Everlasting.

Sister, I don't know about you, but I'm clinging to the promise.  God has hope and a future for us.  Satan may not throw spears our way, but we certainly can feel his attacks.  Rest assure, we will escape.  God will prevail.  Not only will we escape, we will be victorious.  In Christ, we are more than overcomers.  Believe it.  


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer Break 2014

There is not a momma on the planet that longed for school to end as much as this one did!  E's last day of school was Friday and, boy, have we ever plunged into summer!  But before I get too far into summer stuff, let me flashback to the girls' last days of school.

G finished up 3 year-old preschool back in May.  Her end-of-year party was on the 19th.  They were all supposed to wear their preschool t-shirts.  G doesn't like hers because it is not pretty enough.  She fought me on the issue until she discovered a way around it:  cover the tee with a sweater.




She did eventually get hot enough to lose the sweater.  Here she is in action, sliding down a big inflatable.  A little blurry, but none of the joy is lost.


A few shots with friends....




...and her sweet teachers.



She had her school-is-out teeth cleaning.  You don't have those?  Hmmmm...




The weather's been awesome, so the Mr. and I squeezed in an after-the-kids-are-in-bed dinner date on the deck.



Baby girl and I enjoyed our mornings...in the hammock...


...and checking on our garden, watching it sprout and grow.  What pushed this piece of ground up?



Okra!  It may be little, but it's mighty.  A small-big miracle.  And definitely a lesson; small things can do big things.  I may be one, but God can be mighty through me.

Hanging in Daddy's truck while he gets his hair cut.



Baby girl is still doing ballet, although somewhat reluctantly these days.  The tutu has lost its appeal and now she doesn't want to stop playing outside to go to ballet.  But once we're there, she has fun with her friends.  Welllll, I had a picture, but it seriously just vanished into thin air.  Weird.

Ope!  Found it!


We've also been working on a chicken coop.


We've also been golfing with Daddy a couple of times.







And, we're finally to the last days of school!  Awards day...



Big Girl got 5 awards, for high scores on reading and math and for learning her sight words, also the Library and Sportsmanship awards for her class.






Her teachers were wonderful.  They loved my girl and took care of her like she was their own.  And they welcomed me into their classroom too.


The last day of school was this past Friday; it was field day.  I helped for a couple of hours then hung with Big Girl and her class for the rest of the day.  Sweet times. (I don't know why my phone insists on darkening one end of all my pix, but it is an old phone, and I will get a new one some day.)








Her first time at tug-o-war.  She said this was her favorite part of the day.  =)


We left about an hour early.  Here she is saying her goodbyes.  Hugs, hugs.  And awkward moments when the friends kept doing their puzzles after she said the meekest, softest "Bye" ever.  They didn't realize this was the last time they would be seeing each other for a long time.  




As we walked to the car, this is the beauty we saw.  


Squatting by her masterpiece.  


Last picture as a Kindergartener.  sniff, sniff

Friday night we had a "Kindergarten Last Blast" at an indoor play place for E and her class.  Only a few could make it, but big fun was had.


So, I started this post, thinking I would talk about all the fun things we have done since school got out.  And I spent all morning just getting to the last day of school.  Granted, I did multi-task.  I have drawn chalk roads, chased the cat, washed a few loads of laundry, balanced the checkbook, paid bills...

Tomorrow, perhaps, I will journal about all the fun summer adventures we've already had in one short week.  Tomorrow.  Or next month.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Can't Burst This Bubble

I'm a realist.  Seriously.  So much so that you might just wanna go ahead and call me a fuddy-dud.  I am completely honest with my girls, perhaps to a fault, about all aspects of life.  Sex?
Anything they have asked, I have answered.  Santa?  They know he's a made-up character like Charlie Brown and they also know about the real man, the inspiration behind Santa:  Saint Nicholas.  I gently correct incorrect assumptions and openly answer all questions to the best of my ability, and/or look up the answers to all the innumerable questions I cannot answer.  Even, the questions that most people think I'm wasting my time answering, I answer with the fullest explanation I can.  As an example, I provide a sample conversation between my me and my big girl when she was about two:

"What is that tall pole?"
"A radio tower."
"What does it do?"
"It sends and receives radio signals..." and I go on to explain what radio signals are, how satellites in space communicate with the radio tower and how that all works with the radio in our cars.

I think it was my sister who was with me at the time, though I'm not sure now, but whoever it was gave me a look like, "Really?  You really think she gets all that?"

No.  No, I don't think my girls understand all the truth I tell them, but here's what I believe in the core of my being:

Keep speaking the truth.  Some of it sinks in now and some of it will sink in later.  It may take 5, 50, or 500 times of explaining it, but start early and they'll absorb it earlier because they've been exposed to it sooner.  And that goes for all matters in life.

But today.  Today, I smiled and bit my lip when my baby girl said something that could have used a little gentle correction.  Today, I was asked a question I couldn't answer, and when I replied, "I don't know," baby girl said, "Daddy will know.  He knows all about those things."  I don't remember what the question was, but I assure you Daddy didn't know.  I clearly remember thinking that was a question that could not be easily answered by anyone.  Yet, I only smiled at the complete confidence baby girl has in her daddy and even said, fully aware that I was encouraging a belief that wasn't solid, "He really does know a lot about a lot of things."

And only a little while later, I was asked another question:  "Why do we call them (flying bugs) gnats?"  Again, I said, "I don't know," and added, "I don't know why things were given the names they have."  And again she said, "Daddy will know.  He knows about everything."

I love this confidence she has in her daddy.  And I just can't bring myself to tell her that, though he is pretty amazing, Daddy isn't quite as brilliant as she believes he is.  But what I love most about her steadfast belief in her daddy is the example it sets for all of us.  When we have a question, we should be so confident that "our daddy knows everything."

But she had another lesson to teach me.

When baby girl asked me the gnat question, we were standing in a field and Daddy was standing about ten feet away looking at a horse, but did she ask him her question?  No.  It was enough that she knew that he knew the answer.  She didn't even really want an answer after she assured herself that he knew the answer.  That was enough.

We have questions.  Boy, do we have questions!  Why is there disease and pain and death?  Why is there slavery?  Why do children die?  Why do relationships fail?  Why can't we get pregnant?  Why did we lose our job?  Why do we keep on making the same bad choices when we so desperately want to do right?  Why did our lives turn out this way?  Why?  Why?  Why?

Perhaps we should have baby girl's confidence:  Daddy knows.  And, even better, perhaps we should be comfortable with not knowing the answer simply because He does.