Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Love!

The following are some of the Christmas cards I have received so far with pictures on them. I love getting this type of card.  Sometimes this is the only time I may see the people all year.  I appreciate the fact that they worked hard to get the perfect picture, select the perfect card, take the time to address them and most of all spend the money that it takes to brighten my day.  Thank you!  (Sorry Calverts, I couldn't figure out how to make you horizontal in the program I used to make the collage.  ha  We still love you!)
Just with these few pictures, it makes me realize how so many lives are changed so drastically in one years time.  There are those with new family members and those who have had their family members given up to God this year.  Either way, life will never be the same for them.  As I sit here writing, I can quickly count at least five wonderful couples that will be having new babies in the coming year and two of those are twins!  One thing for sure this next year, we will have plenty of baby things to buy!  There is nothing more special than having a new baby in the family and it is something you cannot truly understand, the fullness of that statement, until you have your own baby.  The love that you have for a child cannot be explained in words.  The only way to understand it is to know God's love for us.  After having a child, holding them and providing for them, you can then more fully understand the love that God has for his children - for YOU. 

We go about our busy lives and may not take the time to realize that God loves us, no matter what the circumstances may be, no matter what we may or may not have done.  He does not give up on us just as we would never give up on our own children.  We are there when they need us, just as God is there for us.  My prayer for the young families reading this is that you will make it a priority this year to put God first in your lives.  Attend the church of your choice on a regular basis.  Get your children involved.  Get yourself involved.  It will be life changing.  I have never understood how someone can face all of life's problems without having the Lord actively in their lives.  It must be so devastating!  Learn to lean on Him, to trust Him for all your needs.  Talk to Him.  Ask him for the things you need in life.  To paraphrase, you have not, because you ask not.  He can give you the wisdom you need for raising a child.  He can provide the answers to life's tough situations.  He can work miracles where we see no hope!  Getting involved in church and most importantly, Sunday School, will provide the new friends that your family needs.  It will provide a peace that passes all understanding. 

Remember why we have Christmas.  It is the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Let him be a part of your family this year.  The love you feel for your children, God wants you to feel from Him.  You can be His child, if only you ask.

Have a Blessed season!

Monday, November 1, 2010

On Teaching Independence

What to say, what to say.....there are so many things that young parents need to know. I have been pondering what is the most important thing a parent should teach their child. I would hope we all know that leading them to a personal relationship with the Lord would be foremost. That should be a given, but after that, what would be next. My sweet DIL (well, actually, she is Whitney's SIL so we just made her my DIL since her husband's parents are both deceased) has been going through a major ordeal in her house in the recent past - her precious angel could not go to sleep on his own. He preferred to have his mother or father rock him to sleep no matter how many times he would wake up at night. Not good for the parents or the child. Now look at this face......

How could you not get up 10 times a night to rock him back to sleep!  He is absolutely the most adorable thing!  And that brought me to this blog.....what is the most important thing a parent has to teach his child.
One thing would be independence.  In this case, this adorable little boy needed to learn independence with his sleeping habits.  As the mother so well put it, he had never had the opportunity to go to sleep by himself, so therefore, he didn't know how.  They had to let him cry for a few minutes one night and then he slept all night by himself for the first time in 10 months.  The second night the crying only lasted one minute and he slept all night.  I have to say with Whitney, it wasn't quite that easy.  It only took two nights, but we had crying to the point of throwing up to deal with.  She was 14 months and REALLY spoiled to the rocking chair! ha  With both children, it was one of their first lessons in independence.

Why did it take my DIL 10 months and me 14 months of enduring no sleep to let our children learn this lesson?  Because we love our children so much and didn't want them to have to be without any of their "needs"?  Because their need for being held filled our need to nurture?  Because in our minds we were not being good parents if our child were upset?  All of the above and more I am sure.  The fact is, it doesn't hurt our children to cry when there isn't a real problem and as I had to learn, it doesn't hurt to let them cry until they throw up.  They can only do it twice.  ha  Sleeping at night without being rocked and cuddled is the first step to independence. 

So many of us think it is our duty to give our children all of their hearts desires.  When we do this, they do not learn independence - they learn to rely on others for all their needs.  They do not learn patience - they learn that whenever they want something, they should get it now and never have to wait until they can work for it, afford it, deserve it.  They don't learn the value of things because they never had to earn it.  They don't learn the concept of sharing because they always had their own.  

So the hard lesson for parents is that we are to be PARENTS.  It is our job to raise strong, healthy, independent children physically, emotionally and mentally and in order to do this, we have to know when to stand strong so our child can learn a lesson on their own and when to be there so they can fall into our arms.  There is a fine line between the two.  For me, it was much harder to let her learn the lesson "on her own".  I had the "falling into my arms" come naturally! ha  It is hard to see our children unhappy, suffering, discouraged, failing, struggling, crying. But what can they learn if we are always there to rock them?  It is through our struggles that we grow to mature adults and grow close to the Lord.  It is where we learn life's lessons. 

There is not one most important thing we can teach our children, but a lifetime of things.  We don't need a lesson on love because that comes natural for parents.  We would lay down our lives for our children.  We need lessons on teaching independence, on letting our children fail and take responsibility for their actions, on helping them to make right decisions all through life, on being protective, but not over protective.  Stand in the background so they know when they really need you, you are there, but let them learn life in their own way.  Remind them that life's path is straight and narrow and they may have to walk alone at times or in this case, sleep alone at times.  Much of the wisdom we gain in life comes from parenting.  It keeps us close to the Lord and seeking His wisdom for directing our children's paths. What a blessing it is to be parents.  Keep up the faith and have a ....
Blessed day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

On Being Prepared

This weekend we experienced some bad storms around our area of the woods as you can see from the picture I took out our living room window.  On Sunday evening, it got bad enough for us to start moving a few things into our storm room as a precaution.  When we built our home, we were fortunate enough to be able to add a real storm room in the house.  It is used daily as our food and dish pantry.
As you can see from this photo, it has rather thick walls.  They are made from cinder blocks, filled with rebar and concrete, much like a bank vault.  Even has a concrete ceiling that is actually tied to the foundation.  It was designed by Texas Tech and we have built quite a few of these in homes over the years.  Out of the 7 years we have lived in this house, we haven't even averaged once a year on going in thinking we might be glad we had this room, but the few times we have used it, it sure made me feel safer than without the room.

The main reason for this blog is to get your minds to thinking about what you would take should you have to vacate your home suddenly.  That favorite stuffed animal or blanket your child has to have to sleep!  Your wedding rings or other special jewelry, old pictures (not all of them, but the favorites), documents, keys, passwords to computer, combinations to safes, medicines, whatever you and your family deem as important.  What did I put in the safe room last night?  First was my I-Pad and second was my I-Phone.  I know that is kind of sad isn't it, but they are very important to me and contain a lot of valuable info on both.  Next was make-up and some hair products - mainly because they are so expensive to replace and one of the first things I would need the next morning should a disaster ever occur.  (We weren't in a huge hurry to get to safety either! ha)  Gary suggested I put in a coat for us since we would be wet and cold if the house blew away and I took our NOAA radio in the room.  I did grab the "key" to my drafting program so I would be able to work.  I could reload all programs on a new computer, but without the "key", I would be unable to draw houses.  No, I didn't unhook the computer and take in there because I have everything saved on Carbonite, an outside service that does the saving for me without me even thinking about it.  Gary made sure the flash light was working and brought in fire power.  I know this is a sad commentary on what we thought was important and that is my point totally!

Let me suggest you type a list of what you would want to "grab" in a hurry should the need arise.  List them in order of importance in case you can't save everything on the list.  Think about what you would put these items in whether it be a tote, a bag, a luggage, a crate (let's not get carried away here).  Put the list inside this bag so you will have it at your finger tips and place the bag in a place where it would be easy for you to get.  Hopefully, this is something you will prepare for and never need!  But just in case you do, you will have it.

Another suggestion would be for those of you with children, go over the routine of how to escape from the home in case of a fire.  For older children, discuss where you would meet them in case an emergency happened and you were not at the same location.  Buy a NOAA radio and keep fresh batteries in the case (not in the radio since they will corrode over time).  I suggest buying one that you can crank in case the batteries fail.  You might want to keep it in your bag at all times.  You might also want to consider saving your important documents and pictures on an external drive that you could keep in the bag.  A gun safe works wonders for storing important papers, pictures, etc.  Should your house ever catch on fire, have the fire fighters keep a hose going on the safe.  The things may get smoke damage and some heat damage, but they probably will be worth saving.

Hope this has prompted your brain to working and thinking of precautionary steps you need to take to save things that are important to you should the need arise in a hurry.  Thinking ahead could save you lots of sadness later.  This certainly isn't an exhaustive list, only one to start your mind in the right direction.  And remember, material things are just that - material.  They can be replaced and a whole lot of them, you would probably never replace.  Saving your life is the most important thing. 

Have a Blessed Day!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

On Being Subtle

"Ol' Gair"......I can hear Katie, Amy or Whitney saying that right now.  I have a funny about Gary that you gals will appreciate.  Most of you who follow my blog remember all those weekends at the lake where Gary could be comical - like standing in the boat dancing to "Who Let the Dogs Out" or singing "I'll be gone til November..."  or quoting his favorite line from "Pink Panther" - "Does your dog bite?  That's not my dog".  You girls would endure anything just to get to be on the lake looking for Mr. Right.  Isn't that the truth?  ha 

Most of you never have been in the truck with him while he is driving though.  He has a terrible habit of not holding his foot steadily on the gas pedal.  He presses in, lets off, presses in, lets off, presses get the point.  I attribute this to his career of being what the guys call him, "a drive by builder."  He does most of his driving in the city where he has to let off on the gas pedal a lot.  This action will make the strongest stomach queasy.  Even when you talk him into using the cruise control, he reverts back to using his foot. 

Well a couple of weeks ago, we went to eat fish about 20 minutes away from T-town.  We had another couple in the car and coming back, Gary's very close friend was riding up front with him and he calmly said, "You could use your cruise control."  I cracked up laughing.  The conversation started about how he always drives like that.  Gary's come back after we discussed his bad habit was "You sound like my wife. She b*tchs about my driving all the time."  Of course, I had to defend myself, so I made the remark that I tried to be nice about it and not complain in a rude manner.  Gary's reply was, "Ok, you are a subtle b*tch."  We all had a great laugh.

That weekend we were with Whitney and Matt and I was telling them our story.  Matt said, "Boy, I bet that made you really mad."  I told him that was not the case at all.  We all laughed about it and that is the point of this blog - to let you young couples know not to take things so serious.

Gary and I have been married over 30 years now.  I know his heart.  He didn't say that out of anger.  I have learned over the years that he doesn't like me telling him what to do or how to do it, but sometimes a woman has to do what a woman has to do.  You know the saying, "Behind every great man is a woman pushing."  If we are to train them to be good husbands, we have to subtly let them know how they can improve.  Do NOT nag.  Talk in your sweetest voice when you want to be subtle.  Tell them in that sweet tone that you aren't saying this to be b*tchy, BUT.......  Or, say, darling, would you like to...... (maybe it could be put the cruise control on or whatever you want to complete that sentence.)  Are they going to take this with a smile?  NO, but it won't be as bad as if you sounded like a total nag.  They WILL at least know you aren't mad at them and even if they snap back, they might think next time. 

You know, none of us are perfect.  We all have our quirks, bad habits, things that pester the fool out of our spouse.  Sometimes we don't even realize what we do bothers the other person.  Life can be short.  Don't let the little things cause you to give up, get mad, ruin your relationship, ruin a day together, break up a marriage.  Find ways to work through the tough times.  Talk about it, but be SUBTLE! :)

To quote Gary, "There was only one perfect man and we crucified Him."  Life is not perfect.  It is how you work through it that speaks volumes about your character.  Eventually, if you work hard at your marriage, you too will get to a point that when your spouse says something like that to you, you will laugh and not feel so threatened.

Have a Blessed day!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Radical Concept

It has been awhile since I have posted.  I seem to be seeing that statement on a lot of blogs that I follow.  I think we read them from our iphones on Google Reader and since we aren't on the computer as much, we tend to let the days slip by without posting.  At least that is my theory.  ha  But, I have just finished reading a small book that has really prompted a lot of thinking on my part.  Not something that one would normally think about reading.  Many of you have read the book, "90 Minutes in Heaven" by Don Piper.  Wonderful book about a man who was involved in a car accident, died, went to heaven for 90 minutes and then was revived to come back and tell his story.  If you haven't read it, you should.

My 82 year old mother was in Walmart looking at the books and bought one even more interesting - "23 Minutes in Hell" by Bill Wiese.  Hell is not something we sit around talking about.  Some may not even believe it really exists.  Ministers don't mention it in the pulpit for fear of offending some of the members.  Not a pleasant thought.  Don't think I have ever read a blog that talked about hell.  Just not a popular talking point.  We like to think that if there is a God, why would he want us to go to hell?  He is a loving God afterall.  Sure we might send murderers, thieves, molesters there but not us, because we are good.  That is what prompted this blog.  The writer gave an example of being good that spoke miles to me.  Here it is....

"A girl was looking at a beautiful hillside covered with lush, green grass.  She noticed a herd of sheep standing on the hill.  They looked so white and clean, especially against the dark green grass.  The girl went to bed, and the next morning she walked outside to look at the sheep.  However, it had snowed all night.  The sheep were still there, but now, against the unblemished white snow, they looked dingy, even dirty.  In the same way, our "goodness" when compared to God's standard for "good" falls far, far short."

None of us deserve salvation, but because of Jesus, our sins can be covered by His blood and we can become white as snow, if we only ask Him to take control of our lives.  Yes, I believe in a literal hell - one with a bottomless pit full of non-consuming fire.  I understand that is radical thinking for some of you.  God wishes for none to go there.  He even sent His own Son so that you and I wouldn't have to go there.  All we have to do is to accept Him into our heart.  The time is now. 

Have a Blessed Day!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Not Last This Time

I know you all read about me being last at Nacho Club to have an i-phone.  I absolutely love it!  It seemed a little large to me after carrying a Razor for so many years.  Well no longer can you call me last.  This past week I ordered me this......
The I-Pad!

Since it has been so hot, Gary has been staying in the house a lot in the evenings.  Normally, he goes to his barn and tinkers with either his radio controlled air planes or his old cars and I have peace and quite in the house.  I can leave the television turned off if I want to (which is normally the case) and read or play on the laptop.  When he stays inside, the laptop is not available to me.  He researchs any and everything.  When we are watching something on tv and we wonder how old someone is, he googles it.  When we are on HGTV, he googles whether the guys are gay or not.  That totally makes me mad at him.  ha  Whatever crosses his mind, he googles it and finds the answer.  If only we could retain all this wonderful info, we could be super smart! ha  If he isn't googling, he is talking on one of his radio control websites to all the other pilots he has met over the years.  There is something on the computer to keep him busy all night.
Then I had this other "problem".  I got addicted to Words with Friends and do you know how small those letters get on an i-phone when your eyes are tired?  And when you have 6-8 games going, there is always someone to play with.  So, after asking Whitney several questions about what the I-Pad will or will not do, I broke down and ordered one.  Let me just tell you, it is the answer to all my problems! ha
If you are thinking or considering or have never thought about ordering one until you read this, let me give you one suggestion.  Step up and order the one that comes with 3G capabilities.  I debated and after discussing this with Gary, we thought it would be better to have it and never want it, than to not have it and decide we need it.  You don't have to take out the plan with AT&T unless you decide you want to and even then, you don't have to sign a contract.  We have wireless in our home, so we haven't signed on to a plan, but I can see if we travel, we would want to get the 3G for sure.  There is even an APP for Craig's List and Pottery Barn! ha  And they are large enough to actually see the items listed.  And the most wonderful thing for me is pre-ordering the books from my favorite authors and being able to read them on the I-Pad in the dark if I want to.  They will notify you when a new book is coming out by your favorite authors.  No more having to stalk Sam's Wholesale Club making sure you don't miss one.  And, the most expensive book I have seen is $12.99.  Much cheaper than the stores. 
The only down side I have noticed is that you can't text like on the I-Phone.  Well, you can through gmail or AIM, but not real texting as we are all addicted to.  So at night now, when you think of me (I know you do all the time - or at least ocassionally), you can picture me on the couch in our living room with I-Pad in lap and I-Phone on the arm of the couch.  I AM CONNECTED!
Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Moms and Their Babies

This is the time of the year that mothers cry.  At least it is the time of the year that I used to cry when Whitney was going back to school.  After all, the teacher was going to have more waking hours with my daughter than I would.  What if the teacher was not really "called" to be a teacher?  What if the teacher was a screamer?  That would make me cringe!  What if the teacher was lazy and didn't challenge my child?  That would make me cringe even more!  What if the teacher wasn't loving?  There were so many unanswered questions when school was starting and kindergarten was the absolute worse year for all of those anxious thoughts.  However, I did cry on the first day for each year of elementary school I think.  We had a group of moms that would get together for lunch or breakfast to try and console each other, but that really didn't help because we were all down.  Maybe it was losing control that was the root of this.  Or maybe just the fact that our baby was growing up.  It is just a fact of life that it is a sad day for most moms.  I found a few pictures that brought back memories.
Her class picture from kindergarten.  Missing a few teeth I see.

Whitney's kindergarten graduation.  Oh how precious was Mrs Logan!!!!!!  I had nothing to worry about with Whitney spending more time with that lady than with me.  She was a wonderful influence and we loved her so much!  We loved her all the way through high school!  The Logan's were such a big part of Pleasant Grove Schools.  They are truly missed by all who knew Alice and Clarence.

This picture is not from kindergarten but I couldn't resist adding it.  She was artist of the day.  And those glasses!  One theme runs in all of these pictures.....big bows were in!  And we had one for every outfit.  :)
Our school experience was wonderful and I really had no reason to cry. 

Today I find myself teary eyed again.  Whitney is back in kindergarten, but this time, she is the teacher.  She has worked all summer on getting her classroom to be the best it can be.  We have scrounged, begged, crafted and out right bought all sorts of things to make this year a wonderful year for the students she will have.  When she posted pictures on Facebook last night, they brought tears to my eyes.  This time because I know how hard she has worked and I realize how Blessed her students are going to be to have Mrs. Kelly as their teacher.

Sorry, this is so blurred, but it is a glimpse of all the specialness that she has added to this room.  I am sure most of you have seen the better pictures on her Facebook page.  So glad she has gotten her master's and started teaching kids how much fun it can be to read and write and do arithmetic! ha  Kindergarten sets the pace for the next 12 years.  I think these 16 kids will have a postive experience with a teacher that will love them close to as much as their parents do.  We are proud of you!  I will also be remembering all you moms out there that will be shedding those tears in the next week.  You will finally grow to long for that day!
Have a Blessed day and school year!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Motherly Advice

No, I am NOT announcing that I will be a grand mother.....but that would be a cute way to do it! ha  I am here to give you some motherly advice.  If you don't follow this advice, you may turn this adorable crying child into this.....
A spoiled brat!
And we certainly don't want to live with that or be around that type of child.  What is my advice?  Very simple.  Do NOT promise your child a treat for every time you leave them with a baby sitter or for every time you take them to a store and they are well behaved.  Why do we always feel the need to reward good behavior?  What ever happened to expecting good behavior as the norm and punishing when there isn't good behavior?  You might say accentuate the positive.....well I say, that is spoiling a child for something they should be doing anyway.  We need to teach our children that polite, mannerly behavior is expected  - not rewarded - and bad behavior will not be tolerated.  Crying and making a scene will not get the child anywhere unless it is to time out.  Treats started out as something to give on special occasions.  We have taken that way too far.
Along this line is another bad thing we are doing these days......we are making our children think they are all winners.  There are no losers in life.  That is not true.  There ARE losers in life.  Only those that work hard and achieve are winners.  Don't give every child a trophy.  Let there be winners and losers.  Teach your child how to lose gracefully.  When they grow up, there will not be anyone there telling them they are winning even when their performance at work is less than acceptable.  Teach them the hard lessons in life in small doses as children.  Give them a reason to strive to be successful. 
The hardest thing in life is to be a parent to your children and not just their friend.  They are precious little angels and you cannot give them enough love and attention, but it needs to be balanced with reality.  Always count to 10 before you speak out in anger or hand out punishment.  And, never have punishment that punishes the entire family or punishment that you really can't follow through on because it is too tough.  Think before you speak and speak in a calm, loving manner when correcting.  Oh, and never ever spank a child with your hand.  The child will relate the punishment to the parent.  Use a wooden spoon if you have to spank.  There will probably be very few times in life you would ever have to use it.
Don't ask me why I chose this topic.  Maybe working in Whitney's classroom getting it all ready for these little angels, might have tilted my brain in this direction.  ha  Or, maybe the Lord knew someone needed this.
Have a Blessed day!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rat Rods

For those of you who know us at all, you know that Gary always has a new toy and this time he has one that I really love. You may think I am crazy when you see this, but it is just darling! I have always loved the old original Fords and Chevrolets from the Depression era and now we have one! This is a 1929 Ford Roadster Truck - convertible and all!  Do you notice something strange about it other than it being rusted out?  Look close.

Do you know what that shovel was for?  Maybe the next picture will give you a clue.......
It was a grave diggers truck!  That is why the shovel is mounted on the side of the truck.  That makes this truck really something to talk about!  Does this look like a big project to you?  Not at will be a Rat Rod.  For all of us laymen out there, that means it will never have shiney new paint on it.  He will leave it rusted except for the wheels........
Gary says the wheels always have to be clean and new looking.  He can't take the rusted look on those.  He will have G.W. Strickland Custom Homes, Inc lettered onto the truck in a rusted process so it looks original to the age of the truck and he will get it running and put new brakes on it.  Not sure how far he will take the chrome or not to chrome.....ha
And what to do on the inside.....dashes have come a long ways!!!!
A lot of Rat Rods have Mexican type throws on the seats...ha We wouldn't want to make it look good for sure.  Gary has always wanted a Rat Rod...after all, he has had plenty of the shiney street rods and antiques......

his current two shiney models, so now for the fun one.

Notice the convertible top!  Let the Rat Rodding begin.  Oh, if anyone has one of those turquoise and orange striped Mexican throws, we will take it off your hands! LOL
Have a Blessed day!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Oh Mercy Me!

This weekend was a real working weekend.  No rest for the weary.  I helped to get a new kindergarten classroom set up for the first time.  Wow!  That is a major undertaking!  No more are the classrooms with rows of desk and a chalk board at the front.  Where is the front of the classroom anymore?  Where are the desks?  Little round tables have replaced them.  Gone are the days that the room had to be painted pale blue, green or yellow to keep the children calm.  Primary and bright colors are in!  Polka dots abound!  Every single inch is filled with absolute awesomeness.  The teachers wear microphones now so the students can hear better.  What happened to teachers straining their voices or talking soft until the kids got quite?  There are computers, electronic listening centers, ipads, digital cameras and the over head projectors are now called Elmo and a lot fancier than we had.  No more uses paper!  It is just amazing!  For free reading time, there is a tent in the middle of the room for two students to curl up in to read.  Everything is done in "centers" - two here, two there, and two more here.  Times have changed.

But the real change that totally took me off guard was when I needed to relieve myself.  I was told I could go use the restroom in the teacher's lounge or use the one for the kids which was right across from the classroom.  Since there aren't any kids using it now, I thought to myself, I will use it because it should be clean.  (I do not like dirty restrooms!)  I know I lead a sheltered life and don't get out into the real world much, but this totally took me off guard.  A sea of purple on the floors and walls!  When you open the door expecting a blah bathroom, this totally took me by surprise......a PURPLE MONSTER!

Never in my life have I seen this much purple in a room!  The school colors are purple and white.  And this greeted me when I opened the door along with these scenes......

The paintings are adorable - it was all the purple that almost sent me running for my life.   I think this is something you have to see in real life to get the whole affect.  It just hits you in the face - BIG TIME!  I never liked purple to begin with and now everytime I see purple again, I will think back to the moment I opened that door.  It was life changing.  One of those moments that is implanted on my brain until the day I die, I am sure.  Pure culture shock to this little old lady that leads her sheltered life.  Bless ALL the dear teachers in our world.  It is a whole new ball game.
Have a Blessed day!

Friday, July 9, 2010

My Addiction

OMG!  Why did I start this!?!?!  It is the most addicting thing I have done in a long time! LOL
My lovely husband got me an i-phone for my birthday in April.  I was the last hold out among all my friends and family.  I was kind of scared that I might not be smart enough to take advantage of this phone since I had listened to a group of ladies (who shall remain nameless) ask 1000 questions at lunch to the one person that knew the answers.  I sat there absorbing all the info and began doubting my skills.  Now I am the one that sits at a computer all day drawing houses and admit that I am fairly good at figuring things out on the computer for myself, but this i-phone thing had me wondering.  Well, after Gary set it up for me and I used it a couple of hours, I could see that an i-phone was not a scary object but loads of fun.  Texting became our way of talking in this house!  So about two weeks ago, I decided to venture on out into something a little more fun and even educational - Words With Friends.  Why on earth did I do that?  The phone is always making that little noise that someone has played and it is my turn.  And I surely can't keep my friends waiting!  It doesn't matter that I have houses to draw, bills to pay, house to clean (well, I do pay to have that done, thank heavens), yard to mow, etc, etc.....I MUST STOP and ANSWER that DING!  The funny thing about playing is that you feel like you have seen that person today and everyday.  It is a connection!  Last week we had a car of five gals headed for Tulsa.  All but one had the i-phone.  Since I was driving, I let the one person without an i-phone use mine to play Words With Friends.  They were all playing and not until we hit the Indian Nation Turnpike where there wasn't any cell service for a little while, did anyone talk to me.  They were lost in getting those triple letters, double words, etc.  When all the service was gone, I thanked them for starting to talk to me again. :) 
(Just had to answer that little call to play...sorry....spelled FRIED for 16 points)
Where was I?  Oh yes, so if you feel the need for interaction with friends and don't really want to get dressed to go out, just start a game or several games of Words With Friends and you will have constant companionship! 
I am even thinking now about getting an i-pad.  That would be easier on the eyes for playing Words With Friends, oh yes, and for reading books too and maybe even chatting with friends on Facebook.  And don't forget, you can download Pottery Barn catalogues now with their app! 
(Just had to answer that little call to play again....WARREN for 11 points.  Not as good but used up a bunch of those R's!)
Oh, and one last thing.....I even read everyone's blogs on the phone and could on the i-pad if I had one.  Now we all know that is a whole lot of fun and a great way to catch up with everyone and what they are doing.  I wonder what our parents did without all this modern technology for keeping up with friends.  I remember when we had a party line and a 3 minute limit with the one telephone that was in the hallway where everyone heard everything you said - even your neighbors if they wanted to pick up and listen on the party line! Those were NOT the days, believe me!
Guess I better sign off......Words is dinging again!
Have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Answered Prayers

I have noticed most of my blogging friends are quite these days.  We have all suffered a very sad loss in our lives - Cohen Marshall, 12 days old, went to the arms of Jesus a few days ago and it has just really affected us all.  For 12 days, we posted on facebook prayer request; sent prayer request to our Sunday School classes and our churches; messages were forwarded all over the world, literally, and prayers and petitions were made to our Lord and Savior on Cohen's behalf by friends, family and total strangers.  Never have I been a part of such a large prayer effort!  It was amazing seeing the comments every few minutes of how people were praying for Cohen and his parents.  We prayed for miracles and healing and I believe the Lord answered our prayers.  It may not be the answer that we had in our minds for physical healing on this earth so we could hold, love and cherish this dear sweet baby, but it was the ultimate healing that the Lord gave Cohen.  He has been made perfect and when it comes down to it, isn't this what we prayed for.  We wanted nothing but the best for Cohen and what can be better than for him than to be with Jesus?  Yes, it is the hardest thing we have ever experienced and yes, it hurts and hurts a lot.  Our hearts are deeply burdened for Brent and Megan.  I cannot even begin to fathom the pain they are dealing with.  If we could ease their pain, we certainly would do it, but only the Lord and time can heal this pain.  We will be there for them, but we can't take the hurt away.  That is the toughest thing a parent has to do in life - watch their children suffer and there be nothing we can really do for them.  We can love them through it and pray for them. 

There is good that comes from everything.  Sometimes it takes time to find it.  In this case, we all came closer to the Lord - that is a good thing.  God used a small baby to bring us closer to Himself.  The girls and their close friendships were such a testimony to so many.  In a world of so much bad, we were able to see what the love of great friends can really be like.  My goodness - the way Brent and Megan conducted themselves, kept us updated, documented every detail they went through no matter how hard or how painful - that was absolutely amazing and will be such a help for future families who go through this same thing. And it will be exciting to hear one day what the doctors may have learned from this experience that will help other babies.  Think of the counseling Brent and Megan will be able to give other parents that you and I would have no clue what to say.  They are both such wonderful and loving people and will be such a positive influence on others.  Wouldn't it be interesting if we could have everyone that kept up with this experience write how it changed their lives!  That would be an awesome story!  This is not the first time God used a baby to touch lives and if Cohen brought one person closer to God, then we have truly been blessed.
Have a Blessed day!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Miracles Today!

Wow!  What a day this has been!  Do you believe in miracles?  If not, I will have to pray for you because they really do exist.  Today we have experienced two miracles.  The first is the miracle of birth - not just any birth, but the birth of a dear baby with four heart defects and the stomach and liver on the wrong side of the body.  He came into this world "screaming and kicking."  That is truly a miracle from the Lord.  The second miracle was when they tested and he had his two pulmonary veins and they were not obstructed!  For the longest time, it was never certain that these veins had developed.  They are there and working!  Praise Jesus!  It seemed the whole world was praying today.  What a testimony.
     This is a priceless picture.......

Daddy, Mommy and sweet baby Cohen.  It has been a long hard nine months and this is only the beginning, but today brought hope.  Megan and Brent have been real troopers!  They have tried to stay positive and upbeat throughout this whole ordeal.  I so admire them for that.  They have drawn strength from their family, friends and most importantly, the Lord.  They have gotten their priorities straight.  Something a lot of us could learn from them.  To read more go to

And then there is this picture.....
I know it is small....but it says so much.  Where would we be without friends?  We all need someone to be there when the going gets rough.  This group of gals made a pact upon graduation to stay close and it has been 8 years and here they are all together through thick and thin.  They came from Fayetteville, Texarkana, Little Rock and Oklahoma City to be there for Megan in Dallas.  They kept the world posted on the happenings of the day on Facebook and blogs and texting.  They are truly Blessed to have each other.  That is what friends are for. 
We are not promised that life will be easy; we are promised that God will be there with us through the tough times and the good times.  We seem to call on him more when it is a tough time.  I heard one preacher say that he prayed for tough times so he would draw close to God.  I have never had the nerve to pray that prayer, but isn't it so.  We draw close when we can't do it on our own. 
Thank you God for this day of miracles!  ThankYou for this opportunity to see first hand what You are about.  Forgive us when we fail You and drift from You.  Bless Cohen as he has the surgeries his little body needs.  Thank you for miracles!
We did truly have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Some of Life's Lessons This Week

I must be getting really old cause I keep seeing lessons in everything I read and do.  I may be slowing down way tooooo much and smelling way toooo many roses! ha  Oh well, maybe you can reap something from my reflections. :)
In Sunday school we are studying the book of Leviticus - one of those Law books.  Most of the verses last Sunday started with DO NOT......and ended with OR YOU SHALL BE PUT TO DEATH.  Some were strange like do not wear two different kinds of cloth - I wonder what they do about blended fabrics we have now!  Then there was do not sleep with your relatives, your neighbors wife, another man, .... or you shall be put to death.  The punishment seemed a little harsh, but then the real lesson I gleaned from all of these DO NOTS is what one class member pointed out.  We raise our children these days that it is ok to experiment and try things for themselves - make their own decisions.  We don't give them imperatives like the DO NOT's in life.  Are we doing them justice by not setting standards and requiring them to follow them and if they DO NOT, they WILL be punished.  It is easier to let them explore and over look most of the things they do that we really don't like, because we don't want to rock the boat.  We want them to like us and think we are cool parents.  Maybe that is why so many of our children's generation lacks motivation to do good; have low standards for themselves; are under achievers and do not seek God's will for their lives.  It is much harder to be strict parents where the child knows what is expected of him.  So for you young couples starting on raising families, I know it is hard, but be your child's parent not just their friend.  Of course, there are loving ways to accomplish this.  Awesome responsibility!!

The second thing I realized this week was that it is common to hear the phrase, well nothing surprises me anymore.  That is a sad commentary on our society.  Things should surprise us.  We should be shocked.  If our standards were higher, maybe less of the bad in our world would be happening.  If you knew that your world would be shocked if you did something wrong, it might deter us.  We have become a numb society.  Sad.

And, the last lesson I learned came from the book by David Jeremiah called What In The World Is Going On?.  In biblical times, when someone left the table and had their napkin crumpled, it meant they were finished and not coming back.  If they left the table and folded their napkin neatly and laid it beside their plate, that meant they would return so do not disturb their place.  Now I honestly don't think many waiters in our day would know this tidbit, so you might not want to go to the restroom and leave you half finished plate of food with a neatly folded napkin beside your plate.  However, the interesting thing I read, was that when Jesus was in the tomb for three days and He arose, the clothes that were wrapped around His body were not disturbed (they still had the shape of his body) but the cloth used on His head was neatly folded and laying to the side of the other clothes.  This meant He would return representing the fact that He will return one day and we need to have our hearts prepared for His return.  What a glorious time that will be!  Are you ready?
Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Blackberry Cobbler

I made a wonderful cobbler a couple of weeks ago and wanted to let you in on it.  To see the original recipe, you can go to the Pioneer Woman's website Here.  I did double the amount of blackberries.  I was using frozen blackberries and 2 cups just looked skimpy so I used the whole bag from Wal-Mart.  It was just the right amount in my opinion.
For those of you that have been around our family for at least the last three years, you may remember the story of Whitney cooking her first meal for Matt when they had just started dating.  She made peach cobbler by a recipe almost identical (our family recipe doesn't use self rising flour - it uses regular flour and baking powder and salt).  When you read salt, surely you remember the salt story! haha  The recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  She was doubling the recipe so that would have been 1 teaspoon to most people.  But to Whitney's inexperienced cooking self, that turned out to be 1 CUP of salt.  The logic behind that was that everything else was in cups so she was thinking cups instead of teaspoons.  Was she just a little nervous or what?!?!!?    Needless to say, the cobbler was thrown out and I made them another one while they went to the movies that night.  That wasn't the end of the story.  For one of their wedding showers, they had a stock the pantry shower.  Well, each hostess brought her salt as a gift (along with a lot of other wonderful things to cook with.)  She still, 3 years later, has salt in her pantry!
By the way, this recipe can be used with peaches and is absolutely wonderful too!  Nothing like Southern cooking.  Thanks Pioneer Woman!


1 stick Butter

1-¼ cup Sugar

1 cup Self-Rising Flour

1 cup Milk

2 cups Blackberries (frozen Or Fresh)

Preparation Instructions

Melt butter in a microwavable dish. Pour 1 cup of sugar and flour into a mixing bowl, whisking in milk. Mix well. Then, pour in melted butter and whisk it all well together. Butter a baking dish.

Now rinse and pat dry the blackberries. Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle blackberries over the top of the batter; distributing evenly. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over the top.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees

Have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

All About Reactions

Came across a very interesting way to handle obstinate husbands today! haha  Maybe you young gals don't have those, but we older women all agree that we do! ha  I was reading another great book.....I hope you don't get tired of me telling you lessons I learn from good novels....and I read something that I have to share with you. 
This book is by an author I have written about before in another blog, Debbie Macomber.  Her newest book is "Hannah's List". A great book and an easy read.  It wasn't until almost the end of the book that I really got enlightened on how to deal with conflict in marriages and relationships.  Two of the characters in the book really love each other, but they can't stand to be around each other because it always turns into an argument.  Now, I know this never happens in your marriage, but SHOULD it ever happen, I want you to think about using this technique to work through your problems.  :) 
Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle from top to bottom.  On the left side, list all the things that totally make you mad about your significant other.  The girl in the story listed when her boyfriend came home from a bad day at work, he was moody and took it out on her; when she cooked him a great meal, he always stood up to eat it - never sat down to savor the meal (he was a chef); he was an untidy person and then accuses her of hiding his things; and, he thought he was a better chef than she was.  You get the idea.  Be very honest with yourself about this.
Then you would think on the right hand side of the paper you would list the things about him that you love - WRONG!  There might not be many things you can think of after making that list! ha  So, on the right hand side of the paper, list how you respond or react to each thing on the left hand side of the paper.  When he comes in moody and gripes, she argues back at him and they fight because she doesn't deserve how he treats her; when he won't sit down to eat, she insists that he does, and they fight; etc, etc.
As the character reads the list and how she reacts, she realizes that she was a part of the problem as much as the boyfriend.  The one helping her to see this about herself tells of how her husband responded when she came home all upset and ranting and raving.  He would calmly listen to her problems and when she was done, he would wrap his arms around her, give her a big hug and tell her how much he loved her.  This only happened after the husband made his own list and they worked through the things that upset them about each other.  It is all about REACTION.  If your husband comes home tired and grouchy, remember he loves you and is needing your love right then.  He isn't needing someone to fight with.  Listen to his complaints, wrap your arms around him and tell him you love him and he is wonderful.  WOW!  That could change the whole evening.  Even if he doesn't want to make his own list, start with yours and change your reactions.  That might eliminate the length of his list one day! ha 
I wish I had someone to tell me stuff like this when I was younger - not that Gary would ever cause me any grief! LOL  Gary's favorite line is none of us are perfect - there was only One perfect person, and we crucified Him.  Truer words were never spoken.
Have a Blessed Day!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Masters and Paintings

Not a very good picture since I saved it from Facebook.....but it is a picture of a very good girl! ha  We are so proud of Whitney getting her master's degree in education.  Now she is a fully licensed teacher and will even be earning a better salary since she has her master's degree!  Dad and I and Matt are very happy about that! ha  But having a masters doesn't mean you are totally smart and always think clearly.
After graduation, Whitney and I went shopping.  I had decided that would be our gift to her for her accomplishment.  We had a full afternoon of shopping and got lots done.  Maybe she will post pictures of her two new dining chairs we got for their table and the neat vase and live bamboo for the centerpiece.  Then we had to buy groceries for the Mother's Day meal so we were pooped!  She called in pizzas for us to pick up on the way home in the next town over from Carlisle.  I asked her at the stop light should I take the service road and she said, "Oh no, just go straight."  Well, straight was the entrance to I-40 and she realized that there was no entrance to the pizza place the way we were going.  So I pulled over to the shoulder of the road and she had to hop out, run across the grass between the road we were on and the service road to get our pizza.  She was totally embarrassed!  That was a "duh" moment in life.  Had she not done this, it would have been 10 miles to Carlisle and then 10 miles back to Lonoke.  Not good for two tired women with two husbands at home waiting on dinner.  Thankfully, I remembered to get the old camera out so I could let you all know about it! :)
When Gary and I got back home Sunday evening, I had a package waiting for me.  A few weeks ago I ordered a painting from Trish Jones at Old Post Road.   I love her little paintings with the scriptures on them. 
I hung this just to the left of my computer.  How nice to look at it while I work and to be constantly reminded to "Be joyful always; Pray continually; Give thanks in all circumstances."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.  That could change the world if we all would live those verses out daily in our lives and,  think how much brighter my days will be because this painting is there!  You can order off her Etsy site or do as I did and have her custom make you exactly what you want.  Thanks, Trish!  I absolutely love it!
Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Something To Make You Smile

It seems like this past week or so, there are many of us going through some tough times in relationships, whether it is family, friends or business.  Seems like everyone I know has told me something that they are trying to "get through".  I read another good book that would put all of these things in perspective called "Safely Home" (I don't know how to underline on here - maybe someone can tell me) by Randy Alcorn, but this isn't going to be another post about a great book.  Instead, I have some pictures that would make most of those following this blog at least chuckle, if not laugh right out loud since most of you know my husband.  For those that do not, well what can I say, maybe that you are missing something (I won't say what) in your lives! ha  Love you darling and I was just kidding.  He is a wonderful man, (worries to much), and is about 6' tall to put these pictures into perspective, but does know how to have fun and let people laugh at him.  I think you will see from the following pictures why I say this.  Let me preface these pictures with a note that I know the quality is awful.  The blurriness comes because the parties in the pictures are moving and I was using my cell phone that was only a week old, so I did good to get these pictures at all.  I sooooo wish I had remembered I had video capabilities on the phone.  It would have been so much better.  Maybe this will take away some of the bad that seems to beset us lately.  Enjoy.  ( He is the passenger - not the driver)

Needless to say, they drew a large crowd of spectators at the car show!  They took this little three wheeled vehicle for about a 15 minute drive and there were even more people there to watch them get OUT of the car.  He said it really wasn't that uncomfortable but for $35,000 he really wouldn't want to take it around town to check on the houses he is building! ha  I think he prefers his King Ranch for that.
Have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Same Kind of Different As Me

I recently read a book that will make an impact on your life so I wanted to share it.  It is non-fiction, which I normally do not like.  It seems to me that a lot of non-fiction books get boring or have long sections that just don't seem to keep my interest, but this one is different.  This one renews your faith in man and your faith in God.  It shows you how short sited we are; how sheltered we tend to live our lives; and how we miss Blessings because we don't stay in tune to what the Lord would have us do in our lives.  It is a real eye opener and a simple read.  So step out of the box, purchase this book (Sams Wholesale Club had it) and change the way you look at the world.  If you are reading this post, then you are more Blessed than a lot of people because it means you have a computer and an internet provider - that is Blessed!  Thank the Lord for your Blessings and then share with someone else what the Lord has so graciously provided for you.  Being self centered is an awful state to be in.  You will never be good enough, have enough, look good enough, etc, etc.  Become a giving person that dwells on others needs rather than on your own and THEN you will be able to see the Blessings you have been given.  Start by doing something nice this week for someone you care about and maybe it will lead to you doing something nice for a complete stranger one day.
Enjoy reading and have a Blessed day!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Time for a Change

Spring always makes me want to change something in my house.  The sun has been shining in my eyes in my office for 7 years now and I decided it was time to do something about it.  That got the ball to rolling.  I wanted to use roman shades on the window since it is 7' wide and that would give me some fabric to add some style to the room.  Then that made me think it would be the time to paint if I am buying new fabric! ha  So I have had the office painted Superior Bronze from Sherwin Williams, a checked roman shade made, a new chair which required new cushions made for it, rematted the one large picture I use and then I changed all the open shelving decorations.  One roman shade sure made a lot of work!  Thought the pictures of the shelves might inspire you to do something new in your house.  Here is the new roman shade.
And the new chair with the cute orange pillow/cushions......
And then I had to have more orange.....don't you love the boxwood ball!

Birds are BIG this year!  What do you think about my lime green canary!  I love it!  The grain bin was one of the original ones Matt's grandfather built on the Kelly farm.  Whitney took the picture and I thought it went well in this grouping.

Another bird...from Pottery Barn.  The orange vases are from H&N Floral here in Texarkana.  You might want to check them out on Facebook too!  A wonderful place to shop if you haven't been!  I removed some of the shelves to give me taller spaces.  Note the picture hanging on the back of the shelf.  Gives a complete look to the area.

A larger view of the shelves directly over my computer center.  Sitting in front of the rectangle boxwood is a little embroidered picture I found this past week in Little Rock that reads, "It's never too late to be what you might have been."  How wonderful is that!  The brown box above that is special ordered along with the boxwoods from Park Street Market!  I hope that link works!

And last, but not least, I had to decorate on top of Gary's gun safe!  ha  Needed a little feminine added.

There is still one more custom painting I am having done as we speak.  I will blog about it all on it's own, whenever it comes in. 
I love the new office, but let me just say, I still really don't want to work.  Even when you love the surroundings you are in, work is still work.  We had a minister one time that told Gary and me, "that is why it is called work".  Truer words were never spoken.  I guess I really should be glad I have work to do and the health to do it!  Thank you God for giving us a Blessed day!