Tuesday, June 29, 2010



After waiting and pruning and transplanting and trying to pick a handful in a mosquito storm, a cool breeze blew enough bloodsuckers away that I finally braved the raspberry patch.

Old wood lay low, laden with scrumptious fruit. It finally offered a gift.

I ate each slowly, savoring the firstfruit.

This fact of nature holds true for me, too. With maturity comes fruit. Old wood bears the best fruit.

And He who planted me and prunes me, savors my fruit.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Corn Crib Pavillion and Robb's 40th Birthday Party

Robb has always said he does not like a big to-do about his birthday. This year he changed his mind. Maybe it was because he turned 40. Maybe it's his way of having a mid-life crisis. Whatever the reason, I got busy planning a BIG party on the farm.  I'm fine with that kind of crisis!

In fear of rain or hot sun, and in need of some sort of shelter, we brain-stormed, almost rented a tent, and in the end, necessity and frugality birthed a great invention. We converted the corn crib into a rustic pavilion.

I scavenged windows we have just removed from the barn for a renovation we are undertaking, begged old sheets off my mom to be used as curtains and table-clothes, poked around some more for makeshift conduit curtain rods, discovered old barn doors just asking to be used as tables, vacuumed the walls (yes, I did!), gathered jars and flowers

and re-purposed the old milk-parlor-bulk-tank-room sink. I joked that we even had our own "water feature" as the ice melted, dripping down the drain into buckets.

For entertainment, the kids swam in the pool, played volleyball or nuke-em, and ladder golf. And when we have a pool party with lots of children invited, we attempt to keep all wet towels and bodies out of the house.

So, of course we needed a:

complete with lockers.

Midway through the day, the girls claimed this space for their own, kicking the boys out to change in the rented outhouse. Who knew this room would evolve into a playroom?

Everyone had a great time. We were extremely relieved because we've had a wet couple of weeks and the mosquitoes had just hatched. I cannot begin to tell you how awful they were and how worried it made it us about this party. We were swarmed. The hum would not go away. We were afraid to even go outside. It was not funny.

Robb pouted and prayed and I tried to be positive that the forecast was for wind and sun and surely that would help.

In the end I was right. But Robb was true to nature and sprayed the entire lawn and shrubs with a mixture of Lemon Joy dish soap and Lemon Ammonia (mosquitoes don't like the smell of lemon) just to make sure those buggers did not bug us or our friends. They stayed away until dusk and by then most of our friends were gone anyway. BigSighofRelief.

My sister Laura and niece Victoria (daughter of Sara).

The Hendrys

Our longtime babysitter, Hannah, and her littlest sister, JennaRose

We ended the day sharing fireworks with the two families remaining of our nearly 60 guests.

I am now in love with this outdoor room and can't wait to host our next farm party!

P.S. I've linked this post to DIY Day over at A Soft Place to Land, and I've added a link to today's post, too. 07/20/10 ~KJ

Friday, June 25, 2010

Filed Under Grace - June

Only be careful, 
and watch yourselves closely 
so that you do not forget the things 
your eyes have seen 
or let them slip from you heart 
as long as you live. 
Teach them to your children 
and to their children after them
~ Deuteronomy 4:9

Welcome to Filed Under Grace : Documenting Answered Prayer, a monthly blog hop, where we share with each other and endeavor to remember, specific answers to prayer. I feel strongly the need to remember. And to remember I must write down a record, because my memory is weak, my faith forgetful.

Look to the Lord and his strength, 
seek his face always. 
Remember the wonders he has done, 
his miracles, 
and the judgments he pronounced. 
~ 1 Chronicles 16:11-12

His faithfulness continues toward our family, but this month I want to share a couple links with you of families who have experienced big answers to prayer recently. Both are real life friends. Both had premature babies.
I prayed for both.

Emily overcame many health challenges. Elliot avoided many health challenges. Both beat the odds and are doing well. 

Thank you, Lord, for grace toward these families. Thank you for your continued provision for ours. Thank you for daily graces of sun and rain and love.

Do you have a grace to document? Do you feel the need to remember? Check out the rules and link up! Don't have a blog? Share in a comment below.

Birthday Boat Day

Today Mitchell turns 11. Man, time flies! He is now in our church youth group. How is this possible?

His party was yesterday, at Grandma and Grandpa's house on the lake.  He and four of his friends went tubing and swimming and I had the easiest birthday party to host ever. My dad drove the boat, I rode along and then got my own turn on the tube, we had watermelon on the dock, and Dairy Queen cake on the deck.

Unfortunately, I forgot my fancy camera, so you are stuck with what I captured with my cell phone.

the middle and lower deck

The boys discovered it is just as fun to fall off the tube as to stay on. Then they discovered how difficult heaving yourself back on the tube is when you are in the middle of the lake.

They later convinced Megan and Madison to fall off on purpose and as the boat circled to pick the girls up, the boys cheered them on and gave them thumbs up for a risk well taken.

A fun time was had by all.

The third week of June is crazy with birthdays and our anniversary and Father's Day, so as I planned Mitchell's party, I was making reservations for a B&B and preparing for Robb's party. He turned 40 on Saturday! We've been prepping and mowing and weeding and scavenging the farm for rustic decor. Frugality and the threat of rain were inspiration to convert a corn crib into a party room. I can't wait to show it to you!

I promise to use my good camera!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How I got Bursitis

Or whatever technical name my dad spouted off when I told him my wrist hurt.

I painted.

This bedside table and headboard.

This old dresser. Which by the way, I especially love in black.

Before. A long time before. The uniform is long gone from the wall.Ugh.

I also painted this tea cart for the dollhouse I made when I was 13 and just can't part with because I know my daughters will love to play with when I finally allow them to actually touch it. (I know that's a run-on, but sometimes I talk that way. :P ) The cart I found at goodwill for cheap cause it was butt ugly. And missing a drawer. But it was the perfect height and width so the dollhouse can turn on its lazy susan and not hit the rail. And I'm lazy and abhor shopping with three kids, so when I find something that might work on my once a quarter trip to goodwill, I grab it and think later. Three coats of paint and I love it. Now my dollhouse needs its own updated curb appeal. :)

Stair landing before. 

 I painted the $10.00 goodwill dresser,
(a lucky find that fits this space perfectly)
stole my sister's recovered chair, 
and re-used a sheer I removed from my living room.
I then shopped my walls for pictures and these found a new place.

There's such satisfaction in reusing old stuff. A coat of paint makes a world of difference!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Yes, I Do

Twelve years ago today.

I took the leap of faith called marriage. I looked in the eyes of this man and said yes forever. Yes to love. Yes to commitment. Yes to vulnerability. Yes to forgiveness. Yes to laughter and tears. Yes to growth. Yes to whatever life became together.

I said I do.

I still do.

I love you, Robb.
To you, I say yes.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Rain on my window

Rain, rain, go away.
Sun come out,
I want to play.

That was yesterday.

My phone beeped weather alerts multiple times,
my kids hung out in our not-so-bad,
but not-really-that-nice farmhouse basement
and I had the convenient opportunity to make my husband's wishes come true
and organize the piles of empty boxes and outdoor stuff cluttering the floor.

Today the sun is shining, the wind is blowing and things are drying out.

I'm thankful no tornados were seen here and we could watch the last episodes of Monk in safety. Speaking of Monk, I wish all shows ended that well. Yes, I cried happy tears. And it's just a TV show. Any recommended series you would suggest we get from Netflix next?

Today is the last day my kids will spend their day at VBS and the last day for me to get projects done in peace and quiet. Don't get me wrong. I love my kids. But the chance to paint and re-decorate with only my own thoughts to interrupt me is cherished.

I've finished my projects. I keep wandering the house to admire my own handiwork. Do you do that, or am I crazy? Pictures coming soon.

I planned on ending my week with a full day of deep cleaning. But my body rebelled and insisted on a nap. It was blissful until I smelled my chicken on the stove smoking. Thankfully it didn't burn to a crisp...

Looking forward to this weekend. Two birthday parties for friends, my husband turns 40, we celebrate our 12th anniversary and Father's day! And because I had a week to myself, I'm not even stressed out about it!

Rain on my window has been shared at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry.com for You Capture. Check it out!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The winner is.....

Hello! I am at my husband's office, looking out at the rain, enjoying the quiet as ALL of my children are currently enjoying ALL DAY VBS!!  How did I get so lucky? I don't know, but I have big plans for this week! First up, our winner! My appologies for not being able to do this yesterday. I can't access comments on my phone. Don't know why....maybe 'cause I use Disquis....

Anyhoooooo.......Ya ready??

Comments are in reverse order, so if I counted right, #11 (and skipping my own responses) is Blessedw5mom! Yay! I am so glad - she and I go way back - all the way to youth group and a missions trip we took to Mexico together. I reconnected with her when I randomly ran across her blog! How crazy is that! Send me your address, and I'll have CSN send you the $$$ certificate! Happy shopping!

Now I'm off to visit the clinic, to give a little blood to the lab and see how my thyroid is doing. Then I plan on using my kid-free afternoon to paint a dresser. Yay me!

The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

The Hole in Our Gospel is not an easy read. It speaks of something more that needs to be done, something given that we often want to keep to ourselves, something difficult that must be faced. It outlines teachings from scripture on poverty, wealth, justice and oppression to which we've paid little attention. We may as well take a scissor and cut a hole in our gospel.

We are rich Americans and we're not sharing.

You think you're not rich? This book will convince you otherwise.

"We don't believe we are wealthy, so we don't see it as our responsibility to help the poor. We are deceived" (p 216).

It's the book I was afraid to read. Afraid because I knew it could possibly change my life. Or at least challenge me to change a few things about the way I live. But I knew I must. Sometimes God compels us to read or do a particular thing to pursue growth. It's to growth we are called and required. And so I picked it up and plodded through.

He practices what he preaches. Richard Stearns shares his struggle to leave his position as an affluent CEO to president of World Vision. He himself sponsors a dozen or so children and gives generously to those in need. He challenges each of us to take the same journey in our own way, using our own God-given time, talent and treasure.

"We have, in fact, reduced the gospel to a mere transaction involving the right beliefs rather than seeing in it the power to change the world" (p 243).

This isn't just about money and giving more. Change begins as we pray the prayer of World Vision founder, Bob Pierce,

"Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God."

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Sunday, June 13, 2010

No Signal

I intended to have a winner posted, but my internet decided to go on the fritz. I got nothin'. Not even intermittent signal. It took my husband and I approximately a half hour to figure out who to call and what our account name and password are. We are that organized. So here I sit with blazing thumbs typing on my blackberry. Quite a crimp in my style. Hey, but with all the extra time I've had, my office is now clean. That's not all bad. And I have this nice little gadget so I'm up to date on my google reader, facebook and twitter, at least! A service guy will be out soon to realign our dish or something, and then I'll be back to declare a winner! Later--

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hammock Fun - You Capture

Fun! Even on a cloudy, windy, chilly day, my kids found there was fun to be had on our new hammock.

All I've heard is giggles and happy sounds making their way to the warmth of my office.

Ok, so that WAS true. Now this crying kid needs a mommy intervention.  

Oh well.

It was fun while it lasted.

For more fun, check out the giveaway I've got going on - a $40 gift certificate to CSN.com, which has 200+ online stores. Shopping with free money. Now that's fun!

For more pictures of fun ~ visit Beth at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry.com  for You Capture.

I Love a Deal {Giveaway}

Maybe I’ve been reading too many home decorating and DIY blogs, or maybe I’ve just been in this house long enough that I’m finally getting my decorating feet back, but I’ve been in a bit of a design mood lately. OK, well, I use the word design loosely, but I am now looking at every wall and space with critical eyes and creative mind.

Garage sale-ing feeds my habit.

I have a list in my head of wants and wishes and wouldn’t that be nice.

And some days I find it all.

Recently I came home from garage sale-ing (how DO you spell that anyway? Saling just looks funny and spell check doesn't like it either!) with a gun cabinet for Robb (for his BB gun! Lol), a hide-away ironing cabinet ($5), a TV cabinet ($15), a coffee table ($25), wall art ($4) for above my couch and a bag of clothes for Megan and I can't remember what else. My van was full, and that was before the TV cabinet and coffee table. Thank goodness for parents with a trailer who offer free delivery! Thanks mom, for volunteering dad. Thanks dad, for complying!

Another day I found a bedroom vanity for Madison just like the one in Megan’s room. She’d been telling me how unfair it was that Megan had one and she didn’t, so lucky for me I found a match (for $10) and don’t have to listen to whining and comparing on that subject anymore! Life is never fair, I tell my kids, but sometimes it's nice when things work out anyway!

In honor of my creative burst and good-deal-finding, I am thrilled for the opportunity to offer you all the chance to win a $40.00 gift certificate to CSN.com. Need a vanity like I did? No? You can find just about anything to fill your particular need at one of their 200+ stores. And with that credit you just might get what you want for a garage sale price!

Now that’s the kind of shopping I like!

Leave a comment ~ about a good deal you found recently ~ to enter.
Tweet about this giveaway and, leave a link to the tweet below, to enter a second time.
This giveaway ends on Saturday the 12th, so comment soon!

Thanks all, for reading and visiting! I appreciate your comments and friendship!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Favorite Guacamole

Creamy. Summery. Yummy-ness. I love guacamole.

Whether inside, cooped up on a snowy day, in need of some hint of warmth or sitting by the pool basking in the warm sun with iced tea and a friend, this snack is perfect for any season.

I'm quite addicted and completely partial to this recipe.

1 ripe avocado
2 tablespoons of my salsa recipe.
2 tablespoons diced red onion
salt to taste

(This picture shows a portion of leftover salsa frozen in an ice cube tray. 
I defrosted it for 12 seconds in the microwave after the picture was taken.)

Mash with fork until perfectly blended ~ both creamy and chunky.

Just try and not eat. it. all. in one sitting!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Nameless Cat

This pretty kitty has gifted us with his presence.

He came gently.

He found refuge and shade in the bushes next to our house, with field dirt clinging and not quiet well, messy ears and all. Though we are no animal experts around here, my husband said he needed to be shot. 

But our kids have loved him and cuddled him and sneaked him leftovers and he's still here. After so many rough kids lugging him around, I'm surprised. Never a scratch or a hiss, though, poor cat.

He doesn't look so bad now and seems to like the IAMS I bought him. He waits on the stoop for food and love and must think this place is his home.

If he sticks around long enough, we may just think it is too.

Sharing little gifts today, for Tuesdays Unwrapped.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Rainy Funeral Day Reflections

The rain drip drip, drips. The lilac outside my window twitches as raindrops gently wash leaves.

Appropriate on the day of a funeral.

I did not know the deceased well. I’d met him once or twice. He stayed away for fear. Fear of rejection, I suppose, because we call ourselves by the name of Christ. He never pursued grace. He never came near enough to find that we were broken too.

Broken, then forgiven. Made whole by Grace and Love and surrender.

Some are vocal about his lifestyle. I wonder, do they know any of these people personally? Do they see the hurt that led them there? Do they hear with their hearts the cry for wholeness?

I think not.

How is their sin any different than mine? My pride. My gossip. My anger. If I am going to call his sin out by name, then I call mine out too.

All sin separates. Sin destroys. All sin destroys.

Christ is not pleased by attacking those trapped in sin. He died for them, too.

He offers himself and pleads, “Go, and sin no more.”

The rain drip, drips.

I wish he’d known its cleaning power. I wish he’d been Living Water cleansed, filled so full that he would never thirst again.

I grieve. Not just for him, but for all who die that never really lived.

He speaks. "Go. Sin no more. Drink. Be filled."

The rain drip, drips.

Are you listening?

Saturday Evening Blog Post - May

Hi all!

It's come again, that chance to share your best. Have you checked out Elizabeth Ester's Saturday Evening Blog Post opportunity yet?

Hop on over to see what post I shared from this month.

It's raining here today, and that's a relief. After a couple days of labor around the yard (think 1 1/2 cubic yards - or  a whole pickup load - of wood chips distributed by me, myself and I), I'm ready to catch up in the house. I am Blog Book designing this morning and hope to catch up on laundry and housework later. I've found that I can't keep both the outside and the inside looking great all at once. When one is under the control, the other suffers. It's either a clean, weed free garden or a clean house. So, as I sit in a cluttered office, I look out the window toward my newly mulched garden.

Order is there. I turn my eyes to beauty.

Friday, June 4, 2010

How to camp without roughing it at all.

Bring your Bunn coffee maker so no one will ever have an empty mug. A little baileys never hurt either.

Camp with friends so your children don't get bored. 
You'll rarely see them because they'll entertain each other.

Make use of all available activities. Especially the ones for which you have no skill.
It will bring back all kinds of insecurities from Phy. Ed. class, 
but at your age it's time you overcome those anyway.

Play with your kids so as to feel even more insecure when they are more skilled than you. 
At least your weakness will boost their self-esteem.

Play when no one is looking and don't keep score. That always helps.

Bring Bikes. They are endless entertainment.

Especially when you ride you're big brother's friend's bike and he is nice enough to help you.

Camp local. Then friends who aren't camping can stop by and visit. 
Also, when your daughter forgets her pajamas, 
and you realize she is unreasonably attached to them, 
you can go home and fetch them and anything else you've forgotten


Finally, some in the group must have a camper with a DVD player. 
At the end of the day, insert a new movie, set the kids up with snacks and drinks and you will enjoy uninterrupted grownup campfire/card-playing time.

Go to bed tired, but happy.