Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Two weeks ago Ann at Holy Experience wrote a very moving post about her trip to Guatamala.  She challenged everyone to think and write about how to "serve the least of these".  I wrote a post in which I  dared myself to be more than touched by the story, to actually do something more than write a blog post.

Last week I didn't participate.  I wrote about stealing peaches instead because I had a funny story to share but also because I had not made any progress on my goal of making something happen.  It is so easy to be blinded by the business and busyness of life.  Our family has made a huge transition moving, beginning a busy school life and settling into a new community and I have been so focused on  adjusting the kids and setting up our home.  It's easy to have tunnel vision.

But I feel a pull to do something more.  And it can be difficult to have eyes that truly see.  So I have been reading and listening to others and purposefully looking for opportunities.

Here are some of the things I found over the last few weeks.

-  My wonderful new neighbors, the Woods family, are leaving for Rwanda Africa today.  In fact they are gone as of 5:00 this morning.  Paul did some work on our house before we moved in.  Jennifer would have been my son's 2nd grade teacher.  Their son Matthew has been a partner in crime with my boys since the day we moved in. They have put their suburban American life on hold and will be working with Rwandan missionaries for 2 years.  I will be praying for them and following their blog Woods in Rwanda.

-  I loved a post by fellow blogger Michelle of Graceful about delivering Meals on Wheels with her young children.  Check out Graceful: Wheeling Meals.   I love that makes an impact on her own community.

- Another new friend is organizing a sewing group to make blankets and toys for an orphanage in Africa that her father is affiliated with.  

I am motivated by these folks to keep looking and praying that the right opportunity will show itself to me despite my nearsightedness.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I have a confession to make.

I am a thief.

I have a new friend that has influenced me to turn to a life of crime.

You see, we have been walking our dogs together everyday.  And there is this house down the street that has been for sale for quite a while.  There is a beautiful peach tree in the yard that is being ignored.  Everyday we say  "I can't believe they are not picking those peaches!"  or "Look at those beautiful peaches still on that tree!"
And then she says casually "we ought to come down one night...".

The seed is planted.

We begin to case the joint.

How many other houses look out on that peach tree?
What time does it get dark?
What do we say if we get caught?
Do you have a good peach pie recipe?

And then... we notice a moving truck.  What luck!  They are moving out.
Now we pass an empty house.  Are the new owners coming soon?  Are they anticipating their new peach tree?  We discuss this for days.

Then 3 days ago we see that the peaches are now beginning to fall to the ground and rot by the dozens.  For shame!  Now we MUST pick them.  It is our civic duty to not let those peaches go to waste.

"I'll call you at 9:00 pm."

The phone rings.
"I'm putting on my black coat so my white T-shirt doesn't attract attention.  Should we bring a flashlight?"
My husband says in the background "Tell her you can borrow my night vision goggles."
Her husband says "Make sure you get at least 20-30 peaches."

Down the alley we go.  We cut between the garage and the side yard.  She steps on the metal for sale sign that has been thrown behind the garage and it clatters loudly.  I begin to laugh then I step on a rotten peach and it squirts everywhere.  More laughter.  Then we begin to fill our bags.  My life of crime has begun.
It was fun and the peaches are so good!  Yesterday she came over and we made peach cobbler for our families and had no remorse.

While the kids are in school we take the dogs on a longer walk around the lake and past a community garden.
What a pretty sight - a lake, mountain views, and pumpkins growing on their vines signaling the days of autumn to come.

Hum... "Do you have a wheelbarrow?"

Monday, September 20, 2010

GIFTS 359-385

359.  sidewalk chalk
360.  princess dresses
361.  cousins the same age
362.  neighbor girls the same age

363.  spray fountains
364.  ice cream after school
365.  new friends
366.  a new table for our gazebo
367.  a garage sale bargin
368.  our collection of shells
369.  a cool evening
370.  a meal to celebrate Daddy coming home from a long trip
371.  a long walk around the lake
372.  mountain views
373.  apple pie
374.  carmel and pecan covered apples
375.  finding a new church home
376.  memory verses
377.  hands held during prayer
378.  having one young enough to still hold on my hip (but not for long)
379.  the question from little mouths - "when is it church day again?"
380.  the anticipation of leaves changing
381.  visits from family
382.  good progress reports
383.  great teachers
384.  confident decisions
385.  an engagement announced (Congratulations to my brother!)

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I am a terrible tooth fairy!  I have forgotten more than once.  

Like last night...

And the night before that.


So the story is this.  Jack got knocked in the face during a crazy game of tag.  His tooth fell out.  

Round 1:
We put it in a plastic baggie and tucked it under his pillow.  All set.

It wasn't until the next morning that I remembered.  And in all honestly, not until Jack reached under his pillow to find nothing.  

And I mean nothing.  No money, no tooth, no plastic bag!   

"Oh! Look Jack.  You must have knocked it through this crack at the head of your bed"  I said.
"The tooth fairy never knew it was there.  She doesn't look under beds you know, only under pillows". 
And we pushed the mattress forward and tucked the bag back under the pillow.

Round 2:
Last night - Success!  I remembered to put a crisp one dollar bill into the baggie and remove the tooth.  
Unfortunately I had no pockets and it was dark so I set the tooth on the tabletop outside his bedroom while I went to tuck in my older (non-tooth fairy believing) son.  And here is where my failure continues.  I forgot the tooth.  It sits there in plain sight for 24 hours.

Round 3:  
Tonight as I tuck my young one in bed and kiss him goodnight he giggles and says "I gotta tell you something mama.  I'm testing to see if the tooth fairy is real."
I wait.  Racking my brain to see where this is going.
"I found a tooth out there by the TV and I put it in a plastic bag and put in under my pillow!"

"Good idea sweetie" I say and shut the door.  
Now what?  This is such a comedy of errors.  Jack just doubled his money!
I don't know who is fooling who around here. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


There are some blogs that I have have come to love over the past few years.  We all have our favorites.  
Most mom bloggers know about Ann from Holy Experience.  She is an amazing writer and photographer and so consistent and honest in her blog.  Since I have quite a few family members and friends who do not blog I thought I should introduce you to the inspiration behind  the Gratitude Community and 1000 Gifts.  I always link up to her Gratitude posts on Mondays.   She even has a book coming out next year!
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

Occasionally I participate in Walk With Him Wednesdays,  where dozens of other women share their their thoughts on topics of faith.   Ann has just come back from a trip with Compassion to Guatemala City.  She has written some beautiful words about meeting her sponsor child.  These next few weeks she has asked everyone to discuss  "how to care for the least of these". 
I have no answers - only thoughts leading to questions.

Those in need are easy to find in Guatemala City and countless places around the world.  I see the news, I read the blogs of those who have been, I see the photos and I am moved.

I am removed.

In my air conditioned SUV, I listen to satellite radio, driving my children to their private school.  I stood in my brightly lit, walk-in closet this morning contemplating what to wear.  I own 14 pairs of shoes.  I have accessories.

On a shelf in my closet, sits a silver frame, within a photo of Winifrida.  She lives in Tanzania, Africa in a area where AIDS is rampant.    She is happy in the photo because the money we sent was used to purchase her shoes and a bag of rice for her family.  She doesn't own accessories. She lives in a mud hut.  

How do these worlds exist simultaneously?  The silver frame and the mud hut.  The excess and the need. When you live in suburbia, how do you cross that bridge to "the least of these"?
I don't know.
I do know that sending that monthly check is good.  It is good, but not enough.  It is like the Bible story of the widow's offering.  We are the rich who give out of their wealth not out of sacrifice.  
I hope that someday I can go, like Ann, and see this child that writes me letters of thanks for changing her life.  She traced her hand once on the back of the letter.  She draws little pictures of people and huts and balls.  

"To whom much is given, much will be expected."
 Those are heavy words, when weekly I list the hundreds of gifts that I have been given.  

I keep going back to Ann's post, her experience.  Her description of meeting a native minister there and his story of coming to Christ through a billboard that read  "God is love.  Now experience it."
And his words "...and I do all this because he who has been loved much, serves much."  

Again - heavy words.

And the question.  Will I do something with this?
Can I be more than touched and moved?  Will I move and touch?
Will I find the least of these in my community?  Let's find out.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


326.  the last blooms of summer
327.  a crispness in the morning air
328.  preparing for autumn
329.  old books
330.  lamplight
331.   sparkly new big-girl bikes
332.  making a new friend that shares my paint and fabric obsession
333.  Wednesday night dinners at church
334.  hearing the girl chatter from my daughter's room 
335.  lemonade stands
336.  community garage sales
337.  story time crafts at the library
338.  gummy worms
339.  the 48 hour painting crew
340.  new pale pink walls (no pictures until I finish the curtains)
341.  online knitting sites
342.  the magic that happens with 2 sticks and some string
343.  frilly new teacups
344.  a cup of tea on the front porch in the cool morning air
345.  vintage typewriters
346.  the color orange
347.  new friends at the dog park
348.  dogs and kids wearing each other out by running laps 
349.  a hilarious site at the Walmart intersection  (prairie dogs waiting for the light to change!)
350.  100% on spelling tests
351.  pizza day at school
352.  carpooling
353.  teachers who assign "random acts of kindness" as homework
354.  compliments on my children's behavior from the couple behind us in church
355.  a soft mattress and feather pillow
356.  a change of attitude
357.  how easily a list of hundreds is compiled
358.  the abundance of God's love and care

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Today I was going to write a cute little post about Barbies and then I turned on my computer and saw a comment waiting from Nancy.  (She is one of those 3 fans I mentioned yesterday, that missed my absence in the blogging world.)  I popped over to Nancy's place and saw that she had written about September 11 and she was encouraging everyone to write down their memories of that day.

We all share those moments that stand still in time rather than blur into one another as so many of our days, months and years do.  Nancy describes the day JFK was shot down to the detail of the chicken salad sandwhich her mother served while they watched it unfold on television.  I remember being in the library in middle school when the space shuttle Challenger blew up.  I can picture the very moment, the curve on the street, the dashboard of my car, the lunch I just ate, when I turned on the radio to hear the announcement that the federal building in my home state of Oklahoma had just been bombed.  

On September 11, 2001 my first born was in his first week of a Mother's Day Out program at church.  I was 8 months pregnant with my daughter and was in the car headed home to prepare the nursery.  My husband had driven to Arkansas on business for the week.  Again it was the radio that informed me of the initial plane crash.  By the time I arrived home and turned on the TV it was clear that America had been changed forever.  Everything was quiet that day.  I picked up my son from church along with dozens of other dazed families.  No one knew what to say or do.  I remember long lines at the gas station over the next couple days.  Like everyone else I watched endless television until I could only wander to bed wondering "What kind of world are my children going to live in?"

Last year my husband and I went on a 4 day trip to NYC.  We had a fabulous time touring the city and all the neighborhoods and landmarks.  We went to the World Trade Center Site.  The most touching thing I saw was the St. Paul's Chapel.  It is Manhattan's oldest public building.  A place where George Washington worshipped.  It is a beautiful old church building surrounded by a gated cemetery.  It is a striking picture in the middle of NYC's financial district and sat in the shadow of the twin towers.  It received almost no damage from the collapse of the towers and served as a haven around the clock for rescue workers.  Part of the church is an exhibit about those terrible days, showcasing photos, flags, firefighters helmets, banners and notes from around the country.  Across one wall was a huge banner from the state of Oklahoma that brought tears to my eyes.

Today, 9 years later, my neighborhood is having a community garage sale, we are headed to a child's pizza party this evening and right now I sit and type whatever thoughts are in my head on a blog.  Life goes on.  There are dates and times, moments and places we all remember.  Some we share such as September 11, others hold personal significance and pass unnoticed to others.  

We are beginning a study at church called the Imitation of Christ.  This week we began by describing moments in life and how they mark our lives and measure time.  We read Max Lucado's words about a most remarkable moment.  

"It all happened in a moment, a most remarkable moment.  As moments go, that one appeared no different than any other.  If you could somehow pick it up off the timeline and examine it, it would look exactly like the ones that have passed while you have read these words.  It came and it went.  It was preceded and succeeded by others just like it... But in reality, that particular moment was like none other.  For through that segment of time a spectacular thing occurred.  God became man.  While the creatures of earth walked unaware.  Divinity arrived."

I love that description and it speaks to the humility of God, arriving quietly and without fanfare.  So much of what the Bible describes of Christ are little moments, details, the way he spoke or touched someone, the quiet way in which he preformed even miraculous events.

Obviously big moments stick with us and shape our lives but I keep telling myself to remember those little moments too.  The little details that make up our lives in between the big stuff.  That's one of the reasons so many women blog, or journal or scrapbook - to record the little things before they vanish in the blur of life.  I think the artists ability to capture the little details is what makes the big picture beautiful and significant.  So it is with life.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Blogging is like a good exercise routine.  Once you have momentum it just comes naturally.

I did train and complete a half marathon once, but believe me, that was an exception to the rule I have about avoiding perspiration.  So like an exercise routine, I fell off my blogging routine when we moved.  I have enjoyed my break (which involved lots of stupid television shows and several pints of Haggan Dazs cookie dough ice cream).  It was nice.

But so is blogging, and I miss it.
Besides, all 3 of my fans have been asking where I am.

So, here I am.  Back at the computer.

Today I have a quick list.   I'm stealing this idea from Jenny's blog.  She occasionally posts "7 QTs" or quick-takes of her life.

1.  I am looking forward to autumn and cooler temperatures.  Last night I spent an hour catching up with some of my favorite blog reading.  One place I have loved to visit since I discovered blogging is The Inspired Room.  In fact, her Holiday Open House Tour in 2008 is what got me thinking that blogging could be really fun and interactive.  So today I am inspired to welcome fall after visiting her 3rd annual Fall Nesting Party.   There are 175 other bloggers linked up at her place sharing all the ways they have welcomed autumn.  Oh there are some good ideas!

2.  The honeymoon is over for my eager to attend school kiddos.  The reality of alarm clocks ringing, homework and long days has set in.  But they are doing well overall. And their mama is able to run errands, and complete a thought and breathe all by herself.

3.  The painting has commenced!  My mother came for the Labor Day weekend and we transformed Molly's room from brown to pale pink.  I'll have a proper "Before and After" post when I finish sewing the curtains.

4.  My dog has shed the Cone of Shame.  His eye has healed and he is back to his usual activity.  He starts school next month to brush up on his training.

5.  I've finally started a new knitting project.  When my mom was here she was knitting and my hands were just itching to pick up some needles.  So here is a preview of my next project - a short sleeve, long length, fitted cardigan, in a blue and green variegated yarn.

6.  Our youngest finally has the long-coveted, big girl bike.  It is a sparkly purple Hello Kitty bike with streamers and a zipper pouch (not a basket).  She loves it!

7.  In the kitchen - It's almost apple pie season and I'm ready to bake.  I'm looking for some quick and yummy ideas for breakfasts.  We are not big on cold cereal at our house.  Any ideas for breakfast casseroles or anything quick and/or make ahead?  Please share.