Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ringing in the New Year

Just a peak for the grandparents of the youngest out with friends on New Year's Eve.  Abigail spent the evening with friends from Metro Relief, hanging out, playing board games and eating.  Every teens dream night!  
One of the games they played was Pick 5.  One of they cards they drew was 'Pick Up Lines' and the team had to state 5 pick-up lines before the timer went off.  Here were their picks: 
  • "Are you from Tennessee, 'cause you're the only Ten-I-See!" 
  • "Is it hot in here? Or is that the Holy Spirit burning in you?" 
  • "I like my girls like I like my Microsoft documents, SAVED!" 
  • "So last night I was reading in the book of Numbers, and I realized... I don't have yours!" 
  • "Is this the transfiguration? Because you are glowing."

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
    by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
    until it so desires.
Song of Solomon 2:7

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

North Texas Soup n' Bowl

We are just a few weeks away from North Texas Soup n' Bowl, an event to raise money for Metro Relief.  Great local chefs prepare soup and each ticket holder gets a great lunch and a hand painted bowl to take home to commemorate the afternoon.
Approximately 200 ceramic bowls were donated for the event, but they all need painted and fired before the end of January.  Abigail and I did our part to knock out a few bowls. 
In the upper right corner Abigail is painting an orange bowl with the Metro logo, the lower left photo is the fired version of her bowl. 
We were painting at Whimsey and Grace a logo paint and party shop.  The owners are big supporters of Metro Relief and have assisted in the Soup n' Bowl event for several years.  If you are in our area, please check out their shop, it is a great time.  Today we took a few friends from church with us to help paint! Everyone had a great time and it's kind of neat to think our art work will be in someone else's home.
with all kinds of skills to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze,  to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. Exodus 35:31-33

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Morning

Christmas mornings look a little different now that the kids are older.  The days of them running down stairs at five in the morning have long passed.  This morning I turned on all the Christmas lights, started a Christmas CD, baked sausage balls & cinnamon rolls and still nothing.  No sign of children.  So, being ever resourceful I sent the 130 lb English Mastiff to go wake the kids.  As you see in the picture at the top of the stairs they were thrilled!
It turned out to be one of the best Christmases, just the five of us spending a lazy, stress free day together.  Most of the cooking I had finished yesterday so we just hung out opened gifts, snacked and enjoyed being together. 
Sissy finished a puzzle and there was a spirited game of War with Dr. Who Cards.  If you look carefully there was even a sighting of the Grinch on Christmas day.
We missed being with our family but as the possible last Christmas with Caleb home, I could not have asked for a more peaceful day. Blessed!
Surely you have granted him unending blessings
    and made him glad with the joy of your presence. Psalm 21:6

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Picture Perfect

Christmas Eve, the fire crackling, hot cider and a family photo.  Seems simple enough, right?  I have only used my camera on a timer twice and I chose to try to get a Christmas Eve photo  tonight.  Between the timer, figuring out the flash and multiple sports shots I think I have about 40 pictures.

One time the flash kept reading the lights on the tree and wouldn't go off making the picture to dark.  Then sometimes I hit 'something' and it would take a series of 6-10 photos. 
See that look on Abigail's face in the upper left hand picture, that is her expression in every photo for the first four years of her life.  Nobody is picture perfect, but if we are given one shot in forty, every once in while we will get it right!
Every man is stupid and without knowledge. . .
for his images are false,
and there is no breath in them.
Jeremiah 10:14

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

College Vending Machines

I realize that as Caleb's senior year is flying past, that our family is in for a lot of changes and adjustments.  I'm already tired of answering the, "How do you think he will adjust to college after being home schooled?" question!  Today he finished turning in paperwork for the Psychology class he begins in the spring.  Because he's a minor I did have to go with him to sign paperwork. 
As we were leaving admissions he stopped to get a drink from the vending machine.  The look on his face was priceless when he realized the vending machine was filled with Scantron sheets, #2 pencils, erasers, etc.  I knew Mrs. Obama had taken over school lunch programs but this is ridiculous!  

And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll Ezekiel 3:1

Monday, December 22, 2014

How We Spent Christmas Break

I've said numerous times that the purpose of my little blog is to keep our family in touch.  It has no pretense of being some inspirational guide on homeschooling, child rearing or any other noble undertaking.  It was started so that grandparents could read during the week what we were up to and then chat with the kids on the weekend phone calls.   With that said, I will probably get a scolding from Granny for this post.  
At our house Jon has a rental car with a trunk release lever inside the trunk; you know, in case you ever get abducted and thrown in the trunk. So this morning Abigail suggested we try it out before Jon left for work. I’m pretty sure the thought would have NEVER entered my other kid’s minds, but OK. Sure enough we both fit, and the latch glows in the dark for easy release! Abigail pointed out that realistically we should have our hands and feet tied, but that was the line! Frankie questioned my judgment but was quick to grab my camera to photograph the incident.
Sorry, Granny but we did have adult supervision and Jon was handy with the key just incase the lever was more difficult that we anticipated!
I may get in more trouble from my brother for posting the scripture below, so grossly out of context.  The scriptures I started adding to my posts as the kids got older, had their own laptops and visited the blog themselves to see what I had written about our adventures.  I wanted one more way to squeeze in why we do the things we do.  And obviously there wasn't a real good fit for why we closed ourselves up in the trunk!

They shall have linen turbans on their heads, and linen undergarments around their waists. They shall not bind themselves with anything that causes sweat. Ezekiel 44:18

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Metro Relief Volunteers Christmas Party

Tonight Metro Relief celebrated the volunteers who come week after week.  It was a great time to review the work we've done and the people we have served.  In 2014 the pantry served 5,895 households representing 20,111 family members.  The number of households has increased by about 1,000 families annually since 2011.
Tonight after dinner one of the couples from Fort Worth that we serve in Unity Park on Fridays came back with the bus to be able to say thank you to our volunteers.  Gary and Tammy live in a tent along with a community of about 30 other homeless individuals.  It was very moving to hear them speak and humbling to hear their thank yous.
Austin and Jason finished off the evening with a rap version of 'The Wheels on the Bus,' that was the bomb!    We came home with lovely Metro Relief coffee cups as a thanks for our work.  Frankie made a promise to Ms. Stacy that we would pose Christmas morning with our mugs of hot cocoa.
Then I brought the leaders of Judah up onto the wall and appointed two great choirs that gave thanks.  Nehemiah 12:31

A Gungan Christmas

After Bible Bowl we celebrated an early Christmas with the Gungans.  As the grandparents know, Abigail and Roy always exchange something piggish over the holidays.  This year, out of all the stores, all the pig stuff, both made their final selection for each other at Old Navy.  Old Navy only sold two pigs!  Abigail opened her pink Santa pig first and busted out laughing, knowing what was wrapped in Roy's package.  Then when he opened it every body had a good laugh!
Caleb came home with a fez and Richard went home with gloves for his animal husbandry classes!  Baa haa, best friends. 
I'm thinking there were silly socks, marshmallow shooters and chocolates in pretty packages! 
For he thought, “I will pacify him with these gifts I am sending on ahead; later, when I see him, perhaps he will receive me.”
Genesis 32:20

Friday, December 19, 2014

Run Run Rudolph

This afternoon Caleb and Abigail along with their PEACH homeschool friends celebrated Christmas early.  The Drama Club meets every other Friday and today following an abbreviated practice they enjoyed some fun together. 
The kids have been practicing for several weeks to play some Christmas song for today parties.  Abigail's favorite was Chuck Berry's "Run, Run, Rudolph."  You can see her in the background on keyboard and Caleb is singing.
Following the kids musical performance the group exchanged gifts.  It was another gift exchange where gifts can be stolen.  I'm not sure how many times Caleb got to return to gifts after having his present stolen by a friend. 

People do not despise a thief if he steals    to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry
Proverbs 6:30

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ladies Bible Study Group

This is just one of those pictures that I look at and smile.  This is my ladies Bible study group. We meet together every other Monday.  We are made up of 2 newly weds, 2 brand new moms, 2 moms of elementary age kids, 2 moms of middle schoolers, 1 mom with a high schooler (that's me) and a grandmother! 
We share a love for the Lord and His Word; and a deep desire to please Him.  Together we have read and discussed 'Muscle & a Shovel', 'Adrift: Postmodernism in the Church' &  'Faith Built on Sand.' After the holidays we will begin 'Alive in the Spirit' written by Jimmy Jividen, who is the grandfather of one of our newly wed girls!

It has been a pure delight to see these young girls new in their walk with their hubbies and babies yet so eager to please God.  Many of the girls are the same age and actually younger than Frankie and it is so fulfilling to spend time with them.  It is also reassuring to know there are Godly women, products of good families and our Christian colleges as I look to Caleb's future!
encourage . . . women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. I Timothy 5:2

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ugly Sweaters and a Bat

Remember when I said last weekend was our last softball tournament of the season?  I'm sure you are wondering what we do with a weekend without softball? Oh well, spend the day at a three hour hitting clinic of course!
The clinic was with Texas A & M's Softball, Associate Head Coach Gerry Glasco.  Glasco is also the founder of Southern Force the association with which Abigail is playing ball.  Glasco's three daughters were also on hand for the clinic.   Tara is the assistant softball coach at UGA and played college ball at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Erin is now an assistant softball coach at Rockdale High School, and Geri Ann is a rising junior on the Bulldog softball team.
As for that teen age boy of mine, he spent four hours as a docent at the Sixth Floor Museum then went out with friends to an Ugly Christmas Sweater party!  The friends were the group of homeschoolers in the area who will be graduating in the spring.  Frankie got a picture with Caleb before he took off in his ugly sweater!

A disciple is not above his teacher,
but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.
Luke 6:40

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Entertaining Angels

What does it mean if you gather almost thirty kids and their moms, feed them sugar and encourage them to bring weapons?  Well, it means it is the annual homeschool Christmas party! 

The kids have played the steal the Christmas present game, watched Charlie Brown's Christmas Special, eaten and shot Nerf guns for almost 12 years.  This year, Ms. Stacy was our brave hostess and everything was lovely. 

Even those big boys attended and goofed off with the little guys.  Ms. Stacy said next year they may have to schedule the party based on the boys college break!
Click HERE to look back at our 3rd Annual party back in 2007!  So cute!
The last several years the families have brought donations for our local food pantries.  Today they sent us home with lots of toilet paper, tooth paste, deodorant, tooth brushes, feminine hygiene products and tissues.  Such big hearts and a huge blessing to the community!

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,
for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Hebrews 13:2

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Visit With Santa

As hard as it is to be raising the kids away from all of our family, I really enjoy having our little blog to keep family updated on the daily things that happen in our lives.  Most of the things we do aren't big or grand, they are simply living every day.  But this little blog is a great way for our family in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Maryland and other states to watch the kids grow up.  It connects the kids to family we don't get to spend near enough time around.
Today was one of those simple days that I was unpacking all the Christmas knick-knacks.  As I unpacked the Santa photos I remarked, "here are our pics with Santa from each year."  My sweet, very literal child corrected me that we did not have pics from every year, in fact, last year I failed to take them to see Santa.
So today we head to see Santa.  The kids got their photos made and as we left Bass Pro the same child was still grumpy.  When I inquired about her mood, she explained that he wasn't a very good fake Santa because he forgot to ask what she wanted for Christmas.  Hhhmmm. . . maybe next year. 

Again, just a simple look at our day, but a fun story I wouldn't be able to share with our family if it wasn't for this fun forum.   Ho, ho, ho!

Blessed is the one who listens to me,
    watching daily at my gates,
    waiting beside my doors.
Proverbs 8:34

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Southern Force Softball

Softball in December?  Yes, softball in December.  These girls seem to play year round.  If there is a tournament any where with in driving distance then these girl will be there. 
This weekend they played at Craig Ranch in Allen, TX.  The girls took a bit to get their game together but they did end up placing in the Silver bracket. 
One of the neat things about this tournament is most require an entry fee, but this one required a Toy for Tots donation.  
This was her last tournament for the year but I think they start back up the second weekend in January!

let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us  Hebrews 12:1 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Giving Thanks

Last week may have been Thanksgiving Day, but today I was reminded how much I have to be thankful for.  With the cold weather many of the guest who come through our doors at Metro Relief find their incomes are drastically reduced.  So many of these families rely on lawn work, roofing, or other construction type jobs.  The cold weather means they may only work 3 days a week instead of 6. 
Today 78 families came through the doors for food assistance.  For the three days the pantry was open this week, Metro saw 173 families.  These numbers will continue to increase as winter continues.
It is almost unimaginable since we live in the wealthiest country, in one of the wealthiest counties in Texas.  Forbes magazine reports that the median family income for Denton county is $94,785, and yet there is so much poverty. 
As I sat in Intake today and visited with and prayed with our guest, so many of their stories are gut wrenching.  Listening to the circumstances that have led them to seek help for their families.  Many are embarrassed, sad, and hurting; it is comforting to know I can't 'fix it' but I have a Savior who can!  
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Visit to the George W. Bush Presidential Library

Today was our second visit to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum with our PEACH homeschool group. 
We choose to visit at this time of year because the Christmas exhibit it only open from Thanksgiving through mid January.
The museum's archivists and curators have re-created the 2002 White House holiday displays.  The theme Mrs. Laura Bush chose that year was All Creatures Great and Small.   The tree was never seen by the public because to the September 11th attack.
White House staffers crafted 25 paper-mache sculptures of America’s Presidential pets. The animals –included raccoons, sheep, and even an alligator – decorated mantles and tables throughout the White House.    The tree featured native bird ornaments that were handcrafted by artists in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

Family and friends that know my love for over the top Christmas decorations can truly appreciate how much I loved this exhibit!  If only my Christmas tree could be wired into the chandelier to avoid chords all over the place.

It was a great way to start up the holiday spirit!  The docent said there was a great announcement coming at the first of the year for their Spring exhibit, I have a feeling we will be back!

An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,    and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
Proverbs 18:15