Monday, October 29, 2007

How many miles?

This is the view at the end of our hike yesterday. There are more falls, further along the trail, that are even more impressive, or so we are told. We didn't witness those firsthand, however, at least not on this trip. Seeing how this was our first foray into "serious" hiking with the girls, I'm not sure they could have made that whole trip. Ahem.

Actually, the fact of the matter is that they did a great job hiking the 4. -something trail up the side of a mountain , and their journey was probably doubled when you account for the constant forays they took off the trail onto the boulders and down by the water. It was Mommy and Nana who were wiped out by trails end, and thankful to see an ice cold diet coke to celebrate our return!
It was a perfect day for a hike, and the most beautiful trail I have ever seen, especially with the leaves literally raining down in showers of color. The girls managed the entire afternoon with nary a complaint, and had a ball climbing over rocks and looking for trout in the pools of water. The sound of the water rushing over the rocks (thanks to the recent rain- finally!) was all we could hear, and the calmness seemed to inspire peace in the girls. No bickering, no whining, just lots of fun and laughter as they explored. It was such a blessing to be alone as a family with no agenda, other than to enjoy the creativity of God, and the blessing of this beautiful world He created.
We will definitely be back for more.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Fun Starts Now!

Woohoo! The girls have early dismissal today so I am picking them up at noon and heading out to the boonies to the tack shop. Cailin needs some new half- chaps for riding, and the purple ones she picked out are too small. She has decided that the khahki jodphurs are just not her style now, and she wants to wear western attire. Since the only thing I "get" about horses is the clothing, I am happy to humor her by expanding her riding wardrobe. Now that her sister has also been bitten by the riding bug, I guess we will go ahead and let her try on riding helmets... might be good to know what she likes since her birthday is 3 weeks away!

After we have had our fill of tack room shopping we get to head back to town (I am not kidding!) and have a girls lunch out. I am debating if I should let them choose the restaurant again (and I use the term "restaurant" loosely!). Last time they chose the Long John Silver's / A&W combo and I still have heartburn! Maybe I can get them to go a little more upscale and go to Chick-Fil-A? No matter what we choose, it is always a treat for me to have my girls with me for lunch and just hang out with them like the good old days before school!

Our next stop is shoe shopping. The girls "must have flats", I have been told. Actually they really do need them, since I only bought new tennies for back to school and they have outgrown any other decent school shoes they had. This year I decided to wait for awhile after school started to buy much new, so they could see what is fun for fall and not just buy a ton of stuff that never gets worn. Plus it has been so hot this fall they have been wearing shorts and skirts with their plaid slip ons from the Tar-jay summer collection every day. I will be paying the extra overnight shipping from Land's End this weekend, however, now that the temps have dropped and shorts on Monday would be considered child abuse! The little plaid shoes are adorable but have gone beyond shabby chic to simply shabby, so flats shopping, here we come. Shoe shopping is just another thing that delights me about having girls. Rusty just laughs at the conversations we already have about "what is SO in" right now, and is even so sweet as to occassionally accompany us on one of our missions! (I love that he is such a great dad to girls- he enjoys their femininity, and doesn't ever make them feel they need to be something other than what they are!)

I am sure at this point in the afternoon I will be ready to drop, so I am grateful that riding lessons are cancelled due to rain and I can come home and crash for a nap, before taking Cailin to play rehearsal. While she is practicing and Rusty is at the football game I get to have special alone time with Cassidy, which is always a treat. Maybe we can snuggle up by the fireplace with popcorn, hot apple cider and a couple of good books. Sounds like the perfect ending to a fun, fall, Friday!

Monday, October 22, 2007

It's Fall Y'all!

I absolutely love fall! Besides decorating the front porch, some of my other fall favorites are...
  • Friday night football games
  • A visit to the pumpkin patch
  • The Grave's Mountain Apple Festival
  • Open windows with the whistle of the wind
  • Burning lots of candles
  • Starting to think about Christmas
  • Lots of November birthdays to celebrate
  • Making acorn pies for the squirrels
  • Warming up the girls clothes in the dryer before they hop out of bed

Most of all, I love the feeling of nesting that fall brings with it.

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Edited to add: I had to say "y'all" because our neigbors/ friends recently relocated here from the North, and their kids are constantly telling my girls that y'all isn't a word. It cracks me up... I told them to just give it time and they'll come around to our way of speaking!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Calling all squirrels

Who: 5 neighborhood friends, ages 4-11
What: Lots of fun and giggles
Where: Backyard beneath oak trees
When: Balmy autumn afternoon, after all homework was complete
Why: Gathering acorns for acorn pie

One of our favorite fall traditions.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Good Word For A Good Day

I went to be last night feeling a little unsettled. I spoke too freely with a coworker and shared some information that was not confidential, but which I wish I had kept to myself. I also talked with my employer, and that conversation didn't go as I had planned. Neither conversation was negative nor sinful, I just let fear and pride get the best of me and I spoke without seeking God's counsel. I was afraid the information I shared with a co-worker would be used by her to benefit herself, when in fact it really pertained to me. I worried that I had "blown an opportunity" for myself and there was no way to fix things to my advantage. The result was me feeling remorseful that I seem to say too much to some people, and not enough to others.

This morning I knew I needed to ask God for help to lift my mood and turn my thoughts to Him, and to make this a good day. My prayer was for me to first, trust that God would work all things together for my good, knowing that my intentions are pure and I am striving for truth. Then second, for God to speak to me and show me His way and to allow me peace- to just let it go! (Something I struggle with...)

As I sat down for my Bible time, I picked up The Message, a gift from Cailin's teacher and not my usual Bible. I felt like today would be a good day for simplicity, to hear God's Word in the most understandable form my tired brain could find. Here is what I read:

1 Peter 3:8-12
Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless- that's your job, to bless. You'll be a blessing and also get a blessing.

Whoever wants to embrace life
and see the day fill up with good,
Here's what you do:
Say nothing evil or hurtful;
Snub evil and cultivate good;
Run after peace for all you're worth.
God looks on all this with approval,
listening and respoding well to what He's asked;
But He turns His back
on those who do evil things.

I love the way God meets me where I am, when I ask Him. He is so willing to provide just the right Word to every situation, if I just take the time to trust Him instead of stewing and trying to solve things myself. I asked for a good day in Him, and he took me to a verse that guides me in that very pursuit. I have so much to do today, but I felt His prompting that I really needed to spend time with Him first, that he had something I needed before I could handle today in His joy.

I am so glad I obeyed that prompting !

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

These bring me joy.

  • Awakening to the poplar tree, framed by my window, glowing as if from within, as its newly yellow leaves catch the sunshine.
  • Coming downstairs to the scent of pumpkin spice candles burning... and the awareness that Rusty lit them to bring me pleasure.
  • The first fire of the season, and sharing it with Cassidy as she enjoys her autumn snack of warm apple cider and popcorn.
  • The smile on Cailin's face when she skips to the car after play rehearsal, and the exuberance she returns to our home with her arrival.
  • The silence of home after the girls are off to school, and the sweetness of several hours devoted to accomplishing some overdue tasks.
  • The racket of giggles and chatter, and even bickering, when my sweet girls return home.
  • Laughing hysterically with Cassidy as our hamsters race around our bathtub while their cage is being cleaned.
  • Decorating the front porch with fall decorations, and Cassidy saying coming to our house makes people feel welcome.
  • Feeling guilty for making grilled cheese and soup from a can for dinner, and then being told by each of the girls that my grilled cheese sandwiches are the best ever.
  • Notes of encouragement from my Dad.
  • Calls of encouragement from my Mom.
  • A stack of books in every room, and Cailin asking me to awaken her early so she can read before school.

Home. Family. Faith.

Life is good.

Monday, October 15, 2007


How can I teach the girls to be holy and set apart from this world? How do I know which relationships with non- believers are ministry and which are destructive to their faith? How do I monitor behaviors and attitudes when they are among their peers without seeming rigid or legalistic? How do I train them up in the way they should go, while allowing them to play among those who are probably going another direction?

These are my thoughts and prayers recently, as I tiptoe into the waters of mothering a "tween". Cailin is 10, and tends to be a little more innocent than many others her age, partly due to attending a Christian school, and partly because of our home. Still, I have become aware that I may have become a little more lax, a little more tolerant, than I would hope. I have permitted her and her sister to watch tv that I don't approve of just because I felt I was constantly saying "no". I have allowed her to wear clothing that was offensive to me (obviously nothing risque, of course, but just personally offensive to me) because I questioned my attitude, wondering if I was being too uptight.

Many of my friends, who are also Christians, are much more lenient with their daughters, and I think I was feeling a little old fashioned and out of touch. I wasn't concerned with "fitting in", but I was allowing others perceptions of my decisions to affect me. I asked God to show me where I have missed His mark and to guide me in the boundaries I should establish for the girls. Today He met me in my devotional time as I watched a favorite ministry program.

Lisa Bevere was speaking about her new book "Kissed The Girls and Made Them Cry", which is a study in cultivating purity in our daughters. Her words went straight to my heart as she reminded me that God's call for purity in our minds and bodies is not old fashioned or inhibiting. His ideals for our lives are freeing and liberating, as we are able to walk in the blessing of His wisdom and pleasure when we obey His Words. Lisa said that as Christians, we are constantly struggling to see how far we can go before we fall out of favor, or actually sin against God. Yet that isn't what we are called to. God didn't issue commands so we could follow rules. He created them so we would have safe parameters in which to experience the fullness of joy only He can provide.

What encouragement this was to me. God knew that I needed the reminder that our decisions, though temporarily sometimes painful to the girls, are still the right choices and in their best interest. We are raising them to be holy, not necessarily happy, and need to keep the ultimate goal in mind.

Thank You God, for speaking to me about those precious girls. Please strengthen me in my resolve to protect them from those things that are harmful, and I ask the Holy Spirirt to bring to my attention any areas that I am lacking in. You are a mighty and gracious God. Thank You for loving me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Do you ever have that feeling of pure joy bubbling up inside of you? The feeling that tells you whatever you are in the midst of is part of God's great plan for your life? I am feeling that way right now. I just finished a task that filled me with such a sense of purpose, and reminded me that there are things I am passionate about. Things that God planted in me with a purpose. Things that I need to use, and share, in a way that glorifies God.

I am feeling so blessed and filled with gratitude for the "small things" in life .

Thank You God for loving me enough to reach down and plant a seed of joy in my heart when You know how much it will mean to me. You are so good. All the time.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Girlfriend Network.

I swear by the girlfriend network.

When I want to try out a new restaurant, store, or haircare product (and anything else- but you get the idea!) I don't go to the yellow pages, I go to my girlfriends. They are trustworthy and like what I like, generally speaking, so their suggestions carry more weight with me.

I have found the barn where my daughters ride, the paint color for my dining room, and even the church we recently visited, all through conversations with my friends. Moms spend hours in our little camp seats on the sidelines of soccer and field hockey practice. If we aren't sharing tips to make our lives easier we may default to gossip! This is a much more productive use of time, and everyone loves to share their opinion.

Well, recently, as I logged onto a blog to write out the items needed from Home Depot to paint a cabinet, I realized that the blogs I read are an extension of that network!

As I thought of the many times I implement a suggestion gleaned from a blog, I have to confess, the concept that I am making choices and purchases based on total stranger's recommendations gave me pause. I mean, I read about these ladies daily lives, but they have no idea who I am, and I only "know" them by their writing. Seems a little questionable, but I do love me a good referral and so I trusted and shopped. And shopped.

Now my home has acquired quite a few items based on recommendations, and I have even picked up some sweet homemaking habits, and I must say that they have all been exactly what I hoped. So the girlfriend network lives on... in the new 21st century version- the blogging "girlfriend" network.

I thought it might be fun to actually list some of those ideas and items, and where they came from:-)

From "A Chelsea Morning"
Making flannel blankets (for the homeless shelter)
Glade scented candles
Yummy asparagus salad
Febreezing my shih-tzu

From "In The Midst Of It"
Embroidery books
Menu Planning / Grocery list
Doing a load of laundry every morning
Burning peppermint oil - yum!
Parenting book

From "Scratchin' The surface"
Homemaking Books
I am encouraged to learn to sew after reading about her quilts and time spent sewing with friends.

From "BooMama"
Plaid pajama bottoms from WalMart last winter- still some of my faves!
Ohmyword the best pork tenderloin recipe EVER!

From "BigMama"
Mississippi Sin Dip
Color slicks lip gloss

I am sure I will add to this list. I wish I could link, but that is something still a little "too" 21st century for my sad little computer skills!