T asked about the band-aid on Em's nose in some recent photos...I guess I've been too traumatized to actually tell that story here. ;-D Let's just say for bloggy purposes (lest Jodie and I are not the only ones around who don't handle gore well!) that she had a very unfortunate (and accidental) experience with a wagon (driven by a 5th grade boy at church) and a brick wall. She had quite a *shiner* for a while, and will probably always have a scar on her nose. But it could have been much worse, and I am thankful that all is *finally* about healed.

My friend Amanda took this picture of Emlyn at her daughter's birthday party. She is a great photographer, and just captured Em's personality perfectly in this shot, band aid and all! I've had it blown up and cropped and I'm planning a piece of photo art with it for the living room. :-)

Isn't she adorable?


Catching Up :-)

Billy walked by earlier and said, "You need to update your blog." When it comes to that, I know it *really* needs to be updated! So...I'm going to try to oblige him. I have more than one post worth of *updating* to do, as well as some much-needed work on my sidebar. Keep an eye peeled for more changes soon!

The past few weeks have been a bit of a blur. The early part of May was spent working on decor for a friend's daughter's homeschool graduation reception and recital. When I am in the midst of a project like that, I become rather *focused* on the task at hand. Translation: My family eats lots of *easy* food and puts up with literal *scraps and snippets* of cardstock, paper, and ribbon all over the place. :-D My wonderful husband did a lot of dishes and laundry...without being asked. The reception was beautiful, and the recital was superb...H's talent at the piano is incredible, although not surprising, given the long hours of practice she has put in for years. And I enjoyed immensely getting to bury myself in a big creative project...it's been a while since I've done that, and this one was especially fun.

When we were planning the date of this event, we checked all kinds of calendars to make sure that it would not conflict with any other major events in the area. Graduations, proms, church functions, we checked them all. We missed one tiny little scheduled activity, though...the Fort Smith Air Show. The Air Show is always a huge landmark on our calendar, and how I missed the fact that it was coming, I do *NOT* know. But I did. And guess what?? You guessed it. It was the same weekend as we had scheduled the recital/reception.

I am happy to say that we actually managed both, although I am *still* recuperating from all the fun! My friend and I worked non-stop the week before on reception stuff, my family and I went to the Air Show on Saturday morning, and then I headed back to church to finish setting up. The Air Show was a bit disappointing this year. Our favorite part is always the static displays. We love the old planes, the military planes, the helicopters...you name it....and this year's show was really short on statics. However, we had a great time anyway, and were thrilled to be leaving just as most of the crowd was arriving!

Ammah Grace especially loved riding around in her stroller. I didn't know what her reaction would be to that...she hasn't ridden in her stroller in probably close to two years. But she stayed in it the *entire* three hours we were there, and asked if she could ride in it to church on Sunday! :-D What a mess.
Stay tuned for Update, part 2, tomorrow....:-)

Joy in the Morning

"...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."

It's amazing how you can start a day out completely in the pits, and end it at the top of the mountain, viewing the awesomeness of God.

This has been one of those days. Before I got my eyes completely open this morning, I realized I had a *nasty* headache, of a type I've gotten only rarely in the past few years. Still struggling to part ways with it, I heard a vaguely familiar noise, and when I got up to investigate, discovered Billy collecting buckets to catch the rain dripping through the ceiling in the back hall. We haven't had a leak in a *long* time, but it was *pouring* this morning, and we had a nice little flood *indoors* as well. My computer has been doing its best to frustrate me for two solid days, and then a couple of children who shall remain nameless for the moment let a very *wet* dog loose in the house...where she made a beeline for *my* pillows. The pillows I was on my way to lay my aching head on at the time, which were suddenly soaked.

Throw in a quartet of kiddoes who squabbled *all* day long, and a 96 year old grandfather ending up in the hospital, and you have the ingredients for a pretty crummy day. And I have to say, I didn't handle certain aspects of it with grace and kindness.

I am so thankful that God in His mercy never gives us what we deserve. I am also thankful that He does not leave us in the pit. And I am thankful that He always brings joy in the morning.

We've struggled for almost two years with a situation that has brought with it many tears and dark days. We know that we have a long road ahead with it. But tonight we saw God at work yet once again, in a truly amazing way. It was one of those experiences in which you see the Hand of God so clearly you are completely awestruck. All night, these words have been running through my head:

" I stand, I stand in awe of You,
I stand, I stand in awe of You,
Holy God, to whom all praise is due,
I stand in awe of You."
~Hillside United

He is truly awesome, and I am amazed and thankful for His continued work in our lives.

Btw...I realize that I *desperately* need to post an update on all that has been happening here lately, as well as some neat things God has been teaching me. I started a *catch up* post yesterday, and then lost it through the shenanigans of this sometimes-seriously-frustrating machine. ;-) I will try to get back to it tomorrow! (Or later today, as I guess it is now!)


From my Journal...

February 6, 2007

Just as God has been reminding me all along~*none* of what we are going through now is a surprise to God. Not only has He *known* since the beginning of time that we would be going through these trials, but 'He had already through it out in advance. Considered it. Weighed it. Checked it out against the plumb line of His plan. He had looked at the good that it could ultimately accomplish...'
I don't know what that is. I don't understand why. But I *know* that He has a plan~a glorious plan~and 'Had the incident not possessed glorious purpose, He would have dismissed it.' "

I ran across this this morning, and it reminded me that I really need to journal much more regularly. The quotes are from Beth Moore's book Get Out of That Pit, which I really need to go back and read again. 15 months later, we are still deep in the midst of the trial I referenced then, but looking back, I can most definitely see that God has had a plan in it all. I am sure that I am still seeing only the tiniest glimpse of what that plan involves. I still don't understand why. I am still unable to say that I am glad for the suffering caused by this trial. But as I told Bro. Kent recently through tears, "We have learned things through this about God's goodness, His sovereignty, and His love that I know we could never have learned any other way." Where once I could not see at all anything glorious about the pain our family has experienced through this trial, I now can say that I *know* that it does possess "glorious purpose". The fact that I know that the glimpse of His glory that we have seen in this situation is only a fraction of the glorious purpose He sees fills me with anticipation for what He has yet to reveal to us.

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
Genesis 50:20

Sunday Song

I love hymns. That is no secret to anyone who knows me, or to anyone who reads this blog regularly. I am amazed sometimes at the power in the words of these songs we so often sing with little thought to their meanings. I love the chillbumps I feel occasionally when the words to an old, familiar hymn become alive with new meaning because of the situation God has me in at that moment. And I am delighted to come across a new (to me) hymn every once in a while that stuns me with awesome truth.

That is what happened this morning. Well....technically this wasn't a *new* hymn; I remember singing it once or twice before and being just as blown away. It was even more meaningful today because of several reminders lately of how blessed I am to have a godly husband and close Christian friends who have walked through some very, very difficult times with me over the past few years. I've been reminded several times this week that there are many who still pray for salvation for lost husbands, and many who long for deep Christian friendships that aren't there.

We have been so blessed, during the difficult times we've experienced over the past few years, to have friends who have truly shared our joy and sorrow and who continue to "walk the mile and bear the load" with us. What a blessing that is, and how thankful I am for those special friends who have lived out every word of this song.

The Servant Song

We are trav'lers on a journey, Fellow pilgrims on the road;
We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.
I will hold the Christ-light for you in the nighttime of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you, Speak the peace you long to hear.

Sister, let me be your servant, Let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant, too.
Brother, let me be your servant, Let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant, too.

I will weep when you are weeping, When you laugh, I'll laugh with you;
I will share your joy and sorrow, Till we've seen this journey through.
When we sing to God in Heaven, We shall find such harmony,
Born of all we've known together of Christ's love and agony.

~Richard Gillard


Simple Woman's Daybook

For May 5, 2008
Outside My Window...
streetlights in the darkness.
I am thinking...
my mind is whirring with the demands of the weeks ahead.
I am thankful...
that Emlyn wasn't hurt worse last night in her wagon accident!
From the kitchen...
plans for scones and Devonshire Cream tomorrow.
I am wearing...
comfy sweats. :)
I am creating...
a clipboard for Billy, photo art for a friend, and a surprise or two. :)
I am going...
visiting tomorrow.
I am reading...
my digital camera owner's manual (for the first time ;-)),
various photo art books,
several non-fiction books, and
just finished the first in the "Million Dollar Mysteries" series by Mindy Starns Clark.
I am hoping...
that tomorrow is less frustrating than today has been. :)
I am hearing...
the washing machine.
Around the house...
I need to get back to serious decluttering!
One of my favorite things...
My sweet husband bringing me a big diet coke with lots of ice "just because". :)
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
lots of creating, school, working on the house, and hopefully reading lots of books with the kids.
Here is picture thought I am sharing...

(It pays to read the instructions. Discovered that my camera has a macro mode I didn't even know about. Experimented by taking a picture of my trackball...it was handy ;-)...from a distance of about 3 inches. Wow!)

For more on the Simple Woman's Daybook, visit The Simple Woman's Blog.


It's coming!!!

One of our favorite family events is the Fort Smith Air Show. People at my house are already getting excited. :-) It falls on a particularly busy weekend for us, but we will squeeze in a couple of hours, anyway!

Thankful Friday ;-)

I had planned to stop at some point yesterday and post my Thankful Thursday post. BUT...somehow it never happened. I got busy finishing clipboards with the kids (I hope to get the instructions posted, along with pictures of the kids' finished clipboards, later today, so keep an eye out! :)), making scones with Devonshire Cream with the girls (*yummm*), and working on invitations (they are finished...yay!). But I'm determined to get this thankful post posted. :)

It's been a difficult week in several ways. Two friends are going through deep trials, and I ache for them. Our family received difficult news, which although we were somewhat expecting, I realized I was in no way prepared for. And Wednesday was a completely exhausting day. It was all I could do to drag myself to church, and I *really* didn't feel like staying for choir practice; however, I had no choice...I had to practice the organ with the choir for Sunday's choir special.

By 7:45 I was sitting in choir marveling over the fact that no matter how tired I am on Wednesday nights, there is something energizing...mentally and emotionally, if not physically :)...about choir practice. It had been over a month since I had sat through a complete rehearsal...last week I ended up in a meeting that lasted until practice was over, and the week before we were all sick. The week before that, we didn't have rehearsal, and the week prior to that was the week of the severe storms when we got out early.

It was *so* good after all that to actually put in a full practice. And once again, the music ministered to me incredibly. I'm always amazed at the way that God gives Lyndel just the music that I need to have running through my head for the week. :)

As we sang this song, I was overwhelmed by the words, and the meaning behind them. I noticed afterward that one of the writers wrote another song that has meant much to me this year, Blessed Be the Name.

How Can I Keep From Singing?

There is an endless song, echoes in my soul,
and I hear the music ring.
And tho' the storms may come, I am holding on,
and to the rock I cling.

How can I keep from singing your praise?
How can I ever say enough?
How amazing is your love.
How can I keep from shouting your name?
I know I am loved by the King,
and it makes my heart want to sing.

Now I will lift my eyes in the darkest night,
for I know my Savior lives.
And I will walk with You, knowing You'll see me through,
and sing the songs You give.

How can I keep from singing your praise?
How can I ever say enough?
How amazing is your love.
How can I keep from shouting your name?
I know I am loved by the King,
and it makes my heart want to sing.

~Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, and Ed Cash

We ended rehearsal Wednesday night with a run-through of God and God Alone. I was also struck by these words:

God and God alone
Reveals the truth of all we call unknown;
And all the best and worst of man
Can't change the Master's plan;
It's God's and God's alone!
~Phill McHugh

We have so seen this year the truth of those words..."all the best and worst of man can't change the Master's plan." Last week I was talking with Bro. Kent about some of the events in our family over the past couple of years...events we would never have chosen, events that we would have avoided at all costs had we had the option, but events that have caused us to see the sovereignty and goodness and love of God in ways we could never have seen otherwise. As Genesis 50:20 says, "What man intended for evil, God intended for good...to accomplish what is now being done." (My paraphrase) There is no evil that man can do to us that is beyond the control of God...He is still sovereign over it all, He is not surprised by anything that comes into our lives, and He will use it for good in our lives.

I am so thankful for the truths so beautifully worded in these songs. I am so thankful for the things that God has taught us through the most difficult events in our lives in the past 21 months. I am so thankful for the Rock to which we *can* cling during the most devastating storms, and for the knowledge that He does give a song...always...in the darkest night. I am so thankful for the opportunity to sing in choir, and for the amazing way that God *always* gives the songs I need just when I need them. I am thankful for the reminders that God gave through these songs Wednesday night, knowing that within the next 24 hours, I would desperately need them.

Thank you, Iris, for reminding us every week to stop and be thankful!


I have wanted to try my hand at an altered clipboard for a long time. Plans for a craft exchange at our monthly mom's Renew meeting finally provided the push I needed to actually sit down and make one. I ended up not getting to go to the Renew, but the kids and I really enjoyed making our clipboards, and it was not nearly as much trouble as I had expected. :) We are planning to make a few more this weekend.

I'll be back later with instructions and pictures of the kids' clipboards. :-)

It's the Little Things

Sometimes I'm just way too easily excited, I suppose, especially at the end of a long, hard, day. Our family has a bit of a quirky collective palate at times, and one example of that is that we *love* Burger King's Zesty Onion Ring Sauce. Now...we don't eat BK's onion rings (well, at least not often), and most of us aren't even great fans of BK's fries. But there are times when we will go to Burger King just because we are craving this:

Last night Em was talking about how much she likes "that special sauce from Burger King", and I thought, not for the first time, that I wish they would bottle and sell the stuff. I can think of all kinds of uses for it in our kitchen. :-) Then I had a brainstorm...there are copycat recipes for almost everything online these days, so why not BK's Zesty Sauce?

A google search brought up this link. I am far more excited than I should be about a recipe involving horseradish. ;-) I can't wait to hit the store tonight and add that and some cayenne pepper to the larder so that we can try this this weekend. If it really *does* taste like the real thing, I'm going to have some very excited children!