Sunday, July 31, 2016

Day #2

The crux.


Barn work.



Baker's pride.


Funnel cake goodness.

Just lovin' the Fair, ya'll. 
(PS - That is Blossom2 licking the funnel cake plate, not me. 
I did briefly consider it, but the size of the bear show crowd around me
deterred me from acting my shoe size, rather than my age. 
Incidentally, my shoe size IS Blossom2's age.  )

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Day #1

Some people go the fair to get funnel cakes.

We go to get rabbits... and ribbons.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Last week and this week have been thoroughly and completely demanding weeks, and not just because the Fair is coming up.  At the beginning of last week, I looked at what needed to be done and how much time there was to do it and thought that the only way to accomplish what was needed was to soak especially in God's grace and strength.  I literally made seven checkboxes and made it a priority to spend time with God each day.  Honestly, when I get crazy busy, the temptation is always to cut my time with God.  Tell me you are often tempted to do the same.  But,

"Every morning lean your arm upon the window sill of Heaven.  Then, lean strong to meet your day." 

His strength richly supplied all we needed to come through to the glory of God and I am still relying on that strength this week.

I needed reminders throughout the day too, so I went back to one of my teenage/twenties years' methods of reminding myself of Truth ~ index cards in highly visible places!  One of these cards says, "I am thankful that I have the Holy Spirit to grace me in all the difficult things I must do today."  Such perfect and succinct reminders of Truth for me as I go about my day!

Here's my brain dump for the upcoming 10 days of the Fair whirlwind.  I've been trying to be wise by stocking good snacks and cooking some make-ahead ingredients/meals, in addition to all our other prep.  I want to enjoy this week with the girlies.  I despise being a monster mommy and when I'm overwhelmed, I turn into one.  #justsayin
I'm totally loving this quote from our Keys for Kids devotional yesterday.  (Blossom3 told me today that she LOVES Keys for Kids. #winwin)  It's helping me keep everything in perspective, especially as I try to do the most important things first each day. 
"Only one life, 'twill soon be past. 
Only what's done for Christ will last." 
Tomorrow all the country girl fun begins.  The whole family will help wrangle 30+ animals over to the fairgrounds for "roundup."  It's the first year taking rabbits AND chickens to the Fair, so even the Rugged Mountain Man is helping out.  #applausefortheman  Then, we'll head back later to do face to face interviews/judging and book check and other such 4-H details. 
I'll be keeping in touch.  Now, I'd better go get the green and white fabric cut into strips for rabbit and chicken pen decorations.  #countrygirlfun


Steady plodding

Little by little...

Steadily plodding...

One "bite" at a time...

Stitch by stitch...

Step by step...


Blossom1 and Blossom2 are very pleased with their creations!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What first?

I read this post on Living Well, Spending Less.  It was a terrific and well written reminder to do the most important things first.  For moms, that's easier said than done.  A mom's morning often plays out like this:

You're trying to have a morning quiet time, enjoying the peace and quiet with your morning cuppa, only to be interrupted by having to strip down a peed in bed.  Then, inevitably, the dog pukes.  Of course, after that, the children act like it's been DAYS since they last ate.  Next, the phone rings and you're in the throes of resolving that issue.  Next, you receive news from two blond farm hands, that a chicken has a torn wattle.  And, you're not even dressed yet! 

This verse struck me this morning. 

"...being careful to engage in good deeds,
things that are good and profitable to others." 
(Titus 3:8, my paraphrase)

Yes, despite my best efforts, my mornings sometimes look like the above.  I know you can relate.  I'm determined to do the most important things first.  Those things that matter so much to the Rugged Mountain Man and me - I'll keep bumping them to the top of the list, to the freshest parts of my day. 

I want to pay attention to doing good, doing right, doing God's will. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sharing Thoughts

I recently had the opportunity to share some thoughts from the Word on parenting.  Why not take a moment this coming weekend and refresh yourself on God's view of this wonderful privilege we've been given? 

Click here to download.



PS - It's a great way to while away the time when folding clothes, doing dishes or cleaning bathrooms... not that any of us have to do those things on a regular basis or anything.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

O Weary Mama

I glanced over at the verse of the day. 
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NASB

It reverberated through me. 
Strength is what I need for this particularly demanding week, a week chock full of meetings, 4-H details, sermon prep, vehicle trouble and research, decisions and everyday parenting. 
Then, I was confronted with this.

"You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 2:1 NASB

Strength and courage. 
Strength for the days I am weary. 
Strength and courage to fight the battles I don't want to fight. 
Strength and courage to avoid the easy path this week. 

There is just some whining I'd rather simply ignore.  There are just some attitudes in my children that it is easier and quicker to just look away and think about something else. 
But God's strength and courage are for me!

O weary mama, stand in His strength and courage.

I reminded myself that God is my strength and my portion;
He's the nourishment and sustenance I need today. (from Psalm 73:26, Isaiah 12:2)

My God is never weary or tired! 
I stop.  I wait on Him. 
I soak in His strength,
gaining what I need to lift up my weary head and be useful to the Master today. 
(from Isaiah 40:28-31, 2 Timothy 2:21)
Wait and take His strength and courage for your weary self today,
PS - All photos from a recent jaunt to a local state park.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Yelling, Waterfalls & Perfect Timing

You knew that I prepared for Friday to be a great day.  Though the Texas Sheet Cake did not disappoint, that day did not go as I expected.

As I was waiting in a 3 ft radius of gravel on a back road in order to get one bar of cell reception, a lady on a horse yelled what she believed were State Forest regulations at me.  She yelled a lot.  And that is most definitely the short, tactful version of a story that concluded with me behind the closed window of my truck, smiling a genuine smile and saying, "Have a nice day," when she didn't want to just leave it be. 

I am happy to say that my sister in law did not get lost and neither did I. 
My relief on that score faded quickly as I was turning around on the back road.  My steering wheel was turning, but my tires weren't.  #imconfused
My faithful truck broke down. 
In the middle of nowhere. 
Right in the spot where we had cell reception. 
As my sister in law was driving up.

Clearly, after a phone call to Daddy to make arrangements for the tow truck, we still went about our venture.

And it was a glorious day.  The fellowship.  The joy.  The fresh air.  The utter serenity.  The laughter.  The jokes.  The adventure.  The perfection of it all. 
I'm breathing another sigh of happiness as I recall the "This is the best playdate ever!" comments.

After my sister in law adventurously stuffed her three Sprouts, my four Blossoms, herself, myself and my two (very large) dogs into her gypsy wagon, we journeyed homeward. 

The Rugged Mountain Man and our neighbor put their heads together on what's the matter with the truck. 

I'll spare you the gory mechanical details and just say that it's a big deal AND if it had happened when I was going 60 mph down the interstate, the results could have been disastrous. 

It could have been utterly devastating.

I have been nothing but soberly grateful ever since. 

Looking back over the circumstances of the last two months, we've had a slew of extra highway driving and trips. 

And yet, our truck broke down on a back road, when I was doing a three point turn, moving at a snail's pace.

This is why I can not be argued out of my faith in my God.
I've experienced His miraculous care and power personally time and again throughout my life. 
God will move in and guide your life, if you'll only surrender it completely to Him.

Friday, July 15, 2016


It's gonna be a great day!

Goin' back to my roots with a Texas Sheet Cake, some time with family, an adventure and a little sunshine.  Sounds perfect to me!  Enjoy your summery weekend, friends!


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sew Worth It

We've been in the throes of fair preparation.  The season has changed a little from my baby gorilla phase.  A little.  However, the chaos surrounding completing projects continues.  At the beginning of the day yesterday, I actually brainstormed activities for the littles to do while I supervised Blossom3 & Blossom4's creative ventures. 
I've decided that I'm truly done with play-doh.  It was set up outside and yet, there is still play-doh in my carpet.  #lowmesstolerance  In any case, my plan worked and we made progress yesterday.  Thank the Lord for wisdom for a mom's life.  The times of sewing with the girls have been sweet, despite the constant chaos.  Blossom2 declared it "the best day ever!"  Blossom1 kept saying, "I'm so glad you're teaching me to sew."  It makes it "sew" worth it. 
It's funny, this "little" project has served to remind me of purposeful living and purposeful parenting.  I've been reminded afresh to make decisions with the end in mind.  In this case, it's important to us that our girls have life skills, sewing being one of them.  With that end in mind, we chose a sewing project to stretch and enrich their current skills.  Yes, that means time.  Yes, it means money.  #haveyouseenthepriceoffabriclately  The end results will be skill mastery. 
And, true to the spirit of "littles," they are anxiously awaiting when Mama starts on their dresses.  So, I'm gonna go make breakfast now.  I'll ward off the "when are you gonna make my p'oject?" with the same response I've used for the last two weeks, plus a smile.  Lots of steady plodding going on around here, friends. 


Monday, July 11, 2016

Grace in Difficulty

Blossom4 was just coming off being sick.  She was demonstrating what most moms will recognize and what I have dubbed "post-sickness attitudes."

I've never been sure exactly why these attitudes evidence.  Perhaps after being coddled for days, it's back to life as usual and this is something of a letdown.

Perhaps they feel better enough to be up and around, but still not normal enough to be their normal happy-go-lucky selves. 

I don't know. 

But that day was epic in her defiance and disobedience.  #idontexaggerate

I was chatting with the Rugged Mountain Man a minute and he thought a bomb went off here.

That's how crazy it sounded in the usually quiet Hollow.

By the end of the day, I was beyond exhausted.  Discouraged.  Stressed.  Overwhelmed.  Crying.

Though my goal for the day had been to remember 1 Timothy 1:5 (NASB),

"But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith,"

this mama felt like it was World War III between Blossom4 and me. 

The Rugged Mountain Man let me cry and hugged me close.  And I went to bed.  #bedtimeiswiseformamas

This morning, I felt like I ought to count my blessings, literally listing them in my journal. 

It helps my priorities when I count my blessings.  The issues and problems slide back in their proper place.

Little problems and big problems alike adjust all in the light of eternity.  Everything shifts.

I wrote, "I am thankful that I have the Holy Spirit to grace me in all the difficult things I must do today." 

This defiance from the little treasure God gave us is something we won't sweep under the carpet.

It's important enough to take my to-do list, cut it in half, just so I can be available to calmly deal with her and whatever's going on inside her heart and mind.

But I am not alone.  This issue doesn't loom as large anymore.

I felt peace spilling into my soul as my focus sharpened onto what was truly needed.

Grace.  The power of the Holy Spirit.  The help of God. 

Yesterday, I started out leaning on Him, but then I eventually marched back into my own strength.

"I am thankful that I have the Holy Spirit
to grace me in all the difficult things I must do today."
                              He will grace you too,
PS - All photos from our recent nature walk with an old friend.