Attacking Your Day

I recently read the book,” Attack Your Day! Before it Attacks You!” The main thing I took away from the book was the idea of managing my TASKS instead of my time.  Just because someone comes along and asks something of me doesn’t necessarily mean I must stop right that moment and complete the interrupting task.  It’s my responsibility to prioritize my tasks.

SOOOooooo much easier said than done.  My knee-jerk reaction was “Well, you’ve never spent a day at my desk!  I’m the first face anyone sees when they pass our office, and there are 63 people between the ages of 80 and 100 who all think I’m at their personal beck and call, not to mention all of their responsible parties who need questions answered or need to tell me about a doctor’s appointment.  Before and after and during work, I mother three children.  Three children with no less than 5 years between their ages, all needing different things simultaneously.  Mommy! Mom! Mama!  Hey Mom!  I have a husband and a boss (not the same person) and somehow I’d LIKE to think I try to write stuff and help people.  NO way I can just call the shots on what I want to do.”  It seems that most of my life is basically one interruption after another, putting out one fire after another.  Even while typing this, I’m typing around a pair of three-year-old hands as they stick stickers on my laptop.

So basically, my first thought was “Nice idea.  Totally impossible for me.”  Then I remembered… (start playing Battle Hymn of the Republic background music) I remembered that it’s still the United States of America, the land of the free.  I’m still of legal adult-decision-making age.  This means I AM in charge of what I do.  I make the choice to allow myself to be interrupted, to allow myself to forget the tasks I’ve decided are most important and do the stuff other people present to me as “emergencies.”
I admit, I wonder if deflecting all of the interruptions that come my way would take more time than just doing the task right then and getting it overwith.  A legitimate concern, except if I keep on simply stopping and doing every single interruption, I’ll keep on being unable to get past all the interruptions and accomplish the things I’ve deemed important.

This idea applies to all of life.  Churches, jobs, friends, social organizations, and more are all lining up for a piece of us.  Saying “yes” to them all creates a constant stream of interruptions and interruptions to the interruptions.  (Dizzy yet?  Me too.)

I’ve decided it’s important to homeschool my kids.  I’ve also decided since we still need to feed them, that I can’t quit my job.  Oh yes, and I also want to make a healthy happy marriage, do life with my friends, and make a difference in the world.  This means I HAVE to be a master at managing my tasks.  This life isn’t going to just “happen to me.”  I have to keep my priorities in the forefront of my mind and I have to make these things happen.  I have to be on the attack.

So what do I do?  Here are some ideas:

1)  I need to know what is important to me today.  There’s no way I can order my tasks if I don’t know what I want and need to be doing.  This means I’ve gotta spend a few minutes planning, thinking, and prioritizing.  This could be a simple “to do list” or a calendar program or whatever.  Anything that helps identify what exactly I plan to do and need to do puts me in a better position to be in control of my tasks.

2)  Learn to say NO already!!  Sheesh!!  There are some things absolutely required of me because of my job or position in the family, some things to which I can’t simply say “no.” BUT there are a LOT of things not absolutely required.  A lot more than I want to admit.  For me, saying “no” is uncomfortable, it’s weird, it’s unfriendly… I hate doing it.  But, I can’t say yes to the important things if I can’t say no to the unimportant. 

3) Strategize.  I don’t often think about having a strategy.  I prefer to dance around and float through life while everything seems to fall into place.  Nice idea but not effective goal achieving material.  I need to use strategy.  I don’t think great marriages and good parenting just happen.  There’s a strategy there, or at least a set of core beliefs that are applied by the partners or parents.  I wonder what the simple step of identifying what I want and actually creating a strategy to achieve what I want, would do?  This may seem silly to a business-minded organizer, but to a people-pleasing social butterfly it’s groundbreaking. There’s also a level of commitment in making a plan.  It’s one thing to say I want to homeschool my children.  It’s another entirely to make a strategy figuring out how to do it.  Strategy in place, my excuses are few, aren’ t they?

My life is a juggling act.  THIS IS NOT A COMPLAINT.  I’m overly, wonderfully, incredibly, undeservedly blessed with more than my share of loveliness.  Attacking my day means I get to dive in with gusto and enjoy fully the huge pile of good things in my life.  Handsome husband, wonderful children, great job, dreams of good things to strive toward.  All mine to attack at will.

Ready.  Set.  GO!!

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A Crazy Little Thing Called Love

It’s made me drag myself out of bed on a rainy Saturday morning to drive my daughter to a volunteer event at school.

It’s made me spend time and money in a counselors office to enhance my marriage and motherhood.

It’s made me give away my last piece of pie, my last French fry, the last of the milk in the jug.

It’s made me drive fast and slow, reckless and extra careful.

It’s made me ask God to take a suffering person who was precious to me and broken my heart when He did what I asked.

It’s made me stay awake when I was too tired, keep walking when my feet hurt, and open my arms when I’d rather be alone.

It’s made me braver than I ever thought I’d be able to be and it’s made me the biggest coward on the face of the earth.

It’s made my cry tears of sorrow and just as many tears of joy.

It’s made me cook and made me eat, made me go out and made me stay in.

It’s made me give everything my body and mind have to offer and more.

It’s been my lowest low and highest high.

And this was all in the past week!!!

It’s a crazy little thing called love and I’m grateful tonight to have a life full of the stuff.

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Gettin’ Schooled

Our homeschooling adventure continues! One of the main things I want to do when I think of teaching my kids myself is stuff their heads with as much scripture as possible. My own little brain was stuffed full of God’s words when I was a little girl and I find He uses that library in my brain to talk to me. I want my kids to have a nice-sized God-vocabulary, so a big part of our homeschooling is scripture memory.

So far this schoolyear we’ve memorized:

Romans 3:23-24 (As a kid I learned 3:23 alone, but verse 24 actually finishes the sentence. )
Acts 16:21
Ephesians 6:1
Proverbs 20:11
Psalm 34:14
Isaiah 63:1-3
1 John 4:8
Psalm 23 entire chapter

Since I’ve also been working on cursive handwriting with Levi, the scripture verses provide a good opportunity to practice handwriting and work on memorization at the same time. We do one verse each week, with a “test” on Friday. On Monday, we print out the verse and each day, Caleb helps by holding the paper for us to read aloud together. He gets a kick out of saying “GO!” and we read the verse again. We also write the verse several times to “layer the learning” by using our hand to write, seeing with eyes, and speaking the verse aloud.

A couple of weeks ago, I took a Friday morning and “tested” on all the verses we’d learned up until that time, having the kids write them out as I called out the reference or the first couple of words.

Scripture Memory Wall

Scripture Memory Wall

I’m so excited for my kids to learn the Bible, and as He always does, God is using His words to change us. For example, several weeks ago, when we were memorizing Psalm 34:14 “Depart from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it,” Dwayne and I had a really rough evening. It was one of those needless marital disagreements where both people say and do things they don’t mean and nobody wins. It wasn’t the kind of thing we could hide from the kids, even though they were in bed when it happened. We screwed up and our kids knew it. The next morning, I tearfully read over Psalm 34:14 and had to explain to my three babies how Dad and I were wrong to not do what the verse asked. We had not departed from evil and sought peace. We had done the opposite. I also shared with them how we planned to work on our disagreement, and ask God to help us too. Talk about humble pie. Talk about relevant scripture.

As He always does, God turned my stupid mistake into something good for me and my children. I had a chance to talk honestly with my kids, not hiding from them the fact that adults make mistakes. I had a chance to teach them that being an adult isn’t about not messing up, but it’s about owning your mistakes and doing what it takes to learn how to do better.

 

Vacuum Science Experiment

Vacuum Science Experiment

So far, we’ve also started a creation science unit, made “rain,” created a vacuum, and we are pairing that with a World History study, starting off at the very beginning, of course. I’ve been working with Mackenzie on poetry, and with Levi on reading comprehension. For math, I have a geometry student and one working on multiplication with several digits. For some extra curricular work, Mackenzie is taking a cake decorating class and Levi is participating in the children’s choir at NOBTS. As a family, we’ve also done a menu-planning and grocery budgeting project.

I’m finding my days are intense, with nonstop activity from 6am to 8 or 9pm by the time I complete the entire day from homeschool to work to NOCCA pick-up to putting everyone to bed. BUT I’m working on some different techniques to manage my tasks and time. I’m so thrilled with my kids’ progress and so surprised at how much MOM is learning. 🙂 Guess they aren’t the only ones gettin’ schooled!

 

 

 

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Under My Nose

Distracted.  That’s the way so many of us live our lives.  I know I do.

So much on my mind, from finances (or lack thereof), to parenting, to school, to work, to marriage, to theology and more.  I get so overwhelmed with my life that I walk around in a daze, unable to focus on any one thing for the cacophony of things that need my attention.  And then there are the “on purpose” distractions like social media or blog reading that  I do to just get my mind off of everything.  Ironically those things usually add to the volume of my mind’s congested grid-lock.

This week I was reminded to stop.  Stop.

Stop and NOTICE what is already here.  Quiet my drive toward what I’m trying to produce and actually experience what’s already around me.

How sad.  How embarrassing, really, that I get so stressed out about paying bills that I completely walk past three miracles living in my house.  Three beautiful souls with names and hearts, and lovely faces.  Three little human beings who were formed inside me.  I forget to notice what’s ALREADY THERE.

Today I will open my eyes.  I will breathe in the cool air and notice it’s cinnamon scent.  I’ll drink in the heat from my coffee cup and revel in the blessing of a full fridge and pantry.  I’ll wake those lovely faces and look at the miraculous eyes light up with sleepy/happy fun.  I will notice what I already have, and when the tide of crazy comes in, I’ll remind myself to take a few moments a few times through the day to realize where I am, what I love, and how good it is to be alive.  I’ll put down my phone and be present in my great big wonderful life.  I’ll refuse to let what’s over my head make me forget what’s under my nose.

 

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Uncharted Territory

Caleb and his ABC scripture cards

Caleb and his ABC scripture cards

Ok, again… too long since last post.  I promised I’d avoid the POD (Pit of Despair) this summer and I’m happy to report:  I DID!!!  Another post will outline my strategy for success on this.  For now, I have other news.

We’ve spent this summer, Dwayne and I, wrestling with a major decision:  What to do about school for the kids???

Our oldest has been getting by with online school, middle had a sad excuse for a fourth grade year, and baby is only 3.  Bottom line, we were looking for some good solutions for our kids when it comes to school.  Private school is out.  Can’t afford tuition, plus our last experience with private school was not too great.  Public school, while I have no problem in theory with it, didn’t do the trick for my kids either.  Especially Levi struggled mightily this past school year and nothing I tried seemed to work.  Nothing major, just barely passing grades and little actual growth. Translate this: 2 frustrating hours of homework every night until somebody or everybody cries and nobody knows what we’re doing wrong.  Now that Mackenzie is accepted to NOCCA, meaning we won’t arrive home until 7pm to start the aforementioned homework torture routine, we needed a new direction.

I had a thought, a daring, crazy thought that I knew my husband would immediately reject but I couldn’t keep it out of my mind.  So I brought it up.

He didn’t reject it.  He thought about it.  I thought about it.  We prayed about it.  We sought advice of trusted friends.  We decided to go for it.  I’m going to say it really fast so it won’t seem so ca-razy.

I’mhomeschoolingmykidsandstillworkingfulltime.

Oh my gosh, I said it.  I know this is taboo so you’ll still be my friend, right?  Even if you think I’m nuts?  Thanks, I knew you would.

I’ve rearranged my schedule a bit, so I’m up at 5:45am, and by 7:00 the kids and I are doing school core studies. (The bus for public high school stops on our street at 6:45am in case this seems crazy early to anyone.)  Roughly three hours later I head to work and then tap out with stepdad who does afternoon reading, driving to field trips, music lessons,  P.E. and the drop off at NOCCA where Mackenzie has been accepted as a student of culinary arts.  Around 6 I leave work and head to NOCCA to pick up my girl, and we all reconvene at home around 7:00 to have dinner, get baths, and drop into bed.  Weekends include some prep time and coaching from my very own homeschool professional, Janet, is in abundance.

Ya’ll, for a while I totally doubted if I could do this.  I sought help from various sources, validation really.  I asked a homeschool blogger for advice, but got something like “I understand.  I work full time AT HOME too.”  Hmmm… I know it came from a good heart, but I felt like it meant “NO way can a work OUTside the home mom do this.”  But the truth is, it’s doable.  Not easy.  But possible.  Kids who are professional entertainers, missionary kids, and even regular old American families, all homeschool in unconventional ways…so why not us?

Since this IS still the US of A and my school choice for my kids is still my business, I considered keeping quiet about this because I fear the judgemental attitudes of others.  However, I’ve had so much fun the past three weeks and so much joy with my kids that I had to share this with ya’ll.

We’ve memorized scripture verses, learned about sea turtles, dolphins and alligators, learned spelling rules and cursive handwriting, analyzed and written our own poems, studied prohibition and Lewis and Clark and more.  And this was all during our “trial run” before regular school started.  You know, in case we couldn’t handle this schedule we’d still be able to start regular school and keep trying to figure something out.  But the trial run only served to prove to me that this CAN work.

I’m looking into my children’s eyes.  I’m spending the FIRST and best part of my day concentrating on them, not just the last and most irritable moments.  My son has learned more in three weeks than I saw him pick up over the entire second semester of last year.  I’ve been able to determine some areas that need attention, ones I didn’t realize were lacking.

Since Levi was a baby, I’ve been haunted by a night when I, against what I KNEW God was telling me in my heart, allowed a doctor to catheterize him.  I knew it was unnecessary, but was afraid to go against the doctor’s orders.  I never want to feel that way again.  It turned out, my “feeling” was right, he was fine and there was no bladder infection.  I caused my baby unnecessary pain by being scared to just be his mom.  Not anymore.  In my heart’s deepest places, I want to give whatever it takes, do whatever it takes to love these babies and introduce them to God and give them a happy life.  I know that God will direct me and give me everything I need to do what He wants done for these three amazing creatures He created in my womb.  I’m so excited for what we’re doing.  Whether we do it for the next year only or for the rest of their school careers, I’m enjoying every minute in this uncharted territory.  Maybe it’s a lil’ weird, but I’m cool with that.  I’m happy to be mommy to these three, wife to Dwayne and whatever else God asks me to be.

 

 

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Making 70

My dad made 70 today.  In New Orleans you don’t “turn” a certain age, like “turn 30.”  You MAKE your age each year.  Only Dad’s not here, he’s in Lakeland, Florida.  Still, for me, he makes 70.  I’ll see him soon, but on days like today I wake up with tears wishing I were helping cook his birthday dinner and make him a cake.

New Orleans is the wild, wild west compared to where I grew up.  You don’t find guys like my Dad here.  Sure there are lots of good ole boys, but it’s not the same.  I remember when I first moved here, going months on end without seeing a cow, or really a piece of open land big enough to handle a cow.  It was weird.

Kenzie and the cow

Mackenzie feeds Holstein

 

Dad isn’t really all that fond of the nearly 700 miles between us.  I’m not either.

Some days I wonder why I even bother.  If anyone knew how many times a day my heart cries to go home to Daddy and Mom, they’d wonder the same thing.  But I know the answer, really.  I bother because I really think God wants me here in this crazy, awesome, sideways place.  My mom took a picture of me at about 17, upset over something and crying in my Daddy’s arms.  I’m pretty sure God knows that if I were physically close enough, I’d never really move beyond that.  There’s no place safer or better, except the arms of God Himself.  I’m lucky to have had a Dad who introduced me to God and made an example of God’s unconditional love in a world where so many Fathers become an obstacle to a child’s understanding of God as a loving Father.  My Dad only enhanced that understanding for me.

Papa and Caleb

Papa and Caleb

My Dad, and Mom, taught me love.  They taught me work.  They taught me Jesus.  They taught me faith, a for-real, down-deep, affects every part of your life faith, not a measly one day a week, take-a-lick-at-a-snake excuse for religion.  And here… here in a place where there isn’t any room for cows, I’m bringing and sharing and living what they taught me.  I’m raising my kids their way.  I’m growing veggies in my fenced-in, subdivided yard.  My house has more than its share of mason jars and my van finds its way to the farmer’s market practically on its own.  I stand there among very cool, very green, hipster types and look for a flat of strawberries cheap enough to make jam.  I cock my head to the side at the things they grow, like kale, and wonder where are the “new potatoes” and “silver queen corn” and “zipper peas”?  My hands hold babies the way Dad and Mom did, and love old people the way they did.  They introduced me to hospitals and nursing homes and funerals through their ministry in those places and now I love old people for a living.  My eyes and my smile carry their physical traits, and communicate their philosophy of real faith and real love for people.

It occurs to me that I repeat this behavior on a fairly regular basis.  Trying to bring a little of the love I was brought up with to the place I’ve been transplanted.  Trying to say “See, Daddy?  Mom? See, Granny?  Papa?  I listened!  I watched!  I loved the things you made for me and taught me and did for me and now I’m doing them over and over again, copying you in another part of the world because the goodness of you needs to be taken to other places.”   It’s in my tomatoes, potatoes, strawberry jam, vegetable soup, various holiday casseroles, and so on.  It’s in my children and the way they are being raised.  It’s in my work and the way I love to see crinkly laugh lines and wrinkly eyes light up.

Dad, Caleb and Holstein

Daddy, Caleb, and Holstein

It’s you, Dad. (And Mama too!!!)  You gave me a lot of good stuff to bring beyond the 20 acres where I learned it all.  I’m living the faith you taught me.  I’m adding your flair to my everyday life.  I’m following the God you introduced me to, with all of my heart.  I keep Jeffries in my name because it’s a reminder of who I am, and who I’m teaching my children to be.

You’ve made a lot more than 70, Daddy!  Hope you have a happy birthday!!

Mom and Dad's 50th

Mom and Dad's 50th Anniversary

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Lime-life

It all started with three fateful words, texted to me by my friend, Janet. (That’s Janet, of butt blowdrying fame to any who have been reading for a while…) Anyway, back to the text:

Key. Lime. Pie.

From the moment I read the words on the screen of my iphone, I knew. I would be making a key lime pie.

To set the scene for you, about a week ago someone gave an industrial size bottle of key lime juice to my husband, the chef. I was thrilled. Overjoyed. I have a thing for key limes.

Just try. Try to think of something that doesn’t benefit from a twist of lime. I know! You can’t!!

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Is that KEY LIME in those glasses?

Then over the weekend while walking through Walmart minding my own business, I happened to pass a sale on bags of adorable little key limes. What good fortune! Those would go perfectly with everything I intended to mix with my lime juice. So I bought them, of course, and some coconut vodka just in case.

Can I just tell ya’ll that limes are totally one of my favorite things God makes? I just love ’em.

So I’ve used my juice over the last few days to paint a lime-ey ribbon through cocktails, homemade salsa, water, and tea and fed these lime laced labors of love to anyone who put their feet under our table.

And then of all things, Janet texts me about a key lime pie she was having and, not one to be outdone, I knew it was time for the pie. At first I got out my favorite cookbook, going for a “busy days pie” using ready made crust, whipped cream, condensed milk, and lime juice. Then I realized I had no ready made crust on hand, neither did I have whipped cream. A younger, sillier me would have given up, but nah…

I simply made my own graham cracker crust! It was easy!  I have a three-year-old, so graham crackers are a given.

Then I went for a recipe I found here, and it too was easy. PLUS it still called for condensed milk and who doesn’t love that stuff?? I may or may not have dumped a little lime juice in the bottom of the can after I poured most of its contents into the mixing bowl and eaten the lime juice and leftover condensed milk with a spoon. What? You know you’d do it too!

Anyway, I also didn’t have whipped cream, but I DID have whipping cream. (There’s a difference.) So after I picked up my Mackenzie from youth group and while my darling little pie was cooling in the fridge, the whipping cream lived its dream… fulfilled its destiny… it got whipped.

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Mama's piece of pie

So now I sit, alone, all others in the house slumbering peacefully. But I made a pie. And I ate the first piece. You know, out of good will toward the rest of the pie eaters that may come along, I willingly took the always-misshapen, difficult-to-cut first piece upon myself. Don’t tell, but it wasn’t misshapen at all. It cut like a perfect custard pie with all the preservatives in the world. You’d never know it was haphazardly homemade by a silly girl who is lime-crazy.

Limes, especially ones of the key variety, remind me of Florida. They have their roots, their history in Florida and so do I.  I love a bunch of people in Florida so limes make me cry in a happy/sad/lovely sort of way. (What? You don’t cry over fruit that reminds you of people you love? Then I won’t mention the various levels of emotional breakdown I have over green beans, corn, home canned tomatoes or fresh navel oranges.) So I can’t have Florida (you know, the people I love that live there) but I CAN put key limes in everything possible and know that the salsa on my chip, the wedge in my tea, or the pie on my plate is smiling back at me, reflecting a little bit of who I am.

I love limes, ya’ll. And pie. And my mama and daddy.  Lime Life is good.

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Lime life photo by Caleb, age 3

 

 

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All Natural

Around our house we’ve got a little trend going. We’re keeping things natural. We haven’t really talked about this. It’s not a bandwagon we’re on or anything, we’ve just been enjoying a lot of natural, simple things…

Local produce from Hollygrove Market and Farm.

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Our weekly produce haul

Creole tomatoes growing in our yard.

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Little Baby Creole Tomatoes

Mint Juleps with mint we grew ourselves.

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My mint!

A new/old shelf from an onion crate found in the neighbor’s garbage.

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Our new/old crate/shelf!

A made from scratch Mother’s Day brunch at home.

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Mackenzie's Mother's Day Brunch

These days natural things are kind of rare. Natural foods, hair colors, clothing, body parts… they’re an oddity rather than the other way around.

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My natural lips plus a little unnatural lipstick!

Even things that say “natural” on the label usually aren’t really natural at all. I’ve been thinking how the same goes for our relationships, with God and with each other. Natural, honest, calm communication is rare. What we normally experience is flowery, fake, frantic and fraught with double meanings if not all-out untruths.

Being part of a house church provides a very natural, basic way of expressing my faith. I find myself more and more uncomfortable with manufactured spirituality. My own included. Have you ever heard someone pray aloud and wondered if they really talk to God that way in private? Heh. I’ve wondered that about myself. There comes a point when the “pre-packaged” expressions of spiritual speech just don’t nourish anymore.  Just like a wrapped granola bar can’t compete with a warm homemade oatmeal cookie, the boxed and labeled premixed prayers and conversations cease to satisfy a craving for true, authentic interaction with the Father God and His other children.

I’m not talking about prayers like The Lord’s Prayer here.  I’m speaking of those expressions, fillers, things we say just because it’s expected or because we don’t know what else to say.  I have a few pet peeves like using “Amen?” to ask for agreement or understanding, the “unspoken” prayer request, or asking an omnipresent God to “be with” us.  You know the type of thing.  Could be a figure of speech or just saying fluffy stuff in prayer or conversation with another person rather than getting to the real, natural expression of actual thought and concept.  I’ll be first to admit that sometimes I’ve said nothing in prayer because other than platitudes, I had nothing to say.  Yeah, God wasn’t surprised.  I find my “out-loud” prayers with my family and my church family are sometimes stilted and awkward as I struggle to keep it natural rather than resorting to something prepackaged or formulated.

I’d like to see my life, in prayer and conversation, filled with less prepackaged things like “Fine, how are you?” and more home-grown stuff like “I don’t tell you enough, but I love you.” or “You know I really respect you, admire you, or even disagree with you.”  I’d like to stick to natural words and concepts that are real rather than convenient but empty words that fill time but don’t really accomplish any communication.  And ya’ll can hold me to it.

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Mint Julep with homegrown mint.

Here’s to natural!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Us

Just had our fourth wedding anniversary. We had a lil’ weekend getaway.

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There was this.

20130429-232932.jpg And this.

Oh… and this (yes, I did!)20130429-233014.jpg

 

Our getaway involved several hours alone to just reconnect. We’ve had lots of “you and me” but building an “us” has been a bit more challenging. Sometimes it seems our four years have flown by.  Sometimes it seems an eternity since we’ve struggled through so many things.

We’re still working on it, but it was really good to be reminded that there is more to us than pee-peeing on the potty, driver’s ed, 4th grade homework, and eating your vegetables.  We’re more than what we fight about, more than our perpetually empty checking account and perpetually packed to-do lists.

To keep it real, ya’ll, we’ve sometimes acted as if neither of us learned a darn thing from our first failures.  We’ve approached this marriage like two dummies expecting to “stick in a thumb and pull out a plum” as my daddy would say.  Oh, we knew second marriages are difficult, but OURS would be different, right?  Right.  Keep on dreamin’, honey.

Four years and about four MILLION “discussions” later, we are learning how to stop collecting retribution for past hurts from each other, though we had nothing to do with each others’ pasts.  We are learning (who, me?) how to leave well-enough alone, how to give each other some space for grace.  We’ve finally begun to quit trying to force our individual ways of doing things on one another and instead we’re starting to  figure out our COLLECTIVE way of doing things.  I think we’re about to get on the same team here, people!

We ain’t perfect, yall.  But things are lookin’ bright.

And Honey, if you read this sometime… I had the best weekend with you.  Happy Anniversary!

 

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The Easter I Couldn’t Plan

Oh law, did WE have us a wonderful Easter or what?

We did!

Growing up I have a lot of special Easter memories. Many of them involving an Easter dress WITH a bonnet or a hat. Mmmm hmmm. Many memories also involve a musical of some kind, or a passion play.

20130401-223824.jpgThis year, however, we made some different memories with our family. On Saturday night we attended a Messianic Passover Seder with our Origins family. I had so much fun hearing again the story of Passover and drawing the parallels to Jesus, our Lamb of God.


 

 

 

 

Easter morning,while my darling picked up our 60 pound crawfish order from the seafood merchant, I made Hot Cross Buns! (Click on the phrase to see my inspiration) Please tell me I’m not the only person who played the song in first grade piano lessons and on the recorder in third grade and never knew it was about buns with crosses on top. Please.

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Anyway, they’re evidently somewhat of an Easter tradition. Perhaps not a southern one which would explain why I had no idea. But when Joy the Baker put a post up about Cross buns I knew I had my Easter morning breakfast plan. I do love Joy the Baker. I love anyone who knows the value of a carb as much as I. A sister in all things sweet, she is. Anyway, since I’m nowhere near as awesome as Joy the Baker, my crew got whop cinnamon rolls (you know, the kind where you WHOP the can on the counter to pop it open) with icing crosses.

It’s the thought that counts, yeah?

And since we had a big group of 15 for house church (Easter crowds everywhere, ya know!) it also took a dozen biscuits, NOT whop biscuits thankyaverymuch, and a breakfast casserole with enough cheese to bind us all together if you know what I mean, to feed everybody. Oh, and two pots of coffee. Don’t tell, but I love the feeding everybody part the best about house church. Give me Jesus, a table full of biscuits and butter, a hot pot of coffee, a bunch of people, and it is on like pecan my friends.

As a matter of fact, Janet’s dad was telling God when he closed us in prayer how he had loved sharing house church with us, it had seemed a little like what we’ll all do in heaven… sitting together enjoying each other and talking over all He has done. I hadn’t exactly thought of it that way before, but it’s true. A little bit of heaven is practiced in my home every week. I’m loving it.

And as if that weren’t enough, the coffee hadn’t even cooled before people started arriving for phase two of Easter festivities: the crawfish boil.

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Ya’ll, there were kids everywhere, family, friends, faces to love all OVER the place.20130401-224312.jpg We killed a BUNCH of crawfish, hunted eggs, laughed and talked.

 

 

 

 

 

It was incredible. And I don’t even eat crawfish.

 

 

But people I love DO.20130401-224127.jpg20130401-224143.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just as everything was winding down, everybody dragging their happy, crawfish-stuffed selves to their cars and heading home, it started to rain. It was a lovely, soft rain just perfect for a visit with one of my favorite people who happened to wander over from down the street. God blessed me with some relatively quiet moments to chat, eat Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, and enjoy the company of yet another person I love.

After the rain, Janet and Ray’s electricity went out so they came back and piled on our couches and we ended the day watching the Bible on TV and drinking another pot of coffee.

I’m sure I could have never planned a more perfect Easter weekend. Good thing I didn’t really plan it. I mean, we knew we’d attend the Seder, we ordered the crawfish ahead, I schemed over the cross buns and all that stuff. But those weren’t the things that made the weekend perfect. It was the love of friends and family, the love of God, all blended up together to make a level of exquisite-ness not able to be conjured up through human effort.  What better way to celebrate a miraculous, resurrected Jesus?  I can think of none.

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