Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rain!



This is happening right now, much needed RAIN! It is the long, soaking kind.  We need it badly!

It is believed that Texas has big bugs.  I spotted this one while sitting on my back porch snapping photos of ducklings.  It flew into sight and landed on the fence for rest, I suppose. 

What do you think? Are bugs this big where you live?

Cottonwood Borer

This was a good 1 1/2 inches long, perhaps more. Yuck. But as far as I know they don't hurt people.

I have a friend who moved here from the Chicago area a couple of years ago. She has embraced Texas whole-heartedly, crepe murtles, snakes and all. I love reading her facebook because I get to see Texas through her eyes. And her friends back home!  Sheesh.  They act like she has moved to Hell itself.  It is good to be reminded about the unique things where I live.  

One last picture....


 These two ducklings posed for pictures. Aren't they cute? They like to nap in my yard now.  Next thing you know they will be moving into the house.

Funny story. When I was painting one of the rooms upstairs a few weeks ago something got in my roller and stuck to the wall.  I had to climb the ladder to see what it was and remove it.  Can you guess what it was?  A downy duck feather! How it got up there I don't know but it made me smile.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Simple Joys


 

  * These purple thistles cheer me everytime I spot them!


The honey moon from a few weeks ago.


* The satisfaction of completing the hard work of two bedrooms and one and a half bathrooms I did a few weeks ago. 

* Seeing how my girls are enjoying their own room and shopping with my girls for new bed covers and such. We are not really big shoppers so this was a fun and unusual thing to do together.

Sara and Daniel


* As if there isn't enough "big kid" stuff going on around here we got to meet the parents of our daughter's boyfriend of 3 years.  It was good and I suppose you can see that their seriousness in each other is ramping up a little bit.

The pie before it gets its strawberry hold-it-all-together filling.  So yummy!

* Strawberry Pie


Baaaaa

* At Eastertime I looked ALL OVER for a sheep or lamb of some sort to no avail.  But look!  I found one the other day and was so excited to bring it home.  


The only two ducklings to survive at our pond this summer.


* Ducklings peeking in the back door looking for me to bring seeds.  They started out at the fence, then they figured out how to scoot under the fence, then they took to napping in the yard until I came out and yesterday they were on the back porch peeking in through the window.  Silly ducks make me laugh.  And you know I love them.


Fellowship!
 * Dinner at church with old friends (a few of them knew Mike when he was jut a little guy and me as a teen) and making new friends.



Daddy with Sara, 1995

* Remembering my daddy on his 16th birthday in Heaven. 

 
Garden Phlox

 
* Blooming garden phlox for the first time in our new house.  These were originally from my parents home and I transplanted some in our old house.  I brought a few these with me when we moved here three years ago and these are the first blooms in four years!





* Baby Girl with her daddy.  Anna went with us to pick up our new-to-us pop up trailer.

Mike is a happy camper which makes me happy.
 
* Mike has been hunting for just the right pop-up for over a year now. It is a hobby of his to research things THOROUGHLY and this was no exception.  I feel a little guilty letting you imagine I was sleeping on the ground in a tent in horrid Texas heat. In reality I was on a king sized bed wrapped up in newly acquired cotton sheets and quilt with some very cold air conditioning blowing on me.  And if that isn't enough, this has a bathroom on board complete with shower and a hot water heater.  I am not sure what the world is coming to but I like it.  

Mockingbird

* The above very passionate mockingbird serenaded us on a picnic. It had a song that MUST be sung and we got to hear it right over our heads while munching on a light lunch under this tree.  What makes the mockingbird sing?


* Bible study this summer has been really wonderful.  The neighborhood study is good, but the one were my friends and I are working through Romans is really very good.  One of my favorite verses from our study and my prayer for myself and my family is this:  

No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God. Romans 4:20

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Camping Out






Mike and I got away alone for a few days this past week.  We went camping in a state park about 2 hours away.  It has been a long time since I went camping and I've missed it.




The pine trees are beautiful and a great place to be when the sun comes out heating things up.  I listened to birds, watched butterflies, and enjoyed the sweet fragrance of the out of doors.




It was fun to take some time to explore familiar places I have seen in quote a long time.  The park has changed in the past decade since I was there, but so have I.



Enjoying a sunset with my husband was nice, too.  
It was a good respite from the everyday.  We are hoping to go more often in the coming years.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Our First Born


It has been a little over a week since our first born packed up almost all of his worldly possessions and moved across town.  I was not as emotionally prepared as I thought I would be.  I have not experienced many of what I've been calling "little leavings" by Ryan to prepare me.  He went to college here in town while living at home and has not been one to venture far for very long leaving me unprepared for this moment.

Can a mother's heart ever really be prepared for such things?  
I'm inclined to doubt it.

Beignets for a good-bye breakfast because difficult situations call for sugar and carbs.


The truck was loaded and it was time for him to be off.  
We gathered in a circle to pray for him and at the sound of Mike's chocked up voice the tears started sliding down my face. I don't think they stopped until the next day.

I feel them coming again. 

I have been thinking about those first days I held Ryan in my arms after he was born, how we pulled a fast one on all the nurses making them believe we were somehow qualified to bring him home from the hospital when really we were clueless and not just a little afraid.  I rolled him around our tiny one bedroom apartment in a stroller never leaving him along and rarely taking my eyes off of him even to shower.  Mike and I sat and watched him in fascination.  We needed no other entertainment and much of that feeling is still with us.  We are amazed at the miracle of life and certainly at a life that we had part in. We still are.



This past week I kept super busy painting his old room and getting Sara settled into it.  And then I painted the room the girls shared and we got it situated for Anna.  And then I painted and scrubbed bathrooms.  We have shopped, assembled and moved furniture, cleaned and organized, and decorated all week long.  I have fallen into bed every night sore and exhausted to very sound sleep.



A week passed and on Saturday afternoon our boy who is now a man out on his own came for a visit us. And he stayed a good long time.  And my heart was full.

How am I going to do this three more times?  
Oh, my heart.
I know parents do this every day...even many of you.  
And that encourages me.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday Morning

Thank goodness for Mondays!  I know if I worked outside the home I may not feel the same way, but this weekend was crazy and I am always happy to see a calm Monday roll around.

Some horrible cold/flu type thing has been passing through our family and it is a lingering sort of thing.  Mike went to work this morning but I am not sure how long he will last.  And one sister has been asked to sleep elsewhere due to her incessant coughing.  Poor girly took being booted from her room well.  It helped that she took her mattress with her. Oh, and a son was seen holding ice to his head as he worked his math problems.  

They are a pitiful bunch.

Saturday morning rolled around and found me up super early so I enjoyed some time on the back patio with my coffee and bible when I looked up to spot this fellow running along the creek behind our house. 
 



It is a Yellow-crowned Night Heron! And it is the first adult I've seen here.


Last year we planted this Trumpet Creeper outside of our dining room window.  It green lots of greenery but I don't think it ever bloomed.  I've been watching tendrils shoot out in every direction waiting expectantly to see orange trumpet flowers burst forth.

And then on morning there they were!
 



I can't remember if I told you how Mike found this metal fence section on the side of the road to use a trellis and help pretty up our ugly view of this fence. I think it did the trick!  And all for the price of the vine.


What do you call the little legs that cause the vine to stick to the fence?  Suckers?  Can you see them in the upper right hand corner?  I think they are cool and creepy all at the same time.

Tonight is one of my book club meetings and I have a confession: I didn't read the book.  I didn't want to so I simply didn't.  I've been really wrapped up in staying on top of my two bible studies and I'm trying to read through next year's school books.  

Right now I'm reading All Quiet on the Western Front.  Oh. My. Heart.  This book is HARD to read.  But it is so good in an awful sort of way.  Have you read it? It is heartbreakingly beautiful and ugly all at the same time.

I am not much of a history buff, but the 20th Century captures my interest more than any other time period and I am enjoying working through the curriculum ahead of the kids.  It's good stuff and thankfully I have a head start having read some of the book in previous years with my older kids.



Suburban Nature


Oh, and here is a little collage I put together to share with my neighbors. All of these photos were taken in my neighborhood that teeters on the edge of Big D (Dallas). 

Living in a community positively and impacting it for the good is HARD. I feel like it often gets romanticized and it is anything but!
 
It seems that people tend to communicate and respond in community in two ways: they polarize into two camps on ANY issue and they complain a lot.
 
I see why some people prefer staying to themselves.  I really do.  But for some reason I am driven not to do that right now. I feel this inner compelling to be more purposeful in my community.
Sharing this collage was an experiment and I'm happy to report that so far all the response has been very good.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Around Town


A beautiful old Underwood typewriter.

Mike and I took a little field trip to our very own small suburban town's museum. We have lived here for more than 20 years and drive past it ALL THE TIME, but we have never taken the time to go in and look around. So the other morning while Mike was working for home we took a little mid-morning break to toodle up the highway to have a little look-see. 

Our little town was settled by a man from Prussia who came to Texas and over time secured 5,000 acres.  He built the first cotton mill and gin in the county. 40 years later he donated 100 feet right of way to the railroad through his holdings thus was born our city.  

I wonder what he would think of the new Walmart?  My neighbors are all complaining about it. Wonder how many of them I will see in there when it opens?  

The card catalog from the library after it went digital.

We have a bit over 20,000 people living in our city which is small in these parts.  When we moved here 21 years ago it was around 8,000 so we have seen a lot of growth in the past two decades.  I have to say I'm pretty impressed we even have a museum.  

I will say the volunteer running the place wanted to take our picture she was so excited to have visitors.  Sad, but true...and thankfully I got out of there without photographic evidence of me being there.  It seems I've already turned up on our libraries Facebook page.  I'm not really a fan of that.


A very old baby doll.


The museum is pretty much a collection of things from founding families and other interesting things collected and donated by all sorts of people: a coat, some china, an old phonograph, a slice of a 100 year old Burr Oak they cut down to make a road (I'll spare you my rant on THAT, but just know I have one), maps and all sorts of other things.   I even saw that my old neighbor donated about a dozen old bottles.  Now where did he find those?  There was no note about where they came from.  Next time I run into him I'm going to ask about them.



Post boxes with a lovely patina.

We took a nice walk through the attached cemetery, too.

The kids were at work when we went so I think I will have them visit and do a little investigative reporting on our city this next school year.  Of course, my oldest daughter Sara has already been because that is the sort of thing she does. She is the one who encouraged us to go.

Do you know much about the history of where you live? 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Summertime Stuff

 


My 2nd attempt at wreath making, this one a little bigger scale than the last one.  I think I like it and sure hope it holds up to strong winds.  I didn't use hot glue, only wire, so we shall see.
 
I've been ordering my last year of homeschooling curriculum.  I am embarking on my 22nd year and then will hang up my.......uh.....demin skirt?  What I will do after this is anybody's guess, but I have time to figure it out.  
 
In the coming weeks I need to get our last schedule planned out and start thinking about what I'm doing at our homeschool co-op for the career class I will be teaching and for the yearbook I am heading up.  The career class will be fun but I am not so sure about the yearbook thing.



     
 Well, with all those thoughts about homeschooling taxing my poor brain I have treated myself with a trip or two to the thrift store.  Here is my latest find.  What do you think?  Is it whimsical and fun or ridiculous?

I asked my husband if I should I dip dye his horns and he said only if it is in RED like blood. That's wasn't very helpful.

Animal heads are all the rage so I thought I would hang this in my youngest sons room where he already has an old map of Texas framed.  A whole Texas theme is coming together.  I told my son we could name this bull Texas because, "The eyes of Texas are upon you."  

He thought that was lame.  Guess I'll have to keep trying.




A couple of friends and I are gathering this summer to study Romans.  We are using the books above.  I spent all school year studying Matthew and now Romans is teaching me the theology of the gospels.  It is a deep well that refreshes like the clearest, coolest spring.  The more I study God's Word the more I want to study it and it is facilitating the treasure of deeper friendships.

 
It is not ALL ducks around here.  See this frowny faced frog?  He is living on my back patio and I am super happy to have him.  There are lots of flies and mosquitoes to keep him busy.

  He really wasn't as big as he looks in this picture.  Zooming in on him gave him a whole different look.





 And lastly here is a flower from gathered on a bike ride by my Flower Fairy.  She is going on 18 but still picks me bouquets.

“Earth is a in-between world touched by both Heaven and Hell. 
Earth leads directly into Heaven or directly into Hell, affording a choice between the two. The best of life on Earth is a glimpse of Heaven; 
the worst of life is a glimpse of Hell.” 
-Randy Alcorn