Friday, May 30, 2014

A Wonderful Gift

The beautiful quilt

Yesterday Teresa met me at our local fabric store to give me a precious gift…..
a quilt!  Made just for me!

Here's the story….two years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Teresa (whom I have met in person only one other time) and several other women (some of which I have met once, and some of which I have never met) from a Yahoo email group that I am a member of, (and I think that these women are part of a quilting group too…) began sewing a quilt for me--as a gift of encouragement as I underwent my ordeal with breast cancer.  This group of Christian ladies makes these quilts for ladies with cancer--what a wonderful act of love and service!  Anyway, for a variety of reasons, I am just now getting my quilt.

I am so grateful!  This labor of love is just beautiful.  And to think that all of these ladies were thinking of me and praying for me during such a difficult time in my life.  I was overcome with gratitude when I unfolded the quilt yesterday.  I couldn't stop smiling as I read the names of each lady who had sewn the squares.  Some of them, like I said, I knew.  Some of them I recognized their names from our email group.  Some of them I had never even heard their names before.  What a precious gift!

In addition to the beautiful quilt, the ladies included a scrapbook with a picture of each lady holding the quilt square that she made along with a note of encouragement.  Priceless!  Now I have faces to put with names on my email group.

I cannot tell you how special these gifts are.  Acts of kindness and labors of love are so deeply appreciated.

This just made my day!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Angels Are Rejoicing!

That's what Scott said last night after he baptized two young men in our congregation----one of which was our son, Clay!  Hallelujah!  Words cannot describe my peace and happiness.  I am elated that Clay has decided to follow Jesus.  That is my number one and most important goal in parenting…..that my children will choose to become Christians.  That they will make the life-long commitment of serving Christ with their lives.  And the thing that made the night even more special, is that my best friend Lynn's son, Parker, was baptized too!  What a special night for Lynn and me.  What a glorious occasion for both of our families.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Well, I have added a new book to my summer reading list!

My friend, Mary Jo Tate, recently wrote and published this book.  I have known Mary Jo for 10 years, and I am so happy for her and success!  Last night I went to a Launching Event for Flourish, Balance for Homeschool Moms.  It was a delightful evening of fellowship with friends and delicious refreshments.  The highlight of the evening was Mary Jo's presentation of excerpts from her new book, Flourish.   I bought my copy of the book at last night's event, and I even had Mary Jo sign it for me!

I have not begun reading Flourish yet, but it is next on my list after Little Women.  Mary Jo has a Facebook page called Flourish at Home, as well as her book website,

Here are some of the chapter titles, to give you an idea of what this book is about.
  • Change Your Mind to Change Your Time
  • The FREEDOM Toolbox.  (Mary Jo covered this acronym last night.)
  • Where Did My Time Go?
  • It's Time for an Attitude Adjustment
  • Training Your Children
  • Managing Your Home
  • Oxygen Masks and Monkey Bread Days
  • All of Life is Learning
  • Solo Act:  Flourishing as a Single Mom
  • Home Business
  • and many more!
Mary Jo gave the disclaimer last night that while the title of the book is Flourish, Balance for Homeschool Moms, this book will actually benefit any mom, not just the homeschool mom.  Mary Jo has been a single mom for 13 years, and she has successfully balanced homeschooling and home-based businesses.  

I encourage you to add Flourish to your summer reading list.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Moms' Night Out

Last Saturday night, Lynn and I joined six other women for dinner and a movie:  Moms' Night Out.

Funniest. Movie. Ever.

I don't think I have ever laughed so hard or so much in my life!  I laughed.  I cried. I laughed until I cried.  It was hilarious!  I have not bought any movies on DVD except children's ones, but I will be buying this one and watching it again!  Sure, parts of it were a tad bit unrealistic (I don't want to spoil it for anyone with details), but the message was spot on.  Mothers (including myself) need to lighten up a little bit on the unimportant, but of course make sure we are not neglecting the most important of all (in my opinion); the spiritual training of our children and unconditional love for them.

Last night's Memorial Day cook out at Kelly and Lynn's was fun and relaxing.  I guess summer has officially begun, but we still have three more days of school.  We are all counting the days to finish up this wonderful school year.

The first three weeks of June are packed!  We have our church's Gospel Meeting, then VBS, then Rustic Youth Camp.  I have lots of planning to do for VBS and camp.  I am reserving July for next year's school planning, purchasing, and preparation.  And somewhere in the midst of all of this I am going to continue my cleaning out, purging, organizing, and deep cleaning every inch of my house.  That's the goal.  I am almost done with Sam's room.  I think about 2-3 more hours will finish it up.

I better get to running and then school.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Menu and Miles

Here is this week's menu:
Monday:  supper at Kelly and Lynn's for a Memorial Day Celebration--I'm taking pasta salad and fruit salad.
Tuesday:  baked eggplant over whole wheat pasta, salad
Wednesday:  bean tacos
Thursday:  coconut curry rice, baked potatoes (in case some people don't like the rice!), salad
Friday:  homemade chicken noodle soup, homemade bread, salad
Saturday:  new potatoes (hopefully from our garden), other roasted vegetables, green beans, salad

This week's miles:
Monday:  9 (done!)
Tuesday:  6
Wednesday:  off
Thursday:  6
Friday:  5
Saturday:  4

I didn't do my last 6 mile run last week.  :(  I plan to get all my miles run this week!  :)

I think I have decided on a marathon plan.  It will begin in 11 weeks.  I considered doing a plan that has you running 6 days a week, but I wisely decided that running 6 days a week might push me over the edge of insanity!  So I am taking a 6 day a week plan that includes a speed work day and a "race pace" day in addition to the long run, but I am going to drop one of the short miles days so the plan will just be 5 days.  That I can handle.  I think.
I signed up for the Rocket City Marathon today!  (Registration opened this morning).

You can visit for more menu ideas.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

My Summer Reading List

I got a jump start on my summer reading while we were at Seaside.  There is nothing like having an entire day to read a book.  I finished one book in just one day!

For my summer Bible reading, I plan to continue copying and outlining Scripture.  I am currently in Hebrews.

My school reading will consist of pre reading Clay's world history books--the ones I have not already read.  Both Olivia and Julie have completed the Notgrass World History course, but I have not read all of the included books.  I would like to have them read so that I can discuss them with Clay.

Pleasure reading:  I normally have a pretty ambitious list of just-for-fun summer reading, but somehow it gets pushed aside.  I am purposing to read the books on my list this summer!  Here they are:

The Diamond of Darkhold by Jeanne DuPrau (The last in the four book cities about the people from the city of Ember.)
Sue Ellen's Girl Ain't Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson (this will be a laugh out loud book….the first one I read by her kept me smiling and laughing the entire book.)
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (I have no idea if I will like this book or not, but it grabbed my attention at Sundog Books.  I'll let you know.)
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (How many years has this book been on my summer reading list?  Why have I not ever finished this book?  I am determined to finish it this summer!)

What's on your summer reading list?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Fun Day in Memphis

Jimmy and I had a meeting this morning in Memphis, so we just made a day out of it.  The children did their school while we met, and then we went to Whole Foods for lunch.  Delicious.  And then we browsed the store, and I so wish that we had a Whole Foods in Tupelo.  Except that it would blow my grocery budget!

We bought several items that we don't have in our local grocery store---two different cereals, some protein/granola bars, a new kind of protein powder, and some organic soap.  How exciting!  I also bought some organic lipstick!  Again, the lipstick color that I have been using for a few years has disappeared from the Walmart shelf.  I cannot find it online.  It is just a $1.97 shade of NYC lip color.  I guess my color is not popular.  Anyway, I found this organic lipstick that is the perfect color.  I plan to see if I can find it online and stock up.  I don't go to Whole Foods that often.

After that we went to Mud Island.  We haven't visited there as a whole family in about 6 years.  Leah and Sam hardly remembered it.  Mud Island is a to-scale (very small scale) replica of the Mississippi River.  You can walk the entire winding river and wade in it if you wish.  My kids and I all waded at some point.  It is from about 1 inch to 1 foot deep.  It ends in the "Gulf of Mexico", which is a pond.

Then we came home, dropping Jimmy and the boys off in New Albany for their monthly Knife Club meeting.  The girls and I enjoyed supper together at home, cleaned up the kitchen, and now we are doing a little bit of tidying.  Fun and exciting times.  Really it is.  The everyday things are ordinary and special at the same time.  Just being together and enjoying each other's company is enough.

I finished cleaning out Leah's room.  It looks fabulous!  Next I plan to help Olivia clean up (and unpack all of her college stuff) her room.  Then I will move down to Sam's room.  The bottomless pit of toys, stuffed animals, and collectibles of all kinds.  It may take me days!

I am still researching marathon training plans.  Jimmy bought a book about the Hanson Brothers Marathon Training Plan.  It seems like something I may want to try.  It is certainly different than what I have done for my last 5 marathons.  I have a few weeks to decide.  I am still thinking.

Going to help Olivia for a little while before time to read bedtime books to Leah and Sam.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Why My Vacation Was So Great

My week at Seaside was super relaxing.  It truly was a vacation from my full-time household duties.  We shared a house with our dear friends, Kelly and Lynn and their four children.  Lynn and I bought groceries for our breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.  We ate out for supper all nights except one, when Kelly prepared us a shrimp feast!  Joe and Leanna and their four children joined us at our house that night.  It was a group effort in cooking all of the delicious food we enjoyed that night.  The company and conversation were even better than the food!

Although we kept the stackable washer and dryer running 24/7, and I am not exaggerating, with two people washing, drying, folding, and putting away, it did not even seem like a chore.  Clean-up after meals was a breeze with paper goods, children who could for the most part clean up after themselves, and two hard working mamas to finish it off.  Many hands make the work light.

I read 3.5 books while at Seaside.  I finished the fourth one last night, The Prophet of Yonwood, which is the third book in the City of Ember series.  I plan to begin the last book in that series soon.  I really like to read, and I need to make time to read more often.  I am still in the middle of Little Women, and I bought two more books at Seaside.  Which leads me to another favorite part of my vacation.

Sundog Books
That is the quaint little bookstore at Seaside.  Three nights after supper we walked to "downtown Seaside" and visited this lovely bookstore.  There is something about browsing through books in a small, cozy setting.  It is a world of difference between scrolling and clicking on Amazon or even browsing in a super large bookstore like Barnes and Noble.  The books just seem so much more inviting.  Lynn and I and various children spent about an hour or more in there each night that we visited Sundog Books.  The employees were so helpful and friendly, and it was such a pleasant nighttime activity.

Another fun thing we do at Seaside is visit The Seaside Store.  More than once.  It is the store that sells the Seaside t-shirts and other Seaside items (towels, cups, hats, etc.).  Our family loves the Seaside t-shirts, and I let each child choose the color shirt that he wanted.  This year I got a salmonish/dark pink long-sleeved shirt.  Which proved to be a wise purchase because it was very cool at night, and even cool during the day when on the beach.  I wore that shirt multiple times while we were there (even while reading my books in my chair beside the ocean--it was so windy and cool!), because I failed to pack a long sleeve shirt.

We ate at the silver "food trucks" one night.  That is a fun treat too.  There are several food trucks to choose from with menus ranging from organic vegetables to any kind of grilled cheese you can imagine to hot dogs to barbecue.  Most of us chose Barefoot BBQ (because you know the kids get a "free" frisbee with their meal!)  Another restaurant that we always eat one meal at is Bud and Alley's Pizza Bar.  They serve unique pizzas to hungry diners. I like to get the seafood pizza, which does not have cheese.  The last place where I enjoyed supper was Pickles.  They have the best burgers and homemade French fries ever.  They use organic, locally grown when possible, ingredients.  I had the ground chicken burger, and it was delicious!

The only dark spot in an otherwise perfect vacation was that Jimmy had to leave two days early to go back to work.  We missed him after he left! Amazingly, I (with the help of all the children, of course) was able to pack all of our belongings into my one vehicle even though we had stuff in both my and Jimmy's car on the way down.  Jimmy took home some of the stuff when he left, but we were still packed in like sardines on the way home.  That just added to the fun adventure!

8 more days of school.  We can do it!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Beginning the Summer List

Since we are in our last two weeks of our homeschool, I already have a little bit more free time.  Julie is completely finished with 11th grade.  Clay, Leah, and Sam, are down to just math and a couple of more subjects each.  I decided that for the last two weeks of school we would begin our day at 9:00 AM instead of 8:00.  We are doing our group Bible lesson and 9:00, and I am still through with school with all three children by 12:-12:30.  I remember when all of our school days ended at lunch (before 4-5 students and also before I had high schoolers).

We actually met some friends at the park to run at 7:45 this morning, and still were home to begin our Bible lesson at 9:00.  That was so nice.  I plan to continue our summer days with Bible lesson at 9:00, followed by short periods of productivity and lots and lots of free time for the kids.  I can already tell that Sam will need a little bit of guidance with his free time…..Clay spends all of his free time welding and blacksmithing, and Leah is sometimes more interested in sewing with her sisters or working on various crafts than playing with him.  I plan to help him make a list of things he wants to do or play with this summer so I can give him suggestions when he asks me, "What can I do?  He has already asked me that three times since lunch!  My kids know not to say, "I'm bored," or I will instruct them to clean a toilet!

This afternoon I plan to begin tackling Leah's room.  I need to clean out all of her drawers and closet, bookshelves, and various other places in her room.  I will be taking out all of the fall/winter clothes, and bringing out the spring/summer hand-me-downs from the basement.

I better get busy.  A little here, a little there, and the work will get done!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Menu, Miles, and Overwhelmed!

I have faced reality that my fabulous vacation is over.  I spent yesterday afternoon between church services making a menu, going through a huge stack of mail, shopping at Kroger and Sam's and tidying up the house.  Two more weeks of school.  I think we can make it!  I have so many summer projects planned (sewing, cleaning out, organizing, cleaning, school planning, just to name a few), and I hope that I can squeeze them all in in just two months.

I have decided to run the Rocket City Marathon on December 13.  That is 30 weeks away, so I have 12 weeks to increase my mileage to be ready to tackle an 18 week marathon plan.  I am still unsure about which marathon plan to use.  I have used my same marathon plan for 5 marathons, and I want to do something different this time.  I also have to set a realistic time goal.  I am not sure what that will be.

Here are this week's miles.  I have already run the 8 miler this morning.

Monday:  8
Tuesday:  5
Wednesday:  4
Thursday:  rest
Friday:  6
Saturday:  5

Here is this week's menu.  I will serve a green salad with each meal.  We enjoyed so much seafood and some delicious but not so healthy meals while we were on vacation.  I plan to serve lots of vegetables this week.

Monday:  stir fry vegetables, rice
Tuesday:  Caribbean black beans with mango salsa, rice
Wednesday:  roasted asparagus, potatoes (sweet and Yukon gold) and squash
Thursday:  eating out
Friday:  Southwestern bean burgers, chips and salsa
Saturday:  baked beans, corn on cob, slaw
Sunday:  refried beans taco bar

Please click here to visit Org.Junkie for more menu ideas.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Guess Where We Have Been?

We just got back from Seaside, Florida, one of my favorite vacation destinations!

14 children

6 adults

Fun!  Fun!  Fun!

Kelly, Lynn, and their children stayed in a beautiful Seaside house with our family, plus one extra (Olivia's friend from college, Daniel).  Joe and Leanna and their children stayed in another house just down the road.

We spent our days running, biking, relaxing and reading, building sand castles, shopping in downtown Seaside, enjoying many delicious meals together, putt-putt golfing, and mostly just hanging out and enjoying one another's company.

We arrived home late this afternoon and I have already unpacked everything (with everyone's help!).

We have two more weeks of school, but I sure did enjoy my Seaside vacation!

More pictures to come.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Hello Again

You know the science law….An object in motion stays in motion, and and object at rest stays at rest…(something like that--I paraphrased it).  Well, that's what happened to my blogging.  I have gotten out of the habit of blogging on a daily or almost daily basis, and it has seemed so hard to begin again!  It's not that I don't have thoughts and events that I want to write about.  It's just that I have gotten out of the habit of making time to actually sit down (or stand at the kitchen counter) and type.

I plan to do better.  I like to blog.

I have read two books this week, City of Ember and The People of Sparks, both by Jeanne DuPrau, and I am currently reading two more books, The Prophet of Yonwood by DuPrau and Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson.  That last book is hilarious.  I am laughing out loud while reading!  The DuPrau books are young adult books, but the series (there is also a 4th book) is so interesting.  They are fast reads.

We have two more weeks of school to complete our homeschool year.  Yay!  Let the summer activities begin.  I will be working with the children to compile our summer list.  I already have a master calendar of May-August on the refrigerator.  So far all I have on it is where Olivia will be all summer.  She has several trips planned, and we all needed to know where she would be.  I will be listing our VBS, summer camp, preacher training school, etc.  on there as well.  It will be a busy summer, but very enjoyable and hopefully productive as well.

I am also still reading Little Women, which I listen to a large portion of while driving to pick up Olivia from college.  My summer list will include a list of books to read.  Any suggestions?

***Tip of the Day***
Before your summer begins, walk through your house with a notebook and pen.  In each room jot down everything that needs to be done for cleaning and/or maintenance.  That will give you a starting point when you schedule the time to work on it during the summer months.

Monday, May 5, 2014


I had every intention of blogging lots last week……I left last Sunday driving to pack up Olivia and bring her home from college.  I was gone for 5 days.

While I was gone, a tornado hit our town, Tupelo.  Thankfully, we live northeast of town, and were not affected except that our house was without power from Monday afternoon until Wednesday night.  Just long enough to lose all of the food in our refrigerators, however, that is nothing compared to what hundreds of citizens our our county suffered.  We have the best weatherman ever, Matt Laubhan.  He began warning our area of the upcoming storms a few days before they hit, and he stayed live on the air with warning after warning until he himself took cover just before the tornado hit.

So, Olivia is home!  And we are all so happy.