Monday, July 26, 2010


I'm moving...and in about 6 seconds the page will change and will take you to the new blog destination (well if I did all the HTML right it will)!!

still working out all the kinks.  So if it doesn't take you automatically just Click

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rollin' 'Rollin' Rollin

A fabulous rolling pin is super helpful when making a delicious pie crust.
The pin, was my grandmothers, and I adore it.  
I love holding it in my hands and imagining what all she made with it?  
How many rolls were made using this pin? 
How many cookies?  
Somehow using the pin that my grandmother used to lovingly prepare things for our family, makes me want to make more things for my family.
I know I'm weird.
I'm okay with that!
(well most of the time)

The pie crust I made with THIS recipe.  Well at least pretty close to you can see from the previous post I'm not one to follow recipes religiously or cautiously
measure ingredients.  But it turned out yummy!
 Granted it's filled with the ooey gooey yumminess of  fudge pie!!  
What doesn't taste delicious when filled with oooey gooey fudginess??

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Do you know the muffin man??

I don't, so I got to make my own.  I posted this recipe a few years ago HERE and decided it was worthy of reposting. 

Why am I double posting tonight?  Well I'm supposed to be packing.  I really have a ton to do....makes sense right? my husband either, but I'm crazy that way.

But hey, we made these for my daughter and I have to have when we leave our house tomorrow on the little mini-trip I'm supposed to be getting ready for.  Does that count?

We're leaving before the sun rises.  Okay so maybe not really before the sun rises, but PERHAPS I don't really have a single clue when the sunrises lately because just PERHAPS since I've been back form church camp I've not been up early enough to have a single little clue.  Just maybe I've been sleeping til....cough cough...well let's just say the sun is up.
MaryKyle and I decided to make these today after picking berries so we would have them to grab in the morning.  We are heading to a homeschool convention with my sister and cousins (HOORAY!!!) this weekend and to visit dear friends of ours we've not seen in too long now!!

These are our very favorite muffins. The recipe is a super duper forgiving one.  For the original recipe click the link above. Here's what I did to it today.

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

1 cup milk
1/4 cup cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla (oh just squirt some in)
1 egg
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup turbinado sugar (oops...I was out...used natural sugar instead)
1/4 tsp lemon extract  (oops...just squirted in some lemon juice didn't measure that either though)

1 Tbsp Honey  (totally out...we go through tons of raw honey in our house....just skipped it and added about a Tbsp more sugar)
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh blueberries (tossed in what I thought looked like a yummy amount)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar (guesstimated)
2 Tbsp butter, cold (guesstimated)

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
2 grease bottoms only of 12 cup muffin tin
3. Beat the milk, oil, vanilla and eggs appx 2 min
4. Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon extract and honey (will be lumpy). Stir in blueberries.
5. divide batter among muffin cups.
6. Cut butter into flour and brown sugar with pastry blender for topping
7. sprinkle each muffin with appx 2 tsp topping
8. Bake 20-25 min or until golden brown.

Who needs cute shoes when you have squash?

Bought these Zephyr squash at our local farmers market from the local farmer where we always pick our strawberries!!  
The kids said I just HAD to buy some because they matched my outfit that night. So of course, I did.
I mean, honestly, who doesn't love a coordinating squash now and then??  I had just thrown on some flip flops that night afterall...I was in need of a a little accessorizing!

 I sliced them put them on a cookie sheet and drizzled on some olive oil, then some garlic powder, sea salt, thyme and pepper.  Baked it at 450 and turned it halfway through the cooking.  We all LOVED it!!

My sweet daughter decorated our table tonight on her own with no prompting.  There's something about flowers in a mason jar that screams simplicity and loveliness to me!!  Just love it!!  And that she tore a piece of toile to tie around....yes I love that girl, she makes me smile from my inside out!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

our life a few weeks ago

I'm presently curled up on my couch in my living room.  
I was wondering what to blog about.  And it hit me just a SHORT few days ago my life was so different.  We miss it so much!! 
So I thought I'd give a short tour of our home in Honduras a few weeks ago....thanks to the Bilodeaus and the folks at Little Hands Big Hearts for allowing us to use of this space!

This is the kitchen.  Notice a few things are the kitchen sink!  
But there is a fridge...a REAL full-size FRIDGE with a FREEZER!!  You have NOOOO idea how exciting this was for us.  The last 2 summers we have not had such a treasure...or DRAWERS!!  
Oh yes this was luxury to us!!

But no worries about that missing's just in the bathroom!
Worked just fine.  Well til dishes would fall off the ledge behind the washer and MK was the only one that could fit to get under and through and get the fallen dishes!
Our functioning toilet is to the left of the sink.  There was another bathroom with a functioning shower.

Here's the stove.  No oven.  but I had use of the oven in the
main building on the campus as long as it wasn't being used for something else.  It worked fine, except it was HOT...As in furnace HOT.  My friend Sara once put an oven thermometer in it to get an idea of the temp and at the lowest setting it maxed out the thermometer which I think was 450.
My Mother guessed that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego might have been familiar with this oven.....seriously it was HOT!
I'm pretty certain my Honduran friends think I am a lousy cook because it's like learning to cook all over again as far as ingredients, pots, pans, ovens, stoves, etc etc.....ha ha ha!!

Here's our living room.  The couch is an old van seat.  the coffee table one of our travel trunks.  And you know what, it worked just fine!!

I'm missing the simplicity and tons of time together.
We read together for HOURS every day.  Or we crafted or just hung out together.
Too much to do and too much going on here to do that most days.

I miss it.  I miss being excited over a full size fridge and my kids LOVING the ice trays that provided our ice cubes.  I'm now of the opinion that everyone should own ice trays.   Otherwise how will you teach your kids how we made our own popsicles as kids, and oh the joy kids find in twisting to get their own ice cubes out??
Ice cube trays are now on our shopping list!!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

no time to rest when life is so much fun!

Ack....PDA!!!!!  Shhhh...don't tell the counselors!

My sweet honey and I have spent the last week at church camp.  
We had just enough time to throw some clothes into wash when we got back in the country and headed off.....
are we a bit overprotective or what? 
 But we both loved church camp as kids and we wanted our kids to start creating those awesome memories too.  
Except we weren't quite ready to pack them up and walk away....
so off we went!!

My cabin of girls!

Me and my precious friend Ashleigh.  
we giggled til I nearly wet my pants just about every night.....well and all day too for that matter!
Such a blessing to serve as co-counselor with her!!
Not sure she'll have any desire to be around me for a while now....I'm guessing she might need a break.
She stayed in my house while we were gone to Honduras, then came over one of the nights before we left for camp (right when we got home from Honduras) and then spent the week in the bed next to mine.  
Yeah I'm thinking she'll need a good long break from me to recover from the insanity!

and no...I'm not sleeping yet or getting rest.  Some day soon I'm declaring a PJ day.  Might even put a sign on my front door that day....
"DAY OF REST.  Enter at your own risk, but do NOT ring the bell before 1pm.  Even then, don't expect us to be presentable...."
We have a full weekend this weekend as well.  Two extra kiddos who we love are here and we have an all day event tomorrow. 
Life is too much fun to slow down right now. 
I figure instead of whining, might as well smile big, laugh and enjoy the ride.....

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The day we arrived back in the country we lost a precious friend.  James Olson was a great man of God.  
His smiled put you at ease instantly.  He never seemed to have a non-intentional conversation.  When he asked you to go out to eat after church, it was never "hey we're going out, you guys want to go?"  Instead he would walk up to you, look you directly in the eye, and with pure sincerity he would say something like "we would really love to spend some time with you this afternoon.  We'd love to chat with you and see how your week was and what's going on in your life"  
Every conversation with James led to the cross, Christ and his passion for a loving God!
Today we celebrated his life.  
Sharri, his precious wife, asked us all to adhere to a strict dress suits, no ties, casual, and bright....Hawaiian shirts were suggested even.  This was to be a true celebration of this man who's smile never seemed to leave his face.  Who touched the lives of everyone he came into contact with.
Whose light SHONE to all around him!!
I've read messages from people who never met him, but had chatted with him on HAMM radio (a passion of his) about the impact he made on their lives even though they never actually laid eyes on him.  Today at the service a friend from California who he chatted with each day recalled how when he found out about our loss of James the entire trading room floor where he worked was torn up and crying.  They'd never met James in person....only knew him over the phone from when he called his friend
each day.  
Wow....just wow....
I knew he had that impact on me.  
I knew he had that impact on my children.
I knew he had that impact on my husband
I knew he had that impact on all the teens from our congregation who have spent the last 3 days gathered at his home helping to support his wife and children...and each other.

I knew...I knew in my heart how much impact this man made in this world in his short time on this earth.  
But looking around today at the over 600 people who gathered to celebrate this amazing man....
It made me want to be better.  
because every conversation with this man made me want to be better.
Made me want to be happier.
Made me want to smile more.
Made me want to be more content.
Made me want to love more fully and laugh more richly.
Made me remember that Christ is the center of my life! will be missed!
Your impact on all of us who were blessed to have known you, is phenomenal.  
We will live life differently because of you.
Your memory alone makes us better people!

Thank you James!
Thank you God for allowing us to know him, and be touched by him!!
Thank you for reminding us through James that each moment is precious,
each moment an opportunity to touch a life, or save a soul!
Thank you for reminding us that each moment is one that we should
spend ensuring that we are working for you God and making you proud!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I'm baaacckkk!!

Our time in Honduras flew by yet again.....
The last 10 days were just positively NUTTY!!  But good...just nutty....up at 5-6am and back to our house and in bed by midnight-1am.....
Now it's laundry and packing for camp which starts Sunday.
Hopefully I'll get to upload some pictures from Honduras really soon!!  
Our daughter cried last night for the longest time because it hit her we were back in the states and she wants to go back to Honduras!!  I tend to agree with her and am feeling the same today!!

Anyone in the N'ville area?!

My friend, Amy, over at CRAFTY MOMMY MADNESS is having a fun contest.  So many of my relatives and friends are in the N'ville area so I thought I'd share this with any of you.  Please be sure to pass it on because this is a great and fun contest for sure!!

The new Peek-a-boo Playtown opens this weekend in Cool Springs (My friend Amy designed their adorable logo above!  She's awesome that way!).  They are going to have lots of fun for sure it sounds like. Definitely something that would be a fun day for the kiddos with lots of activities and giveaways.  A great activity on a hot summer day so kids aren't whining that they are hot, etc!!

Amy is giving away 2 open play passes for either location and a t-shirt (you even get to pick the color and size).  The Contest ends July 9th at 6 pm Nashville time.  So be sure to get over there!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

To My Daddy!

today is Father's Day and although it's been a good day for us here in Honduras I still miss spending the afternoon with my Daddy.  We usually get Subway and go over to their house and have a picnic or something like that.  My Daddy loves so does my son!!
(my parents in 1968)

ISince my garden is now producing (and thankfully being well tended by neighbors) I know we'd be chatting veggies and I'd be out walking on his property arm and arm seeing how his apples, blueberries, blackberries, veggies, azaleas and more were doing!!
So although I'm very happy to be here....I miss my Daddy.  So today, I wanted to let him know it.  So Daddy:

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!!!! I love you and think you are the very best Daddy in the whole world!!  

-Thanks for serving/leading our family the way you did and continue to do; with love, prayerfulness, & Godliness!!  It is so easy for me to have a picture of my heavenly Father because of what an amazing earthly Father I was blessed to have!
-Thanks for showing me what a husband should be like!  
-Thanks for showing me how to love and treat my children and telling me many times a day how much you loved me.  
-Thank you for the discipline and setting expectations!   
-Thank you for never making me feel like you wished you'd had a son and calling me your "favorite youngest daughter!" 
-Thank you for teaching me things like how to change my oil/tire, how to tie a square knot, and how to start a camp fire!  
-Thank you for caring that I presented myself modestly and in a Godly manner in the world.  
-Thank you for the date nights and showing me how I deserved to be treated.  
-Thank you for being involved in my life and showing interest in what I was interested in at any given time!
-Thank you for leading me around your yard and showing me all of your lovely plants, and sharing your immense knowledge!!!  
-Thank you for loving my Mother whole heartedly and showing it constantly!!!  I never EVER doubted that and that was such a blessing when hearing friends talk of their parents! Still is!!
-Thank you for working nights in your workshop to build my recipe box that made me look forward to the day when I was cooking in my own kitchen and made me feel grown up and respected.  
-Thank you for throwing the TV away when I was 5 and sitting down at night for games together and devotionals!
-Thank you for never raising your voice or acting in anger!
-Thank you for trusting me to make my own decisions as I got older and helping guide me lovingly but without pushing me.
-Thank you for making the sacrifice to send me to ACS when you saw me drowning at MHS.
-Thank you for trusting me when Thad and I got engaged and welcoming him into the family!
-Thank you for all the guidance and support and love you give us every day
-Thank you for loving my children and being an wonderful example for them! Also for teaching them the things you are passionate about.

just THANK YOU Daddy!! I love you and appreciate you every day. I just can not thank you or God enough for all that you mean to me and have done for me!!! I love you and look forward to seeing you next week!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

our lives are about to slow down a bit.....

and speed up....all at the same time!

How is that possible?  Well we head to Honduras tomorrow.  Where things operate on a bit of a different type of schedule. Where we don't always have water or power. Where we fight the insects and watch out for other critters.  And where, as my daughter says it, "we spend more quality time as a family"
No TV to distract us.  No regular internet connection.  No car.  And we love it!!  We are really excited.
We head there tomorrow to make preparations for a large team of Christians to join us.  We will be getting all the plans set in place, the supplies purchased, etc etc.  So the time will fly.  both before the group gets there and then when they arrive we'll be so busy it will just be like a flash.  But a flash of time that we will enjoy thoroughly!!
We are SOOOO excited that Honduras is in the World Cup for the first time since the 80's and we will get to be there to enjoy the excitement, energy and fun!!  Hondurans are proud and excited...and well they should be!!  Jerseys are packed, we are ready to join in the fun!!!


(you are welcome to follow along with our summer in Honduras at

"Living out a Christian spin on the American dream"

Wow...what a quote I thought (even if the voice in the video is completely obnoxious). It speaks to the feelings we've been dealing with for the past few years.  I think the video is accurate.  We're continually working through what that means for our family.

So I post this here for a couple reasons.....

So I don't forget about this book.
to see what you think.

just remember, I warned you of the obnoxiousness of 'the voice'

I've read bits and pieces, on the site, of some of the first chapter of the book. I'm truly intrigued because it touches on so much that's been on my heart for some time now.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake Cake = Yummmmmmmmm

(photo from/by The Pioneer Woman)

Thanks to facebook my husband reconnected with an old high school friend.  He and his family came for dinner the other night. What a delight!  We had a wonderful visit.
My husband was blessed to go to a small Christian school his entire life and his friends....well they are a treasure!  We had another in town a few weeks ago.  With both, it's been such a blessing to sit around chatting about mission work, Bible class curriculums, homeschooling, our Christian walk, struggles, etc  When chatting, my husband and his friend that came this weekend didn't think they'd seen each other since graduating high school, yet it took one conversation to realize they still had tons in common and were in similar places in their lives and desires moving forward!  I look forward to getting to spending more time with this precious family in the future!!

  As is the usual routine before having guests, I looked around the internet for a  good recipe.  I wanted something relatively easy, and summery...and of course delicious.  
We were doing the typical Memorial Day weekend cook-out.  So I also needed something that paired well with burgers, etc.  Oh and with the 6 kids that would be here,  I wanted something kid friendly too!
After being a bit overwhelmed by all the selections on Recipezaar, I headed over to The Pioneer Woman.  You just can't go wrong I don't think with her recipes!!  Sure enough, it's one of our new favorites.  I didn't have time to get any pictures of mine, we were rushed and running a bit behind and was gone.  
But while the strawberries are still in season, RUN....
get some berries, and then make this cake.  It's even better the next day after being in the fridge and all the juices soaking through the cake.  But's super rich!! 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A quote in the meantime

Our days have been filled with schoolwork, yardwork, testing and play. Leaving very little time for blogging or even blog reading.  But I've got some yummy recipes to share soon, til then....

 from Charlotte Mason:
"The atmosphere in which a child gathers his unconscious ideas of right living emanates from his parents.  Every look of gentleness and tone of reverence, every word of kindness and act of help, passes into the thought environment, the very atmosphere which the child breathes; he does not think of these things, may never think of them, but all his life long they excite that vague appetency...toward things sordid or things lovely, things earthly or divine"

one of my favorite pictures from our trip to the High the other day.  Hopefully we'll get
back in the next week or so to wander around some more.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

So this year we planted a vegetable garden.  Our goal was small....but we wanted to use heirloom seeds and do it organically.  I've done tomatoes and a few other things before and we have herbs and some fruits, but a full fledged garden is a new experience. We got the seeds from Seed Savers , followed the Square Foot Gardener method and were determined to keep it relatively small and simple this first year. Our one goal....grow enough tomatoes to can a bunch of sauces and pastes for the year....the rest would be for fun.

Well guess what? Everything else is growing pretty well (this is the green beans a couple weeks ago) EXCEPT the tomatoes.  Sigh.....and there are LOTS of tomato plants.

Have I ever mentioned I have a totally black thumb??  Seriously talent for growing at all.  But I THINK I've figured out the problem. Thanks to a friend from church that owns a local organic farm and from lots of reading online.  One site I found thanks to Homestead Revival  is
I think we had a nitrogen deficiency and a over-loved issue!!  So I added a bit of nitrogen this weekend and I'm leaving them alone to fend for themselves a bit.  They've already started to green up.  now if the soil would just heat up and we'd stop having cool weather than I think they MIGHT take off!!  MIGHT.....remember that horrid black thumb...who knows??
They aren't dead yet, just sort of stopped growing.

But realistically, the odds are not necessarily in their favor?!!  

The best part of the veggie garden is enjoying it with my amazing hubby.
Mornings you'll often find us, coffee mug in hand, wandering around the veggie beds discussing what's growing well, what's not, etc. what we will do differently in the future, etc  Evenings....same thing.
Mid day...same thing.  ha ha!!  We are enjoying it....together!!  So if nothing lives or produces we will still have enjoyed it...and won't give up!

NOTE: please excuse the hideous yard in the background.  our current project is that we tilled up our entire backyard, put down tons of topsoil, tilled it in, picked up loads and loads of rocks and the sod will be delivered TOMORROW and yes we're laying it ourselves!! Hopefully by next summer I'll have a lush backyard!!
We've had all sorts of issues with seed in the backyard (our front was sodded when we built), so we just decided to bite the bullet and go with sod and redo the soil from the lousy job our builder did and do it right!!   My sweet neighbor  brought over this cool book the other day on organic lawn care.  It's a MUCH easier read than any other's I've looked at (and bored of) and has some really interesting tricks.  I'm going to hopefully be giving one a try in the next few days.  More on that to come......

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Field Trip

Today we took a field trip to the High Museum of Art.  We had a great time....


okay so John Mark wasn't too much into the curved canvases.  
But hey, maybe we got some culture today....


but the truth of the matter is, some of the time the kids said "Why is that ART?"  I would be thinking the same thing.  I know I know...bad uncultured Mommy! 
Perhaps not what the artist had intended for this piece, but we really liked it!

Makin' Memories

A few years ago my parents stopped getting gifts for my kids for their b'days.  Instead they started taking them on birthday outings or trips.  
Each year the birthday child is given a few options to choose from for their birthday trip.  
This year John Mark chose to go to Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, TN.  They stayed the night at Fall Creek Falls Inn and wandered around Fall Creek Falls some before going to the Cave.  
They had a fabulous time....even better, they made more amazing memories!!!
(I grabbed some of Mother's pictures from facebook...hope she doesn't mind)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We picked these juicy yummy fruits the other day

mixed them with some organic sugar and cooked and cooked and cooked them....
and cooked them some more.

 I was testing a new jam recipe, and didn't want to get too many before trying it out. But now we'll be going back for more!!  
I made the jam the old fashioned way without packaged pectin. 
We're very pleased with it.  It's softer than if I'd added pectin, but oh so yummy!!
 I learned that berries with a hint of green at the tip contain more pectin.
So be sure to pick some of those to help your jelly set up if you aren't adding in pectin.  

Monday, May 10, 2010

yesterday I was talking to a friend whose husband every year on Mother's day leaves and goes to his Mom's for Mother's day, leaving her with their 3 kids.  
I thought....goodness me, at least take the kids with you so your wife gets a break
 a few of us just gawked at him.
But you know what?  The more I thought on that last night I thought
How awesome he wants to spend some time with his Mommy to give her honor for what she did for him and to spend some quality time with her!!
What a tribute to that Mom and what a great example for his sons!!
Why is it I expect a break for Mother's Day??
I get that we Mom's do a lot and some down time is nice.
Don't get me wrong.  
But I also realize how much some others out there that I love dearly would LOVE to be a Mommy and would be ever so willing and thankful to have little ones to do the laundry for on Mother's day  
or to get up and fix breakfast for, 
wash the dishes for, 
clean up after....on Mother's day.  
Those that want to BE A MOMMY!!
The world teaches us it should be a day our family gives us a break....a day for ME!

But I'm thinking it's a day for ME in a different way maybe

...for ME to sit back and realize how amazing I have it.  
For ME to be thankful that I have little ones in my home whose laundry I get to wash.
for ME to be thankful for each and every laugh I share with them
for ME to be thankful and realize just what a gift it is to wash their dishes and make their meals.
for ME to be thankful for the man that I married who helped me create these amazing beings.
I can remember years ago as a child getting a gift from my Mother on mother's day.  
I knew that she said it was in honor of us making her a Mother....but I didn't fully get it then.
But I'm getting it Mom....slowly but surely.  

Because my reality is I'm SO thankful to be the Mommy to these two precious ones.  
I hope next year I remember that I want it to be
about ME giving GOD THE GLORY for gifting me with these two!!  

(although I do LOVE my new juicer!)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bloomin' here in Georgia

If this bit of loveliness can bloom in my weed ridden, black thumb owned, rocky clay soil filled backyard....
I'm thinkin' there's hope for me in this world!

On my friend LAURA'S blog someone commented the other day 
"what would life be like if everyone bloomed 
where they were planted?"

What a lovely thought.  

I mean really....why not??

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tennessee Pride - Good Ole Rocky Top!!

Below the video is a great article about what's going on and how Tennessee is handling it. I realize it's rather lengthy, but it's really worth it!!!! I love Tennessee!!



by Brent High

On May 1st and 2nd of 2010 a historic amount of rain, as much as 17 inches, fell on middle Tennessee and the city of Nashville in less than 48 hours. Historians are using terms like “thousand year flood” to describe what took place here. The Cumberland River, Nashville’s main waterway, crested at just over 51 feet, flooding iconic structures including the Grand Ole Opry, LP Field and Bridgestone Arena where the Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators play, Country Music Hall of Fame and the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center. The water rose so much, so fast and in places water has never been seen that thousands had to be rescued by boat. Dozens lost their lives. Thousands of homeowners lost everything they had. Thousands more are now trying to salvage what’s left. Most had no flood insurance because before May 1st they didn’t need it where they lived. Early estimates are that the damage will top $1 billion and this storm will go down as the most devastating non-hurricane event in American history.

This is Tennessee.

It’s Monday, May 3rd. The rain has stopped, finally. What happens next shouldn’t come as a surprise. Almost instinctively, after a long night of restlessness, volunteers spring into action. It’s in their blood. They’ve been trained to do so by their parents and grandparents. From Waverly to Cookeville, Winchester to Cross Plains and in the capital city of Nashville the sights and sounds are the same.

Without being asked, fishermen launch their boats into the muddy soup, joining the rescue efforts. Business owners and supervisors tell their employees to take the day off and jump in and help wherever they can. Neighbors, many of whom helped empty entire houses in brigade fashion the night before, transition into cleanup mode. Sump pumps and generators whirr. Drywall, carpet and ruined floors are ripped out. Elderly ladies gather at the church to make lunches for workers. Teenagers distribute bottled water. Pickup trucks, trailers and storage units are loaded with what could be salvaged. Photos and documents are spread out in the sun to dry. Wads of $20 bills are slid into pockets of those affected. Checks are written. Hugs are given. Prayers are said. Tears are shed.

This is Tennessee.

Almost 200 years ago Tennessee first earned the nickname “Volunteer State.” In 1812 More than 2,000 Tennesseans volunteered to fight for Andrew Jackson and were the main part of Jackson’s army that destroyed the British three years later in the Battle of New Orleans. A generation later the U. S. Secretary of War asked Tennessee for 2,800 soldiers to fight a war against Mexico. 30,000 volunteered.

This is a state where faith comes first. We don’t ask why. We know there is a reason and look forward to it being revealed. We are guided by scriptures such as Philippians 2:3-5 which says:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus.”

Family is a focus, not an afterthought. Don’t bother trying to do business with us the week of Christmas or July 4th. We’ll be with family. When our kids have a school play we will be there. We throw big birthday parties. We teach our kids right from wrong and aren’t afraid to give them a whippin’ when they need it.

Here we say “Yes ma’am” and “No ma’am.” We try to leave a place better than we found it. We put our hand over our heart when the national anthem is played. We pull over on the side of the road when funeral processions pass on the other side.

We are savvy business people. We are farmers. We are teachers.

We drink Coke here. We like gravy with our biscuits and potatoes.

We are serious about our sports. We keep score in little league and we still have all-star teams and MVP trophies.

We are givers.

You won’t hear us wailing about where the federal government and insurance companies were in all of this. We’ll get by just fine without them.

Right now we have a lot to deal with here in our backyard. We will handle it with dignity and class. We will sacrifice for each other in ways that are unfathomable to most. We will stand together. We will stand tall. We will come out of this stronger than we were before it.

One day in the not too distant future a hurricane, tornado, fire, flood or other unspeakable disaster will strike your community. As you struggle to put the pieces back together we will be there.

We will volunteer.

We are Tennesseans.

This is Tennessee.

Brent High, 36, is a lifelong Tennessean from Nashville. He serves as Assistant Director of Athletics for External Affairs at Lipscomb University


here's what I know is an organization my family has been involved with for many years. My Grandfather loved volunteering for them at their warehouse in Nashville. They are an amazing organization!! is a church where quite a few friends attend. I love love love their idea of collecting gift cards to hand out to flood victims!! The address to send them to is on the first page of their website!

I'm sure would put donations to good use as well. 
The two above I just know of that are located in Nashville and have been working very hard since day one!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


No matter where we go, we're rarely without our silly bandz.  
Well the kids aren't anyway.

Oh why didn't I think to shape the old swatch bracelets into all sorts of animal shapes, etc 
and sell them for $5 a pack??  

Kudos to whomever marketed those 'silly' things....genius shear genius!!  

look closely and notice all 3 kids in this pictures have them on.

National Day of Prayer

So today the 6th of May 2010 is the National Day of Prayer.
Among the many things on my prayer list today (and not just today) is all those hurting in Nashville, TN
The pictures are disturbing.  It's just so so sad!
But more sad is that so many people don't know about it because it's not been at the forefront of news coverage nationally.
So if you didn't know to....please stop and say a prayer.  Here's why:

Above is my Aunt's neighborhood in Bellevue, TN (not sure of where the picture came from...I think The Tennessean).  Amazingly, hers was one of just a handful (truly just about 4-5 out of hundreds) of condo units that did not go under water.  But now she's left with destruction all around her.
We are thankful that no on in our family completely lost their property.  In the grand scheme of things their damage was all quite minor.  But yet SO many are not that way.  The entire city of N'ville in fact is not that way.  Their symphony hall, football stadium, Grand Ole Opry House, Opryland hotel, Country Music hall of fame, etc etc....all took on water....TONS of water. It will be a long road to recovery for a city that I love so dearly!!
My entire family is from N'ville.  Both of my parents grew up there.  My Mother went to Lipscomb University (and their high school too for that matter).  Nashville is where my parents met and where their family's still live along with my sister and one of my husband's sisters.  It's a great city!!

Here's just some of what my loved ones have been dealing with (pictures by my sister and her husband and taken from facebook):
my brother in law bailing out the basement of their lovely home during the rains

Their church set up a temporary shelter in their gym for a nursing home to evacuate to.  Their church members helped set it up and helped out, as they were able, to serve the patients and the nurses and staff tending to them.

Here's a picture of the downtown area after the rains ceased...picture found here

So today on this National Day of prayer I hope you will include the residents of Tennessee as they move into starting to begin recovery from this horrific disaster!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New Life is popping up all over my yard.  We went with the Square Foot Gardener Method of vegetable gardening for ease of dealing with our rocky thick clay soil.
And we're having great results!!  We've got Squash, Zucchini, carrots, peas, beans, tomatoes, chamomile, cucumbers, lettuce, etc going out there.  In addition to our Strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries and herb garden.
My sister just passed on some asparagus as well so we'll have that in a few years too!  Hooray!!
I love having a feast out my back door!
I also LOVE the book The Backyard Homestead because it finally inspired my precious husband and helped him realize that we really could grow food in our little "postage stamp" sized backyard, now he's having a ball gardening!  However he's also now wanting to have a rabbit hutch of fluffy little adorable rabbits to have to slaughter and eat.  yeah I'm all for being self-sustaining.  But I have limits.  I'm thinking rabbits are outside of the them!!  (even if they are yummy to eat)
(John Mark picking some strawberries from the yard for a b'fast treat)

It's berry picking time!! Which means it's jam making time!  These are in our very own yard.  But there aren't enough out there for jam, just a good amount for snacking.  So today we are off to a local insecticide free strawberry farm.  So later today you can find me in my kitchen, apron on (of course) stirring a hot pot of Strawberry goo into deliciousness to last all year long!! 
 It's going to be a WONDERFUL day!!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Well life hasn't slowed down.  Come on life....give me a yield sign for just a few days please. I thought it was going to, but it hasn't.  I wasn't going to post as I have no pictures to post or time to do it, but decided getting back in the habit of posting was better.

I'll try to get some pictures up later of the cupcakes and b'day cake I made for last night and today.
My head is still spinning though so let me get some sleep and then we'll see....

One dull boring day with NOTHING would be amazing right now!! I'm so far behind on.....well EVERYTHING!!  But life is never ever dull that's for sure and I'm constantly reminded of what an amazing man I married and what a blessed life I lead!  So really I don't mind the madness.  Just trying to handle it all as the best Christian Mommy, Wife, friend, etc I can!!

I'm thinking til we sit on the plane headed to Honduras this summer we're going to be running at full throttle.
But that just makes us appreciate so much more the daily siesta times and the maƱana lifestyle we live and experience when there!!  OH WAIT...we're going to have over 30 North Americans coming a few days after us ready to be put to work....well perhaps I'll get my ONE day in before they arrive, right??!!!!
Can't believe it's almost time to head south for the summer....hmmmm?????  (yeah we've always done thing a little differently!!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Yep that's what my life has been lately.  But it's also been good, I'm so so so blessed beyond measure!
I've watched my Mother in law be diagnosed with cancer and handle it with grace, courage and faith (and then on her birthday no ruled cancer free!!!)
I've watched my children show their love for God and their strong desire to grow in Him.  They simply AMAZED us and made us proud at the LTC convention!!
I've seen my husband off on yet another trip to Honduras where he was sheltered, fed, and cared for by dear friends of really!
I've washed lots of dirty clothes.
I've watched many a soccer games where my non-competitive, really overall non-athletic daughter has cheered on her teammates...and the players of the other team. And had a WONDERFUL time playing, not worrying one bit about not being the best on the team and seeing the importance of every person's role!  and I've been shocked at how she's jumped in there and played!!
I've watched water gun fights with all the neighborhood kids drawn like a magnet to my yard and enjoyed chatting with their parents who weren't far behind their kiddos in coming over.
I've sat around a fire with neighbors enjoying immensely the night air and good company.
I've enjoyed seeing old friends from high school days.
I've washed lots of dirty clothes
I've seen my son gain new confidence in tennis after not feeling hardly any at all with baseball.
I've spent hours reading out loud sitting on the back deck enjoying the sunshine with my kiddos.
I've spent hours reading out loud in the car on multiple road trips.
I've watched John Mark obsess about birds and bird watching (and shhhhh...but next week I'll see him open a brand new set of good bird-watching binoculars for his 9th birthday).
I've washed lots of dishes.
I've attempted to kill myself day after day in feeble attempts to do P90x (oooh I love it, but!)
I've barely had time to CLEAN (as in dust, scrub, mop, etc) my house.
And i've let my blog go.
And I've been fussed at.
SO time to get it going again...sorry sorry I've been away!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mush mush mush....(okay truly most mushers say "hike hike hike")

For some fun schoolwork, we've decided to follow the Iditarod Sled Dog race.  Other teachers you can go HERE to find out more about following along with students (homeschool and nonhomeschoolers) from all over the world!!

(THANKS Laura  for telling us about this fun idea!!)

We're still working on getting our wallsize map of the race done (yes we're a little bit behind) but should have it done in the next few days so we can follow along as our racers check in at each checkpoint.  We have now officially selected our racers.  The kids went through all the mushers at the official Iditarod website and read the bios of racers.  Both kids wanted to pick a rookie. 

So let me introduce you to
He's the racer MaryKyle chose.  he's the first racer ever from Jamaica.
   hmm.....did you just get the little diddy from the movie Cool Runnings going through your head too??
"'nuff people say, you know they can't believe.  Jamaica we have DOG sled team...."    OH YEAH!!


 John Mark's choice:
She's been a wrangler in Nevada, a musher tour guide, and a member of the
Army National Guard.
And she happens to be rather attractive.....hmmm???

We'll be cheering them on from the sunny south when they begin their race on March 6th for their 1150 mile journey!!
Seriously...that's a LONG trip on a dog sled in the cold...
if you didn't know mushers are required to have one 24 hour down day and two 8 hour rest stops.
It's a facinating event to read and learn about I must admit!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Sweet Valentine

(our table set for a Valentine's day breakfast of whole wheat applesauce streusel muffins)

After insisting on my napping after our Valentine lunch of homemade lasagna and dark chocolate fondue with fruit and homemade vanilla marshmallows (one of my hubby's favorite treats) & that he would do the clean up (and skip his traditional Sunday afternoon nap) I just THOUGHT my Valentine's day celebrations were complete. 
But then.....
last night at worship my Valentine was running the projector and sound equipment upstairs so he didn't get to sit beside me and and hold my hand as usual.  But as worship began, John Mark handed me a folded up note (think school days).  On the front was written in my sweet hubby's easily identified handwriting my name and the words

"Read Me Now"

so I opened it to find this typed message:


Solomon 3:2 word 2
Solomon 2:17 word 8
Solomon 2:13 Last two words

If yes, then after the Amen

Solomon 2:11 word 1
Solomon 1:2 word 4
Solomon 1:7 word 28
Solomon 5:2 word 22
Solomon 6:12 word 12 but singular and not literal

So I cracked the code to reveal this message:

"Will you flee with me?"  

and then, since (after much thought and deliberation...ha ha) I decided I'd say "YES" it continued:

"see me beside my chariot"

Then he'd written
"After the final Amen.  Speak to no one.   No children." 

My sweet Valentine had arranged a babysitter to take the kids home and all that went with that (feeding them,  putting them to bed, etc etc)
When I walked out of the church bldg doors My sweet sexy Valentine was waiting.  "Chariot" pulled up by the doors to the church bldg, leaning on the side of the car with my door opened and waiting for me.

And off we went....
God is so GOOD!!!! 
(and so is my man!!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Yummy days!

We put some snow in our freezer before it melted so that one warm day when all we want to do is cool down, we can stir up some snow cream and remember our fun last night and today!!! 
Snow cream brings back a flood of magical childhood memories for me with every bite.
I had a wonderous childhood....I'm thinking my hips might appreciate less memories flooding in.
But alas, it's magically delicious, so another bite for me please!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Surprise

I headed to Target for a grocery run as the snow began to fall!  I know I know I have the bread, milk, and eggs...but CHILI  I needed the ingredients for my new favorite chili (that MaryKyle makes...which makes it even better!!).  Granted I forgot 2 key ingredients.....really I did.  But it is also a nice convenient way for me to ask my sweet darling Valentine to run get them for he can sneak away and get me a sweet nothing note!!  See how that works?  Aren't I clever??  He'll go get the beans & then see all the pink, red, hearts, etc and say "oh yeah V'tine day is soon"...and pick up up a sweet little card!!  Yep...I'm clever that way to help him out!  Hey we girls do what we can for the men we love!

When I pulled in the driveway I was greeted by John Mark.  Cool....he was watching for me to come and help unload the groceries.  Made me smile and think "my kid is so awesome!".  Okay he is totally awesome, but he had no interest in grocery carrying.  He was the "guard dog" you see.  I was greeted with these endearing words
"DON'T COME IN THE KITCHEN!!!"  and then he ran back inside....


remember how I just went GROCERY SHOPPING???!!!
this could be a problem.

They quickly finished their surprise and called their Daddy down from his office upstairs.  What a treat!!!
 a surprise 'date' that had been prepared for my sweet Valentine and me right beside the sliding glass door so we could watch the snow fall together.
I mean there anything more romantic than watching snow fall??
And listening to your kids play?
Nope...I proclaim.....there isn't!

The mood was set....

and it was set WELL!!
All the hearts had sayings like "let it snow" "My heart" "XOXOX" and such  But when we saw  this one we laughed out loud.  Of course there is a story behind it.  But that's for another day

For a little of this

With fun decor and hot beverages
these are the kids valentine's they made this morning...aren't they smart to make them part of our surprise 'date' decor?!  yep they pretty much rock these kids of mine....they make me quite happy.  That sweet Valentine of mine does too.  And giddy.  Yep 15 years later he can still make my heart downright flutter!