Come On Over

Sometimes I visit this space with a plethora of words and ideas that tumble over themselves as they escape my brain. Sometimes I sit down here to work through a knotty problem out loud. I talk to myself in real life too but there is something about being able to see my words and rearrange them, moving them to their proper place and finding the right order for my thoughts that satisfies.

Sometimes people read what I’ve written and agree or enjoy them and a conversation blooms. Other times a post I am particularly happy with does not get much traction. But the same thing happens with pictures so I don’t sweat it much. I realize I am not writing anything new or taking pictures of things that no one else has ever seen or taken a picture of before. There is a lack of pressure in that knowledge which allows me to slip in here as if we’re grabbing a cup of coffee and just visiting. Or maybe a better description in sitting down with a cup of coffee to read a letter from a friend.

The weather here this morning is pretty blah with a significant storm system moving through later. We took down my hanging plants and moved all my recently potted flowers onto the porch last night in preparation.

Did I tell you about my first experience with planting flowers here in my new lovely home state of Louisiana? About a month ago Rob and I took advantage of a local hardware store’s no tax weekend and bought lots of plants for me to put in the ground. Since my success with flowers and such last year I have been chomping at the bit for spring to arrive. Well, let me tell you…the ground here is nothing like the ground in Florida!

I dug and dug for about twenty minutes and barely scratched out three inches of earth. The ground is so hard here, especially it seems in the area of Carlyss where we live. I decided it would be messy to use the hose but I have rain boots so I could soften the ground with water and dig my holes.

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The ground is a dark hard clay that doesn’t absorb water the way the sandy soil in my old yard did. I ended up with a nice ol’ mud puddle for my trouble. Hence I now have about sixteen potted plants and Rob is going to have to get cracking on building me some raised beds.

The people we bought our home from are finally moving to Nashville and slowly but surely getting their stuff out of our pasture. Which means I am spending a lot of time day dreaming about the garden space Rob is letting me design and we are trying to figure out where to put the vegetable garden and a chicken house.

So many projects and plans! My beloved has to keep me reigned in because I can go shooting off in a dozen different directions at a time. My mind hops from flowers to looking at chicken coop plans to knocking down walls to reconfigure the apartment space for Sam now that Emily lives in Monroe. (That was a weird minute for me. Realizing that when she got back from her honeymoon she would not be coming here again. She doesn’t live with us anymore. I mean I was at the wedding. I knew this already. But it just sort of hit me.)

It’s been great having a space for friends to use when they’ve come to visit. I enjoy getting it ready and stocking the little mini fridge and having a tray of snacks ready.

We haven’t started renovating the space yet though so you can come for a visit if you like. We can sit down and have a cup of coffee and conversation in real life.

Of course my Louisiana people are welcome to stop by for a visit anytime. The door is open and the coffee is ready! Y’all can teach me how to grow things around here 😊

Seasonal Liturgies and A Trip To Walmart

 

6525612571_04e292f96b_oAre you as ready for autumn as I am? Man I cannot wait for the occasional cool day we’ve had to be the crisp all the time weather of fall. It is my all time favorite season with, oddly enough for this beach loving girl, winter a close second. I know I live in Florida where the rhythm of the seasons, such as they are, are a bit different from other parts of the country but my heart knows when it’s time to bust out the long sleeves and hot cocoa even if the weather report says otherwise. Methinks it is time. 

I love how we mark time by seasons. Not just the four mind you, but other seasons. Like the way my grandmother marked the time between Labor Day and Memorial Day by not wearing white shoes. Ever. Grannie Ree was a genteel southern lady who was a stickler for observing certain seasonal rites. I don’t hold to that one as much anymore but I guess I do have my own seasonal dos and don’ts. Like not wearing those little woolen beanie hats in the summer because you know, you live in Florida where there are maybe three days out of the year when it is actually cold enough for such attire and they aren’t in July.

But you know who gets the seasonal liturgy all wrong? Walmart.

I noticed last year that small packs of various Easter candy were popping up along the Valentine shelves but this year they have really messed with things. Certain things belong to certain seasons. Like the little chocolate candy coated Cadbury eggs belong to the season of  spring.  And my kids have longed been miffed by my insistence that eggnog not be consumed until November. But come on people, it is a holiday beverage! If I were really hardcore it would be December but I am willing to give thanks with a delicious cup of that creamy frothy goodness in my hand.

But what has Walmart gone and done? They. Have. Eggnog. Now. In. September.

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What is wrong with these people? You don’t sell eggnog, clearly a winter holiday drink, in the middle of September. It’s just wrong. Part of the joy of eggnog in my opinion is the fact that it is only a once a year limited time beverage. It’s special because you can’t just have a glass whenever you want one willy nilly. It’s like the foods that are just served only at those special meals.

 

 

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(Hobby Lobby also gets it really wrong. I took this picture because I was highly amused by the irony of the words as they were unpacking their Christmas stock in August.)

 

 

But back to my recent trip to Walmart.

Occasionally I will come across a product of some sort and really like it to the point that I find it worth sharing. I may be new to the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser game because I was surprised recently  to see one devoted specifically for bathrooms. (My only previous experience with magic eraser involved paint coming off the walls and one very upset husband.)

IMG-1558As a person who grew up in a family of six with one bathroom I realize how very spoiled my family of seven is to have a home with not one, not two, but three bathrooms. It is wonderful to have that kind of availability especially when we have company over but keeping that many showers clean can be a trick. I have tried all sorts of stuff to remove soap scum and what have you, even the vinegar and Dawn dish soap concoction, but I’ve never really been completely satisfied with the results. It may very well be that I just dislike cleaning tubs and want a real magic eraser to just poof it done so I don’t have to worry with it. But I tried Mr. Clean and was relatively pleased by it so I guess he can be my magic genie for now.

I have mentioned before that Sam likes going to the grocery store with me each week. He barely walks in with me before he is off doing his own thing and right now with all the Halloween paraphernalia out he has plenty to occupy his time. I passed him in that area on my way to grab shampoo and he greeted me and we both carried on. About thirty seconds later I hear the sound of someones feet running up behind me and this odd voice saying, “Why so serious?” I am not going to lie, I was completely freaked out when I turned around and saw my son which he found to be hilarious.

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I snapped a quick picture (barely looking at him) just so I could share the creepiness with y’all then I strongly suggested he take the mask off before he freaked out anyone else in the store. I just really think these kinds of masks ought not be allowed, you know? (I actually started this post with this story but changed things up when I remembered that Facebook will grab the first picture and use it in your link. Uhm, no.)

 

We are having the difficult conversation with Sam that he is too old to go trick or treating this year. Despite the picture to the contrary he isn’t into the scary stuff but loves the fun of it and the dressing up, visiting with all sorts of people, and candy. We might compromise on some sort of costume-ish outfit (he is currently trying to figure out a Batman costume that won’t cost him all his money) and let him help walk with some of the kids that usually join us around the neighborhood.

Sometime next week I will share a bit about how we interact with this day that can be such a point of contention amongst so many of us. Suffice it to say for now that it took us a few years to figure out where we stand and how we do things but I look forward to it every year.

IMG-1555 (1)The trip to the Walmarts (don’t ask me why Rob and I have started saying it that way…we just have) was strange between the too soon to sell eggnog and Sam’s creepy clown mask. But it ended on a cute note. While I was grocery shopping I had their automotive department fix a slow leak in one of the van tires. When I went to pay for it one of the workers came inside with an itty bitty kitten they had found in one of the car pits. I sent a picture to Rob of said kitten and got a hard no. Good thing I was just kidding, huh? I did find our that they called a no kill shelter that was going to come pick the little guy up.

So that pretty much sums up last week’s trip to the store. Not sure what to expect today but hopefully I can withstand the temptation of the eggnog (my waistline needs me to resist) and no creepy clown shenanigans from Sam.

Happy Monday to you though!

 

That’s A Wrap

What. A. Week.

Seriously, y’all, Tuesday just about did me in.

We had breakfast for dinner on Monday night so I took my wedding rings off to make some buttermilk biscuits. I am happy to report that this batch turned out even better than my previous attempt last week. But the reason I mention Monday night in relation to my cray cray Tuesday is that I forgot to put my rings back on and when I realized it on Tuesday morning after I had left the house I felt like I had forgotten to get fully dressed.

I was heading to a photo shoot for the teachers and staff of our kids’ school and the weather was iffy and rainy off and on and I was praying that it wasn’t raining downtown where I was headed. A few minutes delay due to road construction and I was reminding myself to breathe and not get impatient. I wouldn’t be as early as I had wanted but I wasn’t going to be late.

And then the sky fell. Buckets and buckets of water were falling from the sky and even though I knew it was possible that it still wasn’t raining downtown I was getting skeptical of our chances. I passed not one, but two car accidents on my way.

I decided to make a call to one of the admin and see how things were looking weather wise.

No phone.

I had not only left my wedding rings at home I had also forgotten my phone as well. No choice but to keep going with fingers crossed that my people would be gathering under a nice overcast sky for pictures. We managed to get our pictures darting in and out of sprinkles right up to the very last five portraits. Thankfully we got them finished before the buckets upended again.

After the rain let up some I headed home passing yet a third accident.

Five minutes later I am sitting at a red light when the car behind me tried to stop and it’s brakes lock up. With more traffic to her right the other driver had no way to avoid hitting me so for the first time in my life I was in an accident.

Minus my phone. In this moment I learned a very important lesson. Write down and carry a list of people and their phone numbers because I basically know Rob’s by heart and when I couldn’t reach him at first it only added to the stress of the minute for me.

Thankfully it wasn’t very bad and I just woke up the next day stiff and sore…nothing that a few trips to the chiropractor isn’t taking care of. But man, Tuesday was just a dozy of a day.  It ended fine with Claire playing in her first volleyball game that afternoon and killing it with nine scoring serves in a row. Not bad for her first year.

Wednesday was fairly quiet and Thursday was okay as well if a little more hectic. This last week before school starts can keep a girl busy! Plus we tried our hand at homemade egg rolls to go with our fried rice for dinner. Also, some wontons that looked so very pitiful but actually tasted rather good.

Today will be full of this and that and running around. Another volleyball game this afternoon with a tailgate party and soccer game to finish off the evening. Super excited about our ladies brunch and book discussion on Saturday morning. I mentioned the Book You Who by Rachel Jankovic in yesterday’s post. I loved it and I am looking forward to some robust discussion about finding our identity in Christ and what that means.

Okay, one last thing to wrap up this week’s postings.

Curcuma.

This is the second year in a row that I have had them in our yard and man, I just love them. The colors vary and I think last year I had a creamy almost tan and brown one. This year I found this glorious fuchsia, almost purple one.

It’s a lovely tropical plant with gorgeous and dramatic blooms. I love them because they almost have a small iris growing out of their blooms. And interestingly enough, they are cousins to the ginger and turmeric plants although they are not safe to ingest.

I think I might try my hand at keeping the plant through winter because from what I read they will rebloom if they do not get too cold. Their season is about to come to an end so last week I spent some time photographing them. The little portrait session went so well that there is a post up on Just A Glimpse and I hope you take a moment and just bask in the beauty of one of God’s most interesting flowers.

And then go and have a wonderful weekend full of much joy and rest. See y’all next week!

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Living the Life

To want to be a writer seems to be a very presumptuous thing to me. To author anything, be it a blog post, book, or even a twitter feed, is a rather arrogant undertaking. You are essentially saying, “I have had a thought that should be heard. Someone else needs to hear what I am thinking other than the me that walks the halls of my mind and heart.”

How is that not presumptuous or arrogant? Yet here I am, pen at the ready. Or more accurately, fingers at the keyboard.

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We like to be made much of. We can crave the praise of man and feel driven to pursue acceptance and notice. I remember what it was like when several years ago a blogpost of mine was commented on and reposted by a well respected gentleman in our circle, a ministerial peer, if you will, of my husband. Man, I felt like I had arrived! Or when someone unexpected would engage with a post? That was like I had a feather in my cap.

That kind of pride or desire for that praise is one of the reasons I didn’t write/blog for a while. The lines of what motivated me became a bit blurry and I didn’t (and still don’t) want what could be a good thing to become nothing more than a narcissistic work of the flesh. It’s why I still come to it with a bit of hesitancy.

So, why am I here? How do I know it is okay for me to claim this part of the cyber world and to write? And further more to put it out there and invite you to read my thoughts?

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

When I was younger I would read that verse and envision a boisterous medieval style feast, colorful and loud with joy and merriment. Eating and drinking with no concern of gluttony or hangovers as long as a cup was raised in honor of the King and thanks was rendered. It meant that no task, no endeavor, was ever “too much” if it was done for and in the name of Christ.

That seems a wee bit foolish, doesn’t it? It would be easy to tack a “Cheers!” style attitude on to just about anything and call it good if that were true. No, doing all you do to the glory of God is not free reign to indulge as deeply and unconcernedly as we can because just a few verses prior to that admonition is the reminder that while all things may be lawful not all things are helpful.

What does it mean to glorify God in all that you do then? John Piper defines it like this, “Glorifying” means feeling and thinking and acting in ways that reflect his greatness, that make much of God, that give evidence of the supreme greatness of all his attributes and the all-satisfying beauty of his manifold perfections.”

That is my plumb line…it is what I put my writing up against and how I evaluate it. It’s how I take measure of every thought and action that I do and have. Does this ________________ accurately reflect the characteristics of my King? If someone comes across my words, or sees me cleaning my house, or practicing hospitality, managing my time, eating and drinking, if anything I do is seen by anyone , will they see God in it?

Is it okay, or lawful for me to write? Are my words gentle? Are they kind? Do they encourage and point people to Christ? Am I being obedient to what I should be writing or am I just flapping my chops, as the old timers used to say? If I can answer those questions correctly then let the words fly!

A lot of the reason I am more comfortable these days with wanting to write is because of of the books I have been reading and sermons I have been pondering, etc. One book in particular that sort of solidified things is You Who by Rachel Jankovic.

“We have a natural, God-given desire for glory, but it must have a healthy purpose. Glory to give, not glory to hoard. Glory to pass on. This bring tremendous freedom. We do not struggle to be glorious, but we struggle to give glory.”

It’s not just in being free to write because it is something I want to do. It’s about being free from trying to turn it into something. When the purpose in doing what we do is to glorify Him, is giving evidence of His greatness, then I can be content with what I’ve done. He is free to make as little or as much of it as He would like.

Living that way is truly living. All of our work becomes important. I do not need to search for meaning in my tasks or to over spiritualize washing dishes and doing laundry. I just do them joyfully, content to allow the glory of His provision, His restoration, to have their proper place and be revealed through my obedience in these mundane ordinary tasks.

Whatever you do, do as unto the Lord. I always took that verse to mean do your work like God is your boss. I’m wondering now if it might mean a little more than that. If it might also include a bit of doing as unto the Lord as reflecting back the work He has done and is doing? Less a do the work well because the Big Boss is watching but rather do the job well, no matter how simple or difficult, small or significant, because there is glory to give in that task?

Today is grocery shopping day. As the kids have gotten older and in school or able to be home alone I have settled into a rhythm and routine of doing that task in a quiet focused solitude. Today Sam and Claire will need to go with me. There will be no quiet solitude and my focus will be dancing all over the place because their focus will be doing the hokey pokey all over the place. I literally just stopped typing, reread that sentence and took a big bracing sip of coffee. That alone is enough to give me pause but we aren’t called to face our day with teeth gritted and a just get through it attitude.

The truth of the matter is that no matter what is on the agenda today for me or you, we can do it all to the glory of God. We should do it all to the glory of God.

And who knows? A trip to the grocery store with two of the biggest personalities in the house may yield a blog post or two 🙂

Sharing with Candidly Christian and   Tell His Story

 

Just Tending Business

I’ve been asked recently if I am going to go back to using facebook to promote the blog and I don’t think I will. When I first started blogging social platforms like FB and Twitter where daydreams still and I sent out an email to family and friends to notify them when I had a new post up. Then, after joining Facebook, that did become the primary means for sharing a new post. But I do not really have any desire to be back on FB again so I will probably occasionally share a new post through Instagram.

I was asked to link up my blog to a type of search engine, hence this really awkward and ugly post of code. There may be a prettier way (somehow doing it incognito) to do it but following the how to literally landed me here. I kinda feel like I invited friends over to watch me mop my floors or something 🙂

To at least make it interesting you can pop over to She Feeds Her Family and check out the recipe for Egg and Mango Chutney Flatbreads or visit Just a Glimpse to look at the lovely African Violet gifted to me from some Texan friends. The mother plant is 45 years old!

So happy Tuesday, friends! Hope your week is going well.

 

 

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