Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Low Down on Dublin

~He is Amish.

At least, that is the culture in which he was born. He and Big D had a nice long talk on our visit to pick him out and he said he was willing to join our pack...er, family... even though we do drive cars, watch t.v., and have more cell phones then kids. (At least it feels that way when the phone bill comes!)

~He is a Golden-Doodle.

Half golden retriever and half poodle for the un-initiated. Some might call him a mutt, but his price tag begs to differ. But this was extremely important to us to find a non-shedding dog (or low shedding...we shall see!).

~He is medium.

He was neither the runt nor the fattest in the litter. He wasn't the shy-est and he also wasn't the most extroverted and playful of the litter. He was right in the middle with size and personality. We have done the sympathy card before and we have fallen prey to the "cuteness" factor before. This time, we were calculating, observant, and purposeful in our choosing. (Oh, I sure hope he doesn't turn out to be a socio-pathic dog! We have done that before too.)

~He sure better be a good traveler!

'Cause we are about to spend 16 hours with him in the car and that is a heck of a long ride if the dog doesn't do motion well.
(Can I hear an Amen, Kellie?)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dublin Dr. Pepper

This is quite possibly the cutest little puppy...ever!

And tomorrow we will be bringing him home from the farm to be a part of our pack...I mean family.


I am the hugest sucker for puppies. But there is actually one person worse then me, and that would be big D. He is the real reason we are taking the plunge into this house training/chewing furniture/up at night/kennel training expense of a fiasco. But I am so glad now that we have picked him out and will be bringing him home soon.

Oh that darling face! It just melts my hard, practical heart! (Oh, and the puppy's face is adorable too.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

From Mother to Daughter...Your Dad

* Your Daddy loves you so very much. He shows it with both his hugs and his discipline, and especially when he is teasing you about your crushes.

* Secretly and deep down, he really does mean it when he says he has a "beat down" list for the boys who are flirting with you at school. He just won't ever act out on that list...unless he has to!

* He will always see you as his little girl to protect. Don't feel suffocated, feel secure!

* He is proud of your many accomplishments, but his greatest hope for you is that you develop into a woman fully devoted to Christ.

* He is a fabulous Dad! So tell him that often with your words as well as hugs and kisses and backrubs!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Same Kind of Different As Me...

One of the ladies in my book club found this book, Same Kind of Different As Me, just by accident as she wandered through the bookstore. She read it, loved it, and it began to change her life.

So then she passed it along to several neighbors, non-believers, but people who enjoy a good story. They read it, loved it, and it began to spark great spiritual and social conversations that would otherwise never have taken place.

When our book club needed a book for the summer, she passed the book on to me to check out. Before I could even open it, my husband just happened to pick it up and couldn't put it down. He actually blogged about it on our church website. He almost never blogs!

Needless to say, we decided as a book club to read it together this summer. Only the summer has just begun and we have finished it.

So we have decided that instead of meeting over coffee and muffins next month, we are going to step out of our comfort zones and reach out to a community right next door to our church that has many needs. Our church has done other things there in the past, good things and helpful things. But short term kinds of things.

My hope, my prayer, and my dream is that this time, in the spirit of long term life change that can happen when we really let loose of our own comfort and insecurities and allow God to open our eyes and use our hands and feet for His purposes, our little book club will catch a vision to serve on a regular basis with this community and that this vision will catch fire in other people's hearts and that they will in turn find where God would have them serve.

Whew! I actually said that out loud and it was a really long sentence!

Please Lord, sustain this fire in our hearts and lead us forward!

I can't wait to let you know how God moves in this situation.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Breakfast and a Wildlife Show

At around 9 AM just after I just finished my oatmeal, this is who showed up in our backyard together. Big D and I watched for about 5 minutes. I wasn't able to capture it all on camera, but in between these two pictures the young buck started acting like a teenage boy, "messing with" the sandhill crane family. He walked slowly and deliberately toward the cranes, just looking at them with his head down low. The daddy sandhill crane came forward and stared the buck down for a second and then finally shoo-ed it away from his family with flapping wings. Quite a show!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Blogger's Meme

For 5 minutes I stared at my blank computer screen with its silent command of "Create" staring right back at me. (No pressure there! ) Some random blogging questions began to trickle through my brain and I really wanted someone or a group of someones to discuss these deep thoughts with.

And all of a sudden, like a blast of blogger lightening, I realized I had the makings of my very own meme. So here it is (for what it is worth) with my own "answers", (for lack of another word):

1. Does anyone know what a meme is or stands for or where it came from? If so, please do enlighten me. If not, just think up something terribly creative to say--I will probably believe you.

{I personally have no clue...and I have been blogging how long now?! But then, I am really just a wannabe.}

2. How many drafts are currently in your list of posts, either waiting to be edited or just never ended up being published?

{at least 2 waiting to be edited and more then 5 never published}

3. Do you find yourself perusing other people's blogs and then comparing against your own?

{Yep, I do, though it is a little narcissistic of me. I just can't help it. That is just me. It is how I am. And I am really ok with me being that way. Actually, come to think of it, all blogging in and of itself is a little narcissistic, isn't it?!}

4. Have you ever "borrowed" someone else's specific blog idea without their permission or citing them as your resource?

{Honestly, I don't think so. But maybe I am just seriously self-deceived.}

5. And in your opinion, is the above plagiarism or just taking a little license within the benevolent blogging community?

{If it is a really good and unique idea, it seems like you should probably get permission, or at least tell everyone reading who was originally responsible for such incredible creativity! After all, it isn't so easy to just up and "create"! Hence this meme! }

6. When you pre-schedule blogs does it ever make you feel like you are somehow manipulating the future? Or like you are a big liar because people think you just posted when you really published it 2 weeks previously?

{Or maybe it is just me that feels that way!}

7. When was the last time you checked your sitemeter with the list of visitors to your blog?

{Just now because for the life of me I went blank on what that sitemeter thingy was called. But before that it had been a good long while. Possibly because I am afraid it will prove that I am typing words just for the sake of seeing myself write (the MEH paraphrase of the ever popular "talking just to hear myself speak", which I have also been known to do on occasion.}

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Favorite Garden

This is my favorite garden. And so far it has been mercifully spared from the local varmints! (Not pictured to the right are two pink wegelia bushes that are so pretty. I just couldn't get them in the photo.)

I think I love this garden because 3 years ago it was completely non-existent and just waiting to be created by me. And I think it is also special to me because it is still a work in progress. While it is matured to the point that we can sit in our rocking chairs on the porch on a cool, still evening and enjoy its beauty, it still has room to grow and places where it needs shaping. It still needs me!

On another note, my three youngest are in the plane to Oklahoma for 3 weeks of R & R with their Grandparents and Cousins while D and I and our oldest, D3, will soon be "on mission" in Brazil. The younger 3 are so excited. This is something they have looked forward to for a long time.

But it is hard to release them into God's hands as we all go separate ways for a time.

Yes, I know, that should have already been settled long ago. And it was. But it is a continual discipline for me as a mom! Because they have been such a part of me. Because, while they are growing up fast and are maturing beautifully, they still have so much more room to grow and so many places in which they still need shaping. They still need me!

This going our separate ways for a short time points me back to the basics of parenting. Children are a blessing from God. They are ultimately His and He has very capable hands with which to hold them. I am truly blessed God made me their mother.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Oh Deer!

Aren't they sweet?! And this picture only shows one third of the herd that lives behind us.

But they have a deep and dark side. Those big brown eyes that look so innocent mask their evil designs on my garden. Just look at this!

And this!

So obviously the "human smell" route is no longer working. The boys sweaty socks no longer nauseate the deer. And so we are trying minced garlic. We shall see. And as my second son said, if it doesn't get rid of the deer at least it will keep the vampires away from the garden. (He is definately the kid with a unique sense of humor!)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Public Thank You

When Kellie came to visit the Mitten a couple weeks back, we went shopping.

As usual!

But this time, in addition to the mall and the cute little shops, we also ran over to Costco for some steaks. And to find some vitamins that Kellie likes. And so I want to issue a public thank you to Kellie and to Kirkland multi-vitamin packs for this:

My nails haven't been this strong since B.C. (before conception). Pre-natal vitamins were worthless to me since they (and almost everything else I ate) usually came right back up, so basically it has been about 18 years and a few months since I have enjoyed 10 long nails on my fingers! (So why haven't I gone back to vitamins after having the babies...dude, I have 4 kids and I was too busy to take vitamins!)

Anyways, regardless of whatever else these vitamins are doing for me, they are worth it just to have nails again!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Mouth Guard

My son is going to play football this coming year, his senior year. He has refrained since Jr. High, instead choosing to focus on basketball. But after 3 years of the football coach's begging, he has decided, "why not" and besides it will give him another letter for his jacket.

So now for all the equipment. Way more then with basketball, I can tell you. And he will most definately have a mouth guard. Years of orthodontia makes that a requirement even if the league didn't. The mouth guard will protect his pretty teeth from outside trauma.

The last few weeks I have been reluctantly engaged in a small firestorm within our church. Unnecessary to say the least. Undesired. And yet God has allowed it. And this morning in my time of prayer and quiet in the Word I found the greatest verses that applied to my current situation and need.

Psalms 142:3,4

"Set a guard over my mouth , O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies."

I desperately need the Lord to fit me with a mouth guard. I so long to say so many nasty and sarcastic things that would make me feel better in the moment but would have a long term negative impact.

I so need my heart to not be drawn to what is evil, responding as "they" are and following their lead. Those "delicacies" of gossip and half truths and manipulation are enticing for the moment but would not truly satisfy, and in fact, they would be poison to my soul.

I need a mouth guard that will protect me and others from the trauma that my own words can so easily create.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wild Life

Life is just...wild. I do wish I had pictures to share.

Last night, very late, I scattered sweaty-nasty-teenage-workout socks around my rose bushes and petunias in an effort to repulse (or would that be repel) the local deer population from treating my garden as its midnight buffet. I glanced up to my right and saw two very large deer watching me with their very big innocent eyes as if to say "Why would you do such a thing to our dinner?" And so I did the mature thing and yelled at them to just leave my roses alone.

This morning, very early, my daughter and husband observed a fat raccoon dumping the entirety of our bird feeder on the back deck. (And we thought the woodpecker was a messy eater!) C would have liked to have kept him around as a pet, or at least for a picture, but my husband went in to testosterone mode and charged out on the deck scaring it off before she could grab the camera.

Minutes later, 12 turkeys decided to enjoy a morning swim in our pool. Actually, they just splashed around in the cavernous hole that WAS the pool before it was hauled off and currently has 3 inches of tadpole infested rain water sitting in it. My boys thought this was pretty cool and wished it was turkey season, but did they think about getting a picture of it for me as I still slept in my comfy bed? Nope!

And last but not least, the daddy crane got into it with his reflection again, this time tearing up a screen that covers one of our basement windows. I actually had the camera (as I was awake for this episode as it was after 9:00 AM) but I was so mad about the screen I failed to "take the high road" and chased it off yelling at it to get away from our house.

I think I am starting to feel a little paranoid that nature is closing in on us! Next thing you know, the coyotes in the field next door will be curling up in Truck's old dog house and the hummingbirds will be dive bombing us as we walk out to the car.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hearing Things

While catching up on my email today, I could have sworn I was hearing things. Kind of tapping noises.

I was around people all this morning, so being alone was really feeling wonderful. I am such a classic introvert! But there is nothing like being alone and hearing things to make one wish they had someone else with them!

I never, EVER, watch horror flicks. They scare me and they give me nightmares. But in my wild youth I did happen to see a couple real classics that have managed to stay in my subconsious just waiting for times like this. Alone. Hearing things.

So I take a deep breath and go check all the doors. Whew! Nothing wrong. Back to the computer.

And then:

Tap. Tap. Tap. Taptaptaptap!

I was definately not imagining that and it was definately down in my basement!!

This is what I saw downstairs in my basement:

Look at them laughing at me!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fun...Friendship...Pound Cake

Actually, the word "fun" seems a bit inadequite to describe the time I had with Kellie these last few days. It was a really sweet time and I am so thankful that her family and NC friends let me borrow her for a few days!!

And it really made me so thankful for good friendship in general. Something came up this weekend where her very presence in my house was a positive example to my daughter of how true friendships can continue to grow and and bless even with geographical distance. God is good!

And after jealously guarding the pound cake recipe for years, I am posting it. Things this delectable are really meant to be shared!!

Note: Before baking, first go for a nice long run or do some crunches. Then you won't feel guilty in a couple hours when you are enjoying this yummy cake!!

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

3 sticks of butter melted (don't think about it, just do it!)
3 cups of sugar (same as above)
6 eggs (ditto the above)
3 cups of flour
1 cup milk (I use 2 % 'cause that is what we drink around here)
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp coconut or almond extract (I always use the almond)
approx. 1 cup flake coconut

Cream butter and add sugar. Cream well!! Add eggs one at a time, beating well. (yes it takes more time, but you still need to do it) Add flavorings. Add flour and milk alternately 1/3 cup at a time. Stir in coconut. Bake in 10 in. bundt pan that has been greased and floured for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you want it but honestly, I usually eat it plain.

Enjoy the cake and enjoy your day!