Friday, January 30, 2009

The day after...

Ahhhh...what a nice day! To have John back is a blessing. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE the Crusade. I am so grateful for the guys who come and am so thankful that John gets quality time with "freeworld" men. John always gets a boost and a rejuvenation from Crusade - he always has even before doing prison ministry full time. So, for that, it is completely worth it.

But - it is nice to have him home again, too! This morning we went for a long hike and enjoyed the beautiful, crisp day.

Together at last!

Isn't this rock face cool??! Don't miss John at the top right - he is 6'1", so that gives you an idea of how tall the rocks are.

Do you see anything in the rocks here? (like finding images in clouds)

Do you see anything here?

Look closer ...

Ok - I'll give you a close-up shot. It's our growing house from the far ridge!

Kids were troopers, but got a little poopered towards the end. Here they are on a rest break.

House update: Still waiting on the weather to be warm enough overnight to pour our final pour. The weather report for later this week looks feasible.

Psalm 18:1-2 I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

We Care Crusade

This is the week of the annual We Care Program Prison Crusade - where volunteers from all over come together and go into the prisons to share Christ with inmates. You can read more about it here.

Many, many thanks to all of the volunteers for giving of their valuable vacation time to reach the hearts of those in prison. It truly is a blessing to John and I to have you here. Thank you!

May the Lord bless each of you for coming!

The whole gang.

The whole gang - goofy!

Galen is right at home walking on top of the wall :)

Leon looking for Talladega Superspeedway...

The added bonus of them coming up for a quick visit and prayer - we got to see John! This week is special and he is gone for very long days so the kids don't usually get to see him and I barely do. We love you, honey!

Oh, and notice that a lot of them are in short sleeves - it is a gorgeous day today. Almost 70 and sunny. Don't be too jealous, it is supposed to rain tomorrow.

Monday, January 26, 2009

You know you're a redneck... leave your faithful dog, Lilly, behind for the weekend because she hates going to the dog kennel and realize that all involved will be a lot happier if you let her stay home. And, you know she will NOT bother any neighbors whatsoever. don't bother washing the vehicles because one trip out the road will defeat all of your hard work.

...when your neighbor drives by, shows your kids the coyote he shot while deer hunting (third one this year) and you are kind of bummed that you didn't see it for yourself. are in denial that you truly are living the life of a redneck :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cows revenge for cow-tipping ...

Cow knocks over woman on bike, steps on her legs

BOULDER, Colo. -- A woman escaped serious injury and refused medical treatment after a cow knocked her down and walked on her legs. Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks ranger Pete Taylor said the woman was riding her bicycle along the South Boulder Creek Trail on Monday when she encountered the cow and stopped to let the animal cross.

Instead, the cow knocked the woman over and stepped on her legs.

Taylor said the woman wasn't seriously hurt. Her name was not released.

The cow had left the area by the time rangers arrived, but other people warned fellow bikers and hikers on the trail about the animal.

Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance vice president Jason Vogel called the incident "odd, rare and random."

Don't you just know they were saying:
"Folks - people-tipping cows are on the trail - beware! Hike/Bike at your own risk."

Work in progress...

I am playing around with my template - please excuse any mess during construction :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

'Nuf said

John noted that I have been without pictures for a while.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's Official ...

I am not going to complain about living in the camper any more. Nope. Not gonna do it. When it comes right down to it, I am extremely thankful for shelter and a place to get out of the weather.

This morning, John was out working in the very cold and windy weather - on the house. I felt bad that he was outside in the cold (while I was inside in the warm). Not so bad that I wanted to join him ... but I did feel bad just the same.

Then, he came in and asked me to help him! Yikes! Big dilemma for me - yes, I want a house and out of this camper, but no - I don't want to work in the very cold. Hmmmm, tough decision, but I decided I should bundle up and go and help him.

So, honey, I'm thinking if I stop complaining, we can stay in where it's warm and wait for the ice to melt!!! :)

Oh, and by the way, THANK YOU for working so hard - both on the house and at the prison sharing Christ with the hearts of the brokenhearted. You da best!

Phillipans 2:14-16 Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life

Monday, January 19, 2009

Meme and Awards

My jr high, high school, college and lifelong friend, Jodi, has started a blog and she has tagged me for "The Fantastic Four Meme". Head on over and say hi to her from me.

The rules to play the Fantastic Four Meme are simple:

Copy/paste the questions into your blog
Type in your answers
Tag four people on your list
Don’t forget to change the answers to your own!

Shed (to do laundry - John goes after dark :)
On my walk

My Sisters and Mom
Facebook notices
Blogger notices

Taco Bell (seriously)
Starbuck's (coffee IS food, people, but only in the winter :)
With my family

In a house
In a house
In a house
In a house
(only because one of those winter storms that I don't like is outside and it is supposed to be 26 overnight)

Survivor (the only one I watch regularly now)

I tag YOU!


A few weeks back, I received an award from sweet Susan at Penless Writer. She has started the "Hearts in 1 Accord" prayer blog. If you are interested in praying, please click on the button on my left sidebar and email Susan to be a part of it.


Finally, I also received this very nice award from my bloggy friend Kristin at Loving Life. Kristin always has a great attitude, wonderful tips for the kitchen and a beautiful new house that she and her husband built themselves.

This is the Lemonade Award and it is given for great attitude or gratitude. I thought of it also as being able to take Lemons and Make Lemonade. I am only accepting this if it is Turkey Hill Lemonade :) Just kidding!

I want to pass this one along to:
1. Susan - I know you received it from someone else before I sent it, but I am sending it anyway because I think you have a wonderful outlook on life. Watching you go through Mickey's heart issues with such faith, grace, patience, and even humor was definitely some mighty fine lemonade.
2. Paige at New Mercies. Her faith has carried her through some difficulties in this past year.
3. Ginger at Just a Thought. I always enjoy reading her blog - she has a wonderful sense of humor, a realness about her and she reminds me a LOT of my best friend's Mom. Although I am not always great at commenting, I do enjoy her perspective even when she is going through troubled times.


16 coats...

For our family of four - we have at least 16 coats!!! The weather is crazy here in AL - one day warm, the next frigid.

So, why 16? That's 4 per person!

For each person:
1 cold weather heavy coat for public
1 cold weather heavy coat for working in
1 cool weather coat for public
1 cool weather coat for working in

Yeppers - 16 coats ... in a camper ... with no closet space.

I just had the really funny thought that our "master suite" in the camper is probably similar to the size of our walk-in closet in our last house. Now, that's funny (for me, at least :)!

Friday, January 16, 2009

One year ago...

I started this blog! We had just got broadband in the camper and a good friend from PA had recommended it (thanks, LA).

My intention, as is with most of you, was to update family and friends in our growing number of "homes".

Truly, I had no idea how much fun it would be - the most exciting thing has been getting to "know" so many people that I would likely never have met. Thank you for all of your comments, encouragement, and for just visiting! It has been my pleasure meeting you here.

My prayer is that you see Him here - that you know more of Him and praise Him for all He has done. My prayer also is that you know Him personally and that you seek Him. He truly is ALL we need!

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Oh how cool is this? I just went back and checked to make sure that this was in fact the correct date, ended up reviewing my first article and as only God would have it - the same verse came to mind tonight that I closed with back then. Full circle. Praise you Lord!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Positive twist to all of the cold...

Since it appears that almost the entire US is in a cold snap, I thought it would be fun to look at some of the positive sides of the cold :)

1. Soup!
2. Good excuse for coffee anytime - all the time (I know there are some of you that do that already)
3. Hot chocolate with whipped cream
4. I don't have to worry about laundry (my washer is frozen)
5. All the funny jokes about global warming. I really like the one I saw about "Minnesotans for Global Warming" bumper stickers!
6. Relaxing - both kids are reading for school right now. Aaahhh.
7. Computer time
8. Running all of this water has got to help our well :)
9. Kinda glad to be in AL where the temps are at least above 0
10. Crisp walks!
11. All three dogs enjoying being inside. Lilly has the most hair and normally likes just staying outside - even she has decided inside might be better.

What are you doing to combat the cold weather?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Kids say the funniest things...

During school Monday, we were discussing History and a review of the US Presidents. I was trying to give them a background of what it means that we have a president - trying to explain about the major "parties".

Me:"There's a Republican Party and a Democratic Party"

Hadden (excitedly interrupting me): "Oh, Mom, ... and Birthday Party".

Ah, yes, son ... birthday party.

Later on in that same lesson, we were going through a book that listed the presidents and had a little piece of trivia for each. About half-way through, Savannah says (in all seriousness)

S: "I don't know that I want to be president"

Me: "Oh, really? Why?

S: "It seems kind of stressful. Jetta (from Clifford) wants to be president, but I don't think I want to."

Please don't learn from Jetta on Clifford! She's the one we don't want you to learn from!!

In other news - we are in a cold snap (I guess like the rest of the country, eh?) so we ended up buying another space heater to keep warm. Ahhhh - now there is one dedicated to the "Master Suite" (as John calls it).

I started my new Bible study tonight - Beth Moore's "Jesus the One and Only". I am excited to get back into a structured Bible study.

These were a couple of the verses that she pulled out that jumped out at me.
Amos 8:11-12 The days are coming," declares the Sovereign LORD, when I will send a famine through the land — not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it.

This was in reference to the 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testaments.

She had some really interesting things to say about famine coming before fullness - that perhaps "famine" comes in order to "encourage us into fullness". She left us with the question "what is your famine?" (I can't ever reiterate what she says very well - you'll just have to watch it for yourself :)
Finally, UPS is straightened out with finding our address! Hallelujah! The driver is training us to "fetch", though, and finds it convenient for us to drive the 5 miles on the dirt road to meet him. I guess I don't really blame him :) I couldn't help but think today "you know you are redneck when the UPS driver asks you to meet him at the mailbox ... and the mailbox is 2.5 miles away ... from your camper :)"

Monday, January 12, 2009

How lovely on the mountain ...

We all took a walk together this morning. It was a beautiful, crisp, frosty morning here in AL and we were able to enjoy the frost on leaves, grass, and trees that were all glistening in the sun. There are also little "icicles" that heave up from the ground in the sandy soil and it is fun to crunch your way through them.

In the middle of our walk, Savannah found a flat stick about 1 foot long and covered with frost that she just "had" to have. I have to confess that I am not always the most patient with her when she finds her treasures - mainly because she wants to save everything! (side note: last week at my hair appointment, she wanted to save some of my hair - need I say more?)

I tried unsuccessfully a couple of times to get her to drop the stick - she was carrying it in both hands and it was awkward for her to carry. I was not getting anywhere, so decided to just "choose my battles" and let her learn the hard way. (can I get some sympathy from you parents?)

You really have to take the walk with me to understand it fully, but it is down a pretty big hill about 3/4 of a mile and then back UP that same hill for about 3/4 of a mile. It does roll a little for a few breaks, but nevertheless the first half of the walk is much easier than the second half.

So, she gets tired and wants to take a break ... (carrying a stick in both hands while walking up a hill - truly, it's tiring enough without carrying anything, let alone a stick in both hands)

Then, her hands are cold ... (hmmm - "Do you think that maybe holding onto a frozen piece of wood might have anything to do with it???") I again suggested that she let go of the stick and enjoy walking instead. To no avail.

Daddy also tried gently ... also with no success.

AND then it hit me - how much is that a picture of us and God at times? We want to carry the burden ourselves - do things our own way - be independent and stubborn, just because we want to have it our own way.

Well meaning people with our best interests in mind (I really did want to help her see that she didn't need that stick! I love her and wanted her to not have to be burdened down with it.) try to steer us back on track, try to show us the right way to go, try to help us ...


I have so been there. Doing it my own way. Stubborn. Not listening to anyone - knowing they were right, but maintaining my independence - my right to choose for myself. Not pretty.

What happened next was just so tender to me (and John had no idea what was going on in my heart) -

Daddy stopped, turned around and came back and took her stick from her and carried it himself

... the rest of the way up the hill...

Do you see it? Do you see the picture that I saw? Our Heavenly Father is SO LIKE THAT - He desires to carry those burdens for us. He want us to let go and leave behind those things that hold us back.

It was no longer just about Savannah ... or me ... it is about us - you and I. If there is something in your life that He is asking you to let go of - LET GO!!! Let Him carry it. He is able and He wants to. Listen to those well-meaning people in your life - they love you and care about you and can see things differently than you can. Let go!

Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I have a new profile picture!!!

If you are new to reading my blog, I am not normally this selfish and vain - but it's my birthday, so I am taking a little liberty - please bear with me.

I finally have a new profile picture! It has been over a year since I changed it, so it has been wayyy overdue. I finally got my hair cut this past week (also wayyy overdue) and with John's help, today was the day to get it updated!

Also - my dear hubby and kids bought me a flat iron curling iron (bless his heart, he didn't have a clue what that was when he went in the store - and still ventured to buy one. Now, that's manly!)

They also got me some other wonderful gifts - a storage cube (to get more "space" in the camper), a gift card for new sneakers (yippee!), a new game called Rummikub, a Farside book (already working on the laughing more :), and yet to be tasted - a brownie cheesecake!

Here is the picture that I chose to use - b & w version and color. I decided to go with color.

I also know that hair is not that big of a deal in the big scheme of things, but I have had my share of frustrations with finding a hair dresser here. (hence the reason for diy coloring and for my growing it out). I met a sweet lady at our church who is a hair dresser and decided to give her a try and I will definitely be going again. She was extremely reasonable and my hair feels SO much better. Also, instead of chastising me for coloring my hair at home, she actually gave me tips to help me do it better.

Hope you are having a wonderful day ~ I will back to less selfishness and vanity next time :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Funny "facts"

(taken from "Your Skin Weighs More Than Your Brain" by Barbara Seuling)

We have been taking little snippets from this book at bedtime - to stimulate fun for learning about the human body. It is always a great way to remind the kids that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made"
Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
  1. The strongest bone in your body is your thigh bone, or femur. It is stronger than concrete. [struck a chord with us - we have been doing a lot of concrete]
  2. Humans and giraffes have the same number of bones in their necks - seven. Giraffes' neck vertebrae are just much, much longer. [didn't know that - cool!]
  3. A person in bare feet leaves such a strong scent in his or her footprints that it is possible for another person to follow his or her trail. [ummm - does that mean I have to *sniff* for them?]
  4. The added stress of lots of physical activity causes bones to grow thicker and stronger. On the other hand, lack of physical activity results in bones getting thinner and weaker. [good arguing point for the wii fit or guitar hero :) side note on guitar hero ... do you like it if you have it? We were in Best B*uy the other night and it actually looks kind of fun. I would be ALL over the drums, though. The guitar doesn't even tempt me - should have been named drum hero.]
  5. By the end of the day, a person has shrunk about 1 inch - temporarily. The next morning, a person is back to his or her old height again. [please measure me at night :)]
  6. Your skin weighs more than twice as much as your brain. [that means that my brain weighs 1/2 of my skin = my brain is big!]
  7. You use about 43 muscles to frown. You use just 17 to smile. [that's because it is hard to smile while you are exercising - see #4 above]
  8. A 3-month-old fetus (in utero child) already has a distinctive set of fingerprints. [fearfully and wonderfully made]
  9. No two sets of fingerprints are alike. Even identical twins have different fingerprints. [didn't know that either]
  10. An average adult has more than 5 million hair follicles. About 100,000 of them are on the head. [If you are having trouble thinking of how HUGE God is ... just multiply that number by the number of adults ... and factor in Luke 12:6-7 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.]
  11. Pain signals travel to the brain more slowly than other touch signals do.
  12. Your brain stops growing at about 15 years old. [maybe why teenagers think they know everything?]
  13. Your brain is more active at night than during the day. [!!!! Go figure.]
  14. You use 200 muscles to take one step. You use 300 to stand still. [now, how does that compute with #4 above? Wouldn't that stand to reason that standing still would make your muscles stronger?]
  15. You use 72 muscles just to speak one word. [Now that explains a lot]
  16. As you get older, you will lose your sense of smell before any of your other senses. [whew - can I get an amen!]
  17. You will spend about 0ne-third of your life asleep.
  18. Your eyes are the same size at birth as they are the rest of your life. [cool!]
  19. Every person has a unique tongue print. [really?? Probably more convenient to do finger printing, huh?]
  20. A 6-year-old laughs about 300 times per day. An adult laughs about 17 times per day. [ there's something wrong with us adults, y'all. This is a good reminder to not take life so seriously - to laugh more. Just this morning, John and I were talking about this and just did a half-hearted "HA" - that alone made us really laugh. It's easier to laugh than you think - try it!]
This book is a fun read - a lot of interesting things in it. I have always had an interest in biology and physiology, so it is right up my alley. The kids are enjoying it, too.

Then Sings My Soul Saturday - Third Day

This song has been on my mind the last couple of days as I have read a couple of blogs of people are hurting for various reasons. It is a good reminder to cling to Him - He is the only reason for our hope. He is the only reason we can go at times.

Check out more at Signs, Miracles and Wonders.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

House pictures ...

I realized that I haven't posted any recent pictures of the house, so here are a couple.

We have been trying to work around the weather, so progress seems slow at times. Yet, when I look back at pictures from this summer, the progress is evident.

I took this from the tv antennae tower this morning. It was pretty clear, so I mainly went up to enjoy the view a little.

We have been taking pictures from this same spot as the house grows. You can see the remaining pour needed on the back wall - it is going to be a very tricky, labor intensive pour unless we can find a concrete pump somewhere.

The walls still need a lot of work to get them cosmetically beautiful ... unless we decide to cover the walls with stone.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The sun came out today!!!

As much as we have needed the rain here in Alabama - enough is enough! (At least for a little bit). It has rained off and on for a good 3-4 days and sometimes at long stretches at a time. Needless to say - we have a LOT of water hanging around.

The kids and I headed out for my haircut today (Yippee!!!), and on the drive we discovered several new lakes that we had never seen before, waterfalls where there are normally not any, normal waterfalls SUPER-sized and just water everywhere.

Here is a sampling of pictures from today:

This little cute one is on the main road into our property - not very big, but very cute :) Also, it has a really nice sound - kind of like those little tabletop versions that you have to pay good money for. God made this one for free.

This is normally a nice meadow for cows ... not today.

View the other direction.

Then, we headed up to Noccalula Falls - we just had to check it out. For a review of some previous pictures of Noccalula Falls, look here.

This is the portion that was mostly just exposed rocks when we first arrived in AL. Back then, the kids stood on the rocks and fed the duckens.

Here's the little walking bridge almost engulfed in water.

This is the most full we have ever seen Noccalula Falls. It has been a fun little adventure to watch the falls recover from just a trickle when we first arrived to this!

Picture of the kiddos

ps - don't make fun of Hadden's highwaters ... he was prepared!!! :) In reality, he protested about having to change his pants, so I just let him wear them ... hmmm, would I be a really bad Mom if I showed them to his perspective wife later (much later)??

One of me that the kids took. Sorry, you can't really see the haircut there - it was windy.

We exchanged taking pictures with someone, so the kids and I got to be in one together.

No swimming now!! Remember this post (scroll near the bottom)!?

We had a good time scouting around for water. We also have counted our blessings that we did not purchase a couple of properties that we had looked at that were in the flood plain. The kids and I drove by one and it was under water - a LOT of water. Very thankful we are on a high spot where the water has someplace else to go :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year's Resolve

Since the majority of you were probably not attending our church yesterday, I am going to steal share some ideas from our sermon with you - with some additional comments thrown in.

Most people aren't good at keeping New Year's resolutions. Most resolutions treat the symptoms and not the root of the problem. We need Christ to supernaturally empower us to make necessary changes - commit to following Him, becoming more like Him, in order to "fix" our symptoms. When we start focusing our efforts on being nearer to Him, being more like Him, desiring to be in the center of His will - that is when the symptoms are seen through the lens of Christ and take proper perspective.

Please understand that I am not suggesting that God is a "fix-it", "heal it" or a "bless it on demand" kind of God - it just may be that we see things differently after viewing our problems through His point of view.

I have been in kind of a spiritual "slump" lately - and have been frustrated with it. Many things our pastor said yesterday struck a chord with me, but nothing more than his quote of Beth Moore - something like "resolve to allow nothing to come between us and Christ" - nothing.

So, this was how my prayer went this morning while I was walking:

Lord, that is what I desire. NOTHING between you and me. You first, John second, kids third, and me last.

Yes, me last. I have found that selfishness has crept in during this spiritual slump along with its good friends grouchiness, grumpiness, quick temper, just plain old ugliness. I don't want any of those - I want the fruit of the Spirit:

love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

That's what I want in 2009 - resolve. RESOLVE!

1. Praying - asking God to pour out His Spirit, asking Him for the desire to read and pray more, asking Him to reveal His Word to me
2. Disciplining myself to read, even if I don't "feel" like it. I am currently reading through the Bible in "historical" order - following a plan that puts Scripture in order as to when the events happened.
3. Joining the next women's Bible study at church - I skipped the last one because it was a study I have done previously. I just really need somewhere to "go deep" about spiritual things - I had a core group of wonderful ladies in PA and have not yet found that group here. This Bible study will help.

So, there you have it - thanks for your prayers!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Then Sings My Soul Saturday

I really enjoy Chris Tomlin music - this video is cool to me - he is talking about the title track for "Hello Love"

Here is the only version I could find of the whole song from YouTube:

Enjoy! Check out more here.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Just a couple of pics

Here is a super quick update -

John standing on full-height walls! We now have 3 full-height walls, a footer for the stairs and tomorrow (hopefully), we will prep for the 4th full-height wall. It's getting exciting!

Our dogs all enjoyed a siesta on their new "blankies" today while it was rainy and cold outside. I found some fun fleece fabric and padding and put them together for their Christmas presents.