Missing Ingredients

I made bread a few days ago. I searched the pantry and the countertop for a packet of yeast, but came up empty handed. I knew there was some in the refrigerator, but was unsure how long it had been in there. I also wanted fresher, more “active,” options. Well, there WERE no other options so I pulled open the door and reached in the WAY back to pull out the little jar.

Naturally, there wasn’t nearly enough for my recipe…about half. I wanted bread. The kids wanted bread. I WAS MAKING BREAD. I used what I had and hoped for the best.

Continue reading “Missing Ingredients”

“You Need to do Better”

“You need to do better.”

The context doesn’t matter. Just the words.

I thought it didn’t bother me, but apparently it really did because here I am writing about it a couple of weeks later after it has churned and churned in my head…eating away at my joy.

Better.

Better?

Who’s definition? Your’s? Society’s? Mine? My husband’s? God’s?

What’s “better,” and is it even possible?

Continue reading ““You Need to do Better””

Here we go…Again

The power surged.  I don’t know how I can hear power as it goes OUT, but I can.

It did it again.

Again.

No, no, no, no…I have to save water.  We have a well.

I rush from the bed, run into the bathroom, close the drain, and set the water to run full blast.  I hurry upstairs to do the same.  All this running water.  I have to GO.  What time is it?

All is quiet in the house.  Wow, this house DOES see quiet.  I miss the stillness because it happens during the rare, few hours when my eyes are closed, my brain able to rest.  Is it this peaceful every night at this time?  What an emptiness.  In a few hours, the silence will pass.  Whether there is a hum from the furnace as it continues to warm my family, or it dies from an outage caused by too much strain from icy branches on lines, I won’t notice it’s absent sound in a few hours.  It will be overshadowed by much larger, bouncing, boisterous sounds.  An audible noise will return to this house.  Power or not, tranquility won’t last long.  The kids will wake, and all will be alive and “running” shortly.  Their power is never out.  The sun WILL rise, and they will be fully charged, ready to face the day.

They wear me out.  Some days I don’t doubt that I will go crazy.

Continue reading “Here we go…Again”

The Rain Falls Down

Storms can be hard. Ok, they can be downright frightening.
Drip……..…….drip………………drip………..
The rain is beginning to fall.
….drip……….drip………drop……drip…….
It falls, falls, falls from the sky, making its way to the tiny leaf,
the one that is just barely hanging on…that’s how I feel some days.
It’s hanging on as firmly as it can, trying not to let go….
Drip…drip…drip…drop…drip…..drip….
From the leaf to the ground the tiny drop falls, lost…
Drip….drop…..drip……drop…..drip….
Faster now the drops come, I can hear them on the roof.
Drop…drop…drop…drip…drip….drop…
They begin puddling. Those tiny drops are lost no more,
They are found, they are joined by others on a similar journey….
drip..drop…drip….drop..drip….drop….
The wind picks up,
The trees bend, dance…
The power flickers and with each plunge into darkness,
We wonder…wait.
Continue reading “The Rain Falls Down”

My Frozen Pond is no Skating Rink

It can be deceiving.  Ice on a pond.  One quick glimpse out the upstairs window will have you believe that you have your own personal ice rink.  It appears that the entire surface of the water is one solid piece of ice.  That gleaning sheet even supports the weight of your ducks.  Leaves are blowing and sliding across the flawless smoothness, not a drop of water to touch them.  You walk outside, brave the wind and cold, to get a better look.  Upon closer inspection, realizing that appearances are often deceiving.  A single, tiny movement from a duck’s foot causes a small portion of the surface to break.  He dives in, triggering a little more to chip off into the icy water, in his excitement to get to the keeper of the food.  He swims and swims in this new pool that he has created, but it is just a mere fraction of what he is used to.  He is confused at the wonder as well.  It is also his first frozen pond experience.

So often in life, we can be deceived by appearances.  Things look perfect, flawless.

Continue reading “My Frozen Pond is no Skating Rink”

What’s that Smell?

My oldest, “What’s that smell?”

It was at that moment that I too smelled it.  I also saw the truck up head and we were closing in rapidly.  The smell was also growing…exponentially.

“It’s that truck up ahead.”

We got closer…

The smell got stronger…

And closer…

Stronger…

I am the mom of four children.  I have worked in daycares and taught in schools…for YEARS!!!  I have smelled stinky stuff, but THIS…this beat all I have EVER smelled.  Think diapers and garbage, mixed with a little of my 3-year-old’s boots (trust me on that one).  Stir it all together, let it cook in the swamp for a few decades, and then load it onto a truck…

It was BAD…

I read the sign, the passing zone was ending…

“Oh, no, we’re not.  Y’all hang on!”

Mama pushed that pedal down and we cruised around that rolling pile of stink as fast as I could manage without lifting off.

“Everyone hold your breath…DON’T BREATHE!!!”

We made it…alive…ok, it wasn’t THAT fast.  Everyone was still conscious and with me.  So was the smell.  It hung on for AT LEAST five miles WITH the windows down.

“Nahnah is going to get behind that truck,” I told the girls.  My mom was following behind us at a good distance.  I couldn’t see her in my mirror, but she was back there…and we BARELY made the passing zone.

I slowed down to a reasonable enough speed to quickly call her on the phone…no where near slow enough for the truck to catch back up…you can bet your bottom dollar on that one.

“I hope you enjoy the stink.”

“I was just noticing that something smelled.”

“Oh, if you are just NOTICING it, you ain’t seen nothing yet.  Just wait!”

I’m sorry to admit it, but I laughed until I could hardly see straight.  She was witnessing clumps of stinkage falling out of the back of the truck and onto the road.  Thankfully it didn’t hit her van because only dynamite could have solved that problem.  I had tears rolling down my cheeks as I described my mother’s (the woman that carried me in her womb, raised me, and continues to love and support me) tortured gasps and chokes to my kids until she was finally blessed with another passing lane.  She made it.  I warned her the smell would clear in a few miles.  It did.

Later that night, she also admitted that she had never witnessed something that horrific smelling in her life.

Did I mention it was BAD?

It hit me that night in the shower…how often does my attitude reek like that stinky truck?  How often am I going along during the day with an attitude that leaves people wondering, “what is that SMELL?”

Probably more often than I would be pleased to admit.

It’s hard sometimes…remaining positive when things are just…tough.  You know those times…

You didn’t get a peaceful night sleep.

There is not enough coffee and you JUST went to the store.

Finances are not looking good.

The kids are fighting.

The weather is crummy.

The car needs to go in the shop.

You feel like you may be coming down with a cold.

This list is LONG…

Sometimes it’s difficult to “look at the bright side” and remain positive.  It’s during those times that we must remain especially tuned in to “what” we say and “how” we say it.

 

Ephesians 4:29 NIV

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

 

It is not easy for me…not easy at ALL.  Sometimes I feel like a pressure cooker, needing to let out steam to keep from blowing.  Music helps my steam vent in a quieter, more peaceful manner.

Sometimes life feels suffocating.  To-do lists seem to grow instead of getting, even the slightest bit, shorter.

 

Philippians 2:14-15 NIV

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[a] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky

 

It’s easy to get lost in a world that is constantly telling us that we are not enough and that we need to DO more to be truly satisfied.  Find your happy place, friends.  Whether it’s music, a warm cup of tea, a hot shower, or a short walk.  Try, make an effort…squeeze in whatever you can.  Whatever it is that is getting to you, remove yourself from the situation, even a brief second can help.  Pray, breathe, and relax.  Regroup.  Try to change your perspective and see if you can look at your situation from another angle.  Any angle, but let your speech be wholesome.  Words may not break bones, but they sting, and they leave lasting marks.

Try to sprinkle a little pleasurable fragrance to your attitude and don’t leave others to wonder what the horrible smell is.

Now, let me go re-read this several times and see if it can sink in…

Seeking the Greatest Treasure

I wanted something new…

Something different…

Something that would stick in their little minds and hearts…

Something worth remembering…

I wanted to start a new Christmas tradition, something for “my children.”  I wanted something to encompass, fully, who they are and allow them to experience Christmas.

We have traditions.

We have Santa.  Santa DOES come to our house and bring gifts, but he’s never overly extravagant.

We have an elf and a shepherd.  My kids enjoy them both.  Neither are naughty.  They both encourage my kids to have a giving spirit and spread the true love and purpose of the Christmas season.

I let the kids purchase or make small gifts for each other, for their father and me, and for their grandparents.

We always pick out a real tree for the family and the kids get to decorate one of their own.

We read stories and sing songs.

We do advent activities and make ornaments.

We bake cookies and candy.

We sing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas morning.

It’s all fun.  I LOVE it ALL.  But I needed something that was unique to “them.”  Continue reading “Seeking the Greatest Treasure”

Are We There Yet?

“Are we there yet?”

“No.”

“When will we be there?”

“When we get there.”

“Is it the next stop sign?”

“Not even close.”

“How much farther?”

“305 miles.”

“How many feet is that?”

Really? Did she just ask me that? She really DID ask me that. She told me to “Google it.” She’s five.

Every journey is paved with anticipation. Some journeys are filled with an eagerness to arrive, others with anxiety for the trip and what lies ahead. We all want to know, “When are we going to get there?”

Continue reading “Are We There Yet?”

This Old House

I like old houses.  They are intriguing.

Do you know the kind of houses that I am talking about?  The kinds that are vacant, varying stages of repair.  Some have been refurbished, others are just a shell of what once was, barely holding together.  You wonder how much longer it can stand before finally letting go.  I’m referring to the old houses that you look at and think, “Wow!  In its day, I bet that was an AWESOME house.”

Not only are they fun to photograph and walk through, but sometimes I find myself just staring through the old windows and wondering…

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Behind the Scene Santa

I’ve been seeing a lot of cute posts and pictures, reading a lot of words of kindness and encouragement, for delivery men this season.  I get it.  Trust me!!!  I am eternally thankful to MY delivery guys AND GALS for all the hard work that they put in, especially during the Christmas season.  I, a stay-home, homeschooling mom of four children, rarely get the chance to go to a store alone, like NEVER.  I have ordered all my gifts this year…and last year…and the year before.  I am on the “Thank a Delivery Guy” bandwagon and I am tooting the horn…the kids are banging the drums.

BUT, I want to take it a step further…further UP the chain…

I’d also like to shine the spotlight on another group of people…a very LARGE, incredibly important group of people.  You could say that they are the grease that keeps the crazy mouse-wheel that we are on spinning.  They are overlooked A LOT.  In fact, they are often looked down on.  They are grumbled and complained about more often than any positive or loving word is said about them….at least from the mouths and keyboards of people that I see.

The Santas that I want to tip my hat to remain hidden away, behind the scenes.

Truck drivers.

No, not just DELIVERY truck drivers, but also the big-rigs, 18-wheelers, over the road truckers.  These are the drivers who sleep in dark truck stops or vacant lots, away from their families for weeks, sometimes months, on end.  Most of them don’t know from one day to the next where their “home” is going to be parked, it’s all dictated by the all-powerful clock.  They are battling a schedule that was borderline impossible to keep, right from the start of their current run.

Continue reading “Behind the Scene Santa”