Monday, April 30, 2007

The Bosticks

Another Monday. Another start.

Our weekend was a fun one.

Friday night, the Bosticks came by for dinner. Byrne and June were in Georgia for a week for their oldest son's graduation from officer training school in Fort Benning. So the three of them came to visit. We've known the Bosticks for ages. Several pieces of their used furniture have graced our home: dining room table and chairs, couch, and my very favorite -- a piano that we had to leave in California. Their youngest daughter and our oldest daughter have been friends since nursery days. Keri Lynn was sad that Sarah wasn't part of the party.

Their son, Gordon, is outrageously tall. I liked standing next to him! All of the boys of our family were also suitable impressed with his officer status. Congratulations, Gordon!

What a treat to see old friends. In just a few weeks, it will be two years since our move from California, so visits from friends and family get more and more precious. We're expecting my brother, Danny and his wife Jessica, sometime in July. And, if anyone else wants to swing by and say hello, we'd love to see you!

Saturday was a busy day for Keith. He got up early to take Keri Lynn and Kristofer for double-header softball. In between, he took Kade to a fund-raiser car wash at the church. Kade WAS! SO! EXCITED! It was all he could talk about in his usual dramatic exclamations. When he came home, I asked him how he liked it.

He said, "Mom, we washed A LOT of cars!"

Hmmm. Wow.

Kade is also recovering from a face plant he did last week on the playground. He was doing a trick on the swing and somehow managed to do a flip off it and land face down in the wood chips. He came up sputtering and bleeding and crying. So, I rushed him off to the bathroom across the street to clean him up and see if there were any teeth missing or any stitches needed. All was well, except for a ton of scrapes on his forehead, the side of his nose, and along and under his chin.

As I cleaned him up and assured him that he'd be okay, he told me regarding his swing stunts, "I will NEVER do that again!"

Then, he wanted to know if he'd be able to go BACK to the playground. I assured him that he could after he rested a little. Then he started worrying about the upcoming car wash. Was he going to miss that?!? I assured him again, that he'd be fine for that too. (I told you he was excited about it!)

When we made our way back to the playground, three mothers were waiting to find out how he was doing. I assured them that he was fine. Two of the mothers only have daughters and they both looked a little white, but the other mother was sagely nodding along with me about the resilience of boys. It's true. If a girl was STUPID enough to do the swing stunt in the first place, and had done the same face plant, she would undoubtedly never step foot in the playground again. Whereas, Kade, being the boy that he is -- and even being the wimpiest of the Johnson kids -- will probably be doing the exact same swing stunt next week. Mark my word!

When the Bosticks came for a visit . . .

It is my hope that my children will someday come out of their shells -- especially when we have company.
The Grown-ups -- Or so they tell us!

Byrne, June and Gordon
Another serious picture.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Kathleen's birthday letter

Dear Kathleen,

From the day you were born, I have so enjoyed your big, bright, expressive eyes. Your soul shines through those eyes. And as the years have gone by -- 11 now! Can it be? -- you've developed a quirky sense of humor that makes us all roll our eyes, groan and choke back laughter.

You our the quintessential middle child.

I'll never forget that horrible day that I left you at home. Thank God for our neighbor, Mrs. Collins who took you in. You were in the bathroom. You heard the van drive away. You ran out the front door in a panic, locking the door behind you, and went running after us, only to see the van make the turn two blocks down. Thankfully, Mrs. Collins saw you and took you into her home.

It was a full 40 minutes into our 45 minute drive, that I asked you a question. No answer.

"Okay, Kristofer, see if Kathleen is sleeping in the back!"

No Kathleen. Panic took over. I popped open the cell phone and called home. No answer. We raced home, all of us praying on the way for your safety. I felt like the world's worst mother. I didn't even have Mrs. Collin's number in my cell phone listings. I knew for sure that as I finally turned the corner to our house, that I'd seen the siren lights of police cars swarming the building. That drive was the longest drive I'd ever made.

But there were no police cars in sight. I brought the van screeching to a halt in the driveway and immediately saw Mrs. Collins bringing you out from her home. And all was explained, and exclaimed over and I cried, and hugged you, and made sure from then on that I would ALWAYS do a head count at the beginning of every trip.

I wish that was the only time I've forgotten you somewhere, but it isn't. The other times haven't been nearly as dramatic, but I've always thought, "Well, maybe there is something to the 'Woe is me' second child syndrome."

You've taken it all in stride, though. Perhaps that is why you've always been, by far, the loudest, orneriest, most dramatic child in our family. And I mean that with all my love! For God has given you great gifts, Kathleen. He's given you beauty, humor, grace, musical talent, and DRAMA. He's given you ALL of it. And I wouldn't have you any other way!

I have seen you growing up before my very eyes. It's true you're not a teenager yet. Thank God! However, you're emerging into maturity with great purpose. You've got a list every day of things that you want to accomplish. You have a devotional book, your Bible reading, a prayer list -- for starters. You like to do your hair up in 15,000 different hairstyles. You take the dog out every single morning and make sure he's fed. You like to stay in your big blue terry cloth robe and fuzzy slippers for as long as possible until it's time to get dressed. You like hot raspberry tea in the morning. And you love to read before going to sleep at night.

With all of that drama constantly swarming around inside you and around you, you've also got some fears that sometimes like to take over. Spiders, big and small, are a source of great concern. Any kind of creepy crawly bugs make you scream. You don't like to ride in elevators. You don't like small spaces. You would NEVER think of sleeping with the window open. However, you're dying to get a rat for a pet some day, which I've told you will never happen while you're under MY roof. However, if you want to get a rat when you're grown up in your own place, that's another thing entirely, but don't expect any house calls from your mother!

Your faith is growing, though. And we know that perfect love casts out all fear. You write songs to the Lord straight from your precious heart and I listen and cry. You're used to me crying, though. It's just how it is. In fact, you made me cry again on Sunday, when you were singing in church with your friend and with your sister. You were singing with all your heart. It touched my soul.

May you always know God's perfect love in your life, Kathleen. My prayer for you is that you will always look to the Lord for each and every one of your needs, that you will always call to Him first, for He always answers us. I pray for your future husband, that today he is also seeking the Lord. I pray that God will bless you with children just as He has blessed me with you. I love you, sweet one.


Glory Revealed Tour: By His Wounds

Monday, April 23, 2007

Be careful how you vote

The Ant and the Grasshopper

OLD VERSION: The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.

The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!


MODERN VERSION: The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when they sing, "It's Not Easy Being Green."

Jesse Jackson stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, "We shall overcome." Jesse then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.

Nancy Pelosi &John Kerry exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.

Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that Bill Clinton appointed from a list of single-parent welfare recipients.

The ant loses the case.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he doesn't maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow. The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote.

Kathleen's Tea Party

At the table. We served tea in our dining room. We've used this room only three other times, so it's always a special treat to be allowed even to sit in there!
"Can we eat, now? We're starving!"
Some of the spread!
Georgia brings a cake that she made in the shape of a teapot.

Kathleen and Kylie took the two end seats - both of those chairs had a leg missing! So they were balancing their way through tea. I didn't get a picture of just Kathleen. I don't know WHAT I was thinking, but in this picture you can see a little bit of her cute curls. Always styling her hair, that girl.
Isn't it cute!
The guests, Molly, Christiana, Hannah, Madison, Samantha, Georgia, and (in the front) Kylie and the proud birthday girl, herself, Kathleen. Four are neighborhood friends and two are from church. (Note the green breakfast area in the back! I got several compliments on our new paint!)

Tea Party Bonanza

I've been busy lately, trying to get us all back on track with school, and getting ready for Kathleen's birthday party.

School is still a little shaky, but the party was a smashing success.

Kathleen had seven guests for a tea party on Saturday. Instead of bringing presents, the girls were asked to bring food for the party. We had cucumber sandwiches, a chocolate fountain, strawberries, pretzels, and lots of cookies. One of the girls made a cake in the shape of a tea pot. It was a lot of fun!

I organized some fun girly-party games -- the kind that drive most adult women crazy at showers -- but that I love to play and that 10 and 11-year-old girls love to play, too! Kathleen begged me NOT to play the fork and spoon game.

I said, "But, Kathleen, remember last time? We weren't going to play the fork and spoon game and then everyone asked to play it anyway? What if they want to play it?"

"Mo-om! Please don't play the fork and spoon game!"

We played it anyway, because, of course, all of the neighborhood kids who have not been traumatized all their lives by this game wanted to play it. By then, all of the other kids who had not played it before wanted to know what it was, and Kathleen eventually joined in the fun as well. Every birthday party should have the fork and spoon game! Go ahead, you can hire me out for your next party! I also come with a set of kids. Rent a Party.

After the party, Kent and Kradan came with their daughter Jordan, so that she could have a sleep-over with Kathleen. Kathleen was one big ball of frenetic energy the whole day and well into the night! She and Jordan were so tired the next day, that they quite willingly volunteered for Sunday afternoon naps!

Kent and Kradan stayed Saturday evening to play a game of Risk with us. Keith and I met over Risk -- Lo, so many years ago! -- and have been slowly building up Risk skills in our own children, so that one day, when they meet that special someone over the Risk board, that they'll know what to do. So it was Kent, Kradan, Keith and I, joined by Keri Lynn and Kristofer. Anyway, I won! Did I mention that I won that particular Risk game that night? I WON! Whoooo-hooooo! (I don't really care if I win a game anymore, really.) But I WON! Total world domination! I'm the Queen of the World! (And I did it without the pink armies.)

Later that night I did have to return to my Cinderella life of dishes and laundry and blogging. But it's not too bad!

That reminds me of earlier in the weekend. We got our latest installments of Netflix. One of them was Cinderella:Twist in Time, in which the evil stepmother gets a hold of the Fairy Godmother's wand and turns time back and makes the prince fall in love with her own daughter. Kathleen and Kylie did a happy dance when the movie came in the mail, but they had other plans that afternoon, so it was that Keri Lynn and I were the ones that ended up watching it first. Every girl likes to play Cinderella, I guess!

Friday morning, I made some pancakes, and Kade served himself a plate of warm pancakes and put them up to his cheeks and said, "Hello, cuties!"

Kathleen, once again showing her brilliance, decided to take the day before her party as her day to be Queen of the Day. Each kid gets to take one day out of the year to be King or Queen for a day in celebration of their birthday. This means that they don't have to do any chores and we're all supposed to treat that person extra special. Usually, the birthday person picks their actual birthday as their special day, but Kathleen was out with her Daddy most of the day, and wanted to THOROUGHLY enjoy the perks. So she picked the day before her party, when we were doing most of the clean-up work for her party. The stinker. Only she had even bigger plans for the day. She wanted everyone to do her bidding for cleaning and preparation. I had to put a stop to that, and remind her that being Queen of the Day didn't mean that she got to order everyone around, just that she got out of work. If anyone was born to be a queen, it would be Kathleen.

We're expecting a visit from our friends the Bosticks sometime this week. I'm not exactly sure when, but we're excited about it. Their son Gordon will be graduating from Officer Training school on Thursday at Fort Benning, which is about two hours from here, I think. It's always a treat to see family and friends from California.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Saturday morning groceries

I don't usually go to the grocery store on Saturday mornings, but I did today and joined the happy throngs of Saturday shoppers.

Today's grocery store comment came from the bagger.

"Wow! I can't believe you fit all of that into ONE cart? You must have experience. Were you ever a bagger?"

It was cloudy most of the day today and then finally around dinner time, it started to drizzle. We even got a bit of a tornado watch -- which for all of you in earthquake country -- means that we then have to keep an eye on the weather reports in case of a tornado warning. Tornado warnings send us down to the basement to be same. Just in case. No tornado warnings this time, though.

This was good, because Keith was off for the evening visiting a friend and Keri Lynn and Kristofer were gone to a church weekend event. So it was just me, five kids and a dog. It was a perfect macaroni and cheese night for the kids and leftover El Charro's for me. Yum!
I watched the last part of Flywheel on DVD after dinner. I'd started that movie two other times this week, but was interrupted. As usual, I was crying through the mushy parts. The kids are used to me sniffling through movies, but when it involves the precious relationship between family and God, it is especially moving.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday the 13th in pictures

Proof: Kristofer is indeed gaining on Keri Lynn. For years and years, he has been a full head shorter. Not anymore!

The wounded soul with his makeshift sling. When I told him I was going to get my camera, he said, "You're not going to put it on your BLOG, are you?!"

"I like to be in Mom's blog!"

Keith missed his calling. He should have been a Disneyland tram driver.

Spring is here! The trees are naked no more.

I just LOVE this picture. Look at Kody -- he thinks he's a kid, too.

One of the trees Mom and Rich planted for us -- I think it's the pear blossom.

"Hold on, everybody -- here we gooooooooooo!"
Birthday girl Kathleen shows off her muscles.

"Take us for another ride, Daddy!"

Where's my parade?

Usually I don't mind going to the doctor. In fact, when the kids were younger, it was a treat to go to the doctor. In the last few years, though, it started to become an ordeal. I'd feel guilty about my weight and hated that the doctor would feel compelled to remind me about how important it is to lose weight.

THIS time, though, I was actually anxious to see the doctor. Just a regular check-up for my blood pressure, but I'd get to hear how PROUD he was of me for losing weight. Imagine my disappointment to find out that my regular doctor was out, and I'd be seeing the doctor on call. I thought, well surely the on-call doctor would be impressed, too.


I had to even say something, "Yes, everything's fine. And I lost some weight, too!"

This is what he actually said, with chart already handed off to the discharge nurse, "Oh, good. Just make an appointment in six months to see your regular doctor."

Just like that. And gone before I had blinked. Where were my roses? My parade? My gift certificate to El Charro's?

Oh, well.

I felt a lot better when I got home and pulled into the driveway. There was Keith riding his beloved John Deere, with the three little kids hanging on for dear life in the trailer. It was the cutest thing I'd seen in a long time.

Keri Lynn and Kristofer are going to a church weekend event tonight. This is excellent timing, because Kathleen has been enjoying her birthday today and will be Queen Bee for the evening. Our family tradition is for the birthday person to be Queen for the Day on their actual birthday. No chores for the entire day. Differential treatment. A special trip out with Daddy. In other words, for Kathleen it's a chance to be the diva she was born to be.

As I type this, everyone but me, Keri Lynn and Keva are at Mac's pool. When they built their pool over the winter, we KNEW that Mac's family would be our "bestest" friends! Keith went over with his swim trunks and his white legs to scare everyone off. And now I'm about to go on my walk . . .

Back from my walk that turned into a social event. Met a new neighbor down the road, stopped by to see one of our newest neighbors (3-week-old precious little boy), and met another neighbor who is five months pregnant.

Keith is bringing home pizza for dinner tonight which will be a big treat for us all. There is not a crumb of food left over in this house. I need to get groceries tomorrow. Konner polished off the rest of the macaroni and cheese. And everyone else ate up the extra two dozen pancakes that I'd made this morning. And Keva dumped out nearly a half box of cornflakes.

Monday, April 09, 2007

George of the Jungle

On Friday afternoon, Kristofer was swinging from a vine from a neighbor's tree, like George of the Jungle, and fell on his shoulder and back. It's a unwritten rule that children must hurt themselves before bed, or in the middle of the night, or the weekend, or going into the weekend, or (better yet) going into a holiday weekend in order to avoid regular doctor's office hours. It's just the way of things.

I called Keith and we talked about his symptoms and we both decided that he was okay, that he more than likely did not injure his bones or joint, but rather wrenched some muscles. So Kristofer finagled his own sling and has been hobbling about as The Wounded Soul since.
By Sunday, I was feeling like the worst parent in the world, because he didn't seem to be feeling any better. But then, one of the men at church, who's a coach at a local school, had a look at it and told Kristofer that he thought he was fine, too. That it would just take some time to not feel so sore. That made us ALL feel better. Whether it was psychological or not, by Sunday afternoon he was already starting to feel better and had gained back more mobility.

Meanwhile, Kristofer is still soaking in the joys of being wounded. He got out of weed picking (the dreaded Saturday chore), and he hasn't taken out the trash, nor has he had to help with dishes. Instead he's been reading more of the Redwall series and playing Lego games on the computer.

Keith took me to dinner last night at our favorite Mexican restaurant. I ate well, but still modestly according to my diet plan, BUT I'm afraid it's true . . . .Keith and I are getting older. We simply can't eat Mexican food at dinner any more. Lunch is fine, but dinner is too close to bedtime. We both didn't get to sleep until very late. Keith slept fitfully, and I didn't even try to go to sleep until 2:30 in the morning. Not exactly a great way to start off a new school week.
Nevertheless, four hours later, I was getting Keva ready for school and then making some 100 pancakes for the starving minions. I finished making the pancakes and then fell back into bed for a few more hours of restorative sleep. At noon, I was struggling to get a hold of my day! No more Mexican dinners!

Keith has the week off for vacation. He got the slaves kids to help clean up in the backyard while he moved the lawn. All of the fruit trees that Mom and Rich got us in the fall have leaves, especially the pear blossom one. So do the maples that we planted along the inside of our fence.
Speaking of growing, I had Kristofer and Keri Lynn stand back to back, and Kristofer's head comes halfway up Keri Lynn's head. He's always been at her shoulders for as long as they've been growing. I have a feeling that it won't be long before Keri Lynn and I are both looking up at him. Weird. It's not wonder, though, because he eats like a horse.

Kathleen bemoans the fact that she is STILL not 80 pounds. She eats up a storm and says something about how maybe now she'll be closer to her goal. When she gets to be 80 pounds, then she can sit in the front seats of Daddy's truck and the van! She can't wait for the day! Meanwhile, she's still got about 10 pounds to go. This morning, she went off to go weigh herself at my scale and came back, "Mom, I can't believe it! I LOST one pound! How can that BE?!?"

Life is tough sometimes.

Friday, April 06, 2007

On their way to a slumber party

Tonight Kathleen and Kylie are going to Christiana's birthday slumber party. Here they are with present wrapped and ready to go. It has been a big anticipation for two long weeks.

Good Friday

Good Friday to everyone.

The kids put on the movie Jesus as I prepared breakfast this morning, and we all watched it. I asked them, as we watched the crucifixion, what Good Friday meant, and why in the world did we call it "GOOD"!

Bless her heart, Kylie was quick to reply, "Because Jesus saved us from our sins!"

My heart can't contain this amazing gift. Thank You, Lord.

Last night, we watched all of the special features for the movie Facing the Giants. If you haven't gotten a chance to see this movie, please do. I highly recommend it. After we watched the special features, we then watched the whole movie with the commentary on. Commenting on their film, were the two directors, two brothers. One of the brothers played the lead role as coach of a sorry little high school football team in Georgia.

As we settled in to watch the movie, Kody nosed open his crate and pulled out his comfy comforter and dragged it out to the center of the family room, and plopped himself on it. The rest of the kids thought this was a great idea, and brought out their comforters, too. Pretty soon, there was a hoard of cocooned creatures spread around the floor and couches. Konner went right to sleep, followed shortly by Kade. Konner went to bed when I woke him up, but Kade said, "No, I'm awake! I'm watching!" and promptly went back to sleep again.
After the movie, we all woke Kade up again to get him to bed, and he made it as far as the bottom of the stairs before collapsing into a cocooned heap, too tired to get up again. He is not one of my night owls.

Our heater went on for the second day in a row yesterday. Temperatures have dropped considerably after several weeks of the most gorgeous weather in the world. Rain brought the pollen count down into the 500s after being in the 5,000s. (Extremely high pollen count is 60-120!) Kids have been wearing jackets and shoes again to go outside. Even Konner came in a few minutes after going outside, saying, "I'm putting on some shoes!" So it must be cold! At Keith's work, the whole reservations building was without restrooms for three hours, because the cold had caused the pipes to burst. Burrrr!

Keri Lynn is doing her level best to bring me to the brink of insanity. All of her life, each year she has plotted and planned for the momentous day that is her birthday. It's only TWO MONTHS AWAY! So we must plan it now! Before it's too late! I'm such a last minute person, so I've always been a little chagrined at this daughter of mine who plans ahead. She certainly didn't get that from me!

Kathleen has been planning her birthday party, too, but it's coming up next Friday, so she should be nailing down final arrangements. She's going to be 11. She wants to have a tea party next Saturday. In lieu of people bringing gifts, we're going to have her guests dress up and bring something for the tea party -- a tea set, chocolate fondue, strawberries, sandwiches, etc. It should be a very frilly girly event. Kathleen at her finest!

But, as Keri Lynn has reminded me repeatedly, HER birthday party is going to be for her SIXTEENTH birthday. How did this happen? How did that sweet round-faced, bud-mouthed little imp get to be that tall willowy woman who likes to watch romantic movies with me? So her plan is also to invite her friends to come all dressed up, but not just in pretty tea dresses, but in formals. We're going to drive the young ladies to a movie matinee, limousine-style, in our van, then drive them back home for a formal dinner -- Olive Garden style -- with chine, sliver, in our formal dining room. They will also be asked to bring something for the dinner (in lieu of birthday gifts.) Keri Lynn would like Keith and Kristofer to help serve, while I cook. She wants a tiara, too. Her whole concept of formal wear and fine dining came from our recent trip to J.C. Penney, where we all ogled the pretty formal dresses there. Hopefully we'll be able to find something suitable at Goodwill that won't dent our family budget!

Things are going well as I continue to strive to be a healthier person. I've now lost 24 pounds! I didn't walk at all last week, while Ginny was here, but I did move around a lot with the painting and cooking and keeping the dog out of the painting and cooking. This week, I haven't walked at all out of sheer laziness. So now I need to get myself back into gear again. Yesterday, I did walk for about five minutes, but was stopped by a neighbor who wanted to know if I knew of any good babysitters, Hmmmm. Let me think. Uh, yes! So I went home and sent Keri Lynn to go to talk with her and meet her kids. This neighbor, who we don't know much at all, has a three-year-old and a one-year-old, with no family or friends in the area. She is desperate to be able to get out with her husband alone! I felt her pain! Even with family and friends in the area, it was hard to take care of two little ones all the time. I don't want to overwhelm her, but I'm hoping that she'll come for lunch with her kids some time soon, so she could have some friends close by again.

I'm rather long-winded today. Nothing new, I guess.

Yesterday was an interesting day in Blogworld. I finally figured out how to put up links on my blog. Kent, the one who introduced me to blogs in the first place, showed me last time he came to visit us, and then I forgot one of the steps, and then couldn't do it after all. That's the thing about most things computer -- if you forget ONE step, the whole thing goes down the toilet. But then I played around with the clickers on my mouse, and after dozens of failed attempts finally figured out what I was doing wrong, and now I've got a bunch of links on my blog to OTHER blogs. Go ahead, give it a whirl!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Warning: Have Kleenex handy

One of these days, I'm going to figure out how to do a fancier link, but you all have to check this one out.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Grocery Story Trump

I always get some kind of comment at the grocery store. It never fails. It usually has something to do with the amount of groceries, but not this time.

Today's question trumped them all.

"Are you interested in using our senior citizen's discount?"


If I were a swearing woman . . .

My answer, "I might LOOK like it today, but no thank you."

Mortification. Then, I looked at my expanse of groceries: six packs of spaghetti, eight cans of spaghetti sauce, three bulk packs of Top Ramen, etc, and thought about the movie Bridget Jones' Diary (which, of course I don't recommend but secretly like anyway) where she writes about eating herself to death and being found in her home being eaten by wild dogs, or something like that. Anyway, my point is I was mortified!

Next time, I'm maybe getting a little more prettied up to go to the grocery store. Today, I ran out without make-up, my hair in a pony tail, wearing my hokey Wal-Mart shirt, comfy yellow capris and Mom shoes with ankle socks. I was not looking all that sassy.

Vacation Daze

Card games on a lazy vacation afternoon. (Don't let anyone know Kristofer was playing with Princess cards!)

One of the many advantages to having a lot of brothers and sisters -- lots of friends to play cards .
"I'm lonely. No one wants to play with me."

Keri Lynn ushers in spring with shorts! She was complaining to me about how hard it is to have long legs. Oh, the PAIN!

Keva hangs out in the family room. She loves to pull on Kody's tail.

Kody taking a break from Keva.

The aftermath of kids playing outside. Can you see the dirt going from the carpet to the floor of the sink in the bathroom?

Then, of course, after supposedly washing in the bathroom, messy people must also make a snack, and put muddy feet on white cabinets. *Note to self: If ever ordering cabinets again, get the wood color.

Absolutely Nothing

I am doing a marvelous job today (AGAIN) of doing absolutely nothing. For some reason solitaire on the computer holds great appeal. Sleeping in. Watching the world go by. Reveling in the recent rains. Watching the trees get their leaves. Complete and utter lazy contentment. Gotta love spring break.

After playing several rounds of Speed, War and Go Fish, the kids are playing a card game called Liar. It's hilarious watching them try to bluff their way through the game. Each of them have a strategy. Kade plunks down each card with gusto and tends to get away with the most lies. Konner tries to look smooth, but just can't pull it off. Some are good liars, a little too good for comfort, in my opinion. Some are horrible liars. I guess honing lying skills isn't the best way to wile away an afternoon, but it has been entertaining.

I need to go get groceries. We're down to the last dregs. Kids come into the kitchen looking sunken-cheeked. "There's nothing to eat!" wail the starving minions. My real motivation to go to the grocery store is that I need batteries for my Walkman (to listen to books on tape while I walk) and diapers for Keva. And maybe because I want some feta cheese. I'm on a feta kick right now. Yum.

Last night, we watched A Night with the King on DVD. It's the story of Esther, and it was pretty good. They just got off track a little bit, and it actually could have been even more of a nail biter if they'd stayed more within the biblical story. All in all, though, it was better than most biblical movies. I was engrossed enough in it to realize, as the credits rolled, that I had just missed half of American Idol! I only got to hear Hailey and Sanjaya, before a phone call came in, and those two are not on the top of my list. So I don't have an Idol Recap this week. (I know so many of you are crushed!)

I would like to take this moment to say how disappointed I am in TV these days having been a regular TV-a-holic most of my life. There's just not much out there anymore. I've been convicted about watching House, which used to be my favorite show. It's just gotten too raunchy, like ER. That one episode where the two doctors decide to have c*asual s*ex is just too much. Sigh. So no more House for me. I may get the first few seasons of 24 and Lost to see if those interest me at all. I try to watch, but haven't gotten hooked on either of them yet. Anyone have a favorite?

I tend to read a lot more now, with Keith gone in the evenings and TV being what it is. I just finished Father Melancholy's Daughter, but found it kind of slow and maybe a little too real-life. And then I was disappointed in the main character as she made her life choices. I did just finally get the second book in Francine River's Mark of the Lion series, so now I have all three books in my hot little hands at last. I started the first one just last night. I've heard all kinds of good things about it.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Easter Pageant Snaps

Stage Make-up for Keith. As he says, "Is it me, or is it Maybeline!"

The kids gather around "Jesus". Isn't Chris a nice looking Jesus! Ben, hamming it up on the right, is one of the thieves on the cross.

Here's Ben before the make-up. He twisted his ankle badly just days before the pageant. His Mom said that the agony on the cross didn't have to be acted. In real life, as you can tell, he's quite a character. He and Jared are a couple of Keri Lynn's buddies.

Here's Kristofer, center, with his costume and make-up. The lady in charge of costumes came up to tell me that I sure had some great kids, "especially Kristofer!" He's sitting with Annette, Kylie's choir director and choir member, and Becky, a flutist.

Kathleen and Kylie with some of their fellow cast members playing cards to keep busy while they wait for their cue. Shhhhh. Cards at a Southern Baptist church . . .

Kathleen and Kylie . . .

up close!

Here are the make-up tables. The cast had to show up two hours before each performance to get ready.

The Garden

Recuperation day for me. After the whirlwind of guests, pageant and painting, I'm EXHAUSTED. One final push and then I can get back to normal. I need to make a meal for my friend Joy and her family tonight in celebration of her baby girl Mary Joy. Isn't that a sweet name for a little girl?

We had the final presentation of the Easter Pageant on Sunday morning. I didn't go with the kids on the Palm Branches Parade because Keva does not enjoy walking for any length of time. So she joined me in my Sunday School class instead, and then I went to pick up the little boys to see the pageant.

At first, I wasn't going to take the three (Keva, Kade and Konner) because I thought they'd be bored, having watched it already on Friday night. But both boys begged me to take them again. They really like the big bad Roman soldiers! It isn't the greatest reason to watch the Easter story, but it will do for now!

This time, we sat right behind the orchestra. Konner was fascinated with the cello. Kade pointed to the violin section, "Look at those things (he meant the violin bows) -- they're all going up and down at the same time!" And I tried not to cry as the kids came running down the aisle. I kept telling myself, "You know what's going to happen. Please don't start blubbering again," but, of course, I did!

The poor guy, Chris, who played Jesus had a terrible time this last time, though, because his crown of thorns kept falling down onto his eyes and then finally nearly around his neck. He was trying to secretly scoot it back up, but he couldn't very well position his own crown of thorns back on his head and the Roman soldiers behind him couldn't see what was happening. They were the only ones who could have done anything about it and still stayed in character. Mary, Mary Magdalene and John couldn't exactly put the crown of thorns back into place either!
Chris played Jesus last year for the first time. And this year, again, even with the crown of thorns mishap, did such a great job. His wife played the woman who was healed when touching Jesus' hem of his garment. Their daughter was one of the kids who came running down the aisle yelling "Jesus is coming!" It was so sweet to see this precious family playing these precious roles, but it really got me to thinking about Jesus Himself.

Jesus Himself. Who sacrificed EVERYTHING for us. He could have married, had his own children -- but even that he denied Himself -- all for the sake of the cross -- and all for the sake of us.

One of the most impactful moments of the whole crucifixion story for me is when Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. He has asked his closest disciples -- Peter, James and John -- to pray for Him because He is sorrowful even unto death. As He prays, He begs the Father to let the cup pass from Him.

I believe this is the most critical part of the whole deal. Here Jesus at last gathers His strength. He comes to the point of no return. And I don't think it has anything to do with being afraid of the pain and death of a horrible execution. I don't think He worries about the people who will revile Him. I don't think He's afraid to stand before Roman rule. He's not afraid of being left alone by His disciples.

He simply does not want to be separated from God the Father. He does not want the horror of the whole sin of the world upon His shoulders that will rip Him away from all that is holy. "He who knew no sin became sin for us."

Still He was obedient.

He took the cup, "Not My will, but Yours."

All of His actions glowed with obedience -- through chains, rotten courts, cowardly rulers, angry mobs, bloody beating, carrying the cross, thorns thrust into His head, nails pounded through his hands and feet, and horribly pain. He did not complain.

Only once do we hear the words shortly before His death, "My God, My God! Why have You forsaken Me!"

His ONLY words of complaint. When God the Father deserts Him.
And then, those wonderful words, "It is finished."

Thank You, Lord, for saving me from my sins. Thank You for Your faithfulness in going to the cross. Now the grave stands empty, and you sit at the right hand of God the Father, the Lamb that was slain. Thank You.