Friday, December 16, 2011

And puppy comes home!

Diesel came home last Saturday. I surprised the girls by going to get him two days early. I REALLY wish I had captured their expressions on camera because they were priceless, but I was too busy enjoying them! Anyway here are some shots from his first week home. :D

His first meal at home. :)
So cute!!!
resting on Anna's shoulder while she reads

Emma gave him a spiked hair-do, lol. He was not impressed.

trying out his bed, and no, he hasn't slept there once

I am overwhelmed by his cuteness!!

This is his official Christmas photo. :D

He quickly grew tired of having his photo taken.

Lots of Emma love!

And a squeeze from Cora!

And finally a snuggle with Anna.

Can you tell we are in love????

Monday, December 12, 2011

What do you want?

Need: a requirement, a necessity
Want: to long for, to desire

Yesterday, we sang All I Need is You at church. I absolutely love Hillsong, and this song is really beautiful and just so raw. I think, as Christians, getting to a place where we recognize that all we need is Jesus is a journey in itself, and it might be a place we never fully arrive. It's hard to believe that we truly don't need anything but Jesus. Not money, not approval, not social standing, not our families, and when it gets down to it, not even our church. Nothing. Just Him. I believe when we recognize that He's all we truly need, those other things (families, church, people) will fall right into the place they are supposed to be. 

So I started wondering something yesterday after church. What if we could get to the place where He's all we WANT? I mean, honestly, I think it's easier to say "He's all I need" than it is to say "He's all I want." What if we want Jesus more than we want anything else in the world. What if He were to become our one desire, our one wish, the only thing we crave and long for? Wouldn't that make all the difference?


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why can't I find time to BLOG?? A.K.A. Christmas Plans

I love blogging. I think of a million things a day I could blog about. Then I talk myself out of it because I think I have to blog about something profound every time. Well, good grief, anyone who knows me knows I'm a total dork who is rarely serious. I can't always enlighten you with my deep philosophical knowledge. At this point, you are probably wondering when I've ever done that to begin with. LOL! Anyway...

It's almost Christmas. 16 days to be exact. Are you ready? We are most definitely not ready. We don't even have our tree yet, and that is tragic! But by Sunday night, we will have a tree if I have to go cut one off the side of the road. We have 3 Christmas parties this weekend, but that's not going to stop us. We are on a mission.

This week I've been planning our holiday baking (haven't started that yet, either, oops!). I ALWAYS bake Snickerdoodles. I'm kinda famous for those. I'm going to bake biscotti for the first time. My friend, Arlene, gave me some great recipes. I think I'll do some apple pies (Emma's favorite). Maybe some turnovers and bread. Okay, I'm getting carried away. I don't have time for all that. We always make some fun candy like haystacks, oreo balls, and chocolate dipped pretzels. YUMMY!

We'll probably take the last week before Christmas off from school to have some good Christmas crafting fun! We went shopping today to get the supplies. We are going to do button ornaments, cinnamon ornaments, glitter balls, maybe jingle bell wreaths, and if we get really ambitious, we will do these Christmas lanterns. I think we'll make little toy soldiers from old wooden clothespins and make thumbprint "snowmen" on solid colored Christmas balls. That doesn't count the gingerbread house we always do (yeah that comes from a box, I don't bake the gingerbread!). Whew! That's a lot. But they love it, and I love it (usually), so we do it. :D And on December 26th, don't even think about asking me how much of this I actually got done. ;)

By the way, Diesel comes home Monday. :)

We'll wrap up some treats, some ornaments, and a family photo and that will be the Christmas gifts for everyone.  Home made gifts make the BEST gifts!

So, now is there any question of why I can't find time to blog every day or every other day or even once a week? I always over plan and double book and squeeze a million things into every day. That's just how I roll. And I rock! LOL! <3


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Accept no substitutions!

I've been MIA for a while. Life is just so...well, life. :D We've been working hard in school to be where I want us to be before Christmas, we are preparing for a new puppy, Cora is going to be in a production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever next weekend, and I've finished my Christmas shopping! WOOHOO! Exciting stuff!!

Side note: I asked Emma what I should blog about and without missing a beat she said, "You can blog about how cute I am!" While I'm not going to devote an entire blog post to Emma's cute factor (not right now anyway, lol), I do want to take a minute and point out that she's so stinkin' cute, I can't stand it, lol. xoxo

A couple of days ago, Patrick decided to stop by the store to pick up a few things. While he was there, he decided the girls needed new crayons so he picked up a box. Have I mentioned how much I love that man?? When he got home, I stared aghast at the box of Dollar General brand crayons in his hands. I didn't want to hurt his feelings, but I was like, "Are you for real?" He knows we are a CRAYOLA family. There is simply no substitution for a brand new box of Crayola crayons! The way they smell, the way they glide across the paper, the even color, ahhhhh... Anyway, he couldn't believe that the "Geddes" brand crayons weren't going to be just as fabulous. It took him all of two seconds of coloring to realize that just because the box might say the same thing, and the colors might be similar, there is simply no substitution for the real deal.

I don't want to preach at you (or maybe I do), but I find so many people are substituting fakes for the real deal. Everyone is looking for something. And if you look long enough you will find exactly what you're looking for. Stands to reason, huh? We were made for one thing, and one thing only: To glorify our Father in heaven. You can choose Him, or you can choose something less. "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad." Matthew 12:30 If you choose a substitution (the world, your family, your job, alcohol, drugs, sex, your church, etc) over God, your results might look similar, but you've chosen less than what He wants for you. You might smile, you might even be happy, but you will never be whole. Like that box of cheap crayons, your choices might look close to the real thing, but your results will not be God's best for you! 
Now, some of those things I listed above aren't even bad choices. And like Patrick with the crayons, you might be choosing with love in your heart, but still you will not be whole without a life that puts God in first place. He is the real deal. To illustrate my point further, think about this: Let's say you take those cheapo crayons (the substitutions) and color a picture (your life). Your picture might look like all the white space is filled. From a distance, it might even look finished. But when you get up close, you can see the uneven color, the gaps, the pieces of crayon that fell off and got stuck to the paper. You get what I'm saying, yes? Putting God first doesn't mean that you won't get out of the lines every now and then, but it does mean that you will be creating a masterpiece that glorifies Him. 

I don't know about you, but I've tried the Wal-mart brand, the Kmart brand, the Dollar General brand, and I keep coming back to Crayola. Why accept the substitutions? Go ahead and choose God's very best for you! He wants you to take it. In fact, He's already paid the price to give it to you.

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Encounter

Catchy title there, huh? LOL! Well, I don't know how else to title this, but I think it's time to blog about The Encounter, so here it is.

So, what is an Encounter you ask?'s just that. An Encounter with God. And it's different for everyone. For the sake of not spoiling the surprises for those who haven't attended...yet...I can't share too many details. But it is an intensely personal 3 day encounter with your Creator. It's a time to get real with yourself and God. It's a time to dig deeper and go further than you knew you could. It's a time for healing.

Let me give you a timeline of my encounter experience. Last November I decided it was the right time for me to go on The Encounter. But my sweet papaw went to be with the Lord two days before I was supposed to leave. It was not my time, and now I realize why. So many things have happened since last November. My faith has been tested and challenged, I've changed ministries in the church, and my family has been in disarray. If I ever needed to get real with God, I knew this was my time. Soooo...I signed up to go this time. I was so excited!!! Until last Wednesday. That night I think I wrestled with the devil. But by Thursday I felt better, and God gave me this verse from Psalm 62:5: "My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him." I felt clearly that He has great things in store for me, and I again felt like I was doing the right thing. Then Friday, leaving day, came. Ugh. I was already nervous about leaving Patrick and the girls, and around 3:15 Patrick told me about a work/babysitting dilemma. Keep in mind I had to be on the bus at 4. I almost freaked out because I am the one in the family who always solves those kind of problems! But Patrick was so sweet and reassured me that he had it under control. Have I mentioned how much I love that man???

Anyway, we arrived at Ridge Haven around 6, I think. It was time for dinner and to meet our individual group members and roommates. Within 30 minutes, I was ready to call Patrick and have him come out there to get me. It was nothing personal; I had an amazingly precious group of ladies with me. It was the enemy trying to steal what God had in store for me. I had to step outside and some of my sweet friends came out and prayed for me. I made it through the first meal without any further meltdowns. LOL!

Without telling too much, I will tell you that within 10 minutes of our meeting that evening, I was in tears. Throughout the weekend, God opened my eyes to some amazing and healing things. I truly felt like I was sitting in His lap. He showed me where I need to place my expectations. He showed me that He decided I would be in a group of strangers (who weren't strangers by the end of the weekend, but friends) so that I could be SILENT and ALONE with Him, just like that Psalm He gave me. He revealed Himself to me in mighty ways. I don't even know how to put into words what happened. It was such an intimate encounter with my Lord that I can hardly talk about it. I haven't told my husband all that happened or even my best friend. I don't know what to equate it to except my wedding day and wedding night. On that night, I just wanted to bask in my sweet husband's presence, and this weekend I just wanted to bask in the glory of the one who loves me most. Like the day I became a mother, I wanted just to look upon that face and know that He is mine and I am His.

Homecoming...I got really nervous about two miles from the church, where I knew my family was waiting. I was so happy to know I was going to see my loves, but I was afraid things would be the same old thing at home. When we walked into the sanctuary, and I saw my babies and my husband, I KNEW things would be different. God healed more than my heart this weekend. He healed my family. And His healing work continues. So if you see the Ensleys, and you think we look different, GOOD!!! We feel different. I know they'll be set backs and challenges (I wasn't born yesterday, lol), but I have a new view of the world. In the last three days I have enjoyed my husband and children more than I have in years. I've laughed more, read my bible more, sat in His presence more. I have already been challenged and tempted by worldly things, but I feel a renewed strength and purpose. I am in this world, not of it.

So since the Encounter, I have been feeling the weirdest feeling. I could not figure it out. It was utterly unknown to me. I finally got it yesterday. Guess what? It's called PEACE. The most freeing, calming, beautiful feeling in the world. A peace beyond understanding. "He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, for there were many against me." Psalm 55:18

Peace is what I've been praying diligently for for two years. Another lesson learned: Wait patiently on the Lord. :)


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stepping out of my box...

Something awesome and scary and new and amazing is going to happen this weekend. That's what I keep telling myself. I am going away for the weekend on a ladies' retreat called Encounter with my church. It is literally a time to encounter God, and that's exciting stuff! I've never left my family for two nights; heck, I've never left them for one night. The control freak in me is freaking because I have NO IDEA what is going to happen this weekend. And I can't even take my cell phone. EEEEEKKKK!! I can do this. I have to. It's my time.

I was supposed to go on Encounter last year, but my papaw died two days before I was supposed to leave. I was disappointed, but I know it just wasn't my time. THIS is my time. I have been on a tremendous spiritual journey this past year (or two) and I feel like it's all been leading up to this time. This is it. God has been preparing me for such a time as this. "For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

So, though I have chewed off most of my nails and can't stop thinking about all the things Patrick might do (or forget to do) this weekend, I have got to LET GO and LET GOD. He only wants the best for me, and I know and accept that. He will take care of my husband and my girls this weekend. He will show me what He wants me to see. He will give me everything I need this weekend. I'm expecting great and marvelous things from Him. After all, that's what He's promised me. All things work together for my good. :)


P.S. The puppy's name is going to be Diesel. :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Puppy Times

Never say you are going to "look at" a puppy. Just don't. I knew before we even went that we would end up with one. After all, my girls were begging for a "fluffy puppy", and they are completely overindulged, so I knew it was a done deal. I will tell you there aren't many things cuter than a litter of 7 yorkie babies. My girls instantly fell in love with the runt, whom they affectionately nicknamed "Tiny Face." My my my, what a doll!! And so tiny at just 11 days old. 
~the puppy with no name~

Anna made a trip to the car for my wallet, and that was that. He will be coming home in December, and so far we've bought a book about Yorkies and made a list of things the little guy will need, which includes a wardrobe more diverse than mine. I have never had such a tiny little puppy before, and I'm excited about the puppy breath and total cuteness. I'm not so excited about housetraining and chewing, but it's a package deal, lol. 

Now on to the problem...HIS NAME! At first, we all decided Edmund was a very dignified and respectable Yorkie name. But, then we started talking about different names, and it's turned into World War 3 around here. We went from a list of 18 down to a list that currently has 2 names on it: Edmund and Lewis. Today we have cast votes, pulled a name out of a cup (about 100 times), argued, had a karate match (Anna and Emma), boxing (Emma and Cora), and they are currently playing "paper, rock, scissors" to decide his name. We are no closer than we were. UGH!! If I had it my way, I'd name him Stanley. Now that is an awesome name for a Yorkie! Patrick prefers something edgier like Hemi or Diesel. Ummm, dear, let me remind you that he's going to weigh a whole 5 lbs, if that, when he's grown.

Take a second and vote on our poll! If you have another suggestion, don't tell me. ;)

I hope we have a name by the time we go for our next puppy visitation. :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My baby is reading!!

I've got one child doing complicated percentage problems and pre-algebra, one learning multiplication tables and cursive writing, and now my baby is READING! She read a few BOB books this morning while we all sat around the table and listened. I admit she's been ready for a while, but I haven't. I remember Anna reading those same books 6 years ago, and then Emma reading them just a few years ago, and now my baby girl is reading. She is so proud. And I am too. A few tears slipped out, of course, because I am a cry baby. LOL! This is one of those bittersweet parenting moments. I am so proud of her and happy, but it's another realization that I do not have a baby anymore. She is growing up quickly. Well, they all are actually. And that's just as it should be. They can't stay little forever.

I am so happy that I have never missed them reading their first words. I LOVE seeing those light bulb moments. Sharing these moments with them is priceless. It's not always easy, but it's always worth it! Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of homeschooling.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

And Nakia attends her first Mary Kay party...

So, last night I went to my first ever Mary Kay party. I didn't have high expectations, but it was actually a lot of fun. The Mary Kay consultant was very energetic, the guests were all funny, and there was Sangria, so I had a great time. I even learned a few things.

#1: I am braver than I thought! I actually took my make-up off in front of complete strangers and friends alike. That is a true test of my self-esteem right there! ;)

#2: There are a heck of a lot more steps to being beautiful than I ever imagined. I really didn't know there were 127 steps to cleaning your face and 149 steps to moisturizing and then 72 creams for day and 93 creams for night. That doesn't include the wrinkle reducers, fine line fillers, exfoliators, lip plumpers, eye droop stoppers, forehead lifters... I mean, heck, you can basically get a complete facelift in a bottle. (I'm really only kidding. There are only a few steps to a proper Mary Kay skin care regimen!)

#3: Make-up is funny. All you have to do is give someone the wrong shade of blush or even a little too much of the right shade, and you've basically got a circus right there. Always remember people should notice YOU not your make-up, ok?

#4: I do not know how to apply eyeliner. I didn't even try. I watched those sophisticated ladies apply it with ease, and I knew I was in way over my head!

#5: You can fall in love at first sight with a mascara. I am for real. I could not believe how my lashes looked after putting on the make-them-look-longer-and-fuller-and-more-amazing-than-you-realized-they-could-be mascara. I totally bought that stuff right up!

#6: You cannot dance in a dining area that is in a house where small children do not reside. In other words, if there is a beautiful china cabinet with beautiful china very close to you, and you get an urge to do a little dance, RESIST! Thankfully, nothing broke. WHEW! But I digress..

#7: I could never be an in-home sales consultant. I really admire people who can have parties and sell stuff. I've been to a lot of home parties, and they are always fun. Like I already said, our consultant was very energetic. She obviously loves and believes in the Mary Kay products. I wish I could get that excited about something other than a nap. :)

Anyway, if you get invited to a Mary Kay party, PLEASE GO! It could change your life! Or at least your lashes!

Happy Sunday,

Friday, October 28, 2011

Delicious Autumn

I love every kind of fall day. I love the crisp cool fall days with beautiful blue skies that are perfect for leaf kickin' and pumpkin carvin' and hiking in the mountains. I love days like today, too. These dreary, cold, and rainy days might make some people cringe, but they make me blissfully happy. Hey! I've never claimed to be normal! LOL! Today I just want to cuddle up with my girls under a quilt and drink hot cocoa or bake cookies or get some Christmas shopping done online (it's only 57 days away, ya know!). We could watch a movie or read. Oh, and a nap!! Yes, these days are perfect nap days. If only I could convince Anna, Emma, and Cora they NEED a nap. ;)

And it makes it even better that we have absolutely nowhere to go! I've been waiting for a day like today!

Delicious Autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird, I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. George Eliot


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Just not good enough!

I can't believe it's been a week since I blogged. So many things were going on last week that I just didn't have a chance. And truthfully, with losing my Mamaw and most of our chickens, I didn't have the heart.

My oldest daughter said something to me yesterday that, quite honestly, might have changed my life. We were talking about spiritual things yesterday morning, and she said to me, "Mom, I'm really growing in the Lord, and some things just aren't good enough anymore." I just stared at her, speechless. Throughout the day, I thought about that statement about a hundred times. The thing is I, too, am growing in the Lord, and I've found so many things aren't good enough anymore. But the problem is, I've continued to let them be part of my life. My 11 year old is confident enough to put those things that aren't good enough out of her life. Aren't we supposed to be a great example for our kids? Instead she has proven to be a great example to me. Last night I was thinking about how happy God must be right now. 

just aren't good enough anymore.

He must increase; I must decrease. John 3:30


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Word to Live By

In the words of Jesus Christ: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Matthew 5: 7-9

In the words of Gandi: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

In the words of Michael Jackson: "If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change."

In the words of Nakia Ensley: "Life is too short for hate. Try love and see the difference you truly make. Stop complaining and start coming up with solutions."


Monday, October 17, 2011

~Learning Grace~

Some lessons are hard...actually I haven't learned one yet that wasn't hard. Over the past two years, I have been on a spiritual journey, and I will tell you it has not always been fun. When you start reevaluating yourself and really look at your own flaws and weaknesses, it hurts. I've tried, and I am continuing to try, to be REAL with myself. I am trying to have less of me, more of Him.

One word is repeated to me daily: GRACE. I am not naturally graceful (physically or personality wise, lol). But I believe, like love, grace is something we have to choose every single day. It requires work. It require careful decisions. It requires humility.

I am learning to parent with more grace than punishment. When I do that, I find my children are more kind and loving with each other and me. I am learning to put myself in other people's places before I judge them. When I do that, I find I no longer want to judge them. I am learning that just when I want to give up on someone/something, I have to try again. When I do that, I find that healing happens.

One beautiful thing that I've come to realize about Jesus is that He NEVER refused grace. There was never a person who had an experience with Jesus that wasn't changed. He WILL never refuse grace. It is there; we have to take it. And then we need to give it to others.

So, here's the rub. It's not always easy to show grace. You will wonder what has gotten into you. People will look at you funny. Some will even call you an outright fool. But hey, if you can't be a fool for Jesus, who can you be a fool for?


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Will Goldie be in heaven, Mommy?

That's what my baby girl asked me today. You see, we've suffered a tragic loss at our house this weekend. Multiple losses actually. Most importantly, my grandmother is near the end of her life. Hospice is there, the family has been called in, and her time is short. She is the only great-grandmother my girls have ever known. They love her so much, and I do too. Now, I'm ready to let her go. She is ready to go home to her beloved, who passed away this time last year. Yesterday the Hospice musician came and played some old hymns for her. She was nearly unresponsive, but when he played "I'll Fly Away" you could see her tapping her foot. She's ready to fly on.

Last night we came home to find that our dogs had broken into our chicken coop and killed many of our hens. We found five dead, leaving us with five live hens and our rooster. Today two more hens passed. So now we have three healthy hens and one injured rooster. I never thought I'd be outside in the cold and dark dressing a rooster's wounds, but there I was last night. We raised these chickens from the time they were two days old, and I must say, we are very attached. Even Patrick loves them. It has been nothing but fun raising chickens...until yesterday.

Which brings me to the title of my post. Goldie was Cora's favorite chicken. When we left to go get medicine for the chickens, Goldie was hanging on, though she had a wing injury. When we got home, she was dead. Cora was so so upset; she screamed and cried in a way I've never seen. It was so sad. Nothing breaks a mommy's heart like seeing her child with a broken heart. And so, "Will Goldie be in heaven?" I believe so. How could I not? Heaven is perfect, the new paradise. God created ALL things, and He made it/them for us to enjoy. The animals we love have to be there. They just do. My girls have lost many pets over the last year, and I am 100% certain they will all be in heaven, healthy and whole, just waiting for a romp in the grass! Or in Goldie's case, a good cuddle and an overripe banana.

And so we grieve...But we grieve knowing one day we will see Mamaw and Goldie again.

Cora and her Goldie girl

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Preparing for family pics!

So, we haven't had our family pictures done since Cora's first Christmas five years ago! How has it been that long??? A week from Monday we are getting our photos done, and I am super excited. BUT, if you are a mom, you probably understand my current state of insanity. You wouldn't even know I'm a photographer by the way I've been stressing. The girls got their hair done last week, I get mine done next week, and I've threatened Patrick that if he buzzes his off before October 24th, he will find himself sleeping in the hen house. My greatest fear right now is that Cora will try and "enhance" her current hair style. I mean, all she needs is brand new bangs, right? I'm rebuking that right now. It ain't happenin'!

Okay, the clothes. Anna was the first to pick hers out, and it's become our inspiration piece. She is going to wear a cute sweater and now she wants to wear this funky peace sign hat (the child loves peace signs, she is such a hippie). Okay, that's fine. "No, Emma, you may not wear that cheetah print beret." I found a really cute sweater cardigan for Emma and matching sweater dress for Cora. I am keeping them hidden in Anna's closet so they don't find themselves in the hen house. "But my dress is itchy!" Note to self: buy Cora an undershirt to wear under her dress. Today I ordered sweaters from Old Navy for Patrick and me to wear. It dawned on me an hour after ordering that they might not be here by the day of pictures. You'll know they didn't make it if Patrick is wearing a Haynes Electric shirt in the pictures.

The shoes...oh, the shoes...Anna is certain everyone needs new boots. Okay fine, sweetie, get a job. I just bought new little dress shoes for them, and they can wear those, right? It doesn't matter if half of us are wearing brown shoes and half are wearing black, right? Okay, great.

The accessories...the hat situation is taken care of. Only Anna can wear one, and I mean it. I am preparing myself to say, "Patrick, leave that grungy thing at home!" Hair barrettes...that's a probable no. I don't have time for that and I don't want to have to redo their hair a million times that day. They have those cute new styles to show off anyway!

The last thing I need to work on is losing 40lbs. before that day. Ugh. Actually that's more likely to happen than all of us getting out the door, dressed, styled, and SMILING.

It will all be worth it. It will all be worth it. It will all be worth it...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

From serious to silly!

A few times a year, we have a talk with our girls about protecting themselves from assault. I read the book Protecting the Gift a couple of years ago, and it really changed the way I think about "stranger danger." I highly recommend that book! Did you know that most kidnapping and assault (including sexual) of children is not at the hands of a stranger? Most occurs at the hand of a trusted family friend/acquaintance/family member. Many parents don't acknowledge that and therefore don't educate their children properly about how to protect themselves or what to do if they find themselves in a dangerous situation. Anyway, that's why we often and openly talk to our girls about being mindful of others and what to do if they are being harmed.

All that to say, this past weekend, we had one of those talks. Well, the older girls are used to it, and they just nodded and kept quiet, for the most part. Cora, on the other hand, was quite vocal with her questions and opinions. We highly encourage our girls to fight back, and that is recommended in the book above. We even let them "show us their moves" without actually harming us...or that's the goal anyway. After I had talked for a few minutes, Cora informed me that, "Mom, I really don't think I'm going to remember any of this tomorrow." Okay, Cora, that's why we go over it so often. Her burning question was, "Can I kick him in the goober?" Oh dear. And our answer, "Yes, please do!" Next, all three girls decided to do some Kung Fu Hillbilly action (please stop now and watch that video on youtube!). Around that time, Cora promptly gave me a right hook to my jaw. I actually saw stars. The good news is that the force of it drained my sinuses a bit.

I think that went well, don't you?


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Favorite Things

It seems like lately I've been going from feeling so blessed to feeling distraught and frustrated. I decided to make a list of some of my favorite things so I can come back and reread it and smile when I'm feeling grumpy!
My favorite man in the world!
My favorite little people!
My favorite time of year--Autumn!
My favorite food!
My favorite books!
My most treasured possession <3

My favorite places: the beach, the mountains, my church, my bed
My favorite colors: brown and purple
My current favorite songs: Lord of Lords by Hillsong, Beautiful Things by Gungor, anything by Adele
Other random things I love: simplicity, baking, taking pictures, new babies, reading, thunder storms, snow, thift stores, my Polaroid Colorpack camera, vintage Pyrex dishes, my family, owls, Diet Pepsi, Circus Peanuts, old books, boots, sweaters, jeans, pretty material though I can't do anything with it, Alexander Skarsgard :)

My very favorite bible verse: Lamentations 3:23 I'm so thankful His mercies are new every single morning!

Whew! That was fun! Now I have something to come look at when I'm feeling less than thankful.  I'm sure it won't be long. EEEK!

  Remember this?  I love The Sound of  Music!
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things!


Friday, October 7, 2011

Every time they get their hair done...they grow up a little.

I admit it, I am a sentimental sap. So many things make me cry, especially when it comes to my girls. I have cried every.single.time they've gotten their hair done. It always makes them look so much older! I am really proud to say that I did not cry today when we went to the salon. Yay, I'm growing up, lol. 

Here are some before and after shots:

How did she get so sassy? ;)
She is definitely not a little girl anymore! *sniff sniff*
My rock star!
Just a little change makes a big difference! <3
The baby! I can still call her that, right??
My favorite little girl haircut! So cute!!

After the salon, I took the girls for ice cream and then we went and got some new fun and funky socks. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE having girls?!?!?!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

He sure does love me!!

The truth is I'm not always easy to live with (that really shocks you, I know, lol). Sometimes I have unreasonable expectations of people. If you've read The Five Love Languages, you will know what I mean when I say that I am a "words of affirmation" girl. That basically means that I like to talk about everything, my feelings, your feelings, life, the weather, the dog, the laundry, etc. EVERYTHING. And I want someone to talk to me about everything too. So I spent a lot of time trying to get Patrick to talk, talk, talk. I drove him almost nuts trying to get him to talk about his feelings and tell me how much he loves me. Guess what? He still didn't talk. Men in general, and my husband in particular, just don't talk about that kind of stuff. He is an "acts of service" guy.

I read a quote by someone (sorry can't remember who) that said, "Just because someone doesn't love you the way you think they should doesn't mean they don't love you with everything they have." WHOA! That was like a slap up side my face. Truly. It is not fair to expect people to love you the way you think they should. Patrick doesn't have to come home every night and profess his undying love for me so that I will know he loves me. So, I stopped bugging him about it.

I know Patrick loves me. He writes me a love note once a week or so. When he knows the girls and I need to take a picnic lunch somewhere, he often will get up 10 minutes earlier and surprise me by packing our lunch. Tonight he went to the store to get a few things on the way home from work, and he brought me my favorite pop-tarts (which I promptly hid from the girls, heehee). I have had a really stressful two weeks, and today it all came to a head (literally) and I had a pounding headache. I took some medicine and fell asleep on the couch. He made hamburgers for dinner, made sure the girls got their baths, did the dishes and a load of laundry. THAT is his way to show he loves me.

If that's not love I don't know what is. I'm not writing all this to brag. Just to remind you that if you feel unloved, maybe it's because you don't know what a particular person's love looks like. Maybe they are loving you the very best they know how. And recognizing and accepting that is a beautiful thing.

Did you know God is an "acts of service" guy? Sure He is! "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

I don't know about you, but I'll take that!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My hens are on strike!!

After a fabulous and productive two weeks of egg-laying, the hens are rebelling. We were getting 2-4 eggs a day, and now we haven't had an egg in 3 days! So, I went out today (with my camera, of course) to have a chat with the hens. First I consulted the leader of the pack, Joey. 

Clearly he has no idea what is going on with these women! Remember he is a man. ;)

Next I got up close and personal with some of the lovely ladies. Here's what they had to say:
This is Goldie. She is more of a summer girl. She dislikes the cooler weather because she hasn't been able to work on her golden tan. This might be a long winter for Goldie...

This is either Molly or Lottie; I can't tell them apart. The reason she has stopped laying (and we KNOW she was laying before) is because every time she settles down to business, the neighbors' four little dogs start barking and interrupt her. You can't expect a girl to do such a job with company right outside!! Note to self: call animal control for neighbors' dogs.

As you can tell, Callie wasn't too keen on being interrogated interviewed. I've seen this look before from my kids. I think it is a cross between "Dare you question me?" and "You expect me to do WHAT?"

So anyway, that's how I spent an hour of my afternoon. I still didn't talk them into egg laying. So I have given them an ultimatum. No eggs=no treats. So shape up girls! Start earning your keep. ;)

I'll leave you with this:
Psychiatrist: What's wrong with your brother?
Sister: He thinks he's a chicken.
Psychiatrist: How long has be been acting like a chicken?
Sister: Three years. We would have come in sooner, but we needed the eggs.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Is it hard to homeschool three kids?

I get asked that question almost every time we go somewhere. It's even more common than the infamous "What about socialization?" My answer is that of course it's hard to homeschool three kids. It was hard to homeschool one. It was hard to homeschool two. Homeschooling is not easy. It's not supposed to be. I believe if you do it right, it's supposed to be challenging and time-consuming and, at times, just plain hard. It's also a beautiful way to spend your days! <3

Since I'm planning to be painfully honest on this blog, I will tell you that this year has been our hardest by far. I have a middle schooler for the first time and a kindergartener for the last time (don't even get me started on that part, sniff sniff). And of course, I have a 3rd grader right in the middle.

Surprisingly, the easiest transition has been for Cora. If you know my family, you know that Cora is my spirited child. She is a hand full. And a complete joy to us! I was really worried about how she was going to do sitting down for school every day. She has done really well!! She loves My Father's World's kindergarten program, but it's really too easy for her. So we are going to try and zip through that and go ahead and start their first grade program because I really love their phonics.

Emma is doing really well with almost everything, though she still struggles with math. I have to remember that Emma is different than Anna, and I have to appreciate her gifts and focus on her strengths. She is a fantastic reader, speller, and writer and is very, very patient while I try to juggle the three of them. What a sweetie!!

Now, Anna...whew. This year has been really hard for us. She has ALWAYS been so easy; I don't know what's gotten into her this year. Actually I do...hormones. She is a whiz in every subject (except spelling, but she's getting there), but she claims she hates all subjects other than bible and science. I think she is full of baloney. I'm hoping my sweet girl comes back soon, lol.

I have felt the strain of homeschooling three growing girls. As you can see from the list on the left of this page, we have a full and rigorous curriculum. I am really really pleased with how well my girls are doing. And I am so thankful to God for the opportunity to have them home, even on the days when I want to chase the school bus down the road and put them on it. :)

We've been in school 6 weeks now, and we've figured out some really helpful solutions to the time management problem that I think all homeschool families experience to some degree. I want to share those with you!

*You might know that Sonlight requires a lot of reading, which is great for us because we love reading! We have decided that doing the assigned read-aloud right before bedtime works great for us. In the past the girls would watch a good bit of TV in the evenings, and I was happy for find something else to occupy their time!

*Patrick listens to Emma read aloud in the evening. This makes me so happy!! Patrick does not love reading, but he loves his girl, so he gave it a try. He really enjoys it now!! It is their special time. So sweet!

*I decided to skip the bible memory work that Sonlight recommends. My church has a fantastic AWANA program that my girls attend, and they do a ton of bible memory there.

*This year I gave up trying to do grammar, spelling, and writing 5 days a week. It was nice to finish the book early last year, but I figured out that if we do fewer lessons per week, we can spend more time on each one and still finish the book (I admit, I love to finish the book, lol). So now we do 3 grammar lessons per week and 4 each of spelling and writing.

*We save art, music, and poetry for Fridays. If we get everything accomplished during the week, Fridays tend to be lighter, so we can do fun stuff like art! It is a nice way to wrap up the week!

Maybe this will bless you. Or make you laugh. Or make you think I'm really bonkers. Either way, I'm glad you're here!


Monday, October 3, 2011

Dangerous business!

So, I was driving down the interstate the other day, and I got behind a sports car with a bumper sticker that said, "I drive like a Cullen." You know, the vampires, right?? Anyway, of course the first thing I thought was, "Dude, is that really something to brag about? They are dangerous!"

NOT!! The first thing I thought was, "Dude, wonder if I can rock that thing on this minivan?!?!?"

I know you all are wondering where you can get your very own awesome Cullen bumper sticker. Well, here ya go (click it!)! I Drive Like A Cullen


Sunday, October 2, 2011

God doesn't ask for easy!

We watched Soul Surfer this week. Have you seen it? was something else. My very favorite line was one that Bethany said to her dad after the shark attack. She really wanted to surf again, and her dad was explaining that it wouldn't be easy. She said to him, "I don't need easy. I just need possible." WOW!! What amazing words!

How many times do we ask God for the easy way? A lot. How many times does God ask us to do something easy? Pretty much never. That's not how He operates. We read in Isaiah 55:9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Now, let me be clear. I've never tried to do things the easy way. In fact, I often make things harder than they are. But for a long time, I haven't been trying to do them God's way either. I've let so many things get between me and God. That is a miserable way to live because you start sliding out of fellowship with God. Ever heard the saying "if you aren't as close to God as you used to be, who moved?" Yeah, guess who had moved.

Over the last few weeks God has asked me to give up some things. The hardest has been giving up my photography business (um, why couldn't He have asked me to give up watching football??). It actually wasn't hard to obey and decide to honor God that morning at church when I was praying. The hard part was coming home and taking down my photography website, telling some of my photography friends, knowing that God wants me to do photography but as a gift and not a profession. But guess what? His yoke is easy, and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). I feel a HUGE burden has been lifted. And I am more on fire for God than I have ever been because I got rid of something in my life that was taking time from Him. I know every day I have to take up my cross and follow him (Acts 17:11). You see, this Jesus thing is not a one time decision you make at the altar after a youth event. It is a decision and a commitment you make every single day. So if you are serious about God, forget trying to take the easy road. The best news is that if you are totally sold out to Jesus, you are taking the road that leads to victory!

God, I don't need easy; I just need possible. And we know NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Welcome to my world!

A blog, huh? Do I really need something else to do? As if. The thing is I constantly find myself thinking about things and doing things, and I just really need to write it down somewhere. Twitter will only allow me to use 140 characters, and Facebook only allows 421 (is it weird that I know this?). I simply have too much to say to be confined to so few letters. :)

So welcome to my world! My crazy, busy, beautiful world full of Jesus, my family, homeschooling, photography, a very tiny mini-farm, and now, my blog! And be prepared for a ton of awesome randomness!!

Life is good. Happy October, by the way. I so love October!!