Thanks so much for looking. Be sure to leave a comment, if you think it would encourage my heart.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Counting Down the Days

We are enjoying counting down the days until Christmas Day. It means that after our morning services, Lord willing, we will be traveling to Lubbock and really excited about seeing family. Bob & Emma have been a big help in keeping our minds (especially the momma's) and days occupied. They have found plenty of mischief to keep themselves busy, that is for sure. They have even left a surprise or two for the youngest homestead occupants. 

We found them in the shower smelling lovely. They left us some gum on that day.

One day we found them reading all the Christmas books. They left us some money to be a blessing (in Jesus' name) to someone in our church family. We were. We were thankful for the opportunity.

One day, Bob & Emma made some Elf donuts and brought us some Human donuts that were delish!

And, we found them under the tree with ornaments for the Baby Girl and the Bub.
Both were quite fitting for the recipient.

We have been reading about Jesus each night, in an effort to get to know Him better. Did you know that Jesus:
1. was compassionate, Luke 8:41-56
2. was forgiving, Luke 7:36-50
3. had power to heal, John 4:46-53
4. was opposed to evil, John 2:13-17
5. had power over the elements, Mark 4:34-41
6. loved children, Mark 10:13-16

It has been great to discuss these things as a family and then journal about our day and our reading.
I "stumbled" across something this week that I can't help but share. I think I will not be the same. You may already know much about it. But God waited to show it to me until now. Just when I was ready. Just when I needed it. Ann Voskamp has a wonderful testimony and a wonderful dare. I took the dare. I have begun to log my one thousand gifts. It is wonderful. It is challenging. If you have ever wondered, "If the rent in the canvas of our life backdrop, the losses that puncture our world, our own emptiness, might actually become places to see.
To see through to God.
That that which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open place to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave.
Maybe so.
But how? How do we choose to allow the holes to become seeing-through-to-God places? To more-God places?
How do I give up resentment for gratitude? Gnawing anger for spilling joy? Self-focus for God communion? To fully live—to live full of grace and joy and all that is beauty eternal?"

If you dare, take the dare with me. It'll be worth it.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Daily in December

I just LOVE this time of year. There is just something about December that makes me giggle with delight and be excited about every, single day. I love the lights. I love the sounds. I love the smells. I love the smiles. I love the snow (even if we RARELY see any around here before February). I love the music. I love the decorations. I love the fun. I love the parties. I love the excitement in the eyes of kids. I love the movies. I love it all. I am glad it is here. 

We are counting the days. I love this advent/countdown Santa calendar that I bought sixteen years ago. I am so glad I did.

We decided to minimize the decorations this year, and I have to say that I am very pleased with the results. It was easy to do, but more than that, I think it is going to help us keep our focus on Christ. 

Even our Christmas tree is minimal. It is small, but we all love it. It bears only lights, a few berries, and fewer pine cones. Kylee wanted to put all the ornaments on it, but she is warming up to it without them. She does have a tree in her room that holds all of her ornaments and colored lights. Mike chose not to put up his tree this year. His ornaments and tree are packed away in a tote in the attic. Too much work for very little return, in his mind. Enough about trees. 

Bob and Emma arrived yesterday. They are the elves that report to Santa about what is happening in the Harper Home. They help us remember to treat others the way we want to be treated. They also get into mischief each night. They are silly, little elves. Yesterday they left some candy and a note that instructed, "By the end of the day, Give all of your candy away." Mike and Kylee did it without crying. Much. It was a blessing to see them give to others what they wanted to keep for themselves. It was a blessing to see the recipients of the candy light up too. Kylee even stepped outside of her comfort zone and gave to the librarians at our public library.

We are making journals this month. I can hardly wait to share them with you this month. I don't know if my family is as thrilled as I am, but I look forward to adding to it each day. You'll never guess where I got the idea.

We are also getting to know Jesus a little better this month. If Christmas is Jesus, we should know more about Him. Wanna join us?

Yesterday we read Luke 8: 41-56 and talked about the compassion that Jesus had while here on earth. So thankful that He did (and still does). It is so humbling when you begin to realize just how much you need compassion every day. It is definitely something that I need to practice giving. Kylee had compassion yesterday with a friend. It was a blessing to my heart. Mike had compassion last night when he cooked a pot of soup for the family. Big Mike had compassion last night when he made a run for drinks and a snack because the soup wasn't the best. (Not the cooks fault, at all.) I am thankful for each example. What about you? Had an opportunity to show compassion lately? Teach me. Inspire me.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend ROCKS!

It's that time of year again. We enjoyed Thanksgiving with Mike's family on Thursday. It is always fun to get together and watch the kids play and enjoy time with their cousins. Mike has found a "new to him" show on television, Parenthood, which has given him a new enjoyment of time with his family. I am not sure that he has watched an episode without busting a gut laughing and wiping his eyes of tears. I got away without taking one picture on Thanksgiving. Sad times. As we were saying our goodbyes, the dog bit Big Mike on the nose. I think it looks so cute, but he doesn't like it, at all. After leaving there, we made our annual stop at Bub and Gig's for a round of hugs and a few minutes of laughs. Our hearts were full of gratitude. 

Friday morning we loaded up and headed to Cypress Springs Tree and Berry Farm. This was our 13th year to visit the farm. It is one of our favorite days of the year. Even after the hot, hot, dry, dry summer we had in Texas, we were able to find the perfect tree for us


We make this annual trip with our friends, the Cases. Lori's sister, Laurel, went and got married this year, so her family got blessed to join our group. I am not sure Jim, Laurel's husband, knows just how lucky he is. I'll be sure to remind him throughout the year.We always take the opportunity to picnic and shoot some family pics, while on the farm.

We usually take too many pictures, and that causes the little ones and all the boys (except Ken) to be way over the picture taking before we are done snapping pics. Lord willing, we will be back next year, Cypress Springs. We enjoyed everything about our day.

After our day on the farm is done, we go...SHOPPING! We have done this differently in prior years. This year we went to Mineola and shopped for a few hours at the little home-town shops on the main square. After closing down the shops, we ate at East Texas Burger Company. Good food, but better company!

When we got home, we watched our first Christmas movie of the season, Elf. We take turns choosing movies to watch. Mike chose this one. Tomorrow Kylee gets to choose.

Today we slept late and had a lazy day. Kylee put her tree in her room. Mike didn't do a lot. My dh painted, made a drink run with the boy, set-up the tv and all the other boxes that go with that,watched some Parenthood episodes on Netflix, took something to storage, and trimmed the tree. Hoping he will add lights soon so we can decorate the thing. I edited pics and sat covered up in my chair most of the day. Good day!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

One Thing Leads to Another

Well, my baby girl isn't feeling well this morning, so we stayed home today. You will never believe what I have gotten done. I have started the laundry, sorted emails, gotten some HEAD business in order, showered, eaten breakfast, graded papers from last week, gotten assignment sheets & chore lists ready for next week, and gotten commission ready. Right before I had my quiet time, I wanted to add a gold dollar coin, that I received this week, to our coin jar. Well, I couldn't just drop the coin in the jar, for some reason. It's my ADHD that I warned you about earlier. Anyway, I sorted and counted everything and then had a HISstory lesson. Goodness. I lost a couple of hours, but it sure was interesting. Well, here is what I found. Enjoy!

2 pennies- One has a heart cut out of it and one is a wheat penny minted in 1918. 

21 nickels-
*5 2004 Westward Journey nickels-
The first of two new reverses on the 2004-dated Jefferson nickel will feature a rendition of the reverse of the original Indian Peace Medal commissioned for Lewis and Clark's expedition, bearing the likeness of America's third president on one side, and symbols of peace and friendship on the other. The medals were presented to Native American chiefs and other important leaders as tokens of goodwill at treaty signings and other events.I have three of these. The second reverse will feature an angled, side-view of the keelboat with full sail that transported members of the expedition and their supplies through the rivers of the Louisiana Territory in search of a northwest passage to the Pacific Ocean. Built to the specifications of Captain Lewis, the 55-foot keelboat could be sailed, rowed, poled like a raft, or towed from the riverbank. The design, by United States Mint sculptor/engraver Al Maletsky, shows Captains Lewis and Clark in full uniform in the bow of the keelboat.I have two of these. 
*8 2005 Westward Journey nickels- In 2005, a contemporary image of President Jefferson will appear on the nickel, along with two new reverse designs that recognize the American Indians and wildlife encountered by the Lewis and Clark expedition and the progress and culmination of the journey.I have 4 of the spring issue with the buffalo on the reverse side and 4 of the summer/fall issue with the ocean on the reverse side.
*1 2006 Westward Journey nickel- In 2006 the obverse features the "Jefferson, 1800" image and the reverse features "Return to Monticello".
*7 buffalo nickels-
Only one has a readable date on it. It was minted in Denver in 1937. 

9 quarters- 4 Texas quarters, 1 almost black quarter, 2 red quarters, and 2 real silver quarters (1944 and 1947).

11 silver half dollars- one from the year I was born: Few events have shocked the American psyche as profoundly as the assassination of President John Kennedy on November 22, 1963. In the age of modern communication, news of the shooting spanned the entire globe in mere moments. Less than one week after the tragedy, a high-level decision was made to honor Kennedy by placing his image on the half dollar. The quarter had been considered, but Mrs. Kennedy requested that the portrait of George Washington not be removed from U.S. coinage. Work began quickly on tooling up for production of Kennedy Half Dollars. Congress also had matters to address. The current law required that coin designs not be changed for a minimum of 25 years. The Franklin Half Dollar had been around for only 15 years and could not be retired without the intervention of Congress. Legislation authorizing the Kennedy Half Dollar was finalized with bipartisan support on December 30, 1963. Proof dies were ready on January 2, 1964. Coining of the first Kennedy Half Dollar Proofs commenced immediately thereafter. Production of regular business strikes began at the Denver Mint on January 30. The following week, the Philadelphia Mint started regular half dollar coinage.

5 silver dollars- two from the year my hubby was born, one from the year my brother was born, and two bicentennials: The Eisenhower dollar is a $1 coin issued by the United States government from 1971–1978 (not to be confused with the Eisenhower commemorative dollar of 1990, or the Presidential $1 Coin Program, which will feature Eisenhower in 2015). The Eisenhower dollar followed the Peace dollar and is named for General of the Army and President Dwight David Eisenhower, who appears on the obverse. The Eisenhower dollar was the last dollar coin to contain a proportional amount of base metal to lower denominations; it has the same amount of copper-nickel as two Kennedy half dollars, four Washington quarters, or ten Roosevelt dimes. Because of this it was a heavy and somewhat inconvenient coin. It was often saved as a memento of Eisenhower and never saw much circulation outside of casinos. This led to its short time in circulation and its replacement by the smaller, but even less popular, Susan B. Anthony dollar in 1979.
12 Susan B. Anthony dollars - all of ours were made in 1979: The Susan B. Anthony dollar is a United States coin minted from 1979 to 1981, and again in 1999. It was the first circulating U.S. coin with the portrait of an actual woman rather than an allegorical female figure such as 'Liberty'. It was one of the most unpopular coins in American history.

22 Sacagawea gold dollar coins: The Sacagawea Golden Dollar, was first issued in 2000 as a replacement for the ill-received Susan B. Anthony dollar coin. The Sacagawea coin depicts the young Shoshone woman with her infant son, Jean-Baptiste, slung on her back. Sacagawea and her infant served as a "white flag" of peace for the expedition, which was as much a military expedition as a scientific one. They entered potentially hostile territory well armed but undermanned compared to the Native American tribes they met. Because no war party was ever accompanied by a woman and infant, the response of the Native Americans was curiosity, not aggression. They talked first, and Sacagawea often served as the translator. Not a single member of the party was lost to hostile action. 

8 Presidential coins: 2007-Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809); 2008-James Monroe (1817-1825); (2)2009-William Henry Harrison (1841); 2009-James Polk (1845-1849); 2010-Milard Fillmore (1850-1853); (2)2011-Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877). The program began on January 1, 2007, and is similar to the State Quarter program in that it will not end until every eligible subject is honored. The program is to issue coins featuring each of four presidents per year on the obverse, issuing one for three months before moving on to the next president in chronological order by term in office. The U.S. Mint calls it the Presidential $1 Coin Program. The reverse of the coins bears the Statue of Liberty, the inscription "$1" and the inscription "United States of America". Inscribed along the edge of the coin is the year of minting or issuance of the coin, the mint mark, 13 stars, and also the legends E Pluribus Unum. The edge-lettering looks like this: ★★★★★★★★★★  2009  D  ★★★  E PLURIBUS UNUM; before 2009, “In God We Trust” appeared in place of the stars on the edge lettering. The legend "Liberty" is absent from the coin altogether, since the decision was made that the image of the Statue of Liberty on the reverse of the coin was sufficient to convey the message of liberty.

1/2 Franc = I have no idea.
$.25 Camen Islands coin.
25 Pesos should I visit Mexico or $1.86 if I decide to convert.
$2.27 in Canadian money, if I decide to take a trip to Canada.
$2.70 in euros. That's $3.72 in US currency. 
$51 in the Republic of Liberia coins- one has Nolan Ryan 7 No Hitters on it and the other has the face of Mars on it. How do I have these things? I have no idea!
1 Dwight D. Eisenhower brass commemorative coin
5 Texas Ranger tokens
1 Showplace Lanes token
1 Chuck-E-Cheese token
1 Namco token
1 Aladdin's Castle token
1 token to somewhere, anywhere, I don't know where and
1 widow's mite from Bethlehem at Berean two years ago.

I used to have some really old dollar bills and some $2 bills, but I don't know where any of those things are. I suppose they are not mine anymore.

 Now, I must go and wash my hands. Coins stink!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Keeping Busy

It seems that each week flies by at warp-neck speed and leaves me wondering when things will begin to slow. I am not sure they ever will. Between my self-diagnosis of ADD and homeschooling and ministry responsibilities and the world series, we go from sun up to sun down. Don't get me wrong, we love  every minute of it. This part of "we" does, anyway.

My man has been busy, but I don't get many pictures of his accomplishments. Maybe I should consider photographing those. I'll see if I can get creative with that. Hopefully, after the Rangers win the World Series tonight, he will have some time to make me some pallet shelves this weekend. I will definitely take some photos of those. He has a collection of hot wheels that need a home in his office too. When he finds it, I'll give you a peek.

The boy most enjoys his video games. Those would really make for B-O-R-I-N-G photos, but I will even try to get creative there and give you a shot of him in "action." He has enjoyed making dinner on Thursday evenings. The grilled bbq turkey sandwiches he made were delish! We had to eat in shifts, but that was okay. We did give him some pointers about cooking to make sure everyone is able to sit together and enjoy a hot meal. This week he grilled hot dogs. Seriously, what else do you eat while you watch a baseball game? He is getting really good at playing the drums. Nate, you would be so proud. He is going to play for the teen choir on Sunday, November 13th. I'm nervous for him. He's not. He has a tender heart and way for kids. He makes me proud every day.

Our daughter is swamped with baking, piano, school, and her social life. She isn't your "typical girl" on most occasions, but she does love her social activities. Speaking of -- she left for Rusk today, with a friend, and will return home tomorrow. She didn't want to miss Trunk-or-Treat on Monday, but she wanted to have some fun. : ) She made Pumpkin Pecan Dessert in a jar this week. I hear it was delish. She is getting really good on the piano. She is growing, in Christ, and amazes me with her heart for others and giving.
Kylee's latest dessert packaged to give away to friends.

They are both raising money for Shoes for the Slums. If you are interested in donating, contact either one of them. One pair of shoes costs only $2.20. They have two weeks to raise the money. Each of them plan to donate their own money to buy some shoes.

It will come as no surprise to you, but I keep myself busy rearranging things and redoing things. This week, I painted our laundry room. I absolutely love it. It makes me even more excited to do laundry (which I am doing while I blog and watch the Rangers). See, I bet you agree with my self-diagnosis of ADD, don't you? I am working to keep the kids on track with school, chores, music practice and lessons. I am trying to get myself on track with menu planning, grocery shopping, pinterest projects, blogging, laundry, house blessing, and ministry responsibilities. I am not faring to well with myself, but we make it.
Here is the laundry room that makes me smile just to be in it.

We are all being reminded that God is in complete control of our lives, our circumstances, our relationships, our salvation, our universe, and our church -- for our sanctification. He is purposeful about what He allows into our lives. We are thankful that when He reveals our sinful hearts, He is doing it not to discourage us, but to remind us that He loves and won't leave us to ourselves. He is working to grow us to be more like His Son. We are striving to live James 1:2-4 "Count it all JOY when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its FULL effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." We fail more often than we don't, but we know, God loves us no matter what.

Thanks for stopping by. Don't leave without letting us know what has happened with your family this week. We'd love to hear about your favorite moments, spilled milk, or whatever else you want to share with us.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Yesterland Farm

Two of the four of us spent Wednesday at Yesterland Farm. It is a Christmas Tree Farm that added pumpkins several years ago. We had never been there before, and it was a really fun day. Kylee brought a friend, which only added to the fun. We got up early, packed our lunch, and headed to Canton, where the farm sits. We went on a hayride, picked a pumpkin, visited the mercantile shop, sat in a teepee, learned about pumpkins and pumpkin farmers, and had a great picnic lunch. Kylee rode a roller coaster, rode a ferris wheel, slid on a giant, blow-up slide, participated in duck races, petted some farm animals, and played on the play ground.

Doesn't this look like it should be the front of my house?

Too bad Kylee and John didn't have much fun, huh?

Loving Life!

I even got a few fun pictures to add to my collection. I have three empty frames on my old window hanging in the living room. I didn't plan it, but the three that are there are pictures of red things. I am pretty sure, I am going to have to add the red fire truck to it.

So, what about y'all? Have you visited a pumpkin patch yet this fall? What other fun fall things have you done?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

An Unexpected Day

Today was a surprise of sorts. I got to sleep-in just a bit and have a lazy morning with my hubby. That was fun.

Big Mike helped Kylee with her pinhole project for astronomy, Mike discovered that LeCrae was signing autographs at Mardel, and Brianna texted me to say that they "would be cleaning at their rent house, if I wanted to come and help."

Today, I had intended to finish the cleaning of my own home that I started yesterday. But, I decided that I would serve today and give my children an opportunity to serve, as well. I gave each of the kids three chores to complete: *wash, dry, and fold a load of clothes; *sweep & mop a room; and *clean a bathroom. I went to start the dishwasher, so that I could unload it when I got home. The dishwasher would not start. Bummer! I told the fam I'd wash the dishes, make my bed, and clean my room when I got home. I grabbed some cleaning supplies and got in the truck to head to Bahamas. (Not THE BAHAMAS, but Bahamas.) Yes, that was our old house. I went to help a friend clean the house that I moved out of a little over 5 years ago. It sure did bring back floods of memories. So many things are different about the house, and yet so many things are the same. The front door looks different, but it is the same door that I opened to find my mom standing there after a very difficult day, welcome my hubby home after a full day of work, and welcome our guests to sit a spell. The walls look different, but they are the same walls that stood when we moved in, brought our baby girl home for the first time, heard about 9/11, and celebrated birthdays. Our bird bath still sits in the backyard. The trees we planted are getting so big. The blinds that covered the windows in Kylee's room are still there. The ceiling fan that cooled my son on hot summer days is still there. The "denim" bathroom with fence-wood trim is still there. There is even a shelf in the garage that says "Mike -n- Kym." You knew that would be somewhere, didn't you? So many memories flooded my mind while I was there today. I told my friends that I so vividly remembered doing all of this stuff the week we moved in while I was pregnant with Kylee. I could have never done it without the help of Toni and her mom, Honey. (I sure do miss that sweet lady.) We moved in on my due date, and Kylee arrived 10 days later. Just thinking about that time brings thousands of other memories. But I will refrain from adding all of those to this blog.

I introduced Bradley and Brianna to the neighbors. I sure do miss those neighbors. I miss that front driveway that forces you to use your front door and actually see people that live beside and around you. I do long for that connectedness with neighbors. I miss it. Did I already say that? I really do.

At the end of the day...the kids did a wonderful job! Mike got to go to Mardel for autographs. Both kids made it to a birthday party for a mutual friend in the student ministry. Hubby got his things done. I, finally, got home, washed those dishes, made my bed, cleaned my room, did a load of laundry, and watched the Rangers win so they could head to the World Series!

God gives us unexpected days sometimes. I am thankful.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Come On Rangers!

We are definitely rooting for the Rangers to go ahead and finish this today! I guess we'll know if they do in a few hours. The boys are enjoying game-day hot dogs. Kylee chose Ramen Noodles for her game-day meal. I put a pork tenderloin in the crock pot this morning, so I think I'll have a pork taco. I have also roasted some peanuts. We all enjoyed hearing the 4Tops sing the National Anthem. We are ready for victory!

Our Ranger flag is hanging out front.

Let's do this, Rangers!

I've been busy decorating for fall. Never mind the fact that the weather here says it is still summer. Decorating one area usually leads me into another area which leads me to another area which leads to another. You get the idea. Below is the result of fall decorating with the Harpers. 

A closer look at the wagon set. Found the wagon at a yard sale around the corner this summer. I love it.

This was what the entryway looked like for about a week and a half. I have since changed it to be the family launch pad. They were already using it for that. Now it reflects that.

Here is a closer look at the subway art. It is one of my new favorite things to create.

Here it is. Everyone has a place for their keys and a clipboard for sweet notes from the momma (or anyone else) in the home. The calendar was blank, but now has all of our activities listed. Hopefully this will help us remember appointments.
Here is the living room mantle. I love it. My chair sits directly across the room.

Here it is at night. I love to look at it.
This is mine and Mike's room. I had planned to put the letters above our bed inside a frame, but they ended up being too big for the frame I have. I like it the way it is. Might just leave it. I have another project in my head. I'll let ya know when it gets outside.

One last thing before I sign-off today. A friend gave me this mum. I am killing it. Any advice for this novice? The plant that I brought home from Dad's memorial service is doing really good. Maybe mums are just too high-maintenance for me. : )
What should I do?
This one is alive and well.
Have a great night. Tomorrow is cleaning day. I might just have some new pics of things that I decided to rearrange. My family is hoping I don't, I am sure.