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Friday, August 29, 2014

The Chronicles of Biscuit: Rocket Scientists

On the forth day of the new school year, after getting  into the vehicle every other day after school and being okay with the new school year, Biscuit was different.  He sighed as soon as he got in.  I asked Biscuit what was wrong.  It seemed that one of his relative-teachers (and of his six teachers, four are relatives) had gotten upset with him.  I asked why, and he replied, "Well, I left my paper in my locker.  It seems like she expects us to be rocket scientists!"  Holding back the laughter, I replied, "I don't think she expects you to be a rocket scientist, but I do think she expects you to be a responsible 6th grader!".  

It's not high expectations that are a problem for Biscuit, it's the 4th Child Syndrome that I believe should be a legally noted, insurance-approved diagnosis.  I'm certain it's real. (I have proof, you know!?)

By the time this same story was relayed to his dad, Biscuit had changed the story from rocket scientist to something a little more down to earth (pun intended)!  

Biscuit had to apologize to his teacher-relative, and actually I did, too, because although I had signed her class note, I hadn't even read it! If I had read it, I would have known he needed a pocket folder for her two classes.  Of course, Biscuit hadn't read it either.  Wonder where he gets that trait?? :) Hmmmmm......

As with any area of life, the key to being prepared is being organized.  The pocket folders (now in Biscuit's backpack for ALL of his classes, whether required or not) will keep Biscuit ready for all of his 6th grade classes.  We may just get Biscuit pocket folders for other things, too.  There's a great idea!

I remember when our oldest was in 1st grade.  I would wonder, "Is she responsible enough?"  I didn't have anything to compare her to, so I just figured that she was normal....organizationally speaking.... but then the oldest son/child #2 entered 1st grade, and I realized she wasn't as responsible and organized as she could have been.  And then came #3 and #4....all with different personalities and talents....organization skills varied from child to child.  None are rocket scientists, by the way, but each have managed to make it this far in life, so we're good, I think.

There will be many episodes of learning and growth for Biscuit this year, I'm certain.  But what a blessing it is for him to have teachers (whether relatives or not) who care about him and his classmates.  They want the best for him and all of them.  They have high expectations, but not too high.  Not yet have I heard any other mention of aeronautics within the realms of middle school.  In fact, I've heard good reports about this 6th grade class - from parents AND teachers.  Yay!

This is day 14 of the new school year, and not one other time has Biscuit gotten into the vehicle and sighed.  He might not always be excited about having to do homework, but he's liking 6th grade and being a "bigger" kid.  He's even claimed that another relative-teacher is his favorite because she DOESN'T give homework! And if she keeps that up, she'll be my favorite, too!! Ha ha!  But, I'm not sure that's going to happen. When I mentioned to her that she was the current favorite and why, she said, "Not YET, anyway!"  Oops.  Sorry, Biscuit!  But she didn't say a word about rocket scientists.  That's a relief! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Peaceful Paths

You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.

Isaiah 26:3

Coincidentally, this scripture is the "Verse of the Day" on Bible Gateway, because it also happens to be the verse that we used last night in the devotional with our boys.  Well, I'm not sure if that's a coincidence or not.

Read the verse above carefully.  YOU...that is GOD....will keep in perfect peace those (that's ME or YOU) whose minds are steadfast (meaning resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering), BECAUSE they trust in you (God).  Along with that scripture last night, the devotional thought had listed to read Proverbs 3:5-6.  We didn't have to read it because we know it. It's my very favorite passage, as I'm sure I've told you many, many times!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge (or submit to) him
and he will make your paths straight.

There's a theme to these two scriptures: When you trust in God and allow Him to direct our paths, you will have peace and unwavering, straight paths.  It sounds so easy and simple, but the problem is that "YOU" get in the way!  "I" get in the way!  You and I decide to be guided by our own desires, thoughts, plans, and chose my own path.  Only then am you and I putting our trust in self and getting on a crooked path.  Only then are you and  I wavering.

In our family devotional last night, the writer used the illustration of the "blindfold game" where a person is blindfolded and then guided on a path by someone else.  In order to not run into doors, walls, chairs, etc., the blindfolded person much listen intently to the directions of the other person.  It's much that same way when we put our faith and trust in God to direct our paths.

It really is simple.  All we have to do is deny self and listen to God's direction.  But the not-so-simple part is also the denying self and listening to God's direction! It sounds so easy, but often it's not.  In all spiritual growth and discipline, we must first learn to deny "self".  And we have a tendency, especially in America, to not like the idea of denying ourselves, don't we?  But if we want perfect peace and straight paths, it's what you and I must do.  

The key is putting all of our trust in Him.  Every single bit of our lives - trusting solely in Him.  We can't put all of our trust in self.  We have to give up that desire to "go it alone".  And we can learn to do that, can't we? Certainly, we can!  One single day at a time.

Monday, August 25, 2014

College Life - Sophomore Year

Last Sunday afternoon we moved our daughter, Lauren, into the dorm for her Sophomore year of college.
Thankfully we had lots of good help!  The boys worked hard! 
After working on their dorm room all last week, they are pretty much done!  They used coral and turquoise, along with white and black as an accent. We're trying to get Kennedy to ditch the Jonas Brothers poster! (ha ha!)  Our oldest son turned it backwards on move-in day, but she noticed it away and turned it around!  
The good thing about this year is that L & K will be in this dorm room the whole year. There won't be any moving out between semesters.  That's a LOT of stuff to have to move every few months!  And now, at Christmas, we won't have a lot of extra "stuff" around our house!
L & K came up with a great layout for the room that gave them a "kitchen" area.  
The girls showing off their room....
....and being goofy and fun!
Something tells me that this work space won't always look this neat and organized :).
Before leaving for college, Lauren made a picture collage on this "L" of she and Kennedy throughout the years.  It turned out great!

You know....leaving Lauren last Sunday evening wasn't nearly as bad as leaving her last year.  A year has changed everything!  It seemed normal for her to be leaving this year.  And she was ready and excited.  I still shed a few tears when I went into her room at home (which she left completely straight and clean!) and thought about how long it would be until she was here for an extended time, but the tears didn't last too long.  I'm glad she's where she is. And I'm glad she and her best friend are there together.

Today is the first day of classes.  Today begins a semester full of challenges and opportunities.  Our prayer is that L & K have a wonderful year, and that they both continue to grow closer to God and stronger in their faith.  We look forward to seeing how He works in their lives this year!

Friday, August 22, 2014

How Majestic is Your Name!

(Photo from
Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory in the heavens.
(Photo by
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
(Photo by Jim
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
(Photo from
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
(Photo from
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
(Photo from
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
and all that swim in the paths of the seas.
(Photo from starlight
Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Psalm 8

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Happily Ever After

The first Saturday in August was a special day.  Our oldest nephew on my husband's side of the family got married!  Many relatives traveled to Memphis, TN, for the special occassion.
The wedding colors were various shades of green and gray.  It was a vintage sort of theme, using mason jars and chalkboards that are very popular right now.
The groom's two nephews and one niece were a part of the wedding, so it was fun watching them.  This was a sweet picture of one of them getting all ready with help from his daddy.
This big family picture is our side of the family, plus the groom's dad's side.  It's big, but that's only about half of everyone!  And all but a few of these people traveled from SW Oklahoma!
The expression's on K's face were so funny! He was having a great time at the wedding and rehearsal.
After her flower girl duties, T was excited to get "Elsa and Anna" rings from her dad. As the best man, he had tried to pass them on to the groom for the wedding rings, but it didn't work!
The reception was beautifully decorated! 
 I loved all of the special touches the bride (along with her mom and aunt) had planned and made for the special day.
 The three individual wedding cakes were so sweet.  Extra cake servings were brought out from the kitchen.  That was a great idea for someone wanting a smaller wedding cake look.
 Each table had a Chevron green/ivory runner (or gray polka dot print below), a tree stump, and a mason jar filled with fresh flowers.
 Also, there was a little bird figurine on each tree stump and cookies from a favorite bakery.  (Answer to the question from my sis-in-law in the comments: The cookies were favors for the guests, and the tongue depressors were for writing a "date night" idea to give the couple.) So sweet!
 My mother-in-law made the groom's cake.  The chocolate covered strawberries (in addition to her chocolate cake) were a huge hit, of course!
 The food buffet was delicious. See the strawberry topiary?  It was beautiful!
 The buffet table featured burlap, fresh flowers and bird houses.
This was my favorite part of the reception area.  The bride was from Florida. The groom from Oklahoma. But they met in Memphis.  "I'm so happy we both showed up here."  God worked this all out!
 There was an Oklahoma side, a Florida side, then the Tennessee in the middle.  Love it!
 The bride and groom as they entered the reception.  Happily ever after!
 Before the cake cutting.....
 The groom's "new" sisters were junior bridesmaids.  If you read "Shine Like Stars" regularly, you may remember reading about their adoption last year.  It was so special for them to get to be in this wedding!  Love their smiles!
 The cousins got together and worked out a plan for the "getaway car"!  This play on words was pretty clever, since the groom's name is Justin and the bride's is Mary!
 Leaving the reception as bubbles were blown...
Yes - "How Sweet It Is".
Probably the sweetest thing about the whole wedding was after the groom did his vows and slipped the ring on her finger. He sang to her, "I Love You With the Love of the Lord".  She was already teary-eyed, but by the end of the song, both of them were - and many of us were or were close.

We wish for you many "Happily Ever After" years together. We're thankful that God worked this whole thing out and that you both ended up in Memphis, TN - right where He directed your paths.  We love you, J and M.E.!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekend Adventures

This past Saturday, my husband ran his 6th Pike's Peak Ascent in Manitou Springs, Colorado.  It's a 13.1 mile run (which is partly a walk) up the 14,114 foot mountain to the Summit.  He has run the marathon (up and down 26.2 miles) twice, and wished he had signed up for it this year, too!
This year he invited our daughter to go with him.  Actually, he told her she was going! Ha ha!  But, she was excited, even though she wasn't expecting a trip to Colorado just a few days before she left for college.  It gave them some special time together before she left, plus probably made the last few days of summer break go by faster.
The day before the run, they drove up Pike's Peak. Since she was going to have to drive up the next day, this drive up was her practice go at it!
Oh, and she figured out that she didn't have her driver's license with her on their way to Colorado, so..... 
....I had to airmail it to her, but thankfully, it was there the next morning at not too big of a price....probably because it was such a little thing to be sending (size wise, anyway).
On the way to Colorado, they stopped at the volcano at Capulin, N.M., took lots of beautiful pictures.  On Friday, they ate Italian food (carbs for the run) and ran through one of the "Garden of the Gods" trails, drove around the Olympic Training Center, and drove by the Broadmoor Hotel.
 Here's Joe just before the start of the race.  There were runners from all over the world!
 And he's off!
He made good time and thankfully Lauren got to the top in time to see him cross the finish line! There was a huge line of cars waiting to go up the mountain, so she wasn't sure she could get there in time.  It was pretty neat to have a photographer there for his event!
And here's the proof that he finished!  Now all of our children want to go on this special trip with him when they graduate. It will become a new tradition, I'm sure.  A few of them even want to run it!
The boys and I went on our own adventure over the weekend, but in another direction.
We went to our first and only Rangers' baseball game of this season Saturday night.  The Rangers played the Angels.
The Rangers didn't win, and this season sure isn't as exciting as it's been the past several years, but the temperature was cooler than was expected and the atmosphere at the Ballpark is always a lot of fun.
Plus, I had a special time with my boys!

I also had a wonderful chauffeur, who was also pretty much his own GPS. It's amazing how our 18 year old knows how to get around in the Dallas area!  I would fall asleep, wake up, and we would be wherever we were supposed to be - all without maps and the GPS!  We don't know where he got that gene! Ha ha!
After worship on Sunday, the boys and I headed towards Oklahoma. Joe and Lauren loaded up the rest of her college stuff, and we all met on campus and moved her in to her new "home". After worship, we ate at Lauren's favorite Italian place, along with her aunt and uncle, then told her goodbye and we left for home.

It was a crazy and tiring weekend, but lots of fun.  

Leaving our daughter for the beginning of her second year of college was much, much easier than leaving her the first year.  That first year away makes a difference.  Of course she's an hour or more closer now, and we know we will see her more often, so that helps, but also it's just different now.  She was here for three and a half months for summer break, so she was ready to go back.  She's excited about new adventures and new possibilities, and we're looking forward to seeing what God has planned for her this year!

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