Archive for June, 2009
Itâ€™s that time of year again, friends!Â Time to go blueberry picking at Baileyâ€™s Berry Patch!Â This year, we invited our scout friends to join us for a day of â€œberryâ€ delicious fun!
We loaded up the car with kids, coolers, and cold water bottles, slathered on the sunscreen, and made the hour-long trek to just shy of Oklahoma where the blueberries and blackberries are.Â There was certainly a lot of excitement, which is saying a lot since the outside temperature would reach over 100 degrees before all was said and done.Â We arrived, picked up our buckets, and began the quest to fill our pails with luscious ripe blueberries.
Except for one slight problem.Â Our overly-wet weather and late cold snaps in the spring had delayed the full-bloom of the blueberries about a week.Â The pickinâ€™s were definitely slim compared to years past.Â We did manage to find some bushes yielding lots of berries, but despite our best efforts, our buckets took a long time to fill.
So what did we do?Â We had lunch and regrouped.Â Itâ€™s always easier to think more clearly in the shade, sitting down, in front of a great big fan.
After lunch, since the natives were restless and tired of picking blueberries, we decided to head over to the blackberry patch.Â Because the blackberry bushes have thorns, we were given special sticks to use to pull the branches down for picking.
And we made a discovery: what was bad for the blueberries was wonderful for the blackberries!Â Loads of near-to-bursting blackberries, fat and ripe on the branch, ready to be picked.Â Look carefully at this picture and youâ€™ll see what I mean.Â Or, you can click on it to enlarge.
We made another discovery, too.Â Unknown to me, my dear friend Christin, who usually makes this trip with me, had come out to pick berries on the EXACT SAME DAY!!Â We met up at the pavilion and headed out to the back areas where we could pick blackberries and blueberries together.
Crisana and Berkley even wore matching colors, with red tops and white shorts!
By the time we left, we had gathered about 3/4 gallon of blueberries and a few pints of blackberries.Â We watched as they cleaned and bagged the delicious fruit and of course I had to make the obligatory stop at the country store to pick up jars of their preserves and stuffed olives (that Matt absolutely loves) before the long, hot drive home.Â Unfortunately, one of the scouts, in a bad combination of overheated, underhydrated, and overstuffed with lunch, managed to get sick IN MY CAR on the way homeâ€¦making a rather unpleasant end to what had been a fun day.Â Thanks to scotch-guard on the carpet and leather seats, I was able to get the mess â€“ and stench â€“ removed fairly easily once we got home.Â And now we have a great memory we wonâ€™t soon forget.
That, and a whole drawer full of yummy ripe berries to eat.
Well, I finally made it out of the church library!Â No, seriously, I have enjoyed the last two books I’ve read from there, but now I’ve got a whole huge stack of books from the public library sitting by my bed.Â And somehow I’ve got to read at least a few of those as well.
So I started easy.Â And different.Â I don’t usually choose westerns.Â I kind of grew away from them after overdosing on Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly series in college.Â I figured after 20 years, it might be time to give them another chance.Â And the fact that this book was published by the University of North Texas Press (my master’s alma mater), didn’t hurt either.Â *grin*
This is the first book in a trilogy about Lucinda Roberts, an 18-year-old young woman from the East coast who travels to West Texas to take a teaching position.Â The school is the only school in town, and her students range from young children to teenagers.Â The story is told through a series of letters that she writes to various people: her superintendent, her family, her friends, and also through her diary entries.
The story weaves tragedy and joy, heartbreak and happiness, danger and silliness throughout.Â It is touching, but simple, and I found myself carried away to old-time Texas.Â It wasn’t a difficult read, and certainly didn’t challenge the mind, but served the purpose of being entertaining and enjoyable.Â At some point, I’m sure I will read the other two books in the series.Â A thumbs up, if you don’t set your expectations too high.
We had the most interesting experience last Saturday. The Allen Public Library was having a storytime. So whatâ€™s so interesting about that, you ask? Well, it has to do with who was doing the readingâ€¦and who was being read to.
Or rather, what was being read to.
Our kids were doing the reading. Thatâ€™s not so interesting, unless you happen to be the proud parent of one of the readers.
But they were reading their stories toâ€¦dogs. Yes, thatâ€™s right. Our kids read to Texas Therapy Dogs.
Each owner brought their dog (and there were 6 total) and a blanket for the children to sit on. Most of the owners also brought a collection of books of varying levels for the readers to choose from, but some chose to read their own. Trey settled down on his blanket and got started right away.
Crisanaâ€™s dog was a different story, no pun intended. She was one of the last to enter the room and as a result was not able to choose her dog. Her dog ended up being a rather young (2-year-old) standard poodleâ€¦just one big bundle of curls and excitement. For a girl thatâ€™s a little nervous around dogs to begin with â€“ even her own â€“ this was shaping up to be an interesting experience.
She began bravely enough, using her book as a kind of buffer between her and the dog.
After about 10 minutes of reading, our time was up. We said good bye to our dogs, collected various souvenirs and mementos from the owners, packed up our books and headed home. It was a unique experience that our kids will remember forever!
This week, I have been involved in a music camp of a different sort.Â The participants are a little older than last week’s, and the content is certainly more challenging in many ways.
It’s the annual elementary-age music camp, and this year they’re doing Joseph: A STOMP Musical.Â And as I’ve gone through this week, I’ve seen several reasons for me to be grateful.
- I’m grateful for the director…who’s done this a few times before, therefore making my role much easier.Â It’s nice not to be the one in charge for a change!
- I’m grateful for the children who have showed up – nearly 50 of them!Â Ranging in age from just-finished-kindergarten to entering-middle-school, all of them are learning valuable Biblical truths in a fun and entertaining way.
- I’m grateful for the ministry of Studio 153 and Abigail Doust.
- I’m grateful for the life and legacy of Joseph…a man of integrity who lived full-out in obedience and faith.
- I’m grateful for the messages of forgiveness, of resisting temptation, of standing for what’s right that my children are learning through music.
- And I’m grateful that I get to be a small part of all of it.
Just because I donâ€™t have enough on my plate each week, and just because I am such an overachiever who canâ€™t seem to get enough, I scheduled a patrol outing for the same week we are doing our elementary music camp at churchâ€¦and unfortunately, the same day I was scheduled for jury duty.Â But weâ€™ll get to that part later.Â Right now, I wanna talk about our outing to Walls of Clay!
Walls of Clay is a little hole-in-the-wall, mom-and-pop type art studio just off the square in downtown McKinney.Â For a small fee, you can paint your own ceramic pottery â€“ everything from wall decorations to tableware to sculptures â€“ and they will glaze and fire it and have it ready for pick up in about 2 weeks.Â I had heard good things and figured this would be a great opportunity for my kids to explore their artistic sides, especially since they have such a non-artistic mom.Â For added fun, we made it a patrol outing so there would be lots of friends there!
We had a good turnout of scouts and siblings, which allowed us to have a couple of â€œboyâ€ tables and a â€œgirlâ€ tableâ€¦something that made Crisana VERY happy.
We were personally on a shoestring budget for this, so the selection of pottery was pretty limited.Â Crisana chose a little fish to paint.Â Each child received four colors of paint to use on their pottery.Â Crisana chose wonderful ocean shades of blues, purples, and a little yellow for accent color.
Trey had a harder time deciding since we didnâ€™t have enough money to do what he REALLY wanted.Â Finally he settled on a cross to hang on his wall in his room.Â He chose a vibrant color scheme of reds, oranges and yellows.
When the painting was done, the owner was kind enough to offer a behind-the-scenes look for our boys.Â She took them to the back room and showed them the kiln and discussed the firing process with the boys.Â They saw what the glaze looked like and were able to see inside the kiln and and watch her load some items for firing.
It was a fantastic outing and our kids had so much funâ€¦right up until the part where I remembered I was scheduled for jury duty.Â About an hour and a half earlier.Â And I had forgotten to take my exemption form by the Fairview Town Hall.Â So, in a mad panic, I left the art studio and rushed home to get the form and get by Town Hall before they closed for the day.Â All the while, Iâ€™m fuming at myself and nearly sick to my stomach over what the consequences will be: a huge fine?Â having to return another day?Â Of course, my children were convinced I was going to be arrested and thrown in jail.Â Thankfully, however, when I reached Town Hall and penitently handed over my form with sincerest apologies (and my children in tow as PROOF of my exemption), the receptionist merely smiled and said â€œThank you and no problem.â€Â As I exhaled for the first time in about 45 minutes, Crisana looked up at me and with big doe eyes and a concerned expression said, â€œSo does this mean you arenâ€™t in trouble, Mommy?â€
I couldnâ€™t have asked for a more perfect reaction.
In the spirit of outdoor cooking, I give you this recipe for awesome ribs.Â Matt tried grilling ribs for the first time last week, and they were wonderful!Â I can assure you, this recipe comes with two thumbs up from our kids.Â Two very greasy, sticky, messy thumbs up.Â And mom approves this as a quick-and-easy meal.Â Serve with your favorite side salad and you have a terrific summertime meal!
AUGUST MOON KOREAN RIBS
Recipe from The Low-Carb Bible
Yields: 8 servings
1/3 C water
1/3 C soy sauce
1/4 C thinly sliced green onions
3 T dark sesame oil
3 T honey
2 T minced garlic
2 T sesame seeds
1 T grated fresh ginger
1 t black pepper
3 1/2 lbs. pork back ribs
To prepare marinade, combine all ingredients except ribs in small bowl.Â Place ribs in large resealable ziploc bag.Â Pour marinade over ribs, turning to coat.Â Seal bag.Â Marinate in refrigerator overnight.Â Grill ribs in center of grill until browned and cooked through (15-20 minutes), turning once.
My kids have a great dad.
They have a dad who loves them, who plays with them, and who is interested in knowing them.Â They have a dad who cares about them, who asks how their day was at school, and who listens to their answers.Â They have a dad who takes care of their boo-boos and fixes broken toys.Â They have a dad who reads to them, prays with them, and kisses them good night.
They have a dad who teaches them how to ride their bikes and tie their shoes.Â They have a dad who listens to them practice piano and picks them up from soccer practice and scout meetings.Â They have a dad who fixes them breakfast, gives them baths at night, and brushes their hair.Â They have a dad who attends Open House at school, who comes to the Fan Jams and eats lunch with them on First Friday Lunch.
They have a dad who takes care of them when they’re not feeling well.Â They have a dad who shows them how to cast a rod and reel in the catch.Â They have a dad who watches shows like “Time Warp” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos” with them.Â They have a dad who will watch the same Disney or Dreamworks movie for the umpteenth time with them.Â They have a dad who camps out in the playroom, sleeping on a sleeping bag in the tent because the Cub Scout overnighter had to be cancelled.
They have a dad who cares about their spiritual growth.Â They have a dad who takes them to church on Sunday and who talks with them about our faith.Â They have a dad who memorizes Bible verses and books of the Bible with them.Â They have a dad who teaches them about the Bible and what it means to follow God.Â They have a dad who messes up sometimes, but isn’t afraid to admit it.Â They have a dad who apologizes when he’s wrong.Â They have a dad who may not be perfect, but is committed to being the best dad he can be.Â They have a dad who works hard to be a godly example to his children.
They have a dad who takes his title seriously.
Happy Father’s Day to a great dad!
I’m on a roll.Â This was the second book I checked out from the church library.Â And – while it wasn’t as good as Sisterchicks I did enjoy it.
The storyline centers on a young man – Jay Jarvis – who has just moved cross-country from Texas to South Carolina for his job.Â Being a young man in a new location, his goal is simple…and the same as every other young single man in America: to meet eligible women.Â So, where does our hero go to meet said women?
To the bars?Â No.
To the uptown, trendy clubs? No.
Apparently, in South Carolina, the best place to meet nice, young, eligible single Southern women is…of all places…at church.Â In fact, according to the story, there’s a list. A list of which denominations have the best pickin’s.Â So our friend Jay ends up at the Presbyterian church and hooks up with the quirky-but-active singles’ group.Â Instantly he is – dare I say – flabbergasted to meet Allie, an outside-the-box young woman who piques his curiosity and stirs his affections.
The story is more of Jay’s journey to spiritual awareness than it is about the church itself, though there are some moments that gave me pause as I considered how we “church folk” appear to the outside world.Â Reading this story of single, unmarried young adults as a now-40-year-old-married-woman-with-two-kids gave me a different perspective…and I had to stop a few times to remember, “Yeah, I did act like that” or “yeah, I remember feeling like that, too.”Â But there were a few moments of hilarity – one in particular where I laughed out loud until I cried.Â And that’s something I rarely do when I read a book.
I also found the author’s perspective interesting as a man writing a “romantic” fiction.Â I’ve become so accustomed to reading romance stories from a woman’s point of view…where the man is what women WANT him to be, rather than the men they are.Â It was refreshing to catch a glimpse of just how men think about women and the wiles we use to try to trap gain their affections.
All in all, the storyline was uneven, but the ending was satisfying if abrupt.Â A good, light read, with moments of humor and introspection.Â Enjoyable…but certainly nothing to get flabbergasted about.
Well, this week has been one “Rockin’” week, that’s for sure!Â And there’s been so much to be grateful for that I almost don’t know where to start.
So I’m going to do something a little different.Â I’m going to focus my threads of gratitude this week on our Bible verse that we’ve been teaching the kids:
There is no one holy like the LORD
There is no one beside You;
There is no Rock like our God.
I Samuel 2:2
There is no one holy like the Lord
Today, I am grateful for God’s holiness.Â For His supremacy above all things.Â And I’m especially grateful that He has allowed me to share in His holiness through the death of His Son.
There is no one besides You
Oh, how grateful I am that my God is the one and only.Â There is no other divine being that can claim to be like Him in any way shape or form.Â He is perfect, He is omniscient, He is omnipresent, and He is everlasting.Â He is everything I will ever need and all I could ever hope for.Â He satisfies every longing and knows what’s best for me.Â He is my sufficiency and strength.
There is no Rock like our God.
Rocks are strong.Â Rocks are unchanging.Â Rocks are secure.Â Rocks are immovable.Â My God is all of those things.Â But where water will erode away the rock, my God will never lose an ounce of his deity.Â Where wind will blow the dust off the rocks, my God will never sway or be changed.Â Where rocks may be broken and chipped, my God will never fail me and will always be my strong tower.
There truly is no Rock like our God.Â And for that, I am eternally grateful.