Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Birthday Tribute to my Nanny

I wrote my thoughts down about my grandmother last year. For her birthday, today, I'd like to post it. She is an amazing lady. Happy Birthday, Nanny.

My Nanny is a sweet dear lady.

I remember our many trips to the beach at the camp ground. It was so much fun. I remember swimming in the pool, riding our bikes around, going to the little trading post for candy or ice cream, playing putt- putt, going to amusement park and water slide. I remember one or two times that she got in the pool with us. She could not swim so she didn’t like to get in.

I remember watching her make a wedding cake for my cousin- thinking she could do anything. She made me a Twetty Bird Cake for my kindergarten class. I was so proud to tell everyone that my Nanny made it. I used to look through her cake books for hours – picking out what I wanted for my next cake. Hoping one day that I would be able to make a cake like Nanny. Now I have her cake books. What a nice memory every time I open them.

She made most of my dresses. At the time, I didn’t like trying on half made dresses while she pined the sleeves on or the hem. I was so afraid of getting stuck. (I did get stuck a few times). I remember (when I was little) when she made a dress for me, she would tell me how she made it. At the time I really didn’t care about that stuff. I did listen and I unknowingly learned how to sew. For when it was time for me to sew, I knew so many things - things that she taught me over a life time.

Things that I thought were easy and took for granted – my friends had no clue of the “easy” things about sewing and I thought it was common sense. It was just everyday lessons from my Nanny.

When I got older, she made a pageant dress and a prom dress. Oh how I loved those dresses. It didn’t matter how hard the pattern was, she could make it. We even made a Scarlett O’Hara green drapery dress for old fashion Sunday. The pattern was hand drawn and hard to read, but together, we figured it out.

I remember working with her and my Poppop at their church fair booth. Oh how I loved going there. I was so young- 5 years old to about 3rd grade. I thought I was so big waiting on tables. She made so many cakes and biscuits every day for those 2 weeks. Everyone loved them. The people that worked the fair every year knew about her cakes and biscuits. They would wait for the church booth door to open at 6am just to have Mrs. Eva’s angel biscuits. She won so many awards for her cakes.

I loved watching her make biscuits. She had an old wooden mixing bowl and a flour sifter. She would kneed in the buttermilk so effortlessly. When it was time for me to make biscuits, it would turn out almost like hers (because I had watched her and used her recipe), but I always made such a mess of things.

I now love to sew, decorate cakes, bake and cook. Little life lessons from my Nanny.

I always thought it was cool that my Nanny and Poppop bowled. Even when Nanny got up in age, she still bowled. I think she bowled until she was 83 or 84 years of age. She is one spunky lady.

I would tell her my joys, my sorrows, my fears- the little things in life that really didn’t matter to anyone else. The little things that made me happy, that made me upset. Some things that I didn’t tell anyone else- mainly because they just wouldn’t care. My Nanny cared. She kept them between us. I knew that she would never tell anyone.

I knew my Nanny was a strong lady. She grew up on a tobacco farm in North Carolina. She moved away from her family to Norfolk, Virginia during World War II. Her parents didn’t want her to, but she knew that was what she had to do. That is where she met my Poppop.

Not until my Poppop died in Jan., 2001 did I realize just how strong she was. She was a rock. I had always admired her and loved her, but that day, I realized what she was made of. She handled it with grace and such strength.

My heart was so burdened for her salvation. She was a very “good” lady, but from her words, I did not believe she was saved. I prayed for her and talked to her a number of times about being saved. My mom informed me a few months ago that she was able to lead her to the Lord when she was 82 years old. This is not good English, but Ain’t God Good!! He never gave up on her. He allowed her to live 82 years so she could get saved.

It breaks my heart to see her in the nursing home. I used to call her everyday for 12 years. Now (since she doesn’t have a phone) I can’t call her and can only see her one or two times a week. I would love to see her everyday.

I am so blessed that my 3 precious children had a chance to spend time with her and get to know her before she got sick. I pray that they will remember the happy and spunky lady she was. Because of the time we spent with her before she got sick, my kids love to go see her now. I know it’s hard for them to be still for so long, but every time we go, they are excited to see her. If we can’t go because of someone being sick, they are sad that they can’t see her.

Thank you Lord for giving me such a wonderful lady in my life.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Love Traditions

I love holiday traditions. Here is a list of our Christmas Traditions. Some are silly, some are small, but they are all done with love.

  1. Paint Ceramic ornaments
  2. Make (or buy if it's cheap) an ornament with each child's picture in it.
  3. 25 gingerbread men. We have 25 foam gingerbread men that we string up along the stairs. We have names of friends and families on them. For 25 days of Christmas, we take one gingerbread man family & pray for them through out the day.
  4. Wrap 24 Christmas Books. I wrap them up. The kids get to pick one book and unwrap it then we read it each night.
  5. When Christmas cards come in, we pray for that family. We also do this when we are addressing our Christmas cards to send out.
  6. We (try) make crafts for our teachers and some family members. For a homeschool family, we sure do have a lot of teachers. (Church and extra curricular activities) Many people don't give a little gift anymore to their teachers. I feel that it is important to do this as well as send a card of encouragement along with it. There have been many times when I've wanted to quit because I thought I wasn't getting through to the kids. Then someone sends a little gift and or a card & that was the encouragement I needed to keep serving the Lord.
  7. We've been singing at the nursing home for a few years. This year we will not be able to go. They've requested that children under 12 not visit until the flu season is over. This has been very hard for the children and me, because both of my grandmothers are there.
  8. Look at the Christmas lights while singing Christmas carols.
  9. Dance crazy to Christmas music.
  10. Having a family Christmas tea with all the trimmings.
  11. Write a letter to Jesus.
  12. Watch Christmas movies with popcorn with just the TV and Christmas tree lights on.
  13. Christmas scented bubble bath. (I can't smell, but the kids really enjoy this.)
  14. We make a Christmas paper chain with parts of the Christmas story & the count down on it. We take one down each night and read it. Then we imagine what it would be like to have actually done the part that we just read.
  15. The last 2 years, we've taken the 23rd as a day of celebrating Jesus' birth- a birthday cake, read the whole story, act it out, and sing only Christmas carols through out the day. I've tried and tried to do it on Christmas day, but it is so crazy. When I wake up on the 26th, I felt guilty because we really didn't celebrate. No one really knows when Jesus' birthday was.
  16. We put out sheep food for the shepherd's sheep on Christmas Eve.
  17. We have a Christmas breakfast on Christmas Morning.
  18. We go to the grandparents house and meet up with the cousins.
I do love Christmas. For me, it is really important to instill into my children what Christmas is all about. I like to spread it all through out the month.

I would love to hear about your Christmas traditions.

Friday, November 27, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

The day after Thanksgiving, we start on our Christmas traditions- decorating the tree while listening to old Christmas music and going to the Nutcracker.

Last year we were blessed with a free piano. The only problem was the piano had to go where we put the tree. We didn't have a big tree up last year. I realized real fast that we could not do that again this year. So Tony moved everything over and we squeezed it all in. It's tight, but it works.

Tony pulled down the Christmas tree & put it up. Then he was off to work on one of our properties.

Collin had a ball helping me put up the lights. Most of the lights didn't work, so we had to jump in the van and buy some more. Lights have really gone up this year in price. We put up 4 new boxes of lights only to find out that we didn't have enough for the very top. Ugh! Off to the store again for one more box.

Faith- the dare devil. She is standing on the arm of the couch to hang her ornaments.

Every year, we do a picture ornament for each of the kids. We also either buy or make an ornament that represents something that they started doing, like that year or vacation spots that we've been to. I get a kick out of watching everyone remember special times they've had & seeing their pictures when they were younger.

The tree is up and the den is a mess. We still have the rest of the house to decorate tomorrow.


The Nutcracker Ballet

My darling hubby plays trumpet for the Nutcracker every year. With that, we are entitled to special privileges. Since we have to get there so early, we get to go down in the orchestra pit and play the instruments before the ballet starts.

The 'lil Bucks and Mama eagerly waiting for the ballet to start. Faith and I love to dress up for the ballet. The boys only do it to please Mama.

The boy's favorite part is when they kill the rat with the cannonball. Faith's & Mama's are the pretty costumes and the snow.

I love it. The music is beautiful as well as the costumes.

Even though I love it, I am not a big ballet fan. About half way through the second half, I start getting very antsy as well as Collin & Faith. So this year, I told them that we would only stay for the 1st half. Will wanted to stay for the 2nd half. We were able to get him a front row seat right beside Tony.

This year I came prepared. We brought games. This was a lot of fun even though we got several funny looks. There were several parents roaming the halls with their little ones - I'm sure they were wishing they brought something for them to do as well.

While we were waiting, I asked Faith if she had a good time. The right picture above was her response. What do you think? Actually, she did enjoy it. When we were leaving, she was asking to come back again next week.

Fun! Fun! Fun!

2nd Annual Turkey Bowl

Our 2nd Thanksgiving Tradition we started last year is our Turkey Bowl. I took this idea from a friend of mine. Most of our Thanksgiving day is free, so I thought this would be fun. It has been a blast! The kids love it & have talked about it all year.

Tony is setting up our score board. Tony has had a lot of back trouble over the years. Thanks to a lot of prayers and God using our chiropractor, he hasn't had any pain in the last 7-8 months. Yay! He hasn't been able to bowl with us yet, but he said that he thinks he will be able to go with us the next time. Can't wait.

I am so thankful for this little contraption. Faith doesn't have quite enough power to send the ball down the lane every time. Let's just say, the person behind the counter gets to know us really good before we leave. This ramp gives the ball enough power to get it all the way down lane. Faith has gotten several spares.

This shot is to adorable. Collin loves to bowl. He has many different ways that he bowls. This is my favorite by far.

Will is getting to be a very good bowler. Tony was teaching him different ways to send the ball down the lane. He is very competitive . Which can be good, we just need to curve it a little.

I love to bowl with the kids. Not only is it a lot of fun, but I get to use the gutter bumpers as well. The kids think that I'm such a great bowler. They don't really notice how many times it hits the bumpers. Which means if I were to play it like a grown up should, I would really stink. I did bowl, I just didn't post any pictures of me. The only ones that the kids took were of my backside. So you'll just have to trust me.

And the winners are......

I found a funny trophy of a turkey with glasses on for 1st place. He's so cute that I didn't want to give him away. 2nd & 3rd got silver trophies. They keep these trophies until next year.


I can't believe that I didn't get any pictures of our dinner at Tony's parent's house. It was a little crazy with 7 kids and everyone preparing food to eat. We were blessed to not only have Mammy & Papa, Aunt Leahan, Uncle Kyle, Ashton & Nathan (cousins), but we also had 2 cutie putie
girls with their mom & dad to join us. It was a lot of fun.

I did get one video of Collin & his Papa doing the rabbit dance. Collin has been performing the dance for us. He told us that Papa showed it to him. So tonight when they did it together, I had to get it on video. It was too Funny!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Traditions Through Pictures

We started 2 new traditions last year. Our first one: the 5 of us have a Thanksgiving meal on Wed. night. (Our church has our Wed. night service on Mon. night during Thanksgiving.) I wanted to use this time to teach them how to prepare for a big meal, a time a praising the Lord through song while we work, and for having a good time with family. The kids really have a great time & look forward to it.

I am so thankful we made a menu book last year. This year it saved me a lot of time in preparing.

Collin loved playing with Mr. Turkey. He cracks me up.

Collin is my hard worker. He did a lot of the work. He set the table for me.

Will created our centerpiece. Faith wanted to leave a gold plate for Jesus to sit.

Will was in charge of making our lunch. That was a big help.

The kids needed a little break from cooking. They got to hot outside and used the tree as a coat hanger.

Faith is getting really good a cracking an egg. She loves baking.

Will had fun making the dessert. Yummy!

We had a great dinner. Faith was happy that Mr. Turkey was sitting at Jesus' seat.

Tony carving the turkey. Collin carved seconds. He used the big sharp knife (as I was holding my breathe and praying.) was so excited & he did a really great job.

The kids served the food. It is always a lot of work, but the kids talk about it through out the year, so I know that they are learning. Hopefully, when the boys get married in 2050 :), they will help their wives or a least really appreciate their work. Maybe it won't be stressful for Faith to make a holiday meal because she would have done it most of her life.

I love Traditions!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

We Love Our Pastor & His Wife

Tonight, we had a special service celebrating our pastor's 30 years of preaching at our church. What a blessing Pastor Gene and Mrs. Ann have been to our family.

(<- Will getting baptized when he was 6) Pastor Gene doesn't preach "feel good" messages. He preaches straight from the bible. Sometimes it is not things that I want to hear, but things I need to hear. I can honestly say that he lives what he preaches.

Not only does he love his "sheep", but he loves other men of God - other preachers and missionaries. I believe that is one reason God has blessed our church so much.

When Faith was younger, she was scared of the preacher. She would always hide behind me when he came around. He always showed her love. When she came around, boy did she come around. She calls him "her Preacher Man". We can't leave church until she gives him a hug. One day we forgot and we had to drive back to the church so she could give him a hug. We pray for him every night. She has picked up one of his favorite sayings "let it rip 'tator chip."

Mrs. Ann, our preacher's wife- what a lady! She is so talented. She can decorate, sing, play the piano, and the guitar. Thanks to her, Collin now want to play the guitar. She has the biggest heart I have ever seen. Just to show an example of her love for others, she made & embroidered dresses and boy's shirts for all 31 children who sing in our children's choir. Just because. I've seen her, many times, weep over people's burdens and heartache. I could go on and on of examples of her love.

She has taught me so much in how to raise and love my babies. Through her teaching, friendship and actions, she has shown me how to be a lady after God's own heart.

(Good or bad) Pastor Gene & Mrs. Ann, are in part, the reason I am the person I am today. I love them so much. I am blessed to have them in my life.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Whistle While You Work

Collin loves to work. He loves helping me clean the house. When he's finished with one task, he asks "What's next Mama?" He loves working with his daddy & Papa. My father- in-law bought the boys a smaller blower so they can blow leaves when they go to work with them.

We have been discussing how God wants us to do everything to glorify Him. In work & in play.

We've memorized a poem called:

by Anonymous

Work while you work,
Play while you play;
This is the way
To be happy each day.
All that you do,
Do with your might;
Things done by halves
Are never done right.

Collin has really taken these things to heart. He has such a tender heart.

He has been asking about the Lord & salvation. Please be in prayer about this. I don't want to push it. I want God to lead.

He lives up to his nickname "Cookie". It was given to him for several reasons. 1- When he was little, he loved the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. 2- He loves sweets & 3- because he is soooo sweet & loving. When he wakes up, he is always so hot. I tell him that he's my cookie fresh out of the oven.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Marvelous Monday

I love Sundays, but most Sundays are very busy. What happened to our day of rest? When Monday rolls around, I am dragging. I have no energy and no desire to do anything.

Today was very different. The weather was perfect. The warm sunshine was amazing. I felt rejuvinated.

After going to the boys Karate and art class, we went home to do school. Then the fun began. My darling husband blew the leaves in a pile for the kids to play in. And play they did.....

Pure joy in the simple things. God's wonderful toy- dead leaves.

God's beautiful handiwork. Sometimes I look, but I don't see. Today, I had a wonderful time "seeing" & dining with my Lord.

It was fun watching Faith run and try to catch the yellow butterfly. She was so patient. She didn't give up. To no avail, she did not catch it. She said, "I'll get it next time." Will comes along and scoops up a moth so fast. He let Faith hold it. Such simple moments, but so precious.

My 3 monkeys in a tree.

I am thankful for simple pleasures. Our afternoon was so nice and relaxing. I want to store up these blessings in my heart.

My Cup Runneth Over

I have been doing a study on simplicity, contentment, thanksgiving & joy.

We have finished watching all 10 seasons of "Little House on the Prairie". We've been reading the books as well. (It is our tradition - while reading these books, to read by an oil lamp while eating a "sour ball"- like Laura Ingalls loved.)

The ladies in that time period had so much work to do, but yet they had time to be hospitable, time to make big meals for their family and help others. Our lives have gotten so busy- just... being... busy. I noticed that they didn't have a lot of "stuff"- which is probably the reason they were able to do so much. They could work circles around us. We (as a society) have lost that - hospitality & simplicity. I want to claim some of that back for our family.

We went to the mountains back in July. We stayed in a 3 room - not 3 bedrooms, but a 3 room log cabin. The kids loved it. We didn't bring a lot of things - just some games that required playing together. We were living in very close quarters. The kids thought that was the best house ever. They have talked about trading our house in for that exact house. Simplicity.

Notice the Little House night gown & loft/ladder like the "Little House".

Contentment: "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and rainment let us be therewith content." 1 Tim. 6: 6-8 Lord, help me to be content in what you have given me. The Lord has blessed us so much. He has always supplied our needs.

"Thankfulness is how you think, joy is the abundance it produces. Thanksgiving is good; thanks-living is better." ~ Debi Pearl "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful." Colossians 3:15

"Live with thanksgiving, forgiveness, and joy, and enjoy all your moments as if they were you last. Thanksgiving produces joy. Open you mouth and begin to thank God for His grace towards you. Thank Him for every good thing that He has brought into your life." ~ Debi Pearl

I am thankful for the simple things:

  1. A Lord who loved me enough to die for me.
  2. My salvation.
  3. A husband that enjoys playing with our children & making them laugh.
  4. A husband who loves and encourages me.
  5. For a tennis coach, whose love for the kids shine though.
  6. The warm sunshine today with a cool crisp breeze.
  7. For our sweet home that reminds me of a cottage.
  8. A country where we are free to worship our Savior.
  9. For the men and women who have and are fighting for our freedom.
  10. For 31 precious children that sing in our children's choir.
  11. For God allowing me, to be used of Him, to teach those 31 children as well as to raise my 3 babies.
As I sit here with tears spilling out of my eyes, I am amazed that despite my flaws, God still uses me. To God be the glory.

I can truly say~ My Cup Runneth Over.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Funny Friday

We like to have fun on Fridays in our school & in our play.

Turtle Will

Luigi Collin.

Feeling a little fishy.