Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas 2013

Always Projects.....

......going on around here. 

Phillip just finished a digital painting for a book cover. 

And Elizabeth made this ship out of cardboard and felt and skewers. 

We ate with some Missouri friends at Mi Tierra Cafe and Bakery in downtown San Antonio. The couple behind us had at least 4 songs sung to them, so we got some free mariachi while waiting for our food. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winter Time Activities

Last Sunday night was a bonfire at a new friend's home. I Love bonfires. We just don't do enough bonfires anymore. It was perfectly cold ~ there were plenty of snacks and hot cocoa ~ we sang lots of Christmas carols and met new people and talked a little about missions in Haiti. Lovely evening.

We met old friends at the Bass Pro shop on Tuesday. I can't remember ever going to a Bass Pro shop, so it was a new and very fun experience. You don't have to spend a penny and there is plenty to see. The kids did spend a little money at the shooting arcade thing. There were quite a number of people there to see Santa, but the fishing area was empty. The two employees asked us if they could help us. We were just browsing and Alisa said something about the crowd not coming for the fishing gear. One guy said, "This isn't the crowd?" We do have quite the crew when we're together: nine kids and all their gear.

And Elizabeth went to a youth group event that had a dessert competition. She won!! She spent a lot of time on these cupcakes; it was well-deserved.

She and her friend made matching tacky sweaters/poncho. Cutest tacky sweaters I've seen.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Declension of Paper Products

I'm not sure the term 'declension' is correct, but it's a familiar word from Greek class and it seems to fit this situation.

I have wondered for years which is the cheapest paper product (per sheet) to use. When I reach for a paper towel, I wonder if it would be cheaper to grab a Kleenex instead. When I need a Kleenex, I wonder if a square of toilet paper would suffice (and would it be, indeed, cheaper). Weird thoughts, I'm sure, but I finally checked it out while shopping at Walmart today and I thought I'd share my findings for you other weirdos who might wonder the same thing.

Napkins, facial tissues, toilet paper, and paper towels are the four paper products we buy. They make life convenient and even pleasant. Since we splurge on such luxuries, I want to use them wisely. Below are pictures of the specific products we buy. Even though others may buy a different brand at a different price, I'm sure the general 'declension' is the same. 

And so....... from cheapest to most expensive.......... the paper product line-up is!!

1. Toilet Paper at .0037¢ per 2 squares

2. Napkins at .009¢ per sheet

3. Facial Tissue at .0127¢ per tissue

4. Paper Towels at .0156¢ per sheet 

Now I know to grab TP when I need to blot lipstick instead of using a whole Kleenex. And even though paper towels are the most expensive, they are still the best for microwaving bacon; I can wipe up spilled milk with napkins though. This whole process gives me much pleasure, so thank you for indulging this post documenting my findings for future reference (in case I forget). 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Homey Christmas Service and Pajamas

We had a wonderful church service today at a member's home. It was beautifully decorated ~ we sang Christmas carols ~ Phillip preached "Mary's Gift."

And I absolutely love watching my children participate. House church won't last forever, but I sure am enjoying it while we have it. 

The boys are our early risers. They usually get up around the time Phillip and I are eating breakfast. On this Saturday morning, they were up early to watch Even Tube HD or Angry Birds or some such something-or-other.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Filling Time of Year

Our lives are full of dear people this time of year. There are extra events going on and sometimes traveling. The busyness can be tough, but it always brings blessings. 

Elizabeth turned 12. We had a family birthday this year. She did extra schoolwork the day before so she could have her birthday free. Dad took her to the coffee shop with him. We celebrated that night with Boston Cream cupcakes and a movie.

Mimi and Papa were in town, so Phillip and I took advantage of babysitters to go out for a bit. Wild time out on the town! (Panera Bread and Starbucks, baby.)

Our fellow band of believers met at an apartment complex today for church. We had a cozy time with chili and soup and cheesecake afterwards. 

I was in the "nursery" which included our Harrison. Can you believe we have a little 1 year old with us who is also called Harrison Lee? What are the odds.  

Friday, November 29, 2013

Louisiana Again

This has been the fourth trip to Louisiana in a little over a year. You all might be getting a little bored hearing about it! This time around was really a blessing because I got to spend time with my Papa. (read about it here.)

Elizabeth got to see another Beaumont friend from camp. We met for lunch at Chick-Fil-A.

And Teressa kept us all. Again. Thank you, so much!!! The country-boy activity this time around was ditch jumping. Jonathan landed in the ditch several times. He had to pull his shoe out of the sludge, and I had to rinse the shoe-full-of-mud out at the freezing water hose. The boys were not happy to find out that the ditch was full of sewage. 

Phillip stayed home to work and preach on Sunday. 

Love Always Hopes

They call him "Black" because his Cajun French skin gets so dark in the sun. My mom, my sister, and even my daughter (a little) share this same trait. They share it because he is their father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. But none of them have grown up around this man.

I don't know the exact details, but I know Black left my mom's home when she was 5. Circumstances made it so that she only visited him once or twice and then no longer went to stay with him. She grew up listening to "I Don't Wanna Play House" and feeling the truth of that song. ("I don't wanna play house. It makes my mommy cry. Cause when she played house, my daddy said 'goodbye'.") She loved her daddy and she missed him. She wanted him and his love and approval. 

But that was not to be in her childhood. She did know God though, and God was her go-to guy when troubles came. She would walk through the back fields near her house and talk to Him.

She grew up, met and married my dad, and pretty quickly had four children. When I was 4 years old, my mom contacted her daddy so that he could meet his grandchildren. She took us to his house and introduced us. Because of the awkwardness, we didn't stay long. My mom was still searching for that love and approval that daddies provide.

Over the  years she did not give up hope of having a relationship with her dad. She often would wishfully say, "Maybe Daddy will call me for my birthday this year. Wouldn't that be somethin'?" She always kept his contact information when she could. I don't know if she ever did, but I know she often wanted to call him on Father's Day and tell him she loved him. 

I don't remember meeting Black at age 4, but I loved looking at the black and white photos we had of him. He was so tall and handsome.

I grew up, got married and had my own set of four children. I wished my mom would quit hoping for her daddy's love. I figured it was just frustration for her ~ obviously a lost cause. My mom was the hopeless romantic though, always picturing a warm reunion with her dad. I guess hopeless isn't the right word; she was always hopeful.

My mom had moved to Washington years ago, but would often visit Louisiana to stay with her ailing mother. She attended Forest Park Church of Christ while there, a church full of people I myself had grown up with. A year or two ago, she found out that Black and his wife, Mrs. Ethel, had been visiting Forest Park every once in a while. I don't know why they chose that church. Maybe someone invited them. Mrs. Ethel had grown up Church of Christ; Black had been Catholic. I don't think they knew my mom went there.

Over time, my mom would see them from afar. She was afraid of pushing herself on them, but it seemed pretty amazing that they would even be going to the same church. Mrs. Kristine soon hatched a plan. Full of fun and gumption, Mrs. Kristine is my childhood bestie's mom. She started sitting by Black and Mrs. Ethel while my mom was back in Washington. She got to know them and they got comfortable with her. By the time my mom came back to Louisiana, Mrs. Kristine was good friends with them.

My mom and Mrs. Kristine doing dishes.
Mrs. Kristine took my mom to see her daddy one Sunday morning. It was stilted, but it was a start. Mrs. Ethel became comfortable with my mom and Mom was even able to give her daddy a hug. 

"I love you, Daddy."


Blessings kept coming. Black wanted to get baptized. I had been praying and talking to Momo (my mom's mom) for years about becoming a Christian. As far as I know, she's never put faith in Christ. I'd never prayed for Black's salvation; here he was getting baptized. Mrs. Kristine asked if she could be there for the baptism and invited my mom to go with her. As they were leaving the building, my mom gave her daddy another hug.

"I love you, Daddy."

"Okay, baby."

Just last week, Mrs. Kristine found out Black and Ethel were having a yard sale. She offered her help and my mom went with her. They spent hours helping them and then were able to hang out at their house and visit. My mom did what she does best — serve. She saw weeds in their backyard and asked if she could pull them. They stayed several more hours working. My mom went back the next morning to help some more with the yard sale. She said it felt good to spend time with her dad. They laughed and talked and had a good time.

My kids and I arrived that afternoon from San Antonio. My dad was flying in to pick up Mom and take her back to Washington. My mom couldn't believe she had gotten to spend relaxed time with her dad.  We were just standing back watching God unfold these incredible circumstances.

After church on Sunday, Mrs. Kristine had invited Black and Mrs. Ethel and all of us to her house for gumbo. I really didn't think they would go, but we drove up and they were sitting at the table talking. Wow, my Papa. Still tall and handsome and impeccably dressed. 


He said, "You must be in your 30's?" 

"Yes, sir. I'm 34."

"Yea... Cause I remember thirty years ago when you came to see me. You were about 4."

He remembered. 

He thought Phoebe looked like my mom when Mom was little. I think he was happy to meet us. My dad, myself, my mom ~ we all got to talk to him. When he got ready to leave, Mrs. Kristine said to my kids, "Ya'll come hug your Grandpa." They all hugged him and Mrs. Ethel. Me too.

My mom gave him a long hug.

"I love you, Daddy."

"I love you too, sha."

She had waited over 50 years to hear those words.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Clove Apple

A Laura Ingalls book inspired this clove apple as a warm-spice centerpiece. Laura's aunt gave one to Ma for Christmas. I didn't think making a clove apple would be that hard or very expensive, so I tried my hand at it. Phoebe helped too. 

At first I tried to make a pretty design with the cloves, but I soon realized the rest of the apple would not hold up well without cloves in them. We first poked the holes with a bamboo skewer to make clove-placing easier. This apple took 5 packages of Fiesta Brand whole cloves. Each package cost $1.14. I already had the evergreen and cranberry sprigs. The dish was from Target for $3, I think. So it really is a neat little gift to give for not a lot of money. It did take several hours to fill the apple with cloves. I poked holes while watching TV, so no wasted time. Oh, it smells delicious too!