Monday, March 31, 2008

Political "Survivor"

If you are a fan of Survivor you know that the contestants approach playing the game with a certain amount of lying, deception and trickery. It just seems to be understood to make it to the final tribal challenge.

I am beginning to think that politicans play by the same rules. Their goal is to be elected and they approach the "game" with their own sets of rules.

That is why I don't mind applying my own set of rules when they call me to ask who I am going to vote for in the elections. First of all, I think it is rude to ask who you are going to vote for in an election. I don't mind you asking for my vote, but to ask outright who I am going to vote for seems to be somewhat obnoxious and conceited. It is almost like you are daring me to say someone else's name.

So when I receive a phone call and they ask me who I am voting for in the 3rd District election, I had so much fun. The conversation went like this:

"Maam, I am calling to remind you to vote. May I ask who you intend on voting for in tomorrow election?"

"Of course not! I intend to vote for Charlie Harper."

"Ummm, maam, I think you are confused."

"Oh, did I say Charlie Harper? I meant Greg Ross!"


At this point I just say, "Thanks for calling and reminding me to vote in the presidential election!"

If you see me at the poles, just wave! I may be crazy... just crazy enough to vote! I hope you are too!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Racing To The Finish

For nearly a week our boys have been working diligently on their RA Racer cars. The cars are their own creation and design. Donald bought them a Dremel tool last year so they could shave, shape and create them to be what they wanted them to be. They carve out the underside to put in their weights. They sand them to a smooth finish before they put on their chosen paint color. Great thought is put into their theme.
This year was Tanner's first year to participate and he wanted an American themed car. Todd decided to have a Navy themed car in honor of Flight 19 which went down in the Bermuda Triangle. He read about it in a book in Pathways at school.
The race was last night at church and it is something that our entire family enjoys. It is such a fun night of eating, visiting with friends and watching the races.
Our boys both brought home awards and a heart full of memories.

Friday, March 28, 2008

High School Musical = Torture

This morning when Tanner woke up he begged us not to go to school. Today is a field trip day and he desperately didn't want to go. Their field trip is to go see "High School Musical" at Madison Central. Tanner didn't like the movie and he is less than thrilled with having to see the musical. He has made every bargain in the book to skip school. However, we told him that he was just going to have to go anyway.

When Tanner got off the book this afternoon I asked him how his day was and he said, "It was O.K."

"What was the best part of the musical?"

His quick reponse? "The ENDING!"

Empty Threats vs. Lies

In our after school Friday chatting, Tanner announced to me that he was disappointed in his teachers. He said that they had lied to him. I was very shocked to hear him say something like this because I know how much he loves and adores his teacher.

I asked him to explain.

Tanner had a field trip today and everyone from his class was able to go. He said that all week his teachers had been telling the class: "If you have not finished all of you work, you will not be able to go on the field trip." This morning when the time to leave came, everyone got on the bus and in Tanner's observation, not everyone had finished their work. In his mind, this equates to his teacher lying.

Obviously, there are two sides to this story, but it reminds me how important follow through is when I am being their Mom. Empty threats are just as good as lying to them.


Waking my boys up in the morning is one of the simple joys of life. They are completely opposites in the way they wake up, but starting the day with the two of them is an amazing experience.

When I step through Tanner's door, his eyes are instantly open and a smile spreads across his face. Then he squeezes his eyes shut, with the smile still plastered across his face waiting for me to "wake" him up. I kneel to his bed and barely get my "Good morning" out of my mouth before he starts giggling and wraps his arms around my neck. After plenty of hugs and kisses, I pry him out of bed and go to wake up Todd.

Waking up Todd takes an entirely different approach. He is not a morning person so I usually crawl up onto the bed with him and start rubbing his back. He groggily rolls over and throws his covers over me and wraps his arms around my neck. His first words are always, "Let's stay this way all day." Every day, it is tempting.

These days won't last forever, but while they are here I intend to enjoy every moment. They are the best pay check a Mom could ever receive.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What do you see?

The beautiful woman in this photo is my baby sister on her wedding day. I love this photo of her. I don't know how I was lucky enough to take this photo with all that was going on at that moment. It is literally moments before she walked down the aisle to marry her best friend.

Every time I see this photo I see all the questions of on her face. I remember the day that we went to the doctor's office and my Mom found out that she was pregnant. I remember driving down the road and my parent's cars passing each other in slow motion, their eyes connecting and speaking volumes with just one look for my Mom to say "Yes, I am pregnant." Going to my aunt's house when my Mom went into labor and sitting on her couch crying because I was nervous and scared.
The first time my middle sister and I got mad at my Mom because she was being "mean" and made Krisa cry because it was her nap time. The time I was playing with Krisa by throwing her in the air and she threw up in my mouth (disgusting!!!). Going to countless gymnastic meets for my baby sister who had the talents of an Olympic level gymnast. Then going to high school and MSU football games as she cheered her teams to victory.
All those moments had led her to the moment in this photo. That is what life is all about isn't it... choices. Good and bad. Happy and sad.
I'm glad that I get to share them with my family.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Priceless Discovery

I discovered some photos that I thought I had lost. I took this one of Tanner when he was three years old. We had gone to Martinson's Garden Center to buy some mums for our porch. He loved exploring all the flowers, pumpkins, and decorative accessories. I loved snapping photos of him as he explored.

Tanner was just beginning to read when this photo was taken so I remember that we stopped at every sign. He would ask me, "What does p-u-m-p-k-i-n spell?" or does "P-r-i-c-e spell price?" Those beginning reading days passed by so quickly. Tanner was never one who liked for me to read to him. He wanted to read the book by himself. Even when he couldn't read the words he wanted to read the pictures and make up his own words. If he did let me read to him I had to point out every word to him as I read. He only tolerated it if he thought he was making progress in learning to read himself.

Now as I sit and watch him read I wonder where he will be five, ten, fifteen years from now. Where is God leading him? What are the plans that God has for him and Todd?
I want to be just as diligent in teaching him about God and putting him on the right path for his life as I was in trying to teach him to read. God, be my guide!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday - The Day of the Cross

Good Friday is the oxymoron of holidays. "Good" is not exactly the word I would use to describe the day that my Savior was tortured until He died for MY sins.

Hot Cross Buns are the traditional recipe made on Good Friday because of the "cross" that are made with icing on top. If you Google hot cross buns you can find lots of lore concerning the history of these. Who knows which is true. I just know that I like to use anything I can to establish traditions for my boys which cement in their minds the true meaning of Easter even if it is a simple pastry.

Hot Cross Buns

1 cup milk
2 Tbsp yeast
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
4 eggs
5 cup flour
1 1/3 cup currants or raisins
1 egg white

Glaze (you can use this one or your favorite)
1 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tsp. finely chopped lemon zest
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1-2 Tbsp milk

Get your children involved: Let them help measure and mix the ingredients. They will enjoy kneading the dough, forming the dough into balls and adding the glaze.

In a small saucepan, heat milk to very warm, but not hot (110°F if using a candy thermometer). Pour warm milk in a bowl and sprinkle yeast over. Mix to dissolve and let sit for 5 minutes.

Stirring constantly, add sugar, salt, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and eggs. Gradually mix in flour, dough will be wet and sticky. Continue kneading until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough "rest" for 30-45 minutes.

Knead again until smooth and elastic, for about 3 more minutes. Add currants or raisins and knead until well mixed. At this point, dough will still be fairly wet and sticky. Shape dough in a ball, place in a buttered dish, cover with plastic wrap and let rise overnight in the refrigerator. Excess moisture will be absorbed by the morning.

Let dough sit at room temperature for about a half-hour. Line a large baking pan (or pans) with parchment paper (you could also lightly grease a baking pan, but parchment works better). Divide dough into 24 equal pieces (in half, half again, etc., etc.). Shape each portion into a ball and place on baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

In the meantime, pre-heat oven to 400° F.

When buns have risen, take a sharp or serrated knife and carefully slash buns with a cross. Brush them with egg white and place in oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° F, then bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack. Whisk together glaze ingredients, and spoon over buns in a cross pattern. Serve warm, if possible.

Hint: If you aren't a "baker", you can always open a can of knock'em on the counter cinnamon rolls and then use the included icing to form the cross on top after they are finished baking. The true purpose is to teach the Easter story... not show off your Baking skills!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maundy Thursday

Last Sunday we had a foot washing as part of our Sunday School lesson for our kindergarten class. At first they weren't sure what to think. Some of them didn't want to take part. We told them that was o.k. because the disciples didn't want to take part either. We explained to them that people wore flip flops and when they arrived at someone's house their feet were very dirty. Washing their feet was a way to say "Welcome to our Home". It was a gift.

It isn't very often that people refuse to accept a gift, but for some reason people regularly turn their back on the many gifts that God has given them. Never again will we receive a gift that requires the sheer amount of personal sacrifice that was required of Jesus to grant us the gifts of salvation and hope.

Another part of our Sunday School lesson was giving our kids each a small nail to show them what was used in the crucifixion. I loved the quote that came with these "spikes":

"Nails didn't hold Jesus to the cross. It was his love that held him there."

Easter... what a gift.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Calm in the Storm

I watched the storms move across the state during the night, so when the tornadoes moved into our area I was prepared. When the sirens went off at 4:00 this morning, we went to get the boys up. They met us in the hallway with their blankets headed to our "safe" spot.

As we all settled in, sleepy and ready to wait out the sirens, I looked around at my guys and said, "Is this family time?"

Donald replied, "No, this is sleepy time."

Tanner looked at us and said, "Actually, this is prayer time."

Calm in the storm.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Jesus or the Easter Bunny

I love This morning they sent me an email with the above as their heading. This is what their email stated:

"Everyone loves a good story - especially children. It's delightful
when they huddle close to you and beg you to share the best one you
know. In celebration of this Easter season, you can creatively tell
your children or grandchildren the greatest story of all: The story of our
Savior, Jesus Christ. How? By showing them the "JESUS" film on

I wouldn't necessarily call Easter a "story". I call it HIStory. This is the foundation of our faith. There is no truth vs. fiction (as the word "story" seems to connotate). It is what Easter and hope of our future is all about.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Newest Member Of Our Family

Tanner had a friend, Jamiel, over on Saturday to play. They had been planning this play date for weeks so they had plenty of fun they wanted to pack into one day. After several hours of playing I asked if they wanted to go over to a park to play. As they were packing their bag with drinks and snacks, I overheard Tanner say to Jamiel, "God created us brothers. He just put us in separate places."
Ahhh... The wisdom of children.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday School

It is Sunday morning and after our morning welcome activity, I gathered all of the children around me to begin our morning's lesson. I was so excited because I had mini activities planned for each day of the Holy Week. The first question I asked was, "Do you know what this week is?" A few said, "Easter". My second question: "Do you know what is so special about Easter?" Every child in the room answered: "It is when the Easter bunny comes!!!!"

Not one child answered anything about the true meaning of Easter. For the rest of the class I tried to show those sweet little children through foot washing, real nails, bread and juice, and other things that Easter is truly special.

Easter is NOT about peter cottontail jumping down the bunny trail! GRRRRRRR!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Spring Break

Give me a break... Give me a break... We are so excited it is Spring Break time!!! What are our plans? Who knows! Who cares! We will find something fun to do. Maybe drive to Mobile. Maybe check out The American Village at Montevallo. Most definitely drive to my parents house at some point.

The boys have already gotten a head start on enjoying the week. One went to a friend's house last night and the other one has a friend over to play today. They both have a list of friends they want to invite over during the Break.

But the most important thing? No school for an entire week! Yes! Yes! Yes!!!

Friday, March 14, 2008


On the whiteboard I wrote, "Describe one nice thing that you could do for someone that they would never find out about." It was the journaling prompt that the teacher had left for this class to write about for the day. A few seconds later, a girl brought me her journal with her example of a R.A.K. "If the girl next to me had the wrong answer, I would change it for her so she could make a 100 on the test." I gently explained how that was also cheating and asked her to rethink her answer. I began walking around the room and saw that a lot of the answers had her same "ethically" challenged issues.

As I looked out over the classroom of faces, I could tell that they were stumped. I asked them to put down their pencils and we talked about about 15 minutes about what it means to perform random acts of kindness. For about 90% of the class, this was truly a very foreign concept.

As the students settled in to write I prayed for each of them.

This is just one small example of "how white the fields are unto harvest." Our churches need to realize that we need to get into the schools. There is a HUGE mission field in Madison County and it lies right inside the walls of the public school system. Literally 1,000's of children are starving to death for the love of Jesus. My heart is burdened for these precious children and I am praying for a church that will feel the same way.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Memory Bible

I have two Bibles. One is for Tanner and one is for Todd. They are very simple Bibles, but hopefully they will be very special Bibles. I don't know what to call them except memory Bibles. When I was pregnant with the boys I asked our parents to pick our Scriptures of "blessing" for our boys. That is the first Scripture that I marked in the boy's memory Bible. Out in the margin I wrote why that is marked.

When Todd was two, he was healed from leukemia. Our church laid hands on Todd the day before he went back to Blair E. Batson. Scripture is underlined in Todd's Bible to memorialize that event in his life and it is journaled for him.

My hope is that by the time they graduate from high school and leave home, I will have a Bible full of events underlined and journaled in these memory Bibles. When they leave home they will have a tangible reminder of all the times in their lives that God has been with them, protecting them, blessing them and guiding them and how He will always be there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

May I Take Your Order?

I subbed today and I had a really busy class. The boys and I took the time to go by and vote, but when I got home I was wiped out. Tanner and I were sitting on the couch talking about his day and somehow we began talking about McAlisters. He ran and got the take out menu and picked out what he wanted and I picked out what I wanted. He asked Todd to pick out what he wanted and called Donald at work. It was decided we were having McAlister's for supper. Tanner looked at me and said, "O.K. if I order?"

O.K. if he orders? He is six years old!! I couldn't say no. Go ahead, Tanner. He sounded like a little man. He looked up the number, told them he wanted a pick up for Germany and told them what we all wanted. When he hung up he called Donald and said, "O.K., Dad, our supper will be ready for pick up at McAlister's for pick up in 20 minutes."

Oh, yea, this is the life!!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Resurrection Cookies

One of the best recipes for Easter is Resurrection Cookies. It is such a visual way to show kids the story of Easter.

You will need:1 cup whole pecans, 1 teaspoon vinegar, 3 egg whites, a pinch salt, 1 cup sugar, a zipper baggy, 1 wooden spoon, scotch tape, Bible

On Easter Evening: Preheat oven to 300F.*** (this is very important --- don't wait until you are half done with the recipe). Place pecans in zipper baggy and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested. He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read: John 19:1-3

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar to drink. Read: John 19:28-30

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read: John 10:10&11

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers,and the bitterness of our own sin. Read: Luke 23:27

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read: Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read: Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper covered cookie sheet.Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.Read: Matthew 27:57-60

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.

Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.Explain that Jesus tomb was sealed. Read: Matthew 27:65-66

GO TO BED! Feels sad doesn't it? Explain to your kids that was the way that Jesus' followers felt when they had to leave Jesus in the tomb and it was sealed. Read: John 16:20&22

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read: Matthew 28:1-9

Easter... what a wonderful gift!

Wallpapers... for your Computer

I love to change my desktop wallpaper. My favorites come from Crosscards. If you are looking for a new wallpaper, check out the Crosscards Website.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Perfect Saturday Morning

Tanner thinks that heaven has come to earth! He woke up to snow for the second time this year. You would think it was a blizzard instead of the light dusting with the amount of snowballs they have made this morning. It is amazing what you can do when your motivation is planning a sneak attack on your big brother who is spending the night over at a friend's house.

When a quick call over to the friend's house revealed that they were a bunch of party poopers -- the whole house was still asleep. So to Plan B -- Snow Art! Donald and Todd discovered that throwing the snowballs against the fence left snow prints. So they had a lot of fun making a work of art against the fence.

I'm watching the best television show on earth. The view out my living room while sipping hot chocolate and sitting in front of a roaring fire. This is what I call a perfect Saturday morning.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow

If I followed my rainbow to find my "pot of gold", I am convinced I would find Donald sitting there. I can't imagine being any luckier than to have a husband like him. He is the sweetest man on the face of the earth. Are we the perfect couple? No. Do we have disagreements? Yes. But I am so lucky to have someone who loves me and our boys as much as Donald does.

Today is a perfect example of why I love Donald so much. Todd's school has been planning a field trip to Memphis for about three months. Donald was going to go as a chaperone. They were both so excited and could not wait. However, with the approaching weather and planned snow for Memphis today, they cancelled the field trip. I am not sure who was more disappointed when they were told -- Donald or Todd.

This morning when Donald was about to take the boys to school he told me a secret with a gleam in his eyes. "Today I am going to surprise the boys. I want to do something special for them since we are missing the field trip. I am going to pick them up in carpool and take them to Gatti Town for the afternoon."

Again -- I am not sure who will be more excited!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Rock A Bye-Bye Baby

O.K. so he isn't a baby. He is almost eleven years old. But to me he will always be my baby. Of course if he were to read my blog he would probably die of embarassment.

We received a postcard from my church today inviting Donald and I to a "Parent's Meeting" for all parents with students moving into youth this fall. Yikes! That is us!

I'm not ready. How do I prepare? I thought trading toddlerhood for kindergarten and "big school" was tough, but am I really ready to trade childhood for middle school and youth group?

(Sigh!) I have loved every stage of Todd's life so far. I can't imagine the next one being any different.

It is just with every stage I am more and more aware that he is growing to do exactly what God created him to do. Leave home and be a mighty man of Godly integrity!


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Love In Any Language

When the storm came through the other night our sweet little Kit Kat got hurt. As she is an outside cat, we started calling for her to come home as soon as we got home from school. We knew that she would be reluctant since the weather was warm and she really has no interest in being inside unless it is really cold. However, when it started raining we were surprised that she didn't show up to stay dry. We kept calling and calling. Once when the boys went out to call and check I heard a panicked voice say, "Mom, she's hurt!!!"

They quickly picked her up, but it was obvious she was in pain. I grabbed a towel and wrapped her up to get her warm and check her over. We realized that her front leg was injured and swelling. By 11:30 it was very swollen and she was crying in pain. Our hero, Donald, put her in the van and drove her downtown to the Animal ER. They treated her, gave her antibiotics and a shot for pain.

Since then she has been in the house recovering. She can't put any weight on her leg and she is quite miserable.

It has been quite a while since we have had a pet and I had forgotten how well they communicate. She "talks" very well and understands us very completely. Some people may think this is crazy, but it is very true. This morning I tried to coax her outside to take care of business as she has no concept of how to use a litter box. She stood in the door and meowed until I promised not to shut the door. When she came back I shut the door and she snuggled a thank you against my foot.

Kit Kat loves the boys and loves to sleep at their feet, but jumping on their bed has not been an option. Late last night she wanted to go sleep with Todd. She meowed and I followed her thinking she needed to go outside but she went half way down the hall. She stopped and meowed to make sure I was following her. When she was sure she went and stood at the foot of Todd's bed. She looked at me with one small mew that said, "A little help, please?"

After I gently put her on the foot of his bed, she curled up against his legs and started to go to sleep, but not before she gave me "kitty kiss" on my hand.

I think my friend Julie may be right. It may be a tough sell to convince her to go back outside after she gets well.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Mom's Prayer

"Lord, help me to give my children the best - not of things, but of myself, cherishing them on good days and bad, theirs and mine. Teach me to accept them for who they are, not just for what they do; to listen to what they say, if only so they'll listen to me; to encourage their goals, not mine. Let me give them a home where respect and integrity are the cornerstones, and there's enough happiness to raise the roof. May I give them the courage to be true to themselves; the independence to take care of themselves, and the faith to believe in You. May I discipline them without demeaning them, demand good manners without forgetting my own, and let them know they have limitless love no matter what they do. Let me feed them properly, clothe them adequately, and have enough to give them small allowances - not for the work they do, but the pleasure they bring. Let me be moderate in all these things, so that the joy of getting will help them discover the joy of giving. See that their responsibilities are real but not burdensome, that my expectations are high but not overwhelming, and that my praise is thoughtful and given when it's due. Help me to teach them that excellence is work's real reward. And when it comes - let me revel in each honor, however small, without once pretending that it's mine - my children are glories enough. Above all, let me ground them so well in Your truth that I can let them go.

In Jesus' name,

Thanks, Kristi, for sending me this!!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Cooking Up A Storm

I love to cook, bake, whatever... Once I get started I can't seem to stop. Yesterday when we got home from church I pulled out some chicken and before lunch was ready I had made pecan crusted chicken, poppy seed chicken and started a lemon bundt cake. As soon as lunch was over and the kitchen was cleaned, I started all over with a "really good chocolate cake" (the name of the recipe -- not mine).

This morning I got up and the baking bug had not subsided. After I got supper started in the crock pot, I started putting together a Char pecan pie. My friend mentioned the other day she really wanted some of my sausage cheese muffins so I am pretty sure I am going to make those too. I just made icing for the cakes I made yesterday and started browsing my cook books.

By the time I finish, this weather front may be moving in this afternoon. Yep... I think I am cooking up a storm!!