Posted in Daily Musings, My Interests

Groupie Stalking…again

My girls and me with Ree Drummond.  She doesn’t look too scared does she?

     So my girls and I went groupie stalking the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, again.  Really, she was asking for it.  After all she puts out this great new cookbook and comes right into town to have a book signing.  I was one of the first at the bookstore that morning waiting to get my ticket.  Only problem was, there was no “official” line formed until about a dozen or so people started milling around.  Then, when the manager comes out and says “form a line!”  I got pushed around like I was in a pinball machine.  Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, it really wasn’t that bad.  I was actually surrounded by other crazy people like myself and we were all enjoying it.  I ended up with line ticket number 9, not too bad I think.  I like to do this so I can get up to her while she’s still fresh and not sick of all the people and giving out the obligatory answers to all of our silly questions. 

 Actually I had a purpose in going this time, it was also to drop a couple of names and ideas by her.  Is that tacky?  Duh, you don’t really have to answer…I already know.  Anyway, I reminded her of how we church ladies were gawking at her husband at the fireworks stand last summer and forgot to put their sparklers in the bag.  (By gawking I simply mean we were awestruck at his famousness, nothing lusty I promise)  I think I even stated that last line to her.  So I proposed that she come on back and bring the Food Network with her this time and we’ll set her up well if she’d give us a second chance.  I even offered to deliver.  She responded graciously and took my husbands card.  Which makes me wonder where that card will end up?   Probably at the bottom of her purse and she’ll find it and read the crazy note on the back and call the police and give them my husbands name or something telling them to keep us away from her.


 My second motive was to get my sis-in-laws recipe in her thoughts.  You see, Jessica is making up this fantastic recipe to enter into PW’s grilling contest.  The winner gets to take a friend and spend a day at the ranch and get on the show.  Jess and I don’t get to see each other very often and we’re both Food Network junkies so this is perfect! She is definitely the better cook and more creative of the two of us so I turned it over to her to do all of the work; I’d just tag along and gawk.   Now  if only I could get PW to see the beauty in all of this.  I explained this whole plan in 30 seconds or less feeling the pressure of the eyes of 200 other waiting fans behind me.  I’m not sure what she thought…probably back to the whole calling the police idea.
    At the end of our two minute or less conversation she was sweet to include hellos to my girls and have a quick home school- lots of things in common- kind of talk.  Maybe they won her over for me.  I guess I’ll find out come May 17th when the contest is over and winners announced! 

     Hey, before you click away thinking I’m too brash or goofy you don’t even know what I didn’t say.  Like how I was going to sneak in a contract for use of her lodge when family comes in this summer.  Do you think that would’ve been too pushy. ..?

Posted in Decorating, My Interests

Valentine Banquet

            Just finished decorating for our latest event at church last week.  I figure event-planning goes really well with my personality.  It is something I can plan and dream about for weeks, prepare for days and spend literally 10+ hours setting up.  Usually something goes wrong or a plan doesn’t work, so I have to spend a senseless number of hours trying to figure it out with the rest of the team get it worked out, ooh and ahh over the results and tear it down in about 20 minutes.  Now, three days later, I still am not finished washing the tablecloths!  Yes, it’s definitely a fitting area for a melancholy perfectionist to work.  As a matter of fact, our head decorator and my dear friend, Stacy and I have a motto that goes something like this, “we take a good plan and make it harder.”

            However, I really do get a joy out of seeing a plan come together.  I especially get a joy out of seeing others enjoy themselves in an atmosphere our team was able to create.  This last one was a true sense of accomplishment, because we tackled the ever-present dreaded gym lighting.  Yes, that lighting has been the bane of the decorating teams existence since moving into our new building…you know, the fluorescent kind that takes ten minutes to “warm” up.  It’s great when using a family life center for volleyball, but events? Well…not so much.  At our team meeting in January the ladies were discussing this issue.  We were considering our options for investing in up lights or something.  We’ve even tried to come up with ideas to cover the gigantic ceiling with draped fabric. 

However, we came up with something even better (at least that’s what the men of the church should think since they now do not have to set up scaffolding to drape fabric at every event).  Actually Stacy came up with it.  While walking through our teen classroom a few weeks ago she spotted a lamp we have in there.  It’s a simple Wal-Mart column lamp with a rice paper shade.  She brought it downstairs and tried it out and wa-la!  It gave off a beautiful dim glow in the family life center. 

So, a plan was born and we set out to hit every Wal-Mart in Oklahoma to collect our lamps.  (It was going to take too long to order online, if you were wondering).  We hit up about seven or so stores in three or four different cities.  Then we hit the dollar store for plastic tablecloths.  Yes, you read it right $1.00 plastic tablecloths in pink to cover our shade and we had instant mood lighting for our Valentine Banquet.  I was so excited over it that I just wanted to sit in there for as long as possible basking in the pink glow.  This was one of our greatest decorating successes as it landed in the category of cheap and easy…something in which we do not excel.

The centerpieces were a different story.  We were just as pleased at the results, but since they were my Pinterest idea I’ll take full responsibility for how complicated they were.  It started out looking so cute on pinterest.  Just a few cupcake liners pinned into a foam ball and placed on a candlestick…how hard could it be?  
Well, considering that only four of us showed up to put them together and the pins didn’t exactly do the trick it wasn’t the greatest feet.  I’ve got the glue gun burns to show for it.  I was happy with the result, but no event can go by without some complicated mountain to climb.  Thanks to the dim lights any imperfections were hidden and I think everyone who came had a good time. 
Posted in Daily Musings, My Interests

Scoopin The Poo

            What a delightful interruption we had Monday evening at our house!  A mysterious ring at the doorbell about 7:45 brought two daughters of a friend of mine announcing they had “poop for Miss Jenny.”   I was so excited as my family stared at me in a strange dumbfounded way.  On the curb of our driveway they left me four yard bags filled with chicken droppings for my garden!  Yea me!  No seriously…Yea me!  What you’re not feelin the love here either? 

            To their defense, I had asked for the poo a few weeks before.  We had such a terrible gardening year last year and this time of year always gets me eager to start again.  I had heard from another friend of mine that chicken poo is great fertilizer in the vegetable garden, so I thought I’d give it a try. (2nd man still hasn’t caved on the issue of building me a chicken coop and buying chickens…but I’m still working on him. Look at the one I found on pinterest.) 
picture via

        To my eager surprise as well, yesterday turned out to be in the 60s outside!   I put my kids to work on their schoolwork, and gave the older two assignements to work on with their brother and I put on my scrubbies and headed out to the back forty (forty feet in my case).  

I haven’t had tremendous success with the whole composting thing yet.  Mostly, it’s my fault.  With all the dryness and the type of compost bin we have, I haven’t been vigilant in watering and turning.  Last year, though we did, surprisingly get a good wheelbarrow full of the black gold.  This was a surprise since we had to fight the city over it.  In late fall the year before I had moved the bin back behind my mother-in-law’s cottage to the ally side hoping to get more sunlight in the winter.  It wasn’t near my trash area, however the trash men took it anyway.  Even more perplexing, they took all of the compost inside!  I was amazed.  I’m pretty sure that if I had asked them to scoop my compost by hand they would have abruptly refused.  Yet there it was, the empty spot where I had put my compost bin.  I called the department of waste management.  They sent two guys out to tell me that I had placed it on an easement and it was fair game, but they did yell at the trash truck guys about it.  What?!  I didn’t want heads on a platter; I just wanted my compost bin back.  After a series of phone calls 2nd man took over and called saying that he’d like the city to at least pay half for the new bin. We’d admit our mistake if maybe they could admit theirs too.  We’ll the guy finally caved and said it was easier for them to just buy us a new one so a new one I got.

Anyway, my mom had warned me that the nitrogen in chicken poo can burn the plants already in the ground so I thought I’d empty the compost bin and restack it with layers of poo. 

So, out came the pitchfork, glasses and gloves and mask (yes, chicken poo can be toxic to lungs nasal passages and eyes.

I was giddy with domestic bliss!


Wasn’t this poo beautiful?  My friend was nice enough to give me some that had been partially composted already…bless her!

So now, I’m going to be diligent about turning it and making sure it’s moist and hot. I might add here that never…ever in my growing up years did I think I’d say something like that previous line about chicken poo.  Amazing what comes with age isn’t it?  But I digress…Bring on spring!
Posted in Daily Musings, Healthy Living, Life Lessons Disciplines of the Faith, My Interests

I’m a Runner not a Singer

            The woman in this photo is not me.  Oh I wish I were that cute.  The man isn’t 2nd man either.  I like 2nd man the way he is though…I don’t want this guy.  Anyway, I just had to find a picture for today’s post.  It’s about running –in case you didn’t guess. 
Yes, in my never-ending quest to get healthy and look kinda cute too, we’ve taken up running.  We’re now in week 6 of the 9 week Couch potato to 5K running plan.  (I mentioned it in a previous post last week sometime.)   Anyway, I’m starting to get past the “What am I doing out here?” stage and moving into the excited, “I think I can” stage.  It feels good to be accomplishing something.  Especially since my running partner is a foot taller than I am and running brings on all sorts of heat rashes that they just don’t talk about on those biggest loser shows. 
I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, for about 10 years now to lose weight.  Everyone in my family is unhealthy and quite frankly, I’m scared to death to end up that way.  However, I’m beginning to wonder what my body’s deal is anyway.  The more I try – the unhealthier I get.  Since starting P90X and incorporating clean eating, I’ve now gained 10 lbs in the past year and my cholesterol has gone up.  So you might understand that I need to set goals that lead to other things than health and weight loss.  We’re on our way to doing this 5K in just four short weeks.  Then I can go around saying things like, “yeah, I’m a runner.”  Or “In my last 5k…”  I’ll let ya know if I make it.
This is not me either.  It’s my beautiful first born, Katie.  She can sing, so can my other daughter too.  I’m not sure where they got it, certainly not me.   However, I almost got my big chance last night.  Our new song leader, Jose approached me to inquire if I was a singer.  (Jose is an exciting new addition to the church staff.  I first heard him sing last winter at a youth retreat.  I could listen to him all day, such a beautiful and soothing voice.  He hails from West Coast Baptist Bible College and Lancaster Baptist church in Lancaster, CA.  I never thought he’d come to the middle of, well, here to be a song leader, But God is good and we got him!  And I just love to say his name, don’t know why, it just has such and exotic and fun feel to it.) Anyway, I hesitated for a few awkward moments trying to figure out how to answer him.    I finally went with the honest answer and told him no.  Our last song leader always said he’d save me a spot to sing on Thursdays of revival weeks.  That would be great except our revivals generally run Sunday through Wednesday.  Instead, I call myself an appreciator.  Society needs artists, singers and creative minds.  Those great minds need an audience, someone to appreciate them.  That’s where I fall in, as an appreciator.  It’s a non-glamorous job, but I try to do my part. 
Posted in Healthy Living, Homeschooling, Life Lessons, My Interests

Better Is The End of a Thing…

            Ecclesiastes 7:8 says, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”  Boy howdy that’s been ringing through my mind for nearly two weeks!   Yes, it’s the beginning of another home schooling year.  I love the beginning.  I mean I really love the beginning.  It marks the return of a routine (in theory anyway).  Its precious achievements and light bulb moments all ready to burst forth like a tulip in the spring.  Yes, it’s that time of year when goals are made.  I love the moment when I get to sit down with a new pencil from Mardel’s bookstore and stick it into the electric pencil sharpener getting it as pointed as possible and smelling the sawdust and lead that is torn away.  Then, I crack open my fresh new lesson plan book, not yet marred by the eraser, and start to jot down the weeks and dates, followed by the subject headers and known holidays, the daily schedules and even lunch menus. Oh the sweet joy of a new year that is just waiting to be filled with pedagogy and field trips.
            Then, reality hits in right in the middle of my perfected schedule that I have vowed to uphold and protect.  Yes, just when I’ve sworn off any answering of phones until after noon, no appointments until after 2:00 and absolutely no thoughts of dinner preparations until at least 4:00.  Errrrt! Arghhhhh! Crash!!!!!  “Oh yeah, I already made those eye doctor appointments and dental appointments months ago.  They are at 9:00 and 10:00am during the first week of school!  Then the second week comes with the missions’ conference at church.  What’s that? Oh right I’m supposed to take people out to lunch during that week.  My kids?  Oh they’ll be fine scrounging for peanut butter and jelly.  I’m sure they’ll stay right on task all by themselves.  What?  Their teacher?  Oh yes, that’s me, but they’ll just have to deal until I can give them attention.  Yes, I’ll admit, it was real fun explaining that to my crying 10 year old this morning when she frustratingly let me know that I’ve never explained to her how I wanted her to set up her arithmetic homework page before laying into her about the sloppiness of her work.  Oh yea, we’re off to a greeeaaaat start.
            This is really nothing new to me.  I’m a melancholy sanguine…that means I smile a lot in public and go home and cry about everything.   It also means I have a tendency to start a lot of things but not finish.  Oh how I despise this flaw in my personality.  I can’t tell you how many diets, schedules and gardens I’ve started and blown.  Then comes the self-deprecation and mean talk.  Did you ever see the 1969 movie “Support Your Local Sheriff” with James Garner?  Some of my favorite lines come from that movie:
Joe Danby: I’m gonna get you for this, Jake! 
Jason McCullough: Well, you are the toughest talkin’ blowhard I ever heard! 
Or how about this one:
Joe Danby: I hear you’re gonna try and arrest me. You know you don’t look near as tough as some of them other sheriffs we’ve had lately. Particularly that old boy that done run off about an hour and a half after he took the job. 
Jason McCullough: Joe, you just make me feel tired all over when you talk like that. 
Joe Danby: Now, what do you mean by that? 
Jason McCullough: It’s bad enough to have to kill a man without having to listen to a whole lot of stupid talk from him first. 
I don’t think I’m actually schizophrenic or anything like that.  But I do have a little Joe Danby that whispers in my head and I have to pull out the “Tired all over” quote.   
I was thinking about this just this morning when I went running with the 2nd man.  Yes, surprise, we’ve got a new kick we’re on now.  I decided that since the weight lifting thing wasn’t helping me lose any weight that I needed to add more cardio.  That’s when I happened upon the Couch Potato to 5K running program online.  They insist that you will be able to run a 5K at the end of 9 weeks.  Well, we’re now in week 5, which is pretty impressive to me so far.  However, I’ve reached the stage in the program where I look at the next day’s jogging schedule and about have a panic attack.  Then I get out there and think “what are you doing out here?”  Between the heat rash and trying to keep up with 2nd man (who is exactly 1 foot taller than me), oh yeah and the asthma, I wonder if there really is a way to get this body healthy.  The program looks great on paper, but whoa it’s hard. 
            I must concede though, that doing it with 2nd man pulls some sort of stubborn reserves from me and I have made it through so far.  However, this morning, as he was congratulating me for making it to the final bell on my stopwatch, I explained that what he just witnessed was 8 straight minutes of me arguing with myself.  Truly, I need to put the headphones on and get some diversion. 
            I’ve got us scheduled to run a 5k for our local YMCA on October 1st.  Now, I have yet to reach any weight loss goals in my whole life.  I’m banking on the satisfaction of at least finishing this program and making it to this goal.  I keep saying to myself “Better is the end of a thing…Better is the end of a thing…. Better is the end of a thing.”  Of course it’s about here that I forget the end of the verse…ironic isn’t it? 
            Anyway, I’m hopeful that this will still be our best home school year ever.  It’s just our life that guarantees that the only thing that is consistent is change.  So with a flexible mind, and unwavering desire I’ll press on.  Maybe my kids will learn a lot more about life and flexibility than academics, but at least they’ll be learning.  It’s become one of my greatest desires now just to NOT be a big blowhard, but actually accomplish something…we’ll see.
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Daily Musings, Homeschooling, My Interests


        I vaguely remember when my momma learned the word minutia (pronounced mi noo sha, sorry, I don’t know how to make those little upside down e thingies).  It has to do with small trivial matters.  I don’t remember the exact time, but I remember her using the word over and over again for weeks.  It’s one of those words that seem kind of pretentious, but that’s weird since the word itself is about unpretentious trivial things in life. However, it’s fun to say and it makes all of those trivial little monster chores seem more important somehow.
As a matter of fact that’s what this post is about.  For the past two weeks my life has been totally consumed with minutia.  I mean it’s been a whirlwind of minutia, so much so that I almost had a panic attack over it the other day.  That’s one of the dangers of being a stay at home, home schooling mom.  It sounds like a boring job, but there are so many details to attend to that the word boring never gets a chanced to even be vocalized. 
Really, I tend to dig these holes myself and then jump in with eyes closed and breathing paused.  When I first married 2nd man and we were candidating at churches, they’d always ask me, “Do you sing or play the piano?”  To which I’d reply, “Well, no, but I do have other talents.”  I’ve often felt silly about that since my only other talents are that I can navigate myself around a strange city unusually well (which has helped on many youth trips so far I might add.)  And, I can over extend myself faster than you can say…well…minutia.  
Anyway, I began this little whirlwind a couple of weeks ago when I realized that I had been stowing away junk in our garage all winter in hopes of having a garage sale sometime.  It seemed like a logical task to take on since the past month has been a spending frenzy for our household.  Our girls’ bedroom furniture kept breaking.  I finally had it when I caught them simply reaching into the broken drawer front of their dresser to get underwear out of a scrunched mess that had been shoved into the designated drawer and kept falling out onto the floor.  Thus we bought them new furniture.  Then came the broken finger of my little soccer goalie and the various trips to the doctors that ensued due to the location of the fracture near a growth plate.  Did you know that putting a splint on a broken finger is considered a surgery worth over $800.00!!  Of course there was also the one-month of free shipping for the home school supplies I will need next year.  Last year I was miffed after paying nearly $100.00 in shipping alone because none of the home school displays or conventions are anywhere near where we live.  So I felt pressured to buy now.   So…. that’s what led to the great idea of a garage sale.
Garage sales really are never convenient, but I looked at our calendar and realized that last weekend was the only weekend I’d have to put this little ditty on until possibly next fall.  You see, in the youth pastors home summer is not a break time.  We will have two camps to attend, a 3-week fireworks stand to run, a trip to Chicago with a few students and an end of summer 3 day youth rally in Oklahoma City.  So, the pressure was on to get this thing done and generate a little cash.  Didn’t matter that it was the week of our church revival.
 Don’t get me wrong I love revival.  I really do enjoy getting to go to church each night of the week, hearing the word preached and fellowshipping with our church family.  However, as all moms know, revivals can sink your whole schedule.  Dinners must be ready early, children must be cleaned daily (Yes, I admit it, I flub on this one sometimes).  2nd man’s shirts must be ironed and I have the great task of making it all look effortless…ahem cough cough.  Anyway, something must give on these kinds of weeks and mine had to be my house.  I fell behind on laundry, vacuuming, dusting and somehow I managed to unscientifically make papers reproduce themselves right there on the dining room table.  I’d turn around for two minutes and a new pile would appear.  Problem was, I didn’t have time to call the Discovery Channel over this phenomenon, I was too busy looking effortless. 
I was thankful when 2nd man took Thursday off to help me get the garage sale in order.  On Friday morning I was all ready to go and everything was set up without a hitch, except I hadn’t watched the weather.  Oh the sun was out and the temperature mild, but I had picked the windiest day of the year to hold a garage sale!  I did nothing but chase items down the block all day long.  My kids joined in too.  We’d take turns getting to go inside the house for a small reprieve.  I’m thinking of sending bills to all of the neighbors who may have items in their yards still.  Imagine my horror when one young mother with two little ones asked if her daughter could use our bathroom.  Oh the embarrassment as she walked in and I, with my nervous laugh, made excuses for the way my house looked.  We’d gotten the call that the new furniture would arrive right as the garage sale ended on Saturday.  So my girl’s stuff was in boxes lining my hallway. There were stray colorful garage sale sticker dots on every thing that stood still in the house and,  I’m not sure, but I think her poor daughter was exposed to all sorts of varying dirty laundry strung all over my bathroom.  It was one of those times when you wonder, why doesn’t anyone just pop in when my house is clean?  They only seem to do it when things are a wreck.  I’d be much more prone towards this hospitality stuff it they would time themselves around my cleaning schedule. 
After a very tiring day, 2nd man took us all out to dinner with some of the proceeds of the day.  I was trying to keep my face from planting into the dinner plate at the restaurant, but the exhaustion hit my kids differently.  They were wound up like little hurricanes.  After supper they asked if we could stop for ice cream.  Are you kidding?!  2nd man and I just looked at each other.  I had the passing thought of just handing around cups full of Benadryl, but of course I wouldn’t do that.  Let’s just say bedtime couldn’t come soon enough for me. 
The next day was fast and furious as well.  The wind died down, but the schedule didn’t.  Garage sale, furniture delivery, soccer game and making dinner for friends who just moved, were just some of the items on the minutia list. Top it all off with the “Saturday, getting ready for Sunday” duties.  I hardly need to mention the Sunday schedule.  Anyone in ministry knows it is the best and busiest day of the week on any normal week.  Add to that we had a GAP (Games and Pizza) night that night with the teens.
When I finally sat down at the computer Monday morning to do some bills and other minutia, I was literally shaking.  The money, cleaning and planning was piled so high I didn’t know where to start.  Praise the Lord for his patience and understanding, a double praise for him extending some of that understanding to my family.  The minutia is still mountainous, but I’m hacking away at it little by little.  Funny how such trivial things can grow so big in our minds.  Well, I’m going to abruptly end here now, because the minutia monster calls and I must feed it.  Hope you all have a great day!
Posted in Life Lessons, My Interests, Parenting

Voice of the Martyrs and Meeting Gracia Burnham

A-mazing!!   That’s what Saturday was.  One of the things I was looking forward to (as mentioned in a previous post About the 4Ts of aniticipation Feb. 16, 2011) happened this weekend.  2nd man, our two daughters and I went to the headquarters of Voice of the Martyrs for a national conference.  I knew it would be a good day and would probably be a blessing.  But, I was so moved beyond tears that I’ve had a hard time even settling down enough to try and describe it.  Seriously, this is my third attempt at trying to put it into words.
I was a little taken aback by the fact that you couldn’t have cameras.  It drove home the reality that some of these people have to be careful because of the dangerous persecution that they could be under or could put others from their own countries under by association with them.  I would try to describe to you all of the wonderful, moving and heart wrenching stories these people shared, but it would take all day, and it did while we were there. 
We were impressed and amazed by a young, beautiful woman who goes into the dangerous jungles of Columbia with her father to spread the gospel.  She was fearless and full of faithful confidence in her Lord.  Wow, to have that boldness.  Then there was the gentleman from China who shared story after story of persecution of the Chinese.  Not stories from the past, but stories that are going on today, now in our world as we are going about our day.
Our children had quite a treat too.  The staff at Voice of the Martyrs had created a whole underground church for them out of boxes that were painted.  There was a secret tunnel to get inside there and even a prison cell.  Several of the speakers talked to them as well.  My girls were so impressed by Gracia Burnham, Tom White and the Columbian missionary’s daughter.  They got to make parachutes for the Columbians to drop over the jungle delivering radios set to Christian stations and Bible tracts.  They told me later that it was great and almost better than Bible School, which is a lot in my girls’ opinions. I was truly impressed with the level of excellence that the children’s program delivered.
Then of course there was Gracia Burnham.  The one who drew me to the conference in the first place.  Meeting the Pioneer woman a few weeks back was fantastic and exciting.  However, meeting Gracia was humbling, convicting, inspiring and just flat out awesome.  Not because of her alone, but because of what she has done through Christ.   I most certainly don’t ever wish to have the schooling of faith that she has been through, but I yearn so greatly to be so usable for Christ in such an amazing way.  Her ongoing prayer for those who were her captives is admirable as is her testimony of the entire event and how God has worked in her life since.  2nd man was impressed that even after all this time and multiple chances to share her testimony and so forth, she still gets moved by talking about her late husband and his testimony.  She challenged us to pray more and do more.
  2nd man and I had to go out to the car at the break that followed and just debrief a little.  Are we doing enough?  Does God really want us here? Or does he want us to go?  Where?  Japan?  Africa? Philippines? South America?  We’ve always tried to pray that we’d be willing to go wherever he leads.  But are we really meaning it?  Do we need a supernatural sign or a swift kick out of the plane to go?  Or does God just expect us to do it? 
One thing we know for sure is that wherever we are we need to be doing more no matter if we’re being called away or made to stay.  Honestly, it sometimes feels like we’re spending our time trying to convince Christian teens to act like Christians.  Not to mention ourselves, and all the adults around us too.  We are such a spoiled people here that we can get caught up and passionate, but it feels like it’s usually about our own selves instead of the souls of others. 
I found myself today praying so passionately for those Christian brothers and sisters in Christ who are in prisons or captivity around the world today and truly being able to enter into their needs.  What sweet time I was able to spend with the Lord and feeling like I was doing something, fighting for something in a real way not just routine.  How freeing it feels to be able to truly commune with God and have a real sense that he is there, listening and responding.  It’s almost like a part of my faith had been missing, lost in my utter selfishness.  For all of the complaints I have about life and little worries from day to day, I hope God will forgive and still use me or at least my family in some way to further his kingdom.  Across the world Christians are facing death of body by some terrorist or evil government, while we here in America are only asked to face death of self and so many (myself included) are unwilling to face that kind of death.
Gracia Burnahm and me after I’d been crying most of the day .

On a lighter note I have to give you my impression of meeting Gracia Burnham and her daughter too.  Can you say gracious?  Just like her name suggests.  I found myself just melting into her arms at first.  Here was my big chance to say all these wonderful thoughts about her and I was like a blubbering idiot.  Really, I’m so embarrassed by it.  I wanted to explain how I’d heard about her book from a missionary’s wife that was going into a persecuted nation and how it had touched me so deeply.  How I had left off all that I was supposed to do that day and just read through the entire book in one sitting etc.  But, there I stood feeling so overwhelmed by inadequacy that thankfully 2nd man stepped in and saved the day.  He started talking with her and they were like old friends.  She was so engaging and didn’t act like she was in a hurry to get away or anything.  She signed both of my books and hugged me again.  Wow!!  Sometimes you meet people like this and they want to be that way, but they’re just time constrained and too many people are around all wanting a piece of them so they are almost forced to act standoffish.  But she didn’t I was so honored to have bent her ear and to have my children meet her too!  Oh, I pray the impression will be burnt in their minds and memories. 

Posted in Daily Musings, My Interests

Meeting the Pioneer Woman

Oh boy oh boy oh boy, I finally met her…The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond.  I wrote in an earlier post about my excitement to attend her book signing.  Well, here went the day.  I woke up earlier than everyone (not unusual) then stocked myself on coffee and hurried everyone awake and ready.  I rushed 2nd man out the door so I could take off soon after him.  Been trying hard lately to get in treadmill time, but this day…it didn’t matter.  I had to get to the bookstore early because they were actually passing out line numbers to meet her in the afternoon.  (Oh, I should mention that my mother-in-law came to be with the kiddos while I did this.)
     Don’t you know that every stoplight lasted extra long that day?  I had been prayerful that morning about it, asking the Lord to allow me this little fun excursion of a day.  So, I had it in my head that if there was a crazy long line that I’d just have to leave my books with the bookstore manager and have them signed without meeting her.  I was worried, because it fell on a Wednesday and I was pretty sure that 2nd man and the Lord wouldn’t appreciate me skipping church for this.  Anyway, as the Lord would have it there was hardly anybody there yet.  The bookstore was to open at 9:00 am to start handing out tickets and I arrived at 8:38 am.  I kind of felt like one of those crazy people you see who camp out on sidewalks to get tickets to a concert or event.  Oh well, at least I wasn’t alone.
            There were five others there before me.  So yes, if you do the math that made me #6!!! I bragged about it all day on facebook and to pretty much anyone I met at the store or wherever.  The lady directly in front of me had come from a few hours away and had to get up at 3:00 am to get here, but I wasn’t about to call her crazy.  I was also relieved to see the pastor’s daughter of another church of like faith in our town.  Since I hadn’t and sadly still haven’t had the chance to read this new book I was worried that I was lining up to get a book signed that could be dirty.  I’m not usually this trusting of an author, but I do know that she doesn’t believe in discussing hanky panky on her blog, so I’m trusting she didn’t write about it in her book.  Ha…ha…he (that’s the sound of nervous laughter and a twitching eye).
            Now, some of my facebook friends took the liberty to call me crazy for lining up to get a book and a cookbook signed.  To them I say thphhhhht!  It’s not often that I can enjoy the wit and humor of a secular author.  Let alone wit and humor when it comes to cooking.  But, this lady has a knack for it that I enjoy, and it’s even inspired me to try out new cooking techniques.  It is also what inspired me to start blogging.  Mine isn’t nearly as fancy or sophisticated a blog as hers, but she inspired it nonetheless.
            At some point in the early afternoon I jumped my girls because they weren’t getting their schoolwork done fast enough.  I’m not proud of this, but I’m thankful for daughters that simply understand that their momma is a little crazy sometimes.  I think they were a little awestruck by my excitement of this whole deal.  They even knew I was going to shamelessly use them for their new cameras (Christmas gifts from Nana) so I could have pictures of proof for this whole event.  Then, somewhere around 3:00 I started getting nervous.  Why was I doing this?  What is one supposed to say at these things?  Do I go into spiels about how wonderful she is?  Or do I act cool and just walk on through as she signs?  This is my one chance to meet her, is it even polite to take pictures?  As you can see I’m not a very well versed devotee.
            About 3:30 or so I piled my girls in the car and left little guy with his Nana.  We went up to the bookstore and I was amazed at the crowd that had already gathered.  The newspaper people were there and just about every woman in this town.  We found our spot near the front of the line and the girls found books and sat on the floor reading to pass the time.  As it got closer my palms started sweating.  Good grief!  I felt like one of those silly Michael Jackson fans or something.  The Pioneer Woman was running a little bit late getting there and the lady standing behind me started huffing, “I just wanted to get a signature and go already.”  She was getting very impatient.  Her line number was actually before me, which made me wonder, “if it wasn’t such a big deal to her and she was in such a hurry, why did she get up so early to get a line number?”  I just smiled and enjoyed watching all of the conversations going on around me. 
            When she finally made it, the applause took over.  She answered a few questions at the beginning before signing any books.  Someone asked her what her day was like and I loved her answer.  It went something like this, “We did school, and some more school and a little more school.  Around 1:00 I washed some dirty pans in the sink from last night and about 1:30 I took a shower.”  A 1:30 shower!  I love it.  Can you believe she’s like… human?
            When I was nearly to the front of the line 2nd man called me.  Again, I’m ashamed to say I answered something like, “I’m about to meet the Pioneer Woman, can I help you right now?”  Thankfully I have a gracious and humorous husband.  He knew I was excited.  I told my girls to take lots of pictures.  I figured between the two of them at least one good picture should come of it.  (Actually they’re both better photographers than me.)  I felt silly when I asked her to sign my books “to the 2nd mans wife” She cocked an eyebrow and I quickly explained the title and that I was inspired to blog because of her.  However, I didn’t exactly tell a lot of local people about my blog because it’s sometimes about people in the church, but not bad stuff.  Anyway, I rambled something like this.  She was gracious.  I’m pretty sure she probably didn’t understand a word I said.  She’s nice like that.  I asked her if I could have a picture taken with her.  Then I asked if I could put it on my blog.  She laughed at me and said, “of course!”  Was that a stupid question?  Anyway, the two newspaper ladies asked the girls if they wanted to come around and get in a picture too.  We were holding up the line of like, well…several hundred people.  Ah who cares!  This was my big chance.  Thank you Lord for big chances. 
            Afterwards, I was on a bit of a high.  I called 2nd man back, after we left and he started explaining why he called, but then said he’d talk to me later, because I seemed a little high and excited.  I guess I was talking fast.  I told my girls, “Just think, if that was so exciting, just to meet a lady who writes books.  Imagine how exciting it will be to meet Jesus some day!”  I know it may sound cheesy, like I’m trying to spiritualize it, but it’s true, just think about it!  Anyway, I’m thankful the Lord allowed me to have this little bit of excitement in my week.  It made a very special memory and I’m sure my girls will talk about the day their momma acted like a swooning fan.
Posted in Daily Musings, My Interests

4Ts of Anticipation

            Here it is midway through February and I find myself with this eager feeling of anticipation.  I love anticipation.  I find it both motivating and invigorating.  It’s no wonder, after two weeks of being stuck in the house with record-breaking snow and low temperatures.  I know those who live north of here think me a whiny wimp, but hey, I’m a whiny wimp.  Here are my four T’s of anticipation that I’m dwelling on today:
My baby Crabtree, hoping for big things from her this spring.

Turning Seasons  

Today is projected to be about 73 degrees.  Wow!  With temperatures like this it brings on the anticipation of spring.  I keep finding myself staring out our living room window to our backyard.  I have plans and can hardly wait to get out there.  I know that there will still be some cold days ahead, so I must restrain this feeling.  However, it is motivating for plan making.  There’s to be a vegetable garden between our house and my mother in law’s cottage.  I am excited to see our Crabapple trees we bought last year burst into full bloom, along with our redbud tree.  I’m itching to get out into the flowerbeds and clean them out.  Oh the dreams I’m having.  2nd man will be getting scared pretty soon if this nice weather lingers long.  The dollar signs and honey-dos keep adding up in his eyes when I get this way.

A Tribute

            The next thing I’m anticipating is a book signing by the Pioneer Woman, a local celebrity, because of her cookbook and blog next week at our local bookstore.  She has a new book out about how she met her husband.  Honestly I don’t really know much about the new book, but I have her best-selling cookbook and love it.  I’m hoping it isn’t rude to bring an older book to a book signing.  I just love her wit and humor…really…the cookbook is a good read.   I even got an apple green Dutch oven for Christmas from the 2nd man.  I imagine myself posing like her on the cover of her book, wishing I were a good cook.  Anyway, I’m taking my daughters to this book signing so that they can snap pictures of me meeting the Pioneer Woman.  I’m not usually a fan of people like this.  I don’t get moved much by movie stars or singers, but someone who can help me do better at something I already have to do and make it fun too…well, that’s someone I admire.

A Talk     

In March I’m anticipating something so exciting.  2nd man, our kids, and I are going to the headquarters of The Voice of the Martyrs in Bartlesville, OK to a regional conference.  I’ve been so caught up in reading books about martyred or tortured missionaries this year and can hardly wait to go.  The first book along these lines that I read was several years ago, when I read the book In the Presence of My Enemies, by Gracia Burnham.  She and her husband were missionaries to the Philippines and were taken captive by Muslim terrorists.  Her husband was killed on the day of their rescue.  I remember just throwing a whole afternoon away; because I couldn’t put her book down to do anything else.  Anyway, she’s going to be one of the speakers at this conference and I can hardly wait to see and hear her along with three other speakers.  They’re having a kids program as well.  This is something about which I feel burdened to have my kids learn about.  So that they can see beyond themselves a little and realize what others are doing in the world for Christ. You can read more about the organization at

A Trip

Now, finally the piece de resistance of my anticipation is a trip the 2nd man and I will be taking a trip in April.  I wrote in a previous blog post, about a young evangelist, David Corn, who used to be in our youth department. Soon after seeing him in December, we heard that he and his girlfriend, Joy, had gotten engaged.  Just a couple of weeks ago he called and asked the 2nd man to be a groomsman in his wedding!  The catch is that the wedding is in Pennsylvania.  2nd man and I discussed this and agreed that he couldn’t say no, both for himself, and for David.  Not only is it an honor, but a privilege and one of those memories that need to be made for longevity’s  sake.  When our Megan had been asked to be a flower girl in another of our previous teens weddings, I was on a high for weeks feeling honored and realizing that some do listen.  I believe 2nd man needs this for a shot in the arm of usability. 

Megan and I at Amy and Ryan’s wedding

I’m excited, for the wedding, the time with 2nd man and the airplane trip.  It’s not my first time on a plane by any means, but anyone who knows me, knows I love to fly. 2nd man is also going to take me around Philadelphia, since I’ve never been there too. I can’t wait for this trip and to blog about it afterwards. 


Amy and my Megan


Yes, I’m full of anticipation like a kid at Christmas.  I feel fresh and motivated and…hey…with alliteration like this I could almost preach it!  Just kidding (fundamental Baptist remember J )  Anyway, wishing everyone a happy week full of anticipation like daffodil bulbs poking their noses up to see if it’s time to sprout out. 

Posted in Life Lessons, My Interests

Missionary Friend: Dalene Clark

            This is my dear friend Dalene.  She’s a missionary wife in Germany.  Her birthday was this week and that had me thinking about her and how special she is.  I met Dalene when 2nd man and I moved out here to Oklahoma in 1998.  She and her husband were doing their internship at out church and had been there only a few months by the time we arrived.  We had much that was not in common; she was already a mother, her background in a Christian school and Bible college weren’t anything like mine.  However, we had something that was in common, we were both young and new in the ministry.  This is a tie that can bond greatly. 
     I remember sitting in her driveway one night years ago.  We had been to some sort of event (I can’t even remember what it was).  Anyway, we both started opening up and sharing about the insecurities, and the challenges and criticisms of being in the ministry.  It was like a breath of relief for me that night.  I’ve said it before, but I’m really stunted one on one.  So when I do find dear friends in whom I can relate, I just cherish it so much in my heart.  I felt like she was affirming all of my new shocking awareness of being in the ministry. 
     I also remember being at summer camp in 1999. Dalene was there with us and we had our bunks next to each other just like the teen girls do.  It was then that I realized I might be pregnant for the first time.  We somehow got off campus and into the local Wal-Mart to get a test.  Back at the camp, we snuck into the nastiest abandoned bathroom there to take it and I found out that I was pregnant.  Somehow sharing that moment was again, so special to me.  I also miscarried that baby and Dalene was there to cry with me.
     When I was pregnant again with our oldest daughter, Dalene also played a special role.  She was pregnant with her third, which made my pregnancy so much more fun, being able to share and compare.  The day I had Katie, I was up early and feeling the pain.  I called Dalene first, (scared that if I was just overreacting, others would laugh at me).  I told her what I was feeling, to which she replied, “It sounds like you’re starting labor!  Just relax and take a walk, though, it’s gonna be a while before anything happens.”  I remember hanging up the phone and dropping to my knees in pain.  “Wow!” I thought to myself, “She must be like a super-hero momma or something.  Walk?!  I can’t even stand!”  Katie, arrived just a couple of hours later and Dalene and I both laughed about that one. 
     Three months later her daughter, Kyndall, was born and not long after that, they boarded the plane for Germany.  I respect Dalene, for her bravery and willingness to follow God and her husband wherever they lead her, away from her parents and family, and away from friends and familiarity.  She studied all about the culture and had to learn how to cook differently.  She even gave birth to two more kids over there!  2nd man and I have often prayed that we’d be willing if God should lead us into missions.  So far, no calling.  However, if He ever did, I hope I have the bravery and gusto of Dalene Clark.
     I don’t get to talk to her much anymore.  We sometimes keep in contact via emails and such, but, I do miss her camaraderie and vigor. 
    Happy Birthday, Dalene.  I pray that God blesses you beyond measure this next year.