Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What's In A Name? pt 1

   Last week I was asked to head up the games at the birthday party of one of my daughter's friends. After searching the Internet for some time  I was not very satisfied with what I was finding...or more the lack thereof. Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of games. But they were all geared towards 'princessy' vain little girls...the girls at this birthday party were far from that. They are all being taught to be mature,accomplished young ladies that will one day have a home of their own. I needed a game that would be both fun and stimulating as well as challenging and thought provoking. The more I prayed that God would give me wisdom and help me find the right games, He brought something to mind.
  A long time ago when my teenagers were little I made the rule that NO one is ever allowed to say they are 'bored'. I came up with a game of 'Guess What Animal I Am?' The person that is 'it' begins to describe an animal and the others try to be the first one to guess what it is. The Lord gave me the idea of using this as a basis but instead of animals, have the girls guess what woman of the Bible I was describing. Not only would this be fun but I could also teach a small lesson concerning each woman and how they changed their world.
  The first woman I chose was of course, Eve, the mother of all mankind! Since we had such a variety of young ladies at the party I used her for the youngest ones to guess. They really had a great time! The application of course was something that I could even take to heart!
  Eve, the crown of God's creation! She completed Man! That is what every woman is to her man...a completion! There is something very important that we need to know about ourselves as women though. In 1 Peter 3:7 God says 'Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them(women) according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.' In this day and time that we live in there is such a pull on girls from the time that they can start walking to be 'strong' and career oriented, being taught to not let man have dominance over them. Weaker in this sense does not mean not strong.
  Let's look at the difference between a  coffee mug and a china tea cup. They both have the same job to do and that is to hold a very hot liquid.   It is very obvious though that the mug can take more 'abuse' and pressure while the tea cup is dainty and fragile. It is the same with us women, whether we admit it or not! Oh, yes, we can be strong spiritually, mentally, emotionally and even sometimes physically but not in the same way a man can be. We can even be stronger than a man..even 'our' man, but not for very long. It is just not the way that God made us! I love the verse in Proverbs 31:17 speaking of the Virtuous Woman 'She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.' To gird means to put on. A man is strong all the time...we woman do not always need to be so but we must be willing, by God's grace and through His power, to be strong when the occasion calls for it.
  Being the 'delicate' vessel, Eve, was deceived in the Garden of Eden, not Adam. It is very easy for us woman to be deceived as well....after all, we all follow in our mother's footsteps! We must guard against this! As Christian women we must teach the younger generation to not listen to the lies of Satan through outlets such as Hollywood and music. God is not a cookie cutter god. Just look around us and see the variety and difference in us all! He did not make us to be fashion models and it is so sad to see that as a focus amongst women of all ages. We need to embrace the way that God has made us and learn to accept ourselves as His creation! Romans 9:20 says 'Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?' No, it is not easy, but by His grace we can  learn to accept ourselves as He has made us.
  We also need to learn why we were created. Satan has filled so many hearts with the lies of feminism. Why would any woman want to have or hold the same place as a man? Because she has been told a lie! We, women, are the crowning of God's creation! Why would we want to be like a man? Why would we want the same responsibilities? We hold power in our hands and we do not even realize it! Remember the sayings 'Behind every good man is a good woman' and 'The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world'? We need to get back to the basics! We can change this world!! Not by joining the realms of politics ourselves but by rearing our boys to!! We need to begin to teach our little girls how to love their husbands and support them, not to compete with them! And that starts in the home, with us!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Deer me!!!!

 My earliest memories of a deer, outside of Bambi, would be from my maternal grandfather, Hugh Fillingim.  My cousin and I were spending the day with him and we happened upon the poor beast hanging upside down in our grandfather's laundry room. Not the best way to introduce a little 5 year old city girl to rustic life.
  My next memory is when I was a bit older, maybe 7 or 8. I was spending some time during the summer with my aunt and uncle. My aunt had made us what I thought was turkey sausage from the local grocers. Boy, was it good!! After I had finished eating my lunch I was asked what I thought about it. You can only imagine my surprise when I found out that it was deer meat.
  Fast forward a few years to age 10. I am getting something out of the refrigerator and see this funny looking package. You guessed it, deer meat. I remember my dad cooking it and thinking it stinks...REAL bad. My mother said it was because it went bad (ya right!!)
 I was born and raised in the city. I was not familiar with ANY thing country. I vaguely remember my grandfather and my great grandmother gardening but it was not a way of our life.
  Somewhere along the way of getting to know my husband (while we were dating) he had mentioned hunting. But it never fazed me and I just listened never thinking that it might possibly be something that I would become more familiar with down the road.
  Fast forward again, and I am now 23. We have a 7 month old and I am expecting another baby. We now live in South Dakota. Good bye city, hello prairie. It is hunting season and my husband's cousins and some of his friends are going stir crazy over deer season. You would think they were taking steroids or something. My husband, who did hunt while a teenager, is caught up in the excitement.  I am about to get the experience of a life time! We wait the magic 3 days (which is a bunch of hooey if you ask me!) until it is time to butcher and I mean butcher the poor thing.
 We go to his cousin's house, who claims to be an expert at all things deer, and I am in for the shock of my life. His wife goes and gets a shower curtain, they move all the chairs away from the kitchen table and then in comes my husband and his cousin with not just a deer but one that has been skinned! I just about fell over! There is NO way I'm touching that thing!!! But touch I did! Thankfully my job was to rinse and package the meat. But I was taking too long for his cousin. He just didn't understand! There was a weird, slimy substance covering the meat and ALL of it was coming off before I packaged it. Well, that didn't last long because I was being too picky. How in the world can you be too picky over raw meat?!
  The only meat I ate from that deer were the 'steaks' and I fried mine to a crisp and drenched them in ketchup! After that experience I could always tell when one of our acquaintances had been cooking deer meat. It had a stench to it that is worse than fish!!!!
  My husband respected the fact that I did not care for deer meat and for that I am ever so grateful! Funny thing is our children absolutely love it! I always tried to hide my distaste for it because I did not want influence them concerning this. About 2 years before we left South Dakota another cousin of my husbands moved out there. Now he could cook, grill, BBQ, jerky, etc deer meat! It didn't smell or taste like what everyone elses smelled or tasted like. It wasn't too bad after all! The sad thing is my husband wasn't drawn in the 'lottery' (the way they choose who gets to hunt in SD) and I never was able to cook deer the way his cousin did.
 But don't fret, I don't loose any sleep over it. Being born in Texas, I grew up on steak. And that is what I prefer to eat, well, that and Mexican food, until the day I die!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Random Thoughts

 Last night my husband made a comment concerning a couple we know. He wondered how in the world did 'she' end up with 'him'?! I found his question a bit funny! Though I had thought the match unlikely I never questioned it...I just filled in my own conclusions by taking what I know of him and and what I know of her and realizing that they were not so unlikely of a match as what you might think.
  Have you ever noticed that there are more 'pretty' girls with not so handsome men? And that is it very rare that you find an ugly girl with a very handsome man. Ever wonder why? I think I might have an idea.
 This is what I told my husband concerning the afore mentioned couple. I bet he makes her laugh...she feels secure when she is with him...he 'gives' her worth and meaning....and even though she might not be as beautiful as Miss America, he makes her feel beautiful....from the inside out...which is a beauty that goes far deeper than physical beauty.
 Most good looking men want a woman that either compares with their looks or exceeds them. A woman on the other hand...well...that is a completely different story. Though looks are nice, we would rather be with someone that likes us for who we are, not what we look like. The man could be the ugliest man on earth, but if he makes you laugh, or values you, cherishes you, you can see past his looks...you can his his heart. And that's what really matters to a woman!
  For a woman, sometimes physical beauty can be a curse! A woman would much rather be loved for what is on the inside than for what is on the outside. We(women) are all to aware of the fact that with time the physical beauty will wither and fade, that it is the inner beauty of the woman that will last. It takes a real man to realize this as well!
  True beauty, whether you are a man or a woman, lies within. And if you are a Christian, Christ deepens that beauty with His strength and love and joy and grace.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Conflict of Interest

 Have you ever been torn betwixt two? Two decisions of upmost importance? As a mom that homeschools her children I have found myself in this place on more than one occassion. This time the ugly culprit was the chicken pox.
  My husband thinks of me as a 'go to' kind of girl. Give me something to do or that needs to be done and I have analyzed it, made a list, and have already employed several of our children to help accomplish the task. So as a homeschooling mother I look at our studies in this same way! Analyze what needs to be done for the day, make a list (even if it's a mental one) and then work away at it until it is finished. My problem with this is when our children are sick. It is so hard for me to just let them be, well, sick. It is not in my lesson plans, I have no place for it on my 'list' and it is just down right aggrivating (tongue in cheek!)
  Dealing with colds or the flu is one thing...the chicken pox...well, that has been a whole new ball game!! We had 3 sick children...that is half of my student body!!!! What to do?!?!? I struggled so hard with myself. I felt obligated to that part of me that is a die hard 'get it done' mentality and yet I felt guilty for 'gently' encouraging them to try do get at least some of their school work done.
  So one night, while laying in bed I was pouring my heart to my husband over feeling guilty because we were not getting the amount of school work accomplished that I thought we needed to. My husband, who is so very practical (my anchor) just looked at me and said 'You need to be their mom,not their school teacher.'
  Ah! How could I stray so far away from what I am? I am a mother to our children before I am a teacher in the academic sense. If they were enrolled in a traditional school they would not be doing school work. No, they would be cuddled on the couch and I would be watching over them and trying to make them as comfortable as possible. The teacher in me did not have time for sickness, but the mother in me would make sure they were well taken care of.
 Mothers. especially mothers that are stay at home moms/homeschooling moms, wear many, many, many different 'hats'. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that the most important  'hat' to wear, at all times, is that of mother!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cake Pop Try Outs!

 If you know anything about me it's that I have several different fetishes...shoes, purses, bags, at one time even diaper bags. But my very favorite one of all would be cookbooks! I have always loved reading as a child. My mother was always particular not only about the content of the books I read but also the lay out. There is just something special about a well written book that is beautifully illustrated! I am the same way! When each one of our children were born I joined a children's book club. I looked for cute, practical and meaningfully written books whose pictures would also capture the child's attention and imagination.
  I think that is how I look at cook books.  I really didn't cook much before I was married. I helped my dad in the kitchen mostly....we were like the Lone Ranger and Tonto...we defeated the evilness of hunger with the wholesome goodness of GREAT food!
  I began collecting recipes off of the cans of Campbell soup and tucked them away in a cute little green recipe box...some of which I used quite a bit and others...welllll...maybe one day! I received my very first cook book as a wedding gift. It was a very thick Better Homes and Garden one. I used it so much that it is in segments. Definitely well loved!
  But my collection was actually started by my mother-in-law. One year for Christmas I made several different kinds of homemade cookies and wrapped them in festive packaging, including the recipe for each one along with the gift. the next year Debbie(my mother-in-law) bought me a Pampered Chef  pizza stone and a cook book by the name of 1,001 Cookie Recipes....I was hooked! I loved the colored photos and easy to follow layout! Once she found out, several more cook books followed! I have been collecting ever since!!
  When we lived in South Dakota I had a very small kitchen. I was starving for space! My cookbooks were all crammed in a cabinet. My husband and I brainstormed on what we could do to give me some more counter space. I came up with idea of putting up shelving above our stove to put our microwave...we added a shelf above that and wha~la! I found a new home and a way to display my beloved cook books!
  Now that we have moved to Missouri I am looking for that creative way to display my cook books, again! Right now I have my 'special' ones in a wooden crate on my 'big' counter...eventually I would love to find more crates to add to it so I can display the rest of my books and have them easily accessible.
  My newest addition to my collection is the Cake Pop recipe/how to book by Bakerella! I normally check out the book/magazine isle whenever I go grocery shopping. When I first laid eyes on the cover of her book there was an instant attraction! When I picked it up and looked through it...I was gone...hopelessly in love! The pictures, the layout, the instructions were everything a girl could want in a cookbook (I feel the same way about The Pioneer Woman's cookbook, too...love at first look through)
  I didn't buy it the first time I saw it, or the second, or the third....with 6 children there are just some things that are more important to buy :) But when Barry's parents sent me money for my birthday, I knew EXACTLY what I was going to buy....you guessed it....The Cake Pop book! I have had it in my possession for about 2 weeks now and every chance I get I pore over it...reading about the different techniques and recipes...and her pictures...just SO sweet and cute!! All I needed was the right occasion to make them. Ah! My birthday!! My husband and I have invited several couples to dine with us at a local Mexican restaurant for dinner tonight to celebrate me turning one year older. I got to thinking how funny it is that we go all out sometimes for party favors for children but not for adults. Sometimes it's just good to let your hair down and enjoy life! So I bought cupcake boxes, mini Reeces peanut butter cups,mini M&M's, and Teddy Bear Grahms..all to put in the bottom of the boxes. I got out my book and started making the cake pops (actually balls, without the sticks) I used a butter pecan flavored cake mix and cream cheese frosting. I bought pink and brown chocolate candies that you can melt. The pink candy did not turn out as smooth..some of the balls looked pretty rough...but the chocolate was allot easier to work with. I decorated the pink balls with chocolate accents and the chocolate balls with pink accents. The overall look was very pretty and dainty.
  Now time for the taste testing! I called out to my 6 children...they were game!!! Drum roll, please.....4 out 6 really liked them! I just had to try one...hmmm.....definitely sweet!, not too crazy about the texture though, but I'm weird like that, texture is just as important as the taste...I think I added too much frosting to the mix...but overall they are definitely worth making again!!! Then waiting for the ultimately taste testing judge to arrive home from work...because above all else, his opinion matters most! And he loves them!!!!!

Public Interaction

 Yesterday was our errand day. A day that is set aside every week to, well, run errands, go grocery shopping, and anything else that either needs to be done or just wants to be done. Since 3 out of 6 children have the chicken pox I decided to take our middle son with me. I thought it would be great to get to spend some one on one time with him!
  We had a breakfast date at McDonalds. Despite the nasty weather, I was surprised at how many people where there between the ages of 50 and 70+. There were also younger people, most of which were either talking on their phones, bluetooths, or texting. It just struck me how much technology  has evolved since I was a teenager. The different ways in which we can communicate with people all across the world is just amazing! Then something else caught my attention...with all of these devices we are using to communicate with we are neglecting the most important ones....verbal and physical communication with those that are right there around us. Yes, they may be strangers...but eye contact, a nice smile and a cheerful hello can change  some one's day for the better! You never know what someone else is going through! Being quite shy, myself, it hasn't always been easy to practice this! And when I have 6 children with me while I'm shopping or taking care of business I sometimes to forget to think of others in this way.
 A kind smile, a nod, or even just trying to stop and chat can have an impact on someone. I can think of times in my life when I was struggling with something..and even just to have a smile on my face was hard to do..but then some one went out of their way to say hi or pay some form of compliment and it lifted my spirits and helped me realize that what I was dealing with or going through was just a portion of my life and would eventually pass.
  While my son and I were eating an older woman had been watching us and began to comment on Levi's gentleman-like behavior. She bemoaned the fact that children and teenagers are so different than what they used to be in years gone by. My response; that allot of it had to do with their upbringing and parents. And it just made me think that we do not live and die to ourselves. It is very normal for people to stop and talk to me when I have 4 or more of our children with me...but never when I just have one or two. It made me realize that we all touch someone, some how and in some way.
  For the rest of the day I made it a point to smile at everyone and try to engage someone else in conversation. You know what I found out?! That it did me good! My heart felt full and some how happier. Even though I did not know these people by interacting with them it made a difference in my day! Though cold, cloudy, dark and rainy outside it felt like the sun was shining and the birds were singing!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What Memories Are Made Of

  This morning as I was in bed I started to think of my maternal grandfather, Hugh Fillingim. He passed away just before our 2nd son was born...that was over 12 years ago! I was unable to attend his funeral..but I did have the opportunity to visit with him in the hospital months before.
  My first memories of him make me smile!! When I was little we lived in apartments. My mom would take me with her over to his house to do our laundry. I remember he always had Tab or Mr.Pib for her. He also had Nutterbutters that he would share with me..for they were his favorite. Funny, I cannot stand peanut butter but to this day I love Nutterbutters!!!
  Papa was a smoker. And mom would tell me the evils of smoking and that I should share those with him for he might listen to me since I was little! One day while at his house, he was out, and my mother was busy in the laundry room. I walked into his den and saw his package of cigarettes on the coffee table. Since they were SO bad I began to take them out of the package one by one and break them in half...I think I might have been 3 or 4 at the time. When my mother came in and saw what I had done she just about had a fit!!! I find that quite funny now that I'm an adult. What did she expect me to do?!?! After all they were bad and could cause cancer...I was just helping him out!!!
 Papa planted a garden and grew sunflowers. I remember on one of these said laundry trips seeing a huge, black garbage bag in his kitchen full of sunflower seeds!
  He also had a neighbor by the name of Mrs.Duckwall. From what I can remember she wasn't the nicest neighbor, to a shy little girl was scary!!! Mrs.Duckwall had 2 little black and white dogs. I was not allowed to pet them when they were in her back yard. Well, you know how that goes! I stuck my little hand through the chain link fence and tried to pet one on the head....and while I did the other one lifted his leg and peed on my hand! Needless to say I never tried to pet them again!!
   My grandfather also liked to hunt. One day my cousin Jarrod and I were both there. It seems to me that maybe our mothers had gone out and we were spending the day with Papa. While he was busy my cousin went exploring in the house, something we didn't really do allot of. He cracked open the door to the laundry room and then told me he had found something I just HAD to come and see. So as I reluctantly followed him, my grandfather having been somewhere behind us, he threw open the door and to my utter horror there hung poor Bambi, upside down!!! My cousin was thrilled with my response as any boy is at that age! And then from out of no where I hear my Papa ask if we want to touch it!!! I just about passed out!!!
  Right outside the laundry room door hung a little rectangular 'box' on the wall. Sometimes it would make a little noise. Upon asking what it was my Papa told me that a little man lived inside of the box. I believed him!! When I  visited the house as a teenager I had to laugh at myself...it was an air freshener!!! But it just amazed that I never questioned him or asked to see the little man!!!
  When I started school my mom worked \for the public schools as a bus driver. She would drop me off at Papa's house early in the morning and he would take me to school. I remember watching the Captain America cartoon before school and thinking that I would marry him(Captain America) when I grew up!!! I suppose that is where my patriotism was born...lol.
  My grandparents were divorced before I was born. One day while at my house my mom was talking to my grandfather on the phone. She said he had a question that he wanted to ask me. I couldn't have been very old...probably 5 or 6. I remember him asking me if I wanted a new grandmother. To this day I can recollect the picture in my mind's eye. She was tall and slender with a black beehive hairdo and was very sweet and grandmotherly...so I instantly said that I would love to have a new grandmother. Boy was I shocked!! The woman he married was just about the opposite of what I had imagined...but that's another story!
  We moved away from Texas when I was 15. My mother asked me to write to him. She was concerned for his salvation and he would not talk to her about it saying that it was a personal matter. So over the year we would write back and forth. I was a summer missionary for CEF and while telling him all about what I was learning, he shared with me his testimony as a 12 year boy accepting Christ. he said that they didn't have baptismal pools in church so ever so often the ranchers would get together and they would baptize converts in a horse trough.
  My grandfather was a recovering alcoholic. I didn't know much about that part of his li\fe. I do know that my mother's oldest sister convinced him to go to AA and that my mom and her other siblings would go with him and support him. I also know that he touched many lives through AA and that he helped many other struggling men. He also would speak at public schools about his addiction and how he overcame it.
  Papa was also a WWII vet. He earned the Purple Heart. Reading through his memoirs you would never know that! He was a very humble man, never speaking highly of himself. He was a gunner on a transport ship and he does tell some stories of shooting down the Kamikazes which all I can assume is when he earned his Purple Heart. When his time of service was up he asked to re-enlist but was not able to because was flat footed. Just from reading his memoirs I think he was quite saddened and disappointed because he was good enough to draft to help fight the war but not good enough to keep afterwards....
  I am so thankful for the heritage that God has blessed me with! Life and people are not perfect....but we all touch someone....what memories are you leaving behind?!