Saturday, November 16, 2013

Prep for next weekend....

So next weekend is gun season here.  I got an antler less deer tag for the first time.    I thought it might be a good idea to go climb up in the deer stand before it is 4:30 in the morning and I have to be stealthy quiet.  So Joe and I headed out early this morning (not as early as it will be next Saturday morning) to do a test run. 

So here I am  in the tree.  You can't tell in the picture, but that is a good 18 feet up in the air.  Believe me, it felt a whole lot more like 50 feet.  In the distractions of the morning, I failed to get a picture of the steps headed up to the stand.  You can kind of see the tops of them to the left of me in the picture.

Here is a close up.  (It almost took Joe as long to get the camera figured out as it did me climbing the tree for the first time.  Haha...just kidding....sort of.)  If you look really close you can see the "tracks of my tears".  Wow...there were some tears shed heading up that thing the first time.  And there may have been some sobbing as I worked my way down.  It took me more than a couple of tries to work up the courage to get it climbed and seated.  I stayed up there for awhile....had Joe walk around to where my shooting range was...and took a couple of pictures.
This is the view from my stand.  I am told it is quite pretty as the sun comes up.  I was trying to enjoy it, but he SWAYING TREE kept distracting me for some reason.  So I came down from the tree.  We walked over to Joe's stand which is about 100 yards from mine.  Then we came back to mine and I went up and down it like a pro.  I knew if I went up and down it once without dying that I would be fine.  And I was.  I should be fine next weekend.  Which is why we set up this:
Yep, a blind.  Seriously, I am planning on hunting from the tree stand, but if it is really windy or rainy, I am not climbing the tree.  And a final picture.....

This is my handsome hunting guide.  At this particular moment he is explaining to me how I want to make sure I unzip the screen of the blind when I shoot or the entire blind could go up in flames.  Good to know....I didn't want to interrupt and let him know I had already figured that out.  He was in his guide mode.  And what a great guide he is.  I wouldn't want to be 100 yards away from anyone else next week.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bow Season

Yes, it is indeed deer bow season here in middle America.  Joe took last week off and his dad came out so they could spend some time in the woods.  After a pouring rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, the weather was absolutely gorgeous.  I guess the deer thought so too, as they were really  moving around the end of the week.  (and you didn't need to be hunting to realize this....I am afraid several cars hit some too.)  They went with our friend Rick and they all three had great success.

Here is Joe with his nice 10 point

All three of the guys with their beautiful bucks.


Ashley competed for her second year in speech this fall.  She had districts a couple of weeks ago and this past Friday evening was her state competition.  Last year she just performed a solo.  This year she stretched herself and performed with a team improv group and did a duet.  At districts her team received a 1st place and duet a 2nd.  This past Friday she received a 1st place score for both of her performances.  I have included a video of both of her district performances.  Enjoy!

The above is her duet performance.  Below is her improv team.  Her improv team had to perform a series of "games" and then were scored for overall performance.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Meeting Jesus

This past weekend I had the privilege of joining our SALT & LIGHT groups from church for their retreat.  We had 20 junior and senior high kids.  It was such a great time of bonding as a group and bonding with our Father.  For privacy, I won't share pics of the kids, but I thought you might like a glimpse at the environment we got to do this in.  It was so pretty!  I had my quiet time (I got to have 4 quiet times during the blessed!) looking at this! As Pastor Stephen said, Praise God that he is so gracious he even creates beauty out of the death of his creation.

Get Candy!

It was rainy and cold, but that would not dampen my trick or treaters spirits or drive for candy (because, really, isn't that what it is all about for them!).  Sara decided to sit this one out.  Our house rule is that once you hit a certain age, in order to get candy, you have to put the work in on a costume.  Sara had some cute ideas, but I think her desire to stay warm and dry outweighed her desire for sweet stuff.  That, and she can't eat half of it with her braces.
John went as Robin Hood (we kept trying to talk him into being Little John, but....) and Nathan went as an "army spy guy"

a bag of jelly beans.  Love it!

Nate turns eight!

On October 28 we celebrated our baby's birthday.  Eight years old!  In honor of his big day we had his dinner of choice:  fried chicken, sour cream and onion chips, and Caesar salad. 

Nathan LOVES to dress up so part of his birthday present this year was his Halloween costume.

Oh no, he stepped in front of foliage and we lost him!

Football is another one of Nathan's loves.  This year he picked out a Dairy Queen ice cream cake for his birthday cake.

Who doesn't love Duck Dynasty!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

When/Then (A Confident Heart...Blog Hope Thursday)

We all sin.  Romans 3:23 tells us that; if we have ever been around a 2 year old we know we are born with sin; seeing the pain we've caused to others reminds us of our sin.  One of my sin issues is pride.  And the chapter we did in our A Confident Heart online Bible study this week opened my eyes to it even more.  Renee Swope says on page 52: ".....(we who) find ourselves in the shadow of doubt often get there because we are seeking our validation in people's opinions...."  Ouch.  You know many of us have no problems recognizing our sin; it is in the correcting it that we struggle.  We know that we cannot change by ourselves and that the Lord and His Word can transform us.  But sometimes I struggle in applying that and simply find myself stumbling over and over again with the same thing.  That is how it is with me and this issue.  I've known for a very long time that I have struggled with this.  That is why I was excited that at the end of chapter 3, Renee Swope offers a tool to help turn from the temptation.  They are called "When/Then" statements.  I like the name.  It isn't "if/when", because it isn't "if" it happens again; it is "when" it happens again.  Here is one of the "When/Then" statements I wrote for myself this week.

When I start seeking validation from other people's opinions, I will remember what the Lord says about me.  "Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you."  Isaiah 43:4a.  I don't need no one else to validate me.  I am a child of the Lord.

I would love to make a poster of these statements for my kitchen.  That probably won't happen, so for now my journal is spread open on my counter to remind me "When...."  "Then". 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Saturday

I pulled out my camera yesterday and documented our day.  We started out slow as we only had one football game to attend and it wasn't until 2pm.  John decided to build a castle with the blocks and Nathan pulled out the pizza from the night before for breakfast.
John's masterpiece

Are you awake Ashley?

Nathan enjoying his pizza...shhh...don't tell dad I'm eating on the chair or mom that I am using her blanket!
Friday night I went and got my first deer tag EVER.  Yes, I am going to sit in a stand and try to get a deer this year.  I have already started praying for good weather.  Joe got me a gift...a harness.  When I saw the harness I started second guessing my decision to sit in a tree.  Is this really dangerous?  Maybe I should have checked out the height of the stand before I invested in a tag.  Joe has promised me that I will be completely safe....just make sure to wear the harness that looks like it could save me from rock climbing Everest.
My new safety harness...yikes!
 First fire of the season!!!!  I LOVE fires in my fireplace.  I think it looks even better now that our fireplace is a nice shade of black rather than a brassy gold that shouts "look at me! I'm an ugly fireplace!"

I am obviously not a food blogger.  Food bloggers take fabulous pictures of food.  I took several pictures of this delicious white chicken chili that I made and they all make it look like chicken mush.  It actually tasted really good there was none left last night.  I also made a big pot of regular chili.  There is nothing like chili on a brisk, blustery day.  And, yes, it was brisk and blustery yesterday.

After a warm-up lunch, we went and hung out at the football field.  Wow...the pics may not show it, but it was cold.  No, it wasn't raining and no, it wasn't snowing, but wow it was cold. 

Pretty tree to look at while we watched the game

John's team waiting for their game to start

taking the field

John is on the end with the yellow mouth guard hanging out.  If the pic had audio you would here him leading the warm-up counts

John blocked #15 most of the game.  It was tough because the guy was half his size. You could tell he was struggling to figure out where to grab him.   His team won 41-12.  John's team basically had their second string guys in most of the 2nd half.

We ended the day stacking firewood in our new firewood stacker thing (I know there is an official name of what it is called....I just have no idea what it is at the moment.)

We ended the day by the fire, eating chili and introducing the kids to National Treasure.  They're hooked and are ready to watch the 2nd one.

And now this native Hoosier is going to sit back and watch my favorite quarterback play my favorite football team.  Go Peyton!  Go Colts!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

#perfectlove. (AConfidentHeart Blog Hop Thursday)

My husband had the opportunity to participate in a "pulpit swap" this past Sunday.  He preached at another church in our denomination and the pastor from that church preached at our home church.  It was fun to get to meet some other brothers and sisters across the river.  Joe picked one of his favorite topics to preach....the Gospel.  The Good News.  The Salvation Story.  #perfectlove.  I have been a believer in Jesus for a long time; since I was quite young.  Sometimes it is easy to forget exactly what God did for me on the cross.  He sent His Son to die for sins I have committed.  If you are a parent, would you ever consider having your child punished for sins of another?  And that punishment is death?  That is exactly what He did for me and you.  He sent His Son to die so that I may live.  I get so caught up in day to day living that my eyes shift from Him to others around me.  I worry about what people will think of me and begin to doubt if I am enough in a variety of ways..  This week I have been gently reminded by my Father that He is all that really matters.  And He has already shown me how much He loves me by saving me so that I can have life.  And I can have that life right. now.  I don't have to wait for "future eternity".  I can experience his #perfectlove daily by seeking Him and relying on Him.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Watch out squirrels.....

If any of you are familiar with my family at all then you are most likely aware that "the bullhorn" is an avid hunter.  I have always been the supportive hunter's wife. It honestly has never bothered me.  I grew up around hunting and the frugal in me appreciated a hobby that could also put food on the table. (Can you eat a golf ball?) When we were first married I joined Joe and his dad on an early morning of squirrel hunting. I enjoyed my hike through the woods and learned somethings along the to watch for swinging branches, how to be "stealthy in the woods", and, most importantly, when to talk (pretty much never a good time to chat it up).  Then we moved, jobs and seminary consumed our lives; then we moved again and young children consumed our lives.  Joe has frequently commented on how nice it would be to enjoy the woods together. Life kept interfering with his dream...until this weekend.  We were discussing our date night options and I suggested maybe we go squirrel hunting. The weather has been unbelievable the last few days and I wanted to be outside. I knew the Bullhorn had been wanting to get in the woods as well.  Well, that suggestion threw my husband into a flurry of activity to make it happen.  There was a license to purchase and evidently clothes to buy (what girl doesn't enjoy her hubby suggesting she get some new clothes!). So it was off to Bass Pro after church yesterday.  Here's a pic of my new duds....

I got a great pair of pants and a shirt. If you can't see the difference between the shirt and pants that is a good thing. By the way I had no idea how many different camo patterns there were. There is Mossy Oak and RealTree (and I am sure others) and then variations of each of those. I got RealTree AP (stands for all purpose). So the next time your man teases about the different variations of red lipstick you can simply point out the variations of camo gear.

So with clothing on, hinting license tucked safely in my pocket, we were off to the woods in search of squirrels.  I think the squirrels heard a newby was coming and decided to go into hiding. I saw 2 and  got a shot at one. It fell out of the tree, but it was more of a leap then it was a fall of death. All in all it was a fabulous date in the woods with my man even though we didn't come home with any food.          

A word to all you wives out there, if things have gotten routine in your marriage lately and you are fresh out of date ideas, may I suggest a date doing whatever your husband enjoys most. Whether it is golf, fantasy football, or even hunting give it a try. You might see a big smile emerge on his face and you might be surprised how much you enjoy it.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A new thing....

One of the few drawbacks to my job is that I don't get out of the house much.  I have five little ones in my daycare so the school day is spent inside these four walls.  Probably one of the things I miss most is Tuesday morning Bible study at my church.  I enjoyed seeing those ladies every week, but even more I appreciated (and needed) the Bible study accountability. I need something that keeps me in the Word each day.  So I am off to a new adventure of trying an online Bible study.  Aside from Facebook, I have never really interacted "socially" online, but I've decided that with this I need to go 100% or not do it.  (Or, as I say to my boys on the football field "Go Big, or just go home")  The accountability won't really be there if I don't interact online.  Part of that interaction is "Blog Hop Thursday". This is also my first participation in a Blog Hop!  I normally am just a lurker in these types of things.  So, if you are in the same predicament as me and simply cannot make it to a Bible study during this stage of your life, or would like to try an online study for a completely different reason, join me!  It would be fun to see some familiar faces in the comment sections.  I already talked one of my friends into doing it with me.  I am participating in the Proverbs 31 study going through Renee Swope's book A Confident Heart.  Click here to sign up! It starts this Sunday. And you can look forward to a weekly post from me on our study.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

a future journalist

Ashley joined writing club this year and has loved it!  I would periodically ask what they were doing and, admittedly, would kind of catch myself half listening to her response. She was having a fun and being challenged, so I was happy. So when I received an email linking to this youtube video, I was kind of surprised by how much they had accomplished.  They have been working on writing scripts and doing a monthly "news show".  Enjoy....

( I did try to import the youtube video, but couldn't find it for some reason.  So we will try it with a link....)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bullet point Sunday night....

Happy Sunday night everyone. It was an eventful one here as we were without power for about 8 hours today. It makes life interesting as a pastor's family and hosting a small group right after church. But as always, God had it all under control.  And I got a nap and the Colts won which always makes a perfect Sunday for me! Ready for some bullet points?  Here we go.....

  • Nathan told his Sunday school teacher today that the reason he is loud is because when he had surgery when he was 6months old they turned the volume nob up in his head.  According to him, the only way he can be quiet is if he has surgery to turn it back down.
  • John was watching the packers play this afternoon.  Clay Matthews made a great play and tackled the running back 10 yards back from the line of scrimmage.  I asked John if he saw it, and he replied in a very unimpressed voice "yes". He then tells me that it was a good play, but the guy needs to work on his tackling.  Evidently he tackled the guy way to high.  Glad my son is so humble.
  • I think we are going to have to get another computer soon.  Both girls' need for the computer for school,has ramped up significantly.  It is fun to see them work on their projects and enjoying their learning.  I have heard so much about South Korea this weekend, O think I could write the report.
  • Ashley may have broken her big toe. It involved flip flops and a tree.  Yep, I think she may listen now when I suggest tennis shoes. Or not, she is 11....
  • Sara and Ashley get to help with a presentation at our school board meeting on Tuesday night. It is for a club they are involved with. Ashley is super excited; Sara...not so much. But they get pizza before the meeting so she'll be there.
  • John's football team lost on Saturday.  Nate's team tied even though they "don't keep score". I guess they don't think 5-7 year olds can count. Joe and I had to split up. We should both be able to make both games this week.
  • I love popcorn. Random, I know but I just had some and it was delicious.
  • Nathan had to write a sample of "informational" writing for class. So he wrote facts about dogs. One of his facts: they provide free fertilizer.  Sometimes I really wonder what his teachers must think about our family.
  • Small groups started today! If you go to CBC and aren't in one....get in one! They are awesome!
  • I have had such a great time these last few months getting to know one of our missionaries that is on home assignment until the end of year. When I have sweet conversations with sisters like her, it gives me a yearning for heaven! Eternity is going to be awesome!
  • I am at the point in my gardening that I would be very happy if I never saw a tomato again. And it is so. Hot. Thanking The Lord for my awesome hubby who took care of them on Saturday while I was at John's game.
  • We have decided that instead of our washing machine eating socks, they multiple like rabbits in our house.  Seriously...every time I do laundry there are more and more socks.  The boys clothes?  for some reason they are always disappearing....especially on Sunday mornings.
  • So I am watching the Giants and Cowboys play. A Giants player just dropped an open pass and have now turned it over for the 3rd time and it is only halfway through the 1st quarter.  To which I will say two things....1. No one getting paid that much money should not drop a pass 2. Go Colts!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tidbits of the last week or so...

It is time for bullet points....

  • Joe turned 40 yesterday. We had a big party on Saturday with a few surprise visitors.  It deserves a post of its own and will get one once all the pictures get downloaded.
  • Nathan walked through the living room this morning with sleep in his eyes and immediately perked up when he heard someone on the news say something about women living longer than men.  He left the room mumbling something about how that was definitely not right and was convinced there was some error made by the news reporter.
  • Ashley can't march playing her oboe, so she tried out for flags and made it as a 6th grader. She is super excited.
  • The girls rode their bikes to school for the first time last week. Ashley had writing club to stay late for. So thankful for cell phones as they are making their way around town without me.
  • Football season has started here. John is playing the "O" line this year...a guard I think. We played flag football as a family last week and I certainly wouldn't want to have him hit me with pads on. Wouldn't want Nate to either...he has one more year of flag...much to his dismay.
  • Our youth pastor lent us the DVDs of Planet Earth and we are loving it! Highly recommend it!
  • Discussion at our breakfast table this morning....why do the monster truck organizers feel like they need to yell at us to get us to attend the Monster Truck Jam? Although ther marketing is effective...Nathan launched into it with ease this morning and started all our days with a good chuckle.
  • Time for my kids to come home. On tap for tonight...homework, practice (football, flute, oboe, and worship), and some more Planet Earth.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Epic Failure

"Epic Parental Failure" were the words Joe and I muttered to each other when we both collapsed on the coach last evening.  We sat on the far ends of the coach from each other wallowing in our discouragement and trying to not give into the temptation to blame the other for our failures.  Ugh.   These were not the failures of losing our tempers with our kids or failing to discipline.  These were of the nature of having a 9 year old boy feel completely forgotten by his family after football practice...not once, but twice.  And twice in one week....twice two. nights. in. a. row.  Granted the first night we were there, but on the other side of the concession stand...for twenty long minutes....each wondering where in the other was...each close to tears.  (Someday this will be funny...someday).  And the next night we were 2 minutes late, but that boy's faith was shaken that we would show so he took things into control and walked home....where there was no. one. home.  And then there have been the failures of this week involving take home folders.  My boys have the same. take. home. folder. only took me one week to put one in the wrong backpack, and then had to send a boy to school without his because of my failure. And then the failure of losing children at church.  Our church is not that big. How in the world do you lose them at church?  And spend 5-10 minutes looking for them? Failures are a reminder of my humanity.  And I don't like seeing the pain of my humanity through eyes of my children.  I see the hurt and disappointment and fear of it happening again.  That is a special kind of humility.  But there is also a special kind of grace.  A grace that comes from a 9 year old saying...It's ok.  I love you.  And immediately trusting me to always be there for him.  A grace that comes from a 7 year old forgiving my mistake and not at all assuming malice.  A grace that is willing to put aside his own hurt because he knows that a hug will feel so much better than the harboring of a bitterness of being let down.  A grace that they did not learn from me. Grace from a child. A grace that comes from God.  A grace that I need to learn to extend and accept.  Praise God for children's patience.  And in this area may I begin to reflect them, rather than them reflect me.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Williamsburg Part 3

checking out the jail

where the precursor to out constitution was written

street performers

Saturday, August 17, 2013


The battle of Yorktown was next on our list.  This is the first battlefield that the kids had visited.  I am glad.  The earthworks at Yorktown are the largest I have seen.  They are much larger than a lot of the Civil War earthworks.

They had countries flags around the battle area so you could more easily follow who was fighting where.

Ashley got to help in a canon demonstration.  She was the Captain.

Inspecting the troops

A recreation of the camp

Williamsburg Part 2

We spread out our visit at Williamsburg over 3 days. Here are some more shots of Williamsburg....
The Governor's Palace

Who I got to hang out with all week...pretty handsome looking group!

Who knew the Governor kept guns in the foyer...I didn't!

Hanging out in the garden maze

I thought this weaver was the most fascinating shop we visited.  He had such a breadth of knowledge on the dying, the weaving, the type of wool they used.  Learned so much....

The kids got to help water the flowers at the garden

Learning how rifles are made