Friday, February 26, 2010

A Century Turns; New Hopes, New Fears by William J. Bennett

Why read a "history" book about the last 20 years? I mean...we lived them, right? Well, I did live the past 20 years, but to see it in print from the perspective of a conservative person involved in politics was a little more than enlightening. In fact, there were some things from the past 20 years that I'd totally forgotten.
This book is a very concise and factual volume that would be excellent for anyone. But as I read it, I kept thinking what a great resource it would be for high school or college kids needing a reference for the time period between 1988-2008. Not only does Mr. Bennett include things like the Colombine shootings, the creation of the internet, President Clinton's impeachment and 9/11, but he also gives personal insights to those incidents. I personally loved his own observations in the footnotes.
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. Even if you were an adult during 1988-2008, you're going to learn a lot from reading this book. William J. Bennett's birds-eye-view over the past 20 years left me a little sad over the loss of morals and values in our country and prayerful for our future. I highly recommend A Century Turns.
This book was considerately provided by BookSneeze of Thomas Nelson Publishers for my review. All opinions are very much my own.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Andy & I did something we've never done before. We ordered a car. A brand new car. One that hadn't been built yet. We didn't intend to do that, but when we went looking for one, we were trying to keep it affordable and found one we liked---but it had all the bells and whistles we didn't need. Our friendly car man told us we could order a brand new one and it would be cheaper. So we did....last November!! We've been waiting patiently and in the meantime, our trade-in was falling apart. We told our friendly car man and he insisted that we not invest any money in our old car. So we limped that car to the lot today when we got word that our new car had finally made it in---all the way from Canada! (Marcy, wish your family could have hopped in!) When Andy called me from the new car this afternoon, the only thing I insisted on is that I got to see the new car before Ralph!!

It's mocha colored.

And it smells new.

Can you tell where we took it first? (After we made a trip to the bank and insurance company, that is....)

And guess who will be driving this new car?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My First Lent

I've never celebrated Lent until this year. My only recollection of Lent was seeing some of my Catholic friends wearing ashes on their foreheads and hearing them tell about giving something up that they really liked for Lent. That's all I really understood about it and thought it a purely Catholic thing.
I've studied on it some recently and learned that Lent begins 40 days before Easter and is a season of soul-searching and repentance (which we could all use, right?). It's a picture of when Jesus withdrew for 40 days into the wilderness where he fasted and was then tempted by Satan. It's to be a time of solemnity and introspection that leads up to the great celebration of Jesus' resurrection!
I also learned in my reading that the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (when Lent begins) is Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. And I'm sure there's nothing spiritual about that--it's a sign our flesh wants to indulge knowing that we're about to do without something for 40 days! Pure indulgence...
I thought and thought about what to give up for my first Lent. I was leaning towards all things technical (like Benjamin), but I finally decided that if I wanted to kill my flesh, I needed to give up a critical tongue. That's the kind of fast God is looking for from me.
Well, if Lent is all about repentance, I'm right on track. I've learned I can't go one week without a critical tongue. I've learned I can't do this without God's help. I repent!!
I've never looked forward to Resurrection Sunday with more anticipation!

Monday, February 22, 2010

New House for Zach & Shanna

Zach & Shanna bought a house---a new house! And it's gorgeous. Andy & I had the privilege this weekend to go and help them move in and get it the way they wanted it. I didn't even think about my camera until it was about time to leave, but these are some pics of the inside of the house....yep, that's all we got!

Zach wanted a whole wall of sheet music. So I taught him how to decoupage and we put music all over this wall in his new studio.

I found some great sheet music to hang.

This is a photo of the guest room that Andy & I stayed in.

Angela is standing in the living room. There's a fireplace to the left and the back door is behind her.

I'm not sure what Andy is doing here (I seldom left the sheet music project). But he's standing over the bed in the master bedroom. I know they plan to hang a chandelier here, so maybe he's checking it out...

Angela & Kay are in the living room. The fireplace is behind Angela. I think Shanna plans on putting a cute little reading nook to the right of Kay.

Shanna is cleaning crystals to the first chandelier that is now hanging in the studio.

Angela is putting food in the pantry. The front door is behind her.

This is the front door that Shanna wanted to paint red. She sent Zach for cranberry paint and they decided it wasn't quite the right tint.
Shanna & Kay are standing in the dining room.

Here's the chandelier that went in the studio. You can see the dark brown paint that is on 3 of the walls.

And this is the sheet music wall.

We finished off the weekend at a cute little steakhouse. It was a well-deserved break---everyone worked hard. I think Zach & Shanna were pleased---we got a lot more done than they expected! I'm so proud for them!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Our New 6 Year Old

Ryan Elijah turned 6 years old yesterday. He's having a birthday party this Saturday. We were all set. Have you ever had one of those moments when you had 2 different things planned and it just didn't dawn on you that they were on the same day? Well...that's what happened with me. When I figured out that we were planning on helping Zach & Shanna move on the day of Ryan's party, I began praying about what to do. So...I asked Ryan if we could have a party here at our house for him on his real birthday. At first, I thought we were going to have tears, but mom intervened and convinced him it was a great idea---he'd get two parties that way! He finally agreed.

We didn't have just one theme to this party. We had pirates & Toy Story. It's what was available in Borger.

We started out playing a pirate's version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. We had to get the treasure chest on the right spot on the map.

Addie did quite well!

Mommy even did a great job!

We were wondering if Pops was peeking...

One of the prizes for winning the game was....CHAP STICK! What a hit!

I doubt that Addie's Chap Stick lasted very long. She really liked rolling hers out.

We had cupcakes instead of a cake. After our party, the kids went to Cubbies and took cupcakes for all. They also got to give their friends a light stick necklace. It was so cute when we picked them up---the teachers had the lights off and the kids were rolling necklaces everywhere! (I think they each got 2 cupcakes and a pack of juice...they were bouncing along w/ those necklaces!)

Daddy got the job of taking Woody out of his package. Ryan got a Buzz (his 2nd in his lifetime) for Christmas and needed Woody to go along w/ his new Buzz.

And you can see what he needed to do....

This was the perfect end to their day...watching a movie they got at the church library. We had a fun birthday party with Ryan! Happy Birthday, 6-year-old!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cell Phone Photos

I finally figured out how to get my photos off of my cell phone...and, like Amy, I sure wish I hadn't deleted the dozens I'd had on there! Here we go...

I met the Dietz grandkids at CiCi's Pizza in Amarillo a few months ago. And Caitlin bought a moustache out of a toy dispenser. And of course, everyone had to have one. We were all laughing hysterically!!

A great purchase, kids!

We met the Wright grandkids in Amarillo (when they still lived in Dalhart) where they were getting their hair cut. Isaac was loving it!

Josiah wasn't too sure about this haircut business.

And baby Olivia slept through the whole haircutting episode.
(Boy! Has she changed!!)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Amish Observation

I love Christian fiction. But I just don't have as much time to read as I used to....which makes me sad. I try to read at night, but then promptly fall asleep. But I've noticed a new trend and I'm wondering if you've noticed the same thing. Have you seen how many different authors are now writing about the Amish? (These photos don't even touch the surface! Check this out!) I just think it's interesting. I'm not a psychologist, but I'm going to take a stab at the meaning behind this anyway. (Like you thought I wouldn't!?) I'm guessing we're all longing for a simpler time or a simpler way of life. What's your guess?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


These verses speak for themselves---but they really spoke to me this morning!

Haggai 2:12-13 (Amplified)
"If one carries in the skirt of his garment flesh that is holy [because it has been offered in sacrifice to God], and with his skirt or the flaps of his garment he touches bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any kind of food, does what he touches become holy [dedicated to God's service exclusively]? And the priests answered, No! [Holiness is not infectious.]
Then said Haggai, If one who is [ceremonially] unclean because he has come in contact with a dead body should touch any of these articles of food, shall it be [ceremonially] unclean? And the priests answered, It shall be unclean. [Unholiness is infectious.]"

*Holiness is not infectious. (It's a choice--it's not something you can give to another)
*Unholiness is infectious. (I Cor. 15:33 "Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships [communion, associations] corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character.")

Monday, February 8, 2010


I'm no stranger to debt. I've had it most of my adult life. And I haven't always been a good manager of money. But it's something I've learned---a journey God has taken me on. In fact, I now manage thousands of dollars each month for a ministry. All of that to say, I'm not a financial wizard. But I do think I'm reading some signs in our nation.

I'm sure you realize that the United States of America is not mentioned in the last days in the Bible. I used to wonder what the big deal was. I mean, Australia isn't mentioned either! But...the reason it's so important is that something must happen that we are no longer a world-player politically. We lose our power.

I love Bible prophecy. I don't understand all of it, but I love to study it and compare it to world events to see where we are on the timeline of Jesus' return. And I think it's soon. And I'm guessing the way America will lose it's power is through financial collapse. Of course, there are any number of ways it could happen--terrorism, nuclear holocaust, natural disaster, civil war--and the list goes on and on. But it just makes sense that it will be economic collapse because of the shape we're in now. Isn't there a verse that says, "the borrower is servant to the lender?" Look at who we owe. China. Japan. All it would take is for those countries to call in our debt.

It actually makes me mad when someone comes to Living Water needing help with a bill and they have the bill in their child's name. (A minor) I refuse to help them until they get the bill in their own name. Usually what it means is that they've ruined their credit, so they've opened an account in their child's name. Or they closed an account owing money, so they opened another in their child's name. Either way, those kids' credit is ruined before they're ever old enough to need credit! America has done the same thing. They've opened accounts in their children's names---accounts our children/grandchildren will have to pay. They'll have to pay for it financially---or through ruin. And that makes me mad, too.

I'm just guessing. But we need to be prepared. Something is going to happen to cause America's power loss.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Way to go, Benjamin!

You may remember that my 7-year-old nephew, Benjamin, was reading for Haiti. His goal was to read for 21 hours (1 hour per day for 3 weeks) and raise support for each hour he read. Well, today he reached his goal. His money is going towards the Baptist Haiti Mission and the work they are doing. I hope you'll go to both websites and see all they've done. It's not too late if you'd like to be a part of the support Benjamin is raising. Just go to the Baptist Haiti Mission website and make a donation in Benjamin's honor. (And it would be super if you let him know!) He's created quite a stir at BHM. They're very impressed with this young man. And I think their plan is to use him as an example of what can be done. Benjamin, we're very proud of you!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Homemade Softener

For all you girls making homemade laundry soap, my cousin just gave me this recipe for homemade fabric softener:
Homemade Fabric Softener... For 1 gallon:
6 cups water (I use distilled water)
3 cups white vinegar (I use about 2 3/4 cup but the original recipe calls for 3 so play around with it and find what works for you)
1 1/2 – 2 cups hair conditioner
Note: if you warm up the water in the microwave, it makes it easier to mix the conditioner. Otherwise it might get a bit “lumpy”.

She also said this: "I'm loving saving money making my own laundry soap! I searched for a recipe for fabric softener and found some! This morning I tried one suggestion of simply using white vinegar in the rinse compartment in my washer. Wonderful! The clothes simply smell fresh and clean but I was most impressed by how soft and fluffy ...they came out! I didn't use a dryer sheet either and there wasn't any static! I can handle this! I filled the rinse dispenser 1/2 with vinegar and filled to the line with water. The washer smelled like vinegar but the clothes just smelled fresh!"

Thanks, Sue!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I was cooking supper tonight and sent Andy to go get us some ice. I saw him leave and then our phone rang. When I answered, it was Andy. He said, "Go look outside by the birdbath." "Why?," I asked. He replied, "Just go look---you might want to take your camera." So, I grabbed the camera and went outside to see what he was talking about.

Ryan & Addie had been here last night when the snow was falling. And they had their rain boots on. So as they left, they used those boots for all they were worth, apparently!

And as you can tell, they stayed off the beaten path! That's what boots are made for, after all.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Beautiful Snowy Night

I love the snow. No...I LOVE the snow! I don't think I'd ever get tired of it as long as I had a fireplace and a good book to read. I poked my head outside to see if it was still snowing (and it was) and saw this. I had to run get my camera. sound.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Some Favorites of Florida--2nd Post

I'm HOME! I got to Amarillo about 5:00 this evening and Andy was there to pick me up. When I got to the car, I found these in my seat. Now I have a great husband, but he's never given me flowers when I've gotten home from a trip. But on my way to the airport this morning, Josiah and I had this conversation:
Josiah: Gee, I bet Buff gives you flowers when you get home.
Gee: You think so, Buddy? I'm not so sure.
Josiah: Yes! He'll give you some flowers.
Gee: Will you call Buff and tell him to get me some flowers?
Josiah: No! No, Gee. He WILL!
Gee: I don't know, Josiah....I guess we'll see!

A little birdie told me that Josiah called Buff and asked, "Buff, will you get Gee some flowers?" Way to go, Buddy!! I love my flowers, don't you?? You're quite the man, Siah. Thanks for looking out for Gee.

I was in Florida for a week. Jay & Amy went to a winter conference in Greensboro, North Carolina while I stayed with the kids. Below are some of my favorite pics from the week.

School doesn't always look like this for Josiah. Sometimes he's standing on his head as he learns. This boy is never still for long. But he has an almost photographic memory (like his dad!). He beat Isaac & me consistently at the Matching Game.

Here, Isaac has spelled words as I called them out. He made an A+. He's also an excellent student.

This is Olivia with Olivia. Have you read the books? I wish I could describe this little girl's personality. She is hysterical---and very loved. Her big brothers adore her. I think she's one of the easiest kids I've ever kept! She has a very layed-back attitude.

Josiah has quite the sense of humor. I don't know many 4-year-olds who have such a well-developed sense of humor. He's also a prankster. I love this kid!

Olivia began telling me, "Potty, potty!" while I was there. So we sat there quite a bit. She stayed on her cell phone each time she sat on her potty chair.

Best purchase I made while in Florida---a pencil sharpener. If you don't have one, you should get one. It keeps kids very entertained---and all pencils sharp.

Isn't she beautiful? And she didn't even seemed scarred by her locked-in-the-car episode.

Josiah sound asleep. (A rare occurrence)

Isaac. He really is asleep--it almost looks fake. This was after a night of sobbing about me leaving. But the last night I was there, I put kisses all over the boys' pillows so they could get a kiss from me anytime they need one---and they won't even wash off!

Mommy treated us to Dunkin' Donuts this morning before I left. A great breakfast with some pretty cute kids!!