Thursday, December 31, 2009

This and That...

Thought I'd share a few pictures/happenings from the break/second half of the month! Not much excitement, but it is a little bit fun!

Austin & Bayley decided that they needed to play Little Red Riding Hood (Such Imagination) while waiting for grandma to get home from work the day after we got done with school... so... Bayley found my red fluffy robe that we managed to fashion into a hood and cape.... notice the "wolf" at her feet...

And we had to figure out a costume from "Grandma" to wear in the bed... so...

voila! We have a scarry blond wig, ruffled pillowcase, Aunt Daye's glasses, and... I think it worked pretty good... just needed a flannel gown, but I'm not quite sure I could have gotten him to go for that!

During our Tea-party trip, Aunt Jane sent us back a gingerbread house kit to build, so... behold the masterpiece!

After being harassed about the construction, I think we've decided that we need to let my brother build his own next year... anyone got any good recipes or a mold?

And finally, Miss Priss has discovered what an awesome back yard she has to play in! I have finally found something the kids like better than Lucy, but it's only at their house, so they are still fighting over who gets to hold her... the poor dog isn't loved at all! In addition to exploring outside, she had developed quite an attachment to a few of her toys... especially Mr. Bear! She can be found hauling him around just as much as she chews on him... too bad he's bigger than her!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and that God Blesses you and yours with a happy, healthy 2010!

Friday, December 11, 2009

They Ain't Right!

One of my favorite comedians has always been Bill Cosby. Not only is he one of the funniest people ever, most of his humor is something that the whole family can enjoy! One of the things I loved to watch of his was the show "Kids Say the Darndest Things" but these days, we've got all the entertainment we need in the back seat of the car.

Picture this... 4 hours in the car with Austin & Bayley. Here's just a few snippets of the conversation... (Most of the entertainment came from Austin)

Mom: "Why didn't you eat your hamburger?"
Austin: "Acause I don't like ham"
Mom: "well, it's not ham."
Austin: "well, I don't like burger either"

During a stop to get gas and change drivers... I looked in the back window and had to open the door to make sure I saw what I thought I saw... Austin in the back seat in his underwear...
Me: "Austin, did you take your pants off?"
Austin: "I got hot..."
Moments later...
Austin: (Answering the cell phone while I'm pumping gas and mom's paying) "Hey Aunt Jane, we're at the jas station... you know, getting gas.
And as I related this conversation to Mom...
"Aunt Daye, I know it's a GAS station" (very deliberately saying it right)

Austin " I can't wait to get to Aunt Jane's house, so I can sit in her "sazJING " chair and get a "sazje". (Note, for those who don't speak Austin-ese... this is a massage chair)

And Last but definately not least, after we announced that we were about 10 minutes from Aunt Jane's house and still on the interstate...

Austin: "Bayley, lets look for signs that say Aunt Jane's House, you look on your side and I'll look on mine!"

I'm sure that these are some of those "funnier if you were there" moments but at the end of a stressful week, I have to admit that towards the end, I was driving down I-75 laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes!

They just ain't right... but I sure do love-em!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Birthday Party

For some crazy reason, my brother and sil decided to have both of their kids between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Add this into an already hectic schedule and birthday parties become something of a scheduling issue. My Aunt Jane scheduled our holiday tea for the weekend before Bayley's birthday and the Christmas parade was the weekend after Austin's.

Mom and I were trying to figure out how in the world we were going to fit it all in when she came up with the plan to have a party at my house the night of the Christmas parade for both of their birthdays! Amazingly, both kids went for the idea since this plan let them go with us to the tea party and they love going to Aunt Jane's. In addition, they each got to have their own cake and family party.

Austin's Family Party... complete with trick candles!
So... we scheduled Bayley & Austin's Hotdog Roast! Unfortunately, the weather made having a fire outside rather difficult (windy and wet), so we grilled them inside and after busting the elmo pinata and playing hopscotch, we settled down inside to have some fun. Bayley got to have her friend Sidney spend the night and Austin went home with Sidney's brother, Austin. (I know, I know... kinda hard to keep straight) Just thought I'd post a few pictures of their party... and the slumber party that followed for the girls!

Mrs Marti brought Floam... I was so excited! (NOT)

Lucy, Sidney & Bayley with the contents of the "Fancy Hat Boxes"

Add some dresses and you've got some pretty ladies!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

If at first you don't succeed.... wait a few years!

Every Thanksgiving, my Aunt Jane always makes the rolls. Her yeast rolls are about the best ones I know of (besides Texas Roadhouse) and they are normally the first thing to disappear off the buffet table! We always rave about them and she keeps saying how simple they are to make. And every year, she tells me that next year, she's going to "pass the torch" and that I will have to make them. I actually did try once... a very long time ago, but the results were so disasterous that I decided if it was up to me to make them, we would just have to do without rolls!

After Carrie's attempt to make homemade cinnamon rolls, and another threat from Aunt Jane to quit making them, I mustered up my courage and decided that I might actually try to make them on an occasion where if they failed, no one would be expecting anything! So... on the Friday night after Thanksgiving, after conferring with mom and Aunt Jane about ingredients, I began my yeast roll making adventure. Here's the recipe and a few pictures of the process/results!

Aunt Jane's Rolls

In a large bowl (and I do mean large) combine:

3 cups buttermilk
1 pkg dry active yeast (not the rapid rise kind)
3 cups All Purpose flour

After mixing well, add:

3 well beaten eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Slowly work 4 cups of flour into the mixture until it gets extremely difficult to stir. Notice the bowl change... my dough got a little too big for the bowl I started with! After mixing in all your ingredients, set in a warm place and allow the dough to rise for one hour. Cover and refrigerate over night.

Using plenty of flour, knead the dough until it is slightly rubbery. For those of you who aren't familiar with the process of kneading, my aunt gave me the following instructions "Press down, make a quarter turn, fold over and press down again." Keep kneading until you have incorporated about one more cup of flour into the dough. Make sure your rolling pin and surface stay covered with flour or your dough will stick to everything.

Roll the dough out very thin. If you don't roll it think enough, then you will have fewer rolls, but they will be huge and possibly a little doughy. Use a biscuit cutter to cut them into circles. Since I didn't have a biscuit cutter, I had to improvise and used a jar ring to cut them. It actually worked pretty good.

After you cut your circles, dip them into melted butter, fold in half and place on a cookie sheet. Make sure to leave some room between them so that they have room to rise. If you do this correctly, you should have at least two cookie sheets of rolls.

Cover with a towel and sit the rolls in a warm place to rise for three or four hours before you bake them. I had to put them on top of my stove while I was baking the stuffing and pie to have the room warm enough to make the dough rise.

And Ta-Da! The finished product... I still need a little practice, but Eric and Daddy both said they were more than edible.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We Love Lucy!

No, I'm not talking about Lucille Ball- who is one of the funniest females ever- but the sweet little puppy that joined our brood last Tuesday. About a month ago, Mrs. Sheila called me and asked did I want a papillon puppy.

What the heck is a papillon? Well, as Austin will tell you, Papillon is french for butterfly. (Yes, we taught him some french) And papillons (or toy continental spaniels) are known for their large ears that look something like a butterfly.

Of course, our puppy, tends to look more like a miniature border collie with her black and white markings, but we sure are crazy about her. When we traveled with her to my aunt's house for Thanksgiving, we had to time how long Bayley and Austin got to hold her to keep from having a fight!

All in all, she's pretty sweet!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Poinsettias Anyone??

I know it's not quite time yet, but I wanted to let you all know that our FFA Chapter is selling 4"($5) and 6"($7) Poinsettias this year. Our students have been working with them to get them ready to sell starting the week after Thanksgiving. If you're interested, please let me know! Oh yeah, and there will be several of the 4" ones gracing my tables in the next few weeks... I will be sure to let you know how they look!

(I know it's a little more expensive than the ones at Wally-World, but it's for a good cause!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Older Woman???

Let me just say... I don't recommend starting your parenting experience with a 17 year old! Even a good one can drive you crazy! Ashley, while being a really sweet kid, was not raised the same way my mom raised me. And the old axoim "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" has come to mind many times during the last 8 months! Don't get me wrong- She's great company when she's around. And it's pretty cool having a kid sister figure, but there's definitely some things that her mom forgot to teach her, like how to do dishes or sort clothes the right way (and by the right way, I mean Donna's way)

I have tried really hard not to get mad at Ash because I know that she doesn't know any better, but some days it just gets the best of me! One particular Sunday afternoon, as I was venting to my mother about all the things she was doing to drive me crazy, mom just laughed at me. After my tirade, she quietly reminded me that I needed to go read Titus 2: 3-5.

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their husbands, that the word of God be may not be reviled."

Older Women???

Was my mom calling me old???

I mean seriously... I know I'm about to hit... well, we won't even say the number, but older? As I thought about what she had to say I began to realize that she was right. So, I'm not the oldest one around, and there are still women who have something to teach me (like hopefully one day how to be a godly wife and mother), but there are definitely others who would fall into the younger women category around me these days.

Like Ashley- who is not only 17, but a new Christian. Obeying the gospel this summer made the biggest change in her attitude. And while she is very eager to share the things she's gained from a relationship with God with others, she sometimes falls back into the way of thinking that made up her former life. I sometimes have to remind myself that she didn't have 17 years of a mother like mine to shape who she is. And her tender faith serves as a reminder to me to nourish my own.

But Ashley isn't the only young woman around me! There's the teenagers who were in my Sunday school class when I first started teaching- like Kaylee and Kaylin- who are facing the challenges of high school while trying to live as Christians. And there's Bayley, Sydney, Sarah, Cece, and Olivia, whose tender hearts needs to be shaped now for the life before them! And those are just some of the ones who are younger than me age wise!

The cool thing about maturing as a Christian is that it has nothing to do with age and everything to do with devotion to God and time spent studying his word. I was lucky in this department because as a child I was surrounded by a lot of mature, knowledgeable christians- like my Grandpa and my Mom. They taught me that even as a child I could understand the scriptures and that to please God, I needed to study them. Combine that with some awesome Bible teachers and a serious competitive streak over the years and it would be sad if I hadn't achieved some level of spiritual maturity. (That's not to say that I'm fully mature by any means) But not everyone is so blessed, and all around me there are women who might be older than me in years, but far younger in Christ. That's why it's so important to make the effort to spend time together studying!

To the ladies who were in our Bible Study group this summer, thanks for the encouragement to look deeper. And to the ladies in our monthly bible study group at midway, thanks for challenging me to be an older woman!

Aunt Daye's Fall Adventures

Webster’s Dictionary defines “Aunt” as the “sister of one’s father or mother, or the wife of one’s uncle.” But you and I all know that an Aunt is oh so much more than that!

My own Aunts are some of my favorite people in the whole world, especially my mom’s sisters. They are the ones who I spent spring breaks and summer vacations with as a child. They are the ones who wrestled with my brothers at Thanksgiving right up to the year that they almost couldn’t take them and then pronounced it the end of the wrestling matches. They are the ones who don’t bat an eye at taking 10 kids to the beach and actually get in the water and play with them. Needless to say, my aunts made a pretty big impression on me about what an aunt should be like.

When Austin & Bayley were born, it became my goal to be the best Aunt ever! I am not quite sure that I live up to that, and my mom’s sister, Aunt Jane, gives me a pretty good run for my money, but I do know that we do some pretty fun things when they’re with me. (Hopefully Veda will think the same thing when she gets a little bit older)

Austin & Bayley with their Easter Loot (I didn't have a more up to date pic at the time)

Somebody is gonna be a Daddy's Girl!

Bayley, the oldest, is now 8 (almost 9) and quite the sport model. She’s into anything outside. She loves to get dirty and play with animals (especially anything that she can “train”). I have created a little “John Wayne Junkie” and as to her clothing style, she’s quite the little hippie! But she’s also a tender hearted thing that hates for anyone to cry. And she absolutely loved playing with Veda when she was here! Austin, my favorite little man, is now in Kindergarten. Mom says that He’s one of those who can be so sweet one minute that you want to eat him up one minute, and the next so mean that you wish you had! He’s always up for an adventure, whether it be working cows, or cooking, or running a yard sale. And he absolutely adores his big sister! He has such a mechanical mind and can fix a lot of things that would surprise you! Veda isn’t big enough yet to know what she’s gonna be like, but I am sure that she will be just as fun when she gets a little older.

As a catch up post, I thought I would show you a few of the projects we have worked on since they moved back from the Far North and reclaimed most of my weekends! These last two projects have been the most fun by far... even if the jack-o-lanterns rotted before Halloween arrived!

A Saturday morning trip to buy Pumpkins... From FFA Members in Bell!

Cleaning out the pumpkins and deciding what to carve...

The finished products... on display... (yeah, they had help carving the designs... lots of Help!)

Thank you Grandpa for donating your clothes for our scarecrow! Definately couldn't have done it without you!
Pillowcase face with acrylic paint didn't they do a great job!

Ta-da! The finished product... after a trip to Walmart for some flowers!

On a final note... these were some of the most fun projects I've done with them yet! My cousins Beau and Caleb were around the night we carved pumpkins and Beau helped carve Bayley's spider while I carved Austin's owl... Caleb kept Austin entertained!

Daddy graciously provided clothes and hay for scarecrow which Austin and I sewed together, Mom found the pillowcase and gloves and Poppa donated the broken down hat! I think they all liked out scarecrow as much as we did since I am pretty sure that Daddy's told all the ladies at the bank about it!

Needless to say... we are working on figuring out what we are going to do for Christmas, but we'll be sure to let you know!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My Own Understanding?

{Well, it's been a while since I have had the time/ motivation to post, but this week has had me thinking about some things... and I thought I would share. With that, I must issue this disclaimer: Please do not think that I am trying to unload on you all, neither am I trying to equate my small struggles with the larger ones that many others face daily, it's just that to explain all my thought processes, you need some background on the last few months... also, please bear with me if I wax philosophical/ theological... that's where my brain is right now! }

I have always believed myself to be a spiritually minded person, but I wonder now have I really lived what I professed to believe. Have I really trusted that God was directing my path and that he knew best. I have often asked myself, could I have endured the tests of faith that I have seen some of the people closest to me not just endure but conquor gracefully? And I have wrestled with the fact that my own faith has not been tempered by fire the way others have. The Bible tells us that we will not be tempted with more than we can bear- so did that mean that I did not have a great faith since I had not had to bear such a heavy burden?

The past few months of my life have been very full of changes- some good, others not so great! Many questions of "Why Me? Why Now?" have been asked, many without spoken answers, however, with a little time and some perspective, I can see the answers beginning to truly take shape.

About 5 months ago, I started seeing a man who on the outside was absolutely everything I thought I was looking for. Extremely intelligent, good looking, motivated, fun, and with just as ecclectic a set of interests and hobbies as myself, I thought I had finally found someone who might be "The One". As we spend more and more time together, I saw everything beginning to fall into place for what I thought my life should be. I had even gotten him to attend church with me once. But, in the back of my mind, in that deep place, where you think things, but push them when you don't want to face them, I knew that something just wasn't setting exactly square. But I thought to myself, it's early, maybe it will take care of itself as time goes on. I prayed about it, asking God to handle the situation, but deep down, not really wanting him to, because as much as I hate to admit, I was falling deeper and deeper for this man.

Two months into this relationship, (which for those of you who know me, know is an eternity for one who does not get involved if she doesn't see real potential), I got some very shocking news at work. I have been in the same job for the past 6 years. Most days, I love my job- I love the people I work with and the kids I teach- probably devoting more time than a sane person would to people who have no commitment to me other than that of employee/ employer. After receiving an excellent evaluation, I was informed that due to the current budget concerns and some other issues, I would be making a lateral transfer from the high school to the middle school.

WHAT!!!! As I sat in disbelief, I could think of nothing but how this would affect me! All the work I had done! All the time I had spent!! All my hopes and dreams!! How could they do this to me??? What had I done to deserve this?? WHY? WHY? WHY?

As I drove home, tears still streaming down my face, I began to pray. "Lord, help me make sense of all this! I don't understand!!" Reaching home, I sought out my confidant and best friend, (Momma) to unload the burdens of my heart and find some kind of solace. Unfortunately, she was in the garden with my Daddy (pause now to say that I do love my daddy, being the main man in my life), who is not quite as empathetic as my momma. As I began to relate the "horrors" of my meeting with my principal, momma listened and allowed me to get most if it out of my system. Daddy, on the other hand, after a few minutes of listening, looked at me very pointedly, and said "That's enough, you have a job, be thankful." How could he say that??? I looked around bewildered and then got back into my car and left.

(Side note here, provided after the fact by mom: "Hon, she just needed to vent, and if you don't want to let her do that, we will remember and tell you the same thing next time you need to get something out of your system...") Know now why I belive God blessed me so in the parent department??

Reaching my own house, I called the one person whose voice I wanted to hear the most at that moment. After gathering myself enough to tell the tale without bawling through it, I gave him the short version of what had happened and asked him to come over, needing moral support and not wanting to be alone right then. He said he would be there as soon as he could and I ended the call knowing that I was exhausted. After a short nap, he appeared and we went to dinner, talking for part of the time about what had happened, but trying to focus on other things to keep the mood light. I can honestly say, that I will be forever grateful for his being there that night, if he hadn't, I don't know what I would have done.

Over the next few days, I tried to digest the news. Since it was not public knowledge yet, I had some time to mull over what my public position would be. I had a week to keep it to myself before I felt that I could share it without causing more pain to myself. I slowly began to look at the pros and cons of the situation that I had been handed. I talked to my mother a lot about the situation looking to see beyond my own personal wants and desires to see if I could find more reason. I tried hard to hide the deep personal turmoil, but I know that others could see I had something on my mind. Little did I realize at the time that my turmoil was about to take a different turn.

A week to the day after I found out about changing jobs, I announced to my students what was going to happen. We cried a little, but knowing that I was only going to be right across the hall, they resigned themselves to continue on the path we had set and work towards their goals, which would hopefully mesh with the goals of their new instructor. As I left work that day, I felt for the first time in a while, like things were going to be okay.

After running some errands, I decided that a visit to my friend would be a great way to end the day and I called, planning to stop by and see him before returning home. When he answered the phone, I could tell that something was off, but thinking that it was stress, I thought little of it. We talked pleasantly for about half an hour and then he got this look on his face that I could tell meant he needed to say something that he didn't want to say. I asked what was wrong, never suspecting what I would hear. My stomach dropped. My hands tingled. As I clinched my jaw and blinked to hold back the tears that were welling in my soul, I listened as he told me that he thought we were not working out.

WHAT??? How could this be happening?? We had never even had a real fight! It was always so comfortable when we were together. He had asked me to meet his parents. Where had this come from?? He looked confused when I didn't agree with him. Knowing him well enough at this point in time to know that when he made up his mind, he had thought long and hard and considered all the posibilities in a situation, I knew that expressing my own feelings would do nothing but make things more uncomfortable. I sat taking it all in and finally said "I guess I should go."

That was it. I don't know if he expected tears or yelling or screaming or throwing things or what, but I just walked to the car, said good bye and left. As soon as I was out of his range of vision, the tears began to flow. I felt like I was in a dream. I didn't want to tell anyone what had just happened. How could it get any worse.

As the week wore on, new collegues began telling me how excited they were about my move and how they hoped I would be happy. I tried very hard to be excited and positive, but the double whammy that my heart had just taken was about more than I could bear. I found myself alternating between being just fine one minute, drowning in panic the next, and bursting into random fits of tears with no notice or reason. I don't really know what everyone thought, but I do know that the second was harder to deal with than the first, but because it was so personal, others probably thought my actions revolved around the first.

Up until this point in the story, I had been teaching the elementary age sunday school class at church. As we typically trade out teachers ever 3 or 4 months, my turn was up and I was released to return to the adult bible classes. On Wednesday nights, we are studying the book of Proverbs. As I sat in class, praying to understand the reasons for all of this we reached the 3rd chapter of the book. My own mind far away from the discussion that sometimes wanders onto topics that are more nit-picky than profound, my focus shifted as the teacher began to discuss the following verses.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all they ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones." (Proverbs 3: 5-8 ESV)

As I listened, I began to pick apart the verses, applying each to my own situation at the time.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart"

Was I really trusting that he was sending me the way that I needed to go? I thought back over the past few years. Many times, (almost yearly) I had attempted to find a new job. I tried repeatedly to "Get out" Yet, something always held me in place. For the first time, I felt the call to stay where I was and the work was only getting harder on my part. I still had many misgivings and doubts about myself, but I was content to work them out where I was, not try to run away from it. And yet, now, of all times, God was sending me to a new role. Not far away, but one that would require me to humble myself and approach my work with a different outlook and goal.

"Do not lean on your own understanding"

Many times over the years, I had found myself consoling (or so I thought) a student with a reminder that we did not always understand why things were happening, but there was a reason for it. How quickly, I began to rethink and to some extent regret my own high-minded assessment of other people's situations. As I looked at my life in the moment, it seemed that all the walls seemed to cave in at the same time. Yet, reading that verse, I began to see that maybe God was preparing me for something different than what I had been selfishly building for myself.

"In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths"

Another fork in the road? I had always professed to trust in God to lead my steps, and so far, felt that he had opened doors he wanted me to go through and had closed the ones that would lead me away from his will, protecting me from those who tried to harm me, and giving me the strength I needed to be faithful, but at times, I had fallen, more so lately, into thinking in worldly ways about what I wanted for my life. I knew then that I had a decision to make. I could continue to drown in the sorrow of losing what I thought was rightfully mine, or I could turn to God and say "Father, give me what you want me to have. Lead me back to the plan you made for my life. (Jer 29:11-13) Teach me to seek only your will for my life." The ball was firmly in my court.

"Be wise not in thine own eyes"

Had I really been guilty of this? Was I really that person that was saying to myself, "Well, if I were to follow my conscience, I would say that .... was the answer, but do I really want to do that?" Had I actually allowed myself to give up on what I believed because I wanted something that didn't fit into the framework of my spiritual walk?

"Fear the Lord, and turn away from evil"

Evil is not always dark and scarry. Sometimes, it smiles at us with beautiful eyes and delights our senses. It lures us into thinking that something this wonderful can't be wrong. It fools us into a false sense of security and trust. But that doesn't make it any less evil. The fact is, anything that does not give glory to God is wrong. And if we allow ourselves to be so pulled into something that we forget to Fear (or reverence or be in awe of) the Lord, we have sinned in our hearts, even if we have not commited the physical act we desire.

"It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones."

Admitting wrong is hard. There is honestly nothing harder than asking someone to forgive you for doing something that you knew was wrong but did anyway. However, not dealing with a situation, not asking for forgiveness, not making things right, only leads to more sin and more rottenness in your soul. Hatred and Sin are poisons that if they are not let out of our bodies can do more than condemn our souls, they can wreak havoc on our physical health as well. That gnawing in the pit of the stomach when others talk of their faith and struggles, while you fail to confess your own. That tension that results from hiding anger from someone close to you or from guarding so hard your words because you have lost the ability to trust someone who hurt you. All of that goes away when you work to resolve a situation. And the same is true when you ask God to forgive your wrongs. There is perhaps no greater feeling than knowing that your sins are forgiven and that you can move forward with a clear conscience.

The more I thought on these things, the more I began to try to apply them to my own situation. Dealing with my job, I began to search for all the positives I could. I looked at the students faces. I realized that I was tired of fighting with jobs and sports and attitudes and senioritis and all the other things that go along with teaching high schoolers. I wanted to be able to spend more time doing things for myself and my family and friends that I had been neglecting because of my job. And (being completely honest) I looked at the students that would be entering my class for the next four years, I can honestly say that while there are some I am sad not to be teaching, there are others that would have tested my faith more than I think I could have borne. I began looking forward to the enthusiasm that my new, younger students would bring, and the potentail that I saw for growth and success for all my students, old and new.

That's not to say that there were not anxious moments. Waiting for the announcement of who would take my place was extemely difficult. Probably making it more so was knowing that the man who had so recently broken my heart was applying for the position, and admitting that while that would be extremely difficult for me personally, there where few others who had applied that I felt I could work with better than him. The fear that I would find myself working with someone who did not share my goals and vision for the entire program was also there. Not to mention the fact that I was leaving students that I cared for tremendously in the hands of someone who might not be willing to help them.

All I could do was pray. Just like I had done a year before when my other teaching partner was hired, I sat in my own chair this time and prayed that God would put the right person in that chair. That he would take care of us all and that he would continue to direct my own path, wherever that may lead. That being said, when the announcement was made, I was so excited to find that I would be working with someone I believe will only bring good things to our program.

As to the other matter. I began to seriously examine the entire relationship. I can say many good things about that man. He is just and fair minded. He is honest and caring. He helped me to realize that what I am searching for really is out there and that lowering my standards would not make my life better or happier. He is someone I still feel that I could turn to if I needed a friend. And while there are questions in my mind that may never be fully answered (I chickened out when I attempted to ask them of him myself) I believe that God knew eventually we would not work out. In spite of being externally almost everything I could ask for in a mate, spiritually, we were walking much different paths with goals that did not seem to be leading towards the same end. God provided a way of escape that I might have chosen to ignore if it had been left completely to me. I can't say that all of my feelings have faded into memory, but I do know that the logical part of me has reined in the emotional part that I had let take control. And the warning signs that I was trying so hard to ignore are the things I cling to during the lows.

As the fog clears around the last few months, I am reminded of another scripture along the same lines. Proverbs 16:1-3 says, "The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established ."

When Christ's Church was first established, the Jews all sought to silence the Apostles in their teachings, but Gamaliel (who happened to be Paul's teacher) advised the council like this. "Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men." He went on to recount to them the attempts of several to claim rights as the Messiah, noting that each of those attempts failed and the imposters perished. He charged them that they should " keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail, but if it is God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!" What a fearful thought! To be found opposing God!

Oh, how I pray that my life never be found in such a state. And I am even more thankful every day that I do not have to lean on my own understanding to make it through the trials of life!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Counting Chickens

I have not laughed so hard in I don't know when!

A couple of weeks ago, I set up the incubator in my classroom to hatch some chicks. For twenty-one days, I diligently monitered the temperature and water levels to make sure that I didn't fry my eggs. My students would peek through the lid to see what they were doing.

On Monday morning when I arrived at school, I was greeted by one of my girls, bearing the news that we had baby chickens! You would have thought it was Christmas and that she had gotten the coolest toy ever.

Baby chicks ready to come out of incubator

By the end of the day, about 5 or 6 of the eggs had hatched, but I still had not moved them out of the incubator, letting them get really dry. The next day I set up a brooder in my classroom so that we could get them out.

Setting up the brooder

With the assistance of some of my older students, We made our new little friends as comfortable as possible... a nice toasty heat lamp and grits for their first meal... And then we waited to see how many of their friends and siblings would hatch.

Tuesday morning, I entered my classroom to find my students all gathered around the incubator. Each held a chick in their hands and were watching intently as one of the eggs in the incubator began to open. Named 845 (although I don't think they could tell you at this point which one he is) my first period class got to witness the miracle of hatching first hand.

Back to the live chicks... as each one moved around the classroom, they toted a little friend. Each chick was given a name... Baby Daryl, Kenflo, Woodrow, Dot-Head... and the list goes on. By the end of the day, each one had about 6 or 7 different names. Each kid with a sweatshirt on would stick the biddie in their hood or pocket and try to sneak out with them. At the end of each period I would have to walk by each student and listen to make sure they weren't peeping... And I'm not talking about just the girls... I mean my huge mean high school boys were walking around petting small chickens like the abominable snowman used to pet Buggs Bunny.

Big Boys playing with Little Chickens

Apparantly, no one is immune to the call of the chicks... since the two state FFA officers who were visiting both thought they needed to take pictures with our class pets before leaving!

That being said, I am thinking about a fundraiser... I figure if I charge a dollar a period to hold a chicken while you do your work, I can make up for the economic downturn in our budget within just a couple of days!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Getting the Best Part

For those of you who know me, the one thing that no one can deny is how much I absolutely love my family. I have been blessed in this life to have a true relationship with not only my grandparents, but three of my great-grandparents. Yesterday, the last of those, passed away. At age 96 and 2/3rds, Clara Mae Stalvey joined those who have gone on before.

As my cousin and I spent time yesterday, we talked a lot about what we were so lucky to have over the years and all the good parts that we got because we lived so close. Any good southern girl knows how important Grandparents are, but when one lives so close, it's almost like another parent figure.

We never went to Daycare or the preschool... Grandma and Granny kept all 5 of us until we started school. Mom tells the story that she dropped me off at Grandma's early one morning before she had to go to work and had put a note in my baby tub telling Grandma that my vitamins were in the tub. Grandma interpreted this to mean that she was to disolve the vitamins in the bath water. Needless to say, I have had the healthiest skin and hair and nails ever since... maybe she had the right approach after all.

Speaking of Vitamins... Grandma always kept Flintstones Chewables and the really big Vitamin C tablets in her cabinet. We were allowed as many as we wanted... sometimes, we probably overdosed on the Flintstones... they just tasted good. The one thing our moms wished that Grandma would have left off on was the Garlic pills. (Absolutely no worries about vampires getting to us). She fed us garlic pills like they were candy... (I know gross, but she believed in them... ) But honestly, none of us have even been really sickly... in fact, we're pretty much healthy as horses...

Grandma could cook! She made the best buttermilk biscuits! She tried and tried to teach me how to make them, but I never quite mastered it. She did however teach me how to make communion bread. I still use the little tool that she used to make lines on it so that it will break easily when the plate is passed. And Peas... oh man, did I ever eat a bunch of peas at her house! The only other thing I think I ate more was greens! When I finally did learn to cook, she was game to try anything I would fix. The last thing I made for her was oyster stew... she ate the whole bowl... it was the only thing she ate that day...

Grandma's favorite candybar was a white chocolate hershey bar. If you knew where to look, there was always an extra one stashed in her pantry. (Only the special ones knew where to look) And she taught each of us to eat raw cake batter (Oh the bad things she taught us... at least she didn't put eggs in it first!) and chips with dip made out of onion soup mix. (That would still be my dip of preference)

From about the time I was 15, I had my own room and key at Grandma's. I spent so many nights and weekends there that I just kept clothes there. And she was the only one who would let you sleep as long as you wanted (All the people at my house were early risers) and wouldn't let someone else wake you up.

Grandma's house was always open to visitors. I can't tell you how many visiting preachers stayed with my grandparents over the years. But I was exposed to a whole lot more than most kids my age.

Until my Grandpa died in 1998, Grandma always wore her long hair in a bun. I can remember taking the hairpins out at night when we were getting ready for bed and brushing her long silver and black hair. After he died, we went and got her a very stylish perm and short hair cut.

When she had her first heart attack in 2000, I was going to school in Tampa at the time. I made it back to Gainesville in under 90 minutes. (Don't tell my mom, she'd kill me if she knew) When I would go stay at the hospital with her, she was always trying to feed me her hospital meals... come to think of it, she was always trying to feed all of us... (do you see a food trend?)

For 28 years, she has been right there... a stable influence in my life. She taught unconditional love through example (although sometimes maybe we needed some tough love instead) and even at the end, I knew she loved me and she knew that I loved her... and that... is getting the best part!

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I have to say... my absolute favorite time of the week is Saturday morning when I can sleep until... 8:30ish... and then get up and piddle around my house the rest of the day. However, for the last month, I have been deprived of this soothing and restful routine. This morning, as I awoke to the sun streaming through a crack in the curtains in the bedroom, I stretched like a cat and laid there for a moment thinking about what a crazy month it's been. And since I haven't blogged lately, I thought I would catch you all up on what I had been doing with my Saturdays for the last month... so... here goes....

January 24th... left house at 7:30 am to take students to a Leadership Conference in Gainesville which lasted until 3:00pm... Then, turned around, came home and changed clothes and headed back to G-ville to attend a birthday dinner for a former student who called and asked me to go.

January 31st... toured strawberry fields in Plant City. Absolutely loved the trip, but when I went back to work on Monday feeling like I had ran a marathon all weekend... (and ya'll know I don't run because I fear black eyes)... I can say that I learned a whole lot about strawberries and now understand a little better the obsession that PC people have with that tasty fruit!

February 7th... Left at around 6:30 am for the first weekend of the state fair. After a stressfree drive down with 4 giggleing girls in the back seat, We competed in the Horse Judging Contest. When we loaded up and I asked them how they thought they did... I got mixed reviews... fortunately, on Monday I got great news... or bad if you consider the fact that I'm gonna have to give up another Saturday when they go to state.... (I'll tate it any day)

February 14th. Well, what can I say... probably my least favorite day of the entire year.... At 5am when I went to pull out of my yard, I backed into my mother's car... (she was staying at my house with me and the kids because I was leaving so early)... As I ranted to myself... alternating at frustration with her for parking behind me and myself for not looking... other things started going wrong with my car... the radio went out... the gauges started going crazy... the lights got dimmer and dimmer... Needless to say, I tried as hard as I could to make it to CHS without ending up on the side of the road. When I got there and turned it off, I tried to start it again only to find that it was dead. Thank goodness we were driving a van to Tampa instead of my car!

We loaded up and headed out... making sure that whe had Reebz's "new lucky clipboard" and the corn (which they forgot to rub)... Everything seemed to go okay until we got to the contest. From the point we got to the contest, things started going downhill again. We bombed a class that should have been easy (I take the blame for that one)... and then started the judging part of the contest about 30 to 45 minutes late. 3 hours later, they finished judging cows and started giving reasons... which took 2 hours... By this time, we are about two hours behind our scheduled departure time.

When we finally arrived back at the school... approximately 8:45-9:00... Daddy was putting a new battery into my car hoping that it would fix the problem. No such luck... the alternator had gone out... which meant more money and more time to get fixed. Needless to say... I haven't had such a bad day in a long time...

So, today as I enjoy the fact that I don't have to be anywhere at any time... I'm gonna thank my Maker that I don't often have bad days like that!

Otherwise, I'm gonna relax!

Friday, February 6, 2009


I know, I know... what single person really needs more "me-time". The truth is even a single person can get wrapped up in the things going on around them and forget to see to their own needs. (Because single people have different needs than not-single people)

One of my favorite "me-time" activities involves loading up in the car, taking my lap-top or a good book and heading to the best deli in Title-town. Sitting all alone enjoying a soup and salad combo with a huge sweet tea, I can just let everything on my mind just drift away... and enjoy being in the moment.

So, what is being in the moment for me? It's not worrying about the latest drama at work, or which family member needs things done, or even about the friend who's dating someone that deep down you worry isn't right for her. It's about letting the world just drift away and being totally engrossed in that sappy romance novel with the rich, handsome hero who sweeps the absolutely humble and beautiful heroine off her feet and rides into the happily ever after sunset. It's about laughing to myself as I browse the internet for new or different products that I wish I could afford or would absolutely never buy. It's about making eye-contact with a cute stranger or waiter and knowing that it's completely harmless and will never come to more than a smile that makes someone's day. It's about not letting being alone interfere with my ability to enjoy the things going on around me.

Sometimes, being single is a burden... when you have to go to another "couples-event" or when you go to a wedding or baby shower and have to answer the dreaded question "So, when are you..." over and over again. But most of the time, it's a blessing that few people ever learn to appreciate. (The clarity changes like the weather in Florida) It's the one time in your life when you can go and do and see and experience things without worrying about what someone else needs or wants. It's the one time in your life when if you truly want to, you can give God your full focus and seek His will. (I did not make that one up... it's in I Corinthinans 7:34)

I can't say that I have fully mastered appreciating single life... in fact, a lot of days, I forget all the good things about it, but I can say that I wouldn't be who I am today if I hadn't had the time to discover me... and figure out what a unique individual that I am! And hopefully, if Mr. Amazingly Right does happen to come along, He'll see the find of person that he just can't pass up!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Rythmn and Routine

After an excessively long day at work, I drove straight home trying to beat the steady retreat of the sun. Using the last fading rays to help me, I gathered eggs, filled waterers, and doled out feed to the menagerie that has grown to include chickens, guineas, a turkey, goats, cattle, horses, and even three pigs that will soon share freezer space with old "Bellar" the yellow heifer that we fattened last year. And while the nasty cold did make me move a little quicker, my brain slowly wandered over what I had to do next.

You see, life on a farm has it's own routine. It's kind of like standing in the middle of a ballroom and waiting for the music to decide which dance to begin. Whether it's whirling through the rush of hay-making or the peaceful calm of filling water troughs for the horses, each season and activity has it's own pace and procedure.

The sound of crowing roosters and the soft cackle of hens laying their eggs provides the sound track for scattering cracked corn for scratching and filling waterers and then robbing the hens of their hard-earned prizes. And the challenge of battle from that small, over-confident banty rooster only adds excitment to the task. (Until he catches you!)

With the goats, there's nothing more soothing than watching as the baby goats twist and turn, jump and play while their mothers scramble to and fro for the best spot at the feed trough. It's remembering how that bossy nanny-goat was such a small, sweet baby when you had to get up 30 minutes earlier just so that you could feed her two bottles before you headed off to work, and how she rules the entire herd now. And, when the time is right, it's the soft, steady hiss of warm milk streaming into the metal pail.

With the cows, it's the rush of wind as you drive through the herd putting out range pellets or hay and the calls of calves searching for their mothers. Or the sun shining down on your cheeks as you race around the field on the 4-wheeler while you check for new baby calves in the spring and summer. And who could forget the rough tongue of an overly-friendly heifer who thinks that she's going to get fed any time you're near her. (I call her Precious... Daddy calls her Fatty!)

There are days, like today, when after 12 hours of work all I want to do is crash on the couch and make like a vegetable. But, more often than that, I find myself wandering around, listening to the rythmn of the farm and hoping for a chance to step into it's unique routine.

The Best Valentine's presents I've gotten in a very long time...

Okay... so with "Black Saturday" officially on the horizion at this point in time, I thought I would let you all know exactly what I am getting for Valentine's day this year!

(HaHa, it's not what you think!)

Tuesday, my older brother called to tell us that he had put in his two weeks notice and by Thursday, his family would once again be residents of the Sunshine state!

Now, I know that this might not sound like such an exciting present to some of you, but let me just say... The kids being in North Dakota has been absolutely horrible! From the time Bayley was about 6 months old (she's 8 now) until they moved to Virginia in 2007 they were at the house about every other weekend. She and Austin are so much fun... especially when they're in sweet mode!

Let me just say... Being their aunt is about the best thing ever to me! I used to have them trained to tell people who was the best, but I had to stop that when my other brother got married... since I wasn't the only aunt anymore... But even if they can't say it, I know. I absolutely love staying up late watching Home on the Range and Brother Bear over and over again because they're not tired yet. And laughing as Austin announces during Sunday dinner that he beat me at his pre-school board game. Or, watching Bayley "train" her favorite animals so that she can "show" them.

(Austin & Bayley on Valentine's 2007)

So, this year, for Valentine's Day, I'll be celebrating the return of the two sweethearts that stole my heart!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Yellow Dogs at 25 Degrees and 55 MPH

At approximately 4:30 this morning, I rolled out of bed and began getting ready for a long day. Today was out District contest day. As I headed out the door, I took a peak at the thermometer and found it to be about 21 degrees. Let me just say... that's cold!!

After several trips to my house last night... (I'm staying at the parents because it's so cold at my house... my fire building skills aren't that good) I managed to end up in the car with a blanket, my ski gloves, a jacket, scarf and hat.

I arrived at the school at 5:30 am... with time to spare before our 6am departure time. I finished up my lesson plans, made sure I had all of my forms filled out and together, and patiently waited for the kids to arrive. About 5 minutes before we were supposed to leave, my teaching partner came in my classroom and told me that the bus driver wanted to talk to us. Oh great! It seems that our bus, a "pusher" (that means a flat nosed one, which will run an astonishing 65 mph) was not working properly... so, we had to wait for another bus.

Fast forward about 20 minutes and we were finally able to load up on another bus. As I climbed aboard, the bus driver looked at me and said "This one isn't working right either, we're going to have to stop at the bus barn and get another one."

So, about 30 minutes after we were supposed to, we finally made it to Williston to pick up the rest of our riders. A quick loading and we were off for Madison, Florida (I know, don't tell me that Chiefland is closer to Madison, it's not a good topic with me) Now, for those of you who haven't rode on a school bus lately, the fastest that the old buses will run is 57 mph. So, we drove 57 on the interstate from Gainesville to Madison. To make it worse, there was no heat on the bus (thank goodness for the blanket) which meant that it was probably a good thing that everyone was having to double up in the seats.

Needless to say, we were about 45 minutes to an hour late and for the entire last hour, I had students telling me how bad they needed to stop. (Fortunately, I wasn't the only adult that agreed we had to keep going) We finally made it to the contest, and things started to calm down. And while it wasn't our best day, it was one that reminds me why I do what I do.

You see, I do what I do because of days like today. Watching students push themselves to be better, seeing them step oustide their comfort zone and make new friends, and even learning that if they want to win, they have to try harder are the things that I value about my job. I can honestly say, if I were stuck in a classroom every day, I couldn't make it as a teacher. And I guess, that even if I have to get up super early, or freeze on a yellow dog, I can't think of anything more rewarding!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Good News and Thank Yous

Just want to say thank you for all the prayers today! Grandma went into surgery around 2:30 and by 5:00 Mom called to report that she was out of surgery and was expected to be in a room by 6:00. If everything goes well tonight, she'll get to go home tomorrow. Thanks again!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

25 Random things...

So, I stole this off my facebook, but I thought it was pretty interesting. The way it works is like this, you list 25 random things about yourself that your friends may not know.
  1. My favorite soft drink is orange soda. Lots of sugar, not very grown up, but defiantely my favorite.
  2. I have an odd book fetish, if I buy a book that has a sequel, I have to get it in the same format, for example, all hardcover or all soft cover... I know... weird
  3. I started collecting china when I was in high school. I currently have two different patterns that I pick up whenever I find a piece. (Ebay is an addiction!)
  4. I would rather have hot tea than coffee... and I really like flavored teas.
  5. John Wayne is my all time favorite actor... I watch the same movies over and over... especially if I can't sleep... something about them makes me relax enough to sleep.
  6. After watching Hatari I now want to go on an African safari... just to see a rhino!
  7. I have prescription glasses... don't wear them all the time, but I do have a pair.
  8. I am a New York Yankees fan... especially Derek Jeter... mainly because my Daddy is a Yankees fan.
  9. I love fresh flowers in a house... I think they just make a room feel better!
  10. One of my life goals is to write a book.
  11. I love history... especially American History... probably should have been a history teacher!
  12. My favorite M&M's are the peanut butter ones... because the Green Girl is their spokesperson and I love peanut butter!
  13. The only college football teams that I will not cheer for are FSU and Tennessee... something about bleeding Orange and Blue just won't let me!
  14. I talk to my mother at least twice a day... sometimes more!
  15. I think brown eggs taste better than white ones
  16. I like goat milk... as long as it's fresh... the one from the grocery store doesn't taste good.
  17. I am a pack rat... but I can normally find what I'm looking for in my mess!
  18. I believe that high thread count sheets are worth the investment... and every bed should have a down comforter!
  19. I love cold weather... as long as it's not so cold that I can't get warm...
  20. I want to see all 50 states before I die... so far, I've been to about 15... at least I've got Alaska out of the way!
  21. The painting on my mantle is of the house in Connecticut where my Grandpa's relatives used to live... I call it "The House on Rising Corner"... and it's just the way I want my own house to look one day!
  22. I don't wear a lot of jewelry... just a watch, stud earings, and normally my great-grandmother's engagement ring (I just got it for Christmas this year)
  23. My phone number is made of the following numbers: 3, 5, 2, and 1... everyone remembers it!
  24. My favorite time of day is just before you get out of bed in the morning, when you're awake, but still warm and toasty, and you can just lay there and let yourself glory in the fact that you're not out of the bed yet!
  25. My favorite way to relieve stress is to jump on a 4-wheeler and fly across a cow field... trying to avoid bull holes... until all the drama just melts away!
Ok... I told you all that I would let you know when Grandma had her surgery. She's scheduled to go in tomorrow at 12:30. Mom left tonight to go down and is planning to be there until Thursday afternoon if everything goes well.

Suffice to say... I did not get to go, which I am absolutely not happy about (I could still strangle the anestesiologist), but will be praying for everything to go well. I'll let you know more as soon as I know something!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dam-p wood

Most days, I absolutely love living in my old farm house. Baths in my huge clawfoot tub are about the best thing ever when I've had a bad day at work and the huge open kitchen is a life saver when it gets cold enough that my plants have to come inside. Lately, mom and I have been canning in my kitchen which warms the house up nicely on chilly evenings. The concrete walls tend to stay cool even into the middle of the day in the summers and since I hate to be hot when I sleep, that makes it where I can sleep with covers most of the year.

However... there are times when I seriously question my sanity in living there! For example, last night, after struggling to get a fire started in my woodburning stove, I sat shivering on the couch wishing for central heat and air. Normally, my wood burning stove does a good job of keeping the front rooms warm enough to be comfortable. For some reason, the fire didn't want to start... and then, when it finally did, the fan took forever to kick on. Finally, by the time I climbed into bed I had it warm enough to sleep. As I sit today, dreading having to fight the battle again this afternoon, I thought I'd share a few of my tips for getting a fire going... not that they're right, but hey, they work!

1. Make sure the floo is open. (Thankfully, I don't say this from a bad experience!) The air flow drawing up the chimney helps the fire to take hold.

2. Start with some smaller pieces on the bottom. I have sycamore trees in my yard and there are always branches falling. I pick these up, break them into pieces that will fit into my stove and use them as a base for my fire.

3. Use kindling! Lightard chips are your best friend when starting a fire. several pieces at the bottom of the pile will help you get enough of a flame to light your larger pieces.

4. Buy the starter matches. Those fat little matches will do a better job starting a fire than any flame lighter will! they burn slow enough to get other pieces of wood burning and are easy to light and use.

5. If you know it's going to rain, make sure you bring firewood in before it does. You can't start a fire with damp wood! (Believe me... I've tried and it's not fun!)

6. Don't try to start a fire with green wood. Seasoned wood will start easily, while fresh cut wood still have moisture in it that causes it to take longer to start and also puts out more smoke.

7. Cheat! Use any kind of fire starting devices available- fire logs, starter matches, starter packs- it's aggrivating enough without having help!

8. Once you've got a fire started, keep your embers going as long as possible. Add wood when your other pieces start to burn down... that way you don't have to start all over!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Update on Grandma

Yesterday, after I rushed home from work, I packed a bag, got it all loaded in the car and headed to mom's house to pick her up only to find that Grandma had called, upset because the anestesiologist (sp?) had postponed her surgery until after she has a stress test, which is now scheduled for Monday morning. It looks like the actual surgery will be next week... I'll keep you posted.

I finally got my mother to explain exactly what she's having surgery on, because I thought it was her heart. It's not... Grandma has an abdominal aortic anurism (sp?). (As you can tell, I am so not good at spelling medical terminology!) Which means that the aortic artery leading out of her heart and into her abdomen has a "bubble" or weak spot in the wall and the doctor thinks it's growing. The surgery is to put a stint over the weak spot so that she will be fine. I think I understood Mom to say that they would go in through a vein somewhere in her lower body, so they're not cutting her open really big.

And now that we've all learned a little about the anatomy of an anurism... I'll let you know when the surgery gets scheduled!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hey guys... need some help.

Mom's mom is having heart surgery on wednesday and I would appreciate all the prayers you can offer. Hopefully it will all go okay. Mom and I are leaving after work tomorrow to go down and be with her before the surgery.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Monday Morning Blues

I guess it's just one of those things... the holidays are over, the tree is put away for another year and now it's time to get back to a routine.

The bad thing about being a teacher around the holidays (and it's one of those mixed emotion things) is that you get out of your routine. You stay up late, sleep late, and be as lazy as you want to be. While it feels good for a while, you suffer the consequences when you have to go back to work again (hence the bad part).

So, when I get up at six tomorrow, I'll be silently wishing that I was still snuggled down under my down comforter and also knowing that those who don't have a whole 2 weeks off at the end of the year and having a laugh that I'm back in their ranks.

As it stands... I better get to bed... otherwise, I won't be waking up!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sealing Jars

About 9 months ago, I started learning the almost-lost art of canning. Since then, I've helped put up over 500 jars of all kinds of fruits and vegetables from daddy's "Therapy Garden". My favorite thing to make is jellies. After stiring the sugary mixtures, ladling them into hot jars, and adding lids and rings, it's rewarding to look at the different colored jars of product. As the jars cool, the lids begin to make a soft "ping" as they seal.

Tonight, momma and I put up 30 jars of prickly pear jelly. For those who have never heard of it, prickly pears have a fruit on them that is purple. When cooked down, it makes a really pretty purple juice that has a taste something between a berry and a mayhaw. It's great over vanilla ice cream. Mom, while driving around the mail route, picked enough of the fruits to make 4 gallon pickle jars of juice. Each jar makes about 25-30 half-pint jars of jelly.

Tonight, as I dift off to sleep, I'll be listening to the soft sounds of sealing jars... and know that tonight was a job well done!