Sunday, July 29

Another barn

rock, wood, metal roof barn
Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

Just because it's so pretty. This barn sits just south of the school my two daughters attended in recent years. It is part of the original homestead that has now been taken over by the school, the church to it's west and the upcoming shopping area. It is so lovely. If you look at it closely, you can see that it was built lovingly by someone who appreciated the beauty of the rocks from the nearby river.

Saturday, July 28

The past in the present

aged barn
Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

As you may remember, I have a fascination with barns. What is it about barns that draws my interest? Well, it's the history behind the barns that I find endearing. Barns were once the center of ones home. If a fire occurred, one hoped it would be the house instead of the barn since the barn houses the livelihood of the family, all the winter items needed, the transportation of the family, the seeds and equipment for food, crops and feed for animals. It was the single most important structure on the homestead. Barns were also the result of a community. They connected neighbor to neighbor, often raised during a workday. Men, women and children would work together to help one another. The barn, for the Amish, is the place were teenagers meet and court during "Singings", it also is often the place were a worship service will take place. The barn, such a part of our history is fast fading into the past. We, as a general rule, do not need the barns as much. We have garages, we have grocery stores, we have sheds...none of which I begrudge anyone (and of which I gladly partake) but there's something that tugs my heart when I drive past a barn that has obviously served a family throughout the years and protected that which they needed for survival.

Friday, July 27

co-sleeping with new baby

co sleeping with new baby
Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of my electronic family. Her name is Iphone, but you can call her mine! :) LOL

I have always said that my darling husband gives the best gifts..and me being a geek...well that just means that the gifts have internal memory and internet access and communication abilities out the wazoo. The best part of the gift? My husband, who hates to shop, and hates running errands, went to three locations before he procured one this item and then hid it from me for twenty one days until our anniversary. Cuter still, he saved it until the very end of the night to give it to me since he knew I would immediately start "geeking out" (his words) as soon as I got it and he wanted to make sure that he got some (uh, cough, uh-hum) "attention" before he lost me. Smart, smart man!
Blessings on your day!

Tuesday, July 24

Tagged. I'm it!

I've been tagged by Laurie at Learning Life Through Unschooling to list 8 random things about me. It's taken me a bit to come up with 8 actual things about me that are both random and true. :) So here goes....

1. I used to have a major dislike for my feet. I hated for anyone to see them and was always afraid that they were stinky. I'm obviously over that now though, with my penchant for pedicures.

2. I like to read. A LOT. I find myself drawn to historical fiction most times, where I completely lose track of time. I have found that it is actually four a.m. when I finally close a book more times than not. This summer I have (as of one a.m.) read 25 books. (maybe more, but I loose track of them after awhile)

3. I am a techie/geek/electronic junkie/media kind of gal. That explains the statement that I made a few years ago and have repeated when friends ask me why my husband doesn't buy me jewelry for special occasions very often: "If electronics were jewels then I am like Elizabeth Taylor dripping in diamonds." Nothing sparkles like a new Iphone, laptop, printer, camera, etc...

4. In the love languages quiz: my language is gifts (duh!) and gifts of service.

5. I dream of going to Italy and Scotland and Paris. My husband....does not. Enough said.

6. I love Brighton jewelry (I know, direct contrast to #3, but hey I am a woman!). I like the fact that they have a lot of two tone items since I like to wear silver mostly, but my wedding rings are gold, so it makes for a nice mix. My favorite piece? My breast cancer awareness pieces...of which I have four or five.

7. I buy two new purses a year, one for the first day of fall and one for the first day of spring. I buy fairly inexpensively so that I do not feel guilty for using them for less than a year...and if I buy really inexpensively it gives me room to buy a bonus purse for the year. (Yea!)

8. My favorite candy? Dark chocolate Milky Way candy bars. I adore them....crave them...try to stay far away from them!

Well, I hope you have enjoyed my random meanderings. Thanks Laurie for making me think really hard. ;) I now tag Jean 2 @ A Pair of Jeans and Amanda @ Simply Salzillo who is new to blogging.

Christi with gift for Mommy

Christi with gift for Mommy
Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

Yesterday, while visiting at a friend's house (Jean 2 from A Pair of Jeans) my youngest came into the house and said "Mommy, cwose your eyes, I have a pwesent for you." She gave me this beautiful, very rare tropical flower, usually found only in the remote regions of the rain forest. How amazing that she was able to locate it so near the Ozark hills during an exploration with friend's oldest daughter. They also happened upon a unicorn named Jasmine...amazing. What a magical walk it was!

Monday, July 23


My husband and I have just finished celebrating our 16th anniversary weekend. Yep, weekend...with the exclusion of his workday Saturday we have spent a LOT of hours together. We laughed, reminisced, talked, talked and talked. It was fun. He told me his thoughts that he had right before we got married (let's just say he went into typical guy panic). I told him about my walk at three a.m. with Jean 2 the night before the wedding. We talked about Jean 2 sobbing as he and I drove away from the wedding. Then we talked about the years and the growth we experienced. It was such a wonderful weekend. What a joy to know that God has brought us thus far. I think upon writing this post I will upload a few of our wedding photos and put them on here tonight. (fun fun)

Wednesday, July 18

Take the Long Way Home

Take the Long Way Home
Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

So often in our lives we are hurrying. Hurrying through the laundry, to get dinner done, to run to the store for a gallon of milk, preparing dinner. Everything is about speed and instant results. Sometimes, it is necessary to just slow down, look around, drive a little out of the way to decompress. Last week I had one of those times. After meeting my friend at Walmart to shop sans kids, I drove the back road home. This picture was taken from the top of the steering wheel while driving home from Walmart. I arrived home more peaceful than I would have if I had taken the main road with all the traffic, stop lights and 60 mile an hour speed limits. Out here, the speed limit is 45, the traffic (as you can see) nearly non-existent and the landscape peaceable and comforting.
Here's to a quiet interlude.

Tuesday, July 17

Cool new ponchos

Cool new ponchos
Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

Yesterday I took my kids and two friends to Branson Landing. It is an outdoor mall with cool play areas and all the coolest stores. My girls have been babysitting and had money in their purses ready to spend on clothes (I know, shocking considering they're teenagers). Bria's BFF met us down there along with BFF's mom, sister, sister's friend and boy BFF babysits. They are a really nice group of people and the Mom, Debra, laughs at my jokes....which means I REALLY like her!
We shopped, ate lunch, talked and just had a really good time. Nearing the end of the day, Bria said she would sit with the kids while I went into one store of my choosing so off I trotted into the Cold Water Creek store....70% off sale sign had me salivating. I had no more than walked through the doors when I heard a clap of thunder. Hesitating, I looked outside, decided I had a little bit of time, and began to look through the dress rack with items marked WAY DOWN. Another thunder clap. I quickly took my chosen item, after being assured that I could return it to our local store if it didn't fit, to the register to pay and hurry back to the kids. As the lady was ringing up my purchase it began to sprinkle outside. As she bagged the purchase it began to lightly rain. As she put the receipt into the bag it began to rain. As I walked to the door it began to rain harder. As I read the text message from Bria that said "In Disney. Thunder Scared Christi. Waiting here 4 U" it began to rain a bit harder. As I walked through the doors of the Disney store it began to pour. We decided to wait out the rain burst in the Disney store, allowing the kids to watch the big t.v. in the back. 45 minutes later I was tired of standing, getting thirsty and having doubts that the rain burst was going to be over anytime before closing time. And then I got creative. Bria, Niki and I began shifting all our purchases to the one big bag. Bria handed me her scissors. I began creating the coolest new ponchos this side of the Mississippi from the smaller yet adequate plastic bags from Children's Place, Disney Store and Charlotte Russe. We dashed to the van, got there dripping wet and one and all began to laugh at each other's hair, running make up and rain soaked shorts, shoes and "ponchos". (click on the photo to see it better.)

Sunday, July 15

Breaking free

Here comes the sun
Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

Sometimes we, as normal persons, find ourselves bound in a rope of life and responsibility. We move, restricted by thoughts of laundry and dinner, through daily tasks while caring for those around us. We plan, tied by schedules and appointments, for times of "getting together" with friends. We dream, lassoed by work and commitments, of getting away for just a little bit of leisure. But God, being merciful and gracious, makes a way for us to decompress. It may be for a week at the beach listening to the ocean. It may be for a romantic getaway with the one who shares your life. It may only be for a trip sans kids to Walmart with one of your life long friends. It is called "breaking free". Lately God has been refreshing in my spirit the verses of Ecc. 3:1-8.
TO everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.

If I were to word it in my life it would go something like this"

A time to do laundry, a time for the hamper to remain untouched
A time to cook, a time to eat out
A time for childcare, a time to hire a babysitter
A time for yard work, a time to let the grass grow
A time for errands, a time for a pedicure
A time for family, a time for friends
A time to iron, a time for Downy wrinkle release."

Isn't it such a relief to know that God's very character understands the need for seasons of change?

Saturday, July 14

The final installment of "When Family Comes to Visit"

Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

When last we were together, you had met the last of the cousins that came to visit....But Wait!!!

You must now meet the momma. Sister-in-law, acting as cruise director for the Loveboat (Honda) Minivan of Sea Mist blue (or is it glacier ice?), came with kids to hide out from the floor repairment take a little vacation with the southern Missouri family. She has become one of my closest friends, having similar backgrounds and sense of humor (a must have with me, right Jean 2?) as well as a common goal of raising children to be happy and productive as well as intelligent adults.

She is funny, giving, sarcastic (hee hee) loving and a good momma. She loves her children and loves mine (a true bonus). My kids love her as well, which makes for a wonderful visit.

We had the chance to go get pedicures/manicures and just be grown ups for a little while while my older two babysat the younger kids. It was such a nice little oasis in the land of Motherhood.

And tomorrow, I return to the tales of my little acre of land we call Home. :)

P.s. click the link above to hear Linnae's newest vocal cute it hurts.

Friday, July 13

Matthew the Superhero

Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

This is Matthew. Matthew is the final rung on the stairstep that is the cousins. He is six, two days short of being an exact year younger than my Ryan. It has been such a blessing for there to be a boy cousin in this family of numerous girls (there are 10 granddaughters and until recently there was only the two grandsons. Now there are two more toddler grandsons that live away from the family). Matthew is very taken with superhero's of all types (as you can see from the Spiderman pose) and enjoys superhero play. I think we must have rigged capes and masks everyday all day long for the two boys (and sometimes for Rose and Christi when the boys would let them play). I look forward to each visit with him, love him and enjoy who he is.
(yes, there are two posts today since my post yesterday did not appear for some reason...)

Roses are Silly

Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

This is the third installment of "Company Cousins", featuring Rose. Rose is the third rung up on the stair step, which means that she is four years old. Being two weeks older than my Christi, they are very close. They giggle and talk and play with animals all day long. (Rose loves anything kitty where Christi loves anything horse). Rose is also very very silly....she loves to make faces, silly songs, silly noises. She livens up a room much like a roman candles does a nighttime sky. I love when she comes to play and Christi loves it even more.

Wednesday, July 11

Sweetness is as sweetness does

Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

This, on my second day of posting about the visiting relatives, I am featuring Jade. Jade is two years old, the second rung on the stair-steps working from the bottom. She is a beauty, as you can see, but she is as sweet as she is lovely. She wormed her way into my heart through cuddles, snuggles and arms raised high for me to lift her up. She talks some with her speech, but gives soliloquies with her eyes.

Until tomorrow....and try not to get a tooth ache from all that sweetness.

Tuesday, July 10

Baby Fix

Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

My sis in law came to visit recently bringing with her four stair-step children. This is Linae, the youngest of the family. The kids and I had only briefly met her the week before at a memorial service for Nana, so when they arrived she garnered quite a lot of attention. I enjoyed rocking a little one again, snuggled up against my neck and breathing soft breaths of life that only a small one can take, smelling a fragrance that I wish one could bottle to be sprinkled onto baby clothes saved for memory sake and sending a calm that can only be achieved by holding a baby so near to ones heart. What a treasure it was to have her here.

The next few days will feature this family and the other key players and the blessing that they also brought to our home. So, until tomorrow, enjoy the baby fix. :)

Monday, July 9

I found my Bliss "Someday"

For a couple of months now, every time the kids and I drive by this local park we remark that we need to go play there "someday". Well, today on our way out of the local library my son asked innocently enough "Do you think today could be someday?" I looked at him and thought, why not? How hard would it be to just pick up some dinner and drive over to the park? I was equipped with reading material, my husband could call if he needed us, the older girls would be just as happy reading outside than in their rooms. "Sure! Today is someday! " I replied. So we drove through Sonic and picked up some burgers and Cherry Limeades (Vanilla Diet Coke for me) and we drove to the park of our dreams. The park, a fairly new one, was such a nice surprise. From the road we had spied a few play items, but once we drove up we were happy to spot tennis courts (good news for hubby and I since we are always trying to find new courts) clean and well maintained bathrooms, vending machines, various playground apparatus and nice picnic tables. Once we ate, I settled in to let the kids play while I read...but each time I picked up the book to read, I would find myself watching the two youngest play. They were having so much fun, such joy in their eyes and laughter, that I realized that I had found "A Place Called Bliss" right here, right now. I'm so glad that today turned out to be Someday!

Sunday, July 8

Independence Day

Our family recently celebrated the 4th of July with many friends from our church body. This has become our yearly tradition for the last six years. As we were preparing this year, my oldest, Bria, asked if she could be responsible for the decorations. She even wanted to use some of the money that she had saved from babysitting jobs to pay for them. After much discussion of what she wanted to spend and walking the aisles of the local party store, she settled on a few patriotic items, paid for them and then went about decorating the deck, fence and dessert table. My husband also went shopping the same day and brought home two big boxes with plain wrappers. Those went into the cool dark storage room immediately, since they did nothing for the decor. Bria did a lovely job decorating, but once it got dark, everything she did was forgotten by those in attendance since the items from the boxes were now decorating the sky with much pomp and circumstance. After an hour and a half of fireworks, we began the clean up before heading to bed. We had a great time, great fellowship and I look forward to next year. You know, same bat time, same bat channel.

Lately, I've had this song going through my heart when I think about the meaning of freedom and independence.

"I'm free from the fear of tomorrow. I'm free from the guilt of my past. For I've traded my shackles for a glorious song, and I'm free, Praise the Lord, I'm free at last. "

My freedom, although guaranteed in the Preamble to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, can only take me so far. Because it is the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law that sets one free. What does that mean? Let me give an example.

As a child I was very well read, I knew the definition of many words and used them at will. But I did not have understanding of many of the words. Like most people, I learned the words and later learned the true meanings. Words such as "sympathy" and "pleasure" and even "mother". As an adult I grew to understand the words to a depth and feeling. One can know that sympathy means feeling sadness for one another, but when you are sitting with your friend who has lost her father and your heart breaks along with hers, you learn a deeper meaning of the word, a deeper definition. One can know that the word pleasure means sincere happiness and joy, but when you are holding your infant and she smiles her first real smile while looking in your eyes, you understand true pleasure, bliss and joy. One can even know and have a good understanding of the word mother, can even have a fairly deep understanding but once you've sat up for 14 hours straight watching a child sleep while applying compresses to a fevered brow and then later prepared breakfast for the other children in the house and carried the sick child on the hip the entire day to make the sick one feel your presence and love, then you understand what it is to mother.

This is where freedom comes in. I've always known that freedom means not being enslaved to someone or something. But once Holy Spirit illumined (brought light to ) the things that were hindering my freedom, I learned what it meant. When I had been freed from fear, poverty, my past, my pride and sin then I learned what true freedom meant. I live in a state of perpetual freedom that I could never truly have just with our country's democracy. And, while I'm proud to be an American and appreciate all the civil freedoms I have, I am even more grateful to be a Christian and appreciate the spiritual freedoms I have.

Friday, July 6

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, sweet hiway of information.

Blogosphere, I'm back. Fear not, what my wireless router intended for harm Tech Support has provided for good. I've been Internet-less for a few days, which had left me feeling a bit bereft. I could be found wandering in circles saying odd sentences like "I wonder if anyone has commented lately" and "Oh, that will make a great post" and answering the question "have you bought any milk?" with "Do I LOOK like I've bought any milk?? I can't even get online!".

So, with all that said....

My good buddy over @ Hybrid Theory Wonders tagged me with the Pondering of 8 Things no one knows about me. I'll do my best, but for those of you that even sort of know me you know that I'm pretty much an open book. :) Here goes:

1. I used to fantasize about being a southern gospel singer, even to the point of looking into auditions for the Baldknobbers. (embarrassed look on my face)

2. When I was in second grade, I used to practice (for hours) talking like Nell Carter because I thought her voice was cute. [this is me, 2nd grade]

3. I once "played the piano" for 3rd grade show and tell, but I'd never had lessons and so I just sat up there and hit a bunch of keys and then bowed when I was done, while my classmates sat stunned and just stared.

4. I am shy. I hide it very well by pretending not to be when I have people around who know me, but left on my own with a room full of strangers I would rather sit and read than have to interact with people.

5. I love reading comments on my blogs, but even worse, I check site meter every day to make sure SOMEBODY is reading even if no one comments. (I know, pathetic, but I'm being honest)

6. I used to have a crush on the deep voiced singer of Oak Ridge Boys (I still think he's kinda cute)

7. I do not like dark rooms....I like to have at least some light or my palms start sweating and my heartbeat gets very rapid.

8. I look forward to someday living in a retirement community, someplace that mows your lawn for you and has an on site beauty parlor and BINGO every Friday night.