Monday, October 27, 2008

God's Goodness part 2

John preached on God's goodness again yesterday, primarily using Psalm 107.
Two things I want to remember...

When we get together, how much time do we spend talking about the goodness of the Lord compared to the time we spend complaining about how hard or crazy our week has been? Are we a thankful people, always aware of the constant goodness of the Lord to us?

Whoa... this was right after a long email I had sent making excuses for not getting school work done and listing all of the hectic factors in my week. Not just that, but I realized how much I complain just to make conversation... I have often lamented over my difficulties in turning conversation to a spiritual nature. This would happen a lot more naturally if I would make it a point to make conversation about things I am thankful for rather than things I am grumbling about!

John also made it a point to address the children in the sermon just after reminding parents how dependent we are on God's goodness for the salvation of their souls. He suggested that they entreat God based on His promises in Scripture.

I remembered that a friend of mine had given me a little thing called "The Bread Box" a year ago or so. It is a little plastic loaf of bread with cards sticking up that have Scriptural promises on each card. I pulled it off my windowsill (where it looks nice, but doesn't get used often enough), and put it in the center of the table. The kids remembered that part of the sermon, and we all decided that at each meal we would read a promise and pray in that direction.

Changing the subject... but thinking of things to be thankful about....

This morning dawned cold!!! The weather has changed! Sarah went and gathered some sticks, and we lit our first fire of the season. It only lasted about 3 minutes, because it was made up of twigs, but our chimney draws very well! The kids and I went out this afternoon and sawed some small logs to build another fire. We timed it so that when Scott got home, we had the house clean and a fire roaring in the fireplace (This fire lasted about 15 minutes!) This weekend we are going to get to choppin' and work on our woodpile!
Sarah and her fire

It will be such a treat to have a fireplace to enjoy but not depend on! One thing I am SO thankful for is to have a home with central heat! (Our home in Kentucky was 100 years old and heated with two wood stoves... we could see our breath downstairs some mornings! BRRRR!... )

My Baby is Five!

Happy Birthday to Josh! I can't believe my baby is five years old today!
Last night we had the families of some of his buddies over for a hayride and hot dog roast out at the campsite. Mama kinda dropped the ball on the hay, however, so we had a "hypo-allergenic" hayride.... that is, a trailer ride! :)

My parents, grandmother, and sister's family also got to come. We opened presents and had cake at the house, and then we headed down the trail. At the campsite, everyone roasted hotdogs and marshmallows, played with glow sticks and flashlights, and ran around in the woods. Josh had a blast, and I think it went quite well!

End of Season

We have had a whirlwind of a week or two... Lots of crazy little stuff going on, but we also had our last cross country race of the year this weekend followed by an end of the season cookout. Instead of participating in a meet, we ran in Race for the Cure in Tupelo. Approximately 4,000 people were there (many, many walkers), and our group did great! I was not expecting many of the kids to get awards, but we had quite a few to get trophies! Julie was our top female with a time around 20:30, and Zack and Forrest ran in the low 18:00's.

I decided to run in this one also, and I am very thankful to Olivia. My goal was to be able to see her at the finish line (secretly, my goal was to be within throwing a softball distance at the finish line), but we worked together during the race and I finished right behind her. She did a PR, and I ran a little faster than I have in a while... 21:45. I'm not a Spring chicken anymore, so I was pretty satisfied with that!

After the awards, we went to the Johnsons' home to cook hot dogs and visit. The kids all had a great time playing and hanging out one last time. I decided to do awards this year, so I passed out the MVP, Most Improved, Bow Up, and Fitness awards.

The JV girls gave me the sweetest, most thoughtful surprise...
Oh, yeah, just in case you were wondering... "You're lookin' at the best coach ever!"

The team also gave me a super generous gift that will allow me to get some running clothes and pay my registration fee for the Memphis 1/2 marathon. It has been such a pleasure to work with these kids this year... I am already looking forward to next season!

Friday, October 24, 2008


I will be thankful when this election is over... I can't take any more drama or excitement. Each day I am sickened by the newscasters who are presenting "facts" with such a bias that I can't listen without making faces... On the other hand, the conservative talk radio shows are nothing but talk of the election, how biased the media is, and how we are going to perish if Obama wins.

Today I checked email and blogs, and then went to facebook. I don't know about your "friends" on facebook, but it seems mine are all political activists. The funny thing is, I have about half with liberal views and half with conservative. When my page comes up, each day there are links from about half a dozen people... some bashing McCain and making fun of Sarah Palin... some claiming that Obama is not a citizen and Biden is a hypocrite.... some promoting the constitutional party.

I had just finished reading a very swaying email in favor of McCain when I saw some links and digs about the Republicans on my facebook page. Impetuously, I wrote on their walls encouraging them to read what I had just read. All afternoon I was kicking myself for speaking out. These were people I haven't seen or spoken to in person in years, and here I am accusing them of not caring for the unborn!

I don't know what I was expecting as a response... you know, they are democrats... :) Anyway, I received two kind replies with explanations about their beliefs.

It struck me as I read the responses how we gather people around us who think just like we do. This is not always bad, but it is helpful to hear things from a different perspective... especially not the media's. These people are democrats, but are not pushing an agenda, and definitely not as evil-intentioned as many conservative talk shows would lead you to believe! I am not saying I agree with them! However, I think many of us conservatives have democrats in a box created based on the positions of the ultra liberal outspoken media.

The abortion issue is primary in many conservative hearts. Until now, I thought the other differences were as simple as good vs. evil. (Just kidding... ) I mean, differing fundamental opinions of how government should be approached... Control everything or not. Now I see that those are the fundamental differences, but really there are kind-hearted people who want more government control out of concern for the poor and helpless and the economy, and there are kind hearted people who want less government control because they feel it is our Christian duty to help poor and helpless people and that things can work themselves out without excessive gov't spending. I realize that is over-simplifying both sides and doing both sides injustice... it is 11:30, and I am thankful for clarity of mind... it just doesn't seem to be translating to paper!

Well, I am thankful for the little things that the Lord teaches us throughout the day. His reminders to me to be merciful and gentle are most welcome.

Monday, October 20, 2008

We had a beautiful sunset today! This view is from our driveway, looking out over the pasture.

God's Goodness and Christian Progress

I have been thinking about the goodness of the Lord lately, and it was the topic of John's sermon yesterday. He made two points that I would like to remember...

First of all, he mentioned that a person can go about her day, making godly decisions, living the Christian life, etc... and not be actively aware of God's transcendence, omnipresence, or omnipotence. However, we can not make decisions or obey or be close to Christ and NOT be aware of his goodness. (which can be an umbrella term describing his grace, kindness, mercy, etc.)
In other words, all that we do that is in any way considered obedience is directly from the goodness of God, because apart from Him, we are not good.

I know this sounds basic, but it is something I must preach to myself. My tendency is to forget... leading into the second thing I want to remember...

One practical way we despise the goodness of God is by not recognizing His goodness and/or taking it for granted. Instead of being aware of it continually and being motivated to love and holiness, we can take His goodness for granted and become presumptuous.

I have been reading this book too long (I started it b/c it was small and thought it wouldn't take too long!), but I just finished this morning. This was a very helpful book which addressed the necessity of progress in the life of the believer. His other book, The Anxious Inquirer was instrumental in my coming to know the Lord. He also has written a book called Female Piety which has been turned into a pamphlet called A Woman's Mission... very helpful as well.

I want to post some quotes from the book. It is definitely worth reading!

Be thankful, then, for "the day of small things:" despise it not. But be not satisfied with it. Religion must be a shining and progressive light.

We should grow in our knowledge of the character of God, that we may resemble it; in the perfection of the law, that we might be conformed to it; in the example of Jesus, that we may be more like it... A desire merely to know, is curiosity, but a desire to know in order to do, is sanctity.

Be more insensible to the world's favor, frown, or smile.

And what is the crowning grace, the finishing stroke of beauty, and the brightest ray of glory in the Christian character? HUMILITY.

Do everything as if God did nothing. Depend upon God as if He did everything. Hence, do all in a spirit of prayer. Prayer is the golden thread that is to run through all our actions, stringing them altogether, and suspending them all upon the hand of God.

From this book, I can say that I do not want to be a lighthouse directing other ships on course, but staying stationary myself! Each chapter has a (sometimes painful) very pointed address to the reader at the end. Here is a piece of one:

Am I really so anxious to grow in grace as to be using all of the means necessary for that purpose? Am I serving my soul as I do my body, that is, by being careful about my spiritual health, and adopting all proper measures, and diligently employing them to promote it?
Do I really want to grow?
Do I hunger and thirst after righteousness?
Do I take pains for this self-cultivation?
Do I most constantly and seriously attend means of grace, public and private, week days as well as Sabbath days?
Do I constantly, devoutly read and study the Holy Scriptures, not allowing other books to supplant the Bible? And do I search them to be made more holy?
Do I feel my need of the Holy Spirit's influence, and am I constantly wrestling with God to bestow it upon me?

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It has taken me until Monday morning to post about this because the bad and ugly were SO bad and ugly. However, the good was really good, so I will start with that!

Saturday morning the runners participated in a 5k in Corinth, MS. Everyone did very well. Last week I had to give credit to the girls' JV team, but this week it goes to the boys' varsity group and our elementary participants. Forrest and Zack ran their PRs of the season by quite a bit... low 18's! The elementary runners did great, also. Many of them ran the whole way, and everyone improved their times.

I ran with Sarah to encourage her. My 8 year old turned out a 26:39 5K time (3.1miles)!! That is a good deal faster than a 9 minute mile pace! She felt good while we were running and enjoyed looking at all of the pretty historic houses along the route and me reading the historical markers to her. This was her best time by over a minute... way to go! (Don't worry, some of you... I do not push the elementary kids to race competitively or do superfluous mileage at a young age...)

NOW for the UGLY....

Friday night the Dawgs lost (again) to Pontotoc. This, however, was not just any loss. We were ahead 14 to 7 in the 4th quarter. With about 5 minutes left, they tied the game b/c of some TERRIBLE calls. Ok, I realize this is said all the time, but really, there were at least 3 particularly blatantly wrong calls. I mean sickeningly wrong calls that led to their touchdown.

In MS high school football, overtime is sudden death. We went into DOUBLE overtime. The second time we scored a touchdown to put us down by 1. We went for 2 to win the game, and made it!!! BUT, the ref (the same ref who had been making the stinky calls from out of position) said NO GOOD!!! Then, the refs took off running and left the field. We were flabbergasted... it was so obvious that we had scored!

That night when Scott got home, he said that they looked at the film, and the calls in the 4th qtr were as bad as we thought. He also said that Kareem's 2pt conversion was definitely good on film as well. What a heartbreaker!

I know some of you might be rolling your eyes and saying, "it's just a game!" This is true, but I now have a lot more sympathy for coaches and parents of athletes. It IS just a game, and Christ is still King and ruling over all. On the other hand, when you know how many hours these coaches are working, how hard they are trying, and how hard those boys are playing, it really is difficult to get beat by poor officiating.

This is our last week of cross country season. Tomorrow is our annual shaving cream race day (pictures to come), and Thursday we will have our Ultimate Frisbee Challenge! Our last race will be the Race for the Cure 5k in Tupelo, and then we will have a cookout at the Johnsons' home.

This week is also homecoming week at the high school. Today my husband went to class (decade day) with his jeans rolled up, loafers, and a white T-shirt! I don't know what the other days are, but I need to take pictures! Thursday night is the big parade and pep rally, and then Friday we play Saltillo. Hopefully we will increase our record to 2-7...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Becoming my mother

It is happening slowly but surely... I am becoming my mother! Reasons #534 and 535... I think my favorite season is now fall, and I am loving the color orange lately.

When I was younger, summer was definitely my favorite season. I loved the heat, swimming all summer long, and NO SCHOOL!!! Now, the heat doesn't bother me too badly, but more than it did. These days swimming is fun with the kids, but hanging out in my bathing suit all day is not quite as appealing. Finally, there are clearly positive things about summer break, but I am a closet nerd and actually enjoy school. I think I am learning way more than my children, and loving it!

This year for my birthday, my sweet husband gave me the perfect anniversary gift. Not flowers, not chocolate, not a fancy dinner... Oh yeah, he made me a cross country trail around our property! (I am sure this does not surprise some of you who know us well!) As I was running yesterday, I delighted in the slight changes of color in the trees, the cooler air, and the padding of fallen leaves underfoot. During the course of my run, I thought about the changing seasons and how much I have appreciated fall this year.

First of all, fall is cross country season! There is something energizing and stirring about going to a cross country invitational and seeing runner after runner strive to complete the course, especially when the air is crisp. In addition, running on a fall day when it is chilly and drizzling... can't get any better as far as exercise goes!

Next, and more in keeping with my mother, I love pumpkins and fall colors. It is so easy to remember the glory of our Father when we see His handiwork and detail in all creation! I also love bonfires, hayrides, going to the pumpkin patch, dressing in layers, and I get to pull out my knitted and felted bags! Which leads into...

Finally, after cross country season (there is still some fall left), there is knitting to look forward to! When the nights start earlier and earlier, I love lighting a few candles, snuggling up on the couch, and working on a knitting project. During the Spring and Summer I usually keep a project going, but I have had a 2 hour dish rag on my needles since July! I think first in line this year is going to be a shawl for Hannah and then for Sarah. Our church is quite chilly, and the girls have been wanting a wrap for worship services.

It is drizzling outside while a cold front pushes through, and I am thankful that fall is here!

blogs to note

A teenager in our church has just posted a blog entry that is very convicting to me. Her name is Ellen Riley, and she is the 3rd oldest in a family of 10. (I think she is 16.) The youngest Riley is adopted, and her post is about adoption. Check it out if you get a chance!

I can't figure out how people turn the blog blue and it makes a link directly to the blog... any help?

Another blog entry to note is my friend Christy Baumberger's... she lives in Evansville, IN. She had an interesting post about a comment Obama made about pro life issues. She's a very sweet girl with a sweet family... one of the things we miss about Kentucky is not seeing them!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This week's menu

Tuesday- Navy Beans and cornbread
Wednesday- Sweet potatoes, salad
Thursday- Pizza Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, salad
Friday- homemade pizza or spaghetti
Saturday- Sausage & Pancake bake (b'fast casserole)

Healthy/inexpensive lunch idea: I will often slice up an apple very thin for each of us and put about 1-2 Tbsp. peanut butter on the side. It takes so long to eat this lunch that we are all full by the time our apples are finished! The peanut butter adds a little protein to stick with you, and putting it on the side keeps you from going overboard with it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Getting Wet!!!

Well, I sure am glad I packed the change of clothes!!!

All of my teams did great today, but I want to spend this post bragging on my JV girls. They did so well today at the Tippah Lake XC Invitational. Saltillo was there, and Coach Covington has a large group of girls running. Other teams included New Albany, East Union, Kossuth, and several others. In the JV meet the girls ran 2 miles, and there were no class divisions (it was 1A-5A all together).

We have been working on pack running all season, and Catherine Snyder and Courtney Crampton showed me that they have been getting the message. We had 4 girls in the top 10! It was obvious early on in the race that it would be close between the Spartans and Saltillo; in fact, I think Coach Covington was even a little nervous!

Julie and Olivia Johnson finished first and second... they have done such a good job this year and really motivated the other girls to work hard. Catherine and Courtney finished 4th and 8th, and our number 5 girl, Sarah Gunnells made a major step up today. Sarah has been mid/back of the pack, but when I told her we needed her, she really picked it up and got up there! Martha and Margaret Chunn and Hannah Baggett all did very well also.

It ended up that we tied with Saltillo for first.... the first Spartan victory!!! They gave us second, and it took me until right now to realize why. I thought it was b/c Julie is really only 6th grade and technically shouldn't have counted; however, in xc a tie breaker goes to the #6 runner, and Saltillo was quite a bit more stacked than we were.

I am sure the Spartans are thankful that I did not realize what had happened until now.... because I conceded to jumping in the lake!

We all headed down the hill, I jumped in, and then the whole team ended up in there with me. I couldn't just let our #1 and 2 girls stand back and watch, though, so I threw Julie in, and Olivia joined her... sorry, Roan.

What fun- I am so proud of their hard work! Check out the Joyful Johnson blog, and Roan will probably have pictures posted!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Night Lights

The dawgs lost tonight to the formidable Shannon... 42-14. We were actually pretty pleased with this, however. Shannon is a great team, and we are small and slow. The boys played hard and the defense did well for what they were up against.

Tomorrow we have our last cross country meet at Tippah Lake north of Ripley. This is my favorite course, because it reminds me of my home course when I was in high school. I have made a bargain with the runners... if one of the teams wins their category, I get to jump in the lake. I am not too terribly worried, because I think Saltillo will be there. BUT... I did just pack a towel and change of clothes.

In cross country the scoring is like golf; the lowest score wins. The runners are given a number as they finish, and the first five numbers from each team are added together to make the score. In cross country meets the winner is often determined by the 4th and 5th runners. Many teams will have a couple fast runners, but it is a challenge to get 5-7 fast runners. Tomorrow I think this will be the case. I am confident in our first 3 girls, but if our numbers 4 through 7 can hang and work with the pack, we might pull it off!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Menu Monday... or Wednesday!

Some of my friends post their menus on Mondays, and I think this is a great idea... I love supper ideas! I usually plan my menu according to day:
Monday- Chicken
Tuesday- Crock Pot
Friday- Homemade pizza or nachos
Saturday- Breakfast for dinner
Sunday- Popcorn, Cereal, Ramens.... fend for yourself

This week has not gone according to plan so far... see previous post...
Thursday- we are actually going to stay after practice and picnic at the park, so I don't know
Friday- Nachos before the football game
*I usually open a can of black beans, mix on stovetop with mozzarella, pour over nachos, broil for a few minutes, then add sour cream and salsa
Saturday- This week it's good ole country breakfast... Bacon, eggs, biscuits n gravy

My mother-in-law sent us two cast iron biscuit pans to make her husband's world famous biscuits in, so we are all looking forward to this week's breakfast!

Wild Blue

Hooray! We finally have internet... a reliable version that is not dial up... in our home! We tried the AT&T thing that plugs into your laptop, but we live so far out in the boonies that we didn't get good enough cell phone signal. We went with Wild Blue, which is a satellite provider. Apparently, if the weather is not bad, the signal is pretty good.

It is so nice to have internet at home now! I need to work out a schedule for the kids b/c they are just as excited as I am. I will probably work increments into our school day... How do some of you work that out?

Some of you have read Hannah's blog recently, but we have had a busy few days. On Monday morning Christine (the family that has been staying with us for a while but has just found a house) was using my van take Brayden to school, and she was rear ended by a woman. Christine was stopped at a RR crossing b/c a bus was oncoming with its sign out, and a woman rear ended her going 40mph. She and the kids were ok, but had stiff necks. Later that afternoon I was taking her to the chiropractor because Hannah had an X ray appointment, and we got rear ended again in town!!!

I have spent the last few days on the phone with insurance, taking people to the chiropractor (we all had headaches, too), and all of the things that go along with an accident.

Today we cleaned the house I do once x week, went straight to Dr. Martin's office, drove from NA to Oxford to get an estimate and get the rental van, and then home for supper. When I went to get the estimate, the man said the van might be totalled out b/c it looked like there might be structural damage and there was a LOT of visible damage. I am not sure how that works, but I hope that does not mean they will try to give us a check for $9,000 or whatever they deem the present value of the van to be. Our rental reimbursement was only enough for a compact car, but I had a meltdown and the insurance guy softened and made sure we could get a van. So, now we just wait a few days and find out what is going to happen.

In the meantime, I am pooped! Tomorrow I clean a different house early in the morning, Josh has a Dr. appt. at 11:30, we have to drive to Byhalia to pick up Will, and then there is XC practice at 4:00. Friday is school and then football game, Saturday race and clean the house... I might not post again until this weekend.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Ok, so the Riverfest craft booth was kinda like a free puppy... It wasn't free, I lost a lot of sleep over it, and it turned out to be way more work than it was worth!!! I actually have gotten some orders after the fact that have pushed me up from the red into the black, so at least I didn't lose anything, AND, we all enjoyed corn dogs and funnel cakes!

Because I pulled an all-nighter Thurs. night, I just ran the 5K with Sarah to encourage her. She did a great job and finished in 27:43. Hannah did well also, especially for a child who really dislikes running. 9yrs. old, 3.1 miles, 35 minutes, intense dislike for the sport... I am satisfied!

The weather was beautiful, and despite our total slowness of sales, we all really enjoyed the day. It was to be the last day Hannah would enjoy on two feet for a while, though...

Sunday night the kids were at some friends' house and Hannah broke her foot! She had a dress on, and as she jumped over a barb wire fence, it snagged, pulled her backwards, and she landed on her foot.

I intended on copying several of my "friends" and doing "Menu Monday," but we were in different Dr. offices all day. When it was all said and done, Hannah came home with crutches, a moon boot, and antibiotics to keep staff out of the gaping wound on her foot. YIKES!

They aren't for sure that it is broken; it was right on a growth plate, and there is a chance it is a tendon that has pulled off her ankle. However, it was swollen and discolored enough that he wanted to be cautious and told us to come back in 1 week for another x ray.

Tuesday was spent cleaning house from dawn til way after dusk, and yesterday we did a marathon school day to catch up from our two days off!

Here are a few pictures from the weekend: