What Makes You Smile?

What Makes You Smile?

There are three things that always make me smile….always.

1. The sound of my kids laughing together
2. Big, white, puffy clouds
3. Any movie with Doris Day in it

What is it about Doris Day that just makes you happy?  And her clothes….oh man I don’t even care that they are all 60s and outdated….I would wear any of those things in a heartbeat.

doris

Our weekend was beautifully simple.  One of my daughters & I went to the city on Saturday to return her friend to the airport and see a movie.  We previewed “Dolphin Tale 2″, which I really liked.  For sure we will rent it when it comes out.  I doubt we will see it in the theater though….taking 11 people to the movie is too expensive.  It would come down to a choice between Dolphin Tale 2 or paying last month’s electric bill.

But I should go ahead and add dolphins to my above list because I always smile when I see dolphins.  They are just so happy!

Since James had a big tax deadline on Monday he was kind of “gone” all weekend, so I took advantage of the time to myself on Saturday night by taking a simple course about Facebook marketing.  I think it will come as no surprise that I ended up with a great big old headache by the end of the evening.  Insights and statistics are not something I catch onto easily.  I went to bed, but the headache rolled over into Sunday morning and by the time church was over I was ready to dunk my brain in a tub of ice water.

A friend at church asked me if I was feeling OK and I told her I had a headache.  “Oh,” she said, “”Do you think it’s allergies?”  “No,” I replied, “It’s Facebook.”

I came home and instead of the ice water trick I rubbed myself down with essential oils.  There’s a great headache remedy that I really like and wish I had thought of it the night before.

headache-oils

I used the oils and laid down on my bed and watched a movie with my good friend Doris in it.  Headache-gone.

Today I am all better and I hit the ground running,  Literally.  I went for my morning run at 6:30AM.  The problem is that it’s dark now at that time and I am going to have to rethink my mornings.  The possibility of getting hit by a car is not worth staying in shape.  So I am looking for some new exercise DVDs.  I love my TTapp, but I’d like to try something new so I can alternate.

This is my last week of peacefulness before the storm of travel hits.  For the next 5 weeks I will be either traveling or having guests or my kids have activities.  Our family calendar looks like a scrap quilt of appointments and plans.  So my plan of attack is to sleep this entire week and hope for the best.

Have a good one!

 

Five Women and a Flat Tire

Five Women and a Flat Tire

Because I can’t let a drama go by untold, I have to share with you the flat tire incident from Tuesday night.

My friend Sara and I took two of my daughters to the city to pick up their friend from the airport.  We shopped and we ate and we went to Costco….you know.  City stuff.

We stayed all day and into the night for a meeting hosted by Young Living.  We dropped the girls at the mall (a first for us!) and Sara and I met another friend and went to the meeting where we stood in the back of a very crowded room. It was loud (people wouldn’t stop talking to each other) and hot.  So we decided to slip out and visit for a while instead.  Sitting and talking is always better than standing and sweating, at least in my book.

After a nice visit we left to pick up the girls, make a couple of quick stops and then head toward home.  We were looking forward the extra hour’s drive to talk a little more.  Really, it’s all about getting our words out for the day.

We were having great fellowship when it happened.  We had a full fledged blow out going 75 MPH.  I wasn’t speeding, that’s the speed limit on the highway here….about 30 miles down the road it changes to 80.  Tell your kids.  It can count as a geography lesson for the day.  “Which state has 80 MPH speed limits?”

It was after 10 at night, so dark doesn’t describe it.  More like pitch black.  Well, except for the Mack trucks and SUVs racing past at 75 miles per hour creating flashes of scary light.  And our cell phones which we were using to find things we dropped in the weeds.

Now I think the last time I had a flat tire I was in college.  I drove a Cutlass Supreme and the spare was where all spares belong, in the trunk under a flap of carpet.  It seems that all of the improvement over the past 30 years had led to a move from the trunk to who-knows-where.  Turns out my spare is up UNDER the van and the way you release it is through a hole between the driver’s seat and front passenger seat.

You know, I have always wondered what that 2″ circle of plastic was for.  Now I know it’s to fit a long socket thingy that looks nothing like the picture in the manual to unscrew a mystery spare tire holder that, unless you are lying flat on the ground under the van, you can’t get it out.

Nice.

I might also mention that we had to unload our entire van full of groceries and various other items onto the side of the road to get to the tire changing tools.   We looked like modern day Clampetts minus the gun and dog.

After half an hour of figuring out the spare tire situation a sheriff pulled up behind us.  He was so nice and he actually ended up changing the tire for us.  Of course, we had already done all of the hard work in locating the spare through the mysterious hole in the floor.

An hour or so later, we loaded the groceries, luggage, shopping bags and 5 tired ladies back into the van and agonizingly drove only 55MPH all the way home.  The sheriff had explained to me that you can’t go faster than that on a spare.  We finally made it home around 11, which in Lisa time means WAY past bed time.

The next morning I asked my oldest son if he would take the van to the tire place and get it all fixed back to the way it was before any of this ever happened., which he did.  I do realize that sounds like I don’t do any work, but keep in mind I spent 20 years raising him.  Not dealing with tire cleanup is is my reward for years of diapering and nose wiping and hurting my back pulling him in a wagon.

Have a great weekend!

Oh…..and be sure to check out this week’s YouTube video!  In it I talk about not letting your emotions control you (a concept I used on Tuesday night for sure!)

 

I’m Keyless

I’m Keyless

The conference this past weekend was a great family activity.  The kids especially loved seeing their friends and hanging out at the conference hotel until 2AM Saturday night playing games and singing.  I do not especially like staying up until 2 in the morning since it makes for a very grumpy mom, so I was in bed by 10:00.  Oh the joy of having kids who can drive themselves home.

We heard a lot of great speakers and ate a lot of hamburgers.  I got salad with chicken, of course, but the kids ate their weight in burgers.  For some reason they didn’t want to go home and eat leftovers when their friends were all going to Fuddrucker’s.  I agree really….the fellowship is the best part of these conferences!  But I’ve eaten enough Fuddrucker’s to last me a year.

We also had a family staying at our house so that meant people coming and going all day long.  I tried to run back and forth between home and hotel so my older kids could just enjoy the weekend.  It would have been nice to spend more time at the conference, but laundry waits for no man.  We invited different families over for meals during the weekend also, so that really kept things hopping.

On Sunday there was a church service to wrap up the conference and our whole family went, but I wasn’t feeling great so I decided to leave right after the service with the little boys and go on home, letting the rest of the family linger and say their goodbyes.

Here’s where I should tell you that I don’t carry a house key.  I really never need one because there’s always either someone at home or a pre-arranged hidden key (don’t bother looking for it….it’s a very complicated hiding process).  But I didn’t think about it yesterday so when I got home I realized I was locked out.

This is not the first time it’s happened.  And before you tell me how simple it would be for me to just GET A KEY, we have tried that.  But every time I go make myself a key something happens to it, someone borrows it, I forget it….the list of keylessness issues goes on and on.

I have thought before of getting one of those keyless entry locks, but two things stop me.  1. They cost like $100 and 2. They are ugly.

I may go back to trying to carry a house key.  But I think we can all see how that will go.

I did manage to get into the house.  I won’t tell you how, but just know it involved a metal bowl and some gardening shears.

One thing I especially loved about the weekend was that the rains brought cooler weather.  It was in the 80s all weekend which pretty much equals heaven in this part of Texas in September.  There’s nothing like a 100+ degree drought to make you glad for the teeniest bit of cool moisture.

We are looking forward to a quiet-ish week of normal-ish activity.

What do you have going on?!

Boys Can Be very Helpful

Boys Can Be very Helpful

It has been a full few days with furniture rearranging and friends and dental appointments.  I may need a whole day’s nap to recover.

Last Saturday my girls decided to go out for some thrift store shopping, so I was left alone with the 4 younger boys.  It was either going to turn into a Lego-fest or I could use their future man muscles for the greater good, so I decided to have them help me rearrange some furniture.  I promised them the whole afternoon to themselves if they would help me.

I needed to use some of the junk I bought recently so we brought it in the house to figure out where to put it.  While we were at it we cleaned under the couches and dusted everything.  The amount of dust in this house could fill a king sized mattress.

I had an old fridge (don’t ask me why I bought this….it just spoke to me) and a worn section of fence to put somewhere.  So I would point, “Let’s try it over here” and we kept moving things until we got it how I liked it.  This is not only an opportunity to help Mom, but a lesson in future husbandness.

IMG_6499

We put the old fridge in the corner and hung our metal letters over it.  We are keeping blankets in the fridge.  The irony is not lost.

IMG_6532

I moved one of the couches back to make the room seem bigger.  I used old footstools behind it to keep it from pushing back against the window.

IMG_6506

Over the other couch I hung a fence section.  I like putting something extra big over that couch.  It makes the low ceiling feel taller.

Using junk to fix up a room!

When James saw the fence he immediately said, “You paid money for that?!  We probably have everything you need to make one in our trash wood pile!”  Yes, but for $10 this one is done.

IMG_6527

To make room for the fridge I had to remove some things and put the TV on a dresser that was a little short.  Plus I needed a place for the DVD player and Wii.  So I had one of the boys throw a little shelf together with junk wood.  It’s perfect and James is happy we used the wood pile.

IMG_6534

The piano stayed where it was….it just got a little accessory update.

Having the boys help rearrange the furniture!

The rest of the house got picked up and straightened too and we settled into Saturday afternoon all relaxed and ready for the week.

On Sunday after church we drove to Austin for my parent’s 51st anniversary.  We hung out at my sister’s house for a few hours then headed home to get ready for a day full of company the next day.  It was fun to all be together.  With the kids all growing up we don’t go out as a whole family much anymore.  Our 15 passenger van was wondering why we hadn’t taken it out for a joy ride for so long.

Monday was a simple time of friends and burgers on the grill and kids running around making too much noise.  Everyone left by 9PM because I had to get up early the next day for a dentist appointment.

I’ve been dealing with some tooth issues for a couple of weeks, so I had been anxiously waiting this day.  He thinks he figured out the problem and I am, hopefully, on my way to a pain free mouth again.  Dental problems stink.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Let’s talk about junk and furniture again.  It’s a much happier subject!

This next weekend our family will be going to the Forge Conference.  It’s great teaching, wholesome families and great fellowship.  I’m looking forward to it!  If you decide to attend please find me and say hello!!!

Have a great day!

 

Do You Have a Dream?

Do You Have a Dream?

I have been about to BUST to tell you my big news.  But I waited, because patience is a virtue.  Also because I am a person who holds in information in case it doesn’t actually happen.  A little insight into my sad, sad personality.

If you’ve been around here for any length of time you know that I have dreamed of writing a book.  In fact, I did write a short one last year and planned to turn it into an ebook.  It was in the works when God, in His beautiful way, flipped that plan upside down and used that ebook to get the attention of a literary agent and then a publisher.

And now that all Ts and Is have been crossed and dotted I can tell you…..I am writing a real book.  One you can hold in your hand and buy in a store.  Even as I type it out I have to pinch myself.

I thought about waiting a while longer to tell y’all.  It was a favor to you really.  So you don’t have to keep yourself from asking me constantly, “Are you REALLY writing a book? Because I haven’t seen it anywhere!”  It turns out that the process takes much longer than I ever thought….in my case about a year….before it will actually be on a shelf.  But you all are amazing and kind so I overcame my hesitation.

My book will come out next fall, in 2015.

However, I have discovered that it is next to impossible to keep up with 3-4 blog posts a week AND write a whole book.  I simply can’t do it without ignoring my kids and all efforts to eat healthy.  So until my December first deadline I will be posting just once or twice a week and occasionally re-posting some content that you might not have seen before.  I am also considering letting my girls write for The Pennington Point once in a while.

I didn’t ever dream this would be a reality….honestly I am blown away by God’s grace.  He has been my guide and comfort all along the way.

If you get anything from my big announcement let it be this: Whatever He planted in your heart long ago, He will lead you to that.  It will probably not happen the way you expect or even look the way you thought it should, but don’t ever stop going for that goal.  I have dreamed of this since I was a child and here I am….about to turn 50 (another thing I can’t believe when I type it out) and it is just now happening. Never give up!!!!

news-pin

My book doesn’t have an official title yet, but it is all about joy and gratitude and giving thanks in all things.  I promise you will love it.  As soon as I finish writing it.  And we design a cover.  And all of the other details that I can’t even think about or I start to hyperventilate.

It will be based on my most popular post called,20 Ways to Reset When the Kids Are Having a Hard Day.”  It’s a beautiful, freeing concept that I have a lot more to say about plus tons of very funny stories to share with you!

Our whole family is blessed by what God is doing through this.  Despite my pitiful fear of shouting it from the rooftops.

What’s your dream?! 

 

Everything I Know About the Military I Learned from 70s TV

Everything I Know About the Military I Learned from 70s TV

Now that we are back to a full school schedule life has taken on a busy, yet semi-predictable turn.  No more lets-do-whatever mornings.  It’s back to the military style of living where Mom blows the bugle at 7:00AM and demands pushups for anyone that doesn’t hop-to.

I realize I shouldn’t make military analogies since the only thing I know about it is what I learned from Gomer Pyle, Hogan’s Heroes and M*A*S*H.  Probably not 100% accurate.

military-pin

After a week of school we were all glad for Saturday morning when we could relax a little.  But only until 7:30 because some of us wanted to go junking.  Six of us spent a few hours trucking around looking for junk to bring home and reclaim into furniture and décor.  Who needs Pottery Barn when you have trash piles and a good imagination?  I found an old bed spring and some various yard salvage that I plan to use for my fall decorating.  So stay tuned.

After a nap I spent some quality time with my pool net, skimming for leaves and dead algae.  “You boys want to swim?!  Hey, I have a better idea…..Let’s clean the pool!” For about an hour I scraped the bottom of the pool while the younger boys hung around the edges.  Sure they wanted to swim in the middle, but that would have stirred up the scum so we played “Who can stay away from Mommy?”  Elijah won.  So he’s my new favorite child.

On Sunday it was the usual….go to church, come home worn out, sleep, play games, lie around and do nothing.  But there was a small hitch in our plans.  In getting the boys dressed earlier that morning I found in their drawers a pigsty of clothes and socks and belts that don’t fit anyone.  So the later part of the day was spent cleaning that out.

Didn’t I JUST do that?  How did it get messy again so quickly?!  I’m about to whittle everything they own down to what they can fit in a foot locker and while I’m at it I might just bounce some quarters on their beds in the mornings.  How long do you think the clean drawers will last this time?  I am taking bets and whoever loses has to clean the bathrooms with their toothbrush.

Another little incident Sunday was that I got a couple of emails from people who ordered something from my shop and never got their order.  It turned out that someone opened a shop on another site and used my shop name, photos, products, everything.  It was almost exactly the same.  People placed orders and, of course, their orders never came.  They couldn’t find anyone to contact on that shop so they searched and found me, assuming I had a second store and they came irritated about not getting their orders.  I am sure!  I would be irritated too….except they never ordered anything from me!  It was a scam.  Trust me, when you order from my real shop you will get your order promptly and can always reach me if you have questions!

Where’s Radar O’Reilly when you need him?  I need a guy who can get things done.

Salute!

(My apologies to any military people reading this.  I have nothing but mad respect for everything you do!!!!)

Who Says I Can’t Pull Off a Surprise?!

Who Says I Can’t Pull Off a Surprise?!

I am writing my Monday post on Tuesday because, well, I’m tired and it was a long weekend.

I remember in college I could stay up all night for a week then recover with a nap and some cold pizza.  Now I require three days of sleep and chicken soup (without the noodles) to get over staying up until midnight.  Which I did on Saturday night.  You would think I’d learn not to do that but I was hanging out with some of the most amazing women and I decided it was worth the sacrifice of being coherent for the next week.

On Friday I drove 8 hours to Oklahoma City for my husband’s law school graduation ceremony.  I didn’t tell y’all I was going because I didn’t tell him.  It was a huge surprise.  It’s not that I don’t trust you all and I am sure you would have kept my secret, but I couldn’t risk it.  My 9 children already knew about it and just keeping them from spilling the beans was all I could manage.

I rented a zippy little red car and drove myself to Oklahoma.  Considering a 15 passenger van has been my mode of transportation for the past dozen years I felt like I had been released from some kind of prison.  I was all in and out of parking spaces like I hadn’t a care in the world.

James was so, so surprised and it was fun to pull it off with my son.  The graduation ceremony was beautiful and I am so glad I went.  It was better than any church service I have been to in a long time.  On Friday night after the first part of the ceremony each graduate took a turn sitting in a chair while the faculty prayed over them.  How often do you see THAT at a law school graduation?!

On Saturday after the actual graduation I went to a meeting with the Winter Summit planning team.  I hope y’all will go to the Summit in January either in Texas or Oklahoma!  It’s going to be an incredible weekend of refreshment and encouragement.  You do not want to miss it!!

Then on Sunday came the dreaded 8 hour drive home.  It was rough.  I got about 2 hours down the road and it felt like I couldn’t drive any more.  I kept stopping and walking around then I’d drive another hour or 2.  Stop.  Walk.  Repeat.

I finally got home around 6:00 PM and was so glad to see my family that I fell asleep.

Have a great week!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook!

Fence Building is Not My Strength

Fence Building is Not My Strength

I am still on my cleaning and organizing frenzy.  In fact, it’s gotten worse since James is out of town for the week.  I always get a lot done when he’s gone because I can throw away whatever I want without him following after me looking in the cans and pulling stuff back out.

He can’t help it.  He comes from a long line of collectors.  His grandmother had a perpetual garage sale.  She would go to other people’s garage sales and bring the stuff home, double the price and sell it at her garage sale.  Me, I inherited a passion for just throwing away things we don’t need anymore.  I’m pretty sure God was laughing through our entire childhoods knowing He was going to put us together.

We have gotten so much done this week that I am going to give the kids today and tomorrow off.  I plan to start a full school schedule on Monday and I think they need a short break before that happens.  Man cannot live on organization alone.

Also when James goes out of town we tend to have more than our normal share of small emergencies.  On Tuesday morning just as he was leaving our horse got out and ran down the road.  After we chased him back in, the fence had to be mended where he got out.  It’s times like these when I wonder why I ever had the dream of a “little farm house with animals”.

I may be able to build a cabinet, but fence repair is one of my weak areas.  Instead of spending hours doing it right, the kids and I spent 15 minutes wiring bits and pieces of different fence panels together and propped them up with a rusty T post.  Yep, classy.

Then the next day I had a tooth situation.  I have a crown that has been bothering me, but I have put off going to have it looked at.  So of course it waited until James was gone to kick up a fuss.  It started bleeding and throbbing and I couldn’t get it to stop.  Of course, at 10:00 at night.

So I called my dentist the next morning and because of school about to start he can’t see me for a couple of weeks.  OK then.  Although I was a little nervous about it, I looked through all of my essential oil books, pulled out what oils I had and started swishing.  I have clove oil, which I’ve also been putting right on the gums around the tooth and it has been incredible.  It has completely stopped the pain and the other oils I am swishing with (Thieves, Melaleuca and lavender) are going to, I am confident, keep it from getting infected until I go to the dentist.

Now as long as we can make it through two more days without anything on the house falling apart we are home free.  Once James gets back nothing will happen.  That’s how it always goes.

Have a great weekend!

 

 

More Cleaning and Organizing

More Cleaning and Organizing

I just can’t stop!

Friday was quiet.  We have been getting small jobs done around here and prepping for school to start. I got some shelves cleaned off and straightened and the school books all stacked and ready for me to go through.

On Saturday I was planning to get some more work done around the house and help my son get ready to go to Oklahoma for the week.  But then I heard about a barn sale that was full of junk and I couldn’t resist driving an hour to see what they had that I couldn’t live without.

I came home with a broken old fridge, an old metal slide and a few smaller things.  Uh huh.  Because my house isn’t full enough already.

I’m not sure yet what I am going to do with either of those two things but they made my heart skip a beat when I saw them and I knew we were meant to be together.  I’ll figure something out.  True love can’t be denied.

On Saturday night I felt a little cold coming on.  So I decided to skip church on Sunday morning.  I didn’t want to start a sore throat epidemic.  I kept gargling with Thieves and apple cider vinegar and I took Vitamin C and tried to drink lots of water.

But because I am not one to sit still, I told the kids that if they would help me do some cleaning then I would give them the afternoon off to do anything they wanted (at home that is).  They jumped at that and we all pitched in to get some more organizing done.

The 2 girls set about cleaning out some kitchen cabinets while the little boys and I reorganized what used to be the nursery but had become a room with a bed and treadmill.  It’s a tiny room and with the treadmill right in the middle of it we should have renamed it “The Ugly Room.”

So I moved the furniture, cleaned out the cabinet and drawers and by 1:00 it was a whole new space and there were 3 trash bags full of junk to be tossed out.  Really, that always amazes me how much stuff I have that I never use.  It’s kind of shameful.

Here’s a picture, but not because it’s a beautiful room.  I show it to you because I love seeing other people’s houses (really, I would walk through all of your houses and just look around if I could) so here’s my little room.

nursery01

I made a “wall” with the white cabinet and put the treadmill behind it.  Whoever is treadmilling can look out the window or see the TV (it’s right next to me in the picture so you can’t see it).  We just use this room for working out and as an extra bed (which we seem to need a lot).

Once that was done and all of the trash taken out and my bedroom cleaned up from everything we dumped in there I let the kids do whatever they wanted (I believe they watched movies) and I took the world’s best nap.

This week my guys are gone off to school and I have the place to myself.  Well, if you count being home with 6 kids being by myself.  I like to clean things out while James is gone so he doesn’t get distracted by the messes.  When he gets home it’ll all be back in order and ready to start school next week.

There.  That’s my weekend.  What did you do?

A New Door

A New Door

Well, it took two days but we got the junk all out of my bedroom and the kitchen, which is our other nuclear fallout zone.  Not only did we have the boys’ room cleanup to deal with, but as school approaches I am getting in a panic about the house, as if we can never straighten it once we get back to lessons.  I don’t know why, but I feel like I have to clear the entire house of all clutter as if I’m nesting.

The birth of a new school year.

I’m also really happy to have an office for myself.  I took what was our little study room (it used to be Noah’s Lego room until we moved him upstairs) and made it into my own office.  If I am in there with the doors closed it means KEEP OUT.  If I am not in there then the kids can still use it for quiet study.

The reason I couldn’t just use the room the way it was before is it had no door between it and the boys’ bedroom.  That would have made it difficult to concentrate.  So we built a door between the two rooms. When I say “we” I mean I designed it and bought all of the materials, my son built it and my daughters painted it.

Because the room is SO small I didn’t have room for a swinging door.  So this slides along a track we built with a galvanized pipe and hangs from eyes screwed into the top of the door.  It’s a simple 2×2 frame with chalkboard behind it.  The back is a dry erase white board for the boys to draw on.  I decided to make it floor to ceiling to add height to the room.

A great door wheh you have a tight spot!

Open on the Left — Closed on the right

I put stationary casters on the bottom, which makes it super easy to open and close!

door02

And now I have a place to work when I need quiet.  It was either that or drive to an undisclosed location and work in the car with my computer mashed against the steering wheel and the A/C blasting in my face.

I still have a few small messes to deal with, but it’s mostly all back to normal.  By “normal” I mean not normal at all because nothing ever stays the same around here for more than two weeks.

On Sunday I drove an hour and a half to meet my parents for lunch and handed off two of my daughters to help them for the week.  It was a nice Sunday drive (we used to take Sunday drives all of the time when I was a kid, why don’t we do that anymore?!) and great to see my folks.  I had the two youngest boys with me so as we drove home they started asking questions.  “Mom, why would someone want to get married just for the sake of getting married?!” “How do you know if you’re old enough to get a job?” “Why does a church need elders?”  I am not kidding.  These were the questions.  I mostly replied with answers like, “Hey, does anyone want some frozen yogurt?!”

Have a great week!

 Be sure to follow me on Facebook!