Christian Worldview Film Festival

Christian Worldview Film Festival

Did you know that my older kids went through a film making phase?  My son Jacob made 2 animated movies and entered them into a Christian film festival several years ago and was a semi finalist with one of his films.  My oldest daughter also entered 2 films.  It was such a blessing to watch my kids develop skills that they both use today.  My son is still into animation and hopes to develop that into a career.

So imagine my excitement when I heard about a new festival in town!

Don't miss the Christian Worldview Film Festival in San Antonio TX!

The Christian Worldview Film Festival is coming.  Yep.  It’s right up our alley.  And if you like to see good, wholesome films made with purpose you should think about going.  If the 60 films, incredible speakers, wonderful music (our friends the 4 Proches will be playing live!) aren’t enough….then come to spend time with us!

Here’s a great list of reasons to attend this event!

The festival starts Thursday, March 13 at noon and goes through Saturday night.  There’s also a Filmmakers Guild (which we are super excited to go to!) on Tuesday and Wednesday.  You can buy tickets to just the festival or the whole event.  If you have anyone in your family that is interested in making movies or being involved in the media industry you would be wise to go to the whole thing.

AND if you use the code “PENNINGTON” you will get 25% off of your ticket.  How’s that for an added blessing?

The Stockings Are Hung and the Singing is Sung

The Stockings Are Hung and the Singing is Sung

Yep.  It’s Monday.

After a long, cold weekend Monday is a beautiful thing.  I like normalcy….if you can call 11 people in one house all day normal.

This weekend we filled Shop 24 orders and went to church.  That’s pretty much it.  ‘Tis the season.  Our little etsy shop will be open for one more week before we take a holiday break.  I love making stockings for people, but I’m always glad to be finished and hunkered down with my family.

This week, in addition to a couple of holiday events, I am planning to finish my Christmas shopping.  I am about halfway done.  A couple of my kids are giving me trouble.  The things they asked for are either $2 or $200.  Isn’t there any $40-$50 present you can think of?!  Give mamma a break, will ya?

So I’m perusing Amazon and blogs and Pinterest looking for the perfect thing.  I may have to settle for next to perfect.  I am giving myself until Thursday.  After that I am heading to Target with my money and what will be will be.

My other challenge every year is filling 10 stockings.  I like a fully loaded stocking complete with little notes and special things that only Mom would know you like.  It’s a love note from me to them.  I usually shop for little things all year, making it easy on myself.  But this year I just didn’t do it and now I am left with hitting the city and going through every dollar bin I can find.  And with so many of us not eating sweets or gluten, the extra filling of candy and snacks is going to be an added challenge.

I may have to stuff a few with granola and walnuts.

The stockings

On Sunday my oldest son, Jacob, and I sang a song at his church.  He asked me on Friday if I would do it with him.  If you’re good at math you have already figured out that gave me less than 2 days to learn this song.  I guess I could have said no, but really what were the chances of that?  He asks me to do something with him about once every 2 years, so I jumped at the opportunity.  In other words, he had me over a barrel.

I don’t have any pictures or videos of us singing because the rest of my family went to a different church so there was no one to take a picture.  It’s complicated.

This is a gift of ours, making things complicated.  We are extraordinarily good at it.

But I did take a picture while we were practicing.  I needed some kind of proof that we did something together.  Plus he loves it when I say, “Hey Jacob!  Look over here so I can Instagram you!”

Despite my lack of practice, the song went OK except for one measure that we both forgot and stood there for 4 beats staring at each other.  Then we picked it up again….what are ya gonna do but smile and go forward?  Perfection is highly overrated.

Thanks for stopping by and if you have any good kid ideas for Christmas this year let me know.  I need it!

How to Add Trim to Make Your Shutters Reach the Ceiling

How to Add Trim to Make Your Shutters Reach the Ceiling

Last week I showed you my beautiful new shutters and how they have improved my lifestyle.  I no longer have to wedge myself between my chair and the wall to open the curtains in my bedroom.  I can have easy privacy when necessary and let the sunshine in with one flip of the wrist.

I love, love, love them.  BUT my bedroom needed height at the windows and the new shutters were only the size of my windows.  I thought, while I loved them with all my heart, that they needed some tweaking.

I wanted to make them look a bit more grand, more substantial.  So I hopped in the van and went to the hardware store for some trim.  I wanted to widen the windows a bit, so I got a 4″ trim and I wanted to stretch the windows to the ceiling, so I got a package of beadboard and some smaller trim.

In less than 3 hours I was finished with the whole project and my windows are perfection.  Mwah!

First we cut the 4″ trim to fit along the sides of the window from floor to ceiling.

How to add trim to your shutters

We also added this same trim across the top, below the crown molding that was already there.  If I didn’t have crown I would have just taken it all the way to meet the ceiling.  We mitered those corners.  Mitering corners isn’t scary…you just need the right tool. (my oldest son was sweet to help me with the project)

How to add height to shutters

The only hitch was that we had to notch around the window sills.  After cutting the side piece the exact length to fit floor to ceiling we held it up to the window and marked where the notch needed to be.

How to add trim to your shutters

Then we measured how far in we needed to cut and we marked that.

How to add trim to your shutters

Until we had our mark exactly where we needed it.

How to add trim to your shutters

There are several ways to cut a notch.  This is just how we do it. We use the miter saw (we also used it for the mitered corners above) to start the cuts.

How to add trim to your shutters

Then used a chisel to chip out the rest.  It only took about a minute.

How to add trim to your shutters

And it was ready to put up.

How to add trim to your shutters

Then we cut the beadboard to fit into the opening above the windows.  I attached everything using a brad nailer, but you can also use finish nails.

Next I cut some narrow trim into a frame to fit inside of the beaded board.  I just did that to add a paneling feeling.  After it was all caulked and painted it looked like this:

How to add trim to your store bought shutters

Below the window I just painted the exposed wall with the white paint, but I didn’t add beadboard there.  I was too cheap to buy another package when I really didn’t need it.

How to add trim to your shutters

To show you what a huge difference the trim makes, I did one window at a time so you could see them before and after side by side.

How to add trim to your shutters

Here it is finished….nice, huh?

How to add trim to your shutters

I am in love.  Real, true, deep love.

How to add trim to make your shutters look bigger

 Click Here to check out some of my other home/DIY projects!

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Never Trust a Cow that Jumps a Fence

Never Trust a Cow that Jumps a Fence

Our weekend was spent visiting with family and trying to stay dry.  Basically we got more rain over the past 3 days than we have in the last 2 years.  Our farm looked like a flood zone.

One thing I love about life in the country is the constant change.  One day you’re a happy farmer with a cow grazing in the field.  The next day you’re a crazy woman wading through mud in your good shoes chasing a cow down the street.

We discovered he (yes he, but we still call it a cow) was jumping over the fence.  We noticed him out on the street wandering around mooing like he owned the world.  Not a care, not a worry.  Then we saw him jump back in.  Not good.

We have a large pen on the back of our property where we used to keep our billy goat, so we decided to put the cow in there until we figured out what else to do.  Have you ever tried to coax a cow into a small opening?  Right.  It wasn’t going to happen.

Jacob and Noah tried various tricks, in the pouring rain, to get him go in.  But every time they would get close to the pen the cow would bolt, leaving my poor, wet boys to figure out another plan.

Since James was gone for the day, I decided to go out and help.  At one point we were trying to discreetly tie the cow (Jacob had managed to get a rope on him) to a post he was standing near.  Noah and I were hanging onto the rope when he decided to run.  It was a split second after Jacob got it tied to the post, so the cow couldn’t go far, but Noah and I found ourselves in a muddy heap.  Fortunately we were not hurt, but we both made a firm decision after that not to join the rodeo.

Then I got an idea.  We could chain the cow to the tractor.  I would lead him with the rope and every time he moved Jacob would move the tractor a little more toward the pen.  We kept the chain shorter than my rope so he couldn’t get to me.  (To be clear, we weren’t pulling him with the tractor, he was just anchored to that so he couldn’t run off as I pulled him with a rope) It took an hour and a half to move him about 50 yards, but we did it.  And he was so hungry by the time we got there that he went fairly willingly into the pen where there was a delicious pile of dry hay waiting for him.

But here was the problem.  In order to get him in the pen and get the chain off of him I had to lead him in with the rope.  That left me inside the pen with the cow, who was now between me and the gate.  Not a good position to be in.  He was happily eating while Jacob and I weighed our options.  I could try to scale the 5.5′ high fence.  Not.  We decided to tie him with the rope (which was still around his neck) to a post so he couldn’t get to me as I slipped past him.

Now, picture me in my long skirt trying to go slowly past a hay eating cow.  No sudden movements.  I almost made it.  I was right near him when he gave me a quick BUTT in my behind.  He couldn’t do much being tied to the post, but he managed to get my skirt hooked on his small horns and there I stood, with a bull up under my dress.

I moved as quickly as I could, feeling sorry for Jacob’s full view of my panties as I made my quick escape.  I was willing to let the skirt rip, but thankfully it slipped off of the horns.  I leapt out the gate and I was free.

Lisa – 1

Cow – 0

Jacob – scarred for life

I can now check “getting butted by a bull” off my bucket list.

And being a rodeo clown.

And playing in the mud with my boys.

My hands were the cleanest place on my body.

Life on a farm isn’t easy.  But the truth is, while it wasn’t easy, we had a great time and made some funny memories.

A Fantastic T-Mobile Giveaway!

A Fantastic T-Mobile Giveaway!

Everyone’s talking about school starting and all of the excitement surrounding that.  But dude.  It’s still steaming hot here in our part of the world.  Summer is on my mind.  This was us just last night:

So when the nice folks at T-Mobile asked me to say a few words about summer safety I thought it was an excellent idea. The summer leads to a lot of safety concerns for me….water safety, heat management, sun, travel, it’s all difficult to keep up with.  Of course, mobile devices can’t keep you from getting a sunburn, but knowing they can help keep the kids safe in other ways does bring me peace of mind.

There are so many new ways to use a mobile device to keep your family safe during the summer.  It’s amazing to this old lady who grew up with phones that had cords and busy signals were expected (kids, a busy signal is what used to happen if you called someone and they were already on the phone talking to someone else).

Now they can locate your children.  I used this feature last month when Jacob went on a big boy bus to spend a week with his little law school friends.  I could actually follow his journey all the way there and back.  It made this Mommy’s concerned heart feel better.

There are apps that you can use to notify you when your children arrive at their destination.  Or you can link all of your mobile calendars together so you know where everyone is supposed to be at any time.  I need this one.  When we all sit down to go over our schedules for the week it would be wonderful to be able to have them all linked together so we can keep up with where everyone is supposed to be.

And now here’s something awesome….T-Mobile is letting me giveaway to one of you a new T-Mobile Springboard!

T-Mobile SpringBoard giveaway!

No, I’m not kidding.  It’s a tablet (worth $429!) and it’s really cool.  I’ve been reading about this device and I am so, so excited to be able to give one away!  It has a camera, 16 GB of internal memory, Google and Netflix built in, an eReader, a family organizer, wow….the list goes on and on.  It’s a nice size too.  It would be easy to carry around.

Here’s how you can enter this amazing giveaway.  You must follow T-Mobile on Twitter, Like T-Mobile on Facebook and leave a comment answering how you use a wireless device to keep your kids safe during the summer.  You can also Tweet about the giveaway and you get a separate entry for each one!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and stay safe!

This is a sponsored post but all opinions and crazy ideas are completely mine.

I’m Not as Calm as I Look

I’m Not as Calm as I Look

I am usually calm and collected….OK not really.  I do usually appear calm on the outside, but my mind is almost always racing with thoughts that I have to push down so I don’t come across like a psycho on steroids.

If you were around me with my kids you’d think I was a calm person.  I tend to be quiet and I enjoy just listening to the kids talk and share and be silly.  I’m fairly mellow about the kids and I don’t worry much.  I trust the Lord with our lives and I do believe he is in complete control.


Last night when Jacob rode a bus for 4 hours to a huge, downtown city stopping at midnight…in the dark…with a suitcase in one hand and the cell phone that I added GPS tracking to in the other….

I turned into an old Jewish grandmother.

I was worried and nervous and pestering him with an unusual amount of texts and phone calls.  I say unusual because in ordinary circumstances I rarely communicate with him.  He and I, secure in our love for one another, do not communicate via cell phone/texts.  Actually, Jacob doesn’t really have much to say to anyone.  He’s a quiet one, that guy.

The night before, when James and I were going over with Jacob the plans for the trip, bus etiquette, how to behave in someone else’s home, etc. I started crying.  James and Jacob froze with that uncomfortableness that men have when a woman cries.  “Is she sad?  Is she hormonal?  Is she just wishing there was more chocolate in the house?  I don’t understand women and I don’t know how to fix it!”

I pulled myself together and assured them I was fine.  “It’s just Mommy tears,” I said.

Now that Jacob is safely tucked away in the home of his friend I can relax a little more.  But still the Mommy tears are right at the surface.  I know he’s a big boy and he will be fine.  I know that in most of my brain.  But that little teeny section of my mind right at the very front wants to drive 6 hours to check on him, then turn around and drive home again.

Deep breath Lisa.  Get a hold of yourself.  I need a good slap.

I’m counting on you all to stop me from texting Jacob every half an hour for the next week.  Or looking at baby pictures of him.

Alright this is silly.  I’m calming down now.  Or at least I look like it on the outside.

My New Clock or How I Get My Children to Do Things for Me

My New Clock or How I Get My Children to Do Things for Me

I am so in love with this clock I made.  It was really a simple project and it makes me so happy every time I look at it.

I have moved it all over the place and it’s one of those things that looks good everywhere.  Don’t you love those things?  If I am fixing up a spot anywhere in the house I can just say, “That clock will look perfect here.”

I got the frame thingy at the flea market last month.  I had so many ideas for ways to use it, but when this clock idea hit on the way home….I knew it was exactly what I would do.  Don’t you love when an idea just fills every gap and space in your mind and you know it’s right?

In front of my workshop getting ready to start…

supplies gathered….

After I painted the whole thing white I cut out numbers/words with my true love, my Cricut and stuck them on.

I also put little dots for where the real numbers should be, in case anyone actually wants to know what time it is.

Then I painted over the whole thing in black and peeled off the vinyl letters.  I love  this technique.  Sometimes you don’t want stuck on letters and this makes them look like you painted them on!  But I am entirely too lazy to do that.

And here’s where the problems started.  I drilled the hole in the center for the clock shaft.  BUT I didn’t really measure carefully (or at all) and the wood was way too thick.  So the shaft would stick out the front.  Oh no!

So I called Jacob out of his cave and asked him if he could pull out his old woodworking tools and gauge out a place for the clock.  He very sweetly did it for me.

He even smiled once.  I am not sure if he meant to, but we caught it on camera.

I’m going to print the smiling picture.  Then when I need him to do something else for me I can pull it out and flash it in front of him and say, “Look how happy you were when you helped me with the clock!”

Finally we were back in business.

I flipped the clock over and waxed the front with a dark wax.  I have been waxing furniture since long before the chalk paint people came on the scene.  I love the age that it adds.

Oh, and do you see the big strip around the hole that looks like it got messed up?  Well that’s where Jacob hammered right through the front of the clock.  I had to glue it back in place and set a big rock on it for an hour.  Then I sanded and sanded until it was smooth enough to repaint.  Yep, nothing ever goes as planned around here.

Then I just stapled twine to the back and it was finished….I need to make a few more because there are about 8 different places that I want to put it.  Not to mention I have kind of a freak-ish thing about needing to know what time it is constantly.

It was fun to make.  I only complain about the problems because if my family knew I was having fun they would have called me in to make dinner.  But if they think I’m slaving away miserably they will make dinner for me.

And that’s it folks.  It was a really easy project.

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How Can He Be Twenty?

How Can He Be Twenty?

It can’t be.  Today my oldest son is 20.  TWENTY.

There must be a mistake.  I only have to close my eyes and I can see him lying next to me in my bed.  So tiny, so new.

When I open my eyes again he is standing there 6’1″ tall….he looks like a man.  But it is too soon.

It was only yesterday that he was dragging Woody (with “Jacob” written on the bottom of one boot) everywhere with him.  I’d find Jacob asleep where he played…such a tired little boy.  He was always his own person.  He never felt the pull of peer pressure.

He was just a happy, simple kid.  He loved Legos, drawing and figuring things out.  He was always compliant and glad to do whatever I asked.

He would forget to take out the trash

This is how his brothers and sisters see him now….


It can’t be.

Losing My Voice and Other Old Lady Maladies

Why is there always something wrong with me?  If it’s not my knee it’s my shoulder.  If it’s not my hip it’s my neck.  I can see that I won’t be aging well.

Today I have almost no voice.  I am still hoarse from singing all day on Sunday.  Between Jacob and I rehearsing for hours then the extreme high notes in a few of the songs, this old voice box has called it quits.  I probably should have been exercising my voice and doing lots of professional warm-ups with hot water and honey.  But instead I drank a Diet Dr Pepper and didn’t eat dinner.  I never claimed to be the sharpest knife in the drawer.

My beautiful friend Heather sent me a video of Jacob and I singing.  If you’re in a hurry I won’t blame you if you skip the video and just scan down to the end of the post.


My three conclusions:

1) I have decided that from now on I will only wear black and require everyone around me to wear black at all times.  I look so much skinnier that way.

2) I hold my head weird when I sing.  I may also do it when I’m talking, but I wont be videoing myself to find out.  It’s one of those things that I’d just rather not know.

3) My daughter Faith is cute when she sings (thankfully she didn’t inherit my weird head thing).  I never get to see her because she sits on the other side of the choir from me.  That’s her just behind Jacob’s head to the left.

4) That’s my friend Sara behind me to the right  She and I will be making a pact to wear black from now on.  I’ll stand behind her when she wants to look skinny and she’ll do the same for me.  She’s that kind of friend.


Hopefully I will have my voice back soon and life will be normal.  Except now my left elbow hurts.

Seriously, what is happening?!  If you are older than me please don’t tell me that it just gets worse.  I don’t want to know about my weird head thing and I don’t want to know that this is how I will feel for the rest of my life.  This is one of those times when it is OK to lie, like when I ask James if I look fat or if you forget someone’s name.

Mothers and Sons

Mothers and Sons

Last night Jacob called me to tell me about his first day of classes.  It took me by surprise.  He’s not a talker.

He’s such a great kid and has barely given us a lick of trouble, but he is very, very quiet.  Always has been.  Even as a little boy he would just sit there, everyone around him chattering on and he’d say nothing.  I could tell he wasn’t holding back or feeling like he couldn’t interject.  He simply did not have anything to say.

Once he got to be older I tried to get him to talk more.  I’d prompt him and sometimes give him three or four possible responses to choose from.

Me: Jacob, how was you day?

Jacob: Fine.

Me: Try saying more.

Jacob: (thinking for a long time) I don’t have anything else to say.

Me: Try something like, “I enjoyed lunch,” or “I had to do chores I didn’t like,” or, “I’m hoping to watch a show later.”

No reply.

It was rough.  I finally decided that I was doing more harm than good.  I was putting pressure on him and getting nowhere.


During this time I heard Norm Wakefield speak.  He shared his thoughts on mothers and sons and it opened my eyes to my role as a mother of this young man.  My job was not to correct him, but to show him what it is like to be respected, to teach him to protect and be honored in a godly way

James and I talked about it and agreed that it should be James’ role to teach Jacob.  Each morning I would tell James what I needed Jacob (who was around age 12 at the time) to do around the house or in school and James would give Jacob instructions.  My role was to reinforce what James had said.  I began to work hard at giving Jacob room to make manly decisions.  He and I do a lot of projects together.  I started asking him his opinions on how we should build things.  I would say, “I’m not sure which boards to use for support here.  Jacob, what do you think?”  Often his ideas were foolish and immature, of course.  But if there would be no harm in it, I would always try his ideas.  Then we could talk about what didn’t work and why.

Slowly (VERY slowly) Jacob started to develop skills and confidence.  I taught the girls that their role in their brothers’ lives is to be admiring and respectful.  They began to ask even the little boys to help with things that required muscles and man power.  Then they would say things like, “Thank you so much.  It is wonderful to have such a strong brother.”

Our goal isn’t to puff up the boys, but to encourage them to be men.

As for my quiet Jacob, I began to see a tiny spark.  For a guy that didn’t say much in a one-on-one setting, he was oddly comfortable speaking to a group.  He would pray aloud in large groups and share his thoughts in church.  Then one day he expressed an interest in doing a solo for the community choir that we participate in each year.  I was shocked.  Singing in front of others is scary, but he said he didn’t feel nervous at all.  He auditioned and immediately got the solo.  The night of the performance he and I were alone for a few minutes.  We were both doing solos and I was nervous.  I turned to him and asked if he was nervous too.  “No ma’am,” he replied, “I feel great about it.”

It was more confirmation to me that this boy had a gift.  Anyone that wasn’t nervous about singing for the first time in front of a huge crowd has some kind of gift that I will never understand.  Even though I have done a lot of solos, I get really nervous every time.  Jacob was calm as a cucumber.

Since then he has done more singing, more speaking, more reaching out to new people.  I watched him last week as he sat in the back of the choir with 5 older men around him and they were all talking like they were in an exclusive club.  It was obvious from a distance that the other men welcomed Jacob in and enjoyed his company.  I could only stare, wondering in amazement at how my little quiet boy had become a gifted young man.

He has a lot to learn still.  But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and there are bright things ahead.

I encourage you, if you are raising sons, to step back and be quiet.  Ask the Lord to show you his gifts and gently nurture them.  It’s a fine line you walk as the mom… are still his authority and have many things to teach your son.  But his future includes being a husband and father and he knows that you don’t have the tools to teach him that.  You do, however, have the tools to teach him how a godly husband and father should be treated.

My other four sons will have different gifts.  I continually ask the Lord to show them to me so that I can nurture those gifts.  I watch for little signs that they crave being the protector and provider and I give them opportunities to do that.  I still discipline them and teach them, but I am careful to show them respect.  I don’t give them false praise, but real admiration for their efforts.

As a mother, these are a few of the things I can have my sons do to help them understand manhood: carry the groceries, mowing the yard, pulling weeds, killing bugs, small appliance repair, taking out the trash, hosing down the house, painting, feeding animals, carrying heavy items, moving furniture, taking books off the shelf for you to dust, teaching little brother, figuring out a problem, shaking out rugs, burying things, unlocking doors, holding the door open, letting ladies go first, digging, washing the car, leading the prayer at mealtime.

Moms—treat your sons in such a way that when they are grown they will recognize honor and know how to lead.

“You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God”. ~ 1Peter 3:4

“The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him.” ~ Proverbs 23:24

Linking to Encouraging Words Wednesday