Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Climbing Mount Everest is a monumental, life-threatening challenge.  Swimming the English Channel is a dangerous confrontation. Running a marathon is a grand undertaking. Even mowing 5 acres on a riding mower can put me to the test!

But the challenge that I am facing these days is recovering a skill that was once easily accomplished for me.  Back in an earlier time, before technology was instantly accessible from almost any home, intersection, mountaintop or public bathroom, listening was something I could do without having to repeat the mantra, “Remember to listen, remember to listen.” (Of course, even that increases the traffic between the ears!) 

I don’t really blame my cell phone, or computer, or my ipod, or TV, or instant wikipedia, or even the radio. These things do help me to perfect “short attention spans,” but they are not at fault. 

Really, I have no one to blame except the fertilizers and pesticides in our foods.  Just kidding.  I know it isn’t the food’s fault. 
It is the result of what I have been practicing.  The problem is that it seems to take more and more attention to think about the things that I am actually SUPPOSED to think about, and that thinking crowds out my listening skills.  Then, since I become un-used to listening, it seems awkward, therefore easily avoided. 
Alcoholics Anonymous says the first obstacle to overcoming a problem is to face the reality of the situation – admit you have a problem.  So here I am admitting the problem.  I want to listen better.  I want to listen to loved ones better.  And I mostly want to listen to the Lord better.  I do believe that the Holy Spirit is always leading, always speaking.  And I do believe that abiding in Him (John 15) is ‘living and moving and having our being in Him,’ (Acts 17:28). So combining being who we are and who He made us with the fact that He delights to reveal Himself to us and has given the Holy Spirit to do just that, He is always leading, always speaking.  But I also hunger to hear -  His words are life, His voice is life.
My hearing has become dulled by the noise pollution between my ears.  And since I know that I can do nothing by my own power, (no matter how much I want to ‘resolve’ to listen better!) I fall on the constant mercy and kindness of my Heavenly Father.
And I know He hears me! Praise You LORD!
What is the last thing you heard from the Lord?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Strawberry Fields Forever

Freshly picked strawberries - a mound of God's goodness!  Yesterday, my friend and I took our children to Marburger Orchard, a 'U-Pick' farm near Fredericksburg, Texas, (No connection to my last road trip to Marburger Farm Antique Show - or maybe the connection is that I like going to places with the word 'burger' in the name).  It was a beautiful day with perfect weather and row after row after row of bright red dollops of strawberry deliciousness.  This is just one section of the strawberry field.

Our plan for the day was to pick the berries, then go home and make as much jam as possible. This plan has all the elements of a great homeschooling field trip - friends, fun, food, AND you benefit from your work with a year's supply (hopefully) of jam (Home School Objective: where your food is grown and produced.) We piled in the car and headed out about 8:15.  By 3:30, we had driven there and back, picked, washed, hulled, made and eaten lunch, chopped, cooked, and canned 18.5 pounds of strawberries - 36 jars or about 40 cups of jam! And thanks to another friend, we knew how to make jam using only 1/4 of the sugar that regular jam recipes use.
Some of our beautiful bounty!

I am thankful for all the workers that grew those luscious strawberries!  It was a day filled with praise for all the goodness that flows from our Father!
"For you shall eat the labor of your hands; happy shall you be, and it shall be well with you" Psalm 128:2

Friday, April 6, 2012

Road Trip!

Doesn't it seem that when you KNOW you have to get up super early, you can't stay asleep until the alarm dings?  It's like your body goes on "Hyper Alert Standby Mode."  That is what happened to me the night before our Girl's Road Trip!  And I wasn't the only one not sleeping - one mom was up with a throwing-up child.  And the other mom was up diligently getting beautiful so she wouldn't make us late!

So three gals, very little sleep, Chick-Fil-A breakfast, and 3 hours in the car to arrive at our destination:

the Round Top Antique Fair  - one of the biggest Antique Fairs in the USA.

If you ever think, even for the briefest of passing seconds, "Boy, if only I could find a __________," then Round Top is the place you should go.  There are things you never even knew existed.  I was intrigued by this view:

This just says it all: china, horns, mirrors, and a zebra head - all in one place!

But the best part is the time with friends - sharing hefty doses of food, fun, and laughter.  I mean, you can get to know someone over dinners, christmas parties, picnics; but 14 hours in one day really throws the friendship doors wide open (or I guess slams it shut!).  After being trapped in a car for 7 hours, traipsing over 14,000 acres of flea market, and nearly dropping dead from heat exhaustion, you know if you really want to be friends. The result: we were planning our next annual outing before we even got home! 
One requirement for next year - Air Conditioning!