Monday, September 29, 2008

When will I learn?

Isa 55:9
For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

"Someone" wrote us an anonymous letter on Friday and said that our barking dog is breaking city codes. It wasn't a very nice letter. Written in all caps and complete with spelling errors.

It made me mad.

Fortunately, I'm not a gutsy kind of girl, or I might have marched over there and said something I would have regretted later.

We are great neighbors! We're fixing up this house, inside and out. My kids are respectful of other's property. We're not loud or rude or trashy.

We do have a 9 month old puppy.

Sometimes he does bark in the afternoon when the kids are home from school and getting their homework done instead of playing with him. I'm mean that way - I make them do their homework first. So shoot me.

The rest of the day, he knows he's on his own, so he's quiet.

We're talking about ~ maybe ~ an hour a day here, People. On a bad day. And in the middle of the afternoon. Maybe the occasional squirrel. That's it. He doesn't bark in the night. Doesn't sit out there and bark during the day. Did I mention he HAS been to obedience school (their suggestion) and he IS just 9 months old?

I feel unjustly accused here. Writing someone an anonymous note is downright dirty. And cowardly. To be so condescending when you can't even use a spell-check.

Here I go, again.

But in the midst of my anger, the Lord began to speak to me.

"Love thy neighbor."

But, Lord! We have wonderful neighbors! We do love them. They love us, too. They tell us, often, how much they enjoy the children and the laughter and the LIFE at our house. How pretty everything looks since we've moved in. How beautiful the Coach and our boys keep the yard.

Except for those neighbors - I don't know what their deal is.

Luk 6:32
For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
Luk 6:33
And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.

Surely you don't mean I should love these people after how ugly they've been? What if I'm nice when I see them (hardly ever)? I can paste a smile on. That would please You, right? I won't complain about their teenager who comes in late at night and parks in their driveway with their lights shining in Baby Boy's room for 20 minutes while the bass from their stereo shakes our windows. I won't complain about their yard crew that comes twice a week and mows, blows, and trims while Baby Boy is trying to take his nap.

Luk 6:27
¶But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
Luk 6:28
Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
Luk 6:29
And unto him that smiteth thee on the [one] cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not [to take thy] coat also.
Luk 6:30
Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask [them] not again.
Luk 6:31
And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

There it is. It's not enough to tolerate our enemies. We need to BLESS them. Truly we can only obey God by His grace. It's not human. It's not natural. It doesn't make sense.

So, I'm going to try to keep the dog from barking, if at all possible. I'm going to smile at them. Be kind to them. Maybe make them cookies (I'm still working on that one - I don't make cookies for just anyone!).

Because IF they don't know Jesus, I want them to see Him in us. I'm pretty sure, after delivering that ugly note, that they won't expect us to be kind. Or to be humble. Or to do what they've asked.

If they DO file a complaint, I'll be honest with the city about the situation. Let them know we'll do everything we can to make it right.

It's just so hard!

However, if I respond like I FEEL - in anger - how am I any different from anyone else? If I defend myself, or retaliate, there is no glory there for the Lord.

Because of His grace. . .

Just keepin' it real.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thankful Thursday - Blogging Friends

Someone recently asked me if I've met fun new friends through my blog. I HAVE enjoyed finding fun new writers and cute or funny blogs to keep me smiling throughout my day.

But the most FUN thing about writing this blog, has been the people I already know that I've "reconnected" with. They are REAL friends, who for lack of time I had lost touch with.
So here is my Thankful Thursday tribute to my blogging buddies. At least some of you.

For starters, don't you just LOVE Jo's Kitchen Table? Jo, I honestly don't remember the first time we ever met, but I do remember that trip to Australia - that's when we became GOOD friends. Truthfully, I've known your hubs since I was, oh, 13?

And here we are at the Indy Training Center (I think?) in '93. Wow. Look how cute you are!

I'm so grateful we've reconnected. You are a blessing to me!


I first met Laura back when we were both expecting our fourth baby. We immediately hit it off. She was homeschooling her older kids and lived, well, and good day's drive from me. But we managed to become very good friends. She was there for me when Daughter (#5) was born - or at least shortly thereafter (remember the ice storm?) and has been ever since. Oh for the Panera Girl's night days of long ago. Miss you, Friend!

Here we are at my 30th (surprise) birthday party. Yes, I've forgiven the Coach for surprising me. I'm not sure if he's forgiven me for being so upset, though. But it WAS fun.


I had to REALLY hunt for this one, Folks. First of all, to go back far enough to when I first met the Zookeeper over at The Zimms Zoo, I'd have to raid my mother's photo albums. I think I was 10? Maybe?

My parents took me out of private school when I was in the 5th grade - and started homeschooling. Although in retrospect (and even towards the end of my high school years) I was exceedingly grateful, it was hard for awhile. Back then (can anyone say 1983?) there weren't co-ops and groups and field trips and sports and. . . we just had the Zimms. And for the next few years, as homeschooling caught on, the Zookeeper and I were good friends.

Here's the only picture I could find with him in it, though (out of MY albums, at least). My 14th birthday party. Wow. Pretty funny, actually! See if you can find both of us.

NOW the Zookeeper has a wonderful wife, who I am so enjoying getting to know. And their kids? Precious. What a blessing.


Then there is Sweet DMJ over at Michigan Musings. Girl, I hunted for a picture of you - I KNOW I have one somewhere, but I can't find it. So instead, let me apologize for calling you ". . . banana" all of those times after you specifically said you didn't like it. I WAS 17. Seriously! So thanks for being my friend even AFTER that - for all of the sweet gifts you've sent for babies. For your prayers and continuing friendship.

Those were some fun times we had in the Construction Department. I don't remember much, but I remember riding in your car, talking to you and lots of laughing. I think that's related to being 17, as well. You had a lot of patience! Bless you, Friend!


I've known The Anderson Zoo for a long time. Remember this?

And her sweet m-i-l and sister-in-law for even longer. In fact, "Grana" knew the Coach and I before we WERE the Coach and I. If you were at our wedding (I know, it was a long time ago) - she did all of the food! Amazing, huh?


Jen, I could NOT find a picture of just you and I. Probably because I knew you best as my s-i-l's friend. It was FUN to be my brother's wedding with you. VERY fun to see you and your sweet man get married. I so enjoy keeping up with you - especially envisioning your lovely California life when the Oklahoma weather is miserable.


I've mentioned Crazy Daisy a lot here at Mrs. Troop. She and I started this blogging adventure together. We've had SO MUCH FUN doing this and sharing things. She is responsible for my lovely design! I know you've seen us before. Like here. And here. Remember the Love Day Giveaway? Suffice it to say, I wouldn't be a blogger without her!


Today I'm thankful for my Sweet Friends. Thankful that the world of blogging is keeping us in touch. Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

How the Coach Won My Heart - Part 6

Considering that Sunday was the 14th anniversary of our courtship, I thought it was time for another chapter of our story!

If you haven't read the beginning of our story, you can start here.


In September of '94, I was invited to speak (along with my mother) at an EXCEL conference for young ladies in Dallas. Topics were etiquette and waiting on the Lord (if I remember correctly!). Honestly, if I could have looked ahead 14 years, the fact that I would have spoken to anyone on etiquette is a joke. You should see dinner time with 8 kids!

But during that conference, I shared for the first time a bit of what was becoming "our" story. I didn't know how it would end, of course, but I knew God was working and I shared with those girls what the Lord was teaching me.

The last evening we were there, my Daddy called. He was meeting with the Coach for breakfast the next day and was expecting to receive from him the answers to the following questions that he'd given him.

1. Has God called you to be married?

2. Is it God's time for you to be married?

3. Has God called you to marry my daughter?

But before he found out what the Coach's answers were, he wanted to talk to ME about some things. Did I believe the Coach was the one? Had I thought about what it would be like to live on the Coach's salary? Was I prepared to change my lifestyle and priorities to fit the Coach's?

Big questions.

And I didn't take them lightly.

Yeah, I was WAY attracted to the Coach. I mean, honestly. Have you seen him? I was completely impressed with his character and the way he had handled himself through our whole situation. But that was different than marrying him. Giving up my "spoiled baby girl" status for marriage to a hard working man who (if he continued to teach school) would never become "wealthy".

I'm so glad the Lord gave me the grace and the sense to see what really mattered to me at that moment. I knew that you could have all of the money and stuff in the world and be miserable. I knew that what I really wanted was a man who was following hard after God and loved me completely. I had seen the Coach's desire for the Lord. And his actions had said to me, "You're worth whatever it takes."

That was all I needed.

I gave Daddy my own "yes" to the possibility of courtship that night.  And went to bed wondering what the next day would hold.


Early the next morning, after talking to my Daddy on the phone, my mother woke me up with the words, "You're courting!"

Apparently the Coach's answers to the three questions had been "As far as I know, yes."

So sitting in a hotel room in Dallas, on September 21st, 1994 (exactly 14 years ago), with the Coach 3 1/2 hours away and without even talking to him, the Coach began to win my heart and pursue developing a relationship with the purpose of marriage.


The Coach and I didn't talk at that time. I was in Dallas, he was at work. There weren't cell phones then that kept people in such close contact. We had to wait.

Later that day, we loaded up and drove home after the conference. The Coach had a game that night, so there was no chance of spending time with him (sounds strangely familiar - ha!), and I couldn't make it to the game.

So he called when he got home late that night.

Our first phone call that was more than just "Is your dad there?". We talked for about an hour. He told me about the game, about his week, I told him about Dallas. We talked about seeing each other on Saturday night for dinner with my family.

It was normal. And comfortable. And wonderful.

The next night he came to dinner with us and afterwards, I rode with him back to my house. First time in the car together alone! It was quiet for a moment and then comfortable, again. We laughed about it all. That being alone hadn't happened before and that it was such a big deal to ride back to my house together.

That night we had our first "real" conversation. We sat on the front porch and talked about all that had happened. He told me that we should purpose to honor the Lord in our relationship. That if God did bring us together, we should be committed to giving testimony to His faithfulness and be willing to tell others what God had done.

I'm sure there was a lot more we talked about, too. I'm pretty sure he told me how special I was. We talked about how comfortable it all seemed, even though we hadn't spent much time together.

Before he left that night, he asked me if we could pray together.

I remember going upstairs after he left and thinking, "I'd say yes right now, if he asked."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Good morning from "Baby in a Bucket"!

1. For some of the most beautiful weather we've ever had. Amazing. Perfect.

2. No more splints in Son's (#3) nose! And it's straight! He is well on his way to being through this trial. Yeah!

3. A garbage disposal that WORKS! Thanks, Coach! And I promise I won't clean tennis shoes with muddy gravel in the kitchen sink, anymore.

4. Toddler sale at Old Navy! Not too many of our boy clothes made it through all three older boys.

5. Daughter (#6) is doing SO well with school. It was a rough first few weeks, but I think we're settling in.

6. That the Lord gives discernment and wisdom to teach and train children. I had no idea what to do about Daughter (#6), but the Lord has given us some insight into her personality and how to encourage and motivate her. Praise the Lord!

7. The Coach, who gets up early every day to spend time reading, praying and memorizing scripture.

8. The patience that the Coach has with me when I get overwhelmed and discouraged. (I think that is somehow related to #7, don't you?)

9. For faithful friends who know me well and still love me. For their encouragement and accountability.

10. For new windows on the front of our house! They are beautiful!



The very punctual, nice, clean and polite guys who installed them:

I won't miss those cold metal windows ONE BIT!

Happy Thursday!

Be sure and leave me a comment and tell me what YOU are thankful for today!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Are you ready for some Football?

First of all, a confession:
I haven't cooked dinner in a week.
Just had to get that off my chest.

First, there was a meal from my sweet friend after Son's nose surgery.
Then enough for leftovers.
Then a football game.
A date night with the Coach (which had to be quick because of another football game that needed to be watched).
Sunday night pancakes (can't really consider that cooking).
And another Jr. High football game, last night, watching Son #1.

Not included in the dinner schedule is the football film watching, late practices and play sketching that has consumed most of the Coach's time the last two or three weeks.

'Tis the Season!
Good thing it's only for three months.

As my sweet Daddy said, "You can stand on your head for three months!" Meaning, that we can handle it. It doesn't last forever.
It's given me some time to work on projects around the house. There's plenty to do!

Tomorrow we are off to the ENT to get Son's splints removed. Whew.
I have one word for you:

And the nights he spent on the floor in our room (so I could keep an eye on him after the anesthesia)? Miserable.
I have another word for you:
Couch. (as in ME on the couch - the Coach can sleep through a train wreck - which is just about what it sounded like)

But he's back in his own bed, at night. Back at school for the second day, today. Already caught up on his school work from last week. What a kid!

Hopefully life is settling into more of a normal Fall football routine around here. There is just less cooking to be done with Monday and Friday games every week. A great many more sandwiches for dinner. And even though it means a lot of nights and time in general without the Coach around, it's gotten easier over the years. It's easier to go to the games now that the kids are older.
And that is a blessing.

So are sweet family and friends who came to cheer Son on to his first ever Jr. High football VICTORY last night (we lost the first game)!

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thankful Thursday

1. Phl 4:19
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

2. 2Cr 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

3. 1Pe 5:7
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

4. Psa 55:22
Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

5. 1Pe 1:3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1Pe 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 1Pe 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1Pe 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 1Pe 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 1Pe 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, [even] the salvation of [your] souls.

Enough said.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

So. Very. Grateful.

Greetings from the land of recently fixed noses, strep throat, indistinguishable coughs and a clingy Baby Boy. I think it might be raining, too.

Just makes you want to drop in for a visit, doesn't it?

Son (#3) came through surgery, on Tuesday, quite the little Trooper. I finally said, "It's OK to cry, Buddy." He was so very brave.

Here's a picture that we'll title, "Look how much fun I'm having BEFORE things start hurting really badly." Notice the nose that looks to the left. And the "Sweet!" jammies.

We have no pictures of the after, because that would have been heartless. And I was too busy answering the calls for ". . . water. . . water. . . water" that sounded like they came from someone who has single-handedly crawled across the Sahara.

Needless to say, it was much more of an ordeal than I had let myself anticipate.

Hmmm. I think that's called denial.

But I prefer to think of it as "taking no thought for tomorrow. . . sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

In the meantime, I'm going to let the house go, cater to Son's (#3) every wish (like eggrolls - for breakfast?), try to hold Baby Boy and NOT fix dinner (thanks to a sweet friend who is bringing it). And make sure everyone gets a good, long nap.

Because that will fix everything.


I'm so very grateful for all of the help. Taking Daughter (#7) to BSF, keeping Baby Boy, keeping Daughter, bringing the kids home from school, helping with schoolwork, getting dinner on the table, etc. Let me tell you, I couldn't have spent all day at the hospital with Son (#3) without so very much help.

Bless you all, you know who you are!

Thanks ever so much for your prayers. His grace is sufficient.

Friday, September 5, 2008

It's always something. . .

Do you ever feel that way?

Like JUST when you get into a routine, or JUST when the baby starts sleeping through the night, or JUST when you get a project done on the house. . .

You know what I mean, right?

Well, we had a "something" last night.

And before you ask, I've taken no pictures. Which, of course, I should have. But which, of course, I wouldn't show you, anyway. Because it would embarrass the subject of our "something".

Son (#3) - the birthday boy - broke his nose on his cousin's knee.


So here's my list of gratefulness regarding this event so far:

1. He was NOT hysterical. I would have been.

2. I was not hysterical. Which I could have been.

3. Even though I couldn't get the Coach at football practice, I was able to call our wonderful, kind, doctor friend who was very reassuring.

4. When the Coach DID call, he reminded me that our sweet neighbor is an ENT at a big hospital here - SO CALL HIM, already.

5. Which I did and he came over (Thank you, Dr. Neighbor!).

6. And besides being broken (HA!), he doesn't have complications. Thank you, Lord.

7. AND this kind Dr. Neighbor is setting up an appointment with the Pediatric ENT at aforementioned BIG hospital for Monday.

8. At which point they will sedate my sweet son and fix his crooked and currently very swollen nose. When it's not swollen, anymore.

9. He went to school today.

10. Cheerfully and all excited to tell everyone how brave he is! And show them his swollen, purple face.

11. His eyes didn't turn completely black.

12. The other boys think it looks, "WAY COOL, Bro!"

And now I'm off to whatever THIS day holds. Remembering that:

"You are loved with an everlasting love. . .
and underneath are the everlasting arms." (E.E)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thankful Thursday

1. For Daughter (#7) who is currently singing "If you're happy and you know it. . ." on the floor beside me.

2. For the blessing of being able to go to the grocery store and get what we need when we need it. Like yogurt. On a Thursday morning. And the library right down the street from the grocery store.

3. For old friends made new. Had such a fun visit, yesterday, with this sweet family!

4. For cool Fall-like weather - surely the heat will return before it's really Fall?

5. For the first Varsity Football game tomorrow night. I won't be there, but the Coach is sure excited.

6. For the extra, free day on Monday.

7. For free Chick-fil-A chicken strips on aforementioned Monday. Talk about a deal! There were so many of us that the manager came out to make sure it wasn't a mistake.

8. That we have almost finished our second week of school. Which, surprisingly, has seemed LONG, even with Monday off. Hmmmm.

9. For something interesting finally going on in the Presidential Election. I had really become quite sick of the whole thing and now I'm reading and watching once, again.

10. That it's almost time to get out the Fall decorations. I'm holding off until the end of September. Or tomorrow.

Happy Thursday, All!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It's Birthday Time

Being the third born can be rough and we decided it was time for his very own, NEW, not handed down bike. Yeah!

I will never forget the day that Son (#3) was born. Remember 1998? The Summer that we had 41 days in a row over 100 degrees here in OK? Seriously. Hot.

Four days each week during my pregnancy with him I walked four miles at the mall in the mornings pushing a double stroller with our 2 and 1 year old. Those were the days! I remember telling the midwife that after about 2 miles things started hurting (this was in my 7th and 8th months). I'll never forget her face. "Then STOP!" she said. Hadn't crossed my mind.

He was our biggest baby by a long shot - at eight pounds even. The others were all five and six.

He was hungrier, too! He was the first and one of the only babies that I gave formula to before my milk came in. He was so hungry! It also took him longer to sleep through the night than any of our others. I wasn't up for letting him cry it out with two other little ones in the house. Eventually we did, though, and he turned into a fairly good sleeper.

Until he developed asthma.
And how thankful I am, that at 10 years old, it has become so very mild. Thank you, Lord!

He prayed to receive Christ at football camp when he was 7 (almost 8) - what a blessing.

He has always been FUN, sweet, kind, thoughtful, TOUGH, yet tender, and loving. I'm so grateful for this little guy who can somehow tell (unlike most of the kids) when I really need a hug or help around the house. He works HARD and diligently and is a great student.

Wow. 10. I really can't believe it.

We celebrated at Grandmother and Granddad's (even though they weren't there!) so we could watch the first OU football game of the season and our Sweet Friend came and helped us celebrate. Here are the girls (and Baby Boy) watching him ride his new bike on Grandmother's street.

Happy 10th Birthday, Son! We love you!