Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Tree Farm 2014

As a little girl the anticipation for our Christmas tree was almost immeasurable. In fact it was, because I don't think anyone has invented a way of measuring anticipation. The point is, getting our Christmas tree, putting up decorations around the house, and watching Daddy and Mama stringing lights outside was one of my favorite things about Christmas.

For the tree all four of us kids would follow Mom and Dad to the attic where we would crowd around the base of the rickety ladder (I was always afraid it would break) and watch the top half of Dad disappear into the dim space. On this one day the attic was no longer a forsaken creepy spawn for all the monsters we would make up and scare each other with. On this one day the attic was a place full of delightful surprises and forgotten toys - so of course we would always clamor for Dad to take us up with him. And sometimes he would!

Watching from below the wait was unbearable. I am sure it would have been much easier for Dad to send us away so he could bring down the tree without being pestered and without worrying that he would step on one of us on the way down or drop the long skinny box with all the branches in it on our heads. BUT, I am glad he didn't because I will always treasure these memories.

Monday, December 1, 2014

From Here to There Incredible Things are Everywhere...

Come with me back to 2010. I am standing outside with a pair of rubber boots I threw on - no socks of course. It is January and I grabbed my huge white coat that makes me look like a walking marshmallow. I didn't zip it up so instead I hug myself stuffing my hands in my pockets, keeping the cold at bay. I stand ankle deep in fresh clean snow. Up in the sky I watch my breath float away towards the gorgeous full moon. The light of the moon is so bright that no stars can be seen for at least one outstretched-hand-length away and when the light hits the snow it lights up the whole field almost as bright as day. I can see the Milky Way. The sky is black as tar. The sounds I hear are comforting. A pack of coyotes yip and scream as the hunt in the night. Owls talk. Chickens murmur and cluck softly. I walk into the driveway and admire the beautiful snowflakes on the hoods of our suburban, truck, water trailer. They are incredible. I turn back towards the house and head inside. By this time I can't feel my toes. Our blue Christmas lights have faded since we put them up last year. Icicles hang from the roof.

Now, step back into the present. It's December. I am sitting on the short flower bed wall, bare feet planted firmly on our concrete sidewalk.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Devil Cannot Steal you From God; Go Help Those Over Whom the Devil Actually has a Grip.

It has been a while since I have posted anything with me just talking and sharing my heart with y'all. A lot has been going on lately and I feel like there are some things I need to say.

First of all I must confess that my prayer life is anything but stellar and I feel distant from God at the moment. Formerly I would have interpreted this lost kind of feeling as me being altogether separated from God; Apart from His Grace and unworthy of His Forgiveness. It is a blessing for me to KNOW without a doubt that will never happen. When God brings you into His family there is no way you can ever fall away. There may be times when I feel alone or sometimes when I actually put up a barrier between myself and my Father but just because I have thrown up a short little wall doesn't mean that God can’t see down in and isn't watching over me and protecting me. I need His love more than anything.

Despite my weariness there has been some things my Father has been teaching me lately and I'd like to share that with you. Actually I think it is because of my weariness that I have been able to hear what He has to say. It's about forgiveness and grace.

We need a whole lot of it.

We need to give others even more of it.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween 2014

This picture looks kind of creepy...

Well, here we are. How have y'all been? It's been a while since I've posted anything. Life is really crazy right now. Adopting four boys really shakes things up.

Three of my little brothers go to two different schools in the morning and come home at three and four. They have a good time in school and right now its what's best for our family. While they are gone we scramble to get as much work as we can before they get home. Because when they do... well honestly most days, from the moment they walk in the door till they fall asleep at night our whole world revolves completely around them. Not always in a good way. It is very difficult but I love them all the same. Love them to pieces. I wouldn't go back to just the five of us kids again. Nine is a good number. We'll get through this. For everything there is a season.

I thought I would share with y'all some of the fun we've been up to lately. There was a local festival that we went to but I'm not going to share pictures from there this time. But, I did make a video for my brother so I guess I'll share it with y'all too.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Road Trip with Grandma: Henry Ford Museum, Canada, Visiting Family

You may have heard this already but in case you haven't, my Grandma and I went for a road trip up to Detroit, Michigan. Grandma was keen on visiting family and I was looking forward to exploring the old places my Dad grew up in. I have been back for a while now but I haven't been able to find the time to write this post. Actually right now I really want to go to bed but I figured I had to get this out. In that light, this post won't be as detailed as I want but here we go.

Grandma and I left Wednesday, September 10 and stopped for the night in Kentucky. At one of the rest stops we saw a horse track with a bunch of people standing around. We didn't see any horses though just people and cameras. We arrived in Michigan the next day and stayed at a nice hotel in Troy, about thirty minutes from Detroit. Dad grew up in Royal Oak, between Troy and Detroit.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Just Hopping on to Say Hello

Hello all, I know I have not been active on my blog for a while. Maybe yall can guess why? Yes its true, I'm pulling the "we're in the process of adopting four boys two of which are twins" card.

Since they've moved in things have gone just as I expected. It's been hard, very tiring, amusing, a little hard on the heart strings, and above all else absolutely incredible. I think I have kind of overrun my friends newseed on Facebook with little stories about them. I will share a few of them here just because I know some of my readers don't have Facebook accounts. Don't worry though, when we come to that part I will warn you so those of you who have been following me daily won't have to read it all over again.

I guess the main point of this post is to let yall know that I'm still here, alive and kicking. Well, alive at least. At the moment I am using the little store of energy I have left to write this for yall. I've been sick the past few days and it's just been really blah. Today I went out in the pouring rain to check the mail. It was really exciting and has been the highlight of my day. Understandably, it probably would have been the highlight of the day regardless if I was sick or not. Still, the adrenaline rush I felt walking through the huge puddle that is our yard was nothing like I've felt since the day we spotted the parking lot after a two day hike with only two meals between them.

I've had my birthday since last talking with yall and I've made plans to take a nine day trip up north with my Grandma. We are going to Detroit to see the old home place and go to church. We'll probably take a short jog into Canada too. We'll also spend some time up in Traverse City with family. It's a fifteen hour trip that I am not looking forward to driving, but I am excited to be going. I'll be lugging along some of my school work too and try to get some work in at night before I go to bed. The rest of the time I suppose we'll be busy. I'll write a blog post about our trip when I get back.

Now, here are some Facebook posts for yall and a few pictures. I'll try to get back into Musical Monday as soon as I can. As it is though, it's going to be tough to find a good time to record without little guys playing the accompanying background track.

Monday, August 18, 2014

First Day of School

I am standing out by the mail box about five feet from the road. My bare feet in the cool wet grass are antithetical to the sweat that I can feel beading up on the back of my neck. The sun shines down and I am glad I am wearing my hat on this warm August morning. My eleven year old brother and I are waiting for the bus. This is his first day in middle school. I watch him wandering about the grass, stooping down and watching little creatures in the dirt. His backpack looks like a turtle shell; he is entirely too close to the road. "Come here, don't be so close to the road." I tell him. I put my arm on his back.

Waiting for the bus!

Mom has already left to take the twins to their Headstart school. When I woke up this morning it was because Mom came in calling for reinforcements. There was a missing shoe crisis. The two year old has this thing about shoes. He takes any shoes and all shoes and puts them on his feet, "Dese mine." He will say. And they get lost. So we three, Mom, Savannah and I, looked frantically all through the house for the missing shoe. One boy kept saying his tummy hurt and he was hungry, "You're going to eat at school" we told him, then the moanings increased when he saw his older brother eating a bowl of cerial. (He doesn't eat breakfast at his middle school) The two youngest kept declaring that they wanted to go to school, or asked for food, or asked to be held. We never found the shoe but got a new pair instead. "I want socks!" whined the shoeless boy when he saw his sandals. Finally though they were ready to leave. A hug and kiss for each and they were headed out the door.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

We're Adopting!

Today was the beginning of a totally new part of our lives. We're adopting four little boys! I know I haven't said anything on my Facebook account, or in person, or on the phone, but yes it's happening. Three months ago we started the adoption process - home study, meetings, Mom and Dad had to go through adoption classes, phone calls, paper work. Before we knew it, all the preparations were made and we just sat back and waited. Before we knew it, we were matched with these boys.

        Today the paperwork was signed and we were matched to the boys officially and today we met them for the first time. They came straight from daycare to our house. I was so worried before this that they wouldn't like us. I was afraid they wouldn't like me because I was so much older than them. They pulled in a mini van with the case workers and Mom, Dad, and Savannah went out to meet them. I realized Jubal wasn't with them so I looked and found him with his face buried in his pillow and his eyes squeezed tight. He has been so wild with excitement today about meeting his new brothers, he has been singing songs lately about getting more brothers. "Today my new brothers come!" he says. Well, now of course he was shy. I took him out to the back yard where everyone was. He clung to me and kept his face mashed against my shoulder with his eyes closed. It wasn't long though till he got brave and started to play with the boys.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Musical Monday: Chopin Nocturne No. 21 in C# Minor

So for this week's Musical Monday I'd like to go back into June. Starting on Monday the twenty-third and lasting until Friday I went to Piano Week at the University of West Florida. It is a piano camp they have during the summer. Throughout the week we had different classes and Friday night we had a recital playing what we had learned that week.

This is Nocturne No. 21 in C# Minor by Chopin. I don't want to be one of those people who is always dissing their own work, but I feel compelled to mention that I played it a bit too fast I think. Also the dynamics could have been better but I am pleased with it. There actually is this one part that I am really glad I got through it without a complete wreck. I was in danger of that the day before. Chopin never actually published this nocturne himself as it was published posthumously. (I wanted to post videos of some of the others playing but this one gave me so much trouble I don't think I will try.)

Here is our schedule for the week:

10:00 Musicianship
11:00 Collaborative Piano
12:00 Lunch
1:00 Theory
2:00-4:00 Practice time and individual lessons
5:00-6:00 Piano Painting

Miya and me! We have the same teacher so I am sure I'll be seeing more of her around.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wallpapering at Grandma's

     Sunday was a very good day for me. I was pleased to be singing with the rest of the congregation as I wasn't playing piano that day. I discovered again that it really is an entirely different experience to sing amongst the body of Christ rather than leading it. I felt very cozy.

       At home, Jubal was supposed to take a nap but I could tell he just wasn't going to be able to settle. I told him he could have quiet time in his room instead. Savannah and I watched two of the newest episodes of Doctor Who available on Netflix. I really love that show. I practiced piano some, Savannah drew some, and we cleaned the kitchen some. Later in the afternoon I decided I needed to clean my room. So, what I am saying is, it was just the usual Sunday afternoon. I really relish my guilt free, comforting day of rest every week. And that my friend, is why I dreaded leaving it.

       Dad and I were headed over to Grandma's as soon as Jubal was in bed. I already had packed my overnight bag as I cleaned my room. When the time came I said goodbye to Jubal. At the time Savannah was getting him dressed for bed. I leaned over my naked little brother and gave him a kiss on the forehead. "Goodnight Jubal, bye-bye!" Jubal, couldn't reply because he was so hyper about who knows what and he only laughed. I said bye to Savannah and Mom and then Dad and I made the drive to Gulf Shores.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Musical Monday; Come, Holy Ghost, Our Souls Inspire

Because yesterday was Pentecost here is a video of my favorite Pentecost hymn. It too, like many of the hymns I play, has origins that date way back. The hymnal says this was based on the song Veni, Creator Spritus, meaning "Come Creator Spirit". It is believed to be written by a man named Rhabanus Maurus in the 9th century.

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
And lighten with celestial fire;
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
Who dost Thy sev'nfold gifts impart.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Musical Monday, Gymnopedie

This week's feature, Gymnopedie No. 1  by Eric Satie, is a song that is very hard to conquer. I have only played this song beautifully, the way it was intended, once. It is not a complicated song by any means and not difficult to play, but it is very difficult to feel. There are many recordings of this online and I guess I'll add mine to the hodge podge now. It's not the best, but hey, you asked for my music.

Below, is a blog post that I wrote about this song but never published for some reason.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Musical Monday

I have been getting many requests to post some of my piano playing online, I have also had some people comment that I have not been keeping up with my blog lately. Well here I give you a solution to both of those at once. I'd like to introduce to you Musical Monday. I plan on posting a video of me playing the piano every Monday, or as many as I can, along with a quick look into our everyday life. I confess it often seems its the everyday life that overwhelms me far more than any of that craziness ever did.

Now, take note that when I recorded the following video I was experimenting with different interpretations of this song. The one shown here is not my favorite but alas, it is the only one I have. So, if it seems a bit wonky to you, please bear with me.

Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands  - This is an ancient Easter hymn with it origins dating back into the early 11th century. The tune has evolved over the years. I was driving to piano lessons one day and I heard this song on the radio. The melody was much different but the essentials were the same, the words too were slightly different. It was interesting to hear the differences and similarities between the two versions. I of course am playing the modern version of it. Below are the words.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Conversations With Jubal

I am laying in bed, fast asleep, dreaming about waking up when through the soft billowy layers of my dream, and yes thinking back on it, it does seem to be a white mist, I hear coming towards me steps. The steps seem to stretch on for an eternity, the soft padding forever echoing, forever boding the ill that was to come. Pfff, pfff, pfff... In the endless space somewhere the door creaked. A pitiful voice weaseled it's way through the calm silence. "Eat, eat..." In a moment I am wrenched from my sleep when the voice persists. It is much more like a tornado siren now. "Eat, eat, eat!"

It is eight AM, and I know right there I have lost all pity. No it is not early, but when the whole household is sick, and all semblance of a routine has gone by the wayside, nine o'clock has been the norm for waking hours. (*hands on sides of face, gasp*)

I roll over and there is my three year old brother clutching his blue snot covered pillow to his face. I think to myself, "Man that thing needs to be washed." I shove the covers down away from my face and look around the darkened room. The house is silent except for the pitiful cries of my little brother. "Eat, eat!"

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Setting Brush Lines on the Blackwater

Saturday I decided to treat my Saturday like a Saturday. I slept in and woke with the intention of having some fun. I sounded off some ideas to the boys but they didn't go for any of them. Then Zachary suggested going fishing.

So Saturday we went fishing. First Zachary and I went to town with Jubal to pick up some supplies. We bought chicken livers, hooks, line, nets, a fishing pole for Jubal, and I picked up some groceries I had forgotten to buy the day before. By the time we got back home it was noon. We dropped Jubal off to take his nap and the rest of us four went to the river to set some brush lines. Here are the pictures for that.

First we look over our gear.

Then the fun part, setting the lines. First you tie the line onto a hook. In this case both the hook and line are big because we are going for catfish and it has to be strong enough to hold the fish there for several hours until we come back to check it. After you tie the hook on you take a piece of chicken liver and put it on the hook for bait. You have to be sure the liver is hooked securely otherwise the strong current will wash it right off. The chicken livers have been left unrefrigerated for a while with some minced garlic which makes it smellier and helps to firm up the livers.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Carpenter's Park

This afternoon was lovely! The weather was gorgeous! Zachary and Levi took Jubal outside and showed him how their traps work. Savannah put the sides up on the tepee for Jubal. I sat on the flower bed wall an read my Bible. The birds sang, the breeze blew gently and Spring seemed to say she was on her way. I walked around the yard and took a few pictures.  


The yard proved too small for such a wonderful day so it wasn't long before I proposed a trip to the park.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Finding Joy in the Daily Grind

This year in 2014 I made a decision to live my life more intentionally. It is something I need to do.

For seven years now I have been living a life of reaction.  A life of counter moves and murky instincts. A life with no goals but only a frenzied effort to stay alive and afloat. No it was not always a struggle all the time, more like an inflamed zit ready to burst with puss. Sure you can cover it over with makeup, pretend it's not there. I could hide my problems, tell myself its just normal, I could even forget for a little while; but the slightest little prick and the zit bursts. The slightest upset, the most unintentional slip up with my words, or even a vengeful thought left unchecked can and did bring my carefully constructed world crumbling down around me over and over again. I could not escape the ugly reality of sin. Wherever I turned I saw the rotten effects it had on me and my family, it's oozing appendages wrapping itself around us, separating us. And I was afraid. I tried and tried to build up the walls, walls ill-equipped for such a job... because hostility, distrust, and fear are no good to keep sin and its consequences at bay. Only Jesus can do that. So I lived a fairly normal and almost healthy looking life hiding it all. Reacting but not living.

Then our house burned down. Then my baby brother was born. Then God rescued me. Then he wiped away all the ooze and gave me new walls. Walls with Christ in them, walls of love, and trust, joy, and hope. These new walls do a bang up job at keeping Satan away. Still 2011, 2012, and 2013 were way too insane for me to do anything but react. This time though, it wasn't a wandering kind of instinct. It was me clinging with all my life to the One who gave me life, waiting for the winds to stop battering me, waiting until I could start again. And here I am, 2014 and the winds have died down. The rain has stopped. I am ready to start again.