Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sixth Sense

Have you ever had a feeling like something you are about to do is just not right? I woke up this morning and my sixth sense was in full bloom.

The past few years, my mom, sister and I meet in Canton, TX to go to the Trade Days and shop 'til we drop! Since my mom's Stem Cell Transplant three years ago, this has become how the three of us "celebrate" her second birth! We have a great time together shopping, eating, laughing. In fact, I can't believe it has been a year since I posted about our last trip and how we closed the place down on Saturday in the pouring rain while carrying more than our arms were capable of and all needing to use the bathroom. We just had to stop and laugh!

Mom flew in yesterday (hence, the day-off of posting on the blog!). She and I and my BFF are heading to Canton tomorrow and my sister and her two girls are meeting us there on Friday.

For some reason, I am the "travel agent" of the family. We all meet for Thanksgiving also and I am usually the one who makes all the arrangements. Canton is no different and I have to say that "so far, so good" on the places we have stayed and eaten at.

A few months ago, I made reservations for all of us for Canton. We normally stay in Tyler, which is a 45 minute drive to Canton. Thinking that we should save about 15 minutes, I made reservations in a small town that no one had heard of. I didn't think about the hotel again...UNTIL this morning! That's when my sixth sense kicked in.

When I made the reservations, I had gone to the hotel website and read the reviews. Yes, it was a small town and yes, it wasn't the Ritz; but, it was closer and would be fine.

I went to the website today and read more reviews and realized that this "hotel" was definitely not the was closer to the Roach Motel. Let me just say that after reading the reviews, there was no way I was going to take a shower, lie in their beds OR walk on their carpets!

Canton Trade Days are a HUGE deal and I was pleased to get our rooms a few months ago. How in the world was I going to find rooms the night before we were going?!? My successful travel agent days were in jeopardy!! I decided right off the bat that we needed to drive the extra 15 minutes and stay in the metropolis of Tyler! I began calling hotels. No vacancy. No vacancy. And, then, JACKPOT!! Yes, we have two rooms available! And, let me get you a special rate! YES!!

My sixth sense has been very relieved all day. Hopefully, it is still working and we aren't now headed to the Bates Motel!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Hint Of Fall

When I opened the door for Connor to catch the bus this morning, I thought I might freeze! Now, granted, it was probably in the low 60's...but, to me that IS freezing!!

Nothing gets me in the mood for Fall like a crispness in the air. Fall is my most favorite season...
My birthday is in the Fall;
the Fall starts all of the big, fun holidays of the year;
while growing up, Fall meant going to the State Fair and eating junk food, riding rides, and rodeos;
hot air balloons fill the Albuquerque sky in the Fall;
the leaves change to all shades of brilliant colors;
my makeup doesn't melt off my face in the Fall;
I get to change my wardrobe from shorts to jeans!

Living in Houston makes it a toss-up on how long my Fall may be. In fact, today may be it! It is not unusual for us to have a few beautiful days and then for the temperature to spike into the 90's again! There is nothing that makes me more frustrated than pouring sweat while hanging up Fall wreaths and setting out pumpkins! I have even decorated our Christmas tree in shorts before!

The only downside I see of Fall is all the leaves and needles that collect in our pool. The pool causes more work in the Fall than any other time of year. However, this afternoon while I was emptying skimmer baskets and hauling leaves out with the net, I began wondering why God made different seasons. Did He really think through the fact that people may not WANT to be hot or cold their entire lives? That we would like some variety in our year? I know He probably didn't do it so my makeup wouldn't melt anymore!

He made the seasons in the beginning.
Genesis 1:14
And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years,"

He had a plan. Maybe He did think, "One day Davedda is going to question My reasoning for seasons in a blog."

Of course, there are SO many things that I wonder about. But He is God and He doesn't have to tell us His reasoning! We just get to reap the benefits of His power and abilities. And, I get to pull out my comfy sweaters!
Whatever reason He had for seasons, I am thankful He did. Because I know that come December 21, I'll be ready for Summer again!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

When Did I Become One Of THOSE Moms?

Fall baseball is in full swing. Colby started playing last weekend. Connor had his first tournament this weekend.

We have been playing baseball in the Marshall family since Connor was 3. I have always been his strongest supporter and even if he didn't play to his fullest potential, I would tell him he did a great job -- or at least looked good doing it!

After Connor's first game this morning, we went and ate some lunch. We were discussing some plays he had made -- one of which he bobbled the ball and didn't catch it but did recover in time to get a guy out at second base. Chris asked what happened and Connor explained and said that at least he got the guy out at second and Chris agreed with him. Without missing a beat or even thinking about what I was about to say, I said, "Yeah. But if you had caught that ball you would have had a double play!"

I guess I've become a REAL baseball mom!
Today is my birthday...well actually it is past midnight, so I guess yesterday was my birthday.

I spent all day with my three most favorite people in the world.
We had lots of fun!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Greatest Gift

Last night I was on the phone with Chris when Colby comes in my room crying. He had been in bed for about 30 minutes and does have this habit of coming downstairs after about an hour of being in bed crying over some nightmare. I told Chris to hold on and asked Colby what was wrong.

"I want to be baptized," he sobbed.

I told Chris I'd call him back!

Colby has such a sweet, gentle spirit. He is a sensitive boy who wears his heart on his sleeve. We sat on the edge of my bed and I asked him why he wanted to be baptized. We talked for a little bit and I prayed for him and then asked him if he wanted to pray and ask God to come into his heart. He nodded yes and started praying. That has to be the most heart-filling sweetness a Christian parent experiences.

After he was done, we sat there for a few more minutes and he looked up at me and said, "Can I pray one more time just to make sure?"

I am so thankful for what God has done in our family in the recent months. I am so thankful that God has given me the family that He has. I am so thankful for a husband who is a believer. I am thankful for both of my sons being my brothers-in-Christ. I am thankful that all four of us will be together forever and ever!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Theme

I am sensing a theme to my spiritual life lately.


This school year, I have joined two prayer groups -- one for each of my sons' schools; I have purchased a book on prayer that came highly recommended by my sister; and this week, my daily devotions have all been about prayer.

I have been surprised by the new things I have learned on prayer. Not that I am all that when it comes to spiritual matters -- but I was raised in a Christian home, went to a Christian school my whole life and have been involved in church forever! I thought praying was the easy part!

Mom's In Touch has opened my eyes on praying scripture. Many scriptures were written as praise and worship to God so this is a great tool to use when just coming before Him and thanking Him for His awesomeness! It is also a very moving way to pray over your child.

Even the format Mom's In Touch uses was new to me. Yes, I have been taught that we need to confess sins before God can hear us; but, they have taught me the importance of praising God and thanking Him for who He is and what He has done. This has helped put the focus on Him rather than my "want or need" at the moment. Oh, I still have those"popcorn" prayers throughout the day when I think of something that I am worried about or forgot to pray about. But, I can say my morning quiet time has been enriched with my new "prayer knowledge"!

One of the things I do everyday is the daily devotion out of the Journey magazine. Like I stated, this last week has been on prayer. Several things have really opened my eyes...

Sometimes, what is stressing me out seems so silly in comparison to what someone else is facing. For example, when I get frustrated because my boys won't clean up the gameroom or hang up their clean clothes I don't think God cares to listen to that so I don't go to Him. I think that someone else may be praying that their child were healthy enough to make the mess in the first place so what right do I have to come to God with my immaturity!! But, one devotion taught me that I must remember something very significant about the character of God: If it concerns us, then it's important to Him. He offers us rest -- even from the daily grind of life. He can provide that rest when I come to Him and lay my heart before Him.

The most amazing thing about prayer that I have learned this week is that God wants us to pray specifically, intensely and persistently. Wow. Really?

I have always had the idea that God already knows my heart and its burdens and I shouldn't "bother" Him with things. Maybe this comes from being a mom. If my boys tell me or ask me something one time, I don't want to hear it EVERYDAY from them! God is busy, right? He is all-knowing, right? I shouldn't have to repeat things that are on my heart everyday. He probably gets tired of hearing my same requests!

Not so.

Even Jesus offered "prayers and appeals, with loud cries and tears." There is something about our deep desperation and stubborn persistence that moves God to take action.

In another devotion, it states that lots happens when I pray persistently. My faith gets clearer. God may help me readjust my requests until it fits His will. I will start seeing through His eyes and ask for what's on His heart. I grow closer to Him.

God has designed us for long, in-depth conversations with Him. He created us because He wanted fellowship! The most awesome thing is that God is the BEST best friend you can ever have. He pays attention to everything about you. He listens completely and remembers! He does care about whether your kids clothes are hung up!!

We all need to pray like we are talking to someone who really cares, who is moved by what's in our heart, and (the greatest thing) who will and can do something about it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thirty Down


Day 30!!! I am half-way to meeting my 60-day challenge!!!

I'm just saying! :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Then VS. Now

I can almost guarantee that at the beginning of every school year, one of my boys will have an assignment about themselves. It might be to tell about their life, their summer, or their family.

This year, the fourth graders had an interviewing project. The first criteria was that the interviewee needed to be at least 55 years old. Colby chose Chris's parents. We e-mailed the questions to them and Colby asked with every new e-mail if they had responded!

A few days later, the answers came and Colby was eager to get his project done. He took the answers to the table and was quiet for a long time. After reading through the answers Colby came up to me and said, "Wow, Popcycle had an interesting life!"

My father-in-law was born in a small town in Arkansas -- in his home, not a hospital. He lived on a farm and fed animals, brought in wood for their kitchen stove, brought water inside from the well. His best friend was his brother and they didn't have lots of toys, creating games themselves instead. So, you can imagine that I was interested in hearing what this 21st century kid would be amazed at with his grandfather's childhood.

With complete sincerity, he said, "Mom, Popcycle doesn't remember eating in one single restaurant when he was my age!"

Yep, that's my boy!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Full Palate

OK. So here is the last installment of my Beth Moore simulcast! I don't mean to sound "preachy"; but, I believe what she taught on is so relevant to ME and to women and to the general population as a whole. Kindness is not just being nice! Kindness has many faucets!! Kindness can change the world!!!

5. Kindness is a Savior.
Kindness took on flesh to dwell among us. There was and never will be someone here on Earth kinder than Jesus. Period!

Beth asked us if we had lost our wonder of Jesus? She showed us a picture of a little girl who had been surprised with a gift of a goldfish. Her eyes were wide and her lips were in a circle as if she were saying, "OHHH!" You could see she loved her gift and wasn't expecting it. She was taken aback with how awesome it was! Am I like that when God reveals something to me?? (Ouch! AGAIN)!!

6. Kindness has good memory.
Psalm 106:7
When our fathers were in Egypt,
they gave no thought to your miracles;
they did not remember your many kindnesses,
and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.

When we cease to live without kindness, we have forgotten how good God has been to us. We must REMEMBER!

7. Kindness craves an outlet.
In II Samuel 9:1, David wanted to know if there was anyone left in the house of Saul that he could show kindness to for Jonathan's sake.

Is there anyone I can show kindness to? Is there someone I can bring true profit to?
Yes. There is always someone!

I donate lots of things throughout the year. However, I tend to leave the sack by the front door and let an organization hand them out. Maybe I could find an actual person in need and take them my things...

8. Kindness leaves a legacy.
Acts 28:1-2
Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.

The Greek word used in the phrase "unusual kindness" in verse 2 is the word meaning "philanthropy." There has been a recent study on how countries around the world rate in their charitable donations. Australia and New Zealand are #1 and #2. The U.S. is #5. It was found that 83% of Maltans still give to charities today. They were "unusually kind" in Jesus' day and have continued that path.

However, it only takes one generation to drop to its knees and ask God to let it start now -- to start with me.

Our culture is breeding self-absorption.

If our children turn out kind in this world today, it will not be by accident! It will be because we have pressed on toward the goal of kindness. That we have lived it out in front of them. That we love our Savior and have taught them to love Him too!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

The First Four Tastes

As promised...per Beth Moore...Tastes of Kindness:

I am only going to give the first four tastes of kindness. I want those of you who read this to not be overwhelmed. Think about these ideas. They are little nuggets of gold!

1. Kindness is not a weakness.
*It takes divine empowerment to be kind in this mean world.
Luke 6:35
"But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful just as your Father is merciful."

Beth said that if in the last week, you haven't run across someone who it is hard to be kind to, then you are not getting out enough! It is time to head to the mall!! When we have to deal with unkind people is when we show we are His children.

This was the first "Ouch" point for me. Lately, I find myself staying at home. I just don't feel like dealing with anyone or anything. I always find some reason not to get out. I feel too tired to deal! Is the reality that I do not feel like being kind?? Guess I need to head to the mall more often!! :)

Beth also gave the difference between "kindness" and "being nice". (Another "ouch" point for me).
Kindness is being fully aware of the ungratefulness and wickedness in the world and making a decision to be kind.
"Nice" is from the Latin word "necius" meaning "ignorant", "not-knowing". In essence, if you can be nice, you're an idiot!

Wow! I find it easy to put a smile on my face and "pretend". That makes me nice, not kind...

She also pointed out that kindness is capable of speaking a hard word.
Psalm 141:5
"Let a righteous man strike me -- it is a kindness;
let him rebuke me -- it is oil on my head.
My head will not refuse it."

This is a great concept for parents who don't like to discipline their children. You can still be kind -- in fact, you ARE being kind when you discipline your child. Train them now in the way they should go and when they are old they will not turn from it!!

2. Kindness is not an action. It is a disposition.

The adjective word "kind" in Greek is defined as "profitable, fit, good for any use, good-natured".
You need JOY to be kind.
The noun word "kind" in Greek is defined as "the grace which pervades the whole nature."

Again, because kindness is a disposition, it cannot be faked.

3. Kindness wears down when we do.
DING, DING, DING!!! This has my name all over it!!

This is the work of the enemy! He wears us down!

It is easy to know when our hearts are broken, but not when our hearts get warn down.

What are some things that wear us down?
*being sick of the rat race

What do I need to do when I am worn down?
Matthew 11:28-30
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Any time we are worn down, we need to be built up -- our spirit, not our egos!!

God also uses other believers to help build us up. We need to be vulnerable, transparent. This will produce accountability!

4. Kindness looks pain in the face.
Job 6:28
"But now be so kind as to look at me. Would I lie to your face?"

Don't look away from someone in pain.

In Titus 3:4-5, it says, "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy." The Greek word used for "love" in verse 4 is "philanthropia" or philanthropy - "lover of mankind; lover of humanity". Our culture is trying to take "God" out of philanthropy! The ability to love and give to mankind cannot be found in ourselves. We need God.

Kindness is not an easy thing to be. But, it is so important for us to be kind. I am going to work harder at it!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Women and Kindness

Beth Moore is one of my most favorite people! She is a brilliant Bible teacher teaching God's Word in a straight-forward, funny, life-changing way. She is a normal woman who has the same trials and tribulations as any other woman and uses those to touch her "students".

Today I spent the day at the Living Proof Live Simulcast. Beth was in Chicago and was simulcast to over 125,000 women of 20 different denominations in 11 countries. She is so on fire for God and even though she was on a big screen, her excitement was catching!

The theme of the day was "Law of Kindness".

Proverbs 31:26 was the key verse:
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.

Why study the law of kindness? Beth gave two reasons.
Reason 1: Because we live in a mean world. And, it is only going to get meaner!
*We need to protect the warmth of our hearts so we don't get mean also.
Reason 2: Because she "openeth her mouth"!
*A study was done that showed a woman speaks 20,000 words a day compared to a man's 7,000 words a day.
*As proof that women talk a lot, Beth pointed out the Jesus DID appear to women first after His resurrection because He knew women would spread the way!!

Women are teachers whether by example or by position. We touch people of all ages.

We are also published authors -- whether we blog, comment on a blog, Facebook, text, e-mail or tweet! And, scarily, we don't have editors to tell us a comment is not appropriate! God needs to be my editor! We need to think: am I lifting up Jesus?; am I building someone up?; or, am I stating my opinion to make myself look smarter or better than the other person?

It is inevitable that women are going to open their mouths. Luke 6:45 says, "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." When our hearts are full, something has to come out. What will it be? Unfortunately, what comes out can not be put back in!

Beth gave eight Tastes of Kindness. I am going to dangle those in front of you until I blog tomorrow! Let me just say that a few of them made me go "Ouch!"

Friday, September 17, 2010

What To Do When Your Bucket List Is Finished

Chris and I love to travel. We love to experience the culture, not just be a "tourist".

Because of his job, Chris has LOTS of opportunities to travel the world -- in fact, he is heading to Canada next week and then in a few weeks going to London, Cyprus, France and Italy! UGH!!! I will keep holding out for eight more years when I can go with him!

When our boys were little, we had a "bucket list" of vacations we absolutely wanted to take them on before they left home.

New York
Mount Rushmore
Washington D.C.

As of this August, we have completed all of those except for England. Chris and I went there about four years ago and think that they would really love the castles and history of the country.

While in Albuquerque this summer, my cousin who lives in Australia was visiting also. I hadn't seen him in probably 10 years. He is married to a sweet Aussie girl. Daniel told us all about Australia and Connor hung on every word. Daniel loves to surf, his father-in-law has a big boat, there are poisonous snakes and know, everything a boy likes!

Last week, Connor and I were discussing where we should go this next summer since most of our "have-to's" were finished. He informed me that we will be going to Australia. That is on HIS "has-to" list!

On MY list to do with the kids before they are no longer living with us besides England is an African Safari!

Colby wants to do DisneyWorld again.

Hmmm...looks like Chris needs to keep traveling the world to support our "New Bucket List"!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

Twenty-four days ago, I began a challenge from my for 60 straight days.

No one questioned the idea until a friend of mine said she told her husband about it and he asked "Why?" (So, "Thanks, Scot for giving me a blogging idea!!")

I have a husband who is so encouraging and makes me feel like I am good at things even when I don't necessarily think I am.

I began blogging a few years ago. I did it as a way to "help out" my horrible memory. It was going to be a way to let our family get a glimpse into our everyday lives and a way for me to go back and say, "Oh, yeah. I forgot about that!" As a result 99% of my blogs are of something my boys have done. There weren't many posts that were very thought provoking.

I graduated from college with a Journalism degree. I haven't really used that degree; but, do still enjoy the process of writing. I guess that was what drew me to blogging in the first place.

As the time has gone by, my posts have gone from 3-4 a week to 1 a week to 1 a month! My avid fan would check it everyday and come home and ask why I hadn't blogged. He even got to the point where he didn't ask anymore.

So...he came home one day and challenged me. (See, after yesterday's post that proves I like a challenge!) He told me that after I blog for 60 days, it should be a habit and I will continue long after my 60 days are up! Sneaky of him, huh?!? In 24 days, I have only missed one day -- but I made up for it by posting TWO posts the next day. I will not loose this challenge. (That is why some days are pretty sketchy!!)

After blogging for a few days, Chris then went a little further and told me I need to not stress about what to blog about. I should look around and when something intrigues me, write about it. I have tried that the last couple of weeks. Kind of a "digging deeper" into myself. I have to admit that it is refreshing and exciting--but still stressful.

My blog is now emerging as a daily diary of sorts as well. It feels good. I am, crazily enough, learning more about myself. I don't know if I will blog EVERY DAY after my 60 day challenge; but, I do hope that I will take time to look at something like the "Sand" or a "Door" and write out my thoughts a little more often. Maybe my blog will actually help my boys look back one day and remember me.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Every Time Is The "Such" Time

Esther 4:14b
And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?

Esther was an amazing woman. She went from being a somewhat "normal" girl to a queen. And God put her there to help Him save the whole Jewish nation! She questioned Him. She felt inadequate. She was scared and unsure. Yet she obeyed.

Can you imagine how she felt when she became queen? Waited on hand and foot. Anything at her bidding. But, I bet she got really bored!

I am at such a time as this now...I am bored.

For the past 14 years, I have been a mom. When Connor was born, I threw myself into him. We would play on the floor with tractors all day or read a pile of books or go on some outing. He was my focus. Then Colby came along and I started all over again.

My boys are at a pretty independent age now. They don't want to play tractors anymore or snuggle on the couch with a pile of books. There are some mornings when I am turning the channel on the TV and I pass Blue's Clues or Thomas the Tank and I get verclempt!

Don't get me wrong, I am always ready for school to start! But, I do wish that I had appreciated those toddler years a bit more. (As I was rereading that previous statement, it occurred to me that is true of every stage of life and I need to appreciate the right now also.)

My husband has fully supported my being a stay-at-home mom and, I feel, has given me the honorary title of "Queen". He has never made me feel like I need to get a job or put me on any sort of "allowance". He never tells me that he is unsatisfied with how the house looks, or laundry feels, or meals taste. But, he knows that I am antsy. He has suggested that I find something -- job or volunteer -- that gets me out among the people. The interesting thing is that I have booked my calendar with Bible Studies, prayer groups, and volunteering at school. Finding time to clean my house, do the laundry or even blog is getting harder as the school year progresses. However, I am still antsy.

I am a couple of years (oh, OK, one year) from turning 40. And, I guess some days I wonder what I am going to be when I grow up! It's a little silly because I know that my calling was and is to be a wife and mom and I wouldn't change that for the world. But at some time the mom role is going to change. And I need to be ready for such a time as this when that happens.

This is one of the two blogs I wrote yesterday and felt needed lots of "tweaking". Maybe I was in a "Woe is Me" moment -- I definitely wasn't bored yesterday. I ran all day long. Today I needed to make a doctors appointment for Connor and while looking at my calendar, I was amazed at how full the next two weeks are.

I do think my main problem is that I need a challenge. Having babies was challenging. Raising toddlers was challenging! Moving nine times in 11 years was challenging. I just hope I can find that challenge before I build a whole ant colony from my antsy-ness!!

I took Beth Moore's "Esther" Bible Study -- which I highly recommend -- last year. Beth believes the main theme of Esther is: "What God can do when we resolve to obey and if I perish, I perish." Maybe what I need to do is be still and listen. Then I need to obey. And if I perish from God's challenge, then I perish. Esther didn't perish; she flourished and saved a nation. Yes, I need to get ready for my next "such" time.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Don't Even Know What To Say

So, today I promised I would have a great blog.

Well...I have written TWO blogs today; but, neither are great so I'm not posting either one!

I think I jinxed myself!

So, tomorrow, I will have a mediocre blog. :)

Monday, September 13, 2010


Blogging every day is HARD!!

I read a few blogs of ladies that blog every day. Of course, one of them gives "Deals Around Town"; another one homeschools and cooks and lives on a farm -- she has lots of daily stories; and two others blog every day and if they don't have anything to blog about, they take pictures of the food they bought at the grocery store that day...

I did go to the grocery store today; but, I didn't figure anyone cares what I purchased for my family this week!

Anyway, I have NO idea what to say. (And, yes, Chris, this blog does count toward my 60!!)

I'll work harder tomorrow! :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Different Types of Genes

I am always amazed how children that come from the same two parents can be so different. Same DNA, right?

Take my sister and I for instance. Pretty much complete opposites. She has four children under 9-years-old and would have many more. She home schools three of them. She has the patience of Job. Me -- two kids are plenty, I can barely do homework with my boys, and I have no patience! There are enough differences in us that my mom often says, "I know they are sisters because I was in the room when both of them were born!"

As my boys get older, I am seeing more and more differences between them. Connor has always been strong-willed; Colby is more laid back. Connor is very competitive; Colby is not as much. Connor is all about English and History; Colby loves Math and Science.

Colby also is interested in art. In fact, when we were in Washington, D.C., he really wanted to go to at least one art museum. This picture tells the difference between our boys and their love of art.

Colby would go around the room looking carefully at each art piece. Connor would plop down on the couch and get out his phone to text a friend!

Colby has become quite a little artist. Back in May, I blogged about him "winning" a spot in his school district's art show. About 15 students' art work were picked from each school to be displayed for the year. In fact, we hadn't gotten to see his piece until today. We received a formal invitation inviting us to an Open House to view the art pieces on display at the Administration Offices.

Halls and halls of pictures from students in kindergarten through 12th grade were framed and hanging for us to view. We searched and finally found it!

This is ' "Meet" Eater '. Colby's first masterpiece!

Maybe one day, I will be able to take a picture of my son looking at his masterpiece in the Smithsonian Museum of Art!

Con #1 loyal readers noticed that I didn't post yesterday. So, here it is...

I spent the day floating in the pool while my boys worked in the yard. :)

We then took both boys to two different friends' houses to spend the night. Yes, Chris and I were alone all night long at our own home!! We don't get that often. In fact, we have maybe had three nights like that ever! We do go on getaways when we can; but, there is something about being alone in your own house.

Chris made reservations at our favorite sushi place. While sitting there maneuvering our chopsticks, we decided to be wild and crazy and go see a movie after dinner! Inception was a great movie -- but a long movie! It wasn't over until 10:15! We had gone to see Dave Matthews Band on Friday night , which meant we didn't get home Friday night until 11:30! We were definitely feeling our age after two late nights!!

Driving back home last night I told Chris that I wished we could have a night away every weekend. It then occurred to me that that is exactly what MY parents got when my sister and I were growing up. Danette and I thought we were so lucky to get to spend Saturday nights with our grandparents. We would go get some kind of fast food and come back home and watch Hee Haw, The Lawrence Welk Show and Love Boat! We'd get to sleep in the living room on the fold-out couch and ride in the church bus with Grandpa on Sunday morning!

Now that I am a parent, I realize that it was my parents who were the lucky ones! Having both sets of grandparents in the same town made it almost a guarantee of a night away every weekend!

Yep, living 900 miles away from grandparents is definitely Con #1 on my list!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Your Door

While we were in Albuquerque in August, we visited Las Golondrinas. Las Golondrinas is celebrating it's 300th anniversary this year. It was a stopping place on the El Camino Real, or the Royal Road to Mexico City.

This door is close to 300 years old and it is beautiful! When I saw it, I thought, "Wow! That is a beautiful door!" The intricate carving, the gorgeous wood. I would love to have a front door like this on my home.

I found a good quote about front doors: The front door is an expression of the personality of the owners of the home.

On our street, there are different kinds of front doors. Most are wooden -- some are nicely varnished and kept clean, others are weathered-looking because of the sun, and others have glass that allow you to see into the soul of the house.

In China, a red door is the same as a welcome mat. It symbolizes luck. In early America, travelers would look for a red door as a sign of welcome and safety. In Scotland, people painted their doors red to indicate they had paid off a mortgage!

In the Indian culture, a door was painted blue to ward off bad spirits. Chinese Fung Shui uses blue for those homes who want to send off a calm, soothing and prosperous feel.

Green represents people who are carefree and enjoy life. In China, a green door symbolizes the life cycle and growth.

If your door faces northeast, northwest or southwest, Fung Shui recommends painting it yellow to channel positive energy.

I have become enamored with doors. One of the new trends in photography is taking a family's picture in front of an old, weathered door. I really like the weathered, distressed ones the best. The stories they could tell if they could only talk. Whose hands had touched them? What weather had beat on them? They have lots of character as my dad would say.

Doors are a lot like our hearts...we can put a lock on our heart to protect ourselves; we can open it up and invite others to come in; we can have a joyful heart or a sad heart and our faces will reveal what "color" our door is.

I hope that when I am old, my "door" will be weathered with all of life's good stuff. I want a little bit of every color on it. I want it to be weathered by all the hands who have touched my life. I want it to be strong and still operable! I want my personality to be apparent. I want those who look at it to say, "Wow! That is a beautiful door!"

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Today was my first day back as library volunteer. I love this volunteer duty--no doors to knock on asking for money, no milk boxes or gogurts to open after kids mouths have tried...

The class comes into the library, leave the books for me to check-in and shelve and then sit in a circle to listen to a story from the librarian.

Today she read a book about Jacques Cousteau. She began by prefacing that when Mr. Cousteau was filming sea life, it was a big deal to see it on TV. There was not a Discovery Channel--Shark Week was non-existent. In fact, she told them, there were only four channels on a TV-- NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS.

I am thankful that I was bending over reshelving books at that moment because the shock wave that followed might have blown me over!

"What?!?", the kids all asked in unison.

Yep, life was hard 30 years ago!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Take Out Or Delivery??

Proverbs 31:14-16
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still dark; she provides for her family
and portions for her servant girls.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

As much as I would like to be the proper Proverbs 31 women, I'm far from it! I might be like her in the fact that I bring our food from afar -- of course, Wal-mart is only about 10 minutes away! I do get up while it is dark -- but that is to pour a bowl of cereal for my boys before school and pack a lunch full of convenience items like prepackaged chips, cookies, etc! We did try to grow a small garden one year, but raccoons or squirrels ate our crops before we could pick them...

When Chris and I got married, I didn't really know how to cook -- heck, I really didn't know how to do laundry either!

He came from a Southern mom who cooked everything from scratch. I came from a mom who liked to go out to eat. :)

At one of our wedding showers, my mother-in-law gave us a recipe book filled with handwritten recipes of all of Chris's favorites. Hmmm....

For the first three years, Chris did all the cooking. Then, he got a job and the cooking responsibilities fell on me. As hard as I tried to be organized, I could guarantee that as soon as I got every pot out and began cooking, I would realize I was missing the key ingredient and have to run to the store. Needless to say, cooking is not my thing.

I would love to love cooking - except for the fact that I just don't LIKE to cook. Heck, I watch lots of shows on Food Network. Unfortunately, osmosis doesn't work! I have even thought of taking some cooking classes.

My most favorite meals are the kinds that don't make a big mess and don't take a lot of time.

Crockpot meals!

I haven't had much luck at finding great crockpot recipes. Usually everything is very dry and ho-hum. So, I was very excited when one of my friends on Facebook asked for crockpot ideas. She received about 25 of them and I quickly wrote them down. We are trying the first one tonight.

Tonight we are having a Beef Stroganoff...or, we may be ordering a pizza!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Power of a Praying Parent

Today I went to my first Mom's In Touch International prayer group.

For years I had heard about a group of women getting together on the first day of school to pray for their kids, the teachers, the schools. But, I had never attended. I allowed the excitement of finally being by myself keep me from doing something important!

This year I went with a friend who invited me on the first day of school -- thinking that it was a one day thing. At the end of the meeting, I found out that it was a once a week commitment per school. So, because I have two boys in two different schools, I would have a twice a week commitment. At first I was not sure about that. How selfish is that? That I would not go pray for my children, their teachers and other students because it took TWO hours out of my week...

Today was the day to pray for the high school students. I met about 15 women who I had never met before who were there for the same purpose: to pray. There were no refreshments, no coffee, not much chit chat. Just to the point praying.

It was a wonderful experience. I would highly recommend this group to any mom who KNOWS how important it is to pray for her kids.

I am already looking forward to next week!

Monday, September 6, 2010


We have been doing a few outside projects over Labor Day weekend. Besides rebuilding a fence and gate, we put pavers down to give our dog a less muddy spot for his water and food bowls.

To put pavers down, we first spread out a layer of play sand. We laid the pavers on top and then "set" them in with more sand poured on top and swept into the cracks.

While we were pouring the sand, Colby was loving the smooth feel of it and we started reminiscing about when he was small and how much he played in sand. Connor received a dump truck sandbox for his second birthday and he and Colby spent lots of time playing in it. One by one the sandbox filled up with all kinds of tractors, shovels and buckets. Sometimes there was barely enough room for them in it!

They played in the sand at the park. Other kids would come up and invariably someone would get sand in their eyes!

The played in the sand at the beach. Building sandcastles was a challenge because just as it was almost done, waves would come and wash it away!

I got to wondering what other uses there are for sand. Here are a few:
1. Used as an abrasive for sandblasting
2. Additive with clay and other minerals for manufacturing bricks
3. To protect and store garden tools
4. To clean a narrow -necked vase (you mix sand and a little water in the vase and it cleans the residue away
5. Carry in the trunk for traction in icy weather
6. An ideal soil for growing watermelon, peaches and peanuts

Who knew sand was so important?

However, in Matthew 7:21; 26-27, Jesus says,
Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

Sounds like sand, like everything else in life, is useful and needed but has some drawbacks-- whether it is being covered up by too many "toys", getting in your eyes, or being easily destroyed by Earth's elements.

There is only one that we can put our whole faith in. One who will clear away the clutter and shade our eyes and protect us from the storms of life. God will not fail!

I am thankful He made the sand; thankful for the uses of sand; thankful that I have two boys who love sand! I am even more thankful that He is my firm foundation!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Doctor He Will Not Be

While in Albuquerque, one of Connor and Colby's most favorite things is spending the day with my dad at his truck yard.

Last month we spent 10 days in Albuquerque so the boys were able to spend lots of time with Papa. My dad was up on a trailer and went to get down. He ended up loosing his footing and fell right in front of Colby. When he got up, his ring finger was pointing the wrong direction! Colby looked at it and ran far away!

Luckily, the finger was just dislocated; but, Colby couldn't stop having "sympathy pains"! In fact, that night, while my dad was sound asleep, Colby came into my room crying because he was afraid something might happen to his finger while he slept. I assured him that in 9 years of sleeping, nothing had ever happened to his fingers!

Today, Colby was helping Chris lay some flagstone pavers. All of a sudden Chris yelled out in pain. He had smashed his finger in between two pavers. Chris was wearing gloves so we couldn't see any damage. However, Colby was quick to go to another part of the yard!

I ran into the house to get some ice and Colby stuck his head in and said, "If everything is OK and there is no blood, you can yell at me and I'll come back!"

I am willing to bet that Colby will not be going to medical school!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Today we went on a roadtrip.

There is nothing like a roadtrip. Although, I guess everyone has a different outlook on roadtrips.

Before Chris and I got married, a roadtrip to him was stopping once for gas over a 10 hour drive. A roadtrip to me was stopping at every stop we could. For example, I went to college 3 1/2 hours from my house. There was a McDonalds 1 1/2 hours into the drive and another McDonalds about 1 hour later. I would stop at BOTH of them! Needless to say, when Chris and I started traveling together, it was a shock to his system! I do have him well-trained after all these years though!

My sister and her husband and their four kids live in the Dallas area. They are four hours away from us and, sadly, we normally only see each other when we are all in Albuquerque! Today, we went to see them.

We had to make our stops...but what fun stops we made!

Buc-ees is a little piece of heaven on earth. In fact, Chris asked me if I thought there would be a Buc-ees in heaven.

For those of you who have not been blessed with a visit to Buc-ees, please find one and go--preferably the Buc-ees in Madisonville,TX. That is the best Buc-ees ever!

When you walk into a Buc-ees, you don't know which way to go first. The first place I go is to the restroom--which are the CLEANEST bathrooms ever!! There is even two Germ-ex dispensers in each bathroom stall!!

Next there are two walls of beverage choices, the standard convenience store food, and a huge deli section that includes the BEST jerky. My boys LOVE their jerky!

Then there is the shopping!! Lots of beautiful home decor, candles and accessories. Next door to the "convenience store" is the Outdoor Buc-ees. This store would make a hunting-loving family drool!

After making our purchases of snacks and drinks, we got to Danette's and dropped off the cargo we were taking and loaded into the cars to!

Burgers and fries at Burger Island. Yum!

Six hours later, we were back at Buc-ees for more snacks and drinks! And a hug from Mr. Bear!

I guess MY outlook of roadtrips is food!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

My Love

I blog a bunch about me and Connor and Colby...but there is another family member who I rarely blog about. He is actually the most important Marshall because without him I wouldn't be where I am and Connor and Colby wouldn't be here!

Chris and I have known each other for 26 years! We began dating 24 years ago and have been married for 19. I have been a Marshall for as many years as I was a Blakley!

When I was 13, my family and I joined a new church. The first Sunday we visited, I went home and told my parents that I saw the guy I was going to marry...

I can still remember him walking in in his white dress pants and pink shirt! His hair was blond and his eyes were blue...

My heart went pitter-patter!

After an on-again off-again dating relationship, we got engaged in November 1990. We were married in July 1991 -- I was 19 and he was 21.

You hear it said that a love for someone grows more every day. I can vouch for that! It amazes me how much I love my husband -- and everyday I find new reasons to love him more. There really are days when I feel like I could burst because I just am so thankful that he is in my life.

He is an amazing provider; a hard-worker; and a handyman. He loves his boys and somehow knows how to manage the fine line of being their friend and being their father. He loves a challenge. He wants to fix anything and everything -- from a broken part to a broken heart. He is so smart, giving, and generous.

I love that we still hold hands in public and can make our 14-year-old roll his eyes and our 9-year-old say "Ewww!" when we kiss and hug! I love how silly he is when it is just the two of us. I love that he knows me like no other and still likes being with me!

I would do anything for him or go anywhere with him (wait...I HAVE moved 9 times in our married life! :) ) I have friends who are worried about when their husbands retire and what they will do when they are around each other all day...I cannot wait for Chris to retire!

Life has not been a rose garden for us. We have made some difficult decisions; we have weathered some rough storms. But, love got us through them. The two of us together. There is nothing better than having someone in your life like that!

I love that he is my best friend. The one I want to grow old with. The one God made for me.

...He still makes my heart go pitter-patter!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


There is something about certain songs that just stir up emotions in me that I don't understand. One of the recent songs that gets me choked up is "The House That Built Me" by Miranda Lambert. Here are the lyrics:

I know they say you can't go home again
I just had to come back one last time
Ma'am I know you don't know me from Adam
But these handprints on the front steps are mine

Up those stairs in that little back bedroom
Is where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar
I bet you didn't know that under that live oak
My favorite dog is buried in the yard

I thought if I could touch this place or feeling
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it's like I 'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself

If I could walk around I swear I'll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

Mama cut out pictures of houses for years
From Better Homes and Garden magazine
Plans were drawn and concrete poured
Nail by nail and board by board
Daddy gave life to Mama's dream

I thought if I could touch this place or feeling
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it's like I'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself

If I could walk around I swear I'll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

You leave home and you move on and you do the best you can
I got lost in this old world and forgot who I am

I thought if I could touch this place or feeling
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it's like I'm someone else
I thought the maybe I could find myself

If I walk around I swear I'll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

Before I got married, I lived in four houses -- I really only remember two. I tried to find pictures of the outside of those two houses; however, as you will see, we only posed in front of fireplaces! So, here are the two fireplaces that were in the two houses that built me:

(Before I go further...yes, my sister and I used to dress alike ALOT in clothes our mom made us...what you don't see is usually mom had an outfit that matched us too!! Also, I don't want any comments posted on my '80's hairdo!!)

When I was in Albuquerque this summer, my mom, grandma and I drove past the house with that first fireplace. We moved away from there when I was going into the 9th grade. It was the first house I really remember living in.

It is located in the South Valley in Albuquerque -- not your prime real estate location -- on Tobacco Road. (See, the name says it all!) I remember many summer nights swinging on our swing set, playing in our playhouse out back, running through the sprinklers and watching the cotton fall from the sky from the cottonwood trees. For a few years, I had a horse and we would ride it down the road and along the ditch. My sister and I would play "Restaurant" a lot. And, I remember closing my bedroom door, putting on my Shawn Cassidy record and dancing to "Da Doo Ron Ron"! MANY family get-togethers were held there -- with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins running around. Any holiday was an excuse for a family meal.

We moved to the house with the second fireplace a year after changing schools. Our mom would drive for over an hour every morning before she got to work so that my sister and I could go to a great school. It about did her in so we moved closer to our school and church.

We had a beautiful backyard and once again, many family get-togethers were held here. We also had many church youth parties at our house. I went through my teenage years in that house -- got my first car, went on dates. Chris even proposed to me in that house.

I look back at both houses and where I came from. I am not "broken or need fixing" like this song says. But the one line that speaks to me is "You leave home and you move on and you do the best you can. I got lost in this old world and forgot who I am."

As I've gotten older and more removed from my "growing up" years, I can easily let my current surroundings make me "get lost in this old world". We live in a very nice area. There is beautiful house after beautiful house. I am easily pulled into the "I want a bigger, nicer house like THAT one." I get lustful over what everyone else has when I need to be thankful for what I have -- which is beautiful itself and more than I deserve!! My focus needs an adjustment every now and then.

I realize that it is not the house that built me but who was in that house that built me. Now, it is my turn to follow that through with my sons.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Flushed Away

Chris installed a new gadget in our house that have our two boys all giddy...

...a new flushing system.

It is meant to save water when flushing. You press the top button (#1) for "light flushes" or the bottom button (#2) for "heavier flushes". Hmmmm... very ingenious!

Let me just say that our 14-year-old and 9-year-old are easily entertained!