Monday, June 30, 2014

Swimming Photo

Forgot to take it!

Pickin' 'Maters - but They're Still Green

Molly Sewed/Made This. Isn't it Adorable?

I'm Mary Poppins for the Week

Oh. Ha. Ha.
How I do love her.

One of my fave quotes:
[Mary Poppins measures herself with her tape measure and reads what it says]
Mary Poppins: As I expected. "Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way."

That would not be me.
I don't reside in the "practically perfect" zip code of life.

I'm not too sure I even like the word perfect - except the way it's used in the Bible.
You know.
Perfect love casts out fear.
...In whom the love of God is perfected.
You can tell I'm a King James Version kinda girl.
That and the Amplified - but I highly recommend The Message for kiddos and new believers.

Talk about getting off the topic.
I'm really not ADD.
My mind is a 3 ring circus, but sometimes the problem is there's a different act going on in each ring.
At the same time.

But back to the word 'perfect'.
My new best friend, Michelle Duggar, and yes. I DID meet her personally...well, she says, "Practice makes progress."
I luv that.

The term frustrated perfectionist? Well yeah. All/Most/Many perfectionists will likely be frustrated because perfection is often sought after but not always attained.
I like the concept of striving for excellence.

What, pray tell, does this have to do with Mary Poppins?

I'm a nanny for the week.
I have my 2 girls and 4 other lil children - all Asian Angels.
The 4 siblings - seen together in pics below - needed watching for the week while their parents went on their 30th anniversary cruise.
Gone to Cozumel - Mayan ruins and swimming with dolphins.

The parents and I have been talking about this since last summer. I put them on the books because I needed to reserve the time on my calendar.
I'm not a perfectionist but I am a calendar girl.

Anyhoo - the parents are just the dearest friends.
The kind that will drop what they're doing to help you immediately.
I was delighted to assist so the cutie pie couple could take a break and go celebrate.
It is a paid job. I don't want anyone telling me how wonderful I am for doing this.
I'm glad to do it, though. MORE than glad.
Honestly - they've helped me out soooo much, I coulda done it for $0.00.

We are having the BEST time.
As seen in photos below and some that will find their way above in later posts we've:
-- captured tadpoles at the park: catch and release!!
-- played on a splash pad
-- picnicked with 4 other families at a playground/park
-- gone swimming
-- picked tomatoes from their garden & made a big salad
-- been to the fire station with the one, lone little guy: Shaun...3 years old - lover of trash trucks and vehicles that make lotsa noise (The guys let him climb in the truck.)
-- written a group thank you note to the Vacation Bible School coordinator and actually mailed it (Things that are 2 or more steps in a process....well, I don't particularly gravitate toward them. Hmmm. Enough doing to get Step 1 done.)
-- enjoyed a patriotic celebration that was extraordinary - as you can tell by the pics...and attended ice cream social after. We ALL had 2 bowls - thank you very much.
-- played Mexican Train Dominoes (You MUST learn how to play this game. Such a great time for kids/families to play together.) The other girls taught my girls how to play. Man. All of them are pretty good at it.
-- constructed gift boxes from paper and made origami designs
-- bought a watermelon and ate it and hot dogs outside
-- slept together on blow up mattresses in the living room (I in the comfy bed a la Master Bedroom)
-- chomped popcorn and watched a movie: CARS with Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater
-- attended Sunday morning church in a historically notable location
-- competed at Spot It card game

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

THE Beloved Ayi Cookie

Our friend came to town the other day.
Ayi Cookie.

Emily says she grew up at Cookie's house.
She did.

When I adopted Emily back in 2008 - The Year of Emily and Samm - I took off several months for Family Leave.

It's the longest I'd been out of school since I was five.

Going to school
Teaching school
Teaching summer school
Taking summer classes for more degrees

Anyhoo -
Leave time was necessary for Emily's adjustments.
What am I talking about?
It was necessary for mine.

When Emily and I returned to the United States -
neither one of us was quite sure about what steps to take.
She spoke Chinese.
I didn't.

I had an idea of what was ahead for us.
She didn't.

It was hot here in the sunny south.
Sweltering might be a better term,
but when the weather changed to a tad oh my how life changed.
Emily had grieved, and I managed one day at a time.
Well, more like one hour at a time - until slowly...a cheerful, silly little girl emerged.
Imp-ish in size but King Kong-like in determination and courage.

My new daughter and I were falling in love, and much of that took place at Cookie's house.
In her home.
That's where she lives. In a home - full of laughter, love, forgiveness, dreams, inspiration, and constant creativity.
On her front porch swinging.
In her kitchen "fixing" coffee.
In her yard amongst the flowers and 100 year old oak trees.

Cookie greeted us with the highest southern, "Haaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy."
She always was in the middle of doing something fun and fanciful, and she let us interrupt her life for the entire Autumn season that year.
Perfect timing.

There were long walks, road trips around the state, church garage sales, flower shows, and ice cream stands to visit.
Antique shops, lunches in antebellum homes or fast food from Wendy's.
It didn't matter.
Cookie's the kind of friend that brings life and vitality to any event - simple or grand - of which she is a part.

It was - no doubt - the most glorious fall ever for me and my new little family.
I'd pack up Emily and Nanny Carol and head out of town to Cookie's - to hear her tell Toby J....the most precious dog angel..., "Now Toby. Be nice. Be mama's sweet boy. Mama loves you."

Cookie would talk to a tree stump with the same angelic tone, but it was especially well received by her Toby.
And to every other person she encounters - strangers, just doesn't matter.
She IS that way.

She graced us with her presence this week and came for a summer luncheon in our home.
Salad extraordinaire eaten on everyday plates from my great grandmother's dish pattern.
Yes. Cookie gave me a platter of hers that matched this set.

Fresh strawberries with real whipped cream - with Nanny Carol, Ayi Cookie, the girls...
We had a delightful time.

Cookie is so giving.
I cannot wait to see how her future continues to unfold.
She's a world changer - and a gift to all who are honored to know her.

We are so blessed to be among those who do.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Making Stationery Envelopes from Wallpaper Scraps

-- Cutting cardstock for the stationery paper inserted
-- Punching fancy designs into the cardstock 

They want to have a little "shop"/outlet so they can sell their creative designs.

Gosh. You sure can dream big dreams and get a lot done in life when you don't have tv stations on your 12' x 12' tv set.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Deer Tracks Spotted and Observed

Is this a "Pose for your mommy's camera, girls" picture or what?!
The answer is - yep.

I spotted the tracks.
I am no country girl, but I know deer tracks when I see them.

Or I think I do.

The discussion then was about which direction the deer was going - based on the configuration of what we were observing.

I wasn't too sure if a deer had heels.
Not talking about the stiletto kind.
The human kind...far end of the foot kind.
Time to Google the question at hand.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

1 Corinthians Chapter 13 - the Focus of Our Family Devotionals

Written by Em and Molly
Ok. Left the Y off "everything"

They made 10 of these cards and gave them to some women in a group home to use as place cards at the table.

Then we downloaded the song The Proof of Your Love by King and Country (monologue version).

We read this chapter in The Message Bible (strong verbiage)...

And have been working to incorporate these Words in our daily lives.

Our prayer is to be found faithful.

If I sing but don't have love
I waste my breath with every song
I bring an empty voice, a hollow noise
If I speak with a silver tongue
Convince a crowd but don't have love
I leave a bitter taste with every word I say.

So let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love
Let my love look like You and what You're made of
How You lived, how You died
Love is sacrifice
So let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love

If I give 
To a needy soul but don't have love then who is poor?
It seems all the poverty is found in me.

So let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love
Let my love look like You and what You're made of
How You lived, how You died
Love is sacrifice
Oh, let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love

When it's all said and done
When we sing our final song
Only love remains
Only love remains 

Look Who Showed Up on Our Carport

Oh...those tufts of feathers atop its head....and eyes like "little dried blueberries" as Emily has said...with that big ole pouty mouth.
And this would be daddy coming to look for the wee one. He's really crimson colored but the lighting through the door was not the best.
Last but not least - daddy AND mama coming to check on baby cardinal who was simply learning to fly but took a wrong turn.

Time in the Garden

Oh what a special time
in the beauty of God's creation with
-- a skilled and masterful gardener
-- a true and faithful friend
-- an encourager 
-- a visionary
-- a developer of all things lovely 
-- a communicator 
-- builder of faith
-- a fun and fanciful hostess 
-- a perfect mom to Belle and Abigail 
-- an attender to details 
-- a dreamer and one held dear in the hearts of my girls, my family 
-- Anne