Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Post Card for You

Click on picture to enlarge...

Vacation Greetings from The Wright Gang
(a.k.a. The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything!)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Close to You

We were closing down a full day of vacation fun with a snack at one of our favorite hang-outs. Some of us were sagging, some of us were sunburnt, and some of us were just plain starving. Plopping down on picnic-table-style benches, the six of us were comfortably arranged...or so I thought.

"Doesn't anyone want to sit by me?" a weary voice queried.

"Hey, look you and Cole got seats by yourselves, you two are big time," I said...too tired lazy to engineer a seating change and hoping to make her less lonely with mere words.

Then a much deeper voice said, "Of course I want to sit by you!"

And with one little scoot...

...all was right in her world.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fruit Pops...You Soooooooo Need to Know About These!


Have a home made fruit pop! It'll help cool ya.

 Never made one before? 

It couldn't be easier!

Here's what ya do...

Note!!  Red fruit pops were made with a cup of frozen strawberries added to the peaches before pureeing. Any fruit will do, just throw into the blender or food processor and sweeten. We've also added plain unsweetened yogurt to the fruit to make a sort of "creamsicle" but our favorite it the straight fruit!

The amounts given above yield about 8 large fruit pops. When we added the strawberries, we had extra so we used small drinking cups with plastic forks frozen into them for handles. This method worked just fine too.


4 cups peaches, peeled & sliced
1/2 cup sugar

Possible Add-Ins:
1 cup of an additional fruit
1 cup plain yogurt (or flavored)

Puree together, pour into popsicle molds, freeze for at least 5 hours, ENJOY!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Day in the Life

Ahhhhhh, it's the Saturday after Vacation Bible School. The week past was a super one, the week ahead is promising, and today was a small island in the summer that was meant to be enjoyed.  We slept in for the first time in forever...most of us anyway. We enjoyed some peach scones for breakfast...

...a bit of housework followed...

(can't you just smell the Murphy's Oil Soap??)

Then, at the request of Daughter #1 (who, even though she'd been out of the house EVERY NIGHT this week for VBS, said that she felt she needed to get out a bit...), we left our house for some plain ole "runnin around." 
First stop, Cabela's to commune with nature... the AIR CONDITIONED kind...
...and to purchase a sleeping bag or two...

All of that shopping made us
...Frappes and Smoothies were next!

Then...we accidentally went school shopping. Really, we hadn't even planed on THINKING about school for another two or three weeks, BUT we walked into Target because the Man in the red shirt thought he smelled the scent of school supplies in the air, and one thing led to another and...

The Man in the red shirt heard murmurings among the Wright Kids of a back pack shortage. "Do the kids need new back packs?" he asked with deep concern.

"Oh definitely," I mocked, "so that they can carry their school books from the school shelf (in the dining room) to the dining room table for class. I don't know how they'll make it without new ones this year!"

To which he said, "You know, they miss out on the excitement of brand new back packs because they are homeschooled. Didn't you get a new bag or back pack every school year? I did."

Nodding, I hung my smart aleck head and eagerly agreed with him as he declared, "New back packs all around!"
After quite a bit of concentrated decision making, final selections were made...

Who knew these back packs would be such a hit? More than one child asked to carry their pack to church in the morning! Those requests were denied, but further plans were made for the week ahead when these soon to be tired back packs would be put to good use.

In the mean time, we headed back home to begin dinner and the Saturday Night Bath event which would be followed by "on time" tuck-ins. However, SOMEBODY jumped the gun a bit with bedtime on the way home from "runnin' around"...

Hope your weekend is wonderful!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Today is Tomorrow's Yesterday

I have vivid memories of eating lots and lots of corn-on-the-cob at my Grandparents' farm. Grandma calls them "Roasteneers." I remember one particular summer day when all six cousins and our parents gathered at the farm and worked to "put up" an amazing amount of corn for the fall and winter and spring.

I think I was still less than 10 or 11 years old, as were the rest of my cousins and sisters, when a pickup bed full of corn was unloaded at the back porch steps of my Grandparents' farmhouse. I remember husking and husking and husking. Who knows just how many ears of corn we actually husked, it seemed like hundreds then, but in reality it may have been a bit less?

After we husked the corn, we gathered all of the discarded silk and soaked it in mud puddles in the barnyard. I don't know why we did that, but it made perfect sense to us then. After spending what I'm sure were hours playing in the puddles, we were called in to eat lunch.

Lunch that day consisted of fat hamburgers with bright orange cheese melted on them nestled between two halves of a soft homemade bun. On a plate in the center of the table were cut huge slices of homegrown tomatoes and beside that plate was the corn! The corn was specially cut along the center of the rows of kernels before being served to us kids because my Grandma firmly believed that if we ate the whole kernel we would experience terrible stomach aches.

Oh my what a meal! I can still taste the salt on the hamburgers and the pinch of sugar on the tomatoes and the butter on the corn that eventually dripped down my elbows as I ate.

I realize, of course, that day, preserved in perfection in my mind, was probably not perfect. Our parents probably had to referee a squabble or two. I don't remember whining about being tired of husking corn, which had to have happened. Memory is kind that way sometimes-only highlighting the wonderful and playing down the dim. I have no dim memories of that sunny summer day...the colors so rich with, the barn a crisp red, the corn a glowing yellow, the rich brown of the hamburgers, and the bright green of the corn husks and the contrast of the soft yellow silk in the murky muddy water...

That day will never be relived, nor should it be, for the replay would never measure up to the occasion that lives in my memory. I did however experience a day not long ago whose events softly whispered, "Hey, remember when..." in my memory's ear.

That day, too, involved sun-kissed children husking corn...

...lots of corn silk...
...gobs of discarded green corn husks...

...shiny-kerneled corn awaiting a steamy pot...

...full bellies, enjoying the "vegetables of their labor"!!

I am a long way from my Grandma's farm, both in distance and in life and as much as I would enjoy another day at the farm with my cousins and sisters, I realize that life's way of turning tomorrows into yesterdays is how God intended it. 

If I could but put the brakes on time, I'd never have the awesome experience of linking my yesterdays full of cousins, sisters, family, farm, mud puddles and husking corn to my children's tomorrows which I pray are full of cousins, siblings, family, memories at Grandparents' homes, mud puddles and husking corn. A privilege indeed.

Could somebody please pass me the butter??

Friday, July 15, 2011

Never Judge a Book by Its Cover!

 I'm reading a little book right now that my Man gave to me a few weeks ago called Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches. I didn't think I'd like the book AT ALL and even huffed a bit when he handed it to me. Even as he cited all of the good reviews the book had been receiving, I was internally rolling my eyes and wondering why he'd ordered it for ME.

The cover was troubling at best, it has a picture of a very young child who has spilled spaghetti all over himself (including on his eyelid!) and all over the rest of the book's lovely white cover for goodness sake!! It just made me want to run for a dishrag.  I tossed it on the shelf, confident that I had mastered "the little years" at this point in my life.
It wasn't until a week or so later that I grabbed "Loving the Little Years" and headed outside to read while the kids played.

The first sentence grabbed me:
"If there is anything I have learned in the course of my fast and furious mothering journey, it is that there is only one thing in my entire life that must be organized." 
Alrighty then, one thing, I can handle organizing ONE THING! Maybe this gal could teach me something, or at least that ONE THING!

I read on to learn that the author, Rachel Jankovic, is a mother to five kids under the age of six! OK, she must really need to have more organized than just that one thing right? I continued reading the first chapter and discovered that the one thing that the author needed to have  organized was her ATTITUDE. 
"The kids can be running like a bunch of hooligans through a house that appears to be at the bottom of a toaster, and yet, if organization and order can still be found in my attitude, we are doing well. But if my attitude falters, even in the midst of external order, so does everything else."
All I could think of was OUCH! I had been in an internal season of self-imposed "woe-is-me" and my attitude had defiantly suffered, creating a mountain out of EVERY conceivable mole hill.

Greeting my Man at the door each day as he arrived home with tales of bad listening, harsh heartedness, mental clutter and defeat. I was NOT tattling on the children, I was relating to him the internal condition of my heart! Oh how he must have loved coming home to me!

I dared to read further and finish the mere two page chapter that had snapped my pity-partying self to attention. The author finished her introductory chapter with these words,
"I didn't write this book because mothering little ones is easy for me. I wrote it because it isn't. I know that this is a hard job, because I am right here in the middle of it. I know you need encouragement every day, because I do too."
I continue to pick up this book that I'd earlier judged as "beneath me and my level of experience" each morning to read a word of encouragement and to get my game-face on for the day. 

The second short chapter begins with the most intriguing sentences: 
"I remember a time when I used to be much godlier. It was sometime in junior high and my room was clean..." 

The third chapter, "Picky Chickens" is fabulous and the fourth chapter, my favorite thus far, is called "The Fruit of the Spirit Speed Quiz" which I'm pretty sure I failed, but am excited to keep trying! 

Each day I enjoy a small chapter and a large dose of wisdom from this fellow "mom-in-the-trenches" who communicates with a winsome voice and with a realistic outlook the important calling of motherhood. 

My only wish is that the publishers would have chosen not to aim the book at such a narrow audience, mothers of very young children, with the book's title. I've been studying this art of mothering for over a decade, and I'm confident that mothers of preschoolers, school-aged children, and even pre-teenaged children and beyond will find great benefit in these pages!

Rachel Jankovic recently wrote an article entitled "Motherhood Is a Calling (And Where Your Children Rank)" which is every bit as wonderful as the content of her book. (Click here, or on the title of the article above to go to the article's website. To read more about the book, click anywhere you see the book's title to take you to the link for Loving the Little Years)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

White-Knuckling It

I remember my Mom saying that she wasn't going to like being 39. She said that when asked her age and then answering "39," people would automatically assume she was lying and that she was really older than that. She informed me (I was 16 at the time) that 39 was the age most folks claimed to be for as long as they could feasibly get away with it.

I am now undeniably, unalterably, unavoidably, truthfully 39 years old and I'm not much happier about it than my mother was, though for different reasons.

I'm not terribly concerned that my friends and acquaintances will think I'm fibbing about being 39. Really, I'm married to "The Pastor" and even if I'm suspected of fudging my age, surely nobody would accuse "The Pastor's Wife" of lying on such a trivial matter...right?? Honestly, if I was going to tell a lie, I hope I'd choose something a bit jazzier than my my weight...or my IQ...or my ability to speak 3 foreign languages and crochet.

I was the grateful recipient of a birthday cake this weekend that proudly sported a "?" candle instead of the expected "39" candle. I loved it! I was not yet ready to see a "39" lit in all of its flaming glory. I find nothing glorious about it.

My Grandma, who is 50 years my senior, would level a serious look at me and say to my lamentations on aging, "Consider the alternative." She's right, but I'm still a bit bothered by the whole matter.

My biggest problem with turning 39 is that I'm beginning to feel like I'm 39. Until about 3 years ago, I still felt like I was 25 or so-- I didn't look it, of course, but on the inside, I felt super!  These days I'm a bit creaky and jiggly and I groan a little when getting off of the couch.

With this older feeling has come the heavy realization that I have missed, by a smidge, becoming the fairytale princess of my eight-year-old dreams. Oh, I'm living a lovely life, no doubt. I'm well-loved, respected, needed, healthy, and all around spoiled rotten, but I've very few occasions these days to don a ball gown and crystal slippers and tiara. I don't dance around the palace sweetly singing with the birds and the bunnies everyday. I don't lay my gorgeous blonde tresses on seventeen pillows under a canopied bed every night. My Prince Charming (and so he IS) doesn't arrive home at the end of each day on a white stallion singing to me in a deep baritone that he too is living his dream.

At 39 I'm accepting the reality that I'm simply getting older on the inside and on the outside. It is at this point in my life where I realize that I much more resemble the Seven Dwarfs than I do Snow White...

  • Doc - glasses are all too necessary in my life these days...
  • Dopey - vitamins, minerals, and Advil, oh my!
  • Grumpy - please don't get between me and the coffee, it's just not pretty.
  • Sentimental* - I've become the "little old lady" in the grocery store who advises young mothers with babies to "rock them a little longer."
  • Sleepy - a good day = an early bedtime! 
  • Saggy* - just where does all that skin intend to go?
  • Happy - the dwarf who is always laughing. I might as well laugh at it all, it really is the best medicine. With age has come the ability to take myself a bit less seriously, I hope that will continue!
* I know that Sentimental and Saggy were not a part of the original cast of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It is a little known fact, however, that as Snow White approached 40, she kicked Sneezy and Bashful out of the cottage because all of the sneezing got on her nerves and her decreasing lack of coordination caused her to constantly stumble over Bashful who was forever hiding behind her apron!

So 39, here I am holding on tightly, white knuckling it, if you will. My last year in this fine decade of life. I'm deciding to live it to the fullest, to enjoy all of the good stuff, to bid a fitting adieu to the ball gown and the canopy and to accept the fact that these days when my father calls "Young Lady....", he is, most likely, talking to one of my daughters!! 

Hi Ho, Hi Ho!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Sunday Prayer...

From The Valley of Vision : Puritan Prayers and Devotions
"Morning Needs"
I come to thee for the grace another day will require for its duties and events.
I step out into a wicked world, 
I carry about with me an evil heart,
I know that without thee I can do nothing,
that everything with which I shall be concerned, 
however harmless in itself,
may prove an occasion of sin or folly,
unless I am kept by thy power.

Hold thou me up and I shall be safe.
Preserve my understanding from subtlety of error,
my affections from love of idols,
my character from stain of vice,
my profession from every form of evil.

May I engage in nothing in which I cannot implore thy blessing,
and in which I cannot invite thy inspection.
Prosper me in all lawful undertakings, or prepare me for disappointments;
Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with food convenient for me,
lest I be full and deny thee and say, Who is the Lord?
or be poor, and steal, and take thy name in vain.

May every creature be made good to me by prayer and thy will;
Teach me how to use the world, and not abuse it,
to improve my talents,
to redeem my time,
to walk in wisdom toward those without,
and in kindness to those within,
to do good to all men,
and especially to my fellow Christians.
And to thee be the glory.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Reading...Doing Any?

What is it about reading in the summer that makes it so much richer and more meaningful? Summer reading lists abound and I can’t seem to get enough books piled around me. My library list is loaded and my nightstand is weighed down with BOOKS! 
One would think that I’d been on a “Book Fast” all winter and spring the way I’ve been devouring books this summer--that’s not the case, however. I've been a very productive reader this winter and spring and I hope I can keep up the pace this summer! 

Below are a few of the books that have made a difference to/in me this year and one that I read years ago that I include in every book list I'm asked to provide...
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
My favorite book of this year so far is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, a mother of 6 children living with her “Farmer Husband” on a large farm in Canada. I previously posted my reservations about reading this book here

I overcame my reservations and inhaled this book and was so enriched by its message and its focus.  One Thousand Gifts is one of those small but powerful books that will change your perspective entirely--for the better. The writing is beautiful and will surly point the reader to the very heart of our God.

Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living
I've already mentioned the very thought provoking book by Tsh Oxenreider (Not misspelled, there really is no vowel in her first name) entitled, Organized Simplicity. The subtitle of the book is, “The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living.” The words intentional living are beginning to leave an imprint on our summer and on our home and its “stuff.”
Redeeming Love
For fiction fans, my all-time favorite book is called Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Honestly, any book by this talented author is worth your time and energy, but Redeeming Love is especially so. It is the retelling of the book of Hosea in the Bible, but the setting has been changed to the American “Wild West”. 

This book kept me up until the wee hours of the morning for many nights in a row (this was before children of course!). The theme of the story is God’s overwhelming, unconditional, redeeming love for His wayward children.

Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese is 688 pages long and was my huge book for last summer. It was the sort of book that after you've finished, you find yourself missing the characters. The story is set in Ethiopia and America and centers on a set of twin boys born to a devout nun in a mission hospital who dies giving birth to them. The story follows the lives of the boys into adulthood as well as the lives of their adoptive parents, both doctors at the mission hospital. Portions of the novel deal graphically with poor decisions made by the boys and deal glowingly with their triumphs. 

An epic novel, Cutting for Stone involves personal drama, political drama, love, loss, failure, and success. It is the first book I've read that involves the geography so realistically in the story. I found myself having cravings for the Ethiopian food described in the Cutting for Stone that, of course, I've never even tasted. To read more about the book, click here or on the title.

By David Platt: Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream
Radical by David Platt is subtitled, "Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream" and is in a word, powerful. Don't read this if you don't want your toes stepped on a little completely flattened by a steam roller. 

David Platt, without even a hint of condescension, challenged me to be a better steward of the vast, vast stores of blessings that I enjoy daily and take for granted hourly. An easy read as writing style goes, but a challenging and stirring read for the heart.   It made me aspire to so much more!
I’m very excited about the books in my reading queue for the remainder of the summer which include:

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon is the "big book" of fiction I'm diving into for the summer. I picked up a used paperback copy of this book on our last date night and it's 600+ pages of smallish print should keep me busy until at least the end of summer, and quite possibly I'll still be turning pages as the snow begins to fall. 

The book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2001 and has won many many other awards as well. The Washington Post said of it, "Absolutely gosh-wow, super-colossal--smart, funny, and a continual pleasure to read." I'm three chapters in and I'm quite enamored with the writer's style and charm. 

I'm not clear on the story yet, but from reviews I've read, the story begins in 1930s Europe and moves to New York City and comic books are involved. I'm no comic book fan, but I really am enjoying the characters I've met so far.

The Fitting Room: Putting On the Character of Christ
The Fitting Room by Kelly Minter which is about putting on the character of Christ. I wish I’d begun this one earlier in my husband’s Colossians sermon series, but who knew he’d finish his series in under a year?? Kelly Minter has written another super book called No Other Gods which is excellent as well.
Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus
Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elise Fitzpatrick & her grown daughter Jessica Thompson is a book that I’m very curious about. For the last 12 years I’ve found myself squarely in the parenting camp of, “I said it, so do it,” and frankly, I know of no other way to go about it. I’ve an idea that this book with the word GRACE on the cover is about to stretch my parenting muscles a bit. 

I’m reading Give Them Grace because of the stellar reviews it received from many, many sources, one especially that says, “It’s the best parenting book I’ve ever read, because it takes the radical, untamable, outrageous nature of the gospel seriously and applies it to parenting. It’s nothing short of revolutionary...”. 

Writer Anna Quindlen, in the New York Times article "Enough Bookshelves," says, "I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who thing decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves." 

I'd be the first to tell you that there are a few other things I'd like instilled into my kids that are more important, but I really agree with the spirit of Ms. Quindlen's quote! The entire article can be read here, and I recommend it. I just printed it out with real live ink for my Man to read. It is a charming and smile-inducing piece of work.

NOW...may I ask, what are you kind folks out there reading this summer? I'd LOVE to know! Drop me an email or leave a comment below, I'd be ever so grateful! 

Share button


Related Posts with Thumbnails