Thursday, November 29, 2007

Soup Search

El Chico has the best chicken tortilla soup around. It’s our favorite rainy-day place to eat out. The problem is, they are no longer located in Edmond (the closest one is May and Britton) so Dirk and I have been on a quest to find a substitute. And we haven’t found anything that even comes close!

El Chico’s soup is a savory, thick, red enchilada-type sauce poured over grilled chicken breast, shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, tortilla strips, and cubed fresh avocado. Yum! It warms you all over!

We’ve recently tried the tortilla or enchilada soups at:

On the Border – it was ho-hum and the service was really lousy
Planet Subs – a good bowl of soup, but missing the tortilla chips and salsa
Los Arcos – a local Edmond restaurant. The bowl was very pricey -$9.00!! (eek!) and it wasn’t even close to that good!

So, I ask you. Do you have a suggestion for a place to get a good bowl of chicken tortilla soup?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Not Enough to Go Around

By the end of the day, you’re a frazzled mess. Today your only “alone” time was in the bathroom and that was with a child or two beating on the door and crying for you. Everyone needs you at the same time (even your husband, bless his heart). You wish you had a clone, or at least a full-time housekeeper, chauffer, and teacher! There’s just not enough of you to go around. And guess what? You’re right! And it’s ok! Really! In fact, it’s a good thing.

It gives you opportunity to teach your children

*that some needs are greater than others. (A baby, a sick or special needs child)
*patience (waiting without complaining)
*independence (learning to play by themselves, if necessary)
*leadership (older children can take care of many needs of younger children)
*life isn’t fair (and neither are moms and dads) ; )

So, take a deep breath. Learn to rest in the truth that as moms we’ll never be enough to everyone.

And go lock yourself in the bathroom for five minutes again.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

You may be a home educator if.......

*You teach your children to love God
*You teach your children obedience
*You teach your children to love and respect others
*You teach your children manners
*You teach your children how to do chores
*You teach your children to give
*You read to your child
*Building family relationships is very important to you

You are a home educator if you are intentional in your efforts to “teach a child in the way he should go”.

Somehow, we get caught up in thinking it's all about academics.

Are you a home educator?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Are You Raising a Leader?

Your two-year old daughter is telling you what to do--again. Your four-year old son has a better idea on getting the job done. They are bossy, opinionated, argumentative and exasperating. Welcome to the world of roller-coaster parenting.

You are raising a strong-willed child. You are raising a leader.

Those very behaviors you never imagined your child exhibiting are the characteristics and personality traits that God placed in him. These are the virtues, that when directed and challenged, shaped and molded, will someday make him into a strong leader.

Recognize the tendencies of rebellion and rethink them as strengths of character that need redirection. See the challenge your child gives you to your way of doing things as a God-given gift of leadership and train it with the truth of God’s Word.

God gave you that particular child because He knew you could direct him into the person God called him to be.

In the meantime, you may discover some very revealing things about your self. Enjoy the ride!

Have any future leaders in your home?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Lessons from.....

A Compost Pile

I keep a compost pile. It’s where my fruit and vegetable scraps go, along with grass clippings and many oak leaves. It sits on the north end of our house and heats up to a great soil. And each spring I ask my boys to take several loads of rich, loamy compost to our vegetable garden.

This year, we had a vine begin growing from an almost finished compost heap. It was lush, with dark green leaves. Curious person that I am, I allowed it to grow. And grow. And grow. It took over most of the yard at the end of the house. And it began producing many yellow flowers, which turned into beautiful butternut squash. Thirteen of them!

This was the best growing vegetable we had all year. And I didn’t have to do anything to it but keep it supplied with water. It never had any insect problems; I never had to feed it. It just grew.

Isn’t that how it is with our lives? Out of the garbage, God can make something beautiful. And fruitful. All we need to do is supply the water of the Word, and leave the rest up to him.

I guess we just need to be willing to let go of the garbage.

Monday, November 19, 2007


This is Dirk’s and my favorite holiday.

Here are some reasons:

The meaning and purpose
It hasn’t become all “junked” up

Some memories I have:

Walks to the park when I was a kid
My dad always smoked a turkey (in the smoker--he liked that joke); Dirk has now taken on that responsibility
For many years the kids always colored pictures of The Mayflower and always made “hand” turkeys. We did the "I'm Thankful" papers and wrote poems about Thanksgiving. I miss those kids’ crafts. Maybe I’ll make some with the grandkids this year!

Some fun things we do:

Invite anyone who doesn’t have a family to come join us. There are so many of us already, a few more just makes it more fun. This year Anna is bringing a single friend and Erin has invited a family!

Wednesday nights before Thanksgiving have become family night; we eat soup and play games. This year we will miss Jon since he is in Iraq. (Last year we enjoyed him being "Miss America" during a charades game).

If your holiday time is not filled with family, friends, and fun, consider making some changes this year. Make some new memories. It all begins with a heart of THANKSGIVING!

PS – I’ll be busy cooking tomorrow, spending time with family on Thursday, and shopping with my crazy girls on Friday morning (they asked me to come with them again!!). I’ll be back on Monday, November 25. In the meantime, read Anna’s or Scott’s blog—they’re going to keep writing this week.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Mother's Prayer

For years, I have kept this prayer on the mirror in my closet where I can see it every morning. I remember plenty of times when I needed to sneak back to my closet to read it again, for my sake and the sake of my children!

Oh give me patience when tiny hands
Tug at me with their small demands.
And give me gentle and smiling eyes;
Keep my lips from sharp replies.
And let not fatigue, confusion or noise
Obscure my vision of life's fleeting joys.
So when, years later, my house is still--
No bitter memories its room may fill.

Do you have any special prayers or scriptures hanging where you can see them often? Share them!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

100 Years

Today is Centennial Day in Oklahoma---100 years! In honor of the day I’m sharing some statistics for the year 1907.

*Only 14% of homes in the US had a bathtub
*A 3 minute call from Denver to New York City cost $11
*The average wage in the US was 22 cents per hour
*More than 95% of all births took place at home
*Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo

*Sugar cost 4 cents a pound
*Eggs were 14 cents a dozen
*Coffee was 15 cents a pound
*A gallon of milk cost 31 cents
*A house cost $4,500.

*The population of Las Vegas was 30
*Two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write
*Marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available over the counter at the local drugstores. Heroin was said to clear the complexion, give buoyancy to the mind, and regulate the stomach and bowels
*My grandmother, Eva Maude McMurtrey Swingle was 7 years old as was her twin, Ava Mildred

I wonder what life will look like in another 100 years?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Things I’m pretty good at

Singing and playing piano
Meeting new people
Taking lots of pictures

Things I’m really bad at
keeping my refrigerator, closets, and drawers neat and orderly
remembering names
keeping scrapbooks and baby books
organizing and framing new photos
remembering to take my vitamins
(there seems to be a “memory” theme here)
making my bed every day

Things I’m getting better at
Being lighthearted
Having fun
Really enjoying life
Not worrying
Letting go
Getting wrinkles

Come on---share your things.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lasting Effects #5


Dirk and I have felt very honored by our children lately.

It’s often just in little things they say or how they respond toward us. It’s a nice feeling.

It’s things like hearing one of my daughters say that I’m her mentor, or another one inviting me to lunch at her house. One inviting me to coffee or wanting to go shopping with me. It’s our youngest daughter choosing to be married on our wedding day. It’s my oldest son sharing his heart. It’s the bear hugs of our macho teen boys.

It’s hearing how glad they are that Dirk finally did something for himself when he recently bought a motorcycle.

It’s the respect of a son-in-law wanting your advice, or one telling you how much he loves his wife, your daughter.

Today, our daughter, Anna wrote a comment on a blog listing her parents as people who speak into her life. She said we were amazing and relevant. Wow! I like that. Relevant.

We love them all so much and we are honored to be not only their parents, but also their friends.

PS - Check out Anna's new blog here.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Proud (The Parent Kind)

Our youngest daughter, Katie, 19, received her letter of acceptance today from the Nursing School of the University of Central Oklahoma. Hearing the news brought tears to our eyes. It was a moment of confirmation. Confirmation that Katie is on the path God planned for her before she was even born. Out of 400 applicants, 120 were considered and only 60 accepted. She was one of them!

Katie knew at age 11 she wanted to be a nurse. While caring for my dad who was dying of lymphoma, she would sleep on the floor of his room, “in case he needs something during the night”.

For the next few years we began looking for places Katie could grow and learn more about medicine. We took her to science classes at the Omniplex. When she was 15, she volunteered at The Surgery Center of Edmond. More opportunities continued to come without us even having to look.

Prov. 22:6 tells us to “train up a child in the way he should go.” Knowing Katie’s way was easy. She knew what she was called to do.

Her dad and I sure are proud of her!

Gal. 6:9-- So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I'm siding with satan on this one....

I’m a nothing. A big, fat zero. A nobody, zilch, nada, nil. Aren’t those the lies we hear whispered in our ears on a daily basis? Lies satan wants us to live and believe? Lies that will keep us beaten down and discouraged?

Well, guess what? This time I’m siding with satan! Yep, I’ve crossed the line and I’m agreeing with him.

But, I know a truth satan doesn’t get. You see, I've decided it's good to be a zero. A zero, in mathematics, is a placeholder. It has no value. It only represents a place. It is a position holder. Alone, zero actually is nothing. But with even the lowest number, number one, standing in front of it, it suddenly has value!

So, satan, while I’ll agree that I’m nothing, with The One standing before me, and with my willingness to be a placeholder in His Kingdom, well, I’ve got a greater value than you’ll ever know!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Drill, Drill, Drill

Addition to 10

Recently, I’ve talked with some people who are teaching their children reading and math, but didn’t understand the importance of speed and accuracy. One of the best ways to build speed is with flash cards. Get your flash cards out, purchase a set, or make your own. We’re going to drill!

Flash cards should probably be used around a 1st grade level, once your child understands the concept of addition. Begin with the 1’s plus another number. Sometimes, doubles up through 5’s are an easy concept for younger children. Then, begin adding in the 2’s. Counting by 2’s is one way to teach this concept. Don’t be tempted to add in new facts until the first ones are mastered and memorized. They should be quick with the correct answer without having to think about it. A card with the wrong answer, or a slow answer, gets moved to the back of the pack for another try. Add in other numbers until your child knows all addition through 10 quickly and accurately. Keep this activity positive and upbeat, not berating for wrong answers, but praising right ones.

Another method is to use timed tests. Produce your own tests using 20 problems and set the timer or your cell phone stopwatch for one minute (or 10 for 30 seconds). If your child is not able to do the 20 problems you’ve chosen that quickly, get the flash cards out again, drilling some more. Write down the time encouraging them to see if they can beat it next time. Keep the papers, letting them see their improvement over time. Timing puts a little more pressure on your child, but helps them see the importance of knowing the right answer, not guessing.

Generate your own timed tests here.
Or download a free speed test generator here.

Share your methods of teaching addition. Do you think speed is important?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Tears don't stream down your face in space

In December, former New York Yankee great and fellow Oklahoman, Bobby Murcer, a neighbor of my husband’s dad, underwent surgery in Houston. The mother of NASA astronaut, Army Col. Doug Wheelock, informed her son that his childhood baseball hero was in Houston. The Murcers were invited to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and a friendship began.

So, last week, when the spaceshuttle went up in space a series of e-mails began between Col. Wheelock, and the Murcers. (Isn’t technology amazing?) These e-mails were forwarded to my husband’s father and he shared them with us. I think Bobby now has a hero of his own!

Here is an excerpt from one of Col. Doug Wheelock’s e-mails:

“It is an incredible experience out here in space and it quite frankly takes my breath away and brings me to tears when I look out the window at the Earth just hanging there in space! It’s almost as if my mind has such a difficult time comprehending the sight, that it doesn’t seem real. Last night, while Scott (Parazynski) and Dan (Tani ) were in the airlock, I took just a few minutes, by myself, and just looked out the window at the Earth. I figured out that tears don’t stream down your face in space, they just combine into one big tear-ball! I just can’t believe I am here! I just keep singing to myself, “How Great Thou Art”, when I look at the power and majesty of God’s beautiful creation!”

What an amazing and poignant accounting of God’s majestic creation!

Watch and pray for the seven astronauts as the shuttle lands on Wednesday, November 7.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

And we thought it was all about the war.......

My oldest daughter, Erin, whose husband is in Iraq, has been keeping up with some of the Marine wives and girlfriends while their men are gone.

One girl, in particular, Erin has spoken with several times. Erin has shared her faith in Jesus Christ with these women, and this conversation led to the woman telling Erin that she thought she was a Buddhist, and she just didn’t have much use for Jesus. Erin also discovered that the family was having financial difficulties and were renting their furniture. Erin told her to have the rental company come pick up the furniture, because she was going to locate her a houseful! Then she began asking people to donate any unused furniture. During this time, Erin shared with the lady about viewing some sermons on-line, never guessing that she would. She did and called Erin excitedly explaining that those words were just what she needed to hear! A few nights later, she called Erin asking how she could get plugged into a Lifegroup. The Marine wife was talking to her husband in Iraq and he began sharing some things he had been reading in a Bible the “Buddhist” had purchased for him before he left for the war.

Last week our family took a houseful of beautiful furniture, an almost new refrigerator and a really nice washer/dryer set donated by loving friends to this mother and her three children in Wagoner, OK. It was a blessing to bless them!

We learned that they had all attended a church in Wagoner, given their hearts to the Lord, and signed up to serve in the youth program!

And we thought Jon going to Iraq was all about the war…….

If you or your children would be interested in writing a note or letter to any of the 28 men in Jon’s unit, or their wives, please send me an e-mail. I’ll get you a name and address.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Go See It!

Last week Dirk and I went to the movies! It's a rare occasion for us these days, but we enjoy a good flick now and then.

Dan in Real Life is a great film. We enjoyed the reality, humor, lack of sex and profanity, and the great message about family.

Treat yourself and your spouse to a fun movie this weekend.

You'll be glad you did!
PS - The music is AWESOME -check it out here.
Have any good movies to recommend?