Thursday, November 27, 2008


The Simms family is so thankful to have Jon back well and safe with us this holiday season.  Last year just wasn't the same without him.  This has been a year of blessings after a year of sacrifice.  There are many material things that we have been blessed with this year, but overall the closeness we have in our family is what we are most grateful for.




I'm thankful for.......

My Jesus who gives grace.

My sweet husband for always being there for me, I grow to love him more everyday.

My girls, they are teaching me about myself everyday. 

And of course my coffee!



 =================================================================================I'm thankful for health, joy, laughter, and imagination. I am thankful to be marrying a man who loves me for me and comes from a godly family that loves spending time together. I'm thankful for friends who push me to be exactly who I desire to be. I'm thankful to daily (re)discover who I am and Whose I am.




 I am thankful for all of God's blessing in my life.

My family, they are always there for me.

From my husband, offering me love and support everyday and encouragement to press on in the hard days. to my mom and dad and brothers and sisters, any of them I can go to for an ear to listen, to my neices and nephews who make me laugh and remind me to really experience life, not just live it.

I'm thankful for my friends who are as close to me as family.

My school, which most of the time I do not act thankful for is really a blessing in my life. It is teaching me what I need to know to fulfill my purpose in life. It is close by so I can walk to school. And even though I complain about it all the time and say it is too hard, I am thankful for my clinicals and the children that I get even just the slightest chance to be a good influence on (when they are not pulling my hair or calling me bad names ;)

I am thankful for my work whereI get to practice compassion and love on every person that comes through the door (some are more difficult than others). And I get to share with others why I love people like I do, no matter what they have done or what they smell like ;).

Most of all I am thankful for how all of these things work together to bring out the life that God has brought to me. It is a blessing in itself to have the feeling that you are fulfilling God's will in your ife through everything you are doing.

Lastly, I am thankful for this school break. A time where I can rest in Jesus, spend time with my family and friends, catch up on school and work a few extra hours. Life is good. God is good.

Wow, mine is sappy. That's not like me ;)




This year, more than ever, I can honestly say I'm most thankful for my family and friend relationships. I'm beginning to see that at this time in my life, they are the only things that matter. Working with students, who have no positive family unit to which they belong, has opened my eyes to how truly special my family unit is (special and weird! But in a good way...) I'm also so blessed with amazing life-long friendships. Two people (Besides Cody who is my best friend) come to mind when I think about life-long friendships. Mike Hodnett and Jeremy Baldwin. I love those guys as if they were my very own brothers. What was my life like before I knew them? I can't express in words how thankful I am for these rich relationships. My heart threatens to burst every time I think of it. Thank you God, for my family and friends.




I am thankful for the response to God that my family has, from my dad all the way to my youngest son. 




I am so thankful for the love of my family and the love they have for one another.  And I am also blessed by the new relationships that I have found this year, many coming from the on-line world!  Are you one of them?  



Add your thoughts to ours.  What are you thankful for this year?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shopping at the ER

I have an addiction.

I love shoes.

It started when my oldest sister Erin worked at Dillard's in the shoe department. She would bring me home tons of free shoes of all different types, thus birthing my shoe addiction.

My husband is not too fond of my shoe addiction because my sister does not work at Dillard's anymore so shoes are no longer free.

Except for my last pair:

This weekend while working in the Edmond Medical Center ER I took care of a lady who fell down ten steps, broke her nose and hit her head pretty bad. The ambulance brought her in from a wedding reception with her up-do disheveled and her panty hose torn. We fixed up her nose, gave her a pain pill and started giving her the discharge instructions when her husband came up to me, her high heels in his hands and said,

"She says she will never wear these again, and wants you to have them. If they fit you, they're yours."

The Circa Joan and David shoes just happened to be my size. I accepted them, laughing at the surprised looks on my co-workers faces.

Don't worry she didn't go home barefoot. In return I gave her some of our comfy red  hospital socks, with extra slip guard!

I guess it pays to work in health care.

Although I don't have much of a chance to dress up, I am very excited about my new fancy shoes.

Maybe next time someone will trip on her cute boots!  :)

Have you ever been given something under unusual circumstances?



Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Unit Study

After my last blog done on unit studies I had a few people ask me exactly how I went about planning and carrying out the theme.  In this look at our Thanksgiving unit I will go into a little more detail about how I planned it.

First I picked a theme - hmm . . . Thanksgiving (don't ask me how I decided on that one!)  ;-)  This unit was particularly fun because I had a friend that was doing the same study so we bounced ideas off of each other.

I started with reserving books at the library on that theme.

Next I opened a new folder on my internet "my favorites" menu under "school" and called it  "Thanksgiving".

I typed in several different searches such as, "Thanksgiving crafts, Indian crafts, Thanksgiving activities, Mayflower online games, Thanksgiving songs, Thanksgiving video clips, pilgrim coloring pages, Thanksgiving snacks . . . you get the drift.

I selected activities, crafts and online work that is appropriate for the ages of my boys - and of course things I feel comfortable doing.  (I'm not real artsy so I need easy crafts that have lots of pictures showing me how to do it.)

I remain flexible with each of our school days and don't push too much at once.  If we never end up doing something I had planned that's totally OK!  My main intent on doing things with my kids is to develop a love of learning in them and if they (or myself) aren't having fun, then it's just not worth doing.

Here is how our unit went:

We read books about the Mayflower journey and the first Thanksgiving.

We watched this video clip (thanks Donna!)

We made Indian headdresses and vests


We went on a field trip to the Museum of the Great Plains with our friends


We made a map of the Mayflower and a mini Mayflower

We still plan to make turkey pine cones

And will take these yummy snacks to our Thanksgiving Day Dinner (thanks Donna!)

Hope this gives you some great last-minute ideas to do with your kiddos, or gets you on your way to doing your own unit study.

What Thanksgiving craft do you most remember making when you were a child?



Monday, November 24, 2008

Dear Robin...

I'm gonna need some help.

Okay, so tell me. How am I going to explain to my little ones (2,4,6,&9--mostly the 4 &6year old) how their aunt (my 19 year old sister) is going to have a baby, when she is not married. She just found out today so I have about 6 weeks before I plan to tell the girls, but I'm guessing they are going to have questions! So... what are the answers??


How about practicing your parental skills (even if you’re not a parent).  Do you have some answers for this perplexed mom?  What would you tell a logical thinking 6 year old?



Friday, November 21, 2008

Deli Chicken

This is super easy crockpot recipe. It tastes just like those deli chickens you can buy in the store.

1 whole chickenmeat-crockpot_rotisserie_chicken1
Lawry's season salt

Take your foil and wad into balls and place in the bottom of your crockpot. Clean chicken and place breast side up. Season with salt. Cook on high(won't turn out on low) 4-6 hours.

Enjoy your meal!

Next I'll show you a recipe that I make using the leftover chicken.

What's your favorite way to cook chicken?

Do you use your crock-pot?


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bible Graffiti

I mark up my Bible . . .  A LOT.  There's nothing better (for me) than looking back at passages that stuck out to me at one time, or to easily find something on a particular subject that I marked before.  I have a method to my madness though.  Through the years of Bible studies, reading Christian authors and just plain experimenting with a method that works for me, I have come up with some codes to keep things right at my fingertips when trying to find something in the Bible.  Unfortunately I don't remember where some of these came from, so I can't give the right credit, but many of these I adapted myself.  Here is some of my coding:

On a new Bible I highlight the chapter number after I have read it.  Ahh . . .  the feeling of completing a new Bible and seeing all those pretty markings on all the chapters throughout the Bible.

When a particular passage sticks out to me I either highlight, underline or put brackets around it.  Don't ask me my method there.

There are certain words like faith and hope that I circle.

When it talks about love I put a heart.

When it talks about Jesus on the cross I draw a cross with a heart in the middle.

When it's a direct promise about life I put BP, for "Bible Promise".


When it talks about something to do with children or generations I put a little stick figure by it.

When it's something about a wife it gets the "special" pink highlighter.

When it's about a husband or marriage in general it gets the double wedding rings.


Sometimes I cross out the word "you" and put "Erin".

Sometimes I circle and put "For Me".  I like to put the date on stuff like that so I can look back and think about what I was going through in that time of my life.

Other times I journal about what's going on in my life, of course with the date.

Ok, that's the art that I give my Bible.

What graffiti do you leave in your Bible?



Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What Do You Think?

“Beware of making a habit of consistency to your convictions instead of being devoted to God.”  --Oswald Chambers

What does this quote mean to you?

 How has this played out in your own life?



Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Move It or Lose It

For the first 18 years of my life, I lived in the same house. Since then I have moved EIGHT times. That's about 1x a year. (ugh).

Luckily, my anal-retentive organizational skills have served me well each time--especially last time, when I had to live out of a suitcase and put everything I owned into a 5' by 10' storage space.

Having done all the moving myself (with the exception of a couple big pieces of furniture), this experience taught me a lot about myself and about life. With no further ado:


1. You can cram in a lot more stuff if you plan ahead.

 2. It's okay to ask for help. Only a foolish person would try to carry a heavy load alone. Doing so leaves you battered and broken in the end.

 3. When you are moving in the right direction, lights come on and doors open automatically.

 4. For every two minutes you spend organizing, you save yourself about 10 minutes of searching.

 5. The human body possesses amazing strength, stamina, and abilities. Few people ever tap into these capabilities because they are too busy identifying their flaws.

 6. True friends make time in their busy lives to help you when you are in need.

 7. It's important to know what's most precious to you so you can protect it and keep it near to you. It's also crucial to recognize what you no longer need in your life, and get rid of it so it doesn't weigh you down.

 8. Some of the most beautiful things in life don't fit neatly into boxes.

 9. Driving with a truck full of baggage causes you to proceed with caution, and weigh each maneuver carefully before heading out on your journey.

 10. Friends who help you out deserve to be spoiled and told profusely how much they are appreciated.

 11. Leaving a place you called 'home' is hard, no matter how long you lived there.

 12. It's amazing how well the different parts of your life fit together if you just learn how to arrange them.

 What lessons have you learned from moving?



Monday, November 17, 2008

Dear Robin.....

Whether or not you educate your children at home, you will encounter days when your children just have bad attitudes (other days it may be you!)

Following is an e-mail question and answer session, with the names removed to protect the not-so-innocent.

I don't pretend to have a lot of answers....just many mistakes and lots of experience!

And I was quite honored that she would ask for my advice!

From my friend:

Oh, Robin, help me.  What did you do when your kids had a nasty attitude?  I've only got one (with the bad attitude), but it is ruining everyone's day.  Right now he is upstairs doing some boring work instead of the more interesting stuff that was on tap for him today.  Disrespectful attitude, uncooperative, and just out to pick a fight about anything, it seems.  No reasons that I can figure out.  He's my high maintenance one, but lately it's been worse.  I either need some new ideas or a big bottle of wine.  Since I'm teaching 3 others, probably some new ideas is a better choice.  But if you don't hurry and respond, I'm goin' for the wine.

My reply:

OK - get your wine :) 

Yeah, there's usually at least one. (on any given day)

And, what did I do when my kids had a bad attitude?  How about STILL have! LOL  I have one that daily gives me a run for my money.....or my sanity. 

I've really come to realize that a lot of that bad attitude and strong personality is the flip-side of their leadership giftings.  Does that make any sense?

It will take CONSTANT training into righteousness, LOADS of prayer, a few tears, and MEGA-LOADS of love. 

Here's where I can only encourage......You and your husband know him better than anyone else.  Pray for a breakthrough....Pray for an answer...Encourage his heart to make a right choice.  And make the consequences of his wrong choices hurt bad enough that he'll want to choose rightly.

I feel for you.....I really do understand. 

Here's where the good part comes in.  It's when that same kid will call you on the phone during his work break some day.....just to talk!  Happened to me just this morning from my 27 yo son.  What a blessing!! 

Hang WILL come!

 My friend:

You just made me cry.

He is an amazing and sweet kid with more strengths than any kid I've seen. And no one has EVER seen this side of him outside of this house.  My friends don't even believe that he causes me trouble because he is just such a joy around others.  My fear is that I am going to break his spirit so much that he won't want to call me to chat when he's 27.  It just feels like we are butting heads all the time lately.

This is hard!  I didn't know being a mom was going to be so hard!    Sometimes I wish I was just one of those parents who didn't give a rip, ya know?  Not really, what a nightmare, but you know what I'm talking about.

Thanks for the encouragement.  It really helped.

Me again:
I'm glad it helped a bit.  Here's the hard part......don't take his actions personally.  I know you're the only one there....but he really doesn't mean it against you.  He just means it against any form of authority! haha  He will always challenge the status-quo.  He thinks he knows what is best.  It's the natural way of a leader. 

You WILL NOT break his spirit....Keep being firm.  Continue to help him see that you are in charge...(I always tell my kids "I was born first....sorry, that's just the way God planned it, for some reason") :)  Appeal to the Jesus in him.  

Isn't it amazing how much "learnin'" we get in the training of our own children?

Do you ever have days like  this one? 

What other suggestions would you offer my friend?





Friday, November 14, 2008

Let's (Egg) Roll!

Don't be intimidated by this recipe.  You can do it!

Vegetable Egg Rolls

Serves 8
WW points 1

1 head Chinese (nappa) cabbage
2 meduim carrots, shredded
2 garlic cloves minced
2 meduim scallions chopped
1 Tbsp ginger root minced or 1/2 tsp dried
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp sesame oil
8 average egg roll wrappers
4 sprays olive oil spray or enough to coat egg rolls

Preheat oven 350. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray

Place cabbage in a microwave dish and cover. Microwave on  high until wilted, about 4 minutes; drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add carrots, garlic, scallions, ginger, soy sauce, cornstarch, and oil; mix well.

Arrange egg roll wrappers on a clean dry surface. Spoon mixture diagonally onto each wrapper.

Fold over one corner to cover filling.

Fold up both corners.

Moisten edges of remaining flap with water and roll up wrapper jellyroll style until sealed.

Transfer egg rolls to prepared baking sheet and coat with cooking spray.

Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Serve hot.
*Ali's notes*
Make up the mixture the morning before and then all you have to do is fill them and bake them right before dinner.

Make a double batch and freeze half of them, makes a great snack or lunch.

Pair this with a stir-fry for a complete meal.

Look for egg roll wrappers in the produce section of your grocery store.

Do you like egg rolls?  Have you ever made them?



Thursday, November 13, 2008

Learn to Learn

At my job (The Northwest Campus of I'm known to my co-workers as The Swiss Army Knife. Anytime something needs to get done, whether it's running the video switcher, leading things from stage, riding around on the lift, or simply un-jamming the copy machine, I'm right there in the thick of it.

It's not because I'm super smart, or have several skills in my tool belt. It's simply because I've learned how to learn.

I'm a lover of knowledge. Anytime I get the chance I try to learn something new. Usually if I don't know how to do something, I won't pass it off to someone who does. Instead, my attitude is "I will figure it out."

This attitude has been born out of my years of homeschooling. If I ever got a wrong answer on a test or lesson, I was able to go back and figure out why it was wrong. It was more important for us to understand the work, than to have a great score or grade. It was more important to learn than to pass.

 Have you learned how to learn?



Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The B-I-B-L-E

We have a God crisis over here at the Simms' household.  In our nightly prayers my littlest guy (3) has been wanting to pray to Santa as well as God!  Yes, this truly is the season for little ones to be worried that Santa knows everything on their list, but we teach that Santa is pretend in our family.

Somehow in all the madness of our culture with super heroes, fairy tales and imaginations galore it is more and more a challenge to teach our children that God is real.  Unless we are diligent and creative and pray A LOT we are not going to be able to direct our kids to learning about God and His Word with all the distractions of our media-frenzied world.

Reading the Bible is a daily part of our school day.  With a 5 and 3 year old this can be quite interesting though.  We have read Bible stories, memorized a few scriptures with hand motions and all.  We have little devotional books that teach character qualities.  We even reenacted David and Goliath, and as seen below we "put on" the fruits of the spirit.


Talking about God is part of our everyday, but I desire for my kids to really have The Word within them.  These few things listed above only take me so far.

How do you teach your children The Word?  Do you have any advice for a mother with young children that you wish you had done with your children or can you think of things you wish your parents had done with you?

Teaching A-B-C's and 1-2-3's are important, but getting the B-I-B-L-E in them is at the top of my list!



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hurts and Offenses.....The End?

Today, we'll finish this series with some answers, hopefully, to how we can overcome hurt feelings and offenses.  We all will be hurt.  It's a fact when you open your heart to love.

But, can we learn to recognize our response, identify the real offense and then quickly forgive?  I think so.  And our relationships will be healthier for it.

Here are a few of my thoughts:

*Recognize the evil spirit behind the offense.  Satan wants to destroy you and your relationships.  Be aware of how badly he wants you to take things personally.

*Know that it is unusual for someone to calculate and purposefully hurt another person.  It does happen.  But, usually it is not intentional.

*Don't trust your feelings.  Even though we can't help our feelings, we can take the necessary steps to prevent those feelings from fueling our emotions. (The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? -Jer. 17:9)

*Be quick to bottom-line your offense.  Don't attach it to past circumstances, other feelings of rejection, or blow it out of proportion.

*Wait to speak about your offense until you've had time to sort it out. You don't want to say something you regret.

*Quickly forgive offenses. Otherwise you'll be dealing with a much larger issue: bitterness.  (Prov. 17:9; Prov. 19:11)

What are your thoughts on overcoming offenses?



Monday, November 10, 2008

Hurts and Offenses....Part 3

I want to spend just a couple of more days on the “hurt feelings, being offended” subject.  I hope you’ve gotten a lot from the comments that people have left.  You guys are wise!

Next I want to discuss your reactions when your feelings are hurt. When you’re offended do you become a stuffer (you hide your feelings and pretend that you’re not hurt)?  Or are you a screamer, a door-slammer, or maybe you throw things?  Or do you just shut down, try to keep from feeling anything, and become cold, detached and withdrawn?

You know you react in some form.  It’s a natural response.  Let’s learn to recognize it.

I’ll go first.

I just shut down.  My reaction is to pull back and not talk, smile or interact.  

So?  How do you react to being hurt and offended?



Friday, November 07, 2008

What Do You Think?.....continued

From yesterday’s post here’s the breakdown of the reasons why most people get their feelings hurt: (THANK YOU to those who took the time to leave a comment!)

Past offenses and hurts, rejections

Pride, insecurity, fear

Self, ego, self-centeredness

Not  believing God—allowing the situation to become bigger than God—not being anchored in Truth

Believing lies

Taking things personally

Expectations – when we expect more than the offender gives or can give

Allowing our feelings to control us

Now let’s focus on one of these in particular…..expectations. 

And another question:

It’s been said that the only way to never be disappointed or have your feelings hurt, is to have no expectations.  Do you think it is even possible to have no expectations of others?    

What do you think?



Thursday, November 06, 2008

What Do You Think?

Your feelings got hurt.  924849406_3d4b9b2253

It happens. 

I’m sure it’s happened to you.  It’s certainly happened to me.

So, I've been wondering…

What causes our feelings to be hurt? 

What is the underlying issue or issues behind your hurt feelings?

I have some ideas, but tell me what you think.



Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Seasons of Change

Can you remember what you were doing this time last year?

It's amazing how much changes in one year.

Last year........

Brad was in college getting ready to graduate in December.

He worked nights at Blockbuster.

We never saw each other.

I stayed home full time with Lily(2) and Sadie(1)

I did hair out of my house.

This year............

Brad got a real job.

He has regular hours.

We saw each other again.

My girls are a whole year older (where does the time go?)

Then, I got a job.

I worked all weekend.

I still did hair out of my house.

We never saw each other.

I got a new job.

I'm now my own boss.

I don't do hair out of my house.

I work when I want.

We finally see each other again.

I get to spend quality time with my girls on my days off.

God is so good.  I think we go through different seasons in our lives so we can learn to be thankful for what God has blessed us with.  I know that after this crazy year we have had, I am so thankful for my family and the time we have together.

What were you doing last year?

Has anything changed this year?



Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Home Sweet Home

After a whirlwind year with Jon being deployed and trying to stay busy and on-the-go so I didn’t go crazy missing him, we’ve recently made the choice to stay at home and cut down on outside activities.   And stay at home we do . . . A lot! 

It was a bit of an adjustment at first, but the results have been amazing.  I love to see my children have time to play and create.  Imagination just doesn’t have the time to come alive when all kids hear is “hurry up” and “let’s go” all the time.   Here are some fun things that have come of our recent at-home times.

Kaden, just out of the blue decided he wanted to make a bird feeder.  He crafted this little bird getaway from a paper towel holder, sticks and tape.  He remembered to instruct me to buy bird food when we went to town next, and now we have this “lovely” little house sitting on our front porch.  Please join me in praying for birds to come!


We go on nature walks and collect “treasure” quite often.  On one of these times Kaden and Will found bricks that they wanted to bring home.  They then decided they wanted to paint them. 


While sitting down with my little guys doing school one day, Daddy decided he was going to go shoot some water turtles in the pond so they wouldn’t eat our fish.  So forget Mommy’s lesson, off with Daddy they go.


And many times our nature walks include fun picture opportunities.  Fall is a great time to get outdoors!


So I challenge you, no matter what your schedule or calling in life:   try to stay at home just a bit more.  Learn to say no to those extra busy activities and take time to enjoy your kids and home without always thinking about that next thing on the to-go list.

I finally did, and I love it.



Monday, November 03, 2008

"That Boy"

It all started about 11 or 12 years ago, when Jon started pursuing Erin. 


The phrase originated with Dirk.


It’s used in this manner, always with a bit of a smile.


And about 99% kidding.  Ok, maybe only 90%. (After all, no one…and I mean NO ONE is ever good enough to marry your precious daughter!)


“Were you talking on the phone to that boy again?”

“Is that boy coming to see you tonight?”


Erin married that boy.


We experienced it again when Brad pursued Ali. 


Ali married that boy.


When Alexander started coming around he received the same title of “endearment”.  That boy even worked with Dirk the summer before he and Katie got married. 

During the week of their upcoming wedding Dirk even asked his youngest daughter Katie, “So, you’re going to marry that boy?

She married that boy.


Now, it looks like we have a new that boy.  Anyway, he’s sure been hanging around an awful lot! :)


I even heard Dirk use the phrase on Anna the other night. 


“So, is that boy coming out to see us tonight?”


He did.


Dirk really likes these boys.  In fact, I know he would really tell you that he loves these men.  (OK – maybe he wouldn’t tell you, but I know he does).

These are the men we prayed for since our girls were very young.  The men we know will lead our daughters to be the women God has called them to be.  The men that are and will be the awesome fathers of our grands.


We have three sons of our own, one of which is already that boy to another family.  We only pray that our sons will be as much of a blessing to another family as all four of the men that have chosen our daughters are to us….even if they are that boy.







Saturday, November 01, 2008

Who Said It?

During this election time let's be reminded of these words:

* You cannot help the poor, by destroying the rich.
* You cannot strengthen the weak, by weakening the strong.
* You cannot bring about prosperity, by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot lift the wage earner up, by pulling the wage payer down.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man, by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot build character and courage, by taking away people's
initiative and independence.
* You cannot help people permanently, by doing for them what they could and should, do for themselves.

Do you recognize the author?

It was Abraham Lincoln