Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Well, I didn't just quit this project. Well, I sorta did. Here's the deal:

I was unsure what my 40th birthday celebration might look like. Being during a holiday, it was hard to imagine anyone pulling off a bash with great turnout. DeVon threw a wonderful surprise party for my 30th birthday, but she’s in Iowa…and we’re not! I knew my friends here could certainly host a great party, but would they approach James like DeVon did? Anyway, it was important to James that my birthday be special.

So in stepped DeVon! Their plan for my celebration has amazed me. I can’t imagine a more meaningful way to celebrate life, family and friends! This is SO much better than the series of posts I had planned!

So, here it is…

Friday, November 7th, DeVon “surprised” me by flying to Texas to begin a 40-Day Birthday Celebration! Starting that day, I’d be receiving a gift or message from a different person each day. EACH DAY for 40 days. 40 days of celebrating my birthday. 40 days of hearing from people who love me. 40 days of being blessed! Oh my word. Just typing the words brings tears to my eyes! It took a while for that to sink in. Do I have 40 people in my life who would do that? LOL!!

So, now, instead of reading stuff just about me, you'll have the chance to read about those I love. Perhaps you'll be inspired by their generosity and creativity. Maybe you'll decide to bless someone in the same way I'm being blessed.

As for what I've already written, I may consolidate into one post. I'd like to continue with the idea, especially since so many of the thoughts are written, just not posted.

I'd also like my wonderful logo button re-designed so it will fit the new focus of the series of posts. I'm really looking forward to documenting this incredible adventure of birthday blessings! But I promise, the gifts are not all sappy and girly. Some are downright hilarious!

The experience has been indescribable, but I’ll try to explain what has happened each day and what the gift and the giver mean to me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

31 Days

Well, this is the week of our big PTO fundraiser, plus D brought the stomach bug home from school, so I haven't been able to get on my blog much. I'll try to catch up!

Things I Love About Where I Live

  • I've made some amazing friends here.

  • It only takes a couple of minutes to get anywhere in town.

  • It's quiet and laid back.

  • I've had the chance to get to know people who've lived in this little town their entire lives.

  • When you ask where someone lives, you don't get an address, you hear, "Well, you know where so-and-so used to live?"

  • Our undefeated varsity football team won the state championship last year. It was INSANE!

  • Wherever you go in town, you see someone you know.

  • The young Christian families are hungry for God and that has created quite a bond among us.

  • I can call the florist and say, "Perry, this is Jill. Can you send something to..." I'm pretty sure I'm the only Jill!

  • Half of the hometown crowd still has an account at the grocery store. They get a bill each month!

  • Most of the people here are down-to-earth farming families, business owners, and educators.

There are certainly more things I love about this little town, but I've run out of time!

Monday, October 27, 2008

32 Days

More Things That Make Me Smile

  • sharpies - no, really
  • hanging out with little girls
  • and old ladies, too!
  • AE Drake Relay ice cream
  • AE party dip
  • going to son's school and getting at least 27 hugs from kiddos
  • proving that a woman can be a good pastor's wife & be REAL @ the same time
  • knowing I'm doing the very thing God told me I'd do back when I was 13
  • seeing Miss E run up my sidewalk every morning, grinning and giggling
  • hearing a nephew or niece say "Aunt Jill" for the first time
  • seeing the combines cutting wheat
  • listening to these cotton farmers tell their "stripper" stories!
  • the way the snow and mountains look at dusk at our family getaway in Colorado
  • hearing my best friend and her kids sing "Jingle Bells" because it's the first snow in Des Moines
  • hearing Brandon call me "Mr. Jills"

Sunday, October 26, 2008

33 Days

Things I Hated about Childhood

  • scorpions!
  • hearing young coyotes howling at night in the spring
  • doing Christmas at an ungodly hour because Dad had to leave for work (didn't happen every year though)
  • camping in "the bus"
  • hearing my parents argue
  • knowing older brother had messed up again, causing parents more grief
  • not ever knowing what older brother would do
  • having a big brother I loved, but feared at the same time

Saturday, October 25, 2008

34 Days

Some Things I Loved about Childhood
  • camping with my family
  • going to church
  • having my brother as my best friend
  • finally getting a baby sister
  • my girlfriends
  • going to Dad's "firehall" on Halloween to be frightened half to death by other insane firemen!
  • looking at store Christmas window displays in downtown Fort Worth
  • attending Grandview Zebra football games
  • visiting grandparents - more of that later

Friday, October 24, 2008

35 Days

Some Place I'd Love to Visit
  • Prague
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • England
  • Italy
  • Canada
  • Alaska
  • Seattle
  • Chicago (especially the Chicago Art Institute)
  • Nova Scotia
  • New England in the fall
  • Savannah
  • Jackson Hole
  • Lake Tahoe

There are so many more, but that's all I could think of right now.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

36 Days

Bad Habits
  • not completing projects
  • not cleaning up after myself RIGHT AWAY
  • staying up too late
  • not listening well
  • procrastinating
  • hitting the snooze button way too many times
  • talking too much
  • neglecting relationships
  • telling everyone BUT hubby what the plan is
This is by no means the complete list. The rest will show up later, I'm sure. I'm just feeling very much like a SLACKER and need to find some chocolate to consume!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

37 Days

What Would I Do With a Whole Lotta Cash
  • tithe to my church
  • pay off all debt, then invest, blah, blah, blah
  • buy hubby a pick-up and an awesome drum set
  • build a dream home...with a sound-proof music studio!
  • build a dream backyard for the boys...get those monkeys outta my dream house!
  • support the people, ministries, and organizations I've always wanted to help
  • help out some family members
  • anonymously meet people's needs
  • start ministry to pastors' families - providing vacations/retreats they couldn't afford, but desperately need
  • get rid of all my furniture and clothes...then start fresh
  • pay someone else to manage it all!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's a Boy Thing

This is what I discovered one day after the boys got out of the bathtub. Obviously, a very fierce battle had occured in the Land of Bafftub. The poor, headless snake never had a chance.

I immediately thought, "Do girl-moms find such things in the bathtub?"

Why do I love these pictures so much? They capture the essence of boy-dom, boy-hood, boy-ness...all things BOY! They make me laugh because the predator still has its kill hanging lifeless from its clenched teeth.

But most of all, I wonder which little testosterone-filled man-child left it on display in the corner of the tub?

38 Days

Instead of continuing yesterday's list, I thought I'd go in the opposite direction.

Things That Drive Me CRAZY
  • female cashiers @ discount stores who've spent lots of money on their fake nails, yet wear no makeup and have skanky hair
  • seeing toothless, illiterate southerners interviewed after a tornado has destroyed their trailer homes
  • sitcoms that count on all things sexual to get ratings and keep our attention
  • hearing a news anchor report the death of someone famous by saying "John Doe, dead, age 72"
  • Disney and Nick shows (aimed at school-aged kids) that refer to girls as "hot"
  • watching my kids act appalled when asked to pull their weight around here
  • knowing people talk ABOUT my husband without talking TO him
  • the Obamas
  • Joe Biden
  • being micro-managed
  • feeling overwhelmed

Monday, October 20, 2008

39 Days

Well, here we go. The first REAL day of this adventure! I thought I'd start with something easy.

Things That Make Me Happy
  • warm chocolate chip cookies (homemade, of course)
  • listening to articulate women speak - especially Southern women!
  • really good, gourmet coffee
  • all things autumnal
  • playing "White Rabbit" every month
  • Blue Bell ice cream (can't seem to choose a favorite)
  • Texas Bluebonnets
  • listening to my ipod without interruption
  • dessert @ Olive Garden with my girlfriends
  • my kids' laughter
  • drinking coffee on my front porch on fall mornings
  • slobbery kisses from babies

I have lots more, but I think I'll save them for another day! Gotta pace myself. 40 is a BIG number, you know! Ugh.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

40 Days to 40

Yep, that's right. 40 days from today, I'll be 40! 40...YEARS...OLD. I've heard myself say (without flinching) things like "I'll be 40 this year" or "This fall I'll turn 40". In fact, I like seeing people's reactions to the news...most of the time they're quite surprised. Maybe they thought I was much older! LOL!

But suddenly it feels...weird. That's the only word I can use to describe it right now. All this time I've laughed about it, pretended to dread it, etc. But today, it just feels weird.

For many, growing older, "ahem", hitting milestone birthdays, is cause for reflection. I'm no different. A good friend woke up the morning of his 40th birthday and suddenly felt overwhelmed with regret and disappointment. His life wasn't at all what he'd imagined it would be at 40. I really don't want that to happen to me. By the way, he didn't stay there long, because he began taking action and making changes.

So, I'm issuing myself a challenge. Being one of those very busy, no-time-to-slow-down kind of people, I don't make time for myself. Whether it's soaking in the tub, reading a book, going for a walk, or feeding my spirit, I usually put it off. Just too many other pressing needs. I neglect reflection, solitude, and creativity. So, my self-challenge 40 things about ME. That doesn't mean 40 straight days of blogging. It really means whatever I want it to mean. The last thing I need or want is the pressure of having requirements & restrictions on this thing. It's supposed to be fun, creative, silly, serious, authentic...ME.

It may seem a bit narcissistic, arrogant, self-centered, prideful...but really, it's just theraputic. I NEED to do this. (I hope this doesn't sound like a put-myself-first, Oprah-kinda-thing! I don't even watch that show!) It will be more like a journal. Some topics include:
  • Things I Love
  • Things I Dream About
  • Hopes for my Kids
  • Regrets
  • Loved about Childhood
  • I've Never...
  • Struggles
  • Bad Habits
  • Embarrassing Moments
  • What Makes Me Feel Old
  • What Gives Me Purpose
  • What Encourages Me
  • What Irritates Me

You get the picture. It's something a stranger can read and feel like they've gotten to know me. Something my boys can read someday and know me a bit more. But it's certainly not a eulogy!

Anyway, it should be fun. Feel free to comment. Agree. Disagree. Tell how you've dealt with that very thing. But please, PLEASE don't think I'm doing this so everyone can tell me how much they love me. That's not what this is about. I know I'm loved.

I just hope this isn't the only post in this series. That would be so very typical of me!

And, by the way, special thanks to Kacole for the cute logo!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

What My Kids Got from Kacole...

My sister loves making up new words and phrases. My favorite is "crappity crap". It really says so much about her personality and sense of humor! Well, I know she'll be so proud of her nephews when she reads this!

The other day, D was trying so hard to tell me about his day, but his tongue kept getting tied up. He said, "I was so tired today at school. It was hard to foc...concentr...focunstrate!"

I love it! Focunstrate has been used many times around here since then.

When you are almost five, some words are still hard to articulate, like "gespetti" (uh, that's spaghetti, in case you needed help). The mispronounced words have always been so cute, but there are fewer and fewer of them left in G-man's vocabulary.

When he recently discovered his brother and dad would be camping without him, his heart was understandably broken! He looked right into my eyes and said (with chin quivering, I swear!), "But I want to go on the Scubs Scouts Campout, too".

Oh man! It was pitiful...and effective!

He really likes his new Lightening McQueen tent! He stayed in or around it the 24+ hours the "Scubs Scouts" were gone! Since I wouldn't let him eat inside it, I had to convince him to pretend there's a campfire burning right outside the tent door. Everybody knows it's more fun to eat around a campfire.

And yes, we even ate s'mores!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

So, Who's the Chick?

Oh, it's just my nine-year-old SON!

Happy Birthday, Dude!

Friday, August 15, 2008

If You Give a Girl a Cookie...

...she'll hang on to that cookie with one hand while holding a cell phone with the other! Even one-year-olds can multi-task!

Who can complain about returning to work when the day ends like this?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

If You Know Where July Went, Could You Tell It to Come Back?

I do this to myself every year! May becomes insanely busy and I begin dreaming of LABS, that’s “Life After Bible School”. In my distorted reality, the boys and I will relax, read lots of books, make Jesse Tree ornaments, play lots of games, blah, blah, blah. In all my spare time I will reorganize and purge throughout the entire house, catch up on my severely neglected scrapbooks, write on my own blog and read a few others, sit down and read books without guilt, get crafty and make a few things, blah, blah, blah.

Well, here I am, on the last day of my summer, looking at that list and shaking my head! (It’s my last day of summer because it’s time for teachers to head back to work, so that means I do too! Macho Man and Miss E come back tomorrow.) Let’s see, we relaxed some, read a few books (not enough), we made no ornaments, I purged and reorganized about ¼ of the house, my scrapbooks are still severely neglected – and so is my blog. I’m pretty sure no one caught me sitting down with a book in my hand during the day. But, oh, I did get crafty yesterday!

Getting crafty has its own challenges when you live in the middle of nowhere, 75 miles from the center of all things crafty! I bought the paper and letters last week while visiting my sister. The only problem is I forgot to get the decoupage solution. Come to find out, you can’t buy that stuff anywhere in our county, even at the Alco 12 miles away. I know, because I drove over there expecting to find some. They had 17 kinds of craft glue, but no mod podge. I was beginning to wonder if it was banned in our dry county, like alcohol is! If you want a six pack you have to drive over to Goree. Maybe there’s a little stand outside the liquor store where all other banned substances are sold – like mod podge! Would I need to call one of my Goree girlfriends to swing by there and pick up a stash for me? We’d have to start coordinating decoupage runs to feed our crafting habits! Does it sound like I know too much about obtaining banned substances in Knox County? LOL! Don’t worry. This little Baptist preacher’s wife is only going by things she’s been told!

So, what now? Wait until the next trip to the big city? Absolutely not! I googled the stuff and discovered I could make it myself with my own craft glue! So I whipped up my own stuff and got to crafting. It was so much fun! I ignored everything around me, except the kids, and had a ball. Now I just need to find some ribbon and I'm done.

Whew, what a productive summer!

Actually, between the reading of a few books, the playing of many games, the reorganizing/purging of way too much stuff, and the one and only craft project, we experienced an amazing VBS, went on a life-changing mission trip, visited family and friends, agonized over a major decision (more of that to come), and really enjoyed ourselves.

So now it’s time to get dressed and get busy. I’ve got lots of reading, scrapbooking, crafting and purging to do!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

G-man Says, Part 4

As is the case with most 4 year olds, G-man has a problem with whining. We've tried several things to train him to quit this annoying habit. I'm seriously considering this method:

Mom: "What do you think I should do if I hear you whine again?"
G-man: "Throw me out the window?"

He is his father's child.

Walking down the sidewalk this morning, G-man and I heard a bird make a noise in a tree. It was certainly more a squawk/screech than a chirp. G-man, in his very matter-of-fact way, says,

"I think I just heard a monkey!"

Where does he get this stuff? Oh, yeah, he's his father's child!

Seriously, I just went in to check on him one more time as he falls asleep. He was doing that thing he's done since he could control his own movements - sucking his thumb and gently touching his ear lobe with the first 2 fingers of his other hand (like a pair of scissors). Through these 4 years it has made me giggle and has flooded my heart with joy. He sucks him thumb only occasionally now, and I'm always strangely happy to catch him doing it, especially if he's doing the ear thing!

It's a strange and wonderful age. He's big enough to recognize a monkey's call when he hears one, but still baby enough to need that thumb sometimes.

Just as long as he still needs his momma, too!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Yep, Today's THAT Day!

picture from

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Energy to Burn

Ever wonder what to do with preschool boys who can't go outside?

Well...jump off the furniture, of course!

Notice the caution in one, and the reckless abandon in the other. Very fitting of their personalities!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Oh, the Manliness!

One day, Little Macho Man and G came running into the kitchen with their shirts off. "Look, we're little mans!" I had to laugh out loud at their pasty, white skin and little tiny muscles, not to mention the obvious misuse of the plural form of their kind!

They spent the entire day running around shirtless. Oh, they felt virile, masculine, and a tad bit chilly. So, I asked my little man why being shirtless made him think he was a man - especially since he NEVER sees his daddy walk around shirtless. His answer surprised me and embarrassed me at the same time. It wasn't one of my proudest moments. You see, Troy, in HSM2, takes off his shirt to play basketball. That's why it is the essence of manliness to go without a shirt...because Troy did it! I didn't dare ask his opinion of Troy during the "golf course dance scene." Not exactly macho.

That happened several weeks ago and these 2 still love taking off their shirts. I've had to make a new rule - shirts stay on unless it's rest time and you are covered with a blanket, or we are outside for water play. I swear these 2 would walk around naked all day if I let them!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Excuse Me...I'm Not Ready For THIS!

Yesterday, Mr. D (who is 8 1/2) got a phone call from a GIRL! Well, she has called before, but he refused to call her back. But this time he did it! It's so funny because they spent the whole day together at school, so what did they have to talk about? (Did I just sound OLD when I said that?) Apparently they talked about NOTHING since he just sat there laughing. Come to find out, she thought it would be funny to flush the toilet during their conversation. She had obviously stepped into the "powder room" for this private phone conversation and just couldn't resist the temptation - to flush, that is.

Brooklyn's family is special to us. They moved to this tiny town about 8 months after we did. When you aren't from the small town in which you now live, you can feel very much like an outsider. So, these two hit it off from the beginning. Having been in the same classroom in 1st grade and now 2nd, they have spent a lot of time together. Last year, in Mrs. C's class, Brooklyn's desk was moved right behind Mr. D's. She later told her mom that she now sits behind the love of her life and can look at his red hair all day! Oh, the things that come out of that mouth! She is something else. The first time she came to our house, she glanced over at my iced tea (in an iced tea glass with a stem) and said, "Is that a martini???" Imagine...her pastor's wife drinking martinis in the middle of the day...with children around! Her parents don't even drink martinis and she has no idea what they are!

So, as I sat there, obnoxiously taking pictures, I couldn't help but think about the future. Will there be things about Mr. D (looks, attitude, personality) that girls will find attractive? Will he know how to treat these young ladies? Will they be young LADIES? And what will these girls be wearing? Will modesty and virtue be important to them? Will they be important to him? Wow, we have a big job here. There is so much to instill in that stubborn head of his! Experts say that most of that must be learned before age 9! That's August, people! No pressure here!

For now, I will trust the One who gave him to us and enjoy these silly and innocent moments - capturing and treasuring them when I can.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

OK Girls...It's That Time of Year

Little Miss E would like to remind all the girls out there that with the weather getting warmer, we mustn't put off getting that much-needed pedicure! Even 11-month old girls know how important it is that our feet look adorable...even yummy!

Just look at those toes! This has to be the cutest thing you've seen all day! I wouldn't trade jobs with anyone. I get to spend my day with my son, this little sweetie, and her very macho, very sweet big brother!

But...I REALLY do need to get that pedicure! My almost-40-year-old toes don't look nearly as cute as hers!