Tuesday, July 31

more dancing in the breeze

Okay, I always wanted to be a politician....does this count? I'm publicly airing my laundry! LOL! I confess, it's not dirty laundry, but wonderfully clean laundry which has been wind blown and sun kissed while on the clothesline in the backyard on a warm summer day. I LOVE the fresh smell of sheets on my bed after hanging out in the great outdoors air. And whenever I smell them, it reminds me of a friend who enjoys the scent of Yankee Candles and their Clean Cotton candles (actually, I thought the candles were called fresh linen or white linen, but all I see is a country linen which doesn't sound familiar so it must be clean cotton since the label actually shows hanging laundry - whew!)

Anyway, now to bring them off the clotheslines and make beds before it gets too late! And now there is visual proof that I don't spend all my time in the garden! :-)

I hope you've enjoyed a wind blown sun kissed summer day in your garden, too!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

dancing in the breeze

Dancing in the Breeze

I went to the garden
to pick some peas.
Found them dancing
in the evening breeze.

The day was hot,
so I joined right in.
Tapped my toes
and began to grin.

Peppers in a polka
as the snow peas snapped.
Beans in a boogie
as the cabbage clapped.

Squash square dancing
with a cha-cha chard.
Watermelon waltzing
all around the yard.

Picked my supper
with the greatest ease--
everything swinging
in the dancing breeze.

~ George Shannon

It is so so much fun to start eating from the garden. I noticed this morning that the peas pods were big enough to eat, so I picked a few and ate! YUM! I'll pass the news on the kids as this is one crop that won't make it to our table, but will instead be eaten in the garden. I've struggled to have good peas. Putting a fence up within the garden just didn't work well since I couldn't do anything too permanent as I rotate everything around every year. I tried using the actual garden fence which worked wonderfully AND gave the deer a feast as soon as the peas were ready to eat! This year I thought I'd try again and I planted the pea seeds in a circle within tomato cages. Not ideal, but it's working! YAY! I love fresh peas :-)

And the poem came from a fun library book about gardens that Littlest read - guess who picked the book out for her! LOL!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

five sisters

Five Sisters

Five little sisters walking in a row;
Now, isn't that the best way for little girls to go?
Each had a round hat, each had a muff,
And each had a new pelisse of soft green stuff.

Five little marigolds standing in a row;
Now, isn't that the best way for marigolds to grow?
Each with a green stalk, and five had got
A bright yellow flower, and a new red pot.

~Kate Greenaway

Early in the spring one of the girls read this poem aloud and I thought to myself that if I planted any marigolds this season, I'd have to remember to take a picture to go with the poem. And I remembered yesterday :-) There was an empty space at the end of the tomatoes to plant some marigolds along the fence. They do like that sunny spot :-) And no, they don't perfectly match the description of the marigolds in the poem as I'm not always sure what I'll get when I purchase them. Not many oranges and reds this year, mainly all yellow. But they are easy flowers, nonetheless.

May you find a bit of cheerfulness along your garden path today!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, July 30

weeding option

I think I kind of like this weeding option! LOL!

Enjoy :-)

Off to do my own garden weeding!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

doggettes and chippies

Translations: Dogs and Chipmunks. We just have a different lingo around our house. These two types of critters definitely have a love/hate kind of relationship. And this type of relationship is greatly worsened late in the summer when there is a BUMPER crop of chippies.

It goes like this: the dogs hear the call of the chippies which is a distinctive chirping kind of sound and off they go in a wild and frantic manner to track down the culprit. Sometimes they are seen jumping up and down at a tree trying to catch a chippie and will sit patiently for a long time at the base of the tree if they know one is up there. It is a strange sight to see a dog just sitting and staring up, but we've become accustomed to it and it's just part of life. Unfortunately, not all chippies head for the trees, but have different hiding places. Commonly these are holes in the ground. And guess what happens when they enter one of these holes? YUP, massive digging by the dogs. ALL over the yard. GRRRR! As much as I think chippies are cute, I'm headed toward a hate relationship if they don't stop chirping in my yard and driving my dogs absolutely crazy! Stooopid critters!

The picture is of one of the worst holes of the yard this summer. See how proudly Muffin sits by it! This is at the front corner of the house and is where we commonly stack our firewood for the winter season. As you can see, the little bit of firewood that was left from last season has been thrown all over when the chippies run into there and the dogs attempt digging them out. Around the corner is a rock flower garden which they've also dug around in when the chippies go in there. But the worst of it all is that they've dug into our rock border which is where the rain goes drip drip AND have even dug under the concrete foundation in that area. GRRRR!
Since the picture with Muffin really didn't do
justice to the depth of the hole, I called in my knee-high corn model to come and stand in it. She wasn't too happy about stepping down in there with her pinkie sandals, but managed a smile. It really doesn't make much sense to fill the hole in now because the probabilities are that the dogs will dig there again. GRRRR! And I should clarify that it is mainly Muffin who is the no no bad dog. Shadow hears the chippies, but watches and waits for her to run, then follows. He even sits and watches her dig. It's quite an interesting thing to observe. It's like he wants to be part of the action but prefers the accomplice position.

Even sitting here now while typing, I can hear that familiar chirp chirp chirp sound (actually more than one) and know that there is probably a dog listening and waiting for the right moment. GRRRR!

Sometimes there are people in our lives who chirp us into aggravation. They cause us to put our fur up and make us want to bark and chase them up a tree. Their annoyance can cause us to dig holes that aren't easy to get out of gracefully. GRRRR! Or perhaps we prefer the accomplice role of watching a verbal battle going on. Or even ease our exasperation by gossip. Plain and simple....we fall into sin.

"We can't stop the Adversary from whispering in our ears, but we can refuse to listen, and we can definitely refuse to respond." ~ Liz Curtis Higgs

Refuse. Refuse. Refuse. And we can do that with the power that God provides. Just have to plug into that power.

NOW if I could just teach my doggettes that lesson!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Sunday, July 29

how big?

"The ability of God is beyond our prayers, beyond our largest prayers! I have been thinking of some of the petitions that have entered into my supplication innumerable times. What have I asked for? I have asked for a cupful, and the ocean remains! I have asked for a sunbeam, and the sun abides! My best asking falls immeasurably short of my Father's giving: it is beyond what we can ask." ~ J.H. Jowett

This came from one of my devotionals this week. It reminded me of a women's retreat where the speaker said that we often come before the Lord in prayer with our thimbles to be filled when He'd rather overflow buckets for us! I shared that thought with the ladies of my Bible study and one even took a picture of that concept as a visual reminder that is kept in one of my Bibles. Then this morning our sermon was about the omnipotence of God - His POWER. Getting plugged into it. His power doesn't equate to a firecracker but is greater than an atomic bomb!

All the visuals put God into perspective, don't they? And I keep wondering if these reminders to me right now are meant to get me to ponder a bit. Perhaps I think too small? Perhaps God is getting cramped when He's squeezed into a little box? Perhaps my vision for the work the Lord has for me is weighed in ounces and should be tons? Perhaps it's time to step out in courage, trust Him, and watch Him be a MIGHTY God in my life? How about you?

May you walk your garden path knowing a BIG God walks with you!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, July 28

a lonely little petunia

I do enjoy planting some flowers by seed into my vegetable garden. They have a way of brightening the rows :-) Those that I've planted this year are not yet blooming though.

My other method of getting flowers into my vegetable garden is to scavenge late season sales at local greenhouses to find annuals that I can stick in here and there where different vegetables didn't do so well. They are often not the most healthy looking plants, but tend to do well given a chance in the rich garden soil.

This summer I picked up some leggy looking petunias and stuck them in the spaces I had between my onion plants. They are starting to come around and the pink looks pretty mixed in with green. It reminded me of the old song about the lonely little petunia in an onion patch - I'm not sure how good the song will sound on dial-up, so here are just the words to the song. And, no, I'm NOT hearing this pretty little flower crying! She seems rather happy to me as do her sisters who are intermingled with her in the row of onions :-)

You know, sometimes it feels like God has placed us in an onion patch. It reminds me of a bookmark my mom had cross-stitched for me....BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED. Perhaps a few tears shed in our onion patch can help us grow and bloom right where we are planted!

Be a petunia!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


three teams

"God is preparing His heroes, and when the opportunity comes He can fit them into their place in a moment, and the world will wonder where they come from." ~ A.B. Simpson

Last night our family attended a dinner at church which was followed by a special missions presentation. Our church has sent out three different mission teams of adults and youth this year so far - one to Peru, one to Guatemala, one to Mexico. Many of those who went will tell you that they didn't think missions was their thing, but they stepped out of their comfort zone to go and share Jesus....and God amazed them by what He did in their lives and the lives of people that they met. Truly, you can't help but get :::Godbumps::: as they share their stories. It's just cool to see how God uses our quiet lives in big ways in His timing.

I have learned to "never say never!" but I have not felt a calling on my life to take a trip like this. No, I take that back....I did wrestle with God a bit about going on a trip to Russian orphanages, but my own family was quite young then and I think they thought I wouldn't come back home once I started rocking babies! Mission trips are more than people going. It's also people financially supporting and people praying throughout - before, during, and after. Which means that everyone can be involved in some aspect because a trip doesn't work well without all three factors in place.

My husband and four oldest children (so far) have taken various trips which have taken them all over the world. It always seems like a piece of my heart goes with them from the moment they leave our home until they return. So, I guess I am "going" in a sense :-)

Actually we are all missionaries as we share the love of Jesus Christ everywhere we go whether in a foreign country or at the local grocery store!

Have a great day!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, July 27

like my door

Our camper girl is home and unpacking her things. She received a wonderfully packed box of goodies in the mail from her older sister and was sharing the goods with her siblings. While they were nibbling, we noticed the Sunday comics that she had wrapped things with so they'd travel well in the mail. I just really giggled when I read one of the cartoons as it so so described something I did when we did our kitchen remodeling. I absolutely could NOT part with our main kitchen outer door as since the beginning of time we had marked our children's growth on it. In fact, some of my kids friends' heights are marked on there because they thought it would cool to be included! My husband was nice enough to humor me and the door sits out in his work garage. My intention was to continue using it for all the kids coming up, but quite honestly it has been forgotten in its lean-to position out in the garage. This comic has reminded me that I should follow-up on my intention! Anyway, I googled to see if I could find this particular cartoon and here it is! It is appropriately titled "Close to Home" as this particular one certainly hit me close to home :-)

Enjoy!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

the return of a camper

"Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends, for it is one of God's best gifts. It involves many things, but above all, the power of going out of one's self, and appreciating whatever is noble and loving in another." ~ Thomas Hughes

In just a little while we'll be leaving to go and pick up our camper girl as her week of adventure has come to an end. Yesterday in the mail we received TWO letters from her and I giggled as I read them. The girl writes like she talks...her voice came through in her words :-) She's been having an awesome time and making lots of friends. That's good. Girls like friends and when you're almost 11 years old friendships seem to be more important than younger sisters that are suddenly appearing more pesky (AND MESSY) than fun! She is such a neat little girl with many admirable friend qualities (spoken by a true mother, eh?). And you know, this spring my oldest daughter's maid of honor was a friend she met at the same camp, so the friendships formed now can branch into your lifetime.

She does have one important camp letter writing lesson to learn that apparently her older sister hadn't taught her and that is to NEVER write a bad horse story in a letter that mom will be reading before you get home. ALWAYS tell mom those stories after you are safe and sound in your bed the first night back from camp. Otherwise mom may want to come and get you and bring you home BEFORE camp is over. Bucking horses?! How dare they consider that with one of MY girls?! I never did like those animals! :-p

At least I didn't note what I was concerned about with this daughter....being homesick. She truly doesn't like to be away from her mom and often cries if I'm not home at bedtime as she likes mom to tuck her in. So, perhaps this was a big step in growing up for her.

Anyway, time to rouse those who are going with me this morning!

Have a nice day and perhaps drop a note in the mail to an old friend of yours to bless their day with a reminder of your friendship :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, July 26

the culprit?

Mary from the county extension office called this morning to talk about my beets :-) Her conclusion after hearing the evidence was that it was cutworms doing the damage. They are creepy crawly critters who live in the soil in the daytime and come out at night to clip plants at the baseline. They tend to be more bothersome during drier weather. She is going to send me an info sheet that will help me combat these critters in the future.

Being the Doubting Thomas I am on occasion and having never experienced this in my garden, I did go out and loosely dig around in that area of the garden hoping to see one. No success. I have to trust Mary at the county extension office and her information sheet on this one. Just as I have trust God's written Word to walk by faith and not by sight. But, ohhh, I am so thankful for the glimpses I catch of Him traveling through my garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


signs of autumn

Okay, I could write about all the various signs in our area of the coming of autumn like...cooler mornings, school books arriving via UPS, soccer coaches calling and setting up practices for the upcoming season, attending fall ministry meetings to set up calendars, school supplies on store shelves, summer clearance items to make room for rakes, restless kids, college roommate assignments, fall catalogs in the mail...well, you get the idea. HOWEVER, early this morning I needed to walk out to my husband's office to get something I needed for his bookwork and lo and behold, what did I see out in the yard? But a maple tree tipped with many red leaves! I had to take a picture right away so my claim of an upcoming season change could be verified. Yikes, it isn't even August yet!

Enjoy your SUMMER day!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

heating and cooling

Late yesterday afternoon while I was sorting papers on my bedroom floor, the two youngest came into my room bickering - something about the Barbie car and who had it first and whose doll was in it, etc - you know, important girl stuff. After attempting to sort out the argument (I think my papers were easier to sort out!), the littlest appeared to be the main culprit and wasn't too happy to hear that. She climbed onto my bed and promptly fell asleep on my pillow. I determined that their main problem was probably that she was overtired. But when she awoke it was in tears as her legs were badly hurting. And her head. Upon checking further, she felt quite warm. The thermometer agreed. 101.7 degrees. It's no fun having a fever on a sweaty hot day *sigh* Poor Lovey! Some pink medicine (of course, we have to buy the pink stuff for her!) and an evening dip in the lake helped her to feel better. I checked her through the night and her fever was reasonable enough each time that I could just give her fuzzababy and pinkie and she'd fall right back to sleep. Now this morning it's back up to 101.7, so I guess the plan for the day just got changed. That's okay. It's summer. We're flexible.

That's the heating. Now for the cooling of the day. Two boys were dropped off at church early this morning for a long bus ride down to an outdoor water park. Perfect weather for such an event! Cooling, refreshing, and fun! They'll be back tonight no doubt worn out from a long full day. There is a chance of showers and storms this evening which is to be coming in advance of a bit cooler weather. I do hope we get the much needed rain in the process.

Hot or cold. What is your personal spiritual climate these day? I've heard it said that there's no such thing as standing still in one's spiritual walk. One is either moving forward or going backward. Hot or cold. I can attest that my garden grows like crazy in the hot weather, even more so when it's regularly watered or when the wind blows causing its roots to deepen and strengthen. We can grow, too, as long as we are regularly watered with God's Word and use that to strengthen us when the winds of life blow us around.

May you have a growing day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Wednesday, July 25

a new recipe

Last night I tried a new recipe. Here it is with family commentary below:

Nacho Bake

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can (28oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15oz) hot chili beans
1 can (15oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (11oz) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 package (13oz) spicy nacho tortilla chips
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Cook the ground beef, onion, and green pepper over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, beans, corn, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes.

In a greased 13 x 9 inch pan, layer 5 cups off chips and about 5 cups of the meat mixture. Repeat. Top with 4 cups of chips and shredded cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

~~~~~~~~~~

~I used plain tortilla chips because some of my kids don't like foods that are too spicy.

~Some of the family didn't like the chips in the casserole. They would have preferred the meat mixture baked alone with a more generous topping of cheese. Then when it was time to serve, people could choose spicy or regular chips to eat with the casserole. That way you could put chips on your plate and pile the casserole on top OR put the casserole on your plate and dip your chips in, more like a finger food.

~Everyone liked the basic flavor :-)

~It didn't take long to prepare and eat :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

a devastated patch

Back in for my lunch break.

I know this picture isn't great nor will it interest most of you. This is my beet patch in the garden. Or I should say WAS my beet patch. Actually I took the picture after I had already done some clean-up work and suddenly thought I should take a picture as my olders will be interested in it.

Last year the same thing happened although early in the gardening season. Suddenly one day all my beet plants were gone - almost like they had been mowed down. No sign of a cause. This year I did a first thinning and they looked good. A few days ago I did a second thinning and they were looking real good. This morning I came out to my garden and this is what I found. There are only a couple of plants that weren't affected by whatever caused it. Again, there is no sign of what happened. No bugs. No caterpillars. The deer can't get in. Nothing else in the garden bothered. Clueless. The only thing I can think of is chipmunks? I dunno. I'm stumped.

I did come into the house and call the county extension office for help. The main person was out at a farmers market today (!) but a message was left for her to call me back tomorrow.

For all my married life I've had a garden following in the tradition of my grandmother and my mom. And every year I used a handed down canning recipe for pickled beets. Except last year. And now this year. And I'm sad about it.

"The next time you're disappointed, don't panic and don't give up. Just be patient and let God remind you he's still in control." ~ Max Lucado

I realize there's a LOT bigger things happening in the world today than my devastated beet patch, but disappointing none the less to my heart. God is even in control of beet patches and I'm going to hope for a solution that will ensure success next year and the continuation of an old family recipe.

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

i'm not glowing

I knew we'd get a taste of it sooner or later...real summer...hot and humid. I don't mind hot; I do mind humid. Ugh!

It takes me back to sixth grade and a dear teacher whose first class was us. She began a weekly class "just for girls" to help us become young ladies. You know, I don't remember much about that particular class other than we practiced walking with books on our heads AND she told us that girls do not sweat, they glow. Yup, I couldn't tell you a thing about the history or science we covered that year, but I do recall the glowing.

But, heaven forbid, yesterday I determined that I definitely had gone beyond glowing and was actually sweating. And I wasn't doing much to even cause that response. Ugh! Time to get out all our fans and head to the lake for an afternoon swim or retreat to the downstairs where it's a bit cooler.

Knowing what the day ahead will bring for weather, I'm heading out to the garden now while it is the coolest. There are still sleepyheads in my house, so it will be a quiet retreat to ponder things going on in life right now. So even in the midst of ugh there can be a blessing found!

May you catch a bit of blessing in the ugh days of life :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, July 24

a new old book

There is no doubt that I love books and reading.

I grew up doing what a majority of my kids do now....tucked into bed at night with a flashlight, a good book, and no thought to time. Ahhhh! Could anything be better?

Then I did really grow up into a wife and mother and all of that changed. My reading transitioned to the things I needed to learn about and my shelves filled with books on birthing, mothering, parenting, homeschooling, nutrition and health, numerous Bible studies and Christian titles, and countless books for kids of all ages. You will only find a few *fun* books for me as reading has become more of a job than enjoyment since time is so sparse.

Aha! Enter my rare journey through a flea market a couple of weeks ago. On a table of "stuff" there was an old book by an author that I recognized - Daphne du Maurier. I had read a couple of her mystery books back in high school as my mom had a few on her book shelves. I couldn't resist. I mean, really, a dollar and twenty cents?! And I felt like a kid again as I had a hard time putting the silly book down once I began reading it! LOL! Oh, how I loved reading about the characters, the depth that she developed them, and their inter-relationships with one another. Such a random enjoyable find which I will carefully put on my own shelves as this book is the original version from the 50's :-)

May you enjoy those little detours that sometimes come along your path!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

thinning

Every year the garden gets planted and then I have lots of time to putter around in the yard while plants begin growing and becoming established. Once the weeds are noticeable, the kids will begin weeding in between the rows. I'll get out there to water as needed depending upon our rainfall (which hasn't been good the last few years) and do a little more in-depth weeding as the kids don't like to pull weeds close to the plants. And then :::frown::: I realize I've been negligent on thinning different vegetable plants.

Thinning. I think this is the job I enjoy the least of gardening. I don't know. Perhaps it's just me. I hate pulling things that I know could grow into something good, but I know in my heart they wouldn't be good because they'd have no room to grow in a healthy manner. They are crowded and their roots get tangled and crooked with all those little plants next to them. And basically their harvest would be nil. The longer I wait to thin, the harder it is to do. You end up affecting the healthy good plants while uprooting everything around them. Yes, my job in the next few days will be to finish the thinning out in my garden.

It's kind of like raising kids. Left on their own they'd possibly grow okay, but the fruit, the character of their lives, would be nil. And the younger you establish good habits, the more strengthening and growth in positive ways. It takes consistency as a mom to help the littles do this if you want to reap the benefits in the future. And that's hard to do when life is busy and you have other things to tend to and some of those things don't seem important at the time. But then they get older and those things DO make a difference. And it's even harder to correct bad habits as sometimes the good character is affected a bit. But if those bad habits are left alone, they develop into sins which have a deeper root.

I have found that happening within a large family. The older ones were well trained and then life got busier as more children came along and somewhere along the way the training slipped a bit. Still correctable, but definitely tougher. I'm dealing with that with one of the kids now. Older siblings took care of a lot of the chores and responsibilities while this particular child rode on their coattails. But the older ones are moving on and now these responsibilities are being shifted down to the younger ones in the family. And what have I discovered as the transfer is happening? Plain and simple, it looks like laziness. Good habits weren't established, so they slipped into other habits which make it harder for them to take on new responsibilities. Ugh! Argh! Blech! It's ugly! Resembles a weed! But correctable. However, since we're at a later age it will be dealing with some unpleasant attitudes that will carry over into areas that they were doing well. And it will require more work and oversight on my part. Maybe some charts with the "make your bed in the morning", "feed the cat", "dirty clothes into the hamper", clear your place after meals", etc. kinds of things listed on it. Not to the point of being rigid, but as a mom, to the point of being diligent with the training of the younger.

Are their areas in your children's lives that you see that need some thinning? Habits that are slipping a bit? There's no better moment than right now to get busy as the correction will reap a harvest in the future :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, July 23

twenty days later....

I noticed the date on the calendar and realized it was twenty days ago that I rushed my daughter out to the garden to prove that our corn was knee high BY the Fourth of July. So, here's the updated photo also rushed before it got too dark outside. The corn is now above her head! Since she got kind of lost behind the corn row on the first picture, I had her stand on her tiptoes in the second picture so you could see her little face :-)

She is one of my favorite garden workers as she runs barefoot up and down the rows of vegetables singing her own made up songs as she goes. It always makes me smile!

But we weren't smiling tonight as we were making our way into the house. Quite the opposite, in fact. As I was washing off my dirty garden feet with the hose, the girls started screaming. They were yelling that there were bugs biting them. When I ran over to see what was happening, I quickly rushed them into the house since in the dusk I could see something was swarming. Yellow jackets! Each girl had a sting and their valiant brother stayed outside to see where they were coming from. Apparently the critters have a nest in the blocks next to our porch steps and he got stung in the process as well as one of the dogs! We have nothing here to spray the nest with so my husband will take care of it first thing in the morning as this nest is at our main entryway.

So, a little excitement mixed with tears is our garden report for the evening.

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

a cloudy day

Perhaps it won't stay, but it appears that we have a heavy gray day here for a change. Only a scattered chance of some rain which means I should get back out to the garden and get the sprinkler going AGAIN.

We have had a LOT of sunshine this summer. Ah yes, abundance of that which puts a smile on my face daily :-) My step is always lighter when the sun is shining! But I needed a day that would not tempt me to wander around outside as I have things to catch up on the inside of our home. And the perfect day has arrived. My list is outlined and it's by no means a short list. I've got work to do. Lots of it. But here I sit. My heart isn't into it.

Instead there's a different list on my mind. A list of petitions which is also by no means a short list. I've got praying to do. Lots of it. So many people with heavy things or many daily things happening in their lives which have caused them to request prayer. And I don't want to flippantly quickly pray. I want to sit. And pray. And read Scripture as I pray. And listen. My heart is burdened by it.

And back to the age old struggle of being a full time mom with full time kids with a full time household. How, Lord, how?

Time to be creative and find something for the kids to keep busy doing for a bit. Something that shouldn't cause friction between them. And I can escape to my prayer closet with my second list in hand. And I trust that by doing so my first list will be accomplished just the way the Lord would like since I've taken time for heavenly matters.

"As it is the business of tailors to make clothes and cobblers to make shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray" ~ Martin Luther

May you find a moment of time to do some business in your garden today....

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Sunday, July 22

a day of contentment

My goodness, but the day has gotten away from me! There were three or four times today that I considered sitting down to blog and was interrupted before my fingers hit the keys. Just one of those days....but I'm not complaining because each time I was interrupted for something that allowed my heart to continue on a path of contentment.

There are days, however, when those interruptions bring out the grrrrrrrrs. One thing leads to another thing which leads to the third thing and frustration builds. And that reminds me of something I read by Elisabeth Elliot: There is always enough time to do the will of God. For that we can never say, "I don't have time." When we find ourselves frantic and frustrated, harried and harassed and "hassled", it is a sign that we are running on our own schedule, not on God's. *gulp* Those are the times I can plead guilty as charged!

For mothers, it's finding the balance between a rigid schedule and an anything goes calendar. Marking the priorities of the day, but allowing a little flexibility when God whispers a change of plans into your ear.

Help me, Lord, to follow Your lead for all of my days!

Off to bake cookies to stick into the mail for my girl who is at camp this week :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Saturday, July 21

a small town thing

I'm sharing something here that I actually shared on my family blog last night since I'm still smiling about it this morning. I so so love what we call around here "Godbumps stories" - you know, the kinds of things that happen that are a wonderful confirmation of God's hand working in your life :-)

Here goes....this is what my husband shared with me last night before bed:

My husband told me that he had gone to the post office about 7:30 AM to check his mailbox hoping to find a permit for a job that they've been waiting to arrive for awhile. But, alas, the box was empty. However, he did see someone's legs through the other side of his box. So he said, "Mike? Mike is that you?" (the postmaster). Pretty soon Mike sticks his face into my husband's mailbox empty space and was like, "yes, it's me". My husband tells him that he's been waiting for a particular envelope in the mail and would it be possible for Mike to check to see if it's in today's mail? Barely a couple minutes pass and an envelope is stuck into his mailbox with Mike asking if that's the one. YUP! "It is! Thanks, Mike!"

I have to believe that only here in a small town do those kinds of things happen. We enjoy chatting with our post office personnel when we go to the counter. In fact, my husband and oldest son had taken a class with the postmaster also in attendance many years ago. Although there are many things which are difficult about living where we do, there are the blessings of knowing people that you can greet by name in a variety of businesses.

The truly God thing was that my husband was at the last hour with this permit. The job needed to be done yesterday. Our post office doesn't open until 9 AM although the mailboxes are available 24/7. For my husband to stop there when he did and randomly see the legs of someone busy working right in that area at that moment who was willing to check through the mail of the day for him, well :::::Godbumps:::::

I remember a phrase that's just kind of stuck with me from a Bible study by Henry Blackaby that we did a long time ago....God's hand is always working in the lives of His people. How often do we think about that? He is constantly putting things in motion to fall into place for our future. For those He loves so much! :::::Godbumps:::::

May you, too, see how God is working in your life and experience some :::::Godbumps:::::
today!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, July 20

that tired feeling

One thing I'm NOT liking AT ALL about getting older is that tired feeling that seems to be coming with the process.

Yesterday I had such a hard time driving home. Sleepy. Tired. I even considered stopping along the way and taking a ten minute catnap. How pathetic is that?! Of course, I hadn't had any coffee all day, so I did stop and get a large cup which woke me up by the final leg of our homeward journey.

Last summer at my yearly female check-up, I did talk to my doctor about this aggravating tiredness. She ran some typical blood tests which all came back just fine. Her explanation was that as we age our hormones lessen. Yup, knew that already. But, the point she made which was unknown to me is that women also have a bit of testosterone in their hormonal systems which also lessens. The hormone which gives us energy and drive. My conclusion is that I must have zero testosterone in my system because it feels like I have zero energy and drive a majority of the time. I'm almost to the point of taking a testosterone supplement because I'd rather have my energy and drive back even if it meant sporting a mustache and beard! LOL! (and, yes, I'm just kidding....I don't know if they even give such a thing to women!)

Perhaps it's time to evaluate life again and see if there is something I could change that would improve this area. I do regularly exercise and eat fairly well and balanced a majority of time. I am an early bird, but tend to get to bed later than I probably should so maybe an earlier bedtime would help. Maybe taking vitamins regularly would cover an area I'm low in. Maybe giving up coffee would be good. Now that's perhaps taking it a bit too far! LOL!

The Scripture that comes to mind is "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." ~ Galatians 6:9. Do not grow weary....do not go weary....do not grow weary!

May you have a lively day on your garden path and remember to NOT grow weary as there's a harvest out there!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

P.S. Blogger does like to give me fits sometimes...I hope this posts okay.

Thursday, July 19

those little unexpected surprises

God's sense of humor....

Yesterday was a planned travel day, but my plans shifted a bit. I was scheduled to leave with one of the olders when he was done with work and after I picked up my VBSers at noon. Then his work schedule changed and he wasn't needed for the day which meant we could leave after we dropped off the VBSers in the morning. Only one of the VBSers didn't want to go. Tears were flowing as I was ready to leave the classroom, so my soft heart gave in and brought her along.

So off we went! It was nice to be able to tune into clear Christian radio stations along the way and since we were now traveling in the morning, we were able to listen to Focus on the Family. And the topic? Unexpected unplanned pregnancies. Those surprise announcements. Are you smiling with me yet? I found God's sense of humor interesting since I hadn't even planned on traveling until the afternoon and instead just happened upon this program in the morning. Unexpectedly. Three women were interviewed about their experiences.

After the program was done, I could ponder about our own family. I can't say many of our children were actually planned, but welcomed surprises by God. We trusted His timing. And I could look into the back seat of my car at my beautiful last surprise who is such a blessing to our lives and is best known by the name Lovey since it describes her to a tee.

But why this program now? I do hope it was strictly for the purpose of pondering and counting the blessings of surprises in my life. I do think I would be in shock if the program was preparing me for something in my future. You know, like an unexpected pregnancy. Although I tend to believe our family is complete and able to enjoy growth through grandbabies at ths time, in the back of my mind I'm reminded of my doctor's mother who gave birth to her last baby when she was 52 years old.

It would be nice to pick our surprises, wouldn't it? *grin*

May you be blessed by whatever little surprises that come your way along the path today!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

P.S. I'm enjoying typing this out on a brand new Mac mini computer at my daughter's house. It is quite a novelty for me to have an 'f' key...hehe. We have an appointment to attend to this morning and then will be on the long drive home. I'm not certain if I'll turn the radio on or not!

Wednesday, July 18

fast sands

Another full day ahead! Supper is in the crockpot (I'll post the recipe sometime as it's a good quick meal) and the kids are ready for VBS. Just a matter of everyone jumping into the car. Again my mind is too full, but I hope, seriously hope, life will slow down after this week. It's like the sands in the hourglass are racing right now.....

Enjoy your day!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, July 17

today is ours

"Men spend their lives in anticipation, in determining to be vastly happy at some period or other, when they have time. But the present time has one advantage over every other: it is ours." ~ Charles Caleb Colton

It's been a busy morning already and when I sat down here to write, my mind was too full. What to write about? The stranger coming through the fog on my early morning walk? A week of VBS? Patience necessary for living with husbands? The perfect summer weather that never ends? Laundry that is being neglected? The mystery I'm reading? A problem I have? Travels ahead? Oh, the list goes on and I could easily expand on every topic....aren't you fortunate I can't decide and am not going to ramble!

Nope, I'm just going to keep it simple because there's so many things I want to fill my day with before it ends.

My heart woke up singing and is content with the world. Today is ours! Live it fully!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, July 16

impact

Last week on a blog there was this statement posed: Name a role model. The person that always comes to my mind is Elisabeth Elliot. I love and am challenged by her writings. There is not a doubt that the trials she has faced in her life are the exact things that have matured her faith. And God gifted her as a writer to teach and inspire others on their walk with God.

Yesterday while weeding in the garden, I was struck by the realization of some IRL (in real life) people who had been my role models. Let me go back. After worship yesterday, I ran into a retired friend and his wife who have not lived in our area for some time and visit maybe once or twice a year. He was such a dear person in our young family's life as was his first wife to me. Having raised five children and then enjoying grandchildren, she was a follower of Christ who didn't need to preach a word. Her life was a testimony and she taught through example with a servant's heart always always encouraging others. Even in her last days of life as she fought Parkinsons Disease, her life spoke of Christ. Oh my, my eyes are filling with tears again now as I write this just as they had in the garden. Her husband remarried later on and it's obvious that his second wife is another dear blessing in his life. He said that at her age of 92 years, she keeps him going!

Two other older couples who no longer live around here came to mind, too. One couple well established in their faith, the other who were newer believers, both impacting lives of families they had contact with by their encouragement and example.

All three women within these couples ministered to me quietly and impacted me in unseen ways until this moment when the realization struck of their impact in my own life. I wanna grow up to be just like them! :-) But you know, if any of them would hear that they would immediately point to Jesus Christ.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness." ~ Philippians 2:3-7

May we all take a moment to consider our own impact on the garden path we are on!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Sunday, July 15

it is good

Home again, home again, jiggety jig! Perfect weather for traveling and activities. Here are our mini-vacation highlights!

Take me out to the ballgame! Although my husband has taken the boys yearly, it's been awhile since I've been to a major league baseball game. It was a lot of fun cheering for the home team and just having the experience of being in the ballpark once again. The atmosphere. The
sights. The smells. The cheering fans. The food. And, of course, the game :-) Almost all the family is old enough now to discuss the players and strategies as the game progresses. The only one who kept quiet practically the entire game was the grandangel who DID NOT like the fireworks that went off at the start of the game and with every home team homerun. Snuggling was the name of the game for this little one!

The next morning after we got everyone moving out of bed, off to the zoo we went! I honestly cannot recall the last time we were at the zoo and am thinking it's been at least over ten years ago. Most of the kids loved the big cats - leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, lions. Others liked the sea lions, giraffes, and polar bears. The very littlest of our outing became so animated every time we passed by the elephants. Then there is the very oldest who should have been raised on a farm as he loved carrying around chickens when he was young and whose favorite place in the zoo seems to be the goat petting yard. It was quite funny to see that as fast as kids were feeding those goats food pellets, there were pellets coming out of the other end just as quickly. We had a hard time with the grandangel who would pick up pellets off the ground thinking they were food pellets for the goats!

As we walked from area to area and saw the huge variety of critters in all sizes, shapes, textures, smells, and colors, there was once again that amazement of God's creativity in creation. The realization of all the intimate details of every single living individual creature that has come from God's Hand. Our human minds cannot even comprehend the magnitude of it all. And what a cool follow-up we had this morning in worship as the sermon was on my favorite passage of Scripture - Psalm 139. God knows EVERYTHING for He is the Creator. Every intimate detail about us....He knows!....the good, the bad, and the ugly....and still His love for us is unchanging and greater than we can comprehend! How cool is that?! :-)

May you, too, soak in His love for you as you are a special creation of His!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

P.S. And a very happy birthday to someone who was specially created by His hand on this day! You are a blessing to me and I thank God for your friendship :-)


Friday, July 13

it's worth a try

Okay, I'm trying my best to stretch the summer. Beware! I suggest you don't try to mess with me and my dates as I'm keeping my Kauai chicken on guard! (Which reminds me of one of the flea market booths which had a ton of little signs hanging for purchase. One of them said something like "Raising teenagers is like slowly being pecked to death by chickens". I wonder why I remember that particular one....) And yes, the picture was taken yesterday so I'm a day off....it's actually June 43rd today *grin*

Anyway, back to the point. Can you believe we're about to hit mid-July?! Summer is racing by and there's still so much to do! Our brains have been on vacation mode and this is usually the point of the summer where we begin transitioning. The kids are starting to get more restless from being out of routine with so much freedom in vacation mode and will now do better with more direction from mom.

This week all of the high schooler's curriculum arrived and can be jumped into whenever he's ready. Some of our other books for the lower grades are already here with the rest needing to be ordered soon as I double check what I have and don't have to begin a new season of school. It is interesting to see the kids randomly putter in their books in the summer when they get bored which gives us a much appreciated head start for the year.

And now I need to buckle down and hit my project list hard. The main things are outdoor jobs which cannot be done year around. The garage needs a major cleaning. Our house, garage, and storage building all desperately need staining. The porch from our remodeling project needs to be completed. A couple windows need to be replaced. Wood needs to be split and stacked so it can dry. Okay, so my only thing to do on this list is cleaning the garage....the rest I discussed with my husband last night as they fall into his area. Whoops, there is the outdoor job of the garden which is screaming to be weeded and hoed. Monday begins the regimented everyone works out in the garden until it's done job. And when the outdoor projects are done, then back to the indoor projects which I've been puttering around on.

But first things first! We are gonna play a bit as a family :-) Today we'll do some traveling to take in a major league baseball game tonight. And then maybe the zoo or a museum tomorrow before we head back home. It'll be a nice break from vacation....hehe!

"Nothing is worth more than this day." ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

No matter how we attempt to stretch summer, it's always too short and fleeting. Live this day that the Lord has given you to the fullest! Enjoy!

Blessings.
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, July 12

only a little patch

Only a little patch to be attached to the left sleeve of his uniform before this tournament game. No problem, right?

YIKES!

It was an iron-on patch and everyone knows those things don't stay on, so my first step was to iron the patch on in order to sew it on. The ironing part was quick and easy. The sewing part.

YIKES!

Anyone else have eyes that are changing rapidly in middle age? I am nearsighted, but gradually my nearsightedness is becoming OFF. I'm constantly either having to look under my glasses to read something or completely taking my glasses off. Like when I'm using my computer. I immediately take my glasses off and set them on my desk while I read and type. And my olders are saying I need to go and have my eyes checked so I get glasses that work for near and far, but, but, my eyes keep changing that I don't want to invest in a pair that I may need to replace rather soon. Flimsy excuse, I know *sigh*

Back to the simple little patch. The quick sew job, right? Well, I took off my glasses to thread the needle and YIKES! I had one whale of a time trying to get that thread through the eye of the needle. I was even considering finding a magnifying glass but wasn't sure how I'd hold that, plus the needle, plus guide the thread. Then I thought about using one of my big yarn quilting needles but knew that would leave rather large holes next to his patch. So, I persevered. Patiently I worked at it and finally the thread was through! Woo hoo! And it only took me a few minutes to sew -- as long was I held it at the right distance.

Let's just say it was a project that took me MUCH longer than I anticipated.

And with that came sadness. I grew up in a sewing family. My grandmother sewed, my mother sewed, and I sewed. But sewing has taken a back seat for a long long time. There's just no time in my full days. I always thought to myself....someday when the kids are older I'll have more time to sew. What I hadn't stopped to consider is that *I* will be older then, too. My eyes aren't going to work as well. And I have friends who have developed minor arthritis or carpal tunnel in their hands as they've aged. Life changes.

"Do not complain about old age. It is a privilege denied to many." ~ Anonymous

There are going to be a lot of things that change as we age. Don't complain. Adjust. Make time NOW for things you love. Even if it's just snitchets of time here and there. And I'm going to try to take my own advice....but first I'm going to find that ancient needle threader gadget that found its way into my sewing stuff back when I was a kid!

Take a snitchet of time along your path today to enjoy doing something that blesses your heart!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, July 11

is that a light?

I think, yes, I do think I'm beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel!

Baseball began in April with registration. Practices and games began in May. Tournaments began In June. My son has not only played little league hardball on a regular team throughout this season, but he has also been a part of the traveling all-star team for his age group. So, that has meant more practices and more games. His regular league finished up the beginning of July. His all-star team had a tournament last weekend and today begins the state-wide regional tournament which will go through the weekend. It is highly unlikely they will get too far in the tournament (ah, yes, ye of little faith mother!) so our family has made plans to travel and attend a major league baseball game this weekend. We are looking forward to being in the big stadium with all the flash and fun and food! :-)

To celebrate the ending of his baseball season, we held a get-together at our house all yesterday afternoon for boys available from his regular team and his all-star team. Fourteen boys showed up to eat, swim, and, of course, play more baseball :-) Our house, yard, and lake were full of noisy activity. They had a great time!

But wait, that isn't the end of the baseball tunnel for our family. As a family grows older, so do some of the activities we can do together change. Six of us have been participating in Yahoo's fantasy baseball with our very own league. Although I do love baseball as proven by the fact that I met my husband while playing softball, I've never followed major league baseball too closely unless a particular team made it close to the World Series. But since I'm managing my own team this summer, I've had to watch statistics more closely and learn what a bunch of symbols mean to translate all those statistics. It has been a lot of fun and I giggle every time I check the standings first thing in the morning as my daughter-in-law has held first place for a long time while my baseball playing son sits in last place...hehe! However, I assume this line of baseball will take us into the fall? Argh, that light at the end of the baseball tunnel has just faded!

Hmmm, now to find my spiritual take on the topic of baseball --- here's my stretch!

It's a season. Just like the seasons of motherhood we go through. Some seasons are longer than others. Some are busier than others. Some linger longer than others. Some are hard, some are filled with laughter.

But, I think that one thing I didn't really consider when I first became a mother was that it would be a forever season in my life. Although our children may grow up and leave home, but we will always be a mother. Always. And God will always be there with us. Always. And knowing that allows us to embrace this season whatever stage we may be passing through.

Off to get a baseball uniform out of the dryer as I need to sew a patch on a sleeve before we leave this afternoon!

Enjoy your summer day :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~




Tuesday, July 10

about that knowledge...

From my devotional last night:

"Some people think the wiser they become the greater grasp they will have of the mysteries of God--how everything works and how all the pieces fit together. But that is not what biblical wisdom is all about.

I have found the opposite to be true. The more knowledge of God I get (that is, the wiser I become) the more I realize how much I don't know, and will never know, about God and His ways." ~ David Jeremiah

Having a new eighteen year old in the house grants us the privilege of living with a genius once again. At that age, they do know EVERYTHING. Really. Just ask them :-) I think I'm finally learning though after living with a few geniuses already not to argue the point with them. Just nod your head, smile, and know that someday, yes someday, they do realize that they don't know everything and really do appreciate your advice about various things as they leave home.

Then as you race toward a number like fifty, you suddenly realize how much knowledge is out in the world we live in AND how little you really know. Can you say teeny tiny? Itsy bitsy? Then add (or should I say subtract?) all those hormones that are headed to extinction at this age and suddenly all the knowledge you did have has left your brain!

Ah, but wisdom. That is unlike anything the world has to offer for it comes directly from God. And the more you get into God's Word and desire to know Him better, the more you realize how vast He is! It is a learning process that will continue until the ends of our lives. And it's exciting! It is an adventure to see how God unfolds His plan :-)

And for me personally, the longer I know Him, the more I realize He is ultimately in control of everything and I can completely trust Him. Totally. His plan is the best. I think I've learned the lesson well (HA! we'll see about that, eh?) that the more I try to help Him, the more tangled the mess becomes. "Let go and let God" may be treated as a cliche, but I can't think of a statement which holds more truth.

Spend some time along your garden path getting to know God a little better through His Word for that is where true wisdom is found!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

P.S. Blogger is giving me fits lately...I couldn't even post last night on our family blog...grrrr! So I hope this one works when I hit the "publish button"!

Monday, July 9

only a flea

"It's sobering to contemplate how much time, effort, sacrifice, compromise, and attention we give to acquiring and increasing our supply of something that is totally insignificant in eternity." ~ Anne Graham Lotz

Only a flea? Okay, many fleas! This morning I packed up the littles, middlers, and olders who were home to head to a weekly flea market in a neighboring small town. I think it's been a couple of years since we were there last. The weather had cleared and it was a perfect day to wander up and down the rows. There's always such a wide variety of items sold from newly crafted to antique to very unusual to junk. And I often heard whispered in my ear by my oldest daughter "we could make that so easily". HA! Oh, yes we could but the bigger question is WHEN could we make that so easily?!

Quite honestly, being there wasn't about acquiring more stuff, but about selling. There's a lot of things I've acquired that I don't want, but I have no idea what their value is right now to sell them. So, it was interesting to see what price various items were worth in a flea market setting. If I rented a space there some week, would it be worth all the time and effort? Or just an interesting way to meet people and lose money? Or should I instead have a garage sale?

The bottom line for me is that I want to simplify. My desire is for less. But how do I do that with a large family who have needs coming in the future? For example, we have about every size of ice skates in our garage from very small to adult sized. They do get used as the kids grow through them. We have all different types of books on our shelves because there are so many different reading tastes. Legos. Matchbox cars. Snowpants. Dishes. Dolls and their clothes. Tablecloths. Craft supplies. ETC. Really, I'm not certain if blogger could post the size of this list if I wrote it down as I went through the house as there would be pages of items!

So, yes, I have a bottom line, however I haven't yet figured out where to draw the line. And I'd like to figure out the line because as the quote above says, none of this stuff in my house has significance in eternity. People are what are significant. And if I don't have so much stuff to deal with I'll have more time for people, right?

Okay, this a topic I could ramble on for a long time, so I'm cutting it off here.

May you check your garden path for unnecessary clutter!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

P.S. So, you wanna know what I bought, right? The girls got some hair things and bracelets; one of the boys found a harmonica; a son-in-law bought a picture for a dollar; and I bought a book and an apron in a beautiful color :-)


Sunday, July 8

double blessings!

What a glorious day was oh seven oh seven oh seven!

Perfect weather to welcome a new sister-in-law/aunt into the family as we sat in our lawn chairs by the lakeside during the ceremony. Plenty of sunshine, plenty of breeze in the heat, plenty of shade, plenty of water to play in, plenty to eat - our cup runneth over!

Oh, but that wasn't the only blessing found in our day of 'sevens'. What could top it, you ask? Ahhhh, an announcement at breakfast of an upcoming grandangel! We are calling it another honeymoon baby as February babies keep popping up around here, although the announcement didn't come from the actual honeymooners. We are EXCITED! Okay, I confess, I'm probably the most excited! As the boys around here would say, WOOT! Or as I would say, WOOO HOOO!

Off to enjoy the rest of the day with my family as we've worshiped together and will now play together until it's time for farewells!

May you, too, enjoy family moments all together today! They become a rarer commodity as our children grow up and move away.

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, July 7

all chicks in the nest

This morning all my chicks are in the nest peacefully sleeping.

Everyone arrived home safe and sound around 10 - 11 PM. And let's just say that we didn't all get to bed until the AM hours :-) The house wass full of life!

The skies are blue, the sun is shining, the bacon is on the stovetop cooking. Within two hours this sleeping household will have all risen, eaten, and driven to a wedding that will be held at a lakeshore. We are looking forward to a beautiful day which we can enjoy together :-)

"This is the day that the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." ~Psalm 118:24

May you have special days along the path to rejoice with the Lord, too!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, July 6

passing on the cat

It is quite well known by those who know me that my style leans toward the natural. There are no lawn ornaments around here except bikes, balls, and barking dogs, and all the flowers seen in the yard are the real thing. Simple, minimal, and real, is kind of my philosophy. But, what is also quite well known about me is my sentimental tendencies.

Enter the cat.

Ever since I can remember visiting my in-laws' house, they had a white cat along their wall by the doorway. Actually, as she caught my eye recently when I was there packing up dishes, I don't think she was always alone, but my husband doesn't recall if there was another cat or two or not. There may even have been some butterflies or something above them. I'm not sure what happened to the rest. Somewhere in some old pictures it will be verified whether or not my memory is accurate. But that is really neither here nor there, eh?

When I was locking up their house to leave the last time, I pulled her down. She was part of the institution of Grandpa and Grandma's house and since we were carrying on the name, it just seemed right to pass the cat on. I checked with my husband's only brother to make sure he didn't want that white cat, but no, he had no interest in her. So, I washed her up and last night had my husband attach her to the garage wall by the door.

Now she resides at a new Grandpa and Grandma's house. The white cat will be a special marker when the grandchildren drive up that they are here. A symbol that life goes on. Generations of families continue. And I did notify my oldest son that someday the white cat would be his to adorn an outside wall....hehe!

Generations. I think of the chorus of a song by that name sung by Sara Groves - "Remind me of this with every decision. Generations will reap what I sow. I can pass on a curse or a blessing to those I will never know."

How often do we stop and consider how we are impacting future generations? When my husband and I married we had some painful things to work through from our childhoods that impacted who we were. Who we were then is not who we are today nor who we will be tomorrow. God's grace is enormous and healing. Our prayer is that we are sowing good seed and that as future generations reap from our influence they will be blessed.

"Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts." ~ Psalm 145:3-4 (and the rest of the Psalm tells of everything that can be shared with future generations)

May your impact be a blessing to future generations! And don't forget to pray for those yet to come as God honors those prayers, too!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, July 5

blech

WARNING: If you are a member of my family, please do not read further. Click on another link immediately. This is especially important to do if you are a member of the family who is planning on traveling here this weekend.

Now the "censored from my family" portion....

Yesterday we attended a picnic and I was enjoying a conversation with someone whom I had met there. It came up that her oldest had just gotten married a couple of weeks ago and would I be interested in looking at the pictures? Of course! So, we sat closely next to each other looking over the pictures and talking about them. And she handed me the wedding program which I read as it had the couple's love story printed on it. It was fun to talk about since we, too, had recently went through a wedding. As our conversation moved on, she mentioned that they were camping, but it had not been a good experience as she was very sick with the flu. FLU? What kind of flu, I inquired, as I know that definition varies from person to person. The vomiting, diarrhea, achey, drop dead tired kind. However, she said that at least that day it seemed everything was staying down :::::THUD::::: and I slowly slid to the other side of my lawn chair practically tipping over!

MAJOR PET PEEVE OF MINE: People who KNOW they are not well yet still immerse themselves in crowds of people.

Am I oversensitive? I dunno. I know that we can't totally avoid germs. And, really, I'm not one of those germaphobia kind of people. And yes I've been known to purposely expose my children to the chicken pox experience. However, I don't intentionally try to pick up "bugs" knowing they are highly contagious and will go through our big ol' family one by one :::sigh:::

All I can say is that we were sitting closely together and I was handling things she had handed to me. There was no way that I missed "bug" germs, so my prayer now is that her contagious stage was over. For we have an important family wedding in two days and I can't imagine any of us not being able to attend.

And in the mean time, I'll be eating lightly....

Have a healthy day!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, July 4

plant peace

Last night as I was putting the littles to bed, all we could hear were fireworks going off within the neighboring woods. People were indeed enjoying some early celebrating. The sounds outdoors caused us to talk about how we live in a country where those aren't scary noises - although a dog we once had would tremble and run for cover piddling as she ran! - but joyful noises of celebration and fun. There are countries where similar sounds will produce great fear as bullets or bombs are threatening the lives of people. It is hard to imagine living in such a way, isn't it, as we take the freedom and security found in America basically for granted. Our bedtime prayers were transformed to not only prayers of heartfelt gratefulness, but also prayers for those around the world who lived in fear.

As long as the enemy roams the earth, there will be unrest, conflict, and battles found as there has been since the beginning of human life. There is only true peace found in one place - "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:7

May you enjoy the celebrations found around our nation today in the form of parades, picnics, and pyrotechnics! And may your heart PRAISE Him for His PEACE!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, July 3

by the fourth

Okay, everyone knows the rule about corn. Knee High by the Fourth of July. BY the fourth. Yikes! I had to quickly find my perfectly sized model - who could only find her pinkie princess birthday sandals to wear in the garden - in order to make the BY part of the rule. Tomorrow morning would have been too late. And the poor princess had to stand out there with thunder all around her as a storm was moving in (hence the flash and dark background). And then when I downloaded the picture I saw she had a goofy smile, but it was now raining a bit so another picture was out of the question. Doesn't make any difference however as now I'm on record. Our garden corn IS officially knee high BY the fourth of July! Woo hoo!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

the butterfly

The Butterfly

My hands are warm to the butterfly
I am trying to set free.
Delicate, frail creature of beauty,
what can it know of me?
I am outside its comprehension.
It knows sunshine and showers,
darkness and the feel of flowers.
We do not ask it to do the impossible
and know Man.

So we, with God,
who looks with tenderness upon our frailty,
trying to guide us.
Trust him!
He knows the way, and, if we let him,
will open windows,
and, cradling us gently in hands we cannot comprehend
will lift us up and set us free.

~Margaret Orford

One butterfly flew off the other day without us seeing. Fortunately our kitchen door frequently stands open (via kids or a dog who opens the door himself) so that he could flit and fly out and away. Yesterday the other butterfly emerged from his chrysalis and was drying his wings. Since it was a gray, gloomy, misty, cool day outside and the kitchen door wasn't doing its typical stand open routine, I gently took the pen with the shells of the chrysalises and the hanging butterfly and reattached them to a sheltered place on the porch. He stayed there for a while and then one of the kids noticed him down in the yard several feet away. The next time we checked, he was gone.

Some of life's challenges are harsh and we are forced to stand firm against the battering of the storm. He provides the courage and the strength necessary for the moment. But there are times when we are frail and God so tenderly and gently guides us with His hand. We trust the shelter He provides. As He gently opens the window, we flit and fly away knowing His eye is watching and we are still in His care.

Just as the butterfly does not understand our ways, we often do not understand God's ways. Yet we can completely trust Him and His purpose and plan for our life for He loves us abundantly whatever the weather in our garden. And with that knowledge, my heart can praise Him without hesitation!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, July 2

a crossroads on my path

"We aren't just thrown on this earth like dice tossed across a table.
We are lovingly placed here for a purpose."
~ Charles Swindoll


There's been something God and I have been wrestling with for a bit of time. Oh, I know my basic purpose on this earth which I embrace as a wife and mother. It's something else that He had placed on my path in recent years. I still get Godbumps when thinking about the domino effect as things fell into place several years ago. There's no doubt in my mind that His hand was involved as I'm a firm believer that things don't "just happen", but that all things happen for His purposes. But then without even initially realizing it, doors were quietly closing. Not understanding the closure as I began to recognize it, the wrestling began. And so did the prayers for clarity.

This morning I stand at a crossroads in my garden path. I believe I've heard his answer. And I even wrestle with that - is it Him speaking or my feelings talking? My heart is filled with emotion. Do I let go or hang on? Do I consult human counsel? - yet, I want my decision to come from His clear leading. Oh, Lord, show me YOUR vision, YOUR purpose as I desire to be living in Your will for my life!

"In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." ~ Proverbs 3:6

May you always look to God for His plan when paths criss-cross within your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~
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