Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Wonder...

I've been reminded of the wonder of Christmas through the eyes of my children recently.  They were so excited to get our tree for this year.  We have always had a real one.  Some were purchased and perfect - like this year's.  Some we cut down in our woods and were of the Charlie Brown persuasion.  There was the one my husband cut from the top of a pine....I think there was a foot gap between each of the four circles of branches.  There was also the one that Malachi and I decided to chop down a couple of years ago.  It was getting close to Christmas and we didn't have a tree.  The kids and I decided to find one ourselves.  We are surrounded by forest so we assumed it would be no problem picking one out.  Boy, where we in for a surprise!  We looked and looked and finally realized none of them looked even close to the ones sold on a Christmas tree lot.  Regardless, we chose a tree that we thought would suffice.  However, the tree forked about five inches from the ground so we decided to just take one side.  (I question that logic in hindsight)  
Malachi and I chopped in shifts...eventually we felled the tree.   We were all so excited as we twisted and tugged and managed to get it into the house and in the tree stand.  There was no question which side to turn to the would be the innermost side of the fork...the side that had no branches.  Looking at the bright side tho, it fit nicely up against the wall :)  Imagine our dismay when we noticed that the side sporting branches had a gaping bare spot!!  Luckily, we knew of a tree with identical branches ....  the other side of the fork LOL!  We quickly went outside, did a bit more chopping, and came inside with a branch bearing matching DNA.  We tied it to the trunk of our tree with twine and VOILA!!  Perfect!....well, mostly :)  We were once again smiling ...We decorated that poor little tree and were pleased with our results. 
So, as we picked out our perfect tree this year, Malachi and I agreed that while perfect trees are conducive to ornament hanging, the imperfect ones give us sweet memories and a good story!!!!  :D
(I'll look for a photo of that tree tomorrow and post it here)

Thanksgiving 2009

My oldest, Malachi, loves'd think I never make a homemade meal the way he's so excited about the food!  
Our Thanksgiving Day consisted of some chicken riddance.  We had decided that our ultra-plump chickens had to go.  They were getting so big they couldn't get off the ground to roost so they were losing breast feathers from all the ground contact...and looking quite nasty.  I don't mind the whole process of raising your own chickens to eat, but I refuse to butcher and partake of a dirty looking fowl :)   I let them out of their pens, in anticipation of their coming demise, to do a little free-ranging.  We decided not to purchase a turkey for Thanksgiving what with all the poultry polluting the yard - soooooo Thanksgiving day, Darren got a fire going to boil water for feather release.  He and the kids chose the biggest, most plump, cleanest chicken on the farm.  I had awakened sick that morning and void my senses of smell and taste.  Can you believe that???  No taste on Thanksgiving Day!!
Anyway, my Mother-in-Law and Father-in-Law showed up at the commencing of the "ceremony".  Due to my illness, I didn't really get too involved.  The first chicken, a rooster, was plucked, cleaned, and sent inside to begin its glorification :)  Now let me just insert a little info in here...this chicken was HUGE!  He weighed 12 lbs (that was after plucking and cleaning)  It was like having a turkey!  With him in the oven, Darren began the drill on the second chicken (another rooster)...  He too, was left whole with skin intact and put in the cooler.  We read online that in order to prevent the chicken from becoming tough, not to take them directly from killing to freezer.  They suggested bringing the body temperature down slowly by keeping it in ice water for 24 hrs.  So, in the cooler of ice water he went.  They next and last chicken of the day we decided should be skinned and cut up.  My MIL shared that in the beginning of her marriage, she would buy whole chickens because they were cheaper and cut them up herself.  She volunteered to show me how to do it.  The lesson began...  Her first reaction was amazement at the size!  (Yeah, baby...that's home grown...hehe)  Anyway, we started with the thigh and lower leg.  The leg ended up looking like a turkey drumstick...I kid you not...I didn't take pics so I can't prove it...but oh was huge!!  Next went the wings and then the breast.  She told me that when she purchased one, she cut it into two pieces and just cracked the breast bone.  That wasn't happening with this one....we both tried breaking that darn bone...tried sawing it....nothing...ended up cutting it into four pieces and just taking it off the bone.  
By this time the roasting chicken was done.  The other dishes were made to go with it.  I was told the meal was tasty - I couldn't confirm due to the absence of my taste and smell... :(

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Preacher's Kid: 101

Isn't it strange when contemplating preachers' children?  I often find myself pondering things and attempting to find some rhyme or reason for the flow of things.  I am a preacher's kid - a PK.  Those of you who aren't PKs already have a preconceived notion on how you view us as a whole.  Those of you who carry the title PK have your own view and usually feel an instant camaraderie with other PKs.  You know of the "fish bowl" life.  You know how always you were/are expected to perform above par because even non-preacher families feel their children and their behavior are a reflection of the parental "aptitude".  For PKs, this performance is significantly higher - because not only are the parents trying to prove they are good parents emotionally and physically, but we add spiritually to that as well - and a rebellious, heathen child can really destroy that for you.
Aside from the "fish bowl" aspect, there's knowing that family life and church life are somehow both one and the same and totally disconnected - simultaneously.  They are the same in that no matter what the family is doing, church and the people have an open invite to call, show up, be admitted to the hospital and need the pastor, have a concern, need a friend, call to gossip, or just call to complain because somebody took their pew.  Now don't get me wrong, I love church folks, I really do.  And there are times when the pastor is truly needed.  But growing up, there were those times when the church felt like clouds when the sun was trying to shine through.  The sun could shine and warm all day, and there was always the one or two more clouds to take care of.  On the other hand, church life and family life was totally disconnected.  If our family went through a difficult time, it was kept under wraps - we could fume at home but once we hit the church steps, the plastic smiles were pulled out of our pockets and pasted on.   We were the preacher's family darn it - we were the epitome of a perfect family.  We were all shiny and clean on the outside and festering or crying on the inside.  But we were not to let that show.  The pastor's family is there for others' needs...we deal with our own in privacy.

As time passes, Pks grow up.  It is then that the pressure intensifies.  People are curious to see if PKs will rebel or if they'll perform to a higher standard - and PKs are aware of this judging...don't kid yourself into thinking they aren't.  If a child from a church family goes astray, it is considered a tragedy.  If a PK goes astray, it is considered catastrophic and worthy of a lengthy gossip circle. 

Some PKs have had enough by this time.  They've endured the sacrifice and felt the reward was wanting.   In their dismay, they simply fall away.
Some PKs have felt the "performance" ropes so tightly that as soon as they have the strength they pop them loose completely and totally rebel.  
Others feel the pressure and still feel the need to perform.  They do all that's expected, be everything to everyone, and yet never feel enough.
Some settle into a church and seem to make the transition from Pk to just another family.

What you have to understand about Pks is that they KNOW church.  PKs know how to act, dress, talk, walk - yet they are constantly viewing all sorts of people and church situations.  They see church splits, church gossips, church indecencies.  They see their own family hurts, wounds, and anger smothered under a facade of perfection.  PKs know what people say vs what people do.  That knowledge weighs a lot.  It has to be reckoned with....and each Pk reckons differently.  Now I'm not saying all Pks live a miserable life...not at all....there are blessings and highlights.  I'm just giving you non-Pks  some insight and letting my fellow PKs know that I got your back :) 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

After the initial shock wore off, I think Darren really "took a shine" to my new feathers :D

Love My Girl...

The Lash Club

In order of appearance:
My friend Renee', her daughter Emma, my daughter Sarah, and I

Intro ....The Lashes... :D

We had to have our party a week after Halloween due to an illness.  While looking around WalMart, I found that all the Halloween merchandise was 75% off!! Yeah!  The family we share this fellowship with has a little girl Sarah's age.  I decided to get both moms and daughters some cool lashes to play with.  I was excited!! :D  I've never even attempted to put any on, so I couldn't wait to see if they worked!!!  They were so much fun!  The girls had matching blue and silver and the moms were bedecked in blue and purple feathered lashes....  We had a ball!!

Eyeball Punch

Punch Recipe:

One 2-liter Ginger Ale
One 2-liter Sprite
One container Lime Sherbet
One can of Pineapple Juice
One package of Lime Kool-Aid

This punch is AWESOME!! ...with or without the eyeballs!  :) LOL

Boiling Cauldron Cake

We have a little party every year with a fellow homeschool family around Halloween.  It's nothing really but an excuse to make creative snacks and let the kids play.  :)  This is the cake I made for this year..It's a boiling cauldron filled with all kinds of bugs and fingers and eyes...gummy, of course :)  

Blast From the Past

We always take the kids to a trunk or treat or two for Halloween.  I do not buy costumes for this...  I make something.  Last year, I made cloaks so they could be characters from Star Wars.  This year, they decided to wear their colonial outfits we've been slowly working on.   We did get around to making the paper mache powder horns and spray painting tin band-aid containers to make ammunition boxesThe two older ones looked so, I suppose they would rather I said ...frontiersman like.  Sarah wore her colonial dress and we even hooked her up with the grain bucket so she'd have a lunch pail.  She looked darling.  I didn't make anything for Isaac, so I decided to use what we had.  Jeans, red checked shirt, an old holster and gun, and a cowboy about a good looking cowboy.  Darren painted a mustache and beard on him and the look was complete!!  Oh, and Isaac pulled his gun out several times and let it be known he was no tenderfoot....H@!  Just looking at these pictures makes me smile.  I am so thankful that God chose to bless me with these children.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Beauty at Ground Level...

How cool is this ....fungus?  Such a negative sounding word for such a beautiful piece of creation.   It looks like a colorfully swirled skirt for a wood fairy....

My Very Talented Carpenter

The front of the barn is looking great!!  It nearly makes me want to live in the barn and abandon my house.  It's just so rustic and natural looking.  I love it.  And I must mention that I find the carpenter quite attractive as well...good thing he's mine....  :D

And The Barn Work Commences....

Darren has been faithfully working on the barn every chance he gets.  This is a picture of the beautiful floor he created.  I did drive a few nails, but then we've already gone over that haven't we? :)  Oh, and have you ever been in any of those old school rooms or churches (like in Cades Cove)?  When you walk across the floor, they sound sturdy and hollow....that's how the floor sounds!  I love it!  And on some of the pieces of wood where it has the round place where a knot was? ...well, when the sun is shining and you're standing on the inside of the room, the rings around the knot look like they are a translucent red's gorgeous! 
 I think it is looking amazing!  I love the way the boards overlap and fit perfectly together on the siding.   The man truly has talent and know-how.
He did ask me again to help him out.  I walked over to where he was waiting for me...with the hammer!  He had a piece of wood in place with several nails sticking in it.  He asked me to nail them in.  I started nailing and they went in like a breeze!  I was so excited!    I asked him if he saw how quickly those nails went in.  He looks at me with a tired look and said "Just so you know, those holes were predrilled."   Yeah, I guess the nails already sticking in the holes should've given that away...I was crushed.  But I quickly recovered and moved on :D