In case you haven't noticed, there is an additional child in our family photo. I would like you all to meet the newest member of our family. She is the pretty little 7 year old in the purple dress. "Eloise" now has a little sister. We have decided to call her, "Amelia Bedelia".

Friday, February 29, 2008

Coveted Prayers

Our family is in the process of making some major decisions concerning adoption. It has always been our desire to open our home to a child in need, but It 's not a simple process. There are many variables to be considered. We don't want to make our decisions based on emotions. We want the Lord to guide our every step. Please keep us in your prayers. I will keep you informed about our journey.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Backwards Brunch

Today I hosted a brunch for the ladies involved with the Prison Ministry. Everything turned out lovely... just a little backwards. My new recipe for Bacon & Egg Lasagna took a bit longer to prepare than I expected. No problem! We had desert and coffee first then we ate the delicious creamy entree. After the meal we sat and enjoyed each other's company for a while. Such a refreshing break from the daily grind. We regret to announce that Plain Old Kristi was unable to attend due to the fact that she has a sick brood of little chickies that need alot of T.L.C. I hope everything works out. Also if you're lurking around MONIQUE, thanks for your comment it was nice to hear from you. Don't be a stranger. Feel free to lurk as much as you like. ;-)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bitter Sweet

This morning marked the end of the beginning of our recovery. In 2005 when we (my husband, daughter, and I) were sleeping on the pullout sofa in a friends travel trailer, the thought of having our own trailer was a dream. FEMA told us we wouldn't get one for at least 6 months. Our friend was a blessing, but his wife and kids were scheduled to come home soon. Two families in one travel trailer just wasn't going to work. So we went to Alabama and purchased one for $24,000. OUCH! We will be paying for ten more years. We really didn't have a choice though. We needed to hurry home and get the church up and running. We arrived in the church parking lot like a turtle with it's home on it's back, but we were so happy to have a place to call home for a while. It started with just our pastor, his wife, his son, and my family. We ran generators only at night and ate cold Raviolis out of the can for a couple of weeks. At last count we had 7 families and a couple of singles parked at the church. It was an adventure, but finally the summer after Katrina we all packed up and moved our trailers to our own property. By this time we had secured temporary power to our trailers and some of the streets had been cleared by bull dozers. I don't know why, but this was a very emotional moment for me. Yes I was tired of living like a nomadic tribe and yes I was glad to be getting closer to my house(shell-studs no walls or doors) but I had grown accustomed to my brand of weird. We had pulled together and were safe. As we one by one pulled of the church property it was like launching off into the deep unknown. There were other families who never lived at the church for various reasons, but visited often. I'm sure they missed the group meals and campfires too. Things have settled alot since then, but we're not out of the woods just yet due to the fact that 60% of the population didn't have the will or strength to come back. There are still tons of abandoned properties. As "Twilight Zone" as this may be we have all simply gotten used to it. I don't feel the tears welling up nearly as often. For the most part it's out of my mind until something jostles my memory. That something happened today. We closed up the old trailer and moved it away. No more monument to destruction. No daily reminder of how uncertain the future is. I should be thrilled...I am, but there is still this little pang in my heart as I realize that this is the end of another chapter in my life.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


One of my college professors (BiologyII) was droning on and on about all sorts of things that I can't even pronounce when suddenly out of the blue there it was! A nugget of wisdom that I could not only understand, but I could use this baby. "What was it?" you might ask. Here it is my friends.....Diatomaceous Earth. It turns out that diatoms (aka jewels of the sea) have cell walls that are composed of a glass like substance. "Why do I care?" well the answer is easy....tomatoes. MY TOMATOES to be precise. Last year was my first attempt at growing anything edible other than peppers. My tomatoes were beautiful....until the bugs and other creepy things came and had a tomato buffet. I was so upset. I wanted to save my tomatoes, but I didn't want to poison my family in the process. My professor is a major naturalist and he swears by Diatomaceous Earth. Basically they take the skeletons of dead diatoms and grind them to a powder. It kills the pests without the use of poisons or other harsh chemicals. My teacher says you can get it at most feed stores or order it on-line. I'm going to give it a shot. I'll have to take pics and post with my progress!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Where To From Here?

As I sat here in my tiny office watching the clouds through my window and listening to the sound of my husband cutting the grass my mind began to mull some things over. The picture board next to my desk caught my attention. I began to examine every picture closely. Some made me laugh, many made me smile, while others pricked my heart. I began to truly realize how full my life has been. I am not a wisened matriarch, but my nearing "middle aged" life is so much more than I ever expected it to be. My mental vacation was interrupted by an accute awareness that the clock was tick....tick....ticking It was as if in a small voice the Lord was saying I've given you so much....now what are you going to do with the time you have left. As a Christian and a mother I am sometimes torn between inreach(family) and outreach(others.) I love to spend time nurturing my family, but at the same time I feel a sense of guilt for not selling everything and moving to Zimbabwe to preach the Gospel. After all people died for this message!....right?....then I feel the gentle hand of the Lord and He whispers to my heart, "I gave you this home and this family....enjoy them fully, but use them as tools to reach your world." What do you mean Lord? "You have a large kitchen...use it to feed the hungry while your daughter learns to serve." He also admonished me to spend lots of quality time with my family not only baking bread, but breaking the bread of life. "Use family time to instill my word in her heart so that she can share it with her generation...they desperately need it." then he said again, "I gave them to you... enjoy them, but don't forget to use them wisely." ....silence.....tick...tick.....tick....I whispered, "thank you Jesus."

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Big Shoes To Fill

As a mother I am both humbled and amazed by this little person who used to reside somewhere between my belly button and my spine. I am overwhelmed when I consider all that I have learned through her. Is she an ordinary kid? Well judging by the roller skates on the stairs and fingerprints on the windows I'd have to concede....she's average. On the other hand at 7 yrs. of age I have seen glimpses of what an extroardinary woman she will become. She has great compassion for the sick and the elderly, a strong desire to serve God, and dogmatic determination. Shortly after viewing our home that was under 12 feet of mud, oil, and water I decided to talk to her about being sad. She was trying to be brave, but I wanted her to understand that it was normal to cry a little. She was only 5 at the time so even though I was hysterical inside I had to remain calm. I started by telling her I missed many of our friends who were still scattered all over the country. I missed my routine and yes I missed all of my scrapbooks. She was deep in thought for some time and then the tears came. "I miss MaCole." That was the name she had given her stuffed giraffe. The same 3 ft. tall giraffe whom she insisted on carrying to church for the longest because, " giraffes need to learn about Jesus too!"
That was it. One statement, "I miss MaCole" accompanied by several crocodile tears. My heart was in my throat. I didn't speak for fear I would start sobbing and make things worse. After a few seconds of silence she wiped her eyes, put a smile on he face, and said, "but you know what?...thinking about that makes me sad and I don't want to be sad so I'm not going to think about that any more." I sat amazed thinking....If only I could have that same attitude. She was quoting scripture to me in her own little words. Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brethren whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of a good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise think on these things." Wow....out of the mouth of babes! It is my responsibility to teach her and yet so many times I find that she is teaching me also.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Change of Heart

I am currently in school to be a teacher. One of my assignments is to establish my core beliefs about teaching and learning with the understanding that these beliefs will evolve as I gain more experience. So as I'm pondering this my mind wandered, as it often does, to the subject of Valentines day. I was amused to realize how much my thoughts about life and love have "evolved" over the years. When I was a teenager I thought the best gifts had to be big and expensive. As I sat thinking about this notion I realized that the few gifts that really stood out in my mind were actually the least expensive. One V-Day when my daughter was a baby and my husbands workplace was being sold, my husband had to be creative. Not sure where he was going to work next he had to be careful with every penny. My husband racked his brain to recall every request I had recently made(i.e...change air filters...replace light bulbs...) He also stocked the kitchen with a few of my favorite snacks. After everything was ready he took my daughter so I could relax at home and do whatever I wanted ;-)sigh......worth more than gold! Another such memory happened just yesterday. My husband gave me a goodie bag with a few little items in it, but the thing that stood out was a C.D. that was probably on the clearance rack due to it's age. When we were dating it was my favorite. I kept it over a decade, but then Katrina hit and it along with everything else was gone. My hubby had to call around to find it. It was inexpensive, but oh so thoughtful. I love that guy! I better call & tell him! Then back to my :-( homework which is how I got on this subject in the first place.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Portable Rice Box

The children at the schools I work at love this activity. They would play for hours if we'd let them. It's simply a twist on the old sand box, but it can be used indoors or out and then tucked away for storage.
MEASURING CUPS (good for estimating/math skills)
1 VERY LARGE BAG OF RICE (sam's or cosco)
CHILDREN (ages4-8 sometimes older if nobody is looking.)
Mix well when playtime is over simply close lid and tuck away. There isn't any sand in hair or clothes, but it's just as fun. One teacher even threw in some dried red beans for a Louisiana flair. This project should cost less than $20. If they finally get tired roll it under their bed and wait for a rainy day. When you pull it out they will fall in love with it again.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

My Mini Missionaries

Today in Sunday Shool we had a Valentines/Chinese New Year/Missionary party. Kindergarteners love parties. We ate snacks, passed out Valentines, chocolates, and fortune cookies. My daughter wore one of her Asian outfits. I discussed the sacrifices that missionaries make when they move to places like China. My sister and brother in law visited the class and handed out red envelopes with a little cash in them. This is a Chinese tradition. It is believed that nobody should start off the new year broke. Married people are supposed to give to all the children (friend or relative not yet married.) I absolutely loved this tradition..... till I got married!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

My Uneventful Day!


Friday, February 8, 2008


Yesterday was Chinese New Year. That's a good thing because it usually takes me this long to get around to starting my Jan.1st resolutions! It's a second chance for this crockpot to get it right. Today my battles begin! I am going to eat healthier, exercise regularly, climb Everest, and save the rain forest...the last two sprang from that conquering American spirit within me. The first two probably meandered through my conciousness from my Chinese side, so while my two halves fight it out I'm going to go relax on the sofa and eat some "double fudge brownie" ice cream! LOL :) I'll let you know which side won by Jan. 1st 2008!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

What Next!

Here we are 2 1/2 years post Katrina and I have to head on down to the powers that be and produce pictures of my home and proof that I live there because my beautiful house is on the list to be demolished! I'm not complaining though. I could still be living in a travel trailer with a bird bath(aka shower) that leaks into the foyer/hallway/kitchen/dining/living room thingy! Actually that wasn't bad either. We had alot of fun times camped out at the church with 37 other people. This whole ordeal has caused me to focus on God and relationships. When I was down to having one black skirt, three shirts, the shoes on my feet, and my grooming supplies... getting more stuff didn't make me feel any better. Prayer and being surrounded by my loved ones are the only things that got me through a very dark time in my little world. I would also like to say that I will be forever grateful to the friends we made at Bro.Wilbank's church and at CLC (Bro. Libby's church.) GOD IS SO GOOD ....I CANNOT TELL IT ALL!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Just Plain Fun

Yesterday was a huge, dirty(literally tons of trash on streets), drunken "holiday" where we live. It is so refreshing to get away. We always have a big picnic. The adults play games and BBQ while the children play. No traffic, no drunken revelers, no trash, just plain old fashioned fun!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Let's Not Sugar Coat This

I have recently received the kitchen of my dreams. Since we lost everything in hurricane Katrina my husband and I decided to rebuild our home around our kitchen. I love to cook and the kitchen is where everyone seems to congregate any way. We put a large portion of our money into appliances. I now have three ovens(I'm thinking holidays.) My first entertaining opportunity arises. My parents 25th Anniversary(I'm thinking order a cake.) My husband says,"order a cake...are you crazy?" then he turns to me and says,"I bought you three ovens. USE THEM!" I have to admit I have always wanted to learn, but a 25th isn't the time to practice! Well with a little help from Wilton and the Lord we did it. I surprised myself. Since then I have done 2 shower cakes and a Birthday cake. It is a lot...lot....lot...of work, but I enjoy it.

Fashionably Late

I'm sure it's a shock for some of you to realize that there are people who have no clue about the internet let alone blogging. I was one of those people, but thanks to my dear friend "plain old kristi" I am now a part of the 21st century! I've always said, "I'm a crockpot in a microwave generation." Give me time and something good will come of this.