Romans 12:1-2

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Reindeer Pictures

This past week at school, I read The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett.  If you haven't made it a part of your Christmas reading for your children, you should.  It's a wonderful story with a sweet message about being gentle instead of bossy.  We used it to analyze the main character, Teeka; found common and proper nouns in the text;  did a logic exercise to line up the reindeer; and made an art project of a reindeer head.  I told my class I'd show them my reindeer pictures so here is my way to easily do that.  When I was uploading the pictures, I realized that I must have been enamored by the reindeer because I had a lot pictures of them!  We were in a national forest in Ketchikan and while the boys were ziplining through the trees, the girls took a little forest tour.  This animal spot also had a bald eagle and owl.  The last picture in this set has info. on reindeer.  Merry Christmas and Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The 12 Pictures of 2012

For our Christmas letter this year, I am posting pictures from each month of the year. For more family highlights (if you're interested) click on posts on the side bar of my blog for each month.
This year has had its ups and downs with me working again (2nd grade - lots of changes to teaching!) and my sister's cancer treatment (she was actually cancer free 5 years in May - this is a new unrelated one).
Through it all, God continues to remain faithful and sustains us with His presence and peace.
We give Him thanks for our time together and all our wonderful friends and family.  Through it all, we remain richly blessed!

Hubby and I went away together in January.  We spent a few days in Tampa and saw friends (and "met" a new one - Winter of Dolphin Tale).  This is Hubby with our friends (he was in our first youth group!) after we had dinner on the bay.  I was safe from the pelicans since I took the picture!

Every February, we visit family in Texas.  This is what the boys spend a lot of time doing there!
L. received his Arrow of Light award from Cub Scouts in March.  He's active in a Boy Scout troop now.
Easter was on M's 13th birthday this year and Hubby's family from ABQ came to visit.
We went to Joplin in May.  It was the one year anniversary of the devastating tornado.  Hubby ran the half marathon and L the 5k.

Our family vacation was with friends on a cruise to Alaska in June.  We spent time in Portland with them afterwards too.  This is the four of us in Ketchikan.

This is what the boys and I were doing literally RIGHT before finding out Aunt's leukemia diagnosis.  Hubby had church meetings at a resort in Missouri.  We left early for me to be with Aunt - Hubby took the boys to a local water park.  Aunt is 2/3 finished with treatment now.

M is an 8th grader this year and L is a 6th grader. 
My niece was born in September!  Everyone in the family says this was the highlight of the year (vacation was a close second.)

We went to Kansas City in October for fall break.  Hubby has a friend he runs marathons with.  We enjoyed eating at an Austrian restaurant with them and then the four of our family attended a large downtown church before going to the Market and coming home on Sunday.
We had a pretty low-key Thanksgiving and I loved it that way!  The next day, Aunt helped us decorate for Christmas and Hubby and I did some shopping together.  We all actually REALLY took time off and it was a nice break.
I hesitated using this picture because the boys have already changed so much!  But, it's the best family picture we have of the year.
Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On the Home Front - Thanksgiving Eve

A peek through my window…. it’s dark now.  It was 76 degrees at one point today.  We’ve been commenting that 12 years ago when we came here for Thanksgiving and Grandpa took M. to sit in his work truck that it was below freezing!

What’s going on this week… it’s mid-week.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving (parade, dinner and Cowboys game).  Friday, we’re putting the tree up and J. is getting groomed. L. has a wrestling tournament Saturday.  I’ll probably break down and look at my lesson plans, but only because I love the online planbook.

What “the boys” are doing… much to my dismay, they are in the living room wrestling.  I’m sure someone is going to whine or cry or both soon.

On my mind… how selfish I am at times and how the overwhelming things I have going on are more manageable now.  Even if not, others have far more to deal with on a daily basis.

On my bedside table…  Talk of the Town is what’s on the Kindle right now.  If Hubby doesn’t go to bed when I do, I turn Pandora on on the bedside table.

I am richly blessed…  to have such beautiful weather right now for so late in November, for finding some “new” clothes today, that we were able to take Aunt to her last chemo of 2nd round (one more to go) and to have my family at home right now.

I’m praying for… for a friend who is going through a storm in life right now.  I love her dearly and wish I could do more, but have been greatly praying for her whole family.

Our home…  The “laundry annex” (aka the dining room) must be cleaned out before Thanksgiving dinner!  Our home has stayed somewhat together this week – oh wait, that must be because it’s only Wednesday and not the weekend.  Am looking forward to having Christmas lights only on in the house.  I love the look and feeling when everyone is asleep, it’s quiet and I just watch the lights.

Menu planning… We had tacos tonight and while I was cooking I browned hamburger to use for chili on Friday (Mom’s this time).  We’re having turkey and ham both tomorrow and other stuff J.

A photo or two…

From a Family Reunion at the beginning of October

Thanksgiving nine years ago in Texas after my newphew was born.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

One Thousand Gifts - November 17

The wise stand in wind and pray not so much for danger to pass, but for the fear to flee. –Ann Voskamp

#1532- 1540
Reading A Holy Experience blog (3 gifts at noon)

A schedule of whatever I make it (3 gifts at noon)

His continued message of peace (3 gifts at noon)

Gingerbread hot chocolate

Hometown team winning

Problem solving

Online planbook

Texts from a friend.  Even though she is going through a difficult time, she is still encouraging me.

Scripture text from a friend.

Monday, November 12, 2012

One Thousand Gifts - Nov. 12

My Father, United States Air Force
#1521 - #1531

Those willing to stand

God’s sovereignty

Jesus’ first word in the storm was “Peace”

Medical science

Needed rainfall

The comic relief of Duck Dynasty

Family Prayer Time

Looking at a history book together as a family

Five Guys with friends

Transparency with small group


Monday, October 29, 2012

One Thousand Gifts - October 29

#1484 - 1520

J.A. at school

Colorful new kitchen mat

Seeing a friend from college

Lots and lots of rain

A whole day without school work

A long weekend to look forward to


A Godly lady – I’m thankful to be a part of her family!

God’s Word

A city experience

A hotel room gift

A crisp morning

Weekend away

Sitting on a porch eating lunch with Aunt

God’s provision

Being able to go to Aunt’s chemo

God’s healing touch

Changing a situation for a family member’s health

L’s boldness to speak to his Youth Alive group

M making application of a youth lesson

A waterfall in a restaurant

Time to read a book

Free calendars in the mail

He rescues

Difficulties that make us trust

Difficulties that make us lean in to God

The care Aunt is getting from her small group

A very fun evening out with my small group


Simple heartfelt questions


Heart to heart

Pumpkin butter

10 min on the rolley table at the chiropractor

Four color pen

Boys coming to my school after theirs

Aunt on the front page of the paper

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mom's Chili

1 pound of lean hamburger meat
onions if you like
1 pkg. of chili seasoning (preferably Williams)
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 can of tomato soup
Up to one can of water

Brown the hamburger meat (with onions if you wish).  Drain very well and put back in the skillet or a new pot.  Add the other ingredients and simmer for about 20 mins.

This is no where enough chili for our family so I double the recipe and may have to start tripling it. 

Mom always made spaghetti for chili to go on top of and Hubby really likes that.  I use sour cream and either Fritos or crackers.  Everyone likes cheese!

On the Home Front - October 27

A peek through my window…. very sunny, but very chilly.  It looks great!
What’s going on this week… for me – nothing much but, work.  I will be taxi for M helping at Trunk r Treat and for L going to his second week of wrestling practice.
What “the boys” are doing… they are probably still in the air.  Hubby is flying them to Dallas to be with cousins.
On my mind… how nice it is to sleep in and to sit here now and blog.  I’m hoping to get some things done in the house and am weighing when I need to do schoolwork.  Some today so I can stop thinking about it or just as much as I can tomorrow so I have a day off?
On my bedside table…  I read a book during Fall Break, but now I can’t find my Kindle!  Maybe it’s in Hubby’s car or will show up today!
I am richly blessed…  to have Hubby’s help, support and prayers.
I’m praying for… Aunt’s chemo treatments.  Week one of five down.
Our home…  Guess I have another decision to make.  Concentrate on laundry/finding Fall clothes or everything else?  Perhaps my desk?  It looks worse than my desk at school!
Menu planning… Planning?  Not much anymore.  I made chili last night.  It was good, but everyone agreed “Keep making your Mom’s recipe”.  There’s BBQ pork in the fridge to have on a “busy” night; breakfast for dinner on a night Hubby won’t be in; and chicken for Bread Crumb Chicken.
A photo or two…

Fall Break T rip to Kansas City

Monday, October 22, 2012

Exactly What I Needed

Our lives have been "off" lately.  By off, I mean we have been adjusting.  Adjusting to Aunt having leukemia - hospital stays and other needs plus our own emotions.  Adjusting to me working again full time.  The actual act isn't that big of an adjustment.  I've done it before and the boys are semi-self-sufficient, so that part's good.  The adjustment comes from my timing - new standards, new evaluation system, new programs and my new emotions as I deal with all these new things.

We've managed.  Hubby has been amazingly supportive and God has carried us.  A while back I walked up to my sink and glanced up and saw this:

Very simple. Exactly what I needed.  I'm very thankful to Dayspring for providing this Day Brightener for me.  I love Peanuts and this perpetual calendar and the family organizing calendar have been wonderful additions to my kitchen.

If you look closely, you can tell I need to add more of our family info. to our calendar for it to actually work the best (but I think I'm in denial).  However, the point I want to make here is: shortly after I hung it on the fridge (magnetic strip with a pocket - the best kind of calendar ever!), my 8th grade son, wrote on his spaces when he had papers due at school. On. His. Own.  That's what I call effective!

There's some kind of disclaimer that I'm supposed to include, but honestly, I can't find it and the last three reviews I checked didn't have it (I thought it would be soooo easy just to copy!).  It seems too stressful for me to find the exact wording, but the jest is that I received these products free from Dayspring in return for my honest review.  My opinions are true and entirely my own.

If you need smiles in your day, a little organization or are looking for great Christmas gifts, check out the Peanuts calendar at Dayspring.  Look for other things too.  They always have GREAT deals!

Monday, October 1, 2012

One Thousand Gifts - October 1

I continue counting gifts. I don't count to brag or get to a "magic number", but to remember God's provision.  The more I count, focusing on the Giver, not the gift, the more content I am......

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colosians 3:15

#1467 - #1483

God told me where Aunt’s keys were

Drop ins in my classroom

Roast for dinner

Boys who are responsible

Hair cuts

Figuring out just a little more

Looking at pictures

Aunt picking the boys up at school
A moment to be thankful

Leaving school “early”

I found a slug to show my class!

Shopping for my niece


Aunt did not have a heart attack

A family who keeps things going
Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte

Well, pumpkin anything !

(I smile when I see things I know are "repeats".  I can keep counting though, because they are things I really am thankful for in the moment.  A few repeats here are: responsible boys, roast, looking at pictures, and books.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

One Thousand Gifts - September 17 (Constitution Day)

These reflect July and the past seven weeks.  Really? Seven weeks? I feel like I should have written so much MORE.  Seven weeks has been a looong time and my lack of writing reflects where I am.  It certainly doesn't reflect God's faithfulness.  Just the fact that I wrote anything and am posting this feels like normalcy and an accomplishment.

In the past seven weeks Aunt has been diagnosed and is being treated for leukemia; I started a new job and am completely overwhelmed by it; and I have had severe allergies and/or a sinus infection for three weeks.  Waa.  Stop complaining, Annette!  I have soooo much to be thankful for - click on the "thankful" tag and look bag.  In less than another seven short/looong weeks it will have been two years since I started my One Thousand Gifts journey.


A husband who helps

Playing the wii with the boys

Everyone home safe and together

M volunteering at VBS

Going to Memphis – company there

L meeting his pen pal

Getting in the pool

Opportunities for conversation

A morning walk

Clouds yesterday

Afternoon with the boys in my hometown

Good reports from Aunt

All this teaching stuff will get done!

A new card game to play with L

The boys got along well and were helpful yesterday

God’s timing

The generosity of friends

A supportive Hubby

New pens, highlighters, and sharpies

God’s preparing Word

Great care that Aunt has had

Hubby helping me at school

Hubby helping me in the middle of the night when I was coughing

Errands with the boys

Seeing deer – 8 in one spot and a family in another

Tennis for M

A ride home

Dates with Hubby

Peaceful location for L’s job

Time in the pool

Great people to work with

Taking the time to blog

Sleeping when I’m sick

Chicken Santa Fe Spud

Encouraging words from Hubby’s family

Quick answers to prayer

M picked out a purple toothbrush for me

Meeting Aunt at Starbucks

My niece (first girl in 70 years) was born

Hubby’s help and understanding

Saturday, September 8, 2012

On the Home Front - September 8, 2012

A peek through my window…. we had a bad storm to get this way, but it is absolutely gorgeous outside!  It’s sunny and in the 70s!  Out the window – lots of kids are playing and I can hear Hubby in the garage working on a project.

What’s going on this week… Open House for me, M will have more tennis.  I’m thankful that a friend’s Mom is taking him home on the day I’m at school late.  What else is going on?  For us, I haven’t thought that far.  My niece may be born on Thursday!

What “the boys” are doing… one was making stuff out of paracord.  I think they were both helping Hubby.  L has been faithful to practice his new clarinet.  We’ll all be going to a special exhibit on George Washington tomorrow.

On my mind… my mind is too full!  Fitting everything in to my school schedule is at the front of my mind.

On my bedside table… I started (meaning I’ve read the first chapter) a new book – Into the Clouds by Bonnie Leon.  It seems really good.  I just wish I could make more time to read it.  There are just so many hours…

I am richly blessed…  by my Hubby.  He got up with me at two this morning when I couldn’t sleep because I was coughing.  He filled up the humidifier, checked on me, brought me things and didn’t seem at all bothered by the time or inconvenience.  He is the best!

I’m praying for… a little boy who is only two and has leukemia.  He is in ICU with an infection.

Also praying for a dear friend with possible changes coming.

Our home…  has had better care, but is surviving me going back in the classroom full-time.  Hubby and a friend spent two full days on the roof fixing a leak.  It was 106 degrees one of the days and they didn’t give up!  So far, so good after one rainstorm.

Menu planning… Hmmm… Dinner usually consists of “Whatever you can find” lately.  I have made dinner for a record two nights in a row – Chicken Broccoli Casserole and Taco Soup.  I normally hate using canned chicken, but found a name brand “grilled chicken” in the can and it tasted fine in a casserole.  Have plans to make sloppy joes and sausage, eggs & hashbrowns next week.

A photo or two…

First Day of 8th Grade and 6th Grade

Happy Anniversary

On Labor Day

Hubby grilled...

M and Aunt visited and played Kindle games...

L played air soft guns in the back yard with a friend...

I made fruit salad and used Mom's bowl..

I also had a low grade fever and started the week battling a sinus infection (even lost my voice).  But, unpleasantries aside, Labor Day marked the three year anniversary of being in our new home in Oklahoma.  Happy Anniversary to us!  I'm so glad we're here...