Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways
acknowledge him,and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Resurrection Sunday

What a blessed day!

We started our morning with the discovery that the Easter Bunny had indeed arrived!

We followed that with an Easter Egg Hunt and Caleb had the best time.  This was the first year the Easter Bunny did that for him here at our house!   He was pretty excited about it!

Then we were off to church.  It was my turn in the nursery for Easter Sunday.  You never know what to expect when it's your turn.  I've had some pretty EVENTFUL nursery duty experiences, but today was more the UNEVENTFUL sort, or, hmmm, let's say, JOYFUL sort.  I had my Caleb and sweet Ella, precious Piper, and the full of energy Aiden!   We had so much fun!  What sweet blessings for my heart...sigh...

After church was over we managed to get a few pictures.  The first one is of Oscar, Caleb, & Ella.  He'll be going off to college soon and it seemed appropriate to get a picture of him with his two best playmates!  C & E just LOVE Oscar!

Then I had him take a couple of our family....not everyone was here, but we took a picture of those in attendance today.

Then Miss E. wanted in the photo and how could we not take one of her!  She's as much ours as she is the Hopkins - - in our hearts anyway.  ;o)

And the two munchkins together...Always have to take one of those...

At our annual family Easter gathering the kids participated in another Easter Egg Hunt.  A little hard to get pictures, but I gave it a good try!  Here's Caleb and one of his best bud's, my grandson, H.  They love to hang out and play together!  I'm not sure what H. was looking at, but something distracted him!

My granddaughter A. was a little harder to nab a picture of this time as she didn't seem to be in the mood to pose - just wanted to find her eggs.  Can't say I blame her!

Definitely having some fun!!  Can't miss the big grin on his face!!

My adorable grandson, H.  He didn't mind a quick post for his pesky Grandma Pam!

Here are all the little one's as they investigate the eggs they found!!  You never know what you might find inside!!  

I also managed to get a picture of my two oldest boys...D. & R. together.  I asked them to pretend they loved each for a quick moment.  I'm guessing they really do and didn't have to pretend, too, much!  LOL  Sometimes I can't believe that my oldest son is a husband and a father!  I'm very proud of him and the amazing job he and M. are doing with their kiddo's...Grandkids are some of the most precious kids around!  Particularly mine!

Following the egg hunt was a delicious meal...brisket, potato salad, beans, veggies, fruit, and cookies!!  Yum, yum!!  Another Resurrection Sunday with sweet fellowship and big blessings of family time!  It seems we never get enough of that.  

I wasn't as on-the-ball with my camera this year as in years past.  My nephew Z. and his wife of less than a year, M. were there, complete with his broken leg.  My parents R. & D. were there, along with my brother R. and his wife S. (it was at their house, so I guess they would have to be there! LOL).  I'm wishing now I'd taken better pictures, but, it is what it is...

I pray you have a blessed week!

Totally Random

Nothing like an out of place and totally random post!  Javelina, or wild hog?  I'm honestly not sure, as it could have been either really.  I do know it was dark black/brown and fortunately for me it was small.  I probably could not have picked it up without a struggle, but it was a baby.  And it charged right at me as I watered my garden yesterday.  I heard grunt, grunt, grunting (or maybe it was snort, snort, snorting) behind me and I turned to see it run head first into the fence we have around our garden.  It backed up and ran into it again as though determined to get through the wire!   I'm am seriously grateful for the fencing we put up because little thing was about 5 feet from me and would have run right into me had the fence NOT been there.

Just so you know, I was completely and totally caught of guard.  Being that I was watering the garden and my only "weapon" within reach was the garden hose, I decided to turn my sprayer nozzle in his/her direction.   The critter didn't care for that much and took a sharp turn to the right, finding the gap in the fence to the back pasture that the dogs like to use and disappeared into the brush.  Whew!

I'm going to be totally honest here.  The critter wasn't that big, but my hands were shaking.  I've heard stories from friends about wild hogs attacking humans and being quite aggressive.  My eyes scanned back and forth looking for mama.  I knew if baby was around, mama couldn't be too far behind.   I'm very grateful that she wasn't within my line of vision!!  At least not today!!

A wild hog...broad daylight....running through my yard....seriously?

What else can I expect to see out here?

One just never knows...

God bless,

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It's All In The Dye!!

I have a confession to make.  Around Easter, or Resurrection Sunday as I should more accurately call it, I love to color eggs.  Well, actually, I enjoy watching my kids color eggs.  This is something we've done every year, no matter how many kids were in the house at that given time, ever since I had my first child.  This is a carryover from my own childhood as my mom always let my brother and I color eggs every year.

In my house, the younger the kids were, the more coloring I had to do, but when the oldest was old enough I let them be the leader and I'd just watch.  It always brought me such joy watching them get excited at the notion, asking twenty times or more if the eggs were boiling yet, if the eggs were cool enough yet, then watching them prepare the coloring, and choose which one they'd use first.   There were never enough eggs for coloring, it seemed.  It think they could have gone on coloring a hundred eggs if my budget had allowed it.

This year we're missing one person, Sissy, who is married, has her own home and as I recently discovered, colored her own eggs this year.  It would seem she is carrying on the tradition that I passed down to her.  ;o)  Does my heart good.

So, who was left?  My boys, of course.  I snapped a couple of photos of the process - - gotta have a picture for the memory book, or in my case, just for my memories as my photos rarely make it to albums anymore these days.

Teamwork (sorry, a little blurry, but they weren't in the mood for pictures and wouldn't pose for another):

Hard at work:

Caleb's Eggs:

Randy's Eggs:

Yes, it was fun this year, too....I would imagine that when my kiddo's have all left the house (or if Caleb decides at some point he's too big for coloring eggs), I will be coloring them myself.  This is a tradition that is going to be hard for me to let go of....

I wish everyone a blessed and peaceful Resurrection Sunday.  Let's remember that this holiday is not really about the coloring of Easter eggs and filling of Easter baskets.  Those things are definitely fun, but Jesus died for our sins, was resurrected three days later, and He lives today!!  Let's not let all the fun overshadow the seriousness of this time of year.  But, we can still have a good time with our families, eat good food, and thank God for each and every blessing received!

The Resurrection

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.  His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.  The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here, he has risen, just as he said.  Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples:  'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.  There you will see him.'  Now I have told you."

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.  Suddenly Jesus met them.  "Greetings," he said.  They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, 'Do not be afraid.  Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."     Matthew 28:1-10 

Tuck this scripture deep into your heart - - for HE HAS RISEN!

In His Precious and Holy Name,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Round of Golf

Well, Mini-Golf that is!  Caleb has been anxious for a "Caleb-N-Sissy" day.  She invited him to play putt-putt golf with her.  When she learned Randy was out of school for intercession this week, she invited he and I to go along also.  Okay, so that was NOT what Caleb had in mind and he insisted that I just drop them off at Sissy's and leave.  Didn't do much for MY self-esteem, but he is only 5 so I didn't take it too much to heart.

Upon arriving, we learned Aaron had the car and Sissy couldn't drive them anywhere anyway.  They were stuck with me.  So, he adjusted his thinking and decided to let me play, too.

Sadly, I don't get too many opportunities to blog about Randy, so this set me up with the perfect chance to do just that!

Here are the three stooges at the first hole!  Thought I'd nab a photo before they looked weathered and worn out from the heat of the day.  {I efficiently escaped a photo today! }

Here's our little golfer in the making after hitting his ball into the hole!  This stinker managed a 'hole-in-one.'  I don't believe it was on this hole as that would have been extremely lucky of me to catch a picture of the hole-in-one in the making.  LOL   But, he had witnesses, we saw it!  It came complete with a fist-pump!

A quick pose!

Yes, this is an official hole where we had to putt our ball DOWN the stairs!!  Talk about randomness.  No skill involved in this one, at least until you get to the bottom.

Mark the calendar - - I realized on this very day that Randy is officially taller than I am.  Sigh....I knew the day would come and here it is.

This was really a fun day.  We played the "Challenge Course" so that we could go up and down the "mountain."  Not one of us played a really decent game.  Our balls were going everywhere, wouldn't stay put, which left us laughing at each other over and over again.  When something good did happen, we cheered each other on!

One for the memory books...

My cup run-eth over...

God bless,


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Absolutely Gorgeous

I love March for a number of reasons, but one of them is because that is when my amarylis bloom.  They are absolutely gorgeous when they finally show themselves.  I've had them for 4-5 years now.  Last year, a hail storm came in and destroyed most of them.  I salvaged a bloom or two for the vase on my table, but that's just not the same. 

This year we had the threat of another storm.  No hail this time, just the possibility of heavy rain.  So, with a bit of creativity, I managed to protect them using a metal pail and a large plastic bin.  Hey, we do what we gotta do sometimes.

We managed to make it through the rain storm, but regretfully a day or so later the "in-like-a-lion-winds" made their appearance and toppled them over.  One stalk broke completely off - so in the house it went - yes, into a vase on the table.  The other stalk was okay so I used a couple of items from the garage to hold it up right until the blooms died off.  I usually have 4 plants, but this year only two of them bloomed. I guess I will have to see about sticking some more of these beauties in the ground.  But, maybe I should scout the grounds and see if a less windy area might prove to be a little safer.

I know, I know, the flower bed would look more impressive without the green weeds, but there is only so many hours in a day you know.  Hee, hee...

God bless,

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary....

How does your garden grow?

This is the 2nd year for the Parker's to put in a family garden.  We planted our first one last year in March of 2010.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and when time restraints didn't allow us to put in a fall garden I was really bummed.  But, determination had us back out there in March of this year to once again make us some veggies!!

Here's Johnny, hard at work getting those beds ready for planting.  We found this roto-tiller on Craigs list last year AFTER already putting in the garden.  We knew it would be a purchase that we would get a lot of use out of in the future and couldn't pass it up.

A very proud young man who worked along side us getting everything in the garden.  From left to right, bed #1 has green beans and peas planted from seed.  Bed #2 has tomato's and bell pepper from transplants.  Bed #3 has squash, cucumbers (3 from transplants and 6 or 8 from seed),  and on the end some okra.  Bed #4 is the one Caleb is standing in front of and it has onions from transplants, a few onion seed, and down on the end out of view are some jalapeno plants from transplants...

It's always fun to watch the plants grow and we wait in anticipation of the first veggie to be ready.  With this years garden, it only took a couple of weeks and two of these guys were ready for the picking.  Unfortunately, they were curled, which led me to believe they might be pickling cucumber plants.  That's a disappointment if it's the case.  Gill's might have mis-marked them.  We'll see.  I'm hoping it's just because they were the first one's and that they curled.

On of my most favorite veggie is just beginning to grow.  Aren't they the cutest squash you've every seen?  LOL

Here's another picture of the garden a week or so later!  Isn't the growth incredible.  You can tell just by looking at the onions.  See how tall and green they are already?  Amazing.

I had every intention of putting a week by week picture on here, but alas, that is not to be.  But here's an updated photo anyway.  Definitely a lot more green to see!

With one of these yummy squash ready to eat!  Mmm, mmm, GOOD!  It wasn't a few days later and we had a pile of them.  John grilled them on the BBQ and they had to be the BEST squash I'd ever eaten.  I could have made a meal of them by themselves.

And this vision of loveliness - grape tomato's!  I can't wait.  I love to eat them for a snack all by themselves.  Just pop them in like candy.  Delicious!

And these, finally a few to pick. Still very young though as the pod's were rather tough...tasty peas though...but only enough for me to snack...I'm hoping that as they produce they will make a more mature and tasty product. 

Yesterday (Apr 17th) we saw a quarter sized bell pepper. Today there were a few of the tiniest ever jalapeno's starting out and YES, green beans.  They are very small and so skinny, but they are coming.  Can't wait!

April 20, 2011:

Now, THIS is what I'm talking about!

And finally - GREEN BEANS - only a few for me to nibble, but that's okay....more will come!

Until our next update...
God bless,

Hey Mom! Look at Me!

I love little boys.  I love little girls, too, but my youngest is a boy so that's where my focus is right now.   Anyhoo - watching them learn and stretch and grow in all their daily activities is especially enjoyable.  My youngest loves to impress me, his daddy, or, well, anyone who will stop and watch actually.  LOL  Sometimes he is doing the smallest thing, but in his mind it is a HUGE feat that must be acknowledged with a "great job," or "wow, look at you!"

"Mom, look at me do this.  Mom, see how far I can jump?  Mom, wanna watch me leap over this so-and-so?"  You get the idea don't you?

A couple of weeks ago I went to exercise with my friend T.  Outside of the facility where we gather is a small playground.  Caleb had been a very patient young man in regards to my workouts and having to hang out in the nursery with the volunteer while I get some exercise and so I treated him to a few minutes on the playground.

I snapped a couple pictures of our fifteen minutes of fun....just because HE was in the mood to impress US.

See what I mean?  He thinks he is amazing and doing something so wonderful!  I just love it.  Brings joy to my heart! 

Have a blessed day!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Time Away - Day Four

Sadly, all good things must come to an end....and today marks the end of our mini-vacation.  We didn't rise particularly early, but I did get myself to exercise again this morning.  I followed the same routine as yesterday....and again was blessed with a cool and very pleasant morning.  Upon my return to the Condo, Caleb was already up and about, dressed even and Johnny was packing up their clothes.  I got my act together as well - showering then packing up.  Caleb said I didn't have time for a shower, but I quickly told him he and daddy would not let me ride home in the car if I didn't take a shower first!

It was such a blessing to get this time away with family.  The only thing missing was Randy, but with his busy school schedule lately there would have been no way he could miss school to go with us.  I have to count that as a plus for homeschool - as Caleb and I will pick up where we left off - without skipping a beat probably.

I'm grateful for the blessings we acquired on this journey.  No pictures for today....all you would see is our sad faces, with a sagging bottom lip anyway.  LOL   I will look forward to the next adventurous get-a-way that awaits us.

I wish you all a blessed day!

Time Away - Day Three

I woke up bright and early for some reason this morning.  I thought vacations were for sleeping in, and especially when it involves a Monday, but that wasn't the case for me today.  I laid in bed from 6:30 til 7:30 and then decided I might as well get up and get moving.  I am on vacation, but exercise is always a good idea.  I put on my workout clothes, tennies, pedometer, and took my cell phone before heading out the door.  Hills.  Ah, yes.  Glorious hills.  I made use of them this morning.  In 40 minutes I walked 2 miles, and ran "bleachers" on some cement stairs near the river bank.  There were 36 stairs, I went down and up, down and up, for 6 reps.  I loved working out in this fashion and felt so good afterwards for doing so!!  (Just before leaving for this trip I discovered I'd lost 2 lbs.  I had to do my best to keep that off!)

I didn't think Caleb would ever wake up this morning.  He slept like a ROCK all night long!  We finally had to shake him awake as John and I were certain our friends back home could hear our tummy's rumbling from here!  A egg and bacon breakfast for all from Taco Cabana seemed the best choice.  We followed that with a quick stop at HEB for a couple of things and back to the Condo.

We took a break for a bit, then the swimming pool was calling all our names.  Not a soul in the pool except for us.  (Yeah - no more glaring little boy!)  What a treat to have it all to ourselves!  We splashed about for a couple of hours, tossing a ball around, floating about with one of those styrofoam noodle things, and the best part?  Caleb started jumping off the side of the pool!  Face went under the water and everything.  He'd pop up and say, "Yes!" fist pumping.  LOL    What fabulous fun!

We wore ourselves out again!   I was quickly reminded what good exercise swimming actually is!  We  went back to the condo for a short nap.  Relaxing is always good.  Can I get an Amen on that?  Amen!

I don't have many pictures for you today.  Got a little lazy with the camera I guess.   Stomachs hungry again we decided to treat ourselves to our favorite meal, Shrimp Brochette from McAdoo's...

This has to be my most absolute favorite meal!!!  Ever!!!  Well, maybe that is an exaggeration, but I think from that you get the picture and understand that I really do enjoy this meal.  I substituted the dirty rice for a veggie medley, no bread, and dipped my fork in my dressing for each bite of salad instead of drenching it in calories.  After all the exercise this morning, I treated myself to 4 bites of, ah....sigh....yes....mmmmmmm, key lime pie.  Absolutely delightful!

As I type this now, we are watching "Bedtime Stories" with Adam Sandler.  A silly movie that kept Caleb entertained until bedtime.

For now, I bid you all good night, and hope to write about our final morning in N.B. very soon!

God bless,

Time Away - Day Two

Sunday morning came bright and early and we got ready to attend church before making our way to New Braunfels, the ultimate destination on our trip.  The church we went to was very nice.  Different than what my family is used to, but nice.  They had a huge coffee bar area with tables and chairs, much like a library setting.  Very warm and welcoming.  I tried to take a picture, but it turned out dark.  Here it is anyway in case you want to experience the warm fuzzies I felt when I walked through.

My hubby had a great term for this church - - it was an "easy" church.  Not really a "meat and potato's" church as far as sermons go, but a few things stood out to me.   I couldn't stop myself from watching a young man who was sitting near the front of the church.  Well, sitting is probably not the most appropriate term to use.   This young man was literally hopping up and down and dancing in the aisle.  It was not uncommon to see one or both of his hands raised in the air.  It was as though the Holy Spirit was absolutely filling him to the top and spilling over.  He had not a care in the world....I was able to recognize the fact that this young man was possibly autistic.  I don't have a lot of experience with Autism, but his behaviors and mannerisms reminded me of a very special someone I know.  To watch this young man worship, so openly, did my heart tremendous good.  If only we could all be so uninhibited....

My eyes then took in a young woman off to my right...The Holy Spirit was definitely working on her as well.  As the music played, she was so filled with the Spirit that she literally could not stand still.  Up and down, up and down....hands raised as well.  It was definitely apparent she overflowed with love for the Lord.  And I thought I had the wiggles during our praise time at our church back home.  ;o)  Again, so open and carefree.  I couldn't help but admire this beautiful young woman.

The entire service lasted an hour and half.  The Parkers found themselves quite hungry afterwards and made their way to I Hop for brunch.  The restaurant itself was, ummmm, not so great.  My food was really good, but the guys weren't as impressed with theirs.  Except for Caleb who saw that a tube of yogurt came with his meal...."Ah, Ssswwweeetttt...," was his response to that!  LOL

We decided to make a quick escape from the restaurant and head to the San Antonio Zoo.  The entrance to the Zoo has the perfect photo spot.  Caleb had a good time, "running" with the lions.

It had been about two years since Caleb had been to a zoo (last time it was in Austin, Texas).  We really thought he would enjoy it since our recent and up-and-coming lessons for home school were all about wild animals.  Elephant, penguin, kangaroo, and zebra.  Much to my disappointment there were no penguins and if there were kangaroos, we didn't find them.  What we did find was the elephants and zebras!

The elephants completely cracked me up.  One of them was out front, munching on hay that was stacked in a pile in front of him.  From the background came another large, yet graceful elephant.  You can see in my photo the 2nd elephant approaching the first elephant.  In a moment of stingy-ness, the wrinkley, grey creature grabbed the pile of hay with his trunk and moved away.  As the 2nd elephant came close again, the 1st grabbed the hay pile yet again and moved away as though to say, 'this stack belongs to ME!"  It completely cracked me up.  Here's a picture of the two majestic critters, just before they fought over the hay.

Something else that I completely admired was an animal that I had never heard of nor seen before.  The Okapi.  It resembled the giraffe a bit, but had some stripes like a zebra, yet the body shape sort of mimicked the moose.  Sounds strange, doesn't it.  Well, I nabbed a picture - what do you think?

Unique, right?  It was fun to see and a very distinct reminder of how beautiful God's creatures actually are.  I used the term beautiful, but I'm not entirely certain that's the most appropriate word.  So, maybe going back to unique is what I should do.  I've never seen, in person, something quite so unique before.  Here's the sign in front of the exhibit:  they are found only in the Ituri Forest of Central Africa and are endangered and rarely seen.  They weren't even discovered until 1901!  Is that not incredible?!?

Caleb was so excited to see the hippo's, but all we could get was a picture of one of them under the water.  We learned that these bad boys will fight over water sources in the wild.  Especially during times of drought.  They need the water to keep them cool and when the water is drying up they will fight over what is available.

And the Zebra's....Caleb can not wait until we study Zebra's in school.  I think that will be in about a week, if school goes as well as I hope it does after we return from our trip.  These stinkers though, moved rather far away and were hiding behind the trees.  Not a great picture, but if you look closely you can see the black and white stripes.

A couple hours of Zoo time was enough for the three of us and we were quite glad to make our way back to the beginning and the exit!   We snapped a couple of pictures of each other before departing and of course Caleb wanted to take a picture of the fish in the pond.  I think they thought we had food because they swarmed around us in great anticipation

Okay, I know....we looked a bit red-cheeked and wore out.  The hot sun will do that to you....But what grand memories of spending the day with family.  On this very warm, spring day the A/C in the suburban was a much welcomed amenity!!

Time to make our way to New Braunfels, Texas.  Sweet, dear friends of our let us stay at their Condo at the Waterwheel Resort.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture on this trip which would have showed the beautiful new dining room set.  So, here's one from when we went last year.

A beautiful location with lots of fun things to see and do.  Our particular favorite is the on-site pool.  We especially love it when we are the only ones IN it!  LOL   Tonight though, our first night at the condo, we had to share.  Maybe tomorrow we'll have it to ourselves.  It wasn't bad sharing, but some folks are hard to share with.  And one particular little boy had it in his head that Caleb had stolen his styrofoam noodle.  Of all things!  I didn't realize this until after the fact.  I wish I could have explained to him that it had very happily ridden all the way up from Sinton, Texas in the back of our car.  I couldn't figure out why he was giving Caleb and I the stare down.  He didn't do that when Johnny was with us, but as soon as he left - glaring eyes.  It's silly if you think about it, but I guess he felt he was in the right!  Kids!

Here he's trying to smack dad with the wet ball!

Wear the little guy out with lots of swimming....and look what happens!!

Caleb was COMPLETELY exhausted and falling asleep at the table in Rudy's BBQ.  Our munchkin was more tired than I had ever seen him before.  No exaggeration.  I will forever treasure this photo.  Why?  Because there aren't a lot of moments where he lets me snuggle him.  I can't remember if I shared with you all or not how he told me I am NOT to snuggle with him anymore.  But, either way, this was a precious moment and I have to take them when they come.  And boy, did I!   As he slept in my arms, his arms and legs were twitching like he was still swimming around the pool.  Too, funny!

Back to the condo we went!  Watched some TV and then woke up with kinks in our necks from falling asleep in the recliner and on the couch.... What a busy day!  A walk through the Zoo, followed by some swimming will absolutely wear you out!!

Sweet dreams,