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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Doodle-Bug Update

It's been a long time since I've called my 2nd son Randy one of his infamous nicknames.  Randoodle, doodlebug, doodles, etc.  It's hard to keep a straight face when calling him doodles, considering he's now officially taller than I am.  When did that happen?  I'm really not certain but it was just recently that I looked at him and saw he was taller than I.  I guess I made that discovery on our mini-golf adventure.  I knew it would come some day, but wow, that day is now here.

Randy has officially finished his freshman year of high school.  What a busy year he had from marching band, to acting in two plays with the theater arts department, moving on to concert season in band and finishing out the year with the UIL One Act play making the alternate position for state.  In the third play he was in charge of all the sound effects.  Quite a responsibility to have for sure.  This year with the theater arts department proved fruitful as was the recipient of a couple of medals.  He's very excited about that.

Saying I am proud of Randy really doesn't give him justice.  But I'll say it because I am.  I won't say this year was easy for him.  Trying to keep up with all these activities and keep his grades up was at times a struggle, but for his first year in high school he did really well.  Learning to prioritize always involves a learning curve.  I know he's looking forward to his sophomore year and what it has to bring in the way of adventure.

The TM High School band received sweepstakes for both the marching season and the concert season.  His band this year was completely awesome.   If you have a few minutes, check out the band website.  they have some of their recordings posted on there and you can hear their awesomeness for yourself!!  To take a peek, or listen rather, just click here.

Randy finished out the year having to go to Austin to perform his UIL Ensemble.  They received a 1 at District, which then leads them to state.  I haven't heard the results of that trip yet as he is returning some time late Monday evening (the 30th).

What's next for Randy?  His trip to New York, of course.  He leaves on Thursday, June 2nd.  I know he is nervous to fly without mom or dad, but he is excited enough that he is going to do just fine.  I'm sure he'll have tons to share, adventure and photos, upon his return and we'll pass that on to you as we can.

For now, keep Randy in your prayers as he finds himself a long way away from home.  Independence and responsibility are good for our young'n's.  I know he'll have an awesome time!

God bless,

Food Pantry Duty

One of the blessings of being a home school family is that you find yourselves with various opportunities to volunteer and/or give back to the community that public school kids wouldn't have.   How many kids do you know can skip school one Monday afternoon a month to help out the community?  Not many, right?

Our church is presented with this volunteer opportunity once a month at the Food Pantry in Sinton, Texas.  We log the applicants in as they arrive and distribute food to them based on the number of people in their family.   For various reasons, Caleb and I had not yet gone to participate.   Well, in May, I marked our calendar and was determined that we would go check out this ministry.  One of my goals as a home schooling mom is that Caleb learn that the world/life isn't always all about him.  I want him to have a servants heart.  What better way is there to do that than to find opportunities to serve.

I wanted to take pictures of Caleb, but as I've said before he gets frustrated with my paparazzi-ness and isn't always agreeable.  This one cracks me up because I asked him to smile and he really had to force that "maybe-grin" on his face.

Caleb was more than willing to seek out canned goods from the shelves and dig (and count as we go) apples out of their bins.  In this photo, he is stocking shelves by refilling the bins with pasta.  He also restocked the pinto beans that day as well.

One moment that definitely tickled my funny bone was watching him restock the apple juice on the shelves.  In Caleb's mind, all things have to come out even.  He insisted on opening cases of apple juice all with the goal in mind of having the bottles come out even on the shelf.  If there was an empty space, another box HAD to be opened.  We were finally able to distract him and get him off that task as it was not going to come out right.  Not to mention, his goal would be ruined the very next time we removed a bottle off the shelf.

I was so proud that day.  I didn't know if I was going to have a whiny five year old on my hands or a contributor to the cause.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn he wanted to dig in and help with every task.  He did not want to be left out.

I remember the people I met that afternoon and how each one of them thanked me for the box of food I handed to them.  I didn't do much other than spend a couple of hours in a small room and fill boxes.  While that didn't seem like much to me, those boxes were a blessing to someone else.  And at the same time, I was blessed by this act of service to someone in need. 

It reminds me of Paul in Philippians 4, where he gives thanks for the gifts he received.  He is grateful to those who gave to him in his time of need.  Why is this so significant?  Because when we give to those in need, not only does the recipient receive a blessing, the giver is blessed as well.  What joy we will have in our hearts when we serve those in need.  

One of my favorite verses is in Philippians 4.  It's Philippians 4:13 to be exact, "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."  This is what Paul says....he had learned how to be content with whatever he had, whether it was a little or a lot.  He knew he would get through anything with Christ, as He is the source of his strength.  Paul is pleased with their gifts to him because the Philippians gave joyfully....

What a good reminder this is to give (and serve) joyfully.  For this IS pleasing to God.

In His Name,

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sweet Surprises

I was blessed with a surprise visit from my oldest daughter, Christy, her new hubby, Wes, and my grandson Tyler a week ago.  It had been quite a while since I'd seen Christy or Tyler and I hadn't yet met Wes, who I learned is a down-to-earth, super nice guy.  I haven't yet decided if he's blessed to have Christy, or she's blessed to have him.  But, I think if you ask them, they each feel equally blessed. ;o)  Wes has a daughter named Emily that they get to visit every other weekend and I hope that one day soon our family will get to meet her.

I stole this picture off of Christy's facebook.  I don't feel too guilty because she did mail me one for Christmas...LOL   I wanted to post their family picture here.  Aren't they a sweet looking family?

May this recent reunion be one of many yet to come in our future.

God bless,

Friday, May 27, 2011

Perks and Blessings

Being married to a guy that gets to travel occasionally for his job sometimes leads to sweet blessings and okay, let's just admit it - - fun perks!  We received another such blessing last week as Johnny attended a meeting in San Antonio.  Caleb and I were able to tag along and enjoy a few of the activities at this swanky hotel -- the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort - - while he sat in boring meetings.  ;o)

We arrived on Monday night, settled into our hotel room and Caleb anxiously awaited Tuesday when he could dive into the swimming pool!  He was chomping at the bit Tuesday morning and I was barely able to even get 1/2 a strawberry Poptart in him before we finally made our way down to the pool.

Unfortunately, my digital camera was having issues and having left my good cell phone in the hotel room thinking it wouldn't like coming into contact with water, a last resort was taking pictures via the camera on an old flip phone I'd taken with us.  I'm having a hard time getting those photos in a format that I can share them.  Text to newer cell phone, email to self, files won't get the picture.  There are a couple of cute one's, too, and I'll keep trying because Caleb was having so much fun they are definitely worth sharing.  For now, fast forward to digital camera is finally working and you have these...

This is a photo of the back entrance to the hotel....did I say swanky?  Oh, yes, I believe I did...

They had a small "river" where you could ride an inner tube and float around the park.  I tried to capture a picture of a portion of the "river."   It would have been fun to have taken a picture of Caleb and I following the currant, floating side-by-side, but I wasn't comfortable asking someone to snap a shot of us.  Because then they would know I had a camera in my bag when we left it on the shore to go floating...

Spending time with Caleb was such a treat for me, but watching Johnny walk up to check on us a few times was definitely a bright spot in my day.   He surprised us at the pool, stopped to have lunch with us, and peeked in on us yet another time before we made our way back to our room.  I didn't think I would ever get Caleb away from the pools, but at one point I was so sleepy from all the sunshine I just had to force the issue.  And I was tired of being in a wet bathing suit.  LOL     Oh, and I can't forget to mention that the water was rather cold...Brrr....

It wasn't rocket science when evening came around and it was time for dinner.  Do we go out?  Or stay in?  Hotel restaurants are typically quite expensive, but this one had a few choices and we opted to stay in, but be somewhat conservative.  It was one of the most delicious meals I've had in a long time AND the portions were very generous.   

We tried to get Caleb to stand with me for a picture, but as you can see, he was in a squirrely mood...Couldn't even stand straight long enough for dad to snap a picture!!

Here's Caleb after a long day at the pool!

We found the game area and Caleb tried his hand at ping-pong against Daddy.  He made a few wise-cracks about having only ever played ping-pong on the Wii.  He gave it his best go for sure!

And a bit of tether ball with dad!!  Honestly, after having to entertain Caleb myself all day in a strange environment it was nice for me to sit back and let him soak up some fun with Johnny.

And of course we couldn't walk past the playground without giving it a run through.  This first picture probably looks like Caleb is just running along the bridge, but actually he was "running" in slow motion, moving his arms slowly....the camera nabbed it just right.  Anyone looking at this picture will think it's a cute picture, but when I look at it I laugh because I see Caleb, doing a slow-mo run to be silly and make me laugh!  Might I say, it worked!!

What happened on day two?  Well, more of swimming of course!!   Here's Caleb sitting on one of the unique park benches displayed throughout the hotel grounds.

And here you see Caleb having a great time at the pool.  He really enjoyed jumping through the water fall!!

Check out the swimming goggles!  Sissy bought these for Caleb and it took him until the 2nd day to WANT to give them a try!

I lost count how many time he jumped through the waterfall.  When it was time to go, he said, "mommy, can I jump through the waterfall, um, five, no twelve more times?"

Can you tell?  Caleb had a mouthful of water and projected it out and across the basketball!!

Check out those paddling legs!  I think he's going to love swimming lessons!  He starts those June 21st!!

I decided to let him out of his straight jacket, ahem, life jacket for a little bit.

Lastly, here are a few photos of some of the beautiful surroundings.  Most definitely a peaceful place to be.  And talk about courteous.  All the employees of the hotel were pleasant, greeted us with a smile, and went out of their way to make sure we had everything we needed.  They truly make PR a priority.

It was an amazing 2 1/2 days.  So much fun, relaxing, and did my heart good!!  

Until next time!

God bless,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

My Mother's Day celebration this year started on Friday late in the day.  My sweet Johnny gifted me with some beautiful tulips.  He knows how much I love tulips and that they will always make me smile.

Due to scheduling conflicts, if I wanted to enjoy some time with my mom for M.D. we had to meet on Saturday.  It was decided we would all gather at I-Hop.  Isn't she beautiful?!

I guess it's a mother/daughter thing, but I had to have a picture with my baby girl, too.

We had a crowd at I-Hop and had to keep adding tables and chairs in order to get enough room for everyone.  What a blessing that was.   Mom and Dad, Allie & Aaron, John, Caleb, Randy and I, Melanie  & Zach, Dusty, Morgan, Hudson, and last but certainly not least, sweet Adison.

My Randy and Caleb surprised me with a new prayer journal...they wrote the sweetest message in the back of it.  Definitely something to be treasured.

Allie-Pop (sorry'll always be our Allie-Pop) gave me a heart pendant  & necklace in which she has one to match.   It was a mother/daughter set and absolutely the sweetest gift.  I can say that because I bought one for MY mom and I.   A heart pendant, different than Allie's gift, but the same concept.  It's a bit scary how much Allie and I think alike sometimes.   I can't forget to mention the card from her.  It was so touching, brought tears to my eyes.

Mom and Dad shared photo's with all of us that they had taken for their 45th wedding anniversary.  What a wonderful gift!  Not to mention the sweet M.D. card they gave me.   Made me smile and touched my heart.

My adorable grandkids gave me a sweet "Grandma Plaque" and even made their own cards for me - - absolutely precious don't you think?

After lunch with the family, the boys and I went with Johnny to PetsMart.  We bought a Beta fish for Johnny's office, Randy wanted a Beta, and we decided to get a Koi for Caleb to put in the pond with the gold fish.  We made a quick stop at Johnny's office to leave the Beta and I asked to have a photo with my boys before we left.  Not the best picture of Caleb this time, who is normally quite photogenic.  He wasn't in the mood I suppose.

Johnny had this one on his phone.  Caleb's looks completely goofy in this one!  But, at least the sour faced look is gone!  LOL

The rest of Saturday is somewhat of a blur.  We had to get home, get freshened up and changed in order to get to a wedding for a special family we know.  S.J. Pinkston married L.S. and was it ever a beautiful reception.  Beautiful bride, handsome groom, delicious meal, and absolutely beautiful cakes!

My Mother's Day celebration continued on Sunday.  My precious daughter arrived at church with a beautiful arrangement of roses and mum's, topped with a Happy Mother's Day balloon!  To say she surprised me is an understatement!  Brought tears to my eyes.  My little girl knows just what to do to make her momma feel good.

We were all blessed with a M.D. service at church.  Our bunch followed church with a meal with some of my family.  Johnny wanted to take me out to eat at MY favorite place:

And Allie and Aaron decided to join us before going to spend some time with Aaron's mom for M.D.

The Railroad Seafood Station was honoring all the mom's with a beautiful red rose!  It was absolutely a perfect red rose, too!!

I am completely blessed.  A merciful God, loving husband and children, kind and caring parents...this Mother's Day is one to be remembered.

I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart; I will sing your praises before the gods.  I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.  I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name.  As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.  Psalm 138:1-3

God bless,

Monday, May 9, 2011

Leaping Lizards Batman!!

This is a post where I wish I had photo's to go with it.  But, it is one of those moments you will just have to close your eyes and pretend you see it with us!   Or, with one of us as the story will tell.

Caleb and I were walking across the walkway between the house and the garage when we decided to check on the new Koi we'd put in the pond last Saturday.  That little fish can SWIM!!  Speedy-Gonzales could be his name, but Caleb chose to call him Lightening - - of course, after Lightening McQueen from the Disney movie, "Cars."

We took a detour to the side of the house as the dogs decided to chase a lizard.  A pretty good size one from his nose to the tip of his tail.  I'd say the little-guy was about 7-8 inches long at least.  We hate for the dogs to catch them.  They will chase and chase and dig up my flower beds trying to find a lizard that has been long gone for ten minutes.

We're both bent over, looking at the lizard as he tries to hide on the side of the house around the edge of the  foundation.  The dogs can't see him, yet are pawing along the edge of the house/flower bed intersection.  I decide the lizard might be safe - - then they see him again.  I tell Caleb that I'm going in because I don't want to watch if the dogs get the lizard and decide to eat him.   I turn to walk away, take about 3 steps when Caleb screams out to me, "Mom, the lizard just jumped off my NECK!"

I'm looking at him, like, seriously?!?  He is laughing and smiling so hard I can't help but grin at his enthusiasm.  He's not freaking out....He thinks it's funny....We're good.  I asked him if he's sure and he says, "yes, mom, he was on my neck and just jumped off me to the ground."

The best we can figure out is that when we were peering at the edge of the house trying to spot him that last time, he'd run away, up Caleb's body to hide!   With the wind whipping us around like it was, he didn't even know he was there until he took that flying leap to get away!

Just another silly moment from Parker-life in Papalote!


Gates Left Ajar

I know as well as the next guy (or in this case, girl) we aren't to leave our gates open on a ranch.  You never know what might go through that you really don't want to get on the other side.  I've even seen it on TV shows, movies, and the like.  And we've all heard that special saying, you know the one..."You trying to let the cows out of the barn?"

Well, if you are a city-girl gone country like me, you will understand the few moments of panic I endured earlier today.  If you are a long-time rancher who is used to hanging out with cattle, well, you'll just get a laugh out of the story I'm about to share.

But first, if you've been reading my blog you already know that we have some cattle.  Heifers for about a year and a half now - - or maybe it's two years, either way they've been around a little while.  Most recently we acquired a bull on loan and purchased two calves - - twins matter-of-fact.  That's not big and interesting news.  You also know that Caleb and I feed them every morning as part of our routine.  Well, if you want me to get real technical, Johnny feeds them on the weekends when he's home, but I do the week day duty.

Having not had rain in a while, things are pretty dry around here.  More than pretty dry actually.  It's a sad sight to look around and see brown everywhere you look.  Come morning, all the girls and the one young fella out there bawl and bawl at the first sight of a human, begging for feed and hay.

Up until recently, I've been pretty skittish around said cattle.  The trough was a short walk away from the gate and Johnny graciously moved it closer to the gate for me.  Because EVERY day, I have to right the trough.  The critters eat all the feed then knock it over trying to get to the last drop.  I was pretty nervous walking in there with them.  They are tremendously bigger than I am after all.  So having the trough next to the gate worked GREAT for me!  ;o)    Then one  Saturday I watched Johnny feed them.  He walked in, righted the trough, dropped in feed, smoothed it out and walked back out.  They just stood back watching him.  I realized - - gee, whiz!  I can do that!  So, I'm really not scared of them anymore.

Today - - they were really hungry and I made one mistake.  I set the pails of feed on the outside of the fence in front of the trough.  I went into the pasture and didn't HOOK the gate behind me.  It was shut, but unhinged.  I was only a few steps away when I saw the bull push it right open and walk through.  I tried to convince him (well, shove him actually) into coming back in, but hey, he liked those bits of green grass he found!   Ah, yeah, like that's gonna work!     The big girls followed him right out!!!   I stood there flabbergasted at what to do!  Ten seconds, okay, maybe fifteen seconds of panic!

I ran to close the gate at the end of the driveway.  I figured, at a minimum, they WERE NOT getting off the property!!  I went back and stood there.  They stared at me.  I stared at them.  They nibbled grass.  I thought to myself.  Seriously.  What now?

Then my sometimes blonde head engaged into drive.  Silly girl.  You've got the feed they want!!  I poured the feed in the trough, fluffed it about, called out to them, and the bull went straight in, twenty seconds later the first girl went in.  What about the second girl you ask?  She stared me down.  I stared her down.  I fluffed at the feed a bit, called to her  - she was all of 5-6 feet away, and she did her best to intimidate me.  Finally, she looked at the other two devouring the feed and I guess she decided if she kept snoozing, she was going to be loosing...Back in she went.

Mission accomplished for this city-girl gone country.  Not a big deal to a lot of you.  But for me, a very big deal!  Especially considering that I got this done and didn't even have to call my Johnny in a panic to ask, 'now what do I do?'!!

Firm shake of the head, shoulders back, standing proudly.  Yeah, I did it!  Oh, yeah!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

His Hands & Feet

".....whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
Matthew 25:40

We're supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  We are to walk on this earth, letting Him work through us, in whatever capacity that may be.  Each given day could mean a very different task and you never know where and when Jesus is going to speak to your heart and ask you to serve.  The trick is being open enough, aware enough, and accepting enough to say yes.

I had such an incident today.

After a busy morning and taking longer to get home than I'd hoped, I turned off the main hwy leading to home.  As I slowed down to make my turn, I rode past a woman and a small child walking on the side of the road.  Out in the middle of no-where, such as they were, this was not a normal sight.  I scanned all around me, looking for a broken down vehicle, but saw nothing.  I began to squirm in my seat, but continued my turn.  I didn't get a 100 yards away when I felt a very distinct prompting.

Jesus: "Turn back, make sure they are okay."

Me:  "What?  Are you sure?  Might I remind you that picking up strangers isn't a very safe thing to do?"

Jesus: "I'm here with you.  You have to go back and make sure.  Can't you see she's out of place?  She needs you right now."

So, with a deep sigh, I turned my vehicle around, crept back slowly towards the corner.  I parked my car, got out and walked in her direction as she walked along the edge of the highway, holding the hand of that sweet baby girl of about 3 years of age.  Both wore baseball caps, obviously to block what they could of the sun from their heads of dark hair.

I hollered out to her, "are you ok!"

Wind blowing..."mumbles..."

I walked closer and saw that they were very clean.  Clothes clean.  Faces clean.  My mind was reeling and trying to imagine what on earth would have them walking out here.  Can I say it again?  I live near to the middle of no-where.

Close enough now to reach out and touch them I ask again, "are you ok?"

In very broken English she tells me this, "yes, we are okay....but I need a skeedmare..."

"Skidmore?" I ask.

"Yes, Skidmore," she says...still holding the hand of the little girl who looked up at me with huge brown eyes.  Her hair was sweaty all around her brown line, at least the parts the peeked out from under the cap.

"I can give you a ride.  Come.  Follow me to the car."

"Oh, ma'am...thank you so much for the ride."

I asked her name, and she said, "my name is Anna."

Her story?  Nothing extremely complicated.  Through her VERY broken English I was able to sort of understand that her vehicle had broken down the day before and her husband was going to fix it today.  Her son, fifteen years old, had gotten in trouble at school.  Seven boys had ganged up on him.  She'd called her niece for a ride and she kept telling her she would be there in "twenty minutes, twenty minutes, twenty minutes."   She had asked the principal to get someone who could speak Spanish to talk to her because she didn't understand what had happened, but he hadn't done that for her.  Her son was in trouble, she was confused and worried, and she needed a ride to his school.

After a few moments of silence she asked me, "Ma'am?  Are you a Christian?"  I told her yes and the tears came from the corners of her eyes.  "I prayed for God to help me and you came along to give a ride.  Thank you so very much."  My eyes moistened at the emotion on her face.

I stopped at the school and as she climbed out of the car she said, "bye, boy!" to my sweet Caleb and the little girl who hadn't uttered a sound the whole way, but did push the lock/unlock button for the car a few times, copied her mama and said, "bye, boy!"

As I said - - you never know when Jesus will ask you to step up.  The question is, when the time comes, will you be willing?  I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have picked up a stranger to give them a ride.  I'm very cautious in those instances.  Very fearful actually.   I'm not sure I can even count the number of times I've driven right on by.  I can say in those times I did drive on by, I did not feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit in the way I did today.

Anna and her little girl touched my heart today....It was a reminder of just how much we love our babies whether they are grown up or still little one's.  This mother loved her son enough that she was willing to walk 9 miles to get to him to make sure he was okay.  And take a little girl with her on the journey.  Why was I delayed today on my trip home?  I believe with all my heart that God wanted me to be passing by at 1:30 in the afternoon - - to be His hands and feet - - and help Anna.

In His PRECIOUS and HOLY Name....