Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Maybe it's just me, but...

Little girls' toys aren't for little girls anymore. We recently asked DD what she might like for her upcoming birthday. She desperately wants a Bratz doll...*ugh* I've been opposed to those Bratz dolls since they first came on the scene: number one because of the name, which implies that it's cool to be a bratty little kid; number two, because of those skimpy little outfits; and number three, because of the ridiculous cartoon of the same name.

Not that Barbie is much better, but come on... then I saw this article today, which affirms my original parental instincts. The bigger question is: how do we protect kids from these kinds of influences, but educate them to know why they are bad influences - - throw out the tv (I wish, but DH would go into convulsions). We struggle with this every day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Just because

Maybe it's this alternative blog universe that I have found myself in, but throughout the course of 1.5 years and 160-odd posts in Gracious Acres blogland I've found a lot of myself that I didn't even know was a part of me. So many ideas - - practical, spiritual, atistic, cultural - - to help me come to terms with many areas of my life. Some of my friends and family think this whole "blog thing" is just a fad, a trifle, a silly diversion; but to me, it's so much more.

Kelli has opened my eyes to so many possibilities and a wonderful new friendship, Christine has helped keep me grounded with amazing biblical perspective, Karl & Tabitha are so fun to observe (the far-end-of-the-spectrum-me), Christina shares many thoughts and emotions that I'm just not eloquent enough to write, Cathy's and DMG's sarcastic humor keeps it "real", and Jenny is the springboard for all things creative and expressive.

I've always had good intentions about keeping a journal . . . but never wrote more than three days before it went on the shelf for good. Scrapbooking was my passion for 4-5 years, but then it became more of an obligation to spend lots of money and inordinate amounts of time for some lame "happy" pages. But life is more than just the "happy pages"; it's about the confusing, frustrating, simple moments as well. Blogging is a way to get down to that. I'll admit that I tend to blog about "happy" things more than the other stuff, but...I digress.

Today, I am here to defend blogging and the good that it has done for me. Hooray for blogging. Ok, I'll get down from my silly soapbox now.

BTW, I'm in Dallas, TX right now (for work). Must say the weather was nicer in Iowa! And ("when in Rome"): "Howdy, y'all!"

Monday, April 16, 2007

What a difference a few days can make

Last week, we had awful weather that threatened any plant life that dared sprout. This week, it is gorgeous. Some plant life has hung on, but holding the bud close to the ground.
This new apple tree is just beginning showing some life.The Meteor cherry tree did not make it through the winter.

Leah is thrilled to have some nice weather again. She left a little gift (black bird with severed head) at the back door this morning.
The chickens enjoy dust baths under the pine wind break.
Don't you just love a blank canvas?
I've read about growing potatoes in straw (dig a trench, put the potato seed in and cover it all with straw). Anyone tried that? Do you think I could use half-composted chicken manure mixed with the straw?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The only thing this day is good for... sleep.This was the scene yesterday.
With more snow last night and yucky roads, I'm ready to go back into hibernation. My newly tilled garden, however, taunts me to "come out and play!" The tulips, daffodils, and hyacinth are toast... oh well, I have lots of other flowers to look forward to.

DH and DD practiced with the Praise Team again last night and had a ball. Just to give you a little idea about how much fun this group is, here's a photo from February:

Now these are the kind of people you'd want to hang out with!

Monday, April 09, 2007

I could show you pictures of . . .

...all the stuff we did this weekend, like:
a powerful Good Friday church service and prayer vigils;
DH's shop with lots of fresh paint on the interior walls (note - - he did it all himself, thank you very much) *ahem*;
a clean house and no laundry piles;
my homework done two weeks ahead of schedule;
a lovely Easter meal with ham balls, baked potatoes, mixed veggies, rolls, angel food cake and cheesecake on my great-gramma's china - - my mom joined us;
a thrilled DD who was invited to sing with the Praise Team on Easter Sunday (she was a sing-ing!);
a very proud momma & papa who watched their daughter praising God with song;
a cleaned up yard (downed limbs from the ice storm and garden beds) with the whole family working together; and
a very grateful me for so many blessings.
But, there are no photos of this weekend, just lots of great memories and moments in my mind.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Ode to the documentary film

Call me crazy, but I love documentary films. Not just the "True Hollywood Story" docu-dramas, but the real, cutting edge stuff like "The Farmers Wife" and "Hoop Dreams". Even "Shut Up & Sing" was great.

The Frontline story on ALS the other night cut straight through to my heart. It was about a man who was diagnosed with ALS when he was 29 and told he had five years to live. Instead of curling up in a ball and dying, he lived the last years of his life to the fullest by getting married and having a son. His family and friends were incredibly inspiring as well. He died last November at the age of 37.

It reminded me so much of the last years of Jesus' life. He knew he was going to die a painful and humiliating death. Yet, he had a mission to teach and love and redeem until his last breath. All for us sinners - - what an amazing gift that God gave us. Redemption from all our sins just by accepting Christ? Seems too good to be true, but it's not.

It must be almost Easter . . .

... because it's freezing outside! Not just chilly, but literally freezing. Low temps (teens and 20's) and lots of wind. The daffodils and hyacinth (photos below) and all other signs of spring are stalling out (if not completely ruined). The buds on the new apple & cherry trees are questionable.

It's just pitiful that stores around here try to sell Easter dresses that are short-sleeve or sleeveless. Anyone who has lived here long enough knows that Easter dresses are almost always covered up with the standard winter parka! I'll step down from my soap box now...

On a positive note (must stay positive), our church put on a wonderful Maundy Thursday service/meal. I had never been to one before and it was a great experience. DD and DH enjoyed it, too. DD is really looking forward to the Good Friday service tonight. We're doing a dramatization of "Golgotha."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Spring updating

In the garden, we'll have color in no time:
In the dining room, we've got some new sage/olive green walls and "re-newed" black distressed furniture:
This is a little WIP ("work in progress") that DH salvaged from a friend's shop (he was going to burn it - - oh the horror!). It was covered in dirt and old fuel oil cans. We've got a little more sanding to do before we put a light coat of stain and a little varnish on - - and it's good as new.
Quite the "sound & light" show last night with the house-shaking thunder & sharp lightning. Several waves of the spring storm came through all night long. Some waves of pouring rain, some with strong winds, and even a little hail. I think the farmers are chomping at the bit to get the fields dried out and get some planting done. I'm even getting a little impatient that I can't get the garden tilled (I should have peas & potatoes in by now!).

Monday, April 02, 2007

Still here

No, I didn't have a total breakdown, but I have been busy! Had a birthday last week. DH planned a wonderful party with great food and wonderful friends. He really went all out - - he did all the planning, inviting, shopping, preparing, and worrying himself. What a guy!Wish Kelli was here for it - - she sent some yummies and pretties all for little 'ol me! She even put this graphic up on her blog (LOOOOOOOVE it!).
Even better, I got a wild hair to redecorate the house prior to the party. So, lots of wallpaper bits torn off (12 hours to strip the lower half and border), new paint on the walls and the dining room table (& six chairs), new seat covers for the chairs, light for the dining room, pillows and curtains and wall decor for the living room, etc. And DH put up with it all (mostly without complaint).
The ice storm and spring break really took a toll on my classes. We covered six chapters in anatomy in less than two weeks and my test is tonight...can I freak out yet?!

Some amazing clouds around our place the last couple nights:
And then there's Leah who, despite the gorgeous spring weather, desperately wants to be a house cat: