Summer Nights-Fishing With the Kids

image Tonight started with supper on the porch.  We had hobo dinners cooked on the grill.  This was the first pic I took.  I thought, “I am going to try to get more of my face in the picture.” Well, that was the beginning of the silliness.

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Let it be known that dad started it.  Oh brother.

Then we decided to go fishing.  We ran in to put on boots or shoes because those are the rules for pretty much any pasture activity.  I doused everyone in bug spray and away we went.

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Due to the extreme drought in Oklahoma the past few years, our very large and very good fishing pond all but dried up.  Due to the subsequent flooding it has filled up again but not before Greg spent the early spring getting every fish out of the pond with a dip net (he could walk all the way across about knee deep)– and transferring them to a neighbors pond to try to save as many as possible.  We headed to the neighboring pond to start the process of trying to catch some to move back to our pond.  It’s a tough job but someone has to do it!

Riding in the back of the truck is so special! Don't worry, it was only in the pasture.

Riding in the back of the truck is so special! Don’t worry, it was only in the pasture. And Clara is laughing here, trust me.

Must find the right lure.  The prettier the better.

Must find the right lure. The prettier the better.

Passing inspection.

Passing inspection.

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Oh look, there’s a llama. (I also love the accessories she chose to wear fishing.)

Yep, this one.

Yep, this one.

I wasn't kidding about the llama.  This is the new baby.  Awwww.  Dad started a trend.

I wasn’t kidding about the llama. This is the new baby. Dad started a trend.

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Dad helping Josie.

Dad having a minute to fish with his own pole.

Dad having a minute to fish alone.

It didn't take long for someone else to need help.  Thank you daddy.

It didn’t take long for someone else to need help. Thank you daddy.

The silliness continues.

The silliness continues.

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Can you see all the minnows?

image     Back into the truck we go.

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But the fun is not over yet!  Who wants to play in the sprinkler?

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Do you remember how much work it was to hook up the hose and drag it where you wanted it? It takes team work.

image Boots go with everything.

image Especially when you are 5.

image  So the story is they wanted to make a water slide.  It was pretty slick as Josie soon found out.  Grady’s face in this pic is priceless.  She was a little shook up but no permanent damage was done.

All in all a very relaxed fun filled night.  Thankful for every one of them.  Oh, and my gladiolus are blooming 🙂

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The Scary and Exciting End to the School Year

We find ourselves at the end of another school year.  My children are another year wiser, stronger, taller, and more independent.  I am proud! I am happy-sad.  I am scared and excited.  And it’s not even about me anymore.  They are the stars.

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First day of school.

Last day of school.

Last day of school.

I am thrilled to have them home again for the summer.  I am glad that they will all three be together again throughout the day (as Josie is not in school yet).  There will be more fighting, more playing, more bonding, and more memory making.

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The passing of time gives me so many mixed emotions (reference the first paragraph!).  Thinking over the years that have passed gives me a sick, panicky feeling that I have not done enough, taught them enough, given enough of my time.  Have I missed moments that I shouldn’t have missed? I know I have forgotten things that happened that I thought would never leave my memory.

I always start out the summer with big plans.  So many activities I want to do with the kids.  So many subjects I want to teach that are not taught in school.  And I always run out of time. But we are going to do our best.  And I am going to enjoy it!!!

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The Imperfect Mother

You are expecting your first child. You hear about the beauty and fulfillment of being a mother.  You hear about the unconditional love you will have for your children.  What you don’t hear, is how it fundamentally changes you.  How you learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible.

I went through younger years as a complete believer in the gift of salvation.  I believed that I was saved because Jesus died on the cross in my place, and that I was covered by the blood of Jesus by the Grace of God.  I believed it–and was saved.  But I did not understand grace until I became a mother.

I am not a natural servant.  I know those whose spiritual gift is servanthood.  This is not me.  My gifts lie in other areas.  However, Jesus calls us all to be servants, and nothing has highlighted how lacking I am in this area any more than motherhood.

Daily, I fail.  Daily, I lose patience, self-control, peace, gentleness, and other fruits of the spirit when dealing with my small children, my daily tasks, and my schedule.  Daily, I realize how selfish I am.

Daily, my children show me grace.  They wake up each and every morning ready to love me as much as ever, despite my flaws.  They show true forgiveness and still think I am the greatest person in the world.  They accept me unconditionally and forget my grievances.  Just as God does.  I do not deserve the love of my children based on perfect parenting skills.  They give it anyway.

God deals with me in the same way.  Daily, I fail and through the blood of Jesus he gives me amazing Grace.

Being a servant is all about the attitude with which you help others.  I am working to have the heart of a servant.  I am working to serve my family with a joyful heart even when I perceive things to be unfair.  I am striving to become more selfless.  This is the path of sanctification for me.

Thank you God, Grady, Clara, Josie, and Greg for amazing Grace.

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Delete the Hackers take two!

Ok. I have tried to fix my account again with help from the site.  We will see if it works. Sorry for the spam.

Jessica

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This is Jessica/My account got hacked

Hi everyone! My account has recently been hacked so the past few posts were not me.  Sorry. I have everything reset now so we will see if that takes care of it.

 

Jess

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Response to “FYI: If your a teenage girl”

Oh wow! This blog post titled, “FYI: If you’re a teenage girl” has generated a lot of discussion.  In trying to comment on friend’s feeds, my thoughts were too many to be concise.  There have been many responses including this one, “Dear Mrs. Hall, Regarding Your FYI: If you’re a teenage girl”

Having both boys and girls, I have feelings on both sides of this argument.  I believe that with today’s social media, we have to do a huge amount of counseling to both our sons and daughters on the impact that your posts make on the perception of one’s character and sometimes one’s future (When hiring someone, I always Facebook/Google them and see what comes up.)  With regards to my son (7yr), I will be doing everything I can to guard his purity—especially online.  I believe that is what Mrs. Hall is trying to do.  She is not blaming girls for boys thoughts, she is trying to protect her sons from the images in the first place.  I don’t think she is saying that they cannot be friends in ‘real life’, she is just not going to subscribe to what they may be putting online.  If you are a parent and not familiar with social networking, I personally think it is important to learn about it.  Even if you do not allow your child to participate, their peers are going to be discussing and displaying what is going on to your child.Image

I did not understand the differences between men and women with regards to sex until after I was married.  In the same way, teen girls do not understand the male/female differences either.  They don’t understand that not only are their teen friends seeing their pics, but so are men as old as their fathers and grandfathers (and men not nearly as nice as their fathers and grandfathers). 

What so many have found offensive (and somewhat taken out of context) is the implication that girls are responsible for the lustful thoughts/actions of boys.  This is absolutely not the case.  Each is master of his/her own decisions.  ****BUT*** If I remember my dating days correctly, the way I conducted/presented myself definitely impacted the way I was treated by my companion.  So, while my actions were not to blame for someones else’s bad choices, I do believe that, had I acted differently, the outcome may have been better.  This does not mean the ‘boys’ in the equation were bad or unethical or non-christian or without respect for me.  It just means that they were boys.  And young.  And it is not not an excuse, but it is not uncouth to mention that God created men and women physiologically different, and that plays a role in behavior.

My son and daughters and I will have many, many conversations on proper conduct, attire, language, behavior, pictures etc.  One of the number one things that I already discuss with my children, ages 3, 5, 7 is to ‘choose your friends wisely’.  When the time comes, this will translate into ‘choose whom you date wisely’. 

This is a discussion for the ages, just being done in a different way than the previous generation did it.  The only way to get through parenting is with A LOT of prayer for patience, forgiveness, protection, and love for our children AND all those who surround them. 

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Remembering Mema Francie

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Many of you know that my grandma, Frances Simpson, passed away this past February.  She had battled breast cancer for a year, just finished treatments, and then suffered a hemorrhagic stroke that was unrelated to any of her cancer issues.  She lost the ability to swallow and therefore could not adequately take in nutrition.  She had a living will that stated she did not want a feeding tube.  We brought her home and cared for her until she passed away.  I was privileged to speak at both of her funerals and would like to share some my thoughts and memories with you.

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I was lucky enough to know my grandma both as a child and as an adult. We spent many nights with her when were young, my sister and I.  She always entertained us.  Having children now, I now know how much work that was.  We watched Little House on the Prairie reruns that she would tape from TV (on VHS).  We spent countless hours painting and sewing different projects.  She gave me my first sewing machine.  In the early years the projects were for entertainment purposes but as I got older, she really did teach me a lot.  I met my husband, Greg, when I was 16.  At a high school ball game, he reached over to me and hooked his finger in the belt loop of my jeans to pull me over to him and it tore.  Guess who got to fix that? When Mema met Greg, he swears up and down that she gave him the ‘evil eye’ and said, “So YOU’RE the one who ripped Jessica’s jeans!”  In the hospital, while she was in bed, I told Greg he better behave because she could still give him the ‘evil eye’. Greg and his family loved my grandma so much.  She loved them too.

Mema was the ultimate servant.  She never hesitated when the kids asked for something.  She was never too busy to drop what she was doing for them.  She always made sure that there was unsweetened tea for her grand-son-in-laws.  We never wanted for anything when she was around.  We searched and searched for pictures to put in the slide show for her funeral where she was actually looking at the camera.  Her focus was always on the other people in the picture.

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Growing up, I had a wonderful support system.  We weren’t large, there were just seven of us, but we were connected.  My mom, dad, sister, Aunt Dee, Papa Dean (dad’s dad), and Mema Frances (who my children later called Mema Francie) were at every sporting event, play, recital, assembly, etc. that was ever held.  We attended church together.  I always had “my pew” at church, filled with my family.  I love that my children now have their “pew”.  We did not all always agree or love every aspect of every part of every worship service, sermon, or Sunday school class we attended, but I did know that church was important to my family.  I knew that we were united in our belief in Jesus.  My grandma had a King James Bible, and I took it to the hospital to read out loud to her in those last days.  I laughed at my inability to read it correctly while she smiled at me.

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Mema took care of my babies one day a week.  I love that they knew her so well.  They looked forward to the days that Mema Francie stayed with them. One day Clara and I had been having a particularly trying morning.  She kept needing to be disciplined and, like a devoted parent, I kept following through.  She looked at me and said,”You know how sometimes when Mema Francie comes over here, and you leave?  I think we need to do that today.”  They would run to her as soon as they saw her.  What wonderful memories.

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I am very aware of the fact that my grandma lived 55 years before I was born.  Many have memories of my grandma from a time that I will never know.  There is a time in life when you believe your parents are always right.  It is a strange thing to one day realize that they are not perfect. It takes even longer to learn that you grandparents are not perfect.  Let me assure you, Mema was not perfect.  She was not without fears, insecurities, or regrets.  She definitely had all of those.  However, she also understood forgiveness.  She understood that she did not have to be perfect, because the one who was perfect has covered a multitude of sins.  But she was at peace with herself, her friends, and her family.

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To all of my family and friends in Georgia, I want you to know that the years she spent with us influenced us so much.  She took care of us and we were honored to care for her in her last days.  Experiencing death bed conversations is very surreal.  She could not speak well, but she did get a few things out.  She said very plainly one day, “I don’t want you to worry about me.”  The entire day before she had been saying, “I don’t want…” but couldn’t get the rest out.  She didn’t give up because it was important to her that we know this.  After we brought her home, she told Greg and I, “I will be waiting for you.” We played Gaither Vocal cd’s for her and she could sing along with the chorus even though she couldn’t speak very well.  She would squeeze my hand to the beat.

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We can’t repay our parents and grandparents for the influence they have in our lives.  It is an impossible debt to repay.  What we do, in return for their sacrifices, is repeat them for our children, who in turn do for their children, and the cycle continues.  So we roll it forward, and future generation are blessed because we were blessed.  I am a better woman, mother, and wife because of her example.

On this first mother’s day without her, I rejoice that she is with her other children and grandchildren in Heaven.  We will soon join her.

I love you Mema.

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—

1 Corinthians 2:9

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