Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Best Mother's Day Ever

My Mother's Day included all four critical components
of a perfect Mother's Day :

   1.  Chocolate
2.  Flowers
3.  Napping
4.  Disaster

The chocolate was delicious.  I enjoyed sharing the HUGE box with the entire family.  
My kids gave me a bouquet of flowers and LtDan took me to Lowe's
 to browse for a plant and planter for the front porch.

After church and a lovely brunch,
I claimed that essential right of motherhood,
The Mother's Day Nap.
It was perfectly executed, with comfy pillows, a snuggly blanket, blissful quiet and no limits.

When I woke up, it seems there had been An Event while I was napping.
Not only had the electricity been off two hours without reason,
the water heater had leaked from the attic into the downstairs hallway.
The family oh-so-quietly handled the leak,
and by the time I woke up, everything was under control.

Until the water heater burst completely.

Water dripping down the walls, pouring out of the light fixtures, seeping under the baseboards,
and that's when I got the best Mother's Day gift of all.

My kids shifted into gear.
They grabbed all the available towels and blankets to sop up the water.
They turned the breaker off.
They pulled out the ladder to reach and turn off the shrieking smoke alarms.
They took up the brooms and mop to push water away from the still-dry places.
They turned off the water up at the road.
They hooked up the wet vac and sucked out the water.
They stuffed wet and soppy sheetrock and insulation into giant trashbags.
They worked fast and they worked efficiently.

They did not complain.
The didn't stand around doing nothing, or ask 'what do you want me to do?'
They did not freak out.
They didn't even sneak away to play video games.
They were calm and they were cool, they were level-headed and they worked as a team.

Who raised these kids?
Oh ... I had a hand in that :o)

The next day, The ServPro team showed up and brought 16 ... sixTEEN ... huge fans 
that blew in the kitchen, the hall, the office, two bedrooms and the under-stairs closet 
24 hours a day for 5 days.  
It was like living on an airport runway.
Every sentence began with "WHAT DID YOU SAY?  I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"  
To come in the front door meant fighting an involuntary reaction 
to step back outside and close the door.
The noise was crazy.

For five days.

But you know what? 
It's been one of my prayers that we would work together when things go wrong
and pull in, toward each other, when we face difficulty.
I was so blessed to see God's answer to prayers I've been praying 20 years.  
Our small Mother's Day disaster gave my kids opportunity to shine 
and I saw them work together to respond to an emergency with competence.

God answers the prayers you pray over your children.
Keep praying, Mom.  
God hears you.

It was the best Mother's Day ever.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Kitchen Organization (repost)

If there's any area of my life that can use a Life Hack, it's kitchen storage.
Specifically for pots and pans.
That, and teaching my kids not to slam the front door.
If I can get a handle on both those areas, 
life will take on a sparkle and shine that puts springtime to shame.

I don't have a before picture of my pots and pans cabinet for you,
but believe me when when I tell you
it was highly unorganized, unsightly, and inefficient.
And also a big mess.

Enter an email forward of a gargantuan collection of Life Hacks that featured these two ideas:

Pot lids stored on a curtain rod   ...    Pots and pans hanging on a tension rod
 (image credit)                                     (image credit)                

I was smitten.
And inspired.
And I had hope that a couple of curtain rods could solve all my problems.

This isn't a post about my own original ideas,
just evidence that if your pots and pans are in a big mess,
there are some really easy Life Hacks that can work for you, too!

I started with the tension rod (it's a shower rod) and curtain hooks.

To get the tension rod in there really snugly, 
I had to put it in not quite straight and then bump it into place.

I also used a binder clip on the rod to use as a stopper for the cookie sheets to keep them standing up -
this was another brilliant Life Hack idea.

Please let me apologize for the condition of my cookie sheet.
The $1.25 for a nice new shiny one exceeds my budget.
Of course I'm kidding. 
 I do not know why I am putting up with a rusty old cookie sheet.
I assure you the other side looks fine.

Once the rod is up securely, pots and pans go on the hooks and life is so sweet!

But wait!  There's more!!

How about those pot lids, Ladies?
Let's get them all organized, too!

The original idea was to mount a curtain rod across the inside of the cabinet door,
but then I saw another idea that didn't involve drilling holes }here{. 
Since I was a little afraid of drilling holes in the cabinet doors,
using adhesive Command Hooks seemed like a much better option.  

It's a fairly easy process - just figure out where you want your hooks and stick them on.  
They're also easy to remove.  
And there are extra adhesive-pads in the package in case you need them.
Ask me how I know :o)

Also: ask me if I'm glad I didn't use power tools to drill holes in those doors after all :o)

Once the hooks are up, you're in business!

I wasn't entirely sure the lids and the pans wouldn't clang together when the door closed,
but I just had faith that they wouldn't and forged ahead.
They don't, and here's a pic from the inside to make a believer out of you, too:

(it looks like the bottom lid is coming in contact with the pans but it isn't)

Now in all honestly I will tell you that if you slam the cabinet door carelessly,
a lid may go flying into the pans and make a great and terrible noise.
We must close the cabinet doors ... ah ... maturely. 

The family has been informed.

As I've been training my children for years not to slam the front door when they come and go,
I'm considering this a challenge round to further sharpen their door closing skills.  

I'm all for the better training and upbringing of our youth.

Especially if it means organized and orderly pots and pans!

I love those Life Hack people ... they make me feel so smart!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Arising to Call You Blessed

It seems like every conversation I have with other moms these days eventually turns
 toward one serious, sobering question:  
am I getting this mother thing right? 

Mother and Child, by Pino Daeni - (image source)

Maybe it's the end of the school year exerting its exponential pressure.

Maybe it's facing the people we used to call children, 
knowing that our time of 24 hour influence on them is coming to a close.

Maybe it's that time of freefalling parental limbo between adolescence and mature adulthood,
the time between training a child in the way they should go and the not departing from it.

Maybe it's just having a moment to come up for air and take a look around,
only to see that we're doing it completely different than all the other moms.

We all know what happens in those moments when the last straw breaks.
When we discover the pile of dirty clothes in the closet reaching to the sky like the Tower of Babel.
When we find they've completed the test but failed to answer the essay questions yet again.
When the carefully worded and meticulously detailed instructions we gave weren't followed - at all.
When they forget to call when they get there and don't answer our texts and we worry, 
and then we get mad.

Sometimes it seems parenting is more about grinding the rough edges off our own selves
than teaching and exhorting.

Those last straw moments fill our hearts with doubt,
but they take up far more space in our motherhearts than they should.
Of course God uses our strengths in the lives of our children ... 
but He uses our weaknesses, too.   
Our strengths shore our children up where they need it,
and our weaknesses call them into their own strengths.

God gave your children the mother they need, and it's you.

Of course it isn't news to you that the task of motherhood is a colossal task.  
Impossible, maybe even.  
But God's grace fills in where we fall short.
You can relax in that.

And you know what? 
This colossal task called motherhood that you're doing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?  
You're doing an awesome, amazing thing, and you're doing a fantastic job of it.
Most importantly,
you're exactly the mother your child needs you to be.  
How do I know that?  
Because God picked you especially for them,
and they are blessed.

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Afternoon at Luscombe Farm

Across the street from Martha's Iris Garden, in Anna, Texas,
is Luscombe Farm,
a wonderfully rustic and quaint-in-the-best-possible-way family operation,
offering specialty foods, gourmet gift baskets, and event hosting.

We were fortunate enough to catch Leslie Luscombe onsite,
 and she gave us a quick tour of the commercial kitchen and dining room, 
and a brief history of the family farm.

Luscombe Farm offers a variety of their own award winning pepper jellies,
available in local stores across the country and also by order from their website }here{

The farm's Gourmet Store is open by appointment January through October,
and officially open to the public November and December.  

Scheduled events include Martha's Annual Iris show ( you can see our lovely visit }here{ )
and coming on June 5, Luscombe Farm Cooking School - Farm to Table, 
with Chef Robert Lyford from Patina Green.
click }here{ for information on the cooking school

Treasures from yesteryear are scattered over the grounds, 
and the green grass and big trees and rolling vistas are the perfect setting for a leisurely afternoon.

Exploring the barn and looking at the old farm implements 
made me wish my Dad were along to give first hand details about how things used to be.


It's no small wonder that Luscombe Farm was chosen 
as the fifth most popular place to have photographs taken in Collin County.
Everywhere you look is a vignette waiting to happen.
And for brides- and grooms-to-be looking for a wedding venue that offers elegant country charm, 
Luscombe Farm is a dream location.
Click }here{ for information on the event venue and
to see a gorgeous bridal portrait featuring a rustic barn on the property ...
the possibilities are stunning.

Luscombe Farm Specialty Foods
is open by appointment January through October
and always available for any size order

8649 Luscombe Farm Drive
Anna, Texas 75409
(214) 212-0814

For photographer's price listing, click }here{
 (it's best to call in advance to reserve your time for use of the grounds)

Thanks for coming along on this delightful venture with us!