Sunday, February 26, 2012

Aunt Ruby

My mom and Aunt Ruby

Today, while I was out with a couple of my girls, I got a text from my husband who had just gotten a call from my mother. She told him that her 92 year old sister, my Aunt Ruby, had died at 4 p.m.

The news wasn't completely unexpected. We had been called on Friday that Aunt Ruby was not expected to live long. She was 92, her body was worn out and she had expressed readiness to go.  But when I got the text, I cried.

When I was a child, my family made the trip to the Bootheel of Missouri a couple of times a year to visit her and her family. I have many happy memories of holding her kittens, eating delicious peaches off her trees, admiring her chrysanthemums, and listening to her tell stories. I loved her voice. In recent days, I'd stop by her nursing home and visit whenever we'd make the trek back to my home state of Tennessee.

Her voice and her wit were still the same during those nursing home stops.  It was always touching to see her and my mom together, talking about old times, and the new times - complete with what my mom laughingly calls an "organ recital."

We'll be making the trip to Campbell, MO, for the funeral. I'll see my cousins and we'll talk about the old times. About the ways our lives have intertwined, and how God has blessed us over the years.

I've been blessed to be her niece.

Ruby Ethel Petty Snider
February 8, 1920  - February 25, 2012

Aunt Ruby holding Luke in her chrysanthemum garden - 1989

Friday, February 24, 2012

InstaFriday - Sometimes a Texting Parent is a Dangerous Thing

I typically check Urban Dictionary before I include abbreviations in a tweet or blog post. Now, it seems, I need to do that before I send a text.

My name is Shelley, and I am an uncool parent. 

The other night, at a basketball game, I tried to be cool and clever with my son. He was sitting on the bleachers and I saw him shake his legs like crazy. Then he'd be still. Then he'd shake them up and down again. That behavior prompted the following series of texts. Mine are in green.

Which then prompted uproarious laughter on both sides of the gym.

I have since checked Urban Dictionary for POS. The number one definition is as David so delicately pointed out. Number 2 is parent over shoulder - an instant message warning that a parent is near and could see what you are typing, so don't type anything you wouldn't want them to see. Number 3 is an abbreviation some companies use for positively outstanding service. (#3 even seems lame to me, but being as uncool as I am, I don't really trust my  "lameness" sensor.)  My definition of that abbreviation came from a friend who used to use it quite frequently. Obviously I need to pay attention to the words "used to."

The "don't tell your friends!" text was prompted because, as David was practically falling off the bleachers laughing, he was showing everybody around him our conversation. At the time, I was a smidge embarrassed. Now I think it's hilarious. I must. I'm posting it for the world to see.

A joyful heart is good medicine.
Proverbs 17:22

The joy continued throughout the weekend as I watched my daughters, Faith and Elizabeth, play in a volleyball tourney. We didn't win, but it was fun anyway.

The tourney was held at Evangel University in Springfield, MO. The bathroom in the gym sports a little old world, a little new world style. To wash your hands, you step on the black bar near the floor at the bottom of the sink, and a waterfall cascades out into the huge sink. To dry your hands, you wave them in front of the paper towel dispenser. I kind of feel like a surgeon when I'm in there.

At volleyball tournaments, you have a little down time, so I read my Health magazine. Since this is where I'm at, it caught my eye. I'm not sure if this is good news or bad news for my family...

Me? Competitive?

Monday was another day out of school for President's Day. I love seeing all the flags around town.

Thanks to the Bolivar Optimists for setting these out

Mary Grace suggested flying ours too!

And once again, at Classical Conversations, the kids impressed me - this time with their imitation of the style of Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield. Notice they copied how Davis gave all his characters big eyes.

Mary Grace's harrowing encounter with a spider inspired her comic strip

And then we come to Tuesday afternoon. The meal before the game. The light before the dark. The calm before the storm. The happiness before the sadness. The hope before the loss.

 And as proud as I am of these boys, I still don't want to talk about it.
Momerators feed the Liberators

Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, marked the beginning of the Lenten season. I got out one of my treasures -
my wreath that I first learned about over at A Holy Experience.  I wrote a few thoughts about Lent here.

Wednesday is also my hubby's day off, so we spent a little time finalizing some of our plans for our trip to Italy to see Hannah next month. (!)

And I ended the week with two nice surprises, courtesy of Mary Grace. First, completely unsolicited, she cleaned the kitchen. Oh. Oh. Oh. How nice is that.

Not only was she feeling the clean gene, she was feeling the creative one, too. I walked into my clean kitchen to see this beautifully decorated plate.

"How'd you think of this idea, Mary Grace?"

"I googled cute Easter sayings."

Cute. Very cute.

In fact, I'd say that's PO - Positively Outstanding.

life rearranged

I do know what PO usually means...once again, I'm trying to be cute and clever. Hope it doesn't backfire:)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


We need Ash Wednesday. We need to be reminded of this truth.

This kind of sobering truth forces us to think about our life. Why we live. Why we die.

The season of Lent is a good time to think about those things. 40 days out of 365 to contemplate in a different way Jesus' sacrifice for us - the sacrifice that saves us from the wrath to come. (I hate typing those last 4 words. I wonder at those last 4 words. Do I really believe those last 4 words?)

I've come across a couple of helpful sites that suggest readings and practices for the next 40 days. Maybe there's something for you there...

40 Ideas for Lent

The Trail to the Tree

Please know that I've said a prayer for you, my readers, as you contemplate these things today.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Imperfectly Perfect

This morning I saw this tweet from "The Nester:"

Time for the  party!  come link up?

That crazy hashtag stands for "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful."

And the first thing I thought of was this chalk drawing.

You can't even imagine how I treasure this piece of art hanging in my house. About 13 years ago, when she was a teenager and oft used babysitter, Rachel Casey Haaman, (now a wife, mom of 2, and missionary) drew this chalk drawing for me at my request.  She is an amazing talent.

I gave her a picture of me holding Luke in the room in my dad's clinic where I was born. I wanted her to incorporate that setting but replace me with my doctor husband on one side and my doctor father on the other.

I gave Rachel a couple more pictures - one of Lou and one of my dad, and she melded all three into the masterpiece above. I couldn't find the other pictures today to include in this post - an imperfect little detail that kind of bothered me - but "idhtbptbb." And really, all this background information about the drawing is a bit of an aside, but I had to include it and give the deserved kudos to Rachel.

The reason I thought of this chalk drawing for this link up party was not because I thought what Rachel did wasn't perfect. I actually thought it was amazingly perfect. I thought of it because of what happened as we were bringing that perfect chalkboard drawing in the house. I was carrying it through the kitchen, being so careful not to rub it up against anything, when my sweet little Faith - my very, very tactile/kinesthetic learner Faith, thought the drawing was amazing also, and just had to touch it....

Can you see her three fingers reaching out to touch that chalk and then moving them down the chalkboard? Bless her heart.  She didn't know and she just couldn't help herself.  I don't remember exactly what I said when this happened. I'm assuming I've blocked it from my memory because I would be mortified. I hope Faith doesn't remember it either. But I do remember being bummed every time I looked at it for quite a long time. Those three finger trails screamed at me.

I don't know exactly when the change happened - when I realized that, not only did those finger marks not bother me, but they were part of the beauty of that drawing now. How did they ever bother me in the first place? I feel silly that they bothered me.

All I see now when I see those finger trails is my sweet little Faith and her sweet little hand reaching out to touch something she thought was interesting and beautiful.  I love that she loves to touch things - how God built that into who she is.

So my perfect drawing (thanks again, Rachel!) is actually more perfect now. That little "imperfection" at the bottom added just the touch it needed. It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. It just needs Faith's touch to be beautiful.

To read a few more encouraging idhtbptbb stories, visit The Nester.

Friday, February 17, 2012

InstaFriday - Timing is Everything

The word that comes to mind when I think about this past week is "time." We had a little extra...Yay, teacher work day! Yay, Snow day! And, I brought something back into my life that I never should have let leave...the time-r! Good grief! What I got done when I set that baby for 15, 20, even 30 minutes to accomplish a specific task! I focused! I raced that crazy clock...and anybody who knows me knows how a little competition spurs me on to love and good deeds. I've got a picture to illustrate that principle below.

But before I get to my 30 minute room rescue picture, we had a little fun.

Girls & I saw "The Vow" on our day out of school
Saw this lovely front door while running errands...I like!

Lou and co serving up his Chili Blanco at the Cook-off on Saturday

Reading this powerful book right now...very convicting

That line that looks like mountains? Clouds bringing us snow

The growing cloud bank. People were putting pics of this all over fb

Faith enjoying the fire that we had to have on our snow day!

I'm surprised you all didn't hear me squeal when I opened the package the book shown below came in. My dear friend, Sue Roweton, gave me a gift certificate for my birthday to get all my tweets printed.
I'm published! - Not really, but kinda. Ok, just humor me.
Why do I keep showing pictures of how messy parts of my house are? I did it here, and now I'm doing it again. The redeeming thing about the picture below is it shows the power of the timer. I was trying to get a lot of different tasks accomplished on our snow day, and couldn't block out a whole day for any one of them. So, I decided to do something towards all of them, just for set blocks of time. I set my timer, worked like a crazy person, and then stopped when it went off. This area in the basement was allotted 30 minutes. I did enlist the help of 2 of my girls for that 30 minutes too. They weren't thrilled about that, but on the other hand, it was only 30 minutes. And they knew they were done when they heard the ding. They sat on the floor and put the papers I handed them in the appropriate tub. Did I kind of cheat? Was that like one person working for an hour and a half? A desperate procrastinator who lets areas get this bad has gotta do what she's gotta do.
Before and embarrassing
After and better, but still not done

Speaking of procrastinating, that is exactly what David is NOT doing here. He spent one morning this week filling out scholarship applications that are not due until March. Impressive.

Meals, homework, scholarship - it all happen at the kitchen table 
Imagine our surprise when we opened up our local paper to see that Harrises were on the front pages of both sections of the paper. That was kind of fun. And probably won't ever happen again...

Bolivar Herald Free Press 2-15-12

And last, but not least, Lou and I took advantage of a basketball game in Reeds Spring to grab some amazing pizza. Seriously, if you are ever in the vicinity of Branson, Missouri, you have to visit the Reeds Spring Pizza Co. Yum. Yum. And double yum. It's got just the atmosphere you'd expect in that neck of the woods, but the pizza is anything but old timey. Lou and I had the Green Acre, which is made with pesto, mozzarella, tomatoes, chicken, feta, their specialty herbs, and topped with fresh basil.

This might possibly be the first pioneer photo bomb! 

I'm especially thankful this week for the reminder about time and its preciousness. We all know it's fleeting and to be redeemed, we just forget sometimes. It's time to remember.

 So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
(Psalm 90:12 ESV)

life rearranged

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feeling Loved

After finding this Valentine on the table where I read every morning,
I love my Lou
I opened up this Valentine

Journaling Bible

and read in the book of Matthew, chapter 28.

I read it all, but it was in verses 16-17 that God spoke to me today.

[16] Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. [17] And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.
(Matthew 28:16-17 ESV)

Here we have the 11 people in the world who knew Jesus best. They had seen countless miracles and had rubbed elbows with the Son of God for 3 years. Now, they are seeing the resurrected Jesus (I can't even wrap my mind around that!) and appropriately, they worshiped him. And then Matthew tells us, "but some doubted."

I don't think I had ever noticed those words before. I'm so glad God inspired Matthew to put those words in there. Because every once in a while, I forget that the disciples, and everybody else mentioned in the Bible, is just like me - a regular human who has doubts and fears that rear their head at the most inopportune moments.

This wasn't the first time the disciples had seen the risen-from-the-dead Jesus. And they were on a mountain. If there's anywhere on the planet that I feel like my faith tends to soar, it's on top of a mountain. But some doubted. And sometimes, I doubt.

I've actually had a couple of times in the past weeks where I've found myself thinking, "All this I've learned about God and Jesus is just so fantastic!" Now, I mean fantastic in the "imaginative or fanciful; remote from reality" kind of fantastic. These kind of thoughts always jar me. How can I have been a Christian for so long, and still have those thoughts ever run through my mind?"

I worked through those fantastic moments by leaning harder into God. By reading His Word (I tend to go to the book of John - either chapter 1 or 14) and asking Him to please show Himself to me anew. He has been faithful to answer that plea.

Then this morning, I felt an extra little loving from my Lord when I read those words in Matt 28:17. He reminded me that I am not alone. I'm not first who's ever doubted and I won't be the last. And it's probably not the last time I'll ever do some doubting.

Thankfully, it's not the last time He'll reassure me and quiet my soul either. In fact, He made a huge promise at the end of chapter 28 that I'm taking to the bank. He said,

And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

He said that to those doubting men, and he's saying it to me.

That'll leave a girl feeling loved.

Friday, February 10, 2012

InstaFriday - A Week Aware

This might become a habit.

Another InstaFriday where I post pictures that I took with my cell phone. A week aware that this post was coming. A week looking for moments to include. And, as you would find if you did this exercise, the problem is not having enough material, it's trying to not take a picture of everything. I realize I'm showing more of the "upside" moments of my life at this point. Please know that there have been some definite "downside" moments this week - but I find I'm not too camera happy at those points. No big shock there. I'm gonna have to think about that a bit. I want to figure out how to portray the grace that is present in those difficult moments...We'll see.

But for now, here are the moments that brought smiles to my face this week.
Mary Grace's sign added pizzaz to these pizza rolls she made.
David's basketball game in Monett afforded the opportunity for me to see family that lives there. We watched David and remembered some of the ties that bind.

Carol (2nd cousin), me, Ruth Ann and Mary Beth (both 1st cousins)
Saturday, when teenagers sleep late and eat at weird times, we went to the SBU basketball game. It was a mid afternoon game, and because Elizabeth had been the typical teenager, she had slept late, eaten a late breakfast, and had forgotten to bring money to the game. (Our kiddos are on a salary and are responsible for purchasing any food they want at ball games.) Her forgetfulness prompted the following series of texts between her and me.

She lived....

Our oldest daughter, Hannah, is in Italy for this semester. While she's away, anything she didn't take is fair game for her sisters to wear (with Hannah's permission). I confess. I like it. It reminds me of her and the whole sister love/share thing going on feels good to my heart.
Hannah's high tops on Mary Grace's feet

We ate dinner at my mom's this week, and I found this while putzing around her kitchen. Elizabeth leaves her grandmother fun notes at random places around the house for her to find later. My mom has said she wants to be buried with them.

Monday, Mary Grace and I headed to Classical Conversations of Bolivar. One of my favorite times is fine arts. This week, the artist was Roy Lichetenstien, who painted a lot with a dot.

The bow and bouffant hair of the lead girl from the movie, Hairspray.
I found myself looking at my ring this week. In fact, I look at it often during any week. I love the souls whose names are imprinted on these rings. My kids gave this to me Christmas 2011. They ordered it from  Nelle and Lizzy.
It's definitely a gift that keeps on giving. I love them so much, I'm willing to photograph my 50 year old hands!
Sorry that you can only see part of sweet Faith's name!

Had to get a little check up kind of test this week at our local hospital, and was surprised by a couple of things on my "ticket." First, the piece of paper I was to bring is a "boarding pass?" Not really following the airline theme at the hospital....And "unemployed?" Why is that stamped there? Will I now be eyed suspiciously? Or, will they be nicer to me because they feel sorry for me? And, I have to say, I feel anything but unemployed.


The dry erase board on our refrigerator has come to life and been named. You never know how Norman will feel on a given day.
A kissing pic needs to be bigger than a mad

I ended my week at "The Pit," Central High School's venue for basketball games. I like The Pit. You step back in time when you go there. It hasn't been particularly friendly to our family, though. My oldest son, Luke, got a concussion there - and Thursday night, Elizabeth whacked her chin hard enough on the floor to warrant stitches. I can't believe I actually caught the moment on my phone, but I did.

Those flailing legs belong to her. There were 49 seconds left in the quarter, and she finished it out, not knowing her chin had a gaping cut. Thankfully, I know a good doctor.

As I finish this, the house is weirdly quiet. With no school today, everyone is still sleeping.

In the quiet, I smile and thank the Lord for this life He's given. For the life that I lived this past week a little more aware than usual.

life rearranged

Friday, February 3, 2012


Time for a little Friday fun.

Over at Life Rearranged, there's a link party going on. On Fridays, a blogger is encouraged to post their week in pictures - with pictures taken from your cell phone. Since I didn't decide to join this party until Wednesday night, I don't have a picture from everyday. I wasn't intentionally trying to document my week on my phone. If so, I would have taken a picture while we were in Fayetteville, AR, visiting my oldest son, Luke. (smile) But aside from that glaring omission, I was surprised to find that I take quite a few pictures on my phone - almost daily. Or, a picture comes in via text message. Four in my family have iPhones, which have great cameras - that may have something to do with our shutter happiness.

It's so interesting to me how something that wasn't a part of my daily existence 10 years ago is a big part of it now. Which begs the question*, "What technology will be available in the next 10 years that I'm can't even conceive of now?"

Who knows. But I do know that this past week brought some smiles to my soul and my face. I think that's what drew me to participating in this link party. There's a heightened awareness to the beauty and the gift that the everyday is. We really look at something, someone - and we thank our God - not only for the gift, but for the ability to see it, know it, and appreciate it. We thank Him for revealing some part of himself in it.

So, here's a few pics from my week.

Last Saturday, I brought the cake to a baby shower given for my dear friend, Nicole Edgmond. Julie Ledford, of Sunrise Sugar Shack fame, made and decorated this.
Beautiful and yummy
Tuesday, at 11:42 a.m. our time, I received an iMessage from our Hannah. It was 6:42 p.m. her time. She is studying abroad in Italy this semester, and was all dressed up with somewhere to go. (nice retinal reflection)
Formal dinner attire
Later that same day, I headed to where I spend A LOT of time this time of year. The gym. To watch my kids play basketball. I tend to get into it, and so to stay somewhat calm, I keep stats. I keep a record of all shots, missed or made, by every player, but then I only keep David's assists, steals, etc. (A filled in circle = missed 3. An open circle = missed 2. An X = missed free throw). We lost this game by 4, darn it.
Snapped this pic b/c I typically send this info to Luke, one of David's biggest fans

Another morning, when I got out of my car at Wood's Express, I was greeted by the sound of an instrument I do not love. But I do admire the spirit of anybody who takes their talent to the streets - especially early in the morning.
In front of the Bolivar laundromat
Below is the position I was in when I came across the official InstaFriday site. (I actually first noticed this picture taking exercise over at Angie Wright's blog - check her out!).  Our Shih Tzu, Kiowa, finds her place on my lap, next to my laptop.
Love our lap dog
I snapped this picture yesterday when I was stopped as a funeral procession went by. You can see the cars pulled over on the shoulder. I pray this show of sympathy and respect for those grieving is something our community never loses.

When I took the above picture, I was on my way to take my mom to get her hair done. Every Thursday, she visits Kay's Shady Nook. We then hit a local restaurant for lunch. We call this outing, "Grab Grandma and Grub."
My mom, Violet Vaughan, and "Miss" Kay
In the midst of all our running around, I still homeschool our 13 year old daughter, Mary Grace. She spends quite a bit of time in this position. Here, she was writing a formal report on the U.S. Constitution.
A little snack always helps the thought process

Speaking of a little snack, I think that's a perfect way to end a blog post. I'll go enjoy one, and you go enjoy one too.

And don't forget to enjoy the snapshots of your week, with or without your camera.

*Forgive my btq abuse

life rearranged