Friday, November 30, 2012

InstaFriday - End of November

Here we the end of the month before the last month of the year! Every time I reach the end of November, I start hearing the lyrics from the chorus of "September Song."

For the days dwindle down

To a precious few...


2012 is dwindling down, but the activity level in the Harris household isn't!

Saturday after Thanksgiving we meandered out to The Hangar Cafe at the Bolivar Airport for a little breakfast. Not only is the food great, the help out there is exceptional!
Our Faith will greet you with a smile

Speaking of help, that's what David needed after he came down wrong on his ankle playing a little basketball on Saturday. Ouch.

And our Oklahoma State Cowboys didn't need any help keeping the Sooners at bay until the very end of the game... when they let them tie it up, send it in to overtime and eventually win. Uggh!!

We always have friends over for the Bedlam game. Everybody who's anybody wears orange, and everybody else wears red.
Wes, Lou, and Tom

I'm not exactly sure what's going on with David here, but I'm including this picture to document for all time and eternity that, for once, my center kitchen counter was clean!

I always need help doing my hair, and this time I recruited Faith to work a little ponytail magic.

I really like the way she made the sides fold in and under

I don't know of anyone who loves Christmas more than Mary Grace. And, out of all the decorations in our house, she loves the garland on our stairs the most. I found her here, studying for a test.

We found Elizabeth in the newspaper this week. It's always fun to see what expression the camera captures in the heat of the battle.

I think I'm the only one on the planet who still calls her Elizabeth

On the way to the above mentioned tourney, I enjoyed yet another of God's incredible sunsets. I cannot not take pictures of them.

Whenever anybody mentions Aurora, MO, where Elizabeth's basketball tourney was played, they typically say something about a really good BBQ place in town. We hit Hawgwild after the Lady Liberators won the consolation side of the bracket. Yummy.

You get cute little pig placemats to color on also

I've been working on a little Pinterest project this post will come at some point about it. But here's an exciting picture I snapped mid project...

Ok, it's not an exciting picture, but I'm excited about what happened before this.

This is the very first frame I've built. I bought some trim, mitered those corners (with a little help from my Lou), glued it, and put some finishing nails in it. Now I know you are excited!

I was also excited to hit Bill Roberts Chevrolet remodeling celebration today. It's a great business run by great people.

 My sweet friend, Marcey Daniel, enjoyed the festivities with me!

Mary Grace and I also took advantage of the banner weather by putting up our wreaths. I don't do heights, but thankfully, Mary Grace does.

The next three Fridays, I'll be taking a break from my InstaFridays.

During the month of December, I'm  doing an Advent series called God, You, & Luke 2. I'm super pumped about this and invite any and all of you to join me! It starts tomorrow, December 1.

Hope you have a great weekend!


life rearranged

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Christmas Tradition

We have six children.


That's not many by Duggar standards, but it keeps us busy. And happy (most days;).

When we started having this crew and Christmas rolled around, we began talking about the traditions we wanted to establish with them.

I had read somewhere about giving each child an ornament every year - one that represents in some way something significant in their life that year.

We liked that idea.

So, since our Luke joined our tribe in 1989, we've been buying ornaments. In the past, when the kids were all home, we had their new ornament wrapped, ready for them to open and put on the tree the day we decorated the tree. We've had to adapt a bit since the college years, but it's still good and very much anticipated.

I found a picture that's a couple of years old where everybody is showing theirs off. It's one of my favorites!

David was big into golf that year.
Faith got her driver's license.
Hannah had moved into her first apartment.
Luke had received a bike for his birthday and was riding all over Fayetteville.
Elizabeth took art and wowed us with her talent.
Mary Grace loved swimming with the Bolivar Swim team.

I'm smiling just remembering all that.

So, if you are looking for a tradition to start with your crew, I can heartily recommend this one!

And, if you are looking for something to read during Advent, join me this December for God, You, & Luke 2. It starts this Saturday, December 1!


Friday, November 23, 2012

InstaFriday - Thanksgiving Week

Happy Friday after Thanksgiving!

You may be yawning as you read this. Hopefully not because you're already bored with the blog, but because you started today a bit earlier than normal trying to catch a sale or two. I had a couple with the last name "Harris" brave the crowds for a couple of hours myself.

But I'm rushing ahead.

My cell phone was handy this week and it's a good thing it was. Lots of "firsts" for us.

Mary Grace started the trend with her first ever USTA tournament. You'll know how she did when I say it was a good learning experience. Looking forward to taking what she learned to the next tournament.

Our Faith and her movie making friends were back over at the house doing a little more filming. Their chutzpa wows me.

The first picture I've ever taken of our water tower. I've been thinking about taking it for-ev-er because every time I see it, I think of the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. And, like the Tin Man, anybody who climbs this thing does not have a brain.

Another first - an evening picture of our courthouse with the moon perched over Lady Justice's head.

I'm not going to dwell on the lightbulbs that are burned out. I'm going to act like it doesn't drive me crazy. 

And here we have the crew - minus Luke and plus Alex - enjoying a laugh watching a "Bad Lip Reading" video. This marks the first time I've ever seen Alex look quite so...mature.

And this is the first time Mary Grace has been in the back seat of the the TL with her two Texas cousins. Cozy.

This is thankfully, not the first time my good friend, Allyson Bishop, has come to visit. Nor the first time she, Marla Kemp and I have spent a fun day together catching up. Don't you love the gift of lifelong friends?

Marla didn't get the striped shirt memo, but we let her in the picture anyway

Here's a first - a Bishop/Harris kid picture without our Luke. Unfortunately, the people at Washington Regional Hospital in Fayetteville kind of insisted he work this Thanksgiving holiday. We missed him.

Danny, Jay, David, Will, Elizabeth, Hannah, Faith, and Mary Grace

This is not the first beautiful sunrise picture I've ever taken. I actually have to make myself not take pictures of the many sunrises and sunsets God paints for us. Thank you, Lord, for eyes to see this.

Thanksgiving day dawned unseasonably warm with rain predicted for the afternoon. So we decided we'd better walk in the morning - before food and before the rain.

 Thankful for technology that makes it possible to connect with a loved one.

FaceTiming Luke, who enjoyed Thanksgiving at a friends after a full day at work

Snapped a picture of where Elizabeth spent hours on Thanksgiving. She is a puzzle maniac.

Captured my Lou's picture before his first ever Black Friday shopping experience. He and David went and conquered. They were home from their successful shopping trip by 2:30 a.m.

 And then today, Friday, we've been busy little elves. The girls decked the halls, while the boys chopped some trees.

It looks like this log is levitating...
The cousins were recruited to help do the manly chores

Had to document my first ever french braid done by Elizabeth. This is a new skill for her, and if she walks by and sees hair that's braid-able, she pretty much grabs it and starts braiding - when she's not working on the puzzle.

 And to finish, the first ever picture of me and Faith together since she turned 18. I love that girl.

If this is the first time you've visited my InstaFriday - Welcome!

If it's not, thanks for coming back and sharing my week with me!

May God bless as you head into this Advent season. And, if you don't have any other plans, I'd like to invite you to join me for my Advent Series. It's called God, You, & Luke 2. Check it out here.

life rearranged

Friday, November 16, 2012


Don't you love busy, crazy, full of life days at your house?

You have to focus on the "full of life" part of that sentence to answer "yes." We'd all say things are sometimes too busy and sometimes too crazy or (cra cra, as Elizabeth would say) in our lives. But too full of life? Don't think so.

So, because my life is so full of life, I'm typing at warp speed so I can post this InstaFriday. Still gotta run to the store, exercise, go to Meet the Liberators tonight, and host a bonfire. Whew! Thankful for the ol' iPhone which is with me wherever I go!

My heart always flips a time or two when I see one of the kids helping their grandmother out. Here, Elizabeth is reading blog!

Cold days meant we finally had a fire. If you only knew how many days that could only be described as "coolish," Mary Grace begged to have a fire, you would understand how wonderful that first really cold day was for her. I don't think she moved from this spot for hours.

More live music filled my life this week. This time, Faith and Mary Grace serenaded their grandmother with some Christmas carols they've been practicing.

Whenever all 4 of the girls are home, I usually make them pose.

Hannah was home. I made them pose.

See the word on 3 of their shirts? That's what I feel when I look at this.

On Monday afternoons, I teach Essentials at Classical Conversations of Bolivar. This note was on my board when I arrived.

These kind of words will keep a person keeping on.

Ann Voskamp, over at A Holy Experience, described and provided a free printable family Thanksgiving Activity, The Thanks Giving Tree. This is new to our family, but I think it will become a tradition.

Every leaf has a different verse. The back is left blank so you can write your own "thankfuls."

Thankful for Mary Grace and Grace - they helped  put ours together.
This next picture was taken right after supper one night. I had to take it because every other sentence of our conversation that night was, "Faith, your hair just looks beautiful tonight."

All natural

Elizabeth showed me some of her "doodling."

I love her artistic bent.

If you know my doctor husband, you know he is all about the Paleo diet. I'm even on board with the Paleo diet.

Except at Thanksgiving. This southern girl is not even thinking about any kind of diet on Thanksgiving.
This was advertising a class at HyVee

My fourth child celebrated her 18th birthday this week. Sweet Faith. What a beautiful girl - inside and out. She brings such joy to our home!

Party of her day's festivities? A 3 mile run with her sister. That's what I'm talking about!

Mary Grace and Faith

Rounded out my week at First Baptist Church sorting clothes for our church's annual clothing drive. They let me work it when I told them I about my years of experience doing laundry for 8 people on a daily basis.

Shout out to Valerie for her leading out in this!
Sunday afternoon, this same building will be bustling with people picking out some free clothes they need for their families. Very cool ministry. Thankful for it and the people who make it happen.

Looking forward to heading in to Thanksgiving week!

Thanks for stopping by!

life rearranged

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

God, You, & Luke 2: An Advent Invitation

I know it's not Thanksgiving yet, but I'm guessing most of us have already given Christmas a thought or two.

I have already had the thought that I have every year: "This Christmas, I'm going to keep focused on what Christmas is really all about."

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy all the festivity surrounding American Christmases. I like giving those I care about  a something that I think they would really enjoy. And Christmas was, hands down, my dad's favorite holiday. He enjoyed every aspect of gift buying, gift giving, party throwing, and party going. Remembering how much he loved it all makes me love it even more.

But, all of that can cause one to look at the manger scenes peppered here and there as just another part of the festivities instead of "the reason for the season."

God became man. The salvation plan of God entered a new phase on that night in Bethlehem. All of life for all time and eternity was affected.

That is not small. That is not a cute "side" to the Christmas tradition. It really is what Christmas is all about.

A few years ago, a friend told me about something she did one Christmas when her three boys were young grammar school age. Every night before bed, they'd all go sit around the Christmas tree and she would read to them from Luke 2. Good conversation was sparked amid wiggly bodies and by December 24 - and as an added bonus - the boys had it memorized!

A couple of years ago, I decided to do something similar. Every day starting on December 1 and ending on December 24, I would read through the first 21 verses of Luke 2 some time during my day, asking God to show me something new from it every time I read it.

It was a powerful, beautiful time and I benefited so much from it that I've decided to do it again this year. And then God started stirring my heart to invite any of you, my readers, who are looking for a little something to help keep you focused this Christmas season, to join me!

Here's what I was envisioning. Every day from December 1 through December 24, we'll set aside a few minutes to read through Luke 2:1-21.  I plan on posting a short blog every one of those days. Sometimes there will be suggestions of things to look for or do as you read and sometimes, I'll just share something of what God has shown me.

I putting this out here now just to give you a heads-up. And get you excited.

It will be God, You, and Luke 2.  We'll have the creator of the universe as our teacher and our guide. He'll be revealing things about Himself to us.

If you don't have any other Advent plans, I hope you'll join me in December for:

God, You, and Luke 2.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


My post, A Note to My Sons - Lessons from Taylor Swift, threw me off this week. Publishing it late in the week (Thursday) crowded my InstaFriday. But my phone pics screamed at me every time I scrolled through them, demanding their place on my InstaFriday roster. I listened to them because I recently added a page to my blog called Why I Blog. One of the reasons I blog is to have a record or snapshot of everyday life, and my InstaFridays are a huge part of that.

So, late (which drives me crazy!!!) or not, here we go.

It looks here like my man and I are about to go on a serious bike ride, doesn't it? Nope. All dressed up for a Trivia Night where we, and fellow Mathlete teammates Kelly and Sue Roweton, and Kelly and Teresa Holt dominated all the other teams there! All 2 of them. 

It was still fun and we still won. Always good for this competitive soul.

Scrolling through this week I found yet another phone commandeering. This time from my Elizabeth. And this time, extremely precious. She loves her grandmother. The only bummer about this pic is that Elizabeth used the front camera which is grainier than the one on the back of the phone.

About 6:50 a.m., I snapped this. She does not love practicing in the morning, but I love her practicing in the morning. How many people in the world have live violin music while they are fixing breakfast!?

And yay! yay! yay! for our local grocery store, Woods. I turned the corner in the produce section this week and this new little deal greeted me. They are making it easier to eat healthily!

And another early morning picture of Mary Grace...this was 7:30 on Wednesday. Twice a month we mosey down to Springfield for her violin lesson. We yawn a lot on the way, but it's sweet time. And obviously, Mary Grace does her part to brighten the world. 

Even though she's shy and hates to draw attention to herself. 

She painted those shoes at a birthday party.

I don't know why this next article kind of bugged me. I just thought it was silly. 

Go to an equestrian center as a reward for reading - Yes!

Have first graders read to horses - No! 
Have I forgotten how first graders think? I think my kids when they were first graders would have felt silly reading to a horse. Maybe I just need to lighten up. 

I also don't get that title.

On to something I do get...friends and tennis. 

Mary Grace doesn't just play the violin in her spare time, she also plays tennis. It was extra fun for her when our friend, Erin Burlew (a former Evangel tennis player), came to Bolivar and hit with her. 

Speaking of tennis, somebody (not gonna say who...I'm clearing my throat), neglected to put their tennis stuff away. Usually, this really annoys me. But when I saw this, my first thought was how nice it is to be doing life with people you care about. (Note to my kids: This is not license to leave your stuff out. See the sentence above that starts with the word, "usually.")

Another shout out to Wood's Grocery store! Because of their rewards system, I bought 20 gallons of gas for this price this week. My suburban owning self thanks you!

Friday evening, I sent these 3 off for a weekend retreat called MOG/WOG. (Men of God/Women of God). They are watching Andy Stanley's video series The Principle of the Path. Praying God stirs their heart in a powerful way.

Those three are gone, and this one came home! I told her I needed someone to go with me to all our Christmas Open Houses here in Bolivar this weekend. Here's another grainy front camera pic we took at Ralph's Grill on Friday night.

Hi Hannah.

It's a bit warm today, November 10, but I'll take warm November days any time!

Warm or cold, our days are gifts from our good God.

Hope you are enjoying yours!


life rearranged