Tuesday, February 26, 2013

3 Pics 1 Word

My girls have been enjoying an online game of late called "4 Pics 1 Word." It's a rather addicting game where you're given four pictures and a group of letters. From those, you decide what one word those pictures all have in common. Here's an example:

Since it's popular right now, I thought I'd try something similar, except mine is called 3 Pics 1 Word and is much easier than the real one. (My thanks to offspring #5, Elizabeth, for making the next picture happen).



Got it?

I know you do.

I first noticed this word about 10 years ago when our family decided to memorize Psalm 19 together. You start to notice things you'd never notice otherwise when you memorize, and I was struck by what the second half of verse 8 said:

The precepts of the Lord are right,

  giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.

I think I must have just looked in the mirror, seen some dark circles under the old eyes and been feeling especially haggard when this thought occurred to me, but I remember thinking, "Wow, the commands are radiant and will give light to my eyes! That is some kind of effective beauty treatment!"

My radar has been up concerning the word "radiant" ever since.

So the other day, when this flyer came in the mail, my radiant radar detector went off.

Obviously, if I'm getting this flyer in the mail, I appreciate the role beauty essentials play in our lives. But when I saw those words, "Be Radiant," I immediately thought of what really can make us radiant.

The flyer was my first reminder of this word, but it hasn't been my last.

In preparation for an event I'm teaching at in April, I've been spending some extended time in Psalm 34. As you might expect, I've paused at verse 5.

There it is again! Isn't that a glorious promise to us?

On the heels of such promises and pictures, it makes perfect sense now to refer to...a pig. More specifically, Wilbur, of Charlotte's Web fame.

I love this pig story. Wilbur and his dear friend, Charlotte, have so much to teach about what is good and true and lasting. (I've already told a couple of my kids that they are not allowed to read Charlotte's Web to their kids - I'm calling dibs on that honor. ;)

Charlotte saves Wilbur's life by weaving words about him in her web.

Somewhere in the middle of pondering Psalm 34:5, I was back in the barn on Zuckerman's farm remembering one of the words used to describe Wilbur - one of the words that saved his life: Radiant.

"Actually," said Wilbur, "I feel radiant."

Of course he feels radiant. He's loved by a dear friend. He's being rescued by the words of a dear friend. How could that not make you feel radiant?

He's still 100% porcine, but he's radiantly porcine - and it shows. What's happening on the inside can't help but come out.

This time of year, when outwardly, this girl is feeling pasty and dull, it will do wonders for me to take time to remember this 3 Pics 1 Word and the truths God showed me in it.

As I look to Him and believe what He says about Himself and about me,  He'll do big, brightening work on the inside, where it really matters. Where it will last for ever and ever.

When that happens on the inside, it can't help but come out.

And what will show can be described with one word: Radiant.

Friday, February 22, 2013

InstaFriday: Short and Sweet

It's a short and sweet InstaFriday.

I have more pictures on my phone than are on today's InstaFriday, but since I post quite a few of them on Instagram, (you can follow me @shelleymarea), sometimes it feels a bit redundant to post some of those same pictures again on my blog. I'm trying to figure out exactly how I want to handle all that, so we'll see how/if my InstaFriday morphs in any way. For this week, however, it's the same, just a bit shorter.

Something warm and fuzzy to start things off
Growing up, I saw my share of barbed wire, since my physician father was also a gentleman farmer. However, it's been a few years since I had the opportunity to be this up close and personal to some. On my walk on Sunday afternoon, I passed this new stretch of fencing as I walked down the sidewalks on Division. I've always thought barbed wire looked menacing, but it's left that tiddlywink category, and is now downright wicked. When did they start painting those barbs red? Blood red...

Sunday was also the day that season 12 of The Amazing Race began. Yay! Yay! Yay! I've blogged about how much I love the Amazing Race and you can read about that here. Sunday, we celebrated with carrot cake!

I guess I was in a baking mood this week, because we celebrated again. This time we celebrated a snow day by eating the stickiest, gooiest, yummiest Monkey Bread you've ever eaten. No kidding.

It's low in calories too.


Snow day or not, we did manage to get a few chores done. Guess what Elizabeth had to do...

Today, I got to eat something I didn't bake! Shout out to Connie Tweedy and all you guys out at The Hangar Cafe.  Yummy!
I think this is the first time I've ever had gooseberry pie. It was yummy! 

Now shout out to you.

"Thanks for stopping by! Hope you have a wonderfully, winning weekend!"

And finally, a shout out to Lou.

"Hey babe! I'm done with my InstaFriday. Time to catch a few zzzz's!"


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

David's Christmas in February

Wednesday is a big day for our 19 year old son, David. Finally, finally, after 3 1/2 years of hardship and deprivation, he will join the smartphone world.

He has been living in the barren wasteland of non-smartphone land since he was 16. We can only wonder at how he's been able to cope all this time with such an archaic instrument. The one positive to having such an antique is that, at least as far as he has been concerned, it was free.

All that is about to change.

For Christmas this year, David asked for the iPhone 5. We already had that in mind for him because he's in college now. College has been our "you're ready for a smart phone" barometer with the two kiddos that have preceded him, and so we were prepared for such a request. (And we were prepared for the monetary contribution dependent smartphone owners in the Harris family make to our monthly phone bill). The only drawback to his request was timing. David's contract didn't end at Christmas, but February 20, 2013. Well, we love the boy, but we didn't want to pay for a new phone out of contract. So, he received one of those Christmas presents that everybody loves to get. They open a package that is basically is an I.O.U. You're getting a phone, but not until February!

David was very gracious and very excited. He knew it would be worth the wait.

He's so ready that he's already bought a case. I got this text from him on the 15th where he was responding to something I said and informing me of his new purchase.

"I already bought a phone case."

Those words spoke volumes to me immediately. He already bought a case because he knew his dad and me and he trusted that we were people of our word. He completely trusted us - so much so that he spent his money for something promised, not something he already had in hand.

I immediately thought of God. He's more trustworthy than Lou and me. He always keeps his promises.


So, never one for missing an opportunity to share an insight I'm excited about, I texted the following back to David.

I always love it when God surprises me with thoughts about himself - who He is and what He does - in the most unexpected ways and at the most unexpected times.

Kind of doubly nice that this little spiritual insight is so closely connected to someone I love...

I'm super excited for our David as we get to put that highly anticipated item in his hands on Wednesday.

The calendar will read February 20, 2013, but we'll be saying, "Merry Christmas!"

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Cells

I'm a bit out of sync this week with my blogging. I have no really good reason why. It was a busy week, but then again, so is every week.

Blessedly busy.

Since I missed the whole InstaFriday scene, I had to come up with something somewhat catchy for the same thing, except on Sunday.

"Sunday Cells." That works. My Sunday version of InstaFriday. Those pictures where I grab my phone and make everybody stop what they're doing so I can record a moment for all of time and eternity!

And speaking of time, some of us Bolivar Family Care Center folks had a great time at the Chili Cook-Off last Saturday. My main man, Lou, made his famous Chili Blanco, which is good and healthy. We had a blast serving up our good stuff, and tasting all the others that were there.

My apologies to Bill for making it look like he has a stoplight for a beard.

A stop by Academy Sports this week means a stop in front of this mirror near the shoe department. Alway good for a chuckle.

And I always, always...I'm not kidding here...I always buy this gum when I go to Academy. Love, love, love its sourly goodness!

You know what else I love?

Food. Pretty much all types of food.

And guess what?

Food loves me.

Back in July 2012, I decided to get ahold of my food loving ways so that I could get rid of some of the food that had decided to plant itself permanently on my body. A friend recommended an app called "myfitnesspal." Since then, I've been a calorie counting fool. I have a love/hate relationship with it, but it's done some good work in my life.

I had to laugh when I looked at my numbers after I went to Classical Conversations on Monday. (Cue some beautiful classical music). We had our Valentine's Day party that day, and as you will soon see, I partied!

The day started out well....(beautiful music continues to play)

When we have B&Gs, I put 1 tablespoon of gravy on my 1/2 biscuit. It's really plenty, and I haven't blown my calories.

My sister gave me a scale for Christmas, so I love being able to accurately measure just how much meat I eat. This is one of my favorite lunches...and, believe it or not, I am surprisingly satisfied after this. (Beautiful music is building, about to reach a crescendo).

Then, I went to the party. (Screech!!!!!!)

Pretty amazing how those little "fun" and "snack" size candies pack a pretty good caloric punch!

And speaking of punch, that's what I'll do to anyone who says they want to put my picture on this wall in Wood's. Any joy I had over saving money would be lost over my "celebratory" mug shot.

But joy is exactly what I experience every time I see this picture of my sweet girls. Since this poster size photo hangs right outside his office door, I see it when I visit my man at work.

Faith, toothless Elizabeth, Hannah, and Mary Grace

Another smile producer: these mugs at Caribou Coffee. They were part of their Valentine promotion.

So true

If my friend, Marla, goes out of town, we invite her husband, Wes, over for some of Lou's famous pasta. We take a picture of the whole scene, send it to Marla, and tell her we missed her.

She went out of town. We took a picture. Sent it. And, we definitely missed her.

Today was an absolutely beautiful, sunny day here in the Ozarks. After lunch, our Faith picked the spot we all like to go for that lovely Sunday afternoon nap. Glorious!

I hope your weekend was restful and glorious! Maybe you're like me, and have an extended weekend with President's Day tomorrow. If you do, enjoy! If not, still enjoy!

God's got good work for us to do!

Thanks for stopping by.


Friday, February 8, 2013

InstaFriday- First Week of February

Technology never ceases to amaze me. As I type, I am sitting next to Lou B in his comfy TL and we are en route to Columbia, MO. I'm all set up with a personal hotspot, thanks to my iPhone and the fact that we have used hardly any data on our phone plan (so I can drain that bank because the cycle ends on the 9th - Score!)

Again, wow. And...spoiled. I am spoiled. Did I mention my heated seat is on, too? I am a thankful spoiled, if that helps at all.

Anywho, back to the task at hand. Time to document, forever and for always - or at least as long as electricity and the internet lasts - my first full week of February that was caught by the lens of my cell phone.

Last weekend, my man and I headed to Branson, MO, for our church's annual marriage retreat. Lou B and I have attended this for 15 out of the 17 years that it's been held. Always a good, strengthening time for us. Plus, we get to hang out with good friends. And we laugh - a lot.
I doodled a little bit...
Connie and Kerrick.............................................Tom and Polly
We had to leave the retreat a smidge early because two of our girls (and the rest of the Bolivar Libs) had a 12:30 indoor soccer game. This was my first time to watch a soccer game with walls.

I. am. a. fan.

It's fast. I can see the whole field (we watched from the upstairs bleachers). The bounces off the walls really add to the game. And there's a penalty box where those who get called for stinky fouls go. Drama!

Will vanHoornbeek, Mary Grace, Grace vanHoornbeek, Elizabeth

Come Monday, the morning commute to Bolivar Middle School at 7:30 a.m. resumed. Just east of the square, we see this. True to form, I took advantage of my surroundings to teach a little punctuation and grammar. AHHHHHHH!

This is painful

Also true to form, Lou met with the brothers via Skype for a little discussion of a book by one of our favorite authors, Tim Keller. Yet another wonderful use of technology.

Tuesday, I also got to hang with two of my favorite people for a couple of hours. We caught up on life  and served the best nachos and popcorn this side of the Pecos River.

Tuesday we also smiled when we watched ESPN because we caught a glimpse of our David on the highlights of Arkansas' win over Florida.
I think they were a little excited
Wednesday night, Elizabeth was inducted into the National Honor Society. Faith, already a member, was there to pose in the sister pic.

Speaking of Faith, she and two of her buddies, Isaak and Stephen, were one of 10 acts to perform in the Bolivar High School talent show. They performed "Little Talks" by the group Of Monsters and Men. I'm totally biased, but it was totally awesome. To take a listen, click here.

We were all so excited, Luke came up from Fayetteville, my mom braved the rain and cold, and I let Mary Grace skip all her morning classes to cheer her on!

On our way to Elizabeth's basketball game on Thursday night, this made us ooh and aah. Thank you, thank you, God, for this kind of beauty evening after evening after evening.

I know I started this post en route to Columbia, and I had to rig my phone to have a personal hotspot, but I'm ending it in my home - my personal heart spot.

I'm with those I love.

I hope you get to spend time with those you love in the days ahead.

Thanks for stopping by!


life rearranged

Saturday, February 2, 2013


This InstaFriday (ok, Saturday) is appropriately named this week. I'm posting it in an instant because I'm in Branson for the weekend with my man!

I found this imploring picture on my lock screen this week. Mary Grace wants me to get on her school's parent portal. She keeps mentioning it to me when I can't do anything about it so she took the "put it on her phone so she won't forget it" route.

Her eyelashes look really long!
 Sunday, we celebrated hard work and good grades at Bolivar High School's Academic Banquet. Faith posing here with some of her fellow seniors that were also honored. (Elizabeth would have been there too, but she had to play a little soccer with her team.)
Boot wearing sweet girl front and center = Faith
Proud mamas and daughters...lifelong friends, Becca and Sue Roweton.

Speaking of academic, that is what I never feel when anything about the economy is mentioned. I plan on remedying that situation. Starting with this book. I find it fascinating so far. And, I now know what inflation is.

This past week was spirit week. The student council threw a couple of unusual "days" into the mix this year. Starting with Modesty Monday, which I'm sure the administration loved.

And then there was Class Rank day:
     Seniors - gods and goddess
     Juniors - princes and princesses
     Sophomores - peasants
     Freshmen - babies

Clever and fun!

I found the courage to post the next pictures from my friend, Trina Banner. She periodically does a For Real??? post on her blog that helps us all remember that nobody has it all together all the time - even though it's what we sometimes try to convey on social media. She asked us to join her in "being real." Ok, Trina, here goes.

Three weeks ago, I did a post about my need to declutter. To read about that, click here. My goal of getting 40 items out of my house per week is on target so far. This week I worked for about 20 minutes (that's all the time I could find this week) in the toy closet in the basement. Here's what it looked like before...For Real.

20 minutes later, a bit of improvement.

I've still got a loooong way to go, but I've started!


I'm celebrating my baby steps!

Hope you have something to celebrate this weekend too!


life rearranged