Lessons From the Hardwood

A well meaning friend told me, in a moment of frustration, that she didn’t see the point in spending so much time, energy and money in playing competitive basketball because “it has no eternal value”.  With all due respect, I beg to differ. 

We returned from *State* a couple of days ago, three very disappointed girls in tow.  No doubt those three players represent the feelings of the whole team.  They had had a very respectable loss to a very tough number two team, which put them in  position to play for third.  What followed the next morning was a game that they would just as soon forget.  The girls were exhausted and it showed.  They lost the third place game without so much as a threat to their opponent.

The boys last game, while not as rough as the girls, was none the less lost as well.  While both teams could have headed back to West Texas defeated and dejected, they left with heads high in spite of deep disappointment. 

So much was learned this week, but the most important thing that we take away is that *ALL is grace*.  Win or lose, we can be sure that God will work it together for our good and His glory.  It’s all part of His plan. 

Before a big game, you can be sure that this momma’s stomach is doing nervous flips.  What of the players, if this is the mom?  But it occurs to me…God already has it all wrapped up, knows what is best, and has it in His hands.  And I thank Him.

God will use whatever He wishes, wherever we are to teach us about Himself.  I haven’t time to go into the countless life lessons our kids have learned on the hardwood over the years, but ultimately it all goes back to this.  God is good and this season in our lives, with so many hours spent in the gym, is a gift. 

Now it’s time to gear up for Nationals in Springfield, MO.  The Lady Titans are still heading into it ranked fourth in Texas!  And, like I’ve said before…Texas is kind of a big deal! 

Go Titans! 

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State Bound!

Road trip ahead…just twenty-four hours ’til take off!  The Lady Titans and their families will be headed to “State”, in a matter of hours, with a third overall ranking.  It is the Texas State Homeschool Basketball Championships drawing us to the Metroplex

Don’t let the “homeschool” part throw you.  This tournament is not for the faint of heart.  The number one team at last year’s tournament had so many Division 1 college scouts attending the final game that fans were hard pressed to find a seat (slight exaggeration, but you get the picture).  This same number one Texas team also took home the National Championship trophy, last March, at the National Homeschool Basketball Championship in Springfield, MO (the largest athletic tournament in the U.S., with over 300 teams competing at all levels). 

All that to say…heading into this tournament, ranked third, is a pretty big deal-e-o for this little team from a mid-sized Texas town!  Top teams typically represent the larger cities.  Houston dominated for years, but it’s been a team from the Arlington/Ft. Worth area that has been taking all the kudos as of late.   Austin also brings in tough competition (ranked second this year), as well as others from the DFW Metroplex and  Houston area. 

There is a tough road ahead for the Lady Titans and it won’t be easy.  To make it to the coveted Championship game, these girls will have to fight their way through three games, two of which are against a Dallas team (also in top ten) and Austin (number two)…not for the faint of heart!  Way to go Lady Titans to even be in this position!  Big deal.  Really big deal.      

Did anyone see the Daytona 500 last weekend?  20-year-old, Trevor Bayne and his team won it, one day after his twentieth birthday.  It was only his second cup race (whatever that means) and HE WON!  Talk about a Cinderella story!  And the best part was that he gave God the glory.  He said (as best as I can remember it…not exact quote, but close), “We prayed before the race…we pray a lot…it just goes to show what God can do.”  Does that make you want to jump up and shout “Hallelujah” or what?! 

Only God knows what this little tournament in Texas holds.  There are three things of which we can count on:  1. He will be there, pouring out His grace on all His children, 2. He cares about the simplest of things and this is yet another of His gifts, so many gifts, and 3.  The Lady Titans can hold their heads high and thank Him, already.  No matter the outcome of this tournament, they have already been blessed to go into it, not only in the top ten, but in the top three!  

Go get ’em Lady Titans!  Have fun!   

And give God the Glory…No. Matter. What.

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Snow Day!

Time flies.  Time stands still.  Both true.  Both false. 

Days passed at a crawl the week before our vacation.  Our week at the shore, however, was mere minutes.   Both were seven days.  Time stands still; time flies…or so it seems.

The reality is that the Creator of the Universe “changes time and seasons”  (Daniel 2:21), therefore we can be sure time is constant, consistent.  He gives us the exact same number of minutes every single day, without fail. 

Time is *flying* in my life right now.  Children are changing almost daily,  little girls have morphed into young ladies, mere babes threatening to graduate and go to college, and the firstborn keeps flitting in and out of the nest between semesters.  Meanwhile, we are going to basketball games, piano practice, recitals, basketball games, shopping for bigger shoes, parent meetings, home group, basketball games, shopping for longer jeans, having friends over, and going to basketball games.   Can it be, that in the midst of it all, I’m missing out on something? 

Getting to class on this icy day was not a hazard for us; it’s just down the  hall and through the doorway on the right.  But we took a *snow day* anyway.  We (I) need to slow down.  Sit.  Breathe.  Enjoy. 

This snow was the perfect reminder to be still, to appreciate the time He has given me today,  to take in these little chickadees.  

   

I love snow days.  I loved this day.

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Furniture’s Calling

I am giving myself thirty minutes, tops, to complete this ridiculous post.  Ready.  Set.  Go.

This morning I woke aware of, and overwhelmed by, all the *projects* I live amongst.  They all seemed to be in my face screaming, “Pick me, pick me!”  I took a deep breath, refocused on my day and then took a break later in the morning.  I love  The Inspired Room because, well, it’s inspiring.  So, when I opened my email to find a new post by Melissa, I poured a fresh cup of coffee and settled in. 

What I found was this post about your “furniture talking to you”, which prompted me to write the following comment on Melissa’s amazing blog:

  “No. My furniture does not talk to me…it YELLS at me and ALL AT ONCE!
Just this morning my could-be-amazing office chair and the little shoe shine bench next to my potty were both begging for attention, while I was trying to settle the argument between the deacon’s bench in the entry hall and the salvaged rattan & wicker chairs in the family room…”

However, the little yellow chair was such a bright spot in my day that I decided to take some pictures of my own begging projects and see if I could muster some motivation to follow the inspiration.

Let’s begin in the Entry:

I am a Texas Tech Red Raider, but my home is in no way, form, or fashion red and black.  Lord help me help this room.  The pew is one of my favorite things.  I must do something.

Now on to the Family Room:

    These chairs are really cool.  They are from Pottery Barn and I got them for $5 each at a garage sale, which makes  them awesome!  Not sure what to do with them.  They are more comfy with a back cushion so, for now, I have extra sofa pillows on them.  The pillows appear that they just might work, but with a closer look, it’s obvious that they don’t work at all.   In a nutshell, it looks like I really missed, but don’t know it.

I inherited this coffee table when I married.  The Captain and all of our children learned to walk by pulling up and scooting around this little drop-leaf cutie.  It was painted gold, probably in the 70’s, and has been such ever since.  It needs me. 

My office chair has potential, but I’ve got to figure out what to do with the desk and library table first.  I got the desk and table several years ago for $25 and $10, respectively, at a school auction.  This project may never get done, but it really needs to.     

This is a peg board that The Captain made for me and I include it because it’s one of few things that is done… 

Well, sorta.  The screws still show and I haven’t finished “styling” and such.  But at least it is up and painted and is more *done* than a lot of other things.  Note the chest, for example, also from The Captain’s childhood.  It has so much potential, but I haven’t a clue what to do with it.  Paint it?  Color? The wall is a very light grey/green/blue-ish color with a darker shade of the same color on the accent wall around the fireplace next to it.  Should the chest be white?  Stained?  I’m just not sure.

The Master Bedroom/Office/Sunroom/Lord-What-Do-I-Do-With-This-Place Room has been a work in progress and I’m slowly getting it figured out.  This *Master Living Area*, as we’ve come to call it, almost made me not want the house.  Everyone who sees it thinks it’s “awesome”, but try arranging it and then tell me that.  It is looonng and narrow and huge and L-shaped.  Including a large, long bathroom and three closets, it is nearly 800 sq. ft!  I’ve stood in this room for hours on end, thinking, “…over here we could have a sitting area…and then over here, let’s see, we could have another sitting area…and here, hmm, here, by the windows, hmm, I guess we could have a little sitting area.”   Sheesh.  We don’t even SIT that much.  Maybe a bunch of sitting areas would encourage us to sit more?  I think not.

Still a very unfinished work in progress and using only what we already had (except the dark, medium-height shelves, which came from Target), here is what I have come up with so far.

Since I can’t replace the really nasty wall to wall carpeting, I will just pretend it is a wood floor until I can cover it with some seagrass rugs or something.  And then I will pretend it is a wood floor covered with seagrass rugs until I can get the wood floor, which may well be when I die and someone else lives here.  

I do, however, love the little love seat now that I thought to use my antique linen tablecloth to cover the slip cover.  I had the tablecloth stashed away forever, thinking I would use it on a bed or something, but had forgotten all about it.  I was reminded that I had it when I saw this post on the Dreamy Whites blog.  The slipcover is a Target cheapy and doesn’t fit well at all.  I did have a throw over the back, but this is so much better.        

I’m seven minutes over my thirty minute limit, so I better get back to life.  Maybe I’ll actually get one of these little projects done before I move into the nursing home. 

Oh, and I’ll leave ya with this little guy…the shoe shine bench that was never intended to look like this for this long.  And the TP holder, oh my.

If any member of my family had seen me photographing this…well, I’m just glad that didn’t happen.  That’s all.

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Beans and Cornbread

Some would not consider this a meal.  I do not understand those people, but I will love them anyway. 

I have made beans as long as I can remember.  Sometimes they have been really good.  Other times, nothin’ special.  What is the secret to delicious beans?  In search of the answer, I became interested in beaneology (I thought I made that word up, but I Googled it for fun and I’ll be dern…)

The problem, I learned, is that I’m always playin’ around with ’em, beans that is.  I try this spice and that.  I am so happy to say I have learned that THAT was the problem.  Keeping it simple is the answer and if you find a good thing, don’t mess with it!

Pioneer Woman helped me understand beans.  Less is more; simple is better.   My last several pots of beans have been PW’s and they are SO good.  The Captain requests them and the kids eat ’em up!   

Thursday’s Menu: 

PW’s Beans and Cornbread (recipe here

Banana Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing (recipe soon-ish).

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The Pathway to New Beginnings

…holds promise

I met a new friend last week.   The house, she so beautifully made home, burned to the ground just four days before Christmas.  It was tragic.  By the grace of God, it was not as tragic as it might have been.  Her entire family escaped just in time.   But all earthly possessions were lost.  Everything.  

My new friend’s name is Edie and, while she doesn’t know me (I met her through her blog), I have been praying for her and her family by name.  I am compelled to pray for her because she is my sister in Christ and she has been devastated.  (You can read her brief recap of her story here.) 

Edie’s house burned.  The home she built inside that house, however, is indestructible.  Even after her physical house has tragically vanished, her home continues to inspire and bless others.  I don’t know His timing, but I have no doubt that the Lord will bring her through this and that she will be back stronger and more effective than ever.   I look forward to watching Edie’s new beginnings; to watching her, one day, transform her next house into a home.  In the mean time, her precious blog *home* is a treasure, still encouraging women, pointing us to Jesus, and inspiring us to fill our homes with blessings of true beauty.      

If  you are a woman, young or old, you will be blessed and inspired by Edie’s blog,  Life (in) Grace. Guaranteed.  Edie is smart and, on her blog, she shares her love for classical literature and homeschooling.  She is talented and shares her ideas for crafting, cooking, renovating and *redecoranging*.  She loves Jesus and God’s Word and inspires us to do the same.  Did I mention that she is beautiful?  Yep. Smart. Talented. Beautiful.  Someone remind me why I like this girl, again?  Oh, yes… because she’s just SO loveable

New beginnings often bring with them hope, anticipation, excitement and joy.  I pray that Edie’s loss will ultimately bring the blessings of new beginnings to her and her family.  Surely, the road ahead will be painful.  I have no comprehension of this type of devastation, but I do know that God is faithful and that the path that lies ahead for them holds promise.      

If, and when, the Lord brings them to mind, please pray for this dear family

Oh, and Happy Birthday Edie!

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Happy Black Eyed Peas Day!

I’m a southern gal, it’s true.  Like my Mama, I always, ALWAYS serve black eyed peas on New Year’s.  It’s the right thing to do–like not wearing white shoes before Labor Day (or after Easter) and keeping  “sweetea” in the ice box.  Black eyed peas are to New Year’s what cake is to birthdays; what butter is to a hot roll.  They are to New Year’s what mascara is to clear eyelashes…uh, well, maybe not so much, but you get the idea.  Black eyed peas and New Year’s go together.  

Here, in celebration of a fresh new year, is a recipe that will not disappoint!

Grandpa Bruffey’s Spicy Black Eyed Pea Soup

5 slices bacon (cut into small pieces)

1 cup chopped onion

1-2 T. finely chopped jalepenos

2 cans tomatoes

1 clove minced garlic

pinch salt

dash pepper

3 cups water

2 beef boullion cubes

1 cup chicken broth

2 16oz. pkg. frozen black eyed peas

grated swiss or cheddar

Saute bacon until lightly browned.  Add onion, jalepenos, tomatoes, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Saute a bit and then add water, boullion, broth and peas.  Con over low heat 2-3 hours.  Serve w/grated cheese. 

Happy 2011!

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