Friday, December 31, 2010

Ready for a new year

As always, the Christmas break and holiday is like a whirlwind, it seems to take forever to get here then it's gone in a flash. So here's a summary of our Christmas festivities....

Buzz, Logan, and Woody....It was a very Toy Story Christmas at our house.

Casey and Austin model their new Muck boots....a necessity on a farm.

A little dusting of snow for Christmas.

I think the angels sang when I opened this one...

The Jennings grands, Tyler, Austin, Logan, Casey, and Brody.

8 of Curlee and Mary Lee Hopper's grands, Micaela, Carrie, Jerry Dean, Tracie, Stacie, Karen, me, and Lance.  We missed Carol, Jamie, and Mack David this year.

Christmas Eve...a quiet day with the family and lots of cooking. Mom came over and spent the night with us, it's become a Christmas Eve tradition and we love it!
Christmas day....a flurry of activity. Up early to see what Santa left, rush around, head to hub's family Christmas, the kids rack up on clothes and toys, and I bring home a gorgeous new KitchenAid stand mixer (heavenly!). Run home, feed the cattle, dash out the door to my uncle's house for the Hopper Christmas. (fun, food, family! Love, love, love it!) Home late, and it's even spitting snow....Wow!

Day after Christmas....spend most of the day playing with new toys and doing laundry. Off to Mom's for my Christmas with my brothers and sister. We had so much fun!
We also had the chance to have my niece and nephew spend the night with us. It was lots of fun. They live in Little Rock, and really seem to enjoy a little time on the farm!

Nana & Landon.

My goofy brothers!

Logan, Jed, & Lilly....round bales are so much fun!

Logan & Jed

One of my resolutions for this year is to keep up with my blog more....but not tonight.  Even though the ball has not dropped in Time's Square, I'm ready for bed, so I'll see you in 2011.

Friday, November 19, 2010

....I will trust in Thee.

This has been another trying week. So many things have happened that I just don't feel prepared or ready for, but I can't forget to rely on the One who holds the future and knows what is the best. (I need one of those rubber bracelets that say F.R.O.G - Fully Rely On God) With that said, I seriously think the ADD is working overtime tonight because I can't focus on anything! I will be surprised if this post makes any sense at all, so overlook the errors, and follow the bouncing ball....or thoughts, in my case.
My week began suddenly at 6:30 am. My grandmother called and said she was in pain and needed me, so I threw on some clothes, jumped in the Yukon, and lit out for Flippin (yes, that is a town in Arkansas). I took her to the ER, but when asked if she was still in pain or had been in pain she politely told the nurse, "Oh, no, Honey, I'm not in pain." As the day progressed, she told several other stories that just left me shaking my head, but also with the realization that I will have some very difficult decisions to make, and it looks like those will be sooner rather than later. It breaks my heart to see those I love dealing with problems such as this. I wish there was something I could do to make it better, but I can't. Living an hour away doesn't appease the guilt any, either. I can't check on her as often as I'd like, but I do try to call her every morning. If you read my blog (one of the 5 or 6 who do?), live anywhere near Flippin, and know of a senior care service, please let me know. I wish I could find someone to drop in on her for a couple of hours a day just to visit and make sure she is okay. As for her health, it's remarkably well for an 89 year old woman. She takes no daily meds, which is amazing. Oh, and our little trip to the ER, I think it was more of a panic attack than anything else, but things were straightened out and she was home by mid afternoon.  Just pray for us.

We were out of school on Monday (huge blessing), and I got to have lunch with one of my very best friends, ever. Shirley and I have been BFF's since the 6th grade, and it was so great to see her. So here's the scoop, if you are looking for a great Italian place there's a new one in Mtn. Home; 870 Bistro. Homemade pastas, wonderful crusty breads, and deliciousness everywhere! I don't know the chef, but I could eat that pasta every day. YUM!
Tuesday & Wednesday were just normal school days....if any school day is normal, but Thursday, oh honey hush! Can you say FUN! I took a small group of girls to Memphis to tour the Memphis College of Art. Yes, I had heart palpitations when I walked in and saw the abundance of studio space, art supplies, and depth of creativity. I wanted to hide somewhere, and when everyone left for the night, sneak out and make ART all night long. My mansion in Heaven is going to look like a giant Art supply store with glorious natural light, and an abundance of studio space....oh, and canvases that are already stretched for me so I don't have to do that part...I don't really like that part.

We ate lunch at the Hardrock Cafe (I had 5 teenaged girls, there was no other option), and took a few pictures while in there. Carl Perkins's guitar is hanging on one of those walls, and it's BLUE, how appropriate since he did write Blue Suede Shoes. Because it was in Memphis, there was an abundance of Elvis memorabilia, too. Elvis, you could sing, but your taste in clothing left much to be desired; you erred on the side of gaudy, and I like bling, so you know it must have been a little over-the-top. Maybe it was all the gold and I'm more of a silver girl.

Elvis's belt.  He must have been really strong to carry that much gold around his waist...kind of reminds me of a boxing title belt.  World heavy weight champion?  It was all those peanut butter & banana sandwiches.

MCA's school van.  I wonder if Mr. May would let me paint one of our school buses with a really cool design like this?  The trash cans were even painted...LOOOOOVE IT!  (Imagine the voice of Weezy from PBSkids Dragon Tales)

Steph is just one of those people who see humor in everything.  I saw the words Shuttle Pick Up, she saw SHUTtle pickUP.  We had fun, I laughed so hard a few times I thought I was going to have to stop and buy some Depends!
Tomorrow is a day of Christmas shopping, so I should take my ADD riddled brain to bed.  Nitey Nite.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

When doubt creeps in....

This week has been a big one for soul searching for me. Last night, during our Bible study at church, as I was thumbing through….okay, frantically trying to remember the little “New Testament” song so I could find 1 Timothy without looking like I had never opened a Bible… and I ran across a devotional in my Women of Faith study Bible entitled “Struggling With Doubt”. Ouch! It’s amazing how God just knows what we need to read exactly when we need to read it, but being the sinful human I am, I didn’t read it until tonight. Maybe that’s why I was on such a rant last night? God wants me to take a good, hard look at what’s going on inside my heart and my head, but I don’t want to. There I said it. I’m being stubborn. I don’t want to dig into my feelings. I’d rather surf Facebook and not have to think, but God has a way of not giving you a moment’s peace until you do what He wants you to do. So here I am, Bible next to me, opened to that stinkin’ page about struggling with doubt. All I can say is I need a revelation. I’ve read the scriptures, I know God is bigger than all things and will take care of all our needs if we lean solely on Him, so why do I still feel so ….. doubtful?

Self-doubt is defined as “a lack of faith or confidence in oneself.” Yep, nailed it. Today that is me. I’ve doubted my ability to do anything, and I do mean anything! I made spaghetti for supper and heard myself saying, “This probably isn’t fit to eat, but here it is.” SPAGHETTI! Not gourmet spaghetti….well, maybe, that’s what the label said on the can of spaghetti sauce…. just an easy meal that you can’t mess up, but I figured I did one way or another. What is wrong with me?! I don’t like being in a funk like this. I’m usually trying to make people laugh or trying to cheer them up, THIS IS NOT ME! I think I have randomly burst out in tears on 3 different occasions since I got home at 4 pm. Well, maybe I should offer a disclaimer here, I cry easily, and I cry at the dumbest things. I’ve seen commercials that left me in tears. I subscribe to the Truvvy (Steel Magnolias) theory “no one cries alone in my presence”, but tonight I just feel like an idiot!

Doubt….such a strange word that has such an effect. Right now I doubt my ability to do anything. I have lost my creative mojo (yes, I can keep up with some people, but I’m an ART teacher, I’m supposed to be super creative!) I don’t even know if I could sing a note tonight if I wanted to…not that it’s that great, but it is something I love, but right now, the desire is just gone. (Please come back) Maybe it’s stress, next week will be a stressful week with the state compliance evaluations that will take place at school on the 11th. (Prayers much appreciated on that one) Maybe it’s the lack of sleep…the insomnia is back….stupid insomnia; or maybe it’s the fashion industry. (I can blame them for all the world’s problems if I want to, it’s my blog, deal with it)

So tonight, as I desperately try to find chocolate (candy’s all gone, I’m in trouble), and deal with my self-doubt, I’m going to cling to some scripture….

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine; according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20

“The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” Luke 17:5

See, even the apostles doubted; I’m in good company. Their faith was made steadfast, and God will erase my doubt and bring back the sunshine. I know He will see me through and He will never give up on me….What an awesome God we serve.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Who's to blame?

Sometimes I just have to get off on a tangent, and today is one of those days.

Today's society has gotten so messed up it just makes me wonder what is coming next. No wonder so many women (and a few men) suffer from such a low self image. Take fashion for instance. How did we get to this place where the more skin you show the more stylish you are? It's NUTS!

Let's just take a minute to contemplate....

In the Renaissance era, women's clothing usually had an empire waist, loose fitting skirts, and many layers. A little more flesh was a sign of plenty and abundance - wealth. To a Renaissance man a woman with a full bottoms and smaller bosom was the "perfect 10".

The Victorians changed things a little, an hourglass was the desired shape, but hips were still fashionable (can you say HOOPSKIRTS and BUSTLES), even if you didn't possess hips and well-rounded behind naturally, you could add another hoop or some padding... and waistlines, well, corsets made them tiny, not starvation!

How about the 1950's? Marilyn Monroe was one hot mama, and she wore a size 16....YES, I SAID A S-I-X-T-E-E-N! (I was born in wrong era; I would have been a skinny 14!)

Then along came the Sixties....and miniskirts....which meant skinny legs were now stylish. (Thanks a lot, Twiggy!)

When did it become fashionable to eat only a cube of cheese or do the old “scarf and barf” thing?


I guess this rant came from a show I saw on E! over the weekend. I don’t even remember the name or why I didn’t change the channel, but as I watched, I couldn’t help but be saddened by what I saw. So many people have become addicted to plastic surgery and the desire to reach an unattainable goal of perfection. In Renaissance days the trend was full on bottom, smaller on top; today we desire just the opposite, full on top, small on the bottom. Did someone turn one of Jacques Ingres paintings upside down and get confused? Why do we have to strive to wear a size 2 pants and a 32DD in a bra?

Who do we blame? I think I’ll choose the fashion industry. Why? Because I can. I’m really tired of picking up an XL shirt only to find skinny arms. Hello! Did any of you designers take anatomy? Use some common sense; if you wear and XL 99% of the time you WILL NOT have skinny arms!

I have many more profound thoughts, but my fingers are tired and my brain hurts. Tune in again soon because this is my soapbox, and I’m not climbing down just yet!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Shiner, shiner

I think I remember saying something like "Logan, get off the squeeze chute!"  In fact, I think I remember hearing something akin to that phrase come out of his dad's mouth, too, but that selective hearing must have blocked the sound of our voices because a certain little six-year-old boy/monkey child obviously didn't hear either of us when he climbed up on the side, pushed a handle up (just to see what would happen), and failed to move his face out of the way when it popped back and smacked just under his right eye. 

Excuse the spaghetti sauce on his face, but that's about normal for a boy. 
Day 4 or five, it was purple and yellow, but starting to heal.
Day 2, just getting black.
 Something weird just happened and some of my pictures posted twice, but just enjoy the cute kid with the black eye.  It's been a long week and I don't know if I have the energy to fix it.  I am happy to report that the shiner is completely healed.

So why am I tired?  Basketball, that's why.  Nope, I don't play anymore, but Austin does.  I love basketball and I'm so happy that Austin enjoys playing, but 4 games in 6 days is a little least for mom!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy birthday, Casey!

Happy Birthday, Sis.  You entered the world 2 weeks late, and screaming your head off.  There were 4 baby boys in the hospital nursery and you woke them all.
You weighed in at 8 lbs, 4 oz, 22 inches long, and had a head full of black hair.

24 hours old.

Uncle Lance couldn't wait to hold you.

Mama Hopper thought you were pretty funny, and you loved her!

First day of Kindergarten, Marguerite Vann Elementary, Conway, AR

Age look a little like your mother! (poor kid)

Casey & Dusty at the Ar/Mo Show of Champions.

Age 13.... nice HotStix in the hair.

Senior year.  (Casey's the backspot...the one on the far left)

Senior Prom

Casey & Boon 2010

I'm very proud of you, Happy Birthday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

I just have one thing to say.....

Go Hogs!  Beat 'Bama!  Whooooooo Pigs!

Okay, I actually have one more thing to say....or to ask, rather.  Say a prayer for my grandmother, Althea.  I'm going over tomorrow to help her get some things straightened out.   She's just ready to give up.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nothing to fuss about...

Last night I was feeling a little sorry for myself because I've been shunned yet again (long story), I was dwelling on how hurt my feelings were and why I let the same old same old keep bothering me.  This morning, however, something happened that put everything all in perspective and I don't feel like I have the right to a pity party anymore.   Today should have been an over-the-top joyous day for my friends Kellie & Flint, instead it has turned into a day of unspeakable heartache for them and their families.  One day after her due date, Kellie went into labor; I don't know what happened exactly, but just a few minutes after their sweet baby boy entered this world, he went back to his home in heaven.  My heart just breaks for this couple and their families.  I can't imagine losing a child you have waited so long to hold in your arms.  I can't imagine going home to see a nursery you had ready only to know that your sweet baby boy would never sleep there.  I can't imagine why this couple, who will be such wonderful parents, had give up their child when so many women who don't want their babies keep having more and more. 
Why does it take some tragedy to make us realize what is important and what shouldn't really bother us?  I just hope I don't forget the lesson too quickly.

Monday, September 13, 2010

God's country.

Sometimes we forget what a beautiful part of the country in which we live. Sunday (9-5-2010) we went to Mtn. View; the original plan was to meet some family for and early supper, but on our way home from church Chris and I decided we would leave a little early and take the boys to Blanchard Spring just to get outside and enjoy a beautiful afternoon. We didn't get to stay long exploring around the spring, but we plan on going back very soon. Yesterday Lance (my brother) said he would love to go back over and even go through Blanchard Spring Cavern. Chris and Logan want nothing to do with a giant cave, but I love the cave!

I did manage to get a few good shots of my boys at Blanchard, even let Austin take one of Chris and me which will probably be deleted as I am NOT photogenic!

 .They even matched, totally unplanned, I promise

My 3 favorite men... and Chris managed a slight smile...score one for photography history!

Blanchard Spring runs directly out of the cavern, but you can't get into the cave from here because approximately a mile (if I remember correctly) is completely a giant tube...and you have to have scuba gear to get to it from here. There are 2 other natural openings, but I much prefer the elevators from the visitors center.

This is just downstream from the spring.  I've always wondered where the old rock steps once led.  I wonder about things like that quite often.  I wish there was a way to go back into history and really know and understand what life was like in rural Arkansas a century ago.  This creek leads to what is now called Mirror Lake.  It's a manmade stone dam that used to house a grist mill.  The mill is long gone, but lake is still beautiful...and deep...very deep...and surrounded by no swimming signs.

A close up of the spring; it's been here thousands of years, oh if it could only share its story with us, what marvelous things it must have seen.

I'm looking forward to fall and cooler weather along with the chance to get out and do a little hiking.  I love tromping through the woods, and the snakes aren't as active in the fall!  While we were walking through the hills of Arkansas, I couldn't help but think of a song I hear all the time on KLOVE (LOVE that station!)  If you haven't heart the song my "My Help Comes From the LORD" by "The Museum" you need to listen to it.  It ranks right up there with "Praise You in This Storm" for me, and that's very high on my list!

My Help Comes From the LORD  (The Museum)

When sorrows come and hope seems gone
You're the rock I rest upon
When waters rise and I can't breathe
You're the love that rescues me
Out of the darkness I lift up my eyes
Unto the hills I feel my faith rise
Maker of heaven, giver of life
You are my strength my song in the night
My refuge my shelter Now and forevermore
 My help comes from the Lord

When I'm broken scarred by sin
Death gives way to life again
When I suffer when I doubt
In you I'm free in you I'm found

Out of the darkness I lift up my eyes
Unto the hills I feel my faith rise

Maker of heaven, giver of life
You are my strength my song in the night
My refuge my shelter Now and forevermore
My help comes from the Lord

Maker of heaven, giver of life
You are my strength
You're my refuge
Now and forevermore...

My help comes from the LORD

Monday, July 19, 2010

The lost tooth.

Logan has been wiggling his first loose tooth for a couple of weeks now.  Saturday night he finally lost it.  He was biting into an ear of corn and yelled "My tooth! My tooth!".  When he laid his corn down there was some blood around the loose tooth the he could push it almost flat with his tongue.  We decided it was time for the tooth to come out, so Chris took him to the bathroom, had him rinse his mouth, the proceeded to pull the tooth.  There wasn't much pulling to it because the tooth was barely attached.  Logan was very worried about it hurting until Daddy showed him the tooth, then he grinned and said, "Dad's a good tooth puller, that wasn't bad at all!" 

Sunday morning he grinned at everyone in church, he wanted to make sure they saw the gap in his teeth, not to mention he was a dollar richer thanks to a visit from the Tooth Fairy.  He did leave the Tooth Fairy a note that he wrote himself, "Dear Tooth Fairy, can I please keep my tooth?  Love, Logan"  (he had a little help with spelling from me) A request to which the TF graciously consented.

Just one more sign that my baby is growing up!

 Checking out the loose tooth in the mirror.

 Notice the grimmace on his face, afriad the tooth pulling will hurt.

 Checking out the first lost tooth and telling Dad he's a good tooth puller.

Proud of his new smile!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

VBS update

Breaking news from Saddle Ridge Ranch.  The horse thievin' bandit, Steely-Eyed Stan, was eavesdropping outside the classroom doors and heard the Bible stories being taught.  His conscience got the best of him, and he brought back all the things he had taken from the classrooms....he even listened when someone shared the story of Jesus with him....and guess what...Yep, he learned his ABC's (A: Admit to God you are a sinner, B: Believe that Jesus is God's son, and C: confess your faith in Jesus as your Savior and Lord)  Saddle Ridge Ranch has one less outlaw, and God has a new son in His kingdom!

We have some pretty amazing and creative people in our church.  From a simple idea of a wanted poster, to the repentence and salvation of a ficticious character, our youth pastor (Bro. Jeff) and several other helpers (Jason, you may have a career in Hollywood) really showed the kids that salvation can change even hardened criminals.  God's ways are truly amazing!

I didn't get photos loaded tonight, but I'll work on that tomorrow.  Tomorrow night is our parent's night and program.  It has been a fun week, I had to miss Tuesday night, but we are still having a blast.  I almost hate to see it end....almost....I need an unbusy week before school starts.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


It's Vacation Bible School week at Salem First Baptist Church and we're having a ball!  I have the privilege of helping with the music this year, and the songs are so much fun!  I went to sleep last night with "don't be a tu-uh-uh-umble weed blowin' anywhere the wi-i-i-ind may lead..." going through my head.  Oh, to have the gift to write these songs, but I can't, so I'll just help sing them!

Can you tell this VBS theme is right up Logan's alley?  His normal attire is Wranglers, boots, belt (with giant buckle), and hat.  He also enjoyed the fun game time...barrel racing on stick horses while wearing oversized boots.  LOVE it!

How cute are these twins?  Karen & Derek, you're in trouble in about 14 years!

One more on the lookout for this guy!  He's nothing but trouble!  Last night he stole Bro. Jeff's favorite stick horse, Luke.  He also took a picture from the Kindergarten room and another stick horse and stuffed cow from another classroom!  He's a sneaky varmint, but never fear, by Thursday night there will be a whole passel of new deputies who will be out spreading the Good News and old Steely-Eyed Stan will be out of business....who knows, he may even change his ways....

(Thanks, Jason, for playing along and letting us turn you...uh, I mean your evil twin...into an outlaw)  I made some wanted posters and they're posted all around the church. 

Thanks, Casey, for taking all the pictures for me.  She's got tons that we are going to weed through and turn into a video to show at Sunday morning so all the adults who didn't get to visit Saddle Ridge Ranch will know what fun we had. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Up to our Ears in Corn....

We have some great friends, great friends who have corn...lots of corn...and they like to share!  I wish I had taken a shot of the unshucked corn in the back of the truck, but imagine the bed of a Dodge 2500 filled with corn and you get the idea.  After sharing with lots of family and several friends, Mom and I set out to get our 300+ ears ready to freeze.  That's my Mamma, she said she wanted to be in the picture so everyone would know she worked in the corn.  Honestly, I don't know if I could have done it without her...that was Wednesday, today is Friday, if I'd have had to do it by myself I'd probably still be in the kitchen.

We don't blanch our corn, the ears we just wash really good and let them dry.  When they are dry we just bag them up and into the freezer they go.  The non "cob worthy" ears (ie: the ugly ears) we cut off and make creamed corn.  Once again, there is no heat involved, and we use Aunt Ruthy's recipe:
15 cups of corn (cut off the ears)
5 cups ice water
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. salt
Mix together, let set for 20 minutes, put in freezer boxes and freeze.

Here's a side note:  If you get Paula Deen's newsletter, the last one had her son Jamie's trick for cutting corn off the cob.  Just rest the ear of corn on the hole of a Bundt pan, and cut the kernels off with a sharp knife.  I tried this little trick and it works GREAT!  The pan catches the kernels and it's really easy.  Good idea, Jamie!

Here's the finished product.  Over 150 ears of corn on the cob ready for the freezer, and lots of creamed corn, too. (I forgot to count the number of quarts and pints, but there were several).  Now to get our 1/2 a beef in the freezer and we will a freezer full of good stuff.  Austin is picking blackberries, and some of those are going in the freezer, too....if he doesn't eat them all.
I really enjoyed working up the corn.  I have so many plans for more good stuff to go into the freezer.  I get such a good feeling to open the freezer, see the good stuff stacked in there, and think, "I did that."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Scenes from Media Day

Just a few of the people who came out yesterday.  Leah (foreground) is with NAEC and works with Casey, so everyone was very comfortable with her.  3 of the others were with the local newspaper, and one was with the radio station.  Several reps from the county conservation office came out, too.

The kids had to show the newspaper guy the horses.  Hooter decided, since they didn't have anything to eat, he would just go back to grazing.  Boon (Casey's horse) was very curious, he wanted to be part of the action.
 Taking shots of the kids on the tractor.  Shortly after they left Chris went to the hayfield, hence the baler attached to the tractor.
 One of my favorite shots from the day, Chris was answering a few more questions and Logan was chillin' on Dad's knee....okay, he was really wanting to make the bucket go up and down, but Dad wouldn't let him...he wouldn't even start the tractor!
I had to be a few of the shots, but I don't have those, I really don't like to see photos of myself...maybe if I looked like Cindy Crawford or some other supermodel, but I don't, so I'll just enjoy pictures of my family.  

One amusing happening of the day, Austin was showing the newspaper man his show steer (notice I said STEER).  The man asked him if he was going to raise him and breed him with our other cows.  Austin had a befuddled look on his face like he was trying to decide if he was kidding or serious, and he said, "No, he's a steer not a bull."  At this point the newspaper man asked, "What's the difference between a steer and a bull?" (yes, he was serious)  I choked...maybe even snorted a little.  Austin just cut his eyes at the man and said, "A steer has been castrated, a bull hasn't."  Good answer, son, I was so proud...I'm just glad they didn't ask Logan that question because he would have gone into detail about exactly how Daddy used the bander and the impending results of said bander on certain parts of a calf's anatomy.  It was an interesting day.  I'm glad it's behind us, but I was definitely honored and more than a little surprised to be chosen as the Fulton County Farm Family 2010.