Reflections on a Weekend Away

I was among the close to 20 something wonderful ladies and the bundle of sweetness and smiles, little baby Haven, that gathered at a lakeside cabin in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee for the Five Minute Friday retreat.  Here’s the beautiful morning view from the deck as we gathered to drink our coffee (or tea, depending on preference).

fmf viewTruth time.  I wasn’t really sure WHY I was there.  I wasn’t really sure I should have been there.  After all, I’m not really sure I’m a writer; but my friend Melinda’s  enthusiasm was contagious and we were among the first to sign up way back… and we arrived after an adventurous beginning that included a flat tire and some nature exploration along the interstate near Metropolis, IL.

FMF retreat melinda and IBut that’s not what this post is supposed to be about.

This post is supposed to be about  “what’s my biggest take away from the retreat?”

Surprisingly, I learned that I AM a writer!

During our hangout chat with the authors of “On Being A Writer” (Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig) one of the ladies made the comment that

“a writing life is not the same as a writing career.”

That really resonated with me.  I am a writer, because I have a writing life.  Will I ever have a writing career?  Only God knows which leads to the next biggest take away from the weekend that didn’t hit me until the middle of Tuesday night when I woke up thinking about a long-lost dream…the dream that my husband and I have had to minister to families.

Many moons ago,  we made a flyer for Home and Family Ministries. A brainchild we created that never came to fruition.  We wanted to speak, and have retreats, and help families be all they could be. Help marriages succeed.  Encourage parents to parenting with intention.  This was when we were newly married.  Well before blogging was so mainstream, if it was yet at all…that was in the days of dial up internet and before Amazon and Google.

WHY we thought we were ready for that kind of endeavor is beyond me. But, we wonder if now is the time?  We’ve been through life for 21 years together, adding 4 children, and 2 dogs and a cat to the mix among other various critters that have come and gone.  We’ve had highs and lows.  Beautiful and ugly.  And we’ve been real through it all!

Who knows if ANYTHING will come of it, but we’re ready to put our toes in the water and step out in faith and begin a new thing.

So I got up in the middle of the night and started brainstorming this new child.  Looking on WordPress for a blog address that would work.  Here’s what I came up with:

Christian Home Life   

I’m delving into the world of mailchimp and going back over all the notes on promoting a blog from the retreat.  Those notes that I think didn’t apply to me because:

a) I wasn’t a writer

b) I was just a lil’ eclectic wife and momma blogger; 12 years I’ve been writing, and I’m still a lil’ eclectic wife and momma blogger.  And I’m still content with that here at homeskoolmom.

But the retreat, in an odd twist of events, has revived a dream…

FEAR of man is rearing it’s ugly head. Even as I sit here typing this, I wonder if we’re crazy, if I should hit the publish button.  But I refuse to to let it dictate what will come.  Man will not be my God.  I will replace the fear of man with the fear of the Lord, as Trillia, with the beautiful smile, reminded us Saturday morning.

FMF Kate and TrilliaThanks Melinda for the photo

And being BRAVE is coming behind the thoughts of fear.  And we WILL be brave, Shane and I. Mary reminded us Sunday morning that it is easier to stay stuck in the boat; but sometimes that is not what He wants!  Sometimes He wants us to be brave like Peter, and step out of the boat.

Mary, my husband and I are steppin’ out of the boat and being brave.  Many of those steps came long ago…

and now, we wait expectantly to see what, if anything God will do with this new venture!

At this point, only He knows!

We could be absolute nobodies…in that case we’ll keep doing what we’re doing; except we’ll blog with intention at Christian Home Life and maybe, just maybe influence a small sphere of readers in future years…

Or maybe? We will have to be patient and see…

 I LOVE this blog!  It’s my crazy, random place to be me, to bounce here and there, with rambling thoughts; no rhyme or reason. Thoughts flowing freely

And it will continue to be just that, a place for my rambling thoughts…but Christian Home Life, it will be more intentional, more focused with a purpose.

If you’re interested in learning more, here’s the new blog!

Thank you Kate Motaung (Mo-tay-oong–I think I got it) Holly, Jen and Mary for all your hard work!

Roofing Friend {Day 27}

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We’ve got a new roof!  I took this picture the other day when it wasn’t quite done.

blog roofWe also got wonderful new front eves. Our house is a hybrid, and the folks before us had tacked on the eves to the front of the house…they were rotten and sagging.  But we knew there was no reason to repair them until we needed to roof the house.  This also means gutters are in our future, yippee!  This means no more getting dripped on when it’s raining!

blogroofingThis is our friend’s leg while he was nailing shingles.

I walked out to tell him how tempting it would be to scare the begeebeez out of him somehow while his leg was dangling.  He proceeded to tell me that Tabitha had already done that.  Apparently, she decided to grab his leg and pull while he was sitting on the roof this way earlier in the week.  Oh GOOD GRIEF!   I’m glad Mr. B knows us already, or he might not have come back to finish the job.  We’ve been friends with Mr. B and his wife for a few years now.  They are always so patient with Tabitha.  Mrs. B always lets Tabby hold chicks, ducks, puppies, kitties and whatever other critters they happen to have around their farm.  She’s even gotten to suck sorghum at their house.  Yes, they have planted sorghum the past two years and it has made the BEST sorghum.  Tabby loves them and they love Tabitha.

Drivin’ the tractor at their house.


Have a fantabulous Tuesday, Y’all!

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I Might Be a Fan {Day 11}

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Well folks, I might be a Royals fan after all!

I was actually excited this morning when I read the news!  “We” won the first game in the American League Series (hope I got that right, haha.)   I imagine you’re not wondering, but just in case you are, I’m not a big enough fan to try to keep myself awake to listen to the game into extra innings.

Truth be told, many years ago, Shane and I did go to a few games.  In fact, one year we went to several.  We even got to see Sammy Sosa play the year he was HOT.  And I had a lot of fun.  Many moons ago,  I would sit with my Grandma and watch the Braves.  Does anyone else think it’s odd that she was a Braves fan when she was a yank from New York state???  I always kind of wondered why she wasn’t a  Yankee fan…

After 29 years, it seems like “their time.”  But Shane informed us last night at dinner, that the Orioles hadn’t gone this far in more than 30 either way, it’ s going to be an exciting series.  I just hope Billy Butler doesn’t steal a base again!   That was painful to watch (on the news, that is because we have no way of watching the game since it’s not being broadcast on network t.v.)

So for all you babes that may not have even been born in 1985, lol,  I thought it would be fun (if it doesn’t depress you)  to do a little price comparison from 1985 and 2014.  I also re-discovered a bit of interesting trivia about Coke that I’ll share below..

Here are a few:

A gallon of gas:  $1.09  If I find a gallon of gas for under $3.00 today, I’m jumpin’ up and down.   Yesterday afternoon it happened to be $2.81.  On a little side note: Hannah bought her first tank of gas this week.   She came home amazed at how much it cost.  Yes Honey, I’m amazed at how much it takes to fill a tank of gas too. Especially when I used to put $5 in my 1979 Ford Fairmont and drive “forever.”

Movie ticket: $2.75  At the current price of $9 each plus popcorn, because who can go to a movie and NOT get popcorn? We just don’t go to the movies… and I don’t even think you can get a matinee ticket for under 4 bucks.

Postage Stamp: 22 cents  today 49 cents  and that’s with no guarantee that it’ll arrive in one piece or in a timely manner… and the Post office wonders why they’re losing money.

Bacon (or as my man teasingly calls it  “Manna of The God’s”),   $1.65 a lb. If we buy bacon, (we usually buy a whole hog or butcher our own), we buy ends and pieces at Trader Joe’s for $2.99 a lb.  I have no idea what Oscar Mayer goes for these days…I’m afraid to think about it.  P.S.  Stopped by Price Chopper today, Always Save brand of bacon was 3.99lb  YIKES!

And an interesting piece of trivia from 1985.

Coke introduced a new formula.  The backlash was horrific; 77 days later they re-introduced the original formula with the name Coke Classic.  Just for the record, the “new” Coke tasted HORRIBLE!  I may not remember the Royals in the World Series in 1985 but I remember tasting the “new” Coke!   According to Wikipedia the backlash in the south was more horrific than in other parts of the country…wonder why?  Southern folks love their sweet tea, I would have thought we’d have loved it.  But I’m a southern girl and I detested it.

I’ll be listening to my radio this afternoon.  Poo on t.v.  Shane says baseball was made for radio anyway.  Try not to be jealous, ok?

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31 Days of Friends and Family

I’ve committed to posting every day in the month of October…


Yeah, I think I’m crazy; but I have decided to link up with the writing challenge from  the Nester and attempt to make a post here every day in October.  Truth be told, I’ll probably miss a few days here and there…but it is a GOAL to reach for, right?  Not a hard and fast set in stone thing.  Nothing terrible, horrible, awful, atrocious, etc. is going to happen if I don’t reach that goal, right?


Some days you may find nothing more than a cute picture like this

isaac storytelling

With some words below it describing what’s happening.

In this case, Isaac has several of the little’s from church enraptured with his storytelling abilities.  I have NO idea what story he was telling, but it’s certainly one that must be interesting; not a creature is stirring…

Or, it might be a post like this one about my sweet cousin’s Granny.  (Which is why I decided to chose the topic of Family and Friends).

Or, even yet, it might be a funny story that happened that day, or from the recesses of my mind somewhere in the past.

It could be a story about our days of chasing cows, pigs or chickens; or something funny that my crazy Tabby girl said or did. Or about the way my strong, silent type Malachi runs the vacuum when he hates it as much as I do, or when he takes the cordless drill and some screws and fixes our bottom step on the deck or how he braves the weather (hot or cold) every day to go care for whatever critters we happen to have, be it cows, pigs or kittens.  Or how my darling 18 year old Hannah made a cute little kitten picture on her tablet for her FB with all sorts of little captions while I sat before my dino desktop almost having an anxiety attack over how to make a  button for this series.   (This series is sure to get me out of my comfort zone in many ways).

 hannah cat pic

Will you join me for 31 days in October?  You can find the information here on the Nesters blog or for some one word prompts and a challenge to limit the daily post to 5 minutes, you can check out Kate’s link here.

And the adventure begins in 4 days!

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Below are links to each 31 Days post.  You may also want to click the  “31 Days of Family and Friends” category in the sidebar if you don’t mind reading backwards. 🙂

Day 1  –Who is my Family?

Neighbors and Friends

Yesterday, my four cousins laid their sweet 104 year old Granny to rest.  Granny was my Aunt Charlotte’s mom.   It has been a long time since I’ve seen her; but thanks to technology, I’ve seen her many times on Facebook in the recent years.  This picture was taken when she was 102 by my sweet cousin by marriage, Lorretta.


Many years after Grandma moved, I remember visiting Granny (Mrs. G) on the street where my Dad’s family lived as they were growing up.

Springdale Road.

As I was reading the feeds on Facebook yesterday, cousin Jim posted a picture of Granny’s house.  The trees have grown up and the white exterior I remember has been painted, but the basketball goal that the cousins played on is still there…the yard where cousin Jim used to “sit and wave at the cars going by while listening to the transistor radio” is still there…only I’m guessing very few cars go down the road these days, because of the airport, it’s a dead end now.

grannys house on sprindaleAnd then he posted a picture of the family home…stembridge house on springdaleMy Grandma, Grandpa, his dad, my dad, my four other Uncles and my Aunt lived here until my Grandpa died, then my Grandma took all of them on by herself, with God’s help (and I’m sure the community of neighbors).   This is the home where they’d hide from each other only to jump out and scare the bejeebees out of whichever poor sap happened to be walking by, the home where Grandma would make Sunday afternoon fried chicken and biscuits, and all the other wonderful things she would cook.  The home where she’d wash and dry the clothes on the back porch.  The street where once upon a time, the boys would drive their hot rods (or maybe hot rod want to be’s) up and down the hills.. (the story is told that they would even go airborne but I’m not sure I’m buying that).  This was back in the days when a muscle car really had some muscle.  I’ve never been in that home, but somehow it holds the memories for me…I can see Grandma on that back porch even though I’ve never seen the back porch.  I can see the boys chasin each other through the house, through the yard.  I can see the oatmeal dumped on a head, the fight that Grandma forced because 2 of the boys wouldn’t stop pushin each other…somehow my mind sees it…my memories of the memories that have been told.

grandpa stembridge building houseOn a side note, my Grandpa built this house.  He died when my Daddy was young.

Mrs. G and Mrs. S (my Grandma) lived 2 doors down from each other…that was way back when neighbors were friends.  After Jim posted the old homestead picture, a comment was made about all the families that lived on that street. All the friends that lived on that street.  I have a picture of my Grandma and Mrs. Waddy somewhere but have spent some time looking all over my computer and can’t find it.  If I ever do, I will add it here.  (Mrs. Waddy was another neighbor/friend).

That comment got me to thinking…

That was back before days of air conditioning.  Before cell phones and tablets and video games and even before the days of corded phones…when operators still connected the calls between friends and very rarely between distant relatives because long distance phone calls were extremely expensive.

It was back when all the kids played outside with each other.  Back when people weren’t afraid of walking into each others homes and each others lives.  When ya sat on the front porch with your sweet tea and lemonade and shared life together.

Lifelong relationships were made between those families on Springdale Road.

Lifelong memories were made between those families on Springdale Road.

Long after Grandma moved away the legacy between the families continued.

grandma stembridge

Granny’s legacy, Grandma’s legacy.  The friendship with my Daddy’s family, brought a marriage, brought 4 brothers, brought children, some of which have already grown and have married, or getting ready to be married.  Even though my Grandma left this earth many years ago, some of my relatives have been at some of Granny’s birthday celebrations.  I believe this was her 103rd.granny's 103 b day

and some were at the funeral to celebrate Granny’s life yesterday.

granny's funeral

Even though the Ladies of Springdale Rd. are all gone now, the friendships are still intertwined with each other and always will be.

I wish it were so these days…I think our lives would be much richer if our neighbors were also our friends.

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P.S.  Thanks to several cousins for borrowed pictures.