Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Good List 6-29-11

10. The yellow birds that keep darting around my backyard. I thought they were all the same (goldfinches?), but I finally caught a couple pictures, and they're not. I'm not sure what they are, but they sure are pretty.

9. Peter Jackson's The Hobbit. I cannot wait.
8. Ziplining. I feel strongly that this should become America's primary mode of transportation. That would be better than awesome.

7. Helping plan happy surprises for people I love.
6. Mandisa. What a wonderful, beautiful lady.
5. Tinmouth Pond. Who knew a "pond" could be so fabulous? Special thanks to Tammy English for a wonderfully relaxing afternoon yesterday.
4. My favorite piece of art from Gracie's school folder this year.

3. My favorite piece of art from Macy's school folder this year.

2. This memory:
I made this blanket for the Dickersons 2 Christmases ago and told them it would have to be my way of putting my arms around them until we were close enough for me to do it in person more often. I never dreamed that would happen so quickly! Now I get to wrap my arms AND that blanket around all my little Dickersons on a regular basis. As Gracie would say, "YAHOO!"
1. Celebrating 15 years of marriage TODAY with my favorite man on the planet. Love you so much, Jared C. Wilson!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Photo of the Week 6-27-11

My niece Dylan watching the llamas.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


This is a story written by Grace (7) during the school year that just ended. The words in parentheses were not written in the original story. They are her verbal additions as she read this to me. I love it!



Once there was a young vulture named Tiara. She was different from every other vulture in her class. Her feathers were the colors of fall leaves, her beak was as purple as a plum, and her legs were darker than any other vulture in her class. But she was proud of it. One day her Mom was getting packed up to move away, but Tiara did not know. When Tiara came home from school, she saw her Mom packing up her books. They were all ballerina books.

"Why are you packing up my favorite books?" Tiara asked her Mom with surprise.

"Because we're moving," she told Tiara.

"Where are we moving?" asked Tiara.

"We're moving to Florida," said Tiara's Mom.

"WHAT?!" yelled Tiara. "It's going to take forever to fly (like with their wings) all the way to Florida!" yelled Tiara loudly. "Can't we just fly to the airport and then fly (on an airplane) to Florida?"

"No," said her Mom tensely. "We are going to fly (you know with their wings), and that's that. Go to bed, Tiara," said her Mom.

Tiara sighed. "Alright," said Tiara.

In the morning, Tiara got up and went to eat her breakfast. It was a chocolate chip waffle with butter on it. When she finished eating, she went to her room to get her backpack. "It's not there!" yelled Tiara.

"I packed it up," said Tiara's Mom. "We're moving today. Go fluff your feathers."

And she did exactly that. When she finished, she went to clean her beak (you know, like instead of brushing her teeth). Then it was time to go. Tiara was nervous her wings would get too tired. Before she went outside, she asked one more time if she could fly instead of fly. Her Mom still said no. They finally took off. It was so cool! They flew over airports and hotels. Over restaurants and other houses. Over schools and police offices. Tiara found out it wasn't so bad after all. She flew through box kites and over gardens. Tiara had a great time. She called the cars thingamabobs. She thought that was a funny name. When it was time to go to bed, Tiara rested her wings. She had such a good time and so much fun. It was the best time she had in her whole life. She thought about how much fun she had and soon she was fast asleep. In the morning, Tiara wanted to skip breakfast, but her Mom told her to eat breakfast. She ate it quickly. Then she went to get her feathers fluffed, and then it was time to go. She flew through more box kites. They finally got to Florida.

"HOME SWEET HOME!" cried Tiara loudly.

They had to unload lots of boxes. Tiara was mad. She wanted to go to sleep, but she unpacked boxes anyway. She found all her ballet stuff. Tiara was so happy when she found all her ballet stuff. "YAY!" cried Tiara.

They did one room at a time. It went much faster that way. Then they were finally done, and they both went to bed. In the morning, it was time for school. Tiara ate quickly. Then she fluffed her feathers, got all packed up, and went to school. She was a little shy at first. Everybody made fun of her. Tiara was so sad. It was the worst time of her life. Tiara went home crying. She was afraid to go to school the next day, but she did anyway. She packed up for school. It was a hard day that day. Everybody said she should be a ballerina. The next day she came back as a ballerina. Everybody loved her and wanted her autograph. Everybody went home with her autograph. She came home crying happy tears, and it happened every day from then on.


My JoJo

Happy Birthday today to one of my very most favorite people in all the world--my baby sister Jody.

JoJo is the one who when we were very young shared a room with my other younger sister while my oldest sister and I each had our own separate rooms, yet when bedtime rolled around, she would always ask if I would sleep in her room with her and let Amy have my room (and I usually agreed.) I'm sure I never gave it a second thought way back then, but looking back, I guess we had a special connection from the very start.

JoJo is the one who I always wanted to take care of when she was little, not because she couldn't take care of herself and not even necessarily because she was the baby of the family, but because she was just so precious, and I loved her so much.

JoJo is the one whose hair I would style every morning before school during the 1 year we were in high school together. She let me do whatever I wanted to it and never complained, and something about that was fun for both of us.

JoJo is the one who went EVERYWHERE with me when I was old enough to drive and she was not yet. We created the stupidest adventures together and laughed about things that I'm certain no one else would find remotely funny.

JoJo is the one who every summer would purchase with me 5 of the tackiest matching outfits we could find--one for each day of camp. One year, said outfits included neon green and neon orange overalls with matching caps and socks. Don't be jealous.

JoJo is the one who bought us turbo glasses so that we could look extra ridiculous when we were riding our crazy hand-me-down go-cart that was falling apart and looked like something that had been pieced together from a trash-heap. But hey, it worked. ;-)

JoJo is the one who for about 20 minutes carefully climbed the fence with barbed wire at the top so that we could have a picnic at our high school's football stadium and then basically leapt over that same fence in about 6 seconds when the alarm went off. :-D

JoJo is the one who sent me the most amazing letters when she lived in Singapore with my parents for about a year and a half. Most of them made me laugh out loud the whole time I was reading, but there were also the few that made me cry just because I missed her so much.

JoJo is the one who found ways to form special bonds with my babies and keep them strong even though she lived about 14 hours away from them for their entire lives until recently.

JoJo is the one who gave me 4 extra babies to love, and OH, how I love them!

JoJo is the one who knew just from the sound of my voice during a phone conversation one day in the fall of 2005 that I needed her closer to me than Texas even though I said nothing of the sort. I later found out that immediately after our phone conversation, she called my Mom and booked airline tickets for both of them and my baby nephew Ty to come see me a few days later. It was one of the best surprises of my entire life and ended up being exactly what I needed at the time.

JoJo is the one who decided that it would be epic fun to come to Nashville when it was finally time for me to move from there to Vermont and make that looooooooong road trip with me. And as soon as she learned that I don't care much for driving, she offered to drive the entire time and then did just that. We had SO much fun!

JoJo is the one who got one tiny glimpse of my life in Vermont during the very short time she was here after that road trip and decided it was something she and I needed to share.

JoJo is the one whose entire family moved up here a little over a year after I did so that we can do just that. (Special thanks to my bro-in-law Jon for being on board with this plan and helping make it happen just as quickly as he could. :-D)

JoJo is the one who can make me laugh like crazy, crazy every single time we're together, but she'll also cry with me if that's what I need.

JoJo is the one that I'm so thrilled to share amazing adventures with here in Vermont hopefully living about 5 miles away from each other (or possibly even a little closer eventually) for the rest of our lives. I don't know that I've ever been so excited about life in general. I'm pretty sure my favorite time of life is yet to happen, and I'm absolutely certain that my JoJo will be a huge part of that.

Love you with all my heart, Jo. So glad you're here.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Brand New Fawn

I'm pretty sure this is the cutest thing you will see on the internet today. You're welcome. ;-)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Can we Really Learn from Video Games?

Ok, well first of all, let me say that I am NOT trying to endorse video games. I'm not terribly opposed to the appropriate ones, but I would never recommend having kids sit in front of them for long periods of time. Just wanted to get that out there. HOWEVER, we are on rainy day #2 with 6 kids, and when outside isn't an option, suddenly video games seem like a pretty good idea. Just sayin'.

The thing that I do like about some of these new games is the way you have to play them as a team. You can't win alone. You can only win together. Now another disclaimer: I'm not opposed to kids losing games and learning how to be gracious and confident even when they don't win everything. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that a lot of the political correctness/"everyone wins" business is teaching kids more about entitlement and laziness than anything else. As in, "Don't bother working hard, because everyone gets the same reward in the end." So no thank you on that option. But that is a discussion for a different day. My point for now is that I do think there's value in teaching kids the importance of teamwork and the desire to see others succeed. In many of these games, not only can you not win if you don't win together, but if something happens to your teammate, you have to find them and "rescue" them before you can move on. And then you have to continue to work together to keep going. It's interesting to watch the kids choose different skill sets or tools for their characters so that as a team they are best equipped for whatever challenges they know they'll face. Even little Jack at only 4 years old understands that concept. They know how to "stack the deck" in their favor against the game rather than trying to make sure that only their character is the strongest, fastest, smartest, or whatever.

Seems like there are lessons to learn here. These are the things these games have caused me to think about over the last couple days:

1. It's smart to equip a team based on what makes the team the strongest against a common challenge or enemy rather than being focused only on personal protection. The example that comes to mind here is marriage. It's no secret that the devil is no fan of healthy marriages. But it takes teamwork to fight against him. If each partner is concerned only with protecting him or herself while allowing their spouse to endure attacks of all kinds, this is a recipe for disaster. I have often been burdened for friends who have a spouse who enjoys tearing them down publicly. I understand the psychology behind it. The idea is that this is a wounded person who wants people to understand that his or her spouse is responsible for much of their hurt. But while this person might be trying to protect him/herself and convince everyone that their spouse bears the bigger burden for the marriage's shortfalls, the unfortunate result is further damage to the marriage. This leaves huge points of weakness in a relationship that the devil already loves to attack. But when spouses work together to protect each other, they are also naturally protecting themselves and their marriage as well.

2. Never leave a friend behind. This one is tricky, because certainly we can't control the behavior of other people although it is frighteningly tempting to try sometimes. But there is also temptation to give up on people when they don't quite behave as we would like or expect them to. Neither of these methods is effective. So what do we do? If we can't force someone to come with us, then how do we not leave them behind? This can be difficult and frustrating for sure, but I think our responsibility is quite simply not to give up on people. In other words, if you have a friend who is making questionable decisions and choosing to walk away from the truth, you don't write them off and never speak to them again. You encourage them, you pray for them, you reach out to them and love them. They may not always respond well, but that is not your responsibility. Leave that part to the Holy Spirit.

3. Desire to bring an entire team to a successful conclusion rather than race ahead of everyone else to the finish line. I wonder what would happen if every church in America adopted this mindset. Instead of each individual church hoping to increase their own "numbers," what if we all worked together to make sure the OVERALL number was bigger? And rather than always looking to get the newest, best or biggest (insert pretty much any material thing here), what if all churches worked together to make sure that at least basic needs were met across the globe before we worried about better technology or bigger auditoriums for some? Things like that. I know this is really idealistic thinking, and it's much easier said than done, but it just seems like we should start somewhere, you know?

Anyways. . . those are some of the things I've been thinking about. I'm sure none of those points are as well thought-out as they should be, but then again I've been hanging out with 6 kids for several days, and I haven't even had much coffee. Perhaps you will excuse me if my brain isn't quite as sharp as it should be today. :-D

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Good List 6-22-11

10. Bonnie Hunt. I wanna be friends with her. She makes me laugh.
9. Our solar-powered garden lights. Cute, festive, and functional.
8. The lemon ginger white chocolate cookies I made for a get-together tonight. They are YUM!
7. The Glades is back! I love this show!
6. These guys. They're pretty much awesome, and I get to hang out with one of their distant relatives this weekend. :-D
5. JoJo and Jon's armoire that they are letting us borrow indefinitely for our bedroom. It gets the tv up much higher so it's much more comfortable to watch a movie in bed, AND it has lots of closed storage so that eventually the whole room will look much neater. (but I haven't gotten quite that far yet. :-P)
4. My Mother's Day present: a Rocco Dispirito cookbook with all sorts of yummy "comfort food" recipes under 350 calories. (Special thanks to my bro-in-law Mickey for recommending this little gem.)
3. Our new little baby neighbor. Gracie named him "Pitch" because he's so solid black. We're told 2 more are on the way soon.

2. Travis Wall. Y'all for real. . . Could he be any more adorable? Or talented? Love him!
1. Peyty is here!!!!! For almost 2 weeks!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pancakes, Cobbler, and other Yumminess!

Pretty soon our breakfast, dessert and general snack life will be exponentially improved. :-D

We also have blackberries all over the place and 2 sweet cherry trees. Veggies are going into the ground this weekend. I'm excited!


Yesterday was Macy and Grace's last day of school for this year. Last summer I was sooooooo excited about the last day of school for these reasons. And it did prove to be the most amazing summer ever at that point. But THIS year in addition to last year's list, I also have the following additions:

--a trip to Maine in July with our super special friends the Miserocchis
--a Grandmom and Granddad visit in August
--a trip to Ohio in August with Jared to attend my first (his second) Gospel Wakefulness conference
--3 Forge events (we just started this program in January, so it wasn't going on last summer, but I'm LOVING it this year!)
--Celebrating 15 years of marriage with my favorite man on the planet
--AND last but CERTAINLY not least--we get to share the WHOLE summer with JoJo, Uncle Jon, Ty, Jack and Dylan

I don't know what next summer will hold, but if it gets any better than this, my head just might explode. :-D

Thank you, Lord, for our many, MANY blessings!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Good List 6-15-11

10. Chicken salad made with rotisserie chicken and grapes. YUM!
9. Mavs win the NBA finals! Especially happy for Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd.
8. Peonies. They're so huge and happy and fantastic.

7. Snapping fresh green beans. Always makes me think of my sweet Memaw.
6. Fireflies. Pretty solid evidence that God doesn't want us to ever grow old in our hearts.
5. Being married to a man who knows exactly how I like my coffee. :-D
4. That one lonely freckle on Grace's skinny little foot. I love flip-flop season, 'cause every time I catch a glimpse of that, it makes me grin.

3. The multiple freckles across Macy's cute little face that get way more pronounced in the summertime. I want to smooch every single one.

2. Not being able to remember the last time I was bored. It was a looooong time ago.
1. Saturday mornings when there's nothing on the calendar for that day. We get to choose our own adventure!

Prayer Time 6-14-11

Summer is about to be in full swing around here, which means this will likely be my last quiet day for awhile. ;-) I'm not sad about that, but it does mean this will be the last of these posts for a few weeks. That doesn't mean I'll stop praying, so feel free to get in touch with prayer requests any time you like. I will keep them in my journal and lift them up whenever those quiet moments do come.

Until then, I'll be praying for a summer full of wonderful adventures, sweet memories with family and friends, and precious times with our Savior. Many blessings!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Photo of the Week 6-13-11

Rockefeller Center. Pretty Cool.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What Humans Should Learn from Dogs

Wouldn't life be so much easier. . . . . ? ;-)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Good List 6-1-11

10. Looney Tunes. They really just don't make cartoons like those anymore. Classic.
9. The 28 mostly gigantic and all gorgeously blooming Lilacs the girls and I counted on the 3.5 mile drive home from their school the other day. And that was just the purple ones. AND I'm positive we missed several.
8. Five Guys is coming to Rutland, VT later this year! Y'all. Oh my. Go to the deliciousness. I promise you won't be disappointed.
7. The Muppets Movie coming this Thanksgiving. Yes.

6. A house with open windows on every wall. Fresh and breezy. Ahhhhhhh. . . . .
5. Jacob's Ladder--my new favorite smell. It is one of the happiest and most delightful scents my nose has ever met. I would very much like to wear it as a mustache. :-D

4. 10-year-old girl birthday parties. So much giggling. :-D

3. The community team effort my garden has become. So much fun! All kinds of contributions from other gardens to add to the loveliness. I love it! Special thanks to Daisy Chapman, Susan Blanch, Rita Hansen, and Connie and Caitlyn Eaton (Macy sprinkled some of her "extra" zinnia seeds in there. ;-) Also VERY special thanks to Diane Lowell, who not only contributed all sorts of pretty things to plant, she actually got out there and planted them! :-D (And we're still working on it. . . ) So fun! Before and after pics coming soon. . .
2. The summer AND fall trips Grandmom and Granddad already have planned for this year. Very awesome.
1. This. Because it is adorable, but even more because it is indicative of the journey that is bringing them to live 6.5 miles away from me rather than 2000. :-D