Friday, June 27, 2014

a weekend near Davis

Katy Trail- between Dougherty and Falls Creek
Rodney decided to take a short trip with each of his daughters on his motorcycle this summer.  Rodney took Regan to the Turner Falls area, and the rest of us decided to tag along in my car... separately.  It worked out really well because Rosalind and Rayne were going to Falls Creek Church Camp just a few miles from our cabin the following Monday, so the three of us stayed an extra night and I dropped them off. 

We stayed at a place call Rock Creek Retreat.  It was really neat and peaceful and private.  The cabin was called Copper Cabana and suited the 5 of us really well.  Rodney and Regan rode lots of miles in beautiful foliage on winding county roads while the rest of us read, a lot.  It was so nice.  Rodney and Regan left on Sunday afternoon for home to get back for work on Monday, and the campers and I stayed.

Rosalind and Rayne on Bromide Hill overlooking Sulfur

Rosalind, Rayne and I rode up to Sulfur and visited the springs at the Chickasaw National Park.  We walked a lengthy trail and drove up to Bromide Hill.  After supper we returned to our cabin.  The next morning we lounged around before leaving.  We drove into Davis and around Turner Falls.  We didn't enter the park because it was pretty expensive- $12 per person plus $12 for the car.  We decided to take pictures from the free lookout instead. 

This marker was up at the lookout, near Turner Falls

Cash register at the soda fountain
We ate lunch downtown Davis in a neat little bistro that served quiche.  Happy girls were we!  Across the street was a drug store that had a soda fountain in it.  Twenty ounce milkshakes for $3.  What a bargain!  Soon it was time to drop the girls off at camp.  It was chaos.  Organized chaos, but chaos nevertheless.  Falls Creek is set up for 8000 students per week for 6 weeks a summer; it functions like a well oiled machine.

Driving home after a weekend full of family was a little different.  When I-35 got too congested, I cut through the country, driving down roads I had never been on before.  It was also then I noticed I had quiet a few bites; however, it wasn't until I got home that I realized that I was covered in them.  Chiggers.  Ugh.

I literally looked like I had the chicken pox because they weren't just around my feet... they were spaced from by ankles to my shoulders.  About 70 of them.  All of us ended up with them.  The girls didn't suffer as much and Rodney and I did.  Rodney had about 35 on his ankle in the space of 2x2 inches.  And the crazy thing is that none of us ever got into any grass, foliage, etc.  None.  And the only place we were all together was at the cabin besides eating out.

I still look like I'm recovering from the chicken pox, but I'm not sleeping with ice packs anymore, so I have decided that I just might live.  Chiggers suck.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Becoming an outlaster...

I cannot believe it's been almost 6 months since I last posted.  I could write a book on what I've learned since then.  But, you didn't sign up for that, so here's a couple of our latest blessings.

The back story...  On the eve of Easter, (silent Saturday) we had a little family meeting.  We were trying to decide where to go to church for Easter.  We basically had three choices:  our home church that we left a couple years ago, our current church we've transiently settled on, or a new plant (The Edge) that is about a year old.  Everyone had a different idea and different motives.  We went to bed with the decision unsettled.

Easter morning, Rodney and I made the executive decision together and told the girls that we were going to The Edge.  My oldest had made plans to go with a friend to our home church, and I told her to call it off because she was going with us.  She was not happy with me but did not protest.

We got dressed, got in the car and drove to church without much discussion or conversation.

Of course there were people there who we knew.  We have a broad range of people with whom we are acquainted on this half of the state.  We had an idea what it would be like, but we just couldn't make ourselves go before now.

After the service, walking to the car, I asked my oldest if she was glad that I made her come.  She was.  She was radiant as were the rest of us.  We've been every Sunday since.

One series that Craig Groeschel just finished was called Outlasters.  If you're familiar with Bruce Wilkenson's three chair series, it's very similar.  Our kids were hanging on every word.  He talked about learning to appreciate work and embrace it as well as leaving a legacy and developing a real one-on-one relationship with God and not settling with a vicarious one through a parent.  Believe me, that's the scarce nutshell of the fantastic series.

Shifting gears...  Regan's choir director nominated her to go with the Voyageurs Ambassadors of Music organization on a 15 day European concert tour next summer.  After we received the information, we attended a meeting to learn more.  Basically she wants to go, Rosalind can go, too, and oh, it's going to cost $5745 per child.  Yes, you read that correctly, and no, we don't have that kind of cash.

After chewing on it for a weekend, we pinned the girls down on their commitment to do this or not.  My parents see the tremendous opportunity and have the means and offered to pay half if the girls could come up with the other half.  So we told the girls that if they would come up with half of their half, we'd match it.  That is $2872.

Our girls have always had some type of summer job but never anything that required 100% of them all the time.  They don't need anything really, and accumulating cash wasn't really a concern for them.

Putting it all together...  But this... this opportunity along with the teaching they are hearing and personally agreeing with from church has lit a fire under them.  We helped them organize a bit but have made them do all the work.  Last week was their first full week of work, and those three teenage girls legitimately raked in $865 together.  We're not talking about grossly overpaid donations, but justifiable payment for work performed.  They are beating the streets, taking on odd jobs, washing vehicles, hauling off junk piles, house cleaning, and working their summer babysitting and other jobs, working for my dad and brother-in-law. Now, I'm not anticipating that they can pull this off every week with church camps, ball camps and mission trips, etc., but they have an opportunity to meet their goal, and they've proven to themselves that they can do this with maximum effort.

Another thing that happened this week is my mother-in-law tripped over a cat and fell into the house and broke her arm below the shoulder in a place that cannot be casted, only immobilized.  Thus, she needs someone to be with her much of the day to help her with her personal needs, the garden and keep her house functioning.  This has been another way for my girls' other grandparents to help with this European trip.  They have offered to pay the girls to take turns helping care for her.  If the girls weren't available, they'd have to hire someone else to do this because no one is available all of the time.  This unfortunate situation provides Rodney's parents a way to contribute hugely by providing them a job while meeting a crucial need of their own.

The gift...  Without this trip on the horizon and the Outlasters series in church, I don't think we could have motivated our girls to work like they have.  I don't see it ending either.  Rayne isn't going to Europe next summer because she will still be too young, but she and Rosalind will be able to go in 2017.  The three girls have a deal worked out so that Rayne will help them work this summer, but she will also receive some money along. The summer of 2017 is a VERY long ways away for a 13 year old to stay focused on with no reward.  So this working for something will be perpetual for them, and hopefully they will learn many many lessons from it and create habits for a lifetime.  What a blessing we have been given, and we are extremely thankful.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year from Rodney and Roshelle...

With 2013 just a memory now, this is what our family has to look back on…

Places we went: 
We spent some of spring break in Colorado skiing Wolf Creek.  We took our friend Galen Yoder with us and ran into the Todd and Dana Smith on the slopes also.  The weather and snow were perfect—great skiing, as always.  Wolf Creek has yet to disappoint us.
Skiing Wolf Creek-- good times!

Rayne at the lake over the
4th of July with the Gouchers
Over the 4th of July, we went to Steve and Lisa’s place in Texas  and spent a couple days on the lake, which were our only lake days for the year.  I hope the drought is over and we can get enough moisture soon to fill our lakes again.

Steer wrestling was
our favorite event

Just before school started, we spent a week in Colorado, Wyoming, and Kansas.  We set out for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo and saw 3 rodeos, the parade, and a Luke Bryan concert (in the rain).  The girls loved every minute of it and want to go back for the whole week this year.  We met one of my oldest friends, Nancy, for lunch in Denver both coming and going (once at Casa Bonita) and went out to Evergreen to spend an afternoon with Rodney’s cousin John and his wife Dawn.  On the way home, we stayed a couple nights in Kansas with Lee, our harvester for so many years.  He’s like family to us and since we sold the farm and changed our lives, we have missed out on our harvest time with him and his crew.  Every time I think about this I just want to boohoo, so moving on…  While there, the girls played music with Lee and his neighbor, they learned to ride dirt bikes, they swam in a pond with a huge slide built on one side of the shore, and of course, they shot things.  Big thanks for Kristi (Rodney’s sister in Dodge City) for giving us a bed on the way; it’s nice to wake up with 4-5 hours behind you already when traveling.

Kate, (Lee's daughter) Rosalind and Regan coming down the slide at the pond

All three girls learned to ride dirt bikes this summer.  Rayne even had one on her Christmas list.

What’s new with….

Rodney—He spent more time riding motorcycles with my dad and my brother this year.  He’s riding a Harley now- a black 2012 street glider.  And quite simply, he’s loving it.  I’m glad, too.  Those guys work hard and need some time to get away and do what they like to do.  Granted, riding isn’t my favorite thing; I can do it for a few hours at a time when it’s warm… really warm, but he doesn’t need me to have a good time.  Rodney still enjoys his work in the oilfield and doesn’t miss the farming. 
Wayne, Dad and Rodney getting ready for a long weekend ride

Rosalind—She now has braces like Regan.  Just yesterday the dentist removed her palate expanders (upper and lower) and she can talk again.  Actually, it must not have been too terrible as she made Western Oklahoma honor choir when the tryouts were just 3 days after getting her braces and expanders.  Her musical talent is starting to shine.  She’s still in piano lessons and is a little songbird.  For Christmas, Rodney and I bought the girls a keyboard workstation, an amplifier, microphones, and an interface (piece of hardware that mixes and records).  The possibilities are endless with this equipment… definitely something they will use a lot and won’t ever outgrow.  Rosalind just turned 14 this week and is an 8th grader.  She’s playing basketball and earned a starting position on the junior high team.  We’re very proud of this girl.
Regan and Rosalind

Regan—Bless her heart, she turned 16 this summer and loves driving her blue pickup-truck everywhere and anywhere.  Like all teenagers, she’s growing and maturing and learning life lessons—some are easy where others have been quite life-altering experiences.  Going into the 11th grade, she set her mind to giving her best effort to her school work and to making the most of her two years left in high school.  She took the ACT for the first time and scored well.  Her musical ability is truly a gift from God, and at this point she’s thinking of pursuing some form of music after graduation.  When she’s singing and playing her guitar, I am so humbled; it makes my heart happy.  She is so much like me that it is scary.  Actually, she’s a much better version of my young-self.  Still, I wish I could protect her from herself until she gets her feet under her and the world by the tail.

Rayne Elise 
Rayne—Her biggest change this year is being at school with the rest of us.  She is 12 years old and in the 7th grade; and she is loving it at CBA.  Rayne’s playing a little basketball, taking piano lessons, and making friends with everyone at school… 11th graders, 12th graders… pretty much everyone.  She picked the flute this year for band and loves it.  She whistles all the time… to the point of being annoying with it sometimes.  She likes to sing, to laugh, to be involved with what’s going on.  She has a fashion sense that is very different from most.  She has a lot of confidence and pretty much doesn’t have a bad day.  She smiles all the time; she is the bright spot in my day, and I don’t think I’m the only one who feels like this.  She is definitely one of a kind.

Backsplash this fall brings
our remodel full circle
Roshelle—Me?  I’m into my second year teaching high school English at CBA, and just as I predicted, it is much easier.  I’m still tweaking and re-evaluating my plans and procedures and policies, but really, do we ever stop doing that?  I hope not, for when I do get to that point, I know I’ll be done.    But really what’s new with me?  I do the same routine every day, except most Saturdays…  I get in the car and drive to Corn.  I have three daughters, so I say the same things day after day… Do you have homework? Who needs a shower? Whose stuff is in the washer? Get everything out of the back seat (of the car).... etc.  So, after racking my brain to find something new, I came up with—backsplash.  I know, right?  But, you see, this IS a BIG DEAL because it means that my house has come full circle.  The day after we took possession of our house in October of 2005, I tore the canary yellow formica off the backsplash in the kitchen, and it has been ugly, unfinished sheetrock, dating back to the early days of sheetrock (just after plaster and lathe) with big tears in the paper and splotchy, hard glue residue, and holes the size my fist would fit through.  Yes, in other words, it’s been lovely to look at for 8 long years.  But this fall, beautiful glass subway tile in the color rust with hand chipped edges was laid, and I couldn’t be happier. 

Where do we go from here? 

Forward.  Not much will change this year, but next year (2015) will be a completely different story.  I like my family how it is right now… intact.  Under my roof where I (actually, we) call the shots.  I’m not looking forward to having a college student in ‘15.  I think I’ll just bask in the moment and savor each day I have left.  God has been so faithful and I have no fear.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


I’ve been stewing about what I’ve been reading and hearing over the past year. I’ve have never been so awake than I am right now on the ways of our world, not that I have it all figured out, far from it. I’ve pondered on a few topics and shared both sides of what I’m hearing. It’s truly a paradox. In case you were wondering:
Paradox: something absurd or contradictory: a statement, proposition, or situation that seems to be absurd or contradictory, but in fact is or may be true; self-contradictory statement: a statement or proposition that contradicts itself.
My thoughts are in italics. Let me know if you think I’m crazy. I’m starting to think I may be, but then I’d be in good company.  Remember what Alice told the Mad Hatter when he asked her if he was indeed mad,
"I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”

The WWII Veteran Memorial was built and paid for by private donations, but the National Parks Service (NPS) does run it. Usually it is open 24 hours a day, but yesterday, due to a government shutdown and the NPS being a non-essential portion, the government paid to put up barricade fences to keep people out and guards were hired to manage the fence. So they spent a lot of money because they have no money? “I know that this is an open-air memorial, but we have people on staff who are CPR trained, (and) we want to make sure that we have maintenance crew to take care of any problems. What we’re trying to do is protect this resource for future generations,” National Mall and Memorial Parks spokeswoman Carol Johnson said. So someone who might need CPR could destroy the park? Someone’s litter, thus a maintenance crew, could destroy the park?

Remember in 2008 when Obama said: "They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations," about small-town WORKING-CLASS voters across the Midwest. But what about Islamists who are moving forward with an organized plan to eradicate Christianity in Muslim dominated countries? Churches are burned to the ground, and Christian worshipers are slaughtered in Egypt and Nigeria. In Syria, foreign jihadists are killing Christians with impunity. Iran is arresting Christians for praying in their homes, and a Christian pastor remains on death row since 2009 for refusing to renounce his faith. In Kenya terrorists groups let Muslim patrons leave the mall they attacked while Christians were executed. The leaders of groups like the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood may disguise their goals when they speak to the West, but anyone who has read their pronouncements in Arabic knows exactly what they intend for non-Muslims. Aren’t these Islamists “clinging to their guns and religion” and showing “anti-immigrant” feelings? Why is the president silent about this? Even Putin calls for an end to the persecution of Christianity around the globe.

The United States accounts for 5 percent of the world’s population and almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. We are number one in the world when it comes to locking up our own people. We hold nonviolent offenders in prison for years. Years. But when talking about amnesty in the immigration bill, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said that this language in the (immigration) bill essentially provides a safe harbor for illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds for two and a half years. Do we really need more prisoners? Can prisoners vote, by the way? No? Then why fill our country with them?

Education Week reported that the Department of Education will oversee the design of assessment tests for the Common Core State Standards, confirming suspicions that initiative is nothing less than a federal curriculum for America’s schools. Even private institutions and homeschoolers will be affected by the standards indirectly since both the SAT and ACT are soon aligning to Common Core. Every student with college aspirations will have to learn the national standards or be at a disadvantage in taking college entrance exams. The Common Core standards selling themselves as a “state-led effort” is downright deceptive of the federal government. Common Core should either come out as what it really is – a federal standards initiative – or end its entanglement with Washington D.C. altogether. So most of the states accepted federal money in 2010 agreeing to educational standards that they didn’t get to see? Probably thought they were agreeing to another “No Child Left Behind” type program… These standards are state-led, but the federal standards’ requires curriculum which is copyrighted so no changes can be made what-so-ever to it? So what part does the state get to lead? So what part does the local school board and each school’s administration get to lead? What part of each individual lesson does the classroom teacher get to lead since she doesn't get to alter it one bit?

On Friday, September 27, 2013, The Obama administration told colleges and universities they can continue to use admissions to increase diversity among their students. "Racially diverse educational environments help to prepare students to succeed in our increasingly diverse nation," the administration said in a letter to schools. So the president wants us to celebrate and embrace our diversity? In 2011 our president said, “Together, all Americans must cultivate moral fortitude, preach tolerance, and demonstrate the value of respect for those different from ourselves,” in a press release issued by the White House. Tolerance doesn’t celebrate diversity. It fosters equality. Equality fosters sameness or something common. Common like Common Core. No one excels and no one fails. And we call this fair?

So the government has shut down the non-essential jobs during this so-called-crisis furloughing 800,000 people. Doesn’t non-essential mean unnecessary? Tell them to find a real job and cut them permanently.

It wasn’t my intention to offend anyone or put any political slant on this entry. I just don’t understand why it's so hard.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Missing out...

I've been thinking lately about my generation and that of my kids.  I have known for a long time that I would not have wanted to deal with the social media, smartphones, and the internet in general as a teen.  I probably couldn't have handled it either.  Most teens can't.  If you believe your child is any different, look through his phone and social media accounts- unexpectedly and often just to prove yourself right.  But that's not really where I want to go with this entry.

I've been making a mental list of things that my children won't get to experience due to changing times.  Yesterday, I asked my family its opinion, and with that I decided to share it and give you something to ponder. 

They won't get the thrill of sitting next to their boyfriend on the bench seat of his pickup.  Most all vehicles now have consoles.  I rode next to my hubby for years even after we were married.

They won't know the fun and freedom of dragging main with a carload of friends meeting 20 other carloads of "friends" after school or on a Friday night.  Eventually that would lead to everyone parking in a lot and chatting together.  Sometimes it led to bonfires on country roads.

They won't know the thrill of being asked to partner with a boy on a couples' skate.

They won't ever know the freedom of going off to college without the safety net of Google maps or a phone in the car- just in case. 

They won't know the freedom of being able to say something or do something that won't forever be recorded on a smartphone or an iPod or a computer somewhere.  I don't know about you, but I did and said plenty of stupid things I regret.  I'm thankful to have done them in "private" without the world watching.  Growing up with the world watching is almost like being a celebrity.  Teens think they want this, but really, they don't. 

Sure, there are plenty of other things none of us will miss and they won't ever have to deal with...

They won't have the hassle of cassette tapes and Walkman batteries. 

They won't know what it's like to type an 8 page research paper on a typewriter.

I'm sure you are making a mental list of things you would add to this already.

As a 40 year old mom, the only thing I can say that would have been amazing to have as a teen that my kids have today, is to have had an iPod with an iTunes library of my favorite music.  What I would have given for that. 

Change is inevitable, and I cannot image being a teen today with all the pressures they have on them.  It's amazing that they have any meaningful relationships with their 15 second attention spans and insatiable need to be entertained, but I'm sure they will figure it out just like we did.... probably against our parents' beliefs that we could get it done either.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Not so quiet week on the homefront...

More attention than needed in my small corner of the world with buildings exploding, prisoners escaping, schools being locked down and human remains found in the bottom of a lake that we like to enjoy...

It started last week with the breaking news that two cars were pulled from Foss Lake just off the boat ramp at the marina.  Each car had three people in it when it sank to the bottom of the lake.  Missing persons from 40-60 YEARS ago are who the authorities believe perished there.  Incredible story and much needed closure for some families.  I wonder if they will take their sonar equipment to other lakes around the state.  This lake is about 33 miles from my house, and we have spent many hours on this body of water over the years.  See link:
Oklahoma Lake Bodies: Diver, trooper recount discovery

The next day, about 1.5 miles from my house, Danlin Industries' headquarters catches on fire and explodes and explodes and explodes.... for hours.  Danlin is a producer of various chemicals for the oilfield, and their chemical lab was right here in Thomas.  This was shocking news for the Floyd families and the employees.  I received a text at 9:20 pm from one of the family members saying, "Please pray- the main building for Danlin is on fire.  Doesn't look good."  What an ordeal.  A couple hours later we decided to drive about 1.5 miles straight west of our house and sit on a hill a mile south of the site.  We were worried about the wind shifting and trying to decide if we needed to make plans to be evacuated by the authorities.  Praise God that the wind stayed low and blowing away from our little town.  My heart breaks for this family as they struggle to sort this out and carry on.  Their tenacity encourages me.  "Floyds are tough."  They are working hard at juggling everything that's being throw at them right now.  Plans are to rebuild as soon as possible.  See link:
Huge blaze erupts at Oklahoma chemical plant

Then, today.  Today is the least impressive of the three incidents that round out my week, but another first for me.  Just before school let out today, our administration notified us that we were on lock down per Weatherford PD.  Apparently some inmates being transferred along I-40 escaped and their location was unknown as a door to door search was going on.  It was really pretty uneventful, but we complied and waited it out, which wasn't very long- maybe 30-40 minutes before we were released to go home.  I had planned to stop and do a bit of shopping in Weatherford on my way home but decided against it and went straight through town and home.  My school is 10 miles south of Weatherford and a couple west. See link:
Eight prisoners being transferred escape

Pretty exciting stuff in my sleepy little corner of the world.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Knocking out a few items on my "to do" list...

     Summer vacation is exactly half over.  This saddens me as I love my summers, and my self-made honey-do-it-myself-list is not half finished.  And we have two other very large projects looming that aren't on the "list", too.  But, you know what?  That's okay.  Let me show you what I've been up to since pictures are so much more interesting than my rambling words...

 Rodney finally tore out the ugly Spirea bushes that just never looked good in the 7 1/2 years we've lived here, leaving the ugly rusted propane tank exposed.

  The family worked hard one Sunday and installed metal edging & thick black plastic and scooped pea gravel from the swing set box.  Soon I painted the tank,  and then Rodney dug holes for me and I planted Photina bushes.  No, they are not spaced evenly... the middle one had to move to the left a bit because there's a concrete slab buried about 8 inches in the dirt that ends in the center of where it should be placed.  Not to worry... the bushes will fill in and it will be hardly noticeable in a few short years.

         I hosted my bunco group this month- so that means I also cleaned my house.  Top to bottom, basically by myself... I fired our maids. I already have a new service hired for the school year.  I also recovered and painted my card table and chairs.  Yes, I'm a Pinterest addict.  It looks fabulous, I agree, but it was some kind of work.  Whew.  Who knew?  My bunco girls were like, "I'll bring my old brown one to you so you can do mine..." and I'm like, "No, you can't afford me."  Really, they need to do it themselves.... it'll be fun.  The fun part is picking out the material and paint.  Beyond that it feels something like work.

                I also hung my mantle over my fireplace and shopped for d├ęcor to go with it.  I rearranged my bookshelves, too.  I'm very pleased with my hearth. 

 I'm in the process of painting my eves and facia boards.  I don't know what kind of drugs I was taking last year when I thought I wanted red eves, but I don't.  They're horrible.  Brown is much, much better.  (So, if you need barn red paint, I have 4 gallons...)  One side of the house is done, three more to go.  If the wind would quit blowing for days on end, I might get finished. 
*I know, it's not even blowing 10 mph right now...  shhhh.
    They dug a fire pit and we've roasted many marshmallows on it this month.  We've also burned boxes and boxes of old tax papers in it.  Dual purpose... enjoyment and knocking another item off my list.  (I need to paint those doors on that shed... it's on my list; maybe I should paint them barn red... hmmm)
    One evening when Rodney and I were burning the contents of 2001 and 2002, he remarked how quickly everything came back to him about that moment in time... things he had forgotten, and now it's gone.  A year relived in about 10 minutes and then gone forever other than our memories.... 
*I really thought he was an elephant... I didn't know he ever forgot ANYTHING.

                                              Ah, May brought the joy-less-ness of pulling rye.  But here's a tiny speck of joy... actually five of them that I found in the wheat fields one day.

   Here's another view of my mantle... and my new print of
Regan and her guitar.  I love it.
Maybe I'll get so much more done before school starts that I can share another picture blog.  I have a few half done projects waiting... maybe you'll get to see them at completion.