Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Need of the Hour

What does our country need? Not armies standing
With sabers gleaming ready for the fight;
Not increased navies, skillful and commanding,
To bound the waters with an iron might;
Not haughty men with glutted purses trying
to purchase souls, and keep the power of place;
Not jeweled dolls with one another vying
For palms of beauty, elegance, and grace.
But we want women, strong of soul, yet lowly
With that rare meekness, born of gentleness;
Women whose lives are pure and clean and holy,
The women whom all little children bless;
Brave earnest women, helpful to each other,
Women who hold the names of wife and mother
Far nobler than the title of a queen.
Oh! These are they who mould the men of story,
These mothers, ofttime shorn of grace and youth,
Who, worn and weary, ask no greater glory
Than making some young soul the home of truth;
Who sow in hearts all fallow for the sowing
The seeds of virtur and of scorn for sin,
And, patient, watch the beauteous harvest grwoing
And weed out tares which crafty hands cast in.
Women who do not hold the gift of beauty
As some rare treasure to bought and sold,
But guard it as a precious aid to duty -
The outer framing of inner gold;
Women who, low above their cradles bending,
Let flattery's voice go by, and give no heed,
While their pure prayers like incense are ascending
These are our country's pride, our country's need.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
(Excerpt from Verses of Virtue compiled by Elizabeth Beall Phillips)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

*Birthday Girl*

Last Thursday marked a special day in our family. Six years ago a little one was born after ten hours of a labor, nine months of waiting and two heart-wrenching miscarriages previously. She's special, a valuable pearl to our family, and as one close friend wrote, "...a happy part of my [our] life!" (Now, with that said, I will mention that we are trying not to spoil Merritt.)

Celebrating this little girl's sixth birthday was so much fun! There were no presumptions, no expectations (she really wanted a bike, but when Momma asked her how it would be if she didn't get one, Merritt sensibly replied, "That'd be okay") and every activity experienced throughout the day, no matter the size, was thoroughly enjoyed with such passion, it rivaled the glee felt on Christmas morning.

Merritt wanted pop tarts for breakfast...so Momma created this for her:

We scattered the gift giving throughout the day so they would be appreciated appropriately. After breakfast she received Black Beauty on CD, accompanied with a delightful picture book.

Do you think she liked the "big girl" bike?

Six candles burning brightly on a chocolate cake with pink icing + one happy girl = satisfied. It takes a lot of air to extinguish those flames! :o)

In her own words, "This birthday was totally compafidy - which translated means incredible!"

P.S. I admit, we make a big to-do about birthdays...but, then again, they only come once-a-year. *smiling*

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Year of the Weddings

...that's what my mother has dubbed it. So far, we only know of four this year (many people could rival that, I'm sure) but the year is still young...

In this post I'd like to share with you a few pictures I captured of a very dear friend's wedding that took place on April 15th,plus a few days before the event.

The day before the wedding (Friday) a bunch of us girls headed up to the chapel ( a 200 year old New England church that provided squeaky floors, rich history and quaint setting!). The previous day we had cleaned the chapel thoroughly in preparation for decorating. The bride and her sisters did a wonderful job implementing several different colors to the scheme; and by the time the "decorating crew" had completed their job the chapel looked truly beautiful! Lots of tulle, ribbon, bows, flowers, tablecloths, and...tape. Another friend and myself put together two picture boards - one full of photographs of the bride through her "growing up years" and the other one of the groom (it was fun listening to the stories behind the pictures, and see their cute baby ones!).

On Friday night we tied the bridesmaids hair in rags, and the bride in curlers. I hadn't ever "ragged" someone before, so it was fun to learn this new curling technique. We had a grand time together, often laughing uncontrollably - probably due to the lateness of the hour. Here's a picture of the bridesmaids awaiting assistance on the wedding day...

Here is a picture of the bride and her father waiting to leap into the horse drawn buggy that would transport them to the chapel. Joanna and I left as soon as they were off...we had to hurry to get back to the chapel ahead of them so I could fix the bride's veil and dress before entry! :o)

The ceremony was absolutely beautiful and rightly centered on the Lord Jesus Christ - which made it all the more special! The gospel was clearly given to the 100+ guests, and the parallel between the inspiring picture of Christ and His relationship with His beloved church and a married couple's made it deep and meaningful. Of course, the newlyweds just glowed afterwards, especially the bride. This next picture was taken just after the ceremony - all the guests, including the bride and groom, were singing "To God be the Glory". The couples sweetness, love for each other, simple reliance on God and pure relationship made the wedding what it was: delightful and inviting.

Even though several states would've separated me from the wedding, I'm grateful I didn't let that deter me from attending. What fond memories were made that week: late-night brisk walks, dinner with the "AOG girls" (not to mention, huge salads...heehee :o), singing, rowdy capture-the-flag games at night, snapping pictures of a black bear and strutting tom turkeys...tears, hugs, smiles, simple quiet conversations between sisters, and a birthday dinner with another dear family. That week in Connecticut passed too quickly! :o)

Left to right: Arielle, Sarah (bride), me, Rachel. The four of us used to produce a bi-monthly magazine titled, Apples of Gold. It was specifically designed to encourage girls to love the Lord and follow Him with all their heart.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Life changed dramatically for us, especially Delaney, when we brought home a squirrelly little puppy-dog last Tuesday. She's as cute as a pumpkin, so gentle and lady-like, the opposite of our big, protective German Shepherd. Those were our initial expressions. Ahhh, we should've known better. Yes, she's cute as a button and those eyes of hers just make your heart melt like cold butter on a hot biscuit, but she's totally rambunctious, annoying at times and goes zooming around literally in search of the next table leg/sock/ankle/dog tail to latch onto. But, with all the early morning potty runs, occasional whining, harassing of Cowboy, and testy nature -- her puppy love completely makes up for it all. So, without further adieu, let me introduce the newest member of our family: Lilly Mae (though, we are contemplating changing it to "ornery" pronounced with a French accent :o).

She's rather scrawny right now, but will grow (she's a hound dog through and through). Mom saw the dark spots and jokingly suggested that we call her "liver".

So far, Lilly has proved herself to be a smart dog -- "No" is definitely becoming a key word in her vocabulary, along with sit, wait and okay. Pretty good for the first week, don't you think? I can brag without apprehension because Delaney is the one training her...

Lilly might look like the perfect "precious moments" hound angel, but don't let her apparent peacefulness fool you! She likes to pounce, run around like crazy, climb, ride our slide and stalk big dogs that would consider her a snack. We're hoping her name will motivate her in becoming more ladylike.

For all of you who know our other pooch, Cowboy -- he's been a perfect gentleman with her. She's constantly pestering him, but he takes it like a saint (even allowing her to grab his toys and treats from him). Yes, we were rather surprised too!

Lilly Mae's original name was Lilly Pad, but we immediately knew the "pad" had to go. Who wants a dog named after a water plant?! Anyway, as for her history: this little gal, along with 200 other animals, were rescued from a "horder's" home in Pasco county. Out of the 200 taken, only Lilly and her mother survived! She's part beagle/blue-tick hound and about eleven weeks old. She shouldn't get any bigger than thirty pounds.

In the coming weeks I hope to post more pictures of Lilly (it's rather like having a baby in the house again, the camera is permanently out to capture those "oh, look what's she's doing now" moments). We appreciate you stopping by, please leave a comment...

P.S. In the next couple of days I'm planning to post tons of new photos that I've gotten within the last month or so...wedding, beach, playing around, etc. It should be fun! :o)