Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I promise to post some Christmas pictures soon.
But we left the camera at the in-laws and haven't drummed up the energy to go get it yet.

We have been being lazy.
And being Merry.
And being lazy some more.

I finally grabbed a free minute to give myself a Christmas manicure.

My son may or may not have fallen asleep right on the hardwood floor today from complete exhaustion after what I am referring to as Christmas Explosion Weekend.

I may or may not have just left all the wrapping paper strewn about right in the middle of the living room for an entire day and a half.

I finally found time to actually start reading Harry Potter. Yes, I'm a little behind The Rest of the World.

I was actually relieved to have grapefruit and oatmeal for breakfast this morning after the last few days of what I am referring to as Extreme Christmas Sugar Explosion.

We are snuggled up together on couches, watching lots of good movies, surrounded by good books and copious amounts of free time, napping spontaneously. 

I think it is safe to assume we are perfectly happy enjoying The Post Christmas Glow.

We hope you are too!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

And Stop.

The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33:14

What a week this has been.  It has been a week where the To Do List was longer than the hours in the days allowed.  We have our first of three home study visits tomorrow.  Tomorrow.  That would be three days before Christmas if anyone is counting.  As if the Christmas To Dos weren't enough, add to that the panic of someone coming to your home with the sole intent of judging you on it.  I mean, aren't we always secretly afraid that guests are doing that anyway?  Hello, stress.  Hello, fighting back the good enoughs and big enoughs and clean enoughs.  I have cleaned and organized, taken bags to the Goodwill, rearranged, cleaned some more, stored some things in my parents basement, and, oh, cleaned and organized a few more times.  

But somehow God has made a way.

He provided just enough hours in the day. 

He blessed me with an encouraging husband who reminded me each day that the love in our home in what they are actually judging us on.  And we have plenty of that. 

He gracefully and quietly led me to this post.  Oh, how I have clung to those words today.

He brought forth kinds words from friends who gently let me know they were praying.

He provided a break in the midst of the chaos for Christmas shopping and quality long-lost time with good, good college friends in town for the holidays.  Just what I needed.

He answered my prayer of desperation to help me get up on time this morning by causing the button on my alarm clock to get stuck.  Literally.  I'm not joking!  My Father has a great sense of humor.

And in the craze of cleaning and organizing like there is no tomorrow, He gently reminded me of the purpose behind it all when I answered the phone tonight to hear, "Hi, Mama.  I'm bored.  I miss you."

So now, with a clean house, tired feet, and a happy heart, I am satisfied to stop, rest, and trust in Him.  Though the To Dos have pushed out time that I would have loved to have spent in quiet stillness reflecting on this season, God has chosen to teach me in another way over the last few weeks by quietly and compassionately meeting every need.  Just when I think I can't do any more or give any more or go any more, He has provided just what I needed.  Isn't that just what this season is about?  Remembering that “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And that "at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly."  Christ humbly came in weakness as a baby to ultimately make our weakness perfect in his strength.  What powerful truth for ears that so desperately needed to hear it and a heart that so desperately needed to learn it. 

Here's to Christmas Weekend of finally stopping, finally resting, and learning to trust in the Lord's perfect ways. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Taking Back My Kitchen

Life has been a little crazy.  Have I mentioned that?  Oh, three or four times?  Sorry.  I tend to repeat myself these days; mostly because I can't remember who I said what to when.  We've been a little bit busy.

But this is the week.  Not because it's Christmas Week.  But really sort of because this is the first time in about, oh, three or four months that I haven't had a standing appointment, practice, game, training class, Bible study, or school event every single night of the week.  This week, the busiest holiday week of the year, ironically, we are home every night!  So I'm using the time to get my house in order and take back my kitchen.  I've declared it - no eating out this week (except for that one night when my college roomie will be in town all the way from Texas!).  No take out chinese food.  No chik-fil-a. 

Yesterday after school I made WHO Bread in my new-to-me breadmaker.  It made for some yummy toast this morning.

And we actually had dinner.  At the table!  Woo-hoo!

Tonight I'm making soup for dinner, which will last for a couple lunches too.

I may even make a batch of Shannon's granola just because.  I'm just crazy like that. (Shannon, do you know that I still make your granola? I think about you every time!),

And finally, on Friday, I'll be preparing for our annual Christmas Eve Breakfast at my house.  A tradition I love and that I took over for my grandmother a couple years ago.  I feel very honored that everyone piles up in our house to kick off the Christmas celebration.  I love the different spirit that is in the air on that morning.  The chill that waves through the air as people come in the door.  The coffee brewing, Christmas music in the background, the smell of cinnamon buns, and a lit up Christmas tree at 9:30 a.m. It makes my heart oh so happy.  This year I'm making Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Buns and my grandmother's Sausage and Egg Casserole. 

Bring on the Holidays!  I may not be ready yet, but my kitchen sure is.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Watching and Learning

Since I'm embarking on this great adventure of becoming Mama to teenage boy, I have been watching more closely.  I teach teenage boys all day long you know, and I have found myself becoming more observant in my own classroom of just how do those crazy little volitile minds work.  Some of it I knew, but have never had to make application.  Some of it just plain out right baffles me.  Teenage girls I get.  Obviously I have my own experience to draw from there, plus the countless hours I have put in in ministry to this population.  And coaching cheerleading helps a little on that front.  But boys.  Boys are all new to me.  And so I find myself fascinated trying to soak it all in.

For instance, I engaged a boy in my 4th period class in conversation for approximately 10 whole minutes before class started on his skin care routine (we did do some grammar that day as well, before you think we wasted the entire class...).  But he was in a craze about one small little pimple that just had to go before the big important night where he would be seeing some girl.  He wanted to know, "What should I do, Mrs. Herndon?"  Walk through it with me, I said.  "Clearsil this.  Neutrogena, that...But is it going to go away in time?"  Oh, the drama.

Last Friday I gave the assignment to, over the weekend, write about what you did using so many action verbs, so many adjectives, etc. At first I was just mindlessly reading and grading these papers, but then my mind started to hang on some of them.  This was a window into their home lives.  I was drawn to my seemingly most happy, most successful students who I know have good relationships with their parents.  What were their lives like outside of school?  What do they do with their time? It was actually very plain and simple.  There was talk of eating dinner with their family, watching movies, going to get a Christmas tree, working on some homework, having a few friends over.  It was a very sharp contrast to students I have whose lives are on the fringe.  A sense of normalcy and just wanting and liking being home with their parents was such a desireable thing. 

And then there are wrestling matches.  I'm becoming quite the pro at this whole Team Mom thing you know.  And each week I am baffled that this boy wants to sit with me in front of all of his friends.  Chooses to ride home with us instead of riding the bus with all of his friends.  I look around and see the other boys with parents there doing the same thing.  Sitting with Mom.  Sitting with Dad.  There is another student on the wrestling team whose parents are MIA.  Last night he turned around to me and said, "Did you get to see my match?"  "No I missed it!" I said.  And he proceeded to tell me about it play by play.  And when that wasn't good enough, he found someone who had videoed it.  "You gotta watch!" And so we sat side by side and he showed me, play by play, pausing and rewinding, until I was completely up to speed. 

I guess it is not all that surprising a discovery to make.  And yet it makes this job of parenting hold even more weight than we ever imagined because it does not decrease or diminish with the age of the child like some tend to think.  I will be honest and say that I was a little afraid. I feared that starting with a teenager and not a baby was not going to fulfill this mothering heart that God has put in me because really, how much would a teenage boy actually want a mom anyway?  But it's only been a few short weeks - for goodness sake we are not even the "official" parents yet! - and already I'm seeing it. I'm learning it.

And so just when I think I have made my adult self too available, just when I think I have not been "cool enough," just when I think I have crossed the line and am going to completely embarass these boys by actually paying attention to them, I have learned that this is exactly what they want.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Five Things Friday...I mean Tuesday

Patrick went out of town this weekend.
Hello, California! (And, um, hello I was jealous.)
While he did have a lot of business to attend to, he did send me this picture.

But I did enjoy a little "me" time over the weekend.
Here's a Five Things Summary of how I spent my time:

I caught up on this show:

I started reading this:
(right on point with my "Bronte Book at Christmas Time" tradition)

I sat here and happily did a lot of Christmas shopping with a huge cup of coffee in my hand.

I have been putting this in every cup of coffee lately and it's so yummy:

And I made this for dinner:
Chicken Pot Pie
This is not my picture.  I actually forgot to take a picture before I had eaten over half of it.  Oops.

This is my favorite thing that I know how to cook!
Sadly, Patrick is not the biggest fan of Anything Pot Pie, so I really only make it when he is out of town or working late for couple days in a row and thus will not be eating dinner with me.
It is loosely based on a recipe I got out of Real Simple at one point, but adapted and changed it over time.
It's really easy!

Chicken Pot Pie Recipe:
1 lb. chicken breasts (I used tenderloins), cut in small chunks
4 carrots, diced
bunch of green onions, diced
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. flour
1/2 c. white wine
1 c. 2% milk
1 c. frozen peas
3/4 to 1 c. frozen corn
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 refrigerated pie crust
(I used a store bought one, but you could certainly make your own!)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Saute the chicken in 1 tbsp. of the oil until browned.  Pull out of pan.
3. Add remaining 2 tbsp. of oil and saute the carrots and green onions about 5 min. until the carrots are soft.
4. Sprinkle the flour over and cook for about 1 minute.
5. Add the wine to the pan and combine with the veggies and flour to thicken.  Simmer a couple minutes.
6. Stir in the milk.  The sauce should thicken pretty quickly.  Once it thickens add the chicken back in, along with the frozen veggies, thyme, and salt and pepper.  Allow everything to heat back through.
7. Pour into a pie pan.  Drape your pie crust overtop and press along the edges to the pan to seal.  Cut a few vent slits in the center.
8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the crust is golden.

And I would be remiss if I did not say that I am SO PROUD of my foster son,
who won his very first wrestling match this past weekend!
(He is the one being goofy on the left...
The one on the right is a wrestler from our school that won the entire tournament!)


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The First Overnight

We had our first overnight visitation.  And the second one two days later.  The first weekend in December always brings the annual Herndon Family Christmas Tree Hunt with it (pictures to come).  So we headed up to Floyd for the day to the family campsite.  And this year, there were three of us, which was new and different and very nice.

We found the perfect tree.

We made a campfire.

We ate s'mores.

It was a good day.

And then we came home, made spaghetti for dinner, and settled in for the evening. 

But things were a little different.  Suddenly there was math homework to do and bedtimes to impose and a shower schedule to figure out.  There was a new person in my spot on the couch.  Another lunch to pack for the morning.  And no leftovers from dinner thanks to one famished teenage boy. (Dear Lord, what is going to happen to my grocery bill?!)

But last night we did it all over again and it was a little more comfortable.  And so it goes and will continue to do so, we hope. 

We are on the last leg of our certification process and then things will speed along much more quickly.  All we have left is the three week homestudy, and we have been told we are next on the list! We are so thankful that, so far, this process has been so smooth.  I can only say that it is thanks to your prayers and the Lord's hand in it all.  We are so grateful.  Thank you all for being such good friends to us and checking in on us during this time!