Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fireplace or Entertainment Center?

So is this mantle part of a fireplace or an entertainment center?

Well . . . here in Houston we don't have much need of a fireplace -- especially one that needed a lot of work done ($$$) before it could be safely used! For years our solution was to use the large opening for our TV. When we inherited a TV that was too large for the opening, though, St. Michael built a shelving unit for me that fits right under the mantle and uses the hearth for its base.

(And I have no idea what Baby Daughter was watching when I snapped this pic.)

The tree sitting on the mantle, to the left of Santa.

The mantle itself was plain ol' 4 x 4 piece of wood until I covered it with old, dis-mantled picture frames (sorry, I couldn't resist!), fitted together like a puzzle.

A little chair I found
at Salvation Army: $2.

The "Wise Men Still Seek Him" sign sitting on the chair came from Value Village a few years ago: $1.

The message: PRICELESS.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas in the dining room

This is looking into the dining room from our foyer. (Our front door is to the left of this pic, beside the plant stand. Our family room is to the right.) My table and buffet were given to me by a friend who moved into a huge new house and wanted all new furniture to go in it. (Yea for her, yea for me!) It was white, but the paint was flaking off somethin' fierce. (Not cute chippy, just flakey!) St. Michael spent part of October and November sanding it all down (including the six chairs) and completely stripping the top of the table and buffet. He then stained the tops of the table and buffet for me and then painted all of the chairs black. I painted the "body" of the buffet and the "apron" of the table white, "speckled" both pieces with black and golden khaki (to match a piece I already had) and then painted the legs of the table black and added a few black accents to the buffet. Such a difference! I love them! (And they all look great on my room-size rug that I snagged at a garage sale last summer for $50!)

A little closer still . . . Sorry for the poor quality of the photo -- I'm still working on those skills. Wish you could be here in person to see for yourself. (The closers are really much richer all the way around.)

Top of the buffet with St. Michael's mom's silver tray and an assortment of garage sale goodies. (The pear print came from Dollar Tree, and I simply put it in a big ol' frame I already had. It's perfect for this room. Love me some Dollar Tree!)

Nestled under the buffet tree is our first nativity set. We got it after Christmas more than twenty-five years ago from a Sears hardware store for $5.

A friend of mine said that judging from the size of that baby, compared to his mama, truly his birth WAS a miracle!

Reflections from the antique mirror we inherited from St. Michael's childhood best friend. (Middle Daughter from over at Sugar and Spice made the gold hanging ball out of styrofoam, beans, and gold spray paint when she was in intermediate school, and it hangs out somewhere every Christmas.)

My "hutch" used to be in my girls' rooms. The same paint treatment turns a room full of odds-and-ends furniture a sweet blended family!

A close-up of my garage-sale-, gift-, and Tuesday-morning-filled hutch. The little sign by the "clearance" rooster lamp is a recent birthday gift from my sweet sistah-friend, Bev. It reads, "Jesus * coffee * Joy" . . . how perfect is that!

Hopefully, I'll have some better pics to post next week (if I have time to practice on my photo-taking skills). Meanwhile, I hope ya'll are having fun out there in Blogland and enjoying the preparations of the season!

Happy Saturday, Sistahs!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Joining Marty's Christmas "Cloche" Party!

I'm stayin' in the bloggin' groove by joining Marty at her Christmas Cloche Party! Rush over there, and check out all of the gorgeous-ness under glass! Here are the ones scattered around Casa St. Michael . . .

Okay, so I don't actually have REAL cloches, but I like to pretend that this is a real, mini-cloche. I found it in a little antique shop on the way home from Austin a few weeks ago. It's sitting on my favorite cake stand -- a birthday gift from my sistah-friend, Debbie, a few years ago. (And speaking of real, in real life, the little Dollar Tree Santa salt and pepper shakers don't look blurry and distorted like they do in these pics!)

Yes, I know this is really a cake plate and cover . . . but a girl can make-believe, right?

And last, but not least, a cheese "cover" pretending to be a cloche! (Another bargain on the way home from the Austin trip.) I have it sitting on a garage sale "Dreaming of a White Christmas" plate that's sitting on top of another garage sale toile-patterned plate. And I got the height I needed in the center of the table by stacking it all on a white vegetable bowl turned over!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Starting to Look Like Christmas!

I'm celebrating Show and Tell Friday today with Cindy (unquestionably the ultimate goddess of romantic homes), so after you've checked out my dollar-sense "Fruit of the Spirit" Christmas tree that welcomes family and friends into the foyer here at Casa St. Michael this season, run on over to My Romantic Home and check out what everyone else in Bloggerland is showing and telling today! Enjoy!
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control"
(Galatians 5:22-23a).
I quit putting up a big tree a couple of years ago and, instead, now I put little trees throughout the house. Here's a close up of this year's foyer tree. It's full of "sugared" fruit that I've found at thrift stores and garage sales, and miniature gold-framed fruit that I painted. (Found the lusciously chunky mini-frames years ago at a dollar store. Loved 'em then, love 'em now!) Add some Sam's Club ribbon to the mix, cover the bottom of the tree and the stand with left-over fabric from the dining room chair seats, and it's ready to go!
I got this gorgeous nativity set at a Christmas party several years ago. We did the gift exchange that involves "stealing" one another's gifts, and everybody was trying to take this beauty home, but look who won out! (We had a ten-dollar limit on the Christmas decorations we could bring to exchange, and the lady who brought this had purchased each piece at Dollar Tree! She had picked through lots of figures until she found the "perfect" ones, and they are so beautiful in person.) The little gold-framed cross-stiched picture behind the right side of the nativity set came from Value Village for, I think, $1.80, and reads, "Love came at Christmas." How perfectly simple and true!

Later today, when I get back to my own computer, I'll post a close up of the antique $1 garage-sale shelf behind the tree and take you on in to the dining room . . . ahhhh, I love Christmas decorating with all of my "found" treasures! So much fun!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gorgeous Give-Away!

Isn't this bracelet absolutely gorgeous! It was designed and made by Gwendolyn (a bonafide jewelry artist as far as I'm concerned) over at "A Charming Home," and she's giving it away to one lucky reader in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Rush over and check it out

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Feelin' Some Fall!


This second weekend in October brought the Houston Bay Area temperatures in the 70s, and for us here, that's FALL YA'LL! Other signs of the season . . .

. . . adorable fall-y votives from Dollar Tree that leaf
me smiling every time I walk past them . . .

. . . a cake plate filled with an assortment of
round fall-ish things (including a few little
pumpkins that aren't visible from this angle) . . .

. . . pumpkin cookie cutters and fall-colored
"berries" mixing it up with the
potpourri-filled jar and roosters perched
on the kitchen window sill . . .

. . . and Baby Daughter sweater-ed up and snuggling
with a University of Texas tee-shirted Tessie!

Enjoying while it lasts,


Monday, October 5, 2009

"Dancin' as fast as I can!"

If you've read any of my blog -- even just my profile on the right -- you know that I am St. Michael's Wife. But what about that TWO-STEPPIN' thing? What the heck is that all about. Well, I've been explainin' some of it bit by bit over the past week, so here's a little more about that . . .

For years I’ve used the phrase “I’m dancing as fast as I can” to explain what my life looks like at any given time. Mine is a life spent, for the most part, running “ninety to nothin’” with my hair on fire, while juggling gasoline cans. (And, yep, that means that, for better or worse, there are times I crash and burn, for sure!) It seems to be the life I’m called to, and yet, I keep suspecting that I could probably slow down to at least sixty miles an hour if I just were a little bit more organized on the home front. And maybe, just maybe, if Casa St. Michael were a bit tidier better organized (okay, a LOT tidier and tons more organized!), I wouldn’t stumble as much and drop as many gas can either. What’s the answer? Why, the TEXAS TWO-STEP, of course!

Y’see, the Texas Two-Step is a dance that calls for one to slow down, take on a partner, snuggle in close, and then follow a specific pattern of steps as the partner leads. Even a brand new Two-Stepper is encouraged to avoid looking down at her own feet but, instead, to trust her partner, moving her own feet in step with his, at his lead. Before she knows it, she is no longer stumbling and struggling, but she is gliding across the floor, no longer inhibited by, but enthralled with, the dance!

I decided that that’s what I wanted my life to look like. I wanted to slow down, partner-up with an incredible lead dancer, and glide in such a graceful way that the

whole thing looks effortless. (I say looks effortless because we all know that even the most fluid of dancers has spent time training, practicing, and, more than likely, healing from a few awkward moves and even some falls.) Thus, yours truly and the TEXAS TWO-STEP.

Tomorrow . . . The "More" that I promised about Step 1: Learning to plan for success!

Until then,



Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sunday Sermon: It ain't just about the sink!

Last post, I told you I'd start telling you a little about the TEXAS TWO-STEP part of St. Michael's Wife and the TEXAS TWO-STEP. And I will. Over the next several posts. But since I started going at this kinda backwards -- beginning with that last post on filing -- I figured you wouldn't be shocked if I continue to do things a little outta order. So today, I'm just gonna give ya the most basic idea of what TWO-STEPPIN' is all about, and then I'm just gonna jump right into something we TWO-STEPPERS talked about last week when we met.

First of all, in its simplest form, St. Michael's Wife and the TEXAS TWO-STEP is a Bible study and support system for women who feel overwhelmed by the clutter and chaos at home but who've, up until now, felt helpless to do anything about it. We’re a praying, learning, trying, and doing-it group! Together we’re learnin' to Two-Step our homes, and, as a result, a huge part of our lives, back into order.

STEP 1 in the "dance" is Learning to plan for our success. (I know that sounds simple, but there's more to it than you think, so I'll explain this is more detail later this week.) And STEP 2 is Learning to celebrate our success. (Believe it or not, this is a bigger deal than you might think! So more on that this week, too.)

A huge part of our time together is spent in Bible study -- examining God's word to see how He has spoken into the lives of others and how He might be speaking to us right now in our lives. Right now, our TWO-STEP group is "dancing" through Nehemiah, one of my favorite Old Testament books. We're seeing Nehemiah's rebuilding of Jerusalem's wall as a metaphor for rebuilding our homes. Here's a tiny part of last week's look into chapter 6.


[Background: Nehemiah has been leading the men of Israel in rebuilding the walls of the city amidst the criticism and opposition of Israel's surrounding enemies. In chapter 6, verses 1-3, we see Nehemiah's response to those enemies who attempt to pull him away from the task he's been called to complete.]

Nehemiah 6:1-3 (English Standard Version).

1 Now when Sanballat and Tobiah and Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies heard that I had built the wall and that there was no breach left in it (although up to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates), 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to do me harm. 3 And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it to come down to you?”

Verse 3 is probably my favorite verse in all of Nehemiah, maybe because I am so easily distracted or perhaps because it came to me during a time in my life when I so needed the admonishment to stay focused. Nehemiah’s words spoke mightily to me during a time when I needed to be reminded by Papa-God that the season He had brought me to was truly by His design and, therefore, a time of “great work.” Regardless of what it looked like to anyone else, I was smack-dab-in-the-middle of His will and His work, and I needed to stay the course. I needed to put blinders on to anything that might pull me out of my lane and disqualify me from the race. It meant learning to say no to some of the things to which I was so used to saying yes. But I learned that sometimes I had to say no to good things in order to say yes to the best things.

I also had to learn to value my place in the garden. Wherever I was planted, I had to bloom. In the shade. In the sun. In the front. In the back. To the left. To the right. W H E R E V E R .

I had to learn to play to an audience of One. (I don’t know who originally coined that phrase, but it so resonates with me.) For one who, by nature, loves the applause of all, that’s a tough lesson. But it meant the difference between pleasing man and pleasing Papa. (And I’ve always heard that if you have to pick one, you should pick Papa ‘cause He remembers longer!)

Playing to an audience of One means learning Whose opinion really matters, Who I really want to please, Who I really want to serve . . . and it’s a lesson that I’m ashamed to say I have relearn again and again. But when I get it right . . . what a glorious performance it is!


As I said, that's just a tiny excerpt from our study, but maybe it will give you an idea of what we're doing . . . in between shinin' our sinks and filin' and flingin'!

To be continued . . .



Thursday, October 1, 2009

Steppin' and Filin'!

As some of you know, St Michael's Wife and the TEXAS TWO-STEP group began meeting September 15 here in the Houston Bay Area, and as we enter week three, we are having more fun than most folks would believe is legal! And inside the church-house, would ya believe it! ('Course a lot of the grins and guffaws are also happening outside the church-house, like through some of the most hilarious E-mails you've ever read that weren't actually meant to be jokes but just musings on the daily-ness of life as organizationally challenged women!)

I haven't actually blogged much about it here, but perhaps I will later. (Right now, I'm staying pretty busy just writing the material, showing up to lead it, and actually doing what I'm encouraging everybody else to do at home, too! Plus . . . yeah, I still have that full-time job thing . . . )

At any rate, I AM going to share a little bit today because maybe this particular combination of organizational helps might work for you like I hope it's going to work for me. (Hey, we're all guinea pigs in this Two-Stepping thing -- 'cause we know what hasn't worked for us in the past, and so we're all about experimenting with and exploring what we can do that might actually work for us this time.)

I'm probably doing this all backwards (in fact, I'm sure I am), but I'm going to share my latest organizational epiphany today and then share more about what actual TWO-STEPPIN' is tomorrow.

NOTE: This is a long, kind of "How to . . . " epistle, so read at your leisure . . . or not! (One of our TWO-STEPPIN' biggies is to find what works for YOU!" And if you're one of those Born Organized women that FlyLady talks about, then you' just wonder why in the world I needed so many folders and stuff . . . you can probably skip everything!)

Here's what I sent to my sistas of the dance this morning . . .

I HAVE TO TELL YOU -- Oops! Didn't mean to seem like I was hollerin' at'cha! -- that ever since Lora [my co-leader]talked about that filing system the other night, that's all I've been able to think about! (Well, that and S-mores! XOXO!s to MagB! Of course, now I want to try making them with DARK chocolate -- my fave!) [Sorry, ya had to be there!] I had a meeting at the church-house last night, but as soon as it was over, off I went in search of some kind of file system . . . (There's a pic toward the end of what I ended up with.)

[NOTE: Lora was talking about a daily/monthly type of "tickle" file system written about by David Allen in his book, Getting Things Done. I haven't read the book, I just listened to my sweet friend explain this one thing that worked for her.]

Well, regarding putting one together for myself, first of all, you know me, it had to be cute. (Cuteness inspires me! I know, I know, it's a character flaw, but I'm trying to let it work FOR me.)

Second, it had to be inexpensive. (Kimberly's right -- we should "test run" something first to make sure this is something that's gonna work for us before we invest too much.)

And third, it had to be user-friendly! (Hey, I learned back when I was dating that cuteness and cheapness ain't EVERYTHING.) If something's not easy to use -- meaning easy to get to, easy to manipulate, keep in order, etc. -- I don't end up using it.

If this works, I may go to something a little more sophisticated later (or not), but what I came up with now looks like a winner for me. I bought my (cute) tabbed "daily" folders and labeled them 1 - 31, so I'd have one for each day of the month. (Yes, I know that February only has 28 or 29 and others only 30, but work with me here, people. I'm trying to be prepared for all possibilities here.)

Then (and this is where I ended up being a little different just 'cause I couldn't find anything else that I thought suited my needs as well), instead of using an expandable folder system-thingie with 12 pockets (one for each month), I bought 12 heavy-duty, pocketed portfolio folders (in three different colors just 'cause, plus I can quickly recognize a month by its color -- for me, green, yellow, or red), and then labeled them, one for each month. (And, yes, I know I have my dates on the daily dated folders all going the wrong direction. Would you believe me if I told you I did it on purpose that way but have no idea why? Yes, you would. What you
wouldn't believe is if I tried to tell you that I did it on purpose just so you wouldn't think I'm perfect . . . Lol!)

My 31 daily folders sit in front of my 12 monthly portfolios (with the current month being at the front of the portfolios and the others, in order, behind it). When each day is over, the daily folder should be empty because I took care of whatever was in it. (Anything that didn't get done or that needs more follow-up will get moved to the next day's folder or to the appropriate dated folder.) I will then move the empty folder to the very back of my daily folders, so that at the beginning of next month, they're in order, ready to go again.

The current monthly portfolio will be empty because anything in it will have been moved to the appropriate daily folder. When things come up that need to be handled in an up-coming month, I will pull that monthly portfolio and drop the item in one of the portfolio pockets, where it will be there waiting for me when that month arrives.

At the beginning of a new month, I'll transfer any documents, notes, to-do items from that month's portfolio into the appropriate dated daily folder, ready to be taken care of at just the right moment! (I'm like DJ in this area -- I jus' loves me some colored folders!)

Now, here's another thought . . .
FlyLady recommends that when we get our Morning Routines and my Evening Routines (and whatever others we need) to the point where they are written on paper, we put them inside of a plastic page protector inside of our control journal. She uses a dry- (or wet-) erase marker to then mark through each item as she completes her routine. Each evening she wipes off the marks, and the page is ready to go again the next day. (Think how many trees are being saved!) Well, what if I put my "Routine" pages in my daily folder systen instead of in the big Control Journal? [If you're not familiar with FlyLady, she tells her followers how to get organized using what she calls a "Control Journal," a binder where all of your routines, menus, to-do lists, emergency contacts, inspirational material, etc. is housed.)

Of course, this is FlyLady's best-known book, Sink Reflections. The thing that is so awesome about flyLady is that she makes everything in the book available to you on her website FREE OF CHARGE! (She just asks that you not post all of her info on your own website without her expressed written consent.) NOTE: TEXAS TWO-STEPPERS use much of FlyLady's wisdom and instruction for inspiration, but we are customizing and adjusting to meet our own individual needs and time frame as we go .

For some reason, I just don't like dragging out a big binder every day, having to snap it open, get out just the right stuff, snap it closed, put the binder away . . . well, you get the idea. (And, yes, I would feel like I had to put it away 'cause, otherwise, it might start my hotspot to smoldering all over again. Maybe keeping your binder/Control Journal out on the counter isn't a biggie for you -- maybe you even have a bookshelf in your kitchen/office area that you keep it on, so that it works for you without a problem. I don't. I keep mine in a drawer in the kitchen, and so, trust me, if it's out, it's gonna start smokin' . . . and we all know what that leads to: S'mores! And before I know it, I WILL be 300 pounds -- not just approaching it!) I think grabbing my daily folder, where any other papers I need that day are also waiting, will work much better for me (and maybe you, too! Let me hasten to say that I WILL use my Control Journal for my master lists of things, my Bible study, Emergency Contact Numbers, etc. -- just not for my every-day to-dos).

Whew! That's a lot of reading, I know, girlfriends, but I think very worthwhile -- at least for me -- 'cause I think this could be a big breakthrough as far as Step 1 -- "Learning to plan for success" -- goes. Yea! [Yeha, that's Step 1 as in TEXAS TWO-STEPPERS.]

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I put my folders and my portfolios in a little antique sewing machine cabinet drawer I found a while back at a garage sale for 50 cents. (I had to clean it up, and I'll probably paint it another color later, although I know how much Donna loves this orangey color. Also in this pic, the little pumpkin/squash thingie sitting inside the white 50-cent-garage-sale pitcher is for you, DJ, who loves all things fall-ish, and that little hen salt shaker is for you, again, Donna, since I know how you love roosters and chicken stuff!) [Donna-Lu HATES chickens and roosters and most all fall colors, as well.]

Eager to hear your feedback!

XO! Pamm

Oh! And, Bloggin' Sistas, my comment thingie is at the TOP of my posts, not at the bottom where I wish it was! ;D

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Sermon: It sho' 'nuff ain't up to ME

I’m convinced that one of the worst things we can do to ourselves (and to the Kingdom when you stop and think about it) is to allow ourselves to become convinced that “it’s all up to us.” The moment that happens, not only do we take on a huge weight that we were never intended to bear, but we stop depending on God. Yup. You heard me. We stop depending on God. I know that sounds harsh -- I mean, we wouldn’t try to put Papa-God out of a job intentionally, would we? -- but the moment we think it’s all up to us, we have just said -- wittingly or unwittingly -- that He’s no longer in charge or in control; we are. And trust me, I’ve been taken charge of enough things to know that spells disaster! Either I totally screw things up, or I do nothing at all ‘cause I’m paralyzed with fear that I’ll screw things up! (And, of course, knowing me, I will!) That’s how we act if we think it’s all depending on us.

Does that mean we stop caring about what’s going on around us and just sit back, pretend we’re Doris Day, and sing “Que sera, sera”?

No, not at all. (Or as brotha Paul would say, “May it never be!) But our job is definitely not being in control (‘cause family, it sho’ ‘nuff ain’t up to us). Our calling is to be obedient. (And, yeah, some days, I’d much rather be “in charge” than be obedient . . . I mean, let somebody else do the hard stuff, right?) We are called to listen for His voice, and then do what He tells us and empowers us (don’t forget that part) to do. That’s it. We get to leave the results to Him. Because we live with, love with, and serve a risen, He’s-alive! Savior, we know that we can leave “the driving to [Him],” and he’ll get us there, safely and right on time [wink, wink, Sonya and Mike!]. The hard part is that sometimes the scenery along the way doesn’t look like we think it should; heck, we might even think we’re totally going the wrong way (not to mention, not fast enough!), but we can trust Him. We must trust Him. He’s not only the Driver, He’s the Guide, -- only He knows for sure the direction in which we must go.

When we truly understand that Big Truth and aren’t afraid to walk in that truth, then we can speak the words He calls us to speak, do what He calls us to do, and leave the results up to Him.

Whew! I don’t know about you, but what a relief! I’m tired enough sometimes just doing the stuff I should be doing -- I sure don’t need to be doin’ my job and Papa God’s, too!

And you don’t either. We serve a living God. Let’s let Him live through us and do the work of the Kingdom through us.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Not my usual post . . .

Not my usual post, but I have to spill my guts to someone or . . . I don't know, maybe I'll cry in front of my third period "scientific reading" kids and freak them out or something . . . since I don't want to do that, you, my sistas in Blogland are it.

I got my heart broken this morning. Like the kind of broken where you feel like you can't breathe or , as Sandra Cisneros writes in a short story my kids read every year, you "can't stop the little animal noises from coming out of [you]."

It all started because he wanted to lay his head down on his desk and sleep through advisory.

"Are you tired, sweetie?" (They're all my "sweety"s and "honey"s and "baby"s.) This particular one looks pretty awful this morning. Red-rimmed, hollow, dark-circled big brown eyes in a small, pale eleven-year-old face that looks vaguely like someone else who semi-regularly plays haunting games in my head.

"Yeah, I didn't sleep very well last night."

"How come?"

"Well, I got in big trouble at home last night." He steps closer and leans in to me. He lowers his already tiny voice, "I don't want anyone else to hear this."

My eyes never leave his, but with my left hand I send an "in-a-minute" wave toward another student approaching my desk and then nod for the one of immediate concern to continue.

He'd been rough-housing with his sister outside, and in and amongst all of the sixth-grade-boy details, I manage to gather that he wasn't supposed to have been outside. I think he made his sister cry -- accidentally stepped on her hand or something -- and his mom had yelled alot at him. Normal stuff, huh? But then I do my usual mudging and digging . . . (I mean, all kids get yelled at once in a while and don't usually lose too much sleep over it, so there's gotta be more to the story, right?) And he tells me the "more." And I focus hard on listening and being the grownup who doesn't cry. Who doesn't looked shocked. Who in her head doesn't say Jaja words about the woman I don't remember meeting (but who, he says, came to Open House a couple of weeks back.) But, mostly, who doesn't cry . . . doesn't cry . . . doesn't cry. And I work hard at keeping my breaths going in and out, in and out . . . steadily . . . evenly.

This baby, to relieve his own stress, had gotten into the shower after the Big Yelling; had run the water for a long time. But it didn't wash away the yuck. Mom came into the bathroom, turned off the water, and grabbed him by his hair and slammed his head into the shower wall. Hit and slapped at him until he curled up in to a ball against the tiles. "If you want to pick on someone, try picking on me, not your sister. Yeah, try it with me!"

Did I mention how little this kid is?

Then came the bad part.

He didn't sleep well because he'd then been forced to spend the rest of the night outside.

No dinner. Just the pill for his ADHD and some clothes thrown at him. No breakfast this morning.

He explains almost apologetically that it was hard to sleep because of the mosquitoes (we live on the Texas Gulf coast and have just had two days of rain) "and my dog kept breathing in my face . . . " and that the swing on the porch wasn't that comfortable, "but it does have some cushions . . . "

I take this baby out into the hall, away from other kids, so I can do a quick check for bruises. I only see one on the exposed shoulder, the side that wasn't against the tiles. I get as much information as I can before he says, "I don't want to talk about this anymore."

"Okay. Let's go back in the room, and you can rest on the couch until the bell rings."

But now I can't rest.

I talk to my counselor friend in the front office, and the digging for additional info begins. I don't know the details yet, but my friend is finding from other sources that there have been questions asked about this family in the past. She is checking with the neighboring school district where all of the children in the family attended school last year. She and others are working at putting fragments of information together to better give us a clearer understanding of what's going on.

Meanwhile, the thing I dread has to be done. I have to file a report with Child Protective Services.

It's not like I haven't done this before. I have. (It comes with the pastor - teacher territory.) But this time it's different. This kid isn't living in a known crack house. This kid's mom isn't, from all outer appearances, an obviously mentally ill person. This kid's not a teenager with older siblings who can step in to protect and intervene. No. This is a little kid whose family attends church, whose mom sends I'm-a-very-involved-parent E-mails to teachers; a little kid who will probably be placed in a he-said-she-said situation against his mom -- a situation which, knowing the system as I do, could conceivably have a pretty lousy outcome for this little guy.

Okay, I know you're wondering Pamm, how do you even know that what the kid said is true? It's okay, my counselor friend asked them same thing. But I know he's telling the truth. I know. I do. I saw it in his eyes. I heard it in the ever-so-slight stutter as he struggled to maintain his composure and yet continue his story. It's true. I wish it weren't, but it is. And now my counselor friend knows it too. She talked to him, and now I see it in her eyes. She knows too. She does.

So I will file my report. And I will pray for this sweet boy child to be safe this weekend. Safe until I see him again on Monday morning. Hopefully better rested.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just a few shots . . .

Here are a couple of pics I snapped last night . . . more to come as time allows!

Here's a shot almost identical to my last posting except
this one shows the simple curtain I made for over the
window. (VERY simple!) I used my "old" Battenberg
lace curtain for a "slip" of lace underneath a simple
panel of the same fabric I have in the breakfast room.
Just needed a little spot of color here, and this does the
trick. I loooooove walking into my kitchen now!

A close-up of that counter area. The thrift store Johnson
Bros. platter and the bunny tin hides the plug-in and cords
from the microwave and toaster oven. (And to the far left
is probably the last watermelon of the season, waiting to
be cut open and enjoyed!)

These critters and jar of potpourri sit on my window sill.

This is a corner of my stovetop. The flour
"canister" came from a garage sale, as did
the wooden spindle candle holder. The rooster
salt and pepper shakers had been packed away
and I'd forgotten I even had them! They are
perfect in my kitchen now! (And bring back
good memories since one of my sweet girls gave
them to me!)

I'm just came home real quick on my conference period, so it's back to work for me and then off to meet my TEXAS TWO-STEP women tonight at 7:00 at the church house! Woo-hoo!

Have a fabulous day wherever YOU are!


PS I'd love to hear from you sweet bloggin' sistas -- remember my comment thingie is at the top of my posts. (I told ya I can't figure out how to fix that!)

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Sneak Peak!

Okay, I didn't get to snapping any more pics of the "new" kitchen this weekend -- too busy writing, teaching, or "takin' care o' bidness" . . . (Okay, I DID watch the end of the Texans - Titans game -- Woo-hoo! How 'bout those TEXANS! Now THAT's football!) But, here's a sneak peak to pique your interest until I can do some snappin' later this week . . . (I know, with me it's always "later next week!" Such is life going ninety-to-nothin' with my hair on fire!)

I did finish painting out the window on Saturday, and I made a simple (VERY!), little curtain this weekend, but in this pic you'll just have to imagine it. Be sure to click on the photo to see the details of St. Michael's countertop tiling . . . I am loving it!

I'll have to see if I can find some before pics, but the bottom
cabinets were dark chocolate brown, the upper ones white,
and the cabinet with the oven was a sagey green. And the
countertops were 45-year-old laminate, along with the original
awful old sink and fixtures. (Hey, they did serve their
purpose, and the color scheme worked at the time with what
I had, but it was never my dream kitchen like it is now! )


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tabletop Blessings!

I know, I know, I've been a baaaaaaad blogger lately, which is to say that I haven't been blogging at all! But I've been working on other projects like painting my kitchen and writing the material for the TEXAS TWO-STEPPING Bible study. (Almost every woman there said she was wondering how in the world we were going to connect Bible study and digging our way out from beneath the clutter and chaos we've allowed to invade our homes, but we DID it! And it was AWESOME! We're studying the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, and we're using his rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls as a metaphor for rebuilding and healing our homes.)

I still have to paint around the window above the sink, and behind and around the fridge, and make a simple curtain for the window, but we've come soooooo far! Woo-hoo! And I can't tell you how much I am looooooooving my kitchen -- especially my countertop/labor of love from St. Michael.

I'll post pics of the kitchen later this weekend, but for now, I'm just showing a few snapshots of our breakfast room. My sweet, special friend Denise, who has her own blog, Bloomin' (go check her out) saw these perfect-for-Casa-St.-Michael placemats while on vacation this summer and decided to bless me with them. (She's just like that!) The chair back "accents" are adorable dish towels she also bought for me to use as napkins or "however you want to." So I decided to use them this way! I wanted to be able to see those cute red roosters bordering them, so I literally tied one on! (Okay, I tied them to the chairs with some jute twine and tiny black plaid ribbon. Hey, it's what I had on hand!) Ultra simple, but, I think, ultra cute. And now, I can enjoy them every day! (And not worry about their getting gravy or ketchup stains on them -- : D .) Anyone can also easily do this with similar size strips of fabric for a different look with each season.

(Remember, you should be able to click
on the pics to make them larger.)

The picture is a little dark, but the
braided rug beneath the table is red.
(Tessie just had to get into the picture!)

I know, I know, this pic's dark, too, but
you can at least get the idea of how simple
this little project really is. (And again,
Tessie, is becoming quite the camera hog!)

Don't these placemats just look great on my table!
I told Denise that they make me think of her
and smile each time I look at them.

Have a fabulous Friday! (They're ALL fabulous as far as I'm concerned!)

Grins and blessings!


I'd love to hear from you! (My COMMENTS thingie is at the top of my posts. I know, I know, I've tried to make it go back down to the bottom where it should be, but it won't go!)