Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Coming Full Circle From Death Unto Life

Nine years ago tonight...about this very time of night, in fact...I received a phone call that changed my world forever. We had four girls in the family that were due to have babies very soon...a cousin, a daughter, and two daughters-in-law. In fact, one of the daughters-in-law was overdue at that point. It was about 10:30 p.m. on the night of June 25, 2005. The phone rang and I bounded out of bed...a bundle of excitement. 

"Ahhhhh! Someone's in labor!" I shouted!

When I got to the phone it was my dad. He told me that my mom was having a problem and that I had better come right away. I told him to dial 9-1-1 and I'd be there in a few minutes. Someone was in labor alright, but this was NOT what I was expecting. 

By the time John and I got to my parent's home, my mother was in a bad way. An ambulance came, picked my mother up, and headed for Joplin. In mid-trip, she was transferred to a helicopter, but my mother never even made it to the hospital. She passed from this life in mid-transit shortly after midnight on the 26th. Needless to say, since that time, the 25th of June has always approached with a cloud of darkness hanging over it...especially for my dad. 

Well, this year, God, in His infinite mercy and grace, changed all that by giving us a new memory on the 25th of June. This morning, about 4:15 a.m. a beautiful, new granddaughter was born to us...a new great-granddaughter to my dad...and the story is pretty amazing.

Our daughter's due date, June 14th, came and went without event. Every day we've waited, but nothing happened. Last night, a couple of minutes after midnight the call came. Contractions were strong and regular, coming about five minutes apart, and we were needed to come stay with the children.

Less than four hours after leaving for the hospital, Miss Esther Rebecca-Grace Pennington, came into the world. The story of her birth is an amazing one, to say the least. I said earlier that she came about 4:15. The reason I say about is because no one caught the exact time. Miss Esther was born abruptly in the bathroom under very tense circumstances, but, tonight, praise God! Both she and her mommy, are doing very well.
Miss Esther Rebecca-Grace Pennington
My dad has not been well the past few months and he's been particularly weak and feeble the past few weeks. The days leading up to the anniversary of my mother's passing has always been hard from him. I wish you could have heard the spark in his voice when I told him that Miss Esther had been born in the night, during the wee hours of the morning of the 25th of June. He sounded relieved and said, "Well, good! Maybe this date will be a better one now!" 

I do feel bad that our daughter had to carry the baby so far past her due date, and I'm sorry that she and the baby had such a rough delivery, but I do praise God for blessing our family with such a special gift on a date that, previously, had carried such an air of darkness and sadness to it in our family's history. 

Something else that I found interesting to note...

This afternoon upon returning from taking the grandlittles to the hospital to see their parents and meet their new, baby sister...on the way back to their house, I had to go by our house to grab a few things. While there, our soon-to-be-nine-year-old-granddaughter, Audrey, noticed the date on the "God in the Moment" (from Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts) flip-calendar that sits on the table next to our bed, and that it was still turned to a date back in April. 

She said, "Nana, can I change the date on your calendar to today's date?" 

I said, "Sure! Go ahead!"

After turning the calendar to today's date and reading it, my granddaughter said, "Oh, Nana! You've got to read this!"

I did. And here is what it said on today's date...the 25th of June...

"I drive out of dark and into morning glory. I push off of shadows and I awaken wide, to the strange truth that all new life comes out of the dark places, and hasn't it always been? Out of darkness, God spoke forth the teeming life. All new life labors out of the womb of darkness."

Wow. Somehow, in the moment that I read that, I felt that we had come full circle...that, somehow, right in that moment that we had passed from death unto life...from out of darkness into His glorious light!

Until next time...

All My Love,

Our son-in-law, Patrick, and he and our daughter's four beautiful children.

My husband holding Miss Esther for the first time

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Release

Five Minute Friday is a special time set aside each week where, as our hostess and inspiration, Lisa-Jo Baker, puts it, "We write for five minutes flat. All on the same extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real." 

Today's prompt is release.


Release - "allow or enable to escape from confinement; set free; allow (something) to move, act, or flow freely."


The only way to get over it and past it (whatever the 'it' in your life might be) is to choose forgiveness. By choosing to forgive you release yourself and others. But don't wait until you feel like it. Otherwise it will probably never happen.


Forgiveness comes when you choose to obey God and resist the devil when he comes around trying to poison your mind with bitter thoughts. When that happens, purposefully choose to forgive and, in time, God will heal your wounded emotions.

Forgive yourself for past mistakes and mess-ups, and forgive others, too...including your enemies and those who have hurt, misused, and abused you. In doing so, you allow God to release you from a prison built of poison. In Luke 6:27-28, Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies. Romans 12:14 tells us to bless them and not to curse them. By purposing to speak well of them and praying for them you are opening up an arena that God can work in which He can give them revelation that will bring them out of the deception that has blinded them. 

In choosing to forgive you, not only do you release yourself, but, if they'll receive it, the one that has hurt you is provided opportunity to be released as well.  


Until next time...

All My Love,

Monday, June 16, 2014

New Blog Announcement - Life On The Tallgrass Prairie

Recently I've posted several posts about life on Southwest Missouri's tallgrass prairie. To better accommodate my readers, I've decided to start a separate blog, called Life On The Tallgrass Prairie, for the sole purpose of keeping all my posts about the prairie in one place.

I'm just getting started, but, if you have any interest at all in my posts about Life On The Tallgrass Prairie, I'd like to encourage you to, please, join me over at my new blog. You can do so by clicking HERE, then subscribing by e-mail.

Thanks so much!

All My Love,

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Life On The Tall-grass Prairie - A Perfect Day

Saturday was a perfect day on the tall-grass prairie. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing, the temperature was just right, and, after greeting us first thing Saturday morning at the visitor center, the bison decided to camp out on the hill just behind it. This allowed visitors to Southwest Missouri's Prairie State Park to view them through the observation windows all afternoon.
A large bull bison met me in front of the visitor center
when I first arrived Saturday morning. Needless to say, I
didn't get out of my vehicle until the coast was clear.
The whole herd planned on moving in just behind the big guy
above, but, when the park naturalist arrived, they backed off a bit.
I captured a shot of these two adorable little guys on the way in.
They're young enough that they're still retaining the typical,
new-born bison, pumpkin-orange color. Cute...aren't they? 
The herd camped out on the hill behind the visitor center for
the afternoon.They birds that you see 'flying' around here are
decals of  swallows that are attached to the window. 
Until next time...

All My Love,

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Weekly Home Blessing

Photo Credit

I got into the habit of doing a 'Home Blessing' on Mondays when I first met the Flylady. While I don't keep up with her posts at present and, while my home is far from what most people would consider clean, I still enjoy doing my own version of the Flylady's Weekly Home Blessing when I am home and can. 

My 'Home Blessing' list includes:

1. Spritz and shine the sink, tub, and toilet. 
2. Shine all the mirrors.
3. Mop the bathroom floor.
4. Feather dust the furniture, pictures on the wall, etc.
5. Change the sheets.
6. Vacuum the floors (including the edges).
7. Empty all trash.

My house is very small and it doesn't take long to do any of these things, so I do not set a timer. I do enjoy the spruce up though and it keeps things looking somewhat better than they would otherwise.

Do you do a Weekly Home Blessing in your home? If so, what's on your 'Home Blessing' list?

Have a blessed day everyone! 

Until next time...

All My Love,

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Hands

Black and white photo of mother's hands holding child's hands.

Five Minute Friday is a special time set aside each week where, as our hostess and inspiration, Lisa-Jo Baker, puts it, "We write for five minutes flat. All on the same extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real." 

Today's prompt is hands.


The first thing that popped into my mind when I saw this week's prompt was a story that my mother used to read to me many years ago. It was from a book called Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories, and the story was titled "Mother's Hands." I remember it making a great impression on me as a child. 

The story was about a young mother who had run over to visit a neighbor for just a moment while her baby was sleeping in her crib. While she was gone her house caught on fire with the baby still sleeping inside. 

When she realized what was happening, she ran through the gathering crowd and resisted the firemen when they insisted that she not go into the burning house. She didn't care. All she could think of was rescuing her sleeping baby...which she did. The baby was fine, but the mother's hands were terribly burned, and she was taken away by ambulance. 

Years later the daughter noticed her mother's badly scarred hands. She commented on how ugly they were. It was then, through tears, that the mother told her the story of the fire and all that happened. At that point the little girl began to cry and commented that her mother's hands were the most beautiful hands in all the world.

From there the story went on to talk about another pair of badly scarred hands. Hands that were hurt for you and me. Those beautiful nail-scarred hands of Jesus, and how they represent His deep love for us.


Until next time...

All My Love,

P.S. - I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment before you go! And have a blessed day! <3

Five Minute Friday

One Thousand Gifts - #92 sweet potatoes, #93 roasted carrots, #94 Cuties!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Fresh From The Garden - Margarita Pizza

Basil Fresh From The Garden
One of our favorite summer time treats is a Margarita pizza (named after the queen of Spain for whom it was first made), and they're so easy to make! This one was made with tomatoes and basil fresh from the garden.

To make...start with the crust (1 c. warm water, 1 pkg yeast, 1 t. sugar, 1 t. salt, 2 T. olive oil, 2 1/2 c. flour), and spread in a pizza pan that has been drizzled with olive oil. 

Top with fresh, sliced meaty tomatoes, a handful of chopped, fresh basil leaves, and cheese of your choice (normally I use provolone slices, but on this one I used shredded mozzarella). 

Bake in a 450 degree oven until cheese is brown and bubbly. Enjoy!

Margarita Pizza - Before Baking
Margarita Pizza - After Baking
Until next time...

All My Love,

~Rebecca <3

One Thousand Gifts - #82 $3.00 shoes, #85 hard lessons learned, #86 an opportunity to pray

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Tall-Grass Prairie From A to Z

A Lone Male Bison At Prairie State Park
Thursday I start working part-time at Prairie State Park, but the tall-grass prairie, and the park, itself, are nothing new to me and my family.

We have lived on the edge of the tall-grass prairie for nearly two decades now, and have visited Prairie State Park, over the course of that time, literally, hundreds of times. Our children attended Junior Naturalist Day Camp, annually, during their growing up years...the first time being before we even moved here...and our whole family, at one time or another, has volunteered at various park events. Three of our six children have worked at Prairie State Park, and two of them still work within the DNR park system. Even I, myself, have worked at Prairie State Park in the past for a short time.

There are so many things that I love about the tall-grass prairie, and I'm excited to get out and experience them on a regular basis again. I decided to list a few of my favorite things, here, in an A to Z blog list. If you are interested, just click on each link below to see pictures of the various plants and animals that can be found on Southwest Missouri's tall-grass prairie.

A) ASHY Sunflower and AMERICAN Kestrel
B) American BISON and BULL Thistle
E) EASTERN Phoebe and EASTERN Screech Owl
G) GREATER Prairie ChickenGAYFEATHER, and GRAY-Headed Coneflower
H) HENSLOW'S Sparrow
I) INDIAN GrassINDIAN Paintbrush and INDIGO Bunting
L) Slender Glass LIZARD
M) Prairie MOLE Cricket
N) NEW ENGLAND Asters and NORTHERN Harrier
O) OX-EYE Sunflower
Q) Bobwhite QUAIL
R) REGAL Fritillary Butterfly, RATTLESNAKE Master, and RED-EARED Slider
T) TURKEY Foot (a.k.a. Big Bluestem) Grass
U) UPLAND Sandpiper
V) Prairie VOLE
W) WHITE-TAILED Deer and WESTERN Meadowlark
X) SphinX Moth (I know...I kind of cheated here...I really couldn't think of a better way to represent the Letter X.) (~smile~)
Z) ZEBRA Swallowtail Butterfly

Until next time...

~Rebecca <3

One Thousand Gifts - #79 freedom, #80 pancakes, #81 postage stamps

Monday, June 2, 2014

June 2014 Bucket List

The Orange Lilies That Bloom Near Our Front Porch

The month ahead promises to be a month of challenges, change, and celebration, and I am greatly looking forward to all of them! Here is my June 2014 Bucket List:

1. Start new, part-time job at Prairie State Park.
2. Call my Aunt Doris in Dodge City, Kansas and wish her a 'Happy 85th Birthday!"
3. Enjoy meeting our new granddaughter, Esther Gracelynn. (Her due date is June 14th.)
4. Celebrate Flag Day with the red, white, and blue!
5. Celebrate Father's Day by celebrating my dad and my husband.
6. Visit my friend, Laura, and her husband at their new restaurant in Carthage, MO.
7. Meet up with and visit a special cousin and her family in Joplin.
8. Attend four sessions of Beth Moore's "Believing God" series at Main Street Bible Church.
9. Celebrate the First Day of Summer!
10. Lose 10 pounds.

That's my bucket list for June. Now...what's on yours? :)

Until next time...

All My Love,
~Rebecca <3

One Thousand Gifts - #75 a kiss, #76 conversation, #78 fresh strawberries