Sunday, October 6, 2013

Wild & Crazy Adventures with Egg Mama

Because I want it in writing so that I'll never forget moments like these . . . let me tell you about our adventures in the WILD this week! My parents have been out of town and while they were gone our responsibility has been to take care of their animals, specifically their roosters and hens.

Conner has taken this job very seriously and now refers to himself as "Egg Mama." He is precious.

Last Monday our night had been crazy and I needed out of the house with less than three kids! Conner and I took off to feed the animals and collect the farm fresh eggs. He was pure cuteness in Ninjago underwear and rubber boots. It was such a sweet time with just us holding hands and gathering eggs and feeding rabbits.

I was feeling domestic and declared I'd scramble those eggs for his breakfast on Tuesday before school. He looked at me aghast and screamed "NO!" Apparently, he was thinking we were collecting eggs to have baby chicks not breakfast.

The next morning he told me I could be Egg Mama while he was gone to school . . . I thought I'd done a good job and happily reported to him that his eggs were well when I picked him up. And then he asked me if I'd sat on them to keep them warm . . . I was obviously not living up to my Egg Mama duties.

I was anxiously awaiting our gathering time together on Tuesday. This time I took my phone so that I could capture all the preciousness.

We went in the coop to gather the eggs and check the feed and all the sudden this rooster starts attacking me!! The other roosters and hens are roosting for the night about 2 inches above my head and this one rooster is on the ground literally trying to eat us. I kicked it away and that was like a call to war! I started screaming and felt like an Alfred Hitchcock moment was mere seconds away, where every rooster was about to attack me! We ran for the door . . . and at the first glimpse I freedom I realized I'd left my phone in there with the rooster! I had to get a broom to go back in and this time two roosters were after me - it was insane!!

I have now developed an unnatural phobia of roosters and hens. I've been making Ryan do this chore all week.

Tonight we all went. Aaron and I stayed in the shop with the feed while the boys went in the coop. I started hearing noises and am looking all around when out of nowhere this chicken flies right past my head. I scream, Aaron cries. Apparently, my dad lost a chicken about a week ago and it has been living in the shop the whole time he was gone.  This begins a comical chase where the boys are trying to catch the poor chicken to put him back in the coop.

The lone chicken is finally caught and I'm surveying the garage for eggs - we found 10 eggs that chicken had laid - when something catches my eye . . .

It is possible that I had a mild (severe) heart attack before realizing it wasn't real (and in a garage full of chicken eggs you never know!).
The animals are finally all fed and put away and we drive home. We see two deer in the driveway and we stare at them for a minute and continue on our way when we see a possum run right into the garage!
The boys climb onto the roof of Ryan's truck and declare a movie night under the stars while we watch Ryan try to corral a possum with a fishing pole . . .
And I've tried three times to get the video to load for your pleasure, but believe me when I say it was extremely comical and a 30 minute endeavor!
We are obviously the opposite of refined and we LOVE it that way!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Country Nights, Part II

I really feel that pictures like these need an Ann Voskamp type story to go with them but all I've got tonight is pictures of us livin' the good life! So many things around us are changing and I'm glad simple experiences like these are staying the same through the generations.

my hearts and the reason I'm so tired!

angel baby

littlest & biggest

daddy's boy . . . briefly

what am I going to do with these two?



thank you God for letting me be their mommy!


and more love

My cup runneth over . . . 

Monday, September 9, 2013


3,000/7 = 428

God continues to show me that He can do exceedingly and abundantly more than I can even imagine or fathom to ask.

Year 1 of Operation Christmas Child for me was 1 box sent by my family and dropped off at a local Lifeway store. I had heard about the ministry on K-Love and thought it sounded neat. The next year I received a Special Report magazine in the mail that told about OCC and its far reaching effects and the pictures and stories really rocked my world!

That began Year 2, as I spoke to my pastor and asked if we could do OCC at Fellowship Community Church. He said yes and told me to "GO BIG!" We were still a very small church and big to me was a goal of 100 boxes. Not only was I very concerned that 100 boxes was way over our reaches as a congregation I had serious doubts that we could ever receive enough donations for 100 box PLUS the $700 we'd need to ship those boxes. I was quite shocked when we packed 143 shoeboxes! And received a donation fo $700 to cover the shipping! It didn't even register that I now I needed more money when we packed 43 additional boxes . . . until someone came with her checkbook and paid it without me ever having to ask!

Year 3 was 2012 and we doubled our goal to 200 shoeboxes. And God said "I'll raise you that" and provided 358 shoeboxes and the $2,500 we needed for shipping. In the end I only had to go before the church and ask for $35 and we received that sevenfold within about 10 minutes.

2013 has been a very busy year for me and I've been behind on OCC. We kicked off OCC without a goal for the first time ever. But God continues to show me that He has big plans for this ministry and that He can do more even when I feel like I have less to offer. I received word that $3,000.00 has been given to the OCC fund and has been earmarked for shipping. So $3,000 shipping/$7 shipping per box = 428 BOXES! I received a message just last week to ask our goal and someone else has stepped up to purchase 428 plastic shoeboxes.

So God has made a way for 428 children in Togo or Republic of Georgia or Ukraine or India or all over the world to know what a GIFT is and now it is up to us to FILL UP THOSE BOXES!!

We need pens, pencils, pencil sharpeners, paper, soap, crayons, deordorant, chap stick, toys, candy, balls, shoes, socks, shirts, wash cloths, tooth brushes & toothpaste, gloves, hats, batteries, calculators, hair bows, sewing kits, books, stuffed animals, etc., etc, etc. If it can fit in a shoebox for a child ages 2-14 - WE NEED IT!!

Stay tuned for more to come on these 428 angels who will receive these gifts!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Waving the White Flag of Victory . . .

Say what? Doesn't the white flag mean surrender? I think here it means both . . .

A dear sweet friend of mine invited me along a journey with her to study the book of Gideon with a Bible study by Priscilla Shirer. I love Bible study & I love Priscilla Shirer & I love my sweet friend, Mindy, so I said yes!

It's an awesome study and I can relate to so much of what's in it. In some of the daily homework it was asking about problems we were facing and such and I really could not think of anything serious to write. Of course, I have problems just nothing that I had deemed serious enough. I listed some decisions that I knew I was going to need to make in the near future instead.

And then, boom, I got problems. Like a cry for days, a lament for hours, a sit in a chair and stare at the wall in a catatonic state type problem.

Immediately I jump into action because I will not stand for this. Exactly who do they think they are to speak to me in that manner? NOBODY will treat my baby this way.

I mistake that quiet small voice that whispers "trust me," as a call to trust the terrible horrible person. It takes me days to figure out that it's not what it meant. That it was a call to remember all I know and all I've seen and to trust in the Father. I've been faithfully doing my Bible study for 5 weeks and really for like 33 years and it takes days for the fog to lift and me to stop spinning long enough to breathe. And when I do the answers I've been seeking arrive in crystal clear little packages.
Like, I randomly wanted to start reading the Hunger Games trilogy again. And as I've been doing my Bible study I have been having all sorts of ideas of different ways to begin new ministries or revamp old ones. And then I've fall prey to the sneaky weapon of distraction. Who has time to think about ministries when there is war to be waged? But then as I'm engrossed in Katniss and Peeta and Haymitch, I come to the part where Katniss is about to go to her second Hunger Games, the Quarter Quell, and she doesn't know it yet, but there is a plan bigger than herself at play, and Haymitch can only tell her, "remember who your enemy is and who it is not." Then the quiet small voice comes again to remind me who the Enemy is and who it is not.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

Then I was reading to the boys one night and Jack & Annie from the Magic Tree House were on a mission and what does Jack say but, "To succeed in your mission, you must be humble."
And then the daily Bible verse that is emailed to me everyday is, "For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory." Psalm  149:4.
And then Gideon in my Bible study diffuses a situation with the people of Ephraim by acting humbly and giving them honor where honor is not due.
And in the battle that I'm caught up in it's my turn, it's my play, it's my move and the very last thing I want to be is humble. I want blood, I want heads to roll, I want to send the message to back off, I want them to know the evidence is in my favor, I want them to know I will not be bullied, and I want them to know I am not afraid. And God wants me to be humble. I would not mind humble so much if only I could send the enemy (the little one, not the big one) a message that says something like, "I am only being humble because God said so and I don't like it but I am doing it and that makes me better than you." And then possibly I might stick out my tongue or something.
Although my heart does not yet feel like it, I give honor where honor is not due and in this I know I am victorious. Nothing about my situation has changed, but there is peace knowing your steps are directed by the ultimate gamemaker. He can see the bigger picture.
The evidence is clearly in my favor in this worldly battle I've been facing. I can win. People and information have been laid before me and the odds are ever in my favor.  But God gets more glory when the odds are against Him.  He gets more glory when I am weak and He is strong. This does not mean I do not win in the end, it just means I don't fight dirty. It just means I use His weapons and not mine, even if they seem contrary to what I would need to go into battle, even if they seem silly to the world.
Gideon had 32,000 troops at his disposal, God sent 22,000 home, 10,000 remained to defeat the Midianites who had oppressed them for years. Of the 10,000 troops, God sent another 9,700 home, 300 remained. The odds were against them. And then he wanted them to carry trumpets, empty jars, and torches to battle. The enemy had camels and swords and spears and they carried jars and trumpets. God chose unusual weapons.
David was given kingly armor to defeat Goliath, yet he chose to go into battle with only 5 stones. God chose unusual weapons.
Joshua was the new leader of the Isrealites. Forty years before the people were afraid to take Jericho and now God has told him to march around the city for 7 days in order to defeat it. And while you are at it rescue a prostitute who will become in the lineage of Jesus himself. God chose unusual weapons.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  2 Corinthians 10:3-5

I write all of this not to expose my emotions or thoughts or to congratulate myself on choosing the right thing, but to say if any of you are wondering what it looks like today to choose unusual weapons, to choose heavenly weapons; perhaps one of the strongest and fiercest weapons we can choose is humility, because self-centeredness, pride, and power are weapons of the world and have no value in our arsenal. I am not from here. But our citizenship is in heaven.

Because although its painful to come in last here on this earth, I'd rather it here than in heaven. I'll not fight the battle on their terms of revenge, retaliation, rudeness, and condemnation.

I have this prayer beside my bed and I try to say it every morning,
I am no longer my own, but Yours.
Put me to what You will, rank me with whom You will;
Put me to doing, put me to suffering;
Let me be employed for You or laid aside for You,
Exalted for You or brought low for You;
Let me be full, let me be empty;
Let me have all things, let me have nothing;
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal.

And now, glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You are mine and I am Yours. So be it. (Covenant Prayer by John Wesley)

Right now I am brought low and put to suffering but praise be to Jesus that I am counted worthy to be considered for suffering. Praise that I have been trusted to be spoken to and chosen to be humbled. Praise that my baby has been so well covered in prayer this week. Praise that we have been chosen to be blessed in a such way. Praise that we've been considered formidable enough to be called to battle and reminded of who the Enemy is and who he is not. In all things praise the Lord.

Friday, June 14, 2013

It's Not Mother's Day

Ahh, it's summer! The time for lazy days and relaxed schedules. Although some days it seems like we are just as busy as always.

Our routine around these parts is to do our grocery shopping on Tuesday's. I get lots of sympathy glances at Target . . .

Much to my husband's chagrin, my grocery list does not always get fulfilled. Either because I ran out of room in the buggy or because my sanity was on the brink and I just decided to leave. He does not understand how this happens.
That means that on Sunday's and Monday's we are sometimes searching for things to eat and getting creative in the kitchen.
A Burford family tradition was to have blueberry muffins on Saturday's and my dad's biscuits on Sunday's. At the Brown house, we do something similar with muffins and/or pancakes on the weekends. Most weekends I ask the boys which of those they'd like - if they can't agree sometimes I'm nice and I make both.
On Mother's Day I made toast (friends, please inform my husband of the whole make mom breakfast on Mother's Day concept, thank you). That was met with grumbling and I informed the kids that it was Mother's Day so I got to do what I wanted.
Combine that with in the summer I shop with three kids and we often are scraping the barrel waiting on grocery day to roll back around and the other day I didn't do my usual - what do you want? pop tarts, cereal, toast, etc. I just made sausage and toast and called it a day. And Mason just stared at me blankly and matter of fact informed me that today WAS NOT MOTHER'S DAY!
Oh my - good thing I like him! So this summer will be filled with lots of "here I made it, now eat it," just to prove that it should always be mother's day!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Country Nights

The big boys were out of town last week on their annual birthday camping trip with my dad. Lots of good memories were made with Mason, Conner, and Papa - like, hey, remember that time we went camping and a tornado and a flash flood happened and our camper floated down the Caddo River with all our stuff in it?? Good times!
Ryan, Aaron, & I had some good times as a family of three as well! We spent one night riding 4-wheelers and fishing and picking blackberries. It was a great fun!
hanging with daddy on the pier
we are so blessed with our country view!
not a neighbor in sight!

i love aaron's face in this picture!
i also love how the pasture looks after the first hay bale of the spring!

deep thoughts

Tonight we headed to the local Dairy Queen for a cool summer treat. Mason said he had brain freeze on his lips! :)

we roll shirtless around these parts . . . actually Ryan drove to DQ fully clothed but I made him ride in the back on the way home and feed Aaron ice cream so he'd stop crying for ice cream. he ended up shirtless because Conner dumped part of his ice cream on him!
not sure why but Ryan said next time he'd just go by himself . . .

sweet as ice cream

happy now that his belly is full of ice cream

And that's how we do summer nights here!

Take me Out to the Ballgame!

 This past weekend we had a fun trip to the Texas Rangers game versus the Kansas City Royals! There were five couples and 10 kids - our common denominator was 7 & 8 year old boys plus a 9 year old, three 5 year olds, and the lone little girl was 4 - it was fun times!

We arrived in time for the boys to swim a bit before the game and then we headed over to The Ballpark.

My Rangers fans

me & Ryan

we sat in the "all you can eat" seats -
that was like Conner's third box of popcorn

sweet baseball boys

the real fun happened here after the game

our group had 20 people in it and other families would walk outside
and look at the pool and us and then just leave!

we also had noise complaints since we loitered in the hallway a lot

Our MLB weekend reminded me of games past. I was excited to know that I've been to as many cities to watch baseball as Ryan (granted he's been to more stadiums because he's been to old & new stadiums in the same cities but still!).
On our honeymoon we went to the SkyDome (now renamed the Rogers Centre) and watched the Toronto Blue Jays vs. Boston Red Sox in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on April 10, 2003.

We've been to a few Houston Astros games when it was Enron Field and Minute Maid Park -
this game is Houston Astros vs. Cincinnati Reds. We had great seats on the 1st base line.

And you really can't tell it but I went to Turner Field with my friend Lauren in April 2000
 to watch an Atlanta Braves game! Terrible picture of myself but that's all I had!
Looking forward to many more ball park adventures with my sweet boys!