John Huston Retires as Chairman of Wood & Huston Bank

John Huston Retires as Wood & Huston Bank’s Chairman of the Board

After 66 years of service to Wood & Huston Bank, John Huston has announced his retirement as Chairman of the Board of Wood & Huston Bank effective June 21, 2015.

Mr. Huston began working full time for Wood & Huston Bank after he graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1949. Huston is also an Army Veteran, having served our country in the Korean War.

During his time at Wood & Huston Bank, the bank grew its deposits from $ 6.8 million to $ 510 million, an increase of 7,400%. Loans grew from $ 1.6 million to $ 486 million, an increase of 30,275%… a remarkable run for a remarkable man.

Commenting on Mr. Huston’s retirement was president of the bank, Barry Randolph, “All of us at the Bank want to thank you, John, from the bottom of our hearts for everything that you have done for this bank, this community, and each of us personally. You are the most respected man I have ever known and that respect is well deserved. You have been the cornerstone of the Wood & Huston Bank for over 66 years and I am honored to have worked with you.”

On the announcement of his retirement, the Board of Directors unanimously voted on a resolution to elect John Huston Chairman Emeritus of Wood & Huston Bank, effective, June 21, 2015. In separate resolution, Mark Thompson, executive vice president and CFO of the bank was unanimously elected to serve as a member of the Board of Directors.

John Huston is married to his wife Donna with whom they have four sons along with their wives and 9 grandchildren. John is an avid outdoorsman. A lifelong resident of Saline County, John has been past president, director and member of numerous civic organizations. He was active in the Chamber of Commerce, Marshall-Saline Development Corporation, the Sappington School Fund and the Ridge Park Cemetery to note a few. He was also a director of Missouri Valley College for over 50 years. He remains actively involved in the life of the local community.

Accepting the position of Chairman of the Board for Wood & Huston Bank is Nick Huston. Mr. Huston has been employed by Wood & Huston Bank for 33 years beginning his career at the bank in 1982. Like his father, Mr. Huston is also an alumnus of the University of Missouri and lifelong resident of Saline County. He is married to his wife, Leslie, has two children and too is an avid outdoorsman.

About Wood & Huston Bank

Established in 1874, Wood & Huston is an independent, full-service community bank that in 2014 celebrated 140 years of providing a wide range of quality financial products and solutions to the communities that they serve in Missouri—with branches and/or service locations in Cape Girardeau, Jackson, Marshall, Slater, Springfield, West Plains, and Higginsville, MO. Wood & Huston Bank delivers the convenience of online banking, mobile banking, mobile deposit and high-interest checking, along with competitive-rate loans for its customers. It’s Wood & Huston’s history and mission that distinguishes it from so many banking institutions. Personal service has been a legacy passed on from generation to generation for Wood & Huston Bank. The Bank operates with a philosophy that its reputation must be recreated every single day to meet each new challenge. To learn more about Wood & Huston, explore its website at http://www.woodhuston.com, drop by one of the convenient locations, or call (660) 886-6825. Wood & Huston Bank is a member of the FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender.

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40 Years After the Fall of Saigon a New Book Unearths Nuggets of Humor Glittering in the Shadows of an Unpopular War

Tampa, FL (PRWEB) April 22, 2015

Forty years ago Saigon fell to the Viet Cong, and the final chapter of an unpopular war closed. For those who served, the memory conjures up a variety of ghostly images; Jim Lamb captured some of his and coaxed them into a new book titled, “Orange Socks & Other Colorful Tales” (http://www.jslstories.com).

MCA (http://myclassifiedads.net) is helping get the word out about Lamb’s sometimes funny, often poignant, Vietnam memoir.

Lamb notes that many in the media have made attempts to put the Fall of Saigon into its proper historical context. Among the best, he said, is an award-winning documentary called “Last Days in Vietnam,” directed by Rory Kennedy, daughter of Robert Kennedy. More about that film, including a video clip, can be seen at http://lastdaysinvietnam.com.

Over the years most vets made their peace with the Vietnam saga, including Lamb—though occasionally he’d share an anecdote or two with those close to him.

“The book is a compilation of stories I’ve told family and friends,” Lamb said. “Sam Harris, one of those friends, said I should write down these tiny tales, so I did.”

It took nearly 20 years for Lamb to finish “Oranges Socks”—a long incubation period for a relatively short book. Chapters include “Welcome to the War,” “The M16 Is Your Friend,” “Rocket Attack,” and “Stealing Psalm 40,” the testimony of how Lamb accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior in a Sunday evening chapel service in Da Nang.

Lamb is a Pennsylvania native: Born in Johnstown, graduated high school in Windber, thrown out of college in Shippensburg, drafted in Kennett Square. He joined the Navy in the fall of 1967: Boot-camped in Great Lakes, trained at Naval Air Station Memphis, processed for an undesirable discharge on drug charges in Corpus Christi. After charges against him were dropped, he was sent to San Francisco for advanced training and then to Atsugi, Japan, his squadron’s stepping-stone to Da Nang.

A self-described bookworm—he wrote poems, played guitar and acted in theatric productions in high school and college—Lamb had difficulty adjusting to the rigors of military life, particularly inspections. Then, after three and a half years of trying, Lamb finally learned how to conform to Navy life by amassing a collection of proven techniques. The result: stunningly shined shoes, a brilliantly bright brass belt buckle, starched white hat, perfectly trimmed hair. He became virtually indistinguishable from every other sailor.

“That gave me an idea,” Lamb said. “I decided to go into one of the biggest and most important inspections of the year in perfect naval attire except for one thing: I wore orange socks.”

And he got away with it.

The impish act gave birth to one of the most comical chapters in the book as well as providing an inspiration for its title. Non-vets may wonder how someone could find anything funny during such an unpopular war. Lamb explains it this way: “My friend Juli used to say, ‘You can laugh—or you can cry.’ In Vietnam, I did both.”

“Orange Socks & Other Colorful Tales” is available in a variety of convenient formats: Kindle ($ 4.99), iBooks ($ 4.99) and “Independent and DRM-free via Gumroad” ($ 10) at http://www.jslstories.com/orange-socks.

For more information, visit http://www.jslstories.com or call (813) 920-0197.

ABOUT: Jim Lamb is a 1977 graduate of the University of South Florida with a double major in Mass Communications and Political Science. He worked as a copy desk editor for The Tampa Tribune, The Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the Charlotte Sun-Herald. Now retired, Lamb free-lances for MCA (http://myclassifiedads.net).

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AND THE WINNERS ARE… Pets Add Life Announces 7th Annual Children’s Poetry Contest Winners

Greenwich, CT (PRWEB) May 01, 2015

American Pet Products Association (APPA) President and CEO, Bob Vetere, is pleased to announce the six winning students and poems for APPA’s non-profit campaign Pets Add Life’s (PAL) 7th Annual Children’s Pet Poetry Contest. Open to third through eighth grade students across the nation, the annual contest encourages children to express the joys and happiness pets bring to their lives.

“After receiving and reading hundreds of poems from across the country, we are proud to announce this year’s contest winners!” said Vetere. “There is nothing quite like reading about how pets are making positive impacts on children and reading about just how much they mean to them in their own words. We thank all of this year’s participants and are already looking forward to more smiles on our faces when the contest returns in September.”

Through APPA’s Pets Add Life campaign, students from across the country in grades 3rd through 8th were invited to write unique poems about their pets, sharing what they love about them and the joys they bring to their lives. One student from each grade level (six total) has been selected to win $ 250 for pet products and an additional $ 1,000 scholarship for their classrooms to spend on pet-related education.

Below are the six winning poems by grade level:


My Four Furry Friends

By: Peyton L.

We rescued some animals

That I adore.

We used to have none,

But now we have four!

First we have Morty,

a cat that I love.

He likes to hang out

High up above.

Then there’s his brother, Gibby.

He is also a cat.

I have to mention,

He is very fat!

They love to wrestle.

They love to play.

But most of all,

They sleep all day.

With one at my feet,

And one at my head,

I never feel lonely

When I’m in my bed.

Next we have Louie,

A dog from Louisianna.

He used to be hoarded,

But a great life with us

He has been awarded.

Last we have Daisy,

She’s as soft as a sheep.

We saved her from being put to sleep.

She lived in Florida,

A sunny place.

She’s as sweet as can be

And has a pretty face.

Now she lives in New Jersey

And is a Therapy Dog.

Making people happy is her job.

That was my poem

And now I am done.

I hope you now realize

that pets are so fun!



A Puppy’s Love

By: Mollie T.

From the moment you bring her home

To the hundredth time you’ve thrown her bone

You know she will always be your friend

And full of love that never ends.

Little paw prints on the floor

Getting bigger, more and more;

She grows up fast, but still the same,

A puppy’s love will never change.

You used to hold her in your palm

Now she’s just too big and long

But all along, you’re still knowing

Your dog’s loyalty does not stop growing.



My Dog, My Friend

By: Medha G.

When she bounds over to me,

Her tongue out, panting vigorously,

I feel joy,

When she stares up at me,

Her eyes begging me to play,

I feel wanted,

When she rolls over with her paws in the air,

Begging me to scratch her belly,

I feel loved,

When she trots along the sidewalk,

Her eyes full of excitement at the new wonders opened to her in the world,

I feel curious,

When she arches her back,

With a look of determination in her eyes,

I feel courage,

My dog is truly my best friend,

Opening the door to my true emotions.



My Cookie

By: Mallory S.

My pet is a mini

He is a guinea

Cookie monster is his name.

He loves to talk and chatter

when something is the matter,

or sometimes when he wants a snack.

To me only he will respond

because we have a special bond

I love my guinea pig.

Am I obsessed? A little, maybe.

After all he is my baby.

He really loves me too.

He loves to cuddle and to play.

I love him more than I can say.

My best pal, Cookie.

Some people like dogs and cats,

gerbils, iguanas, even rats.

Me, I love my pig.

As for me I’ll take my pig

even though he’s not that big.

Thanks to mom and dad for Cookie.



My Rescue Pup

By: Faith C.

He wakes me every morning,

And jumps up on my bed,

Kissing me till I wake up,

And stepping on my head!

He’s happy and energetic,

And he likes to run around,

But when it comes to belly rubs,

He rolls upon the ground.

At two days old, on the side of the road,

He and his siblings were found alone.

We rescued him, and now we know,

He rescued us and now he’s home.

Every night, he tucks me in,

And then he curls up small.

He knows that we all love him,

And we know he loves us all.



One Dog’s Journey

By: Sophia D.

Down in the kennel, a puppy discovers,

News that makes him separate from the others.

“He’s been here too long” he hears them say,

And he suddenly realizes, his life is at stake!

Not adopted, unloved, and rejected by many,

He thinks that perhaps he not worth a penny.

The barks of others do not reach his ears

As his eyes swim with unshed tears.

But the next morning he hears them say,

“A family is coming to see you today!”

His heart fills with longing for a true home,

Maybe this family will call him one of their own!

When the family sees him, they fill with joy,

The air resonates with sounds of “good boy!”

The times passes, he must go back through the door,

But he doesn’t want to leave, and sits on the floor.

The family realizes that he is the one.

The puppy is loyal, loving, and fun!

A week later, Dad’s car comes back around the bend.

That day, the puppy’s name goes from Billy to Ken.

He takes him home, that young little lab,

And Ken knows that he is no longer sad.

Ken is our dog our dog now, I love him each day,

And from adopting him there is something I must say:

Remember those homeless dogs and their plea.

They’re all alone and need you and me!

So next time you’re considering getting a dog,

Try visiting the shelter that’s just down the block.

Really, it’s your love and care that they seek,

For all dogs need a safe place to sleep.

So perhaps there’s a dog that you can rescue.

And honestly its one the best things you can do!

Founded by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), PAL is a nonprofit campaign dedicated to sharing information about how pet ownership benefits animals and people alike. PAL’s mission is to increase awareness of the bonds and other rewards associated with pets of all types. Primarily through social media with YouTube Videos, an active Facebook campaign, celebrity endorsements and contests, PAL spreads the joys of pets, encourages pet adoption and promotes responsible pet ownership.

To learn more about the nonprofit campaign or the Pets Add Life 7th Annual Children’s Poetry Contest, visit http://www.petsaddlife.org, http://www.facebook.com/petsaddlife or contact Ashlee Verba at 775.322.4022 or ashlee(at)theimpetusagency(dot)com.


The American Pet Products Association (APPA) is the leading not-for-profit trade association serving the interests of the pet products industry since 1958. APPA membership includes more than 1,000 pet product manufacturers, their representatives, importers and livestock suppliers representing both large corporations and growing business enterprises. APPA’s mission is to promote, develop and advance pet ownership and the pet product industry and to provide the services necessary to help its members prosper. Visit http://www.americanpetproducts.org for more information.

John Giduck Reveals Best Upcoming Events in Boston

Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) May 11, 2015

John Giduck is one of the top members of the travel industry, offering all those who are in the midst of planning an upcoming vacation peace of mind during the process. Although it sometimes feels tough to narrow down which destination will be the most fun for the whole family because of the many choices, there are some cities that offer fun entertainment no matter what the season.

One of the top choices is and always will be Boston. All those hoping for a charming place full of culture and history, this city is a terrific pick. But the good news is there is always a fun mix of events to choose from and enjoy attending for those traveling through. Here are a couple of recommendations for things to do during the month of May by John Giduck.

1. SoWa: During the month of May, John Giduck shares that the open markets in the exclusive South End neighborhood of Boston become home to a fun display of local art. The outdoor displays by different designers and artists are perfect for an afternoon stroll for finding a souvenir to take home.

2. Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill: For families hoping to enjoy some of the gorgeous nature that the city of Boston is known for will want to go on this exclusive tour. Both Beacon and Marlborough Streets are known for having some of the most beautiful gardens, both on display and hidden as well. All those who want to see the exclusive ones will want to plan a visit during the month of May to enjoy this special event.

3. Sport Season Beginning: May brings the beginning of warmer weather along with opening season at one of Boston’s beloved past-times. John Giduck shares most Bostonians will tell travelers that one of the most iconic sightseeing places is Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox. Check out one of their games during the trip, or perhaps bike or hike around the city. There is something for everyone.

John Giduck knows vacationing in Boston to enjoy any of these events will be a great way to celebrate time away from life’s responsibilities and stresses. For the ultimate relaxing vacation experience, John Giduck is one vacation provider travelers can trust. For more information, visit him online at http://johngiduck.org/

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Dogs on Deployment Mascot Protected by Pets Best

Boise, Idaho (PRWEB) April 07, 2015

Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC, a leading U.S. pet health insurance agency, and the nonprofit Dogs on Deployment announced together today that the 2015 Military Pet of the Year and Dogs on Deployment Mascot, Leonidas, is now protected with pet insurance from Pets Best. Dogs on Deployment is a nationwide nonprofit that connects military service members with volunteers to board their pets for free when they are deployed.

Leonidas is a 3-year-old Afghan Kuchi mixed breed, born in the mountains of Afghanistan. As a puppy, Leonidas wandered into a United States Army compound and won the heart of U.S. Army soldier, Tim Johannsen.

“The bond created with a dog during war is indescribable,” Johannsen said. “He is my best friend and honestly the way he has changed my life is impossible to put into words.”

A leading sponsor of Dogs on Deployment for two years, Pets Best hopes to bring awareness to the nonprofit’s efforts. In its third year, the nationwide Military Pet of the Year and Dogs on Deployment Mascot Competition resulted in hundreds of contestants, votes and admirable dogs receiving recognition.

Pets Best supports the mission of Dogs on Deployment: to give military members peace of mind concerning their pets during deployment or other service commitments.

The Military Pet of the Year and Dogs on Deployment Mascot receives a free one-year Pets Best pet insurance policy, among many other prizes and benefits. Past winners have received national attention to bring awareness to causes in the military and pet communities. Johannsen and Leonidas plan to use the canine’s new title to raise awareness about rescuing dogs, or “battle buddies,” from overseas, seeking to educate military service members about responsible pet ownership while supporting the Dogs on Deployment mission as a whole.

The Puppy Rescue Mission is the group that assisted in bringing Leonidas and his sister Mittens to the U.S. to be reunited with Johannsen. Stray dogs and working contract dogs are commonly found in U.S. military compounds overseas and can help service members feel a little more at home.    

“If something were to happen to Leonidas in the next year, it is a feeling of relief to know that we will have financial help,” Johannsen said of Leonidas being protected by Pets Best.

Pets Best also protected Midas, the 2014 Military Pet of the Year and Dogs on Deployment Mascot.

“Pets Best recognizes the importance of keeping service members’ beloved pets safe while their owners are away protecting our nation,” said Chris L. Middleton, president of Pets Best. “We remain committed to supporting Dogs on Deployment in its efforts to care for the pets of the brave men and women who serve in the armed forces.”

About Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC

Dr. Jack L. Stephens, founder and director of Pets Best, founded pet insurance in the U.S. in 1981 with a mission to end euthanasia when pet owners couldn’t afford veterinary treatment. Dr. Stephens went on to present the first U.S. pet insurance policy to famous television dog Lassie. Pets Best provides coverage for dogs and cats. Dr. Stephens leads the Pets Best team with his passion for quality pet care and his expert veterinary knowledge. He is always available to answer questions regarding veterinary medicine, pet health and pet insurance. The Pets Best team is a group of pet lovers who strive to deliver quality customer service and value. Visit http://www.petsbest.com for more information.

Pet insurance coverage offered and administered by Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, a Delaware insurance company. Independence American Insurance Company is a member of The IHC Group, an organization of insurance carriers and marketing and administrative affiliates that has been providing life, health, disability, medical stop-loss and specialty insurance solutions to groups and individuals for over 30 years. For information on The IHC Group, visit: http://www.ihcgroup.com. Additional insurance services administered by Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC are underwritten by Prime Insurance Company. Each insurer has sole financial responsibility for its own products.

Pets Best is a proud member of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA).

About Dogs on Deployment

Military members nationwide confront a multitude of problems during their careers, and the last thing they need to worry about is their pet’s care during their service commitments. Dogs On Deployment is a 501(c)(3) national nonprofit that provides an online network for service members to search for volunteers who are willing to board their pets during their owner’s service commitments. Dogs on Deployment promotes responsible, life-long pet ownership for military pet owners by advocating for military pet owner rights, providing educational resources and granting financial assistance for military pet owners during times of emergency. Founded by military members, for military members, Dogs on Deployment aims to provide peace of mind for service members regarding their pet’s care.


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{moving on}

i've been debating for awhile switching over to wordpress.
i thought about transferring all of my content and everything but
when it came down to it, i just wasn't in it. 
turns out,
this blog has been such an awesome place for me and i have documented life and
dream but i'm really just in a new season now and it didn't
make sense to transfer all of to love.

it made more sense to put it to rest.
to close the door on this chapter and start the next one.
so that is what i have done.
this is my last post here.
i will leave the blog here as my own journal and so
you can revisit any posts you want to.
but i have moved on.
if you would like to follow me to my new home,
walk with me on the next phase of my journey,
join me at feathers and hope.

thanks for the past three years here friends.
i hope you stick with me for the next three.



{morning glimpses}


I'm listening to Indie Holiday radio on Pandora,
wearing some stretchy pants with an oversized long sleeve shirt and
brown crocheted shawl and my hair
is adorned with mini braids.

So far my morning has consisted of coffee,
cheddar jalapeno bagels,
reading books to beautiful young children,
tickling and laughing with a handsome three year old,
an emotional talk about The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
after Layla finished the book and watched the movie on Netflix.
I'm just about to settle in to my cozy rocker with
a second cup of coffee,
a well loved book,
{time for a fiction break after the deep reading I've been up to lately}
and a peace that is overwhelming.

The kids are occupied with books, legos, movie making
and homemade play dough. 

The day is starting off beautifully.
Hope yours is too.



{now and then}

I am in the middle of a writing project and part of this writing has taken me down the road of my memories, spending hours swimming through the various parts of who I once was.  I have kind of been comparing and contrasting myself the first 15 years of my life with the me the second 15 years, revisiting favorites and realizing that all things come full circle.  I thought it might be fun to share a bit of my favorites from the thens and nows with you.  One of the most important things to remember is that when I was 15 I had not yet been introduced to Christ, in fact I had no faith whatsoever.  So...


15. favorites were The Cranberries, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Social Distortion, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Frank Sinatra.

31. favorites are Alela Diane, Mariee Sioux, The Swell Season, Keith Green, The Decemberists, The Civil Wars, Mumford and Sons, Johnny Cash


15. favorites were anything by John Irving, John Saul, Shakespeare.  Girl, Interrupted. The Bell Jar. The Catcher in the Rye. 

31. favorites are David Copperfield, anything by Wendell Berry, anything by Madeline l'Engle, anything by Gene Stratton Porter, One Thousand Gifts and new favorite Thrashing About With God.


15. favorites were Swingers, The Lost Boys, Reality Bites, Empire Records, Fried Green Tomatoes

31. favorites are Once, Noelle, Fried Green Tomatoes {I still adore it}, Pride and Prejudice, Defiance


15. favorites were Jerry Springer {don't judge}, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 90210 reruns {I hated the college years so I watched the high school reruns}

31. favorites are Psych, Gilmore Girls {I will never stop loving this show}, Merlin


15. wanted a boyfriend for more than a week, wanted someone to understand me, pondered life for hours on end, not sure what to believe or think.  Stood with a group of Christian kids in my history class when the teacher asked us to divide into two groups; one that believed a God created the earth and one that believed there was no help from God.  When everyone, who knew I was the furthest thing from a Christian, looked surprised I answered, "I don't care if a God created the world by whatever you guys believe, I just think that for all this to happen, there had to be a God.  Even if He created us through evolution.  It doesn't matter.  I just know this whole world, this universe, couldn't happen without Him."  It would be two years until I became a Christian and understood what creation was, but looking back I am in awe that I had that idea in me.

31. I believe in Christ, that God is love, that love is the only way.  I believe He created us to walk in love and peace, to follow His path and draw near to Him.  I want some land to raise my family, like-minded friends to walk alongside, peace, beauty and slow, intentional days.




I just find the passing of time, the growing of self, so fascinating and so beautiful.  I really believe we are who God made us and those crazy kids we once were need to be welcomed in to who we now are.  Who were you?  Who are you now?  I would love for you to share with me, maybe do your own post and let me know. 


{as a side note, when I was 15 I signed my letters like this:
peace, love and harmony,


{talking about myself}

I am going to introduce myself.
see, I have lost a lot of readers lately due to some unpopular posts,
so I'm just going to do this little re-introduction to say,
this is who I am and if you would like to read my blog and
be my friend you can and
if you don't want to then blessings and so long!
though, I really hope you will stay even if you don't agree with me because
I like those I don't agree with. 
so, here's the quick version...

I love Jesus.
We started hanging out when I was 17.
Before that I had no clue who He was.
I went to Jesus punk rock shows.
I got tattoos.
I married my stalker when I just turned 19 and
had only known him for 4 months.
He had a 6 year old kid.
We started having babies, lots and lots of babies.
My husband became a pastor.
We started church planting.
We quit church planting.
We quit church.
We still love Jesus.
 More than ever.
We have always homeschooled.
Now we unschool.
I write because I suck at talking.
I write because my soul pours out in words.
They pour out in a mixture of poetry and prose and
I can't figure out what I write but it's just what I write.
I don't think I'm all that special.
There is no good reason why you should read my blog.
I think children are equal with adults.
I think they should be treated with the same respect adults are treated with.
I think punishment is counterproductive and wrong.
I strive for peace and gentleness.
I often fall short.
I read because it's a lifeline for me,
needed encouragement, support and thought provoking words.
I ask questions, I challenge things, I don't accept things just because it's the normal thing,
that includes the traditions and beliefs of the American Christian church.
I ponder things, I think what if?, I don't make doctrine out of what should be mystery.
I think we have boxed God in,
we have taken one part of Him and made that our only focus and
He is looking at us saying, "Hey!  You have my big toe, you are studying my big toe,
you think you know every crack, every wrinkle, every hair but you only know like
one tiny part of my toe nail and you think that toe is all there is of me!  There is so much more!
So much more.  I have an entire body and you haven't even begun to look."
My husband cusses like a sailor and I'm okay with it and
I don't think God cares one little bit.
I stopped praying, "Dear God, blah,blah... Amen," for a time and
just started chatting with Him in my words, my tone, my way
throughout my day, whenever I had something to say to Him and
suddenly I knew He heard me.
I think pay it forward Christianity is garbage.
I think the idea of the "now and the not yet" in theology is bogus.
I really like Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
I love Psych.
I agree that ignorance is bliss and damn it,
I wish I were still ignorant.
I lost a best friend when I stopped attending church.
That sucks.
I have stopped trying to please everyone and so I am finally happy with who I am,
who God created me to be.
I am really strange and think lots of things that people don't agree with and
I'm tired of keeping my mouth shut.  I think sometimes you just have to speak {or write}
and let it be whatever it is.
God has set me on this path and planned this amazing journey for me.
I have a beautiful life.


{why I stopped reading your blog}

If you are my friend or a blog reader, I read your blog.  I may not comment all that often but
I do read.  I enjoy my friend's words, photos and the encouragement and/or thought provoking material
that they offer.  I also read a few blogs of people I adore for various reasons, though they don't read mine or know me. 

there are a few blogs,
popular blogs,
that I have stopped reading.

I am not naming names but I am going to tell you why I no longer read your {their} blogs.

You make me feel like crap.

Seriously.  I'm a mama of 7 that homeschools.  My husband works a full time manual labor job and God always provides for us but so often we are just scraping by.  We rent our house in a neighborhood with a hoarder across the street who walks around outside in his underwear all day long.  I dream of living in the woods or having a farm, being able to allow my children the freedom to roam around our property, but that's just not going to happen in any foreseeable future. But you have that.  Your photos sing of the beauty I wish I could give to my children. 

You always have the answer, are always able to bring peace and I am desperate to do so and yet I fail way too often.  I read books and blogs for encouragement but I am no longer able to find that on yours.  The only message I hear on your blog is you are not enough.

I can't travel, can't offer much to others, it takes all of my energy and resources just to pour out peace, grace, love and gentleness to my own children and husband.  And I believe, for this time in my life, that is enough. But when I read your blog I walk away feeling like it isn't.  And I don't want to feel like that anymore.

So I no longer read your words or look at your photos.  I know that you encourage many people and I am very glad that they find a kindred soul, a source of peace, in you.  But I don't.  I have my own life to live, my family to care for and my God to draw near to.  I wish the best for you.


edited to add: My issues, being made to feel like crap, are not your fault.  I am under no illusion.  It's me, comparing myself, feeling like I don't add up.  That's my issue, not yours.  I don't read your blog anymore but that's not your fault.  It's the fault of my insecurities. 


{our days}



i wish it were snowing here.
it appears to be snowing everywhere else,
but not here.
never here.

i'm making this cheeseburger soup for dinner tonight and it smells amazing.
out of the 8 of us, i predict that 4 will eat it, 1 will try it and decide not to eat it and
the other three will immediately ask for something else.
that's kind of life in our house.  and it's good.

we watched national treasure today, a family favorite and
now the majority of my kids want to be treasure hunters, they are
searching the outside of my house for clues.

layla wrote up her plan for learning which she entitled,
"basic outline of learning for me for however stinkin' long i want."
it was pretty amazing.  she is completely self-motivated and loves learning
and growing.  she has decided to learn about ww2 and the holocaust and we
have been having some heart wrenching discussions. i asked her if she was
ready to learn about so much evil and pain, and she replied,
"it's a part of this world mama, i have to understand it in order to stand against it."
her wisdom and maturity take my breath away daily.

anyway, just a little peek into my right now.
back to the soup!



{driving away, journeying on}

My last weekend at church I cried,
much different from when I cried the first time I stepped foot through doors I
considered too holy for my dirt caked soul.
That first time was an awakening, a cleansing,
balm for aching child that I was and
He met me there and opened arms and
whispered words of peace and love.
He set my path, my journey
before me, teaching me how to walk and
never, not once, has He left my side.

And then, after years of following suit,
of going through the motions,
and despite my arguing, He told me it was okay to stop.
Despite my desperation and fear,
my lack of knowing where to go and how to move forward,
He told me to relax, be at peace and
trust Him.  He held my hand, whispered words of comfort and
I balked, did I have to be the one?  Did my journey have to
take this route?  Why couldn't I just keep walking alongside
everyone else?  My typical heart's cry,
why am I so different?  I'd been the one to spout gossip,
to "pray" for those who no longer went to church,
to wonder how they could call themselves a Christian when
they were so far away that they no longer engaged in
our self-righteous idea of "fellowship."
I had been the one.
And I could hear God's humor in it all,
chuckling as He gave us the green light,
told us the time for our exodus was upon us,
giving us yet another reason to be talked about and shunned.

That day we went to ready our hearts,
knowing it would be the last time,
at least for a very long while.  We stood in worship and laughed at
appropriate {and inappropriate times} during the sermon,
we made small talk during breaks and after church,
declined an invitation to the pastor's house for lunch.
As we drove away, crashing brown ocean at our backs,
I cried.  Tears flowed,
not for sadness but for freedom, not for loss
but for gain.  Time to journey on,
to see what God had in store for us,
to meet Him in our daily moments, to feel His breath and
hear His voice. 

We drove away,
welcoming His Spirit.
"Time to stop quenching Him," I whispered through tears,
"All that time we spent trying to know Him, churches
teaching us not to quench the Spirit.  But what is more
quenching, more stifling, than a box?  And what is more of a box
than an institution?"

We drove away
towards freedom,
embracing the journey He was leading us on.
It's a remarkably beautiful road and
we are still driving.

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