Friday, October 30, 2009

Sunshine/Fall Festival/The Twilight Zone

Wednesday was the first day in quite some time without rain. Actually, it was a beautiful day. Knowing Thursday and Friday were expected to bring more rain, Buddy and I took advantage of the nice break and rode all over the "saturated" ranch, taking in the Fall beauty and fresh air.

What is this???? The sun is trying to shine????

It was a very peaceful afternoon...until I had to rush around to get ready for our church Fall Festival. The theme was cartoon characters. I was working the Cake Walk with the "Three Stooges", so I decided to be the Mad Scientist from the episode where he was looking for a brain. That is, until Stuart informed Sarah that he needed a costume. So, Stuart became the Mad Scientist and I quickly threw together the "Femme Fatale" the Stooges were always fighting over. However, as you can see, I think I ended up looking like Bonnie without Clyde.
(cue the music)
"You are traveling to a land that is different, bizarre, unexplainable...a place between science and
theory. It is a wondrous land whose boundaries lie between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. You are moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You are about to enter...The Twilight Zone."

As promised, Thursday indeed brought more rain and this is when the journey into"The Twilight Zone" began. This valley we live in is famous for brutal, straight line, west much so, we have trees that have forever leaned/grown eastward from the relentless pounding of the west winds. Strangely, I took this picture less than a week ago.We fight a constant battle of "staking down" all the trees around the house to keep them upright. Some of the trees have been staked for 3 years. This land is also famous for "dry" lightning strikes and has often been called - Tornado Alley. We've witnessed some very strange weather situations up here, and Thursday rated right up there at the top!

The early morning began as a drizzly, rainy old day...mild wind out of the west, where the radar indicated the front to be coming from. Mid-morning from out of nowhere, a furious "east" wind blew up, lasted less than a minute, then stopped dead still - as suddenly as it had begun.

VOILA! We had a straight tree for about 30 minutes!
This incredible battle of the East vs. West winds and rain lasted most of the afternoon. Dark, swirling clouds were moving in from both directions...colliding and mingling, threatening to create severe weather any minute. The torrential downpours would blow from the east, then suddenly switch and blow from the west. My poor trees were so confused! So was I! Words really can't describe what the weather was like - it was just so bizarre. Several times the water in the pool looked like a swirling mass of confusion...unable to determine which way to flow.

There were brief periods of quiet, with no rain, which gave me opportunities throughout the day and evening to waste water out of the overflowing pool and scoop out gallons of leaves. The skimmer baskets were full of leaves, frogs, moles and one giant tarantula! Sarah was here when we discovered that evil creature! He was saturated and we thought perhaps half-drowned, so we put him in a "critter box" I keep on hand, just for these special moments.
This morning he was Mr. Cranky Pants. So,I let him go.
As of today, we are inching our way toward breaking the 1882 rainfall record in a one year period. If my Dad was still alive he would find this fascinating, as he was the ultimate "weather guru." If you wanted to know what to expect of the weather - he would always know. He could out predict even the best of weathermen and meteorologists all across the state. Sarah used to be a "storm chicken" and would always call her Grandad for advice on whether or not to expect severe weather. Truth be told, I think she wishes she could still consult with him. He was known to frequently contradict the weathermen. Weather Forecast: Severe thunderstorms, at times very heavy winds and damaging hail. Sarah calls - "Grandad, will there be bad storms tonight?" Grandad - "'s going to miss us. We might get a little rain and some wind, but nothing severe." He was right 98% of the time. Daddy was quite fascinated by the weather. He was also one of those I'll-stand-outside-and-watch-the-tornado-go-by kind of men. I have to admit, I am my father's daughter. I do the same thing. Yesterday was pretty freaky and I enjoyed every minute of watching the weirdness unfold...wishing Daddy was here to watch it with me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Well, I don't what it has done elsewhere in the country, but here in our part of Arkansas it has rained..and rained..and rained..and rained. I am gathering supplies for an ark. Mine shall be called Sanni's Ark and only the animals and humans of my choosing shall be aboard. There will be no spiders. There will be no grumpy or irritable people allowed. You see, I can pick and choose, because God didn't tell me to build one. This was my rules. I'm still working out all the details, but until then, I enjoyed the 20 minutes of sunshine late this afternoon after the rain. And while I didn't see a rainbow, I did see this...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Old song, but great message. I love this video! It shames me every time I hear the song.

p.s. Don't forget to pause the music at the bottom of the sounds really bad all mixed together. ;-)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Be Still and Know

Before After
(I know.....but spiders terrify me! It was above my back door. It might have dropped on my head when I went outside and caused me to have heart failure. Besides, I didn't do it, Rick did.) Angry Snapping Turtle Dewy Web in the Grass Tadpole Close-up Tadpole Town Hall Meeting Fire Ant Hill Number 7 ,000,000,000
*These pesky monsters are overtaking pastures, fields and yards all over the state. It is a constant battle to keep them out of the yard. The number of ant mounds in the pastures are un-countable. They are next to impossible to get rid of. Why two of these little hellions marched onto Noah's ark is beyond me. If you've never seen fire ants in glad. They are fierce, fast, furious, and they sting like ****! (you may interpret that however you wish)

May I Help You?
Music Director Mantis Purple-Tinged Grass Droplets Brahma's Like Togetherness This Took Real Talent (it's perfectly centered under the fence!) Wow...its been a zoo around here lately. The last few weeks have been some of those times where I've had to MAKE myself BE STILL. Believe me, when I don't make that time, I do not function well. Ask my family. Life just sometimes takes over and everything is going on super-warp speed, then BAM! The wall appears out of nowhere and when I hit it, it is with a force that knocks me down. I'm wondering what the heck is going on and then it occurs to me - I am not spending time "listening" - being still before Him.

Roaming on the ranch with my sweet dog, Buddy, camera in hand, breathing in the beauty and fresh air is only one way that I "listen". Nothing calms my spirit and clears my head like being reminded of how awesome and powerful my Creator is. I never grow bored or tired of seeing all that God has created and granted me the privilege of enjoying.

Just today, Buddy and I were lazily cruising around the ranch in my mule, when I noticed little black squiggly things in the overflowing brook of one of the pastures. Tadpoles! Polliwogs! I've been watching for them all summer! It's been so strange...I have not seen a single tadpole all summer. Usually they are everywhere and I've never seen them this late in the year before. You see, one of my favorite summer projects is to "grow frogs". It is fascinating to watch the transformation from tadpole to frog. (and now you're saying to yourself, "This poor woman obviously has no life.") Quite the opposite my friends. This is my life and I happen to love it! I am blessed to be able to enjoy a new adventure every day! Last year when I grew frogs, they were like my children. I was so proud of them - "Look! Lieutenant Dan has new legs!" He was the first to hop off to explore the new world out there. Forrest and Jen-nay were the last to hop away. It was truly fascinating. Meet the family from last summer...
Lt. Dan's New LegsJen-nay, Forrest, Forrest Jr., Bubba and Lt. Dan
Trust me, if you've never done this, you are missing an amazing nature experience. I've done the whole "ant farm" thing, watched a caterpillar transform into a cannot replace these experiences. Ask my children. They have done these things too, as science experiments in school. I like to think that these small moments of their childhood have left lasting impressions on them to not get so caught up in today's world of electronics and technology. Our world is in technology overload and these beautiful experiences are being missed by our younger generations. I'm all for texting, twittering, video games, Guitar Hero, Wii, etc., but I find myself more and more, observing people who do this obsessively and wondering how they can possibly function or hold down a job. When do they find time for their families? For friends? For work? For God? I know I'm a dinosaur, but young are missing out on the simpler things in life! Your mind is going in so many different directions, trust me, your brain and body are going to rebel at some point. I blog and I Facebook periodically. I even text now and then, but I have promised myself that I will NOT get caught up in twittering. I really don't care if Suzy is going through Starbucks' drive-thru for a French Vanilla Mocha Chocolata Ya Ya... Please hold me accountable. Should I ever get caught twittering - get me some help.

I encourage you to stop, look, and listen to the world around you. Hopefully, you will hear
and then,
God's voice encouraging you to spend more time with Him, realizing that He created the beauty and wonder around you for your pleasure. He loves you like that, you know?

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Well, as you can see, I'm very far behind in blogging. On October 8, Selah and Avalon came to the Bentonville, AR First Baptist Church on their concert tour. It was spectacular! I wish every church worship service could be like this - a spirit-filled, uplifting, unassuming, praise and worship service! The presence of the Holy Spirit was truly upon this place. Even the torrential rains, tornado warnings, and thunderstorms outside couldn't break the spirit of worship and praise inside!

I was raised in a very conservative Southern Baptist church. Now, don't get me wrong...I have a wonderful and strong foundation in my upbringing in this church. I was and continue to be influenced by wonderful godly people in my home church. In fact, I am who I am in my service to the Lord through church music because of the influence of a very talented, committed, godly woman in my church during my elementary through high school years. She encouraged me and taught me about the joy of serving God through my music. I began my service of playing the piano for church in 6th grade and I continue in that role today. Thank you, Dewanda Gray, for instilling in me the desire to serve! I do not claim to be the best at it, but I love it and I know this is what God wants from me.

I love my church. But I have come to the realization that so many churches today don't really know how to "worship". It has become a routine of going through the motions, singing to be singing, playing the "we've always done it this way" game. This is true in all denominations, not just Southern Baptists. So often I have come home from a conference, Music Seminar, concert, or even an out-of-town church service with the thought, "I wish I could transport every member of my church to where I've just been so they can see and experience what worship is all about." Am I being self-righteous? I certainly hope not. I would never assume that I know how to worship while nobody else gets it. I repeat - I AM NOT PUTTING DOWN MY HOME CHURCH! All churches are in some form of "worship war", whether they admit it or not. It has become more an issue of - "I want it this way" or "I don't like it that way." Guess what people? It's not about us! It's about HIM!

Boy, did I digress or what? Sorry. Back to the was so refreshing to be able to *GASP* clap my hands, raise my hands in praise, cry, sing, wiggle and jiggle (floppy flab), sway - whatever I felt led to do - without feeling "watched or judged". I came away from the concert refreshed, revived and renewed! What an awesome night! Below, you will find a few pictures of our trip to NW Arkansas. Sarah, myself, and our friend, Karla drove up and met my brother Craig, his wife Debbie, their older daughter Marissa, Sarah's best friend from high school, Katie and another friend from Bella Vista, Jennifer.

Sarah was also able to meet up with fellow bloggers, Kelly (Kelly's Korner), and Angie (Bring the Rain). Kelly and Angie each spent some special time praying with Sarah...such sweet godly women. Angie entrusted me with Kate for a bit while she met with Sarah. (she might not do that again). Hey, we had a good time! ;-)

Thank you Selah and Avalon, Kelly and Angie! What a memorable evening!

Me, Karla and Sarah Sarah and Katie at Applebee'sCraig and Debbie

Me and Karla (Kate minus Eight)

Kelly, Harper and Sarah
Kelly, Sarah and AngieAngie's Girls Are Safe With MeSee???
Selah and Avalon Finale