Thursday, August 14, 2014

Eleven Things

It's Wednesday and the house is quiet.

If I didn't already know where my kids were (three older middles playing basketball at a friend's house, three middle littles at a dance party hosted by the kids Kenzie is nannying for, two littlest napping) .... I would think the rapture happened. Without me.

This literally never happens.

A quiet house in the afternoon.

Okay, maybe once in a blue moon it happens.

And when it does, you can BET I will take full advantage of the peace and quiet by tackling all my laundry, ironing all the clothes ahead of time for church tonight, and assembling the song list as well,  making dinner early so we aren't late for prayer. . .

Uh huh.

In a heart beat.

I'm all over it.


I have neglected this little space for a week, and I am feeling the void.

Therefore, I am blogging.

I don't just write to keep family and friends up to date with life at The Rice Ranch... I write for me too.

Writing has always been my outlet in life. Whether in the green leather-bound lock-and-key diary of my childhood, or the dozens of cloth-bound journals over the past thirty years... or this beloved corner of the internet where I pour my heart out onto a keyboard .... writing is my therapy.

If I'm in the darkest dungeon of despair I've ever been to, or walking on clouds nine, ten, and eleven - or anywhere in between - I have to write about it. If I'm not writing about it, it's bottled up inside of me, and most of the time that's not a good place for everything to be. Like a fridge full of decaying left-overs, stocked to the brim with old condiment jars and rotting vegetables just waiting for an overdue purge - so is my brain when I'm not writing.

I use words to process the jumbled up mess that is my mind, and it might not all make sense until it spills out into a notebook or blogpost, but once it's there, I can sort it all through.

I don't want to sound sacrilegious here, but writing is almost - almost - like prayer to me. I'm not confusing the two, because I know there are those who would describe prayer as anything you want it to be, and I don't believe that to be true.

Standing in a flower field and throwing your hands up to the sky, while smiling at the universe - thats's not prayer. A fun thing to do, and maybe energizing and soul-inspiring .... but it's not really prayer.

But it can be like prayer, in that you find that place of connection to God, where you put aside every little encumbering thing, and you focus on what really matters, and you maybe get a glimpse of what life is truly about... and that's what I mean when I say writing is almost like prayer for me. My soul is stirred when I write. My vision is improved, my mind is cleared, and I almost always walk away with a new focus.

I write so I can breathe.

So yes- I'm taking full advantage of this quiet little window of time, to write .... to breathe :)

But today isn't a day for sorting things through for me. I feel like I've been doing that a lot here, lately.

Today, I want to put my perspectacles on, if you will (borrowing that term from a blogpost I read this week) and focus on what is currently bringing me joy.

Because we have an abundance of it, here at The Rice Ranch.

Enough to share...

#1  ~  Seven of our kids went to the dentist yesterday - and I am happy to report that they had ZERO cavities. Praise the Lord.

#2  ~  Kenzie and Monique went yard sailing (or is it saleing ??) last weekend and found this Little Tikes cabin for $20. I wish I had taken a video of the kids' reaction when Caleb set it up in the backyard, but I can tell you this - it was priceless.

And if you had seen the look on Hayden's face when he saw the mailbox and accompanying wooden "letters" that came with it (another yard sale score) ?

Joy squared.

(thank you, Monique, for always thinking of our kids ;))

Also raising my joy quotient this past week....

#3  ~   I mean who doesn't love a little impromptu TP party ? Shoes and shirt not required, bring your own rolls. Spread liberally throughout the house, and be sure to giggle uncontrollably when your mother asks what you think you're doing.

Guaranteed fun.

Next up ...

#4 ~  Summer storms.

We've had three days of very unseasonable thunder storms. This may be the norm for Arizona in late summer ( I do miss the Monsoons !) but almost unheard of in our neck of the woods. I forgot how much I looooove thunder storms. And love counting the seconds in between lightning flashes and the inevitable BOOM that follows. If our scientific calculations were correct (is it five miles per second in between lightning and booms, or twenty ???) we were just a mile or two away from getting sizzled in the parking lot at church Sunday night. YOLO.

And don't ask me what those peace signs flashed on my kids' cheeks are all about. #clearlyiamgettingold

More things bringing me joy :

#5 and #6

Cooking. And baking. They're right up there with writing as far as therapy for my soul. Pictured above is Jamie's Famous Shrimp Creole. I'll post the Famous Recipe if I get enough requests ;)

And below are Patti's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies.

At least they are famous here at The Rice Ranch.

Crispy on the bottom, chewy in the middle, with just a hint of cinnamon. Nom nom.

We interrupt this message to bring you a little survey : how do you like your chocolate chip cookies ?? Soft, crunchy, crispy, flat, fluffy, semi-sweet or milk chocolate, walnuts or not ??? All commenters will be sent a virtual cookie to their inbox. Okay, not really, but still. Leave a comment if you love cookies.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program ....


This girl.

She cannot wait two bless-ed seconds after opening her eyes each morning before starting the morning Cheerios Chant. Which goes something like this :


Mama, Cheerios ?

Mama, lalalalala Cheerios ?


She is consistent. And persistent. I'll give her that.

That little death glare above is what I am subjected to every morning if I even TRY to do anything other then set a heaping bowl of plain (no honey nut, no apple cinnamon, ) cheerios before her.

In the princess bowl.

With the princess spoon.

Not that she's a diva or anything.

No sirree.

But at least she's an angel the rest of the day .

Uh huh.

That photo was taken Sunday afternoon. She was supposed to be taking a nap with Mackenzie. I walked in to see Kenz sawing logs (that would be her - the large flower mound beside Lils) and Lily... sporting fresh war paint.

Also known as Covergirl Outlast Lipstain, guaranteed to last 8 hours.

Which it does.

In case you were wondering.

More JOY :

#8 ~ Babies Bathing In The Sink

Normally he gets his morning bath in the tub. Which he did. Until he baptized himself in diarrhea. We switched venues to the sink, and he was pleased as punch with the view from there.

Can I just say - Burts Bees, Baby curls, dimpled elbows - be still my heart.

I can overlook a lot for that triple jolt of JOY.

Even a tub full of poop.

Praise the Lord and pass the lysol.

So guess what ?

My quiet afternoon got hijacked. Surprise, surprise !

Three teenagers came crashing through the front door, Hayden woke up from his nap, and the rest of the kids came home from the dance party, all within five minutes of each other.

So here I am on Thursday morning, feeding Hayden french toast on my lap with one hand, and typing with one finger on the other. And all the multitasking mamas said Amen.

 Where was I ??

Oh yes - counting all my joys.

I may have lumped a few together, but I believe I am on #9. Which would be that photo above.

Aside from a crooked toe (no mocking in the comment section, please, as I am very self-conscious about my crooked second toes. I didn't invent them, God did. So there) ASIDE FROM MY CROOKED TOE, that nice little birdie picture and the matching ceramic birdie and the striped maxi skirt all brought me tremendous joy this past week. Carnal joy, perhaps, but tremendous nevertheless. I don't advise retail therapy on a regular basis, as the newness of things always wears off. But truly, sometimes a one hour trip to TJ Maxx is a healing balm to my soul. I'm sure there is a corresponding scripture for this idea somewhere in the Bible, and when I find it, I'll be sure to let you know.

For now, just trust me : Buying a few little treasures every once in awhile maketh thine heart merry! Patti 2:9

You're welcome.

And here is number ten on my Eleven Things Bringing Me Joy post.

I mean, seriously. I can't even. All that cuteness and personality wrapped up in one kid ??? Is that even legal ??? He just makes me smile. Like a hundred times a day. I wuv him.

And finally .....

.... waking up to not one but TWO babies born in my forties. It's like Christmas every morning.

I said this on Instagram when I posted this picture, but knowing that SO MANY of you are not on Instagram, I will repeat myself here...

Babies born late in life are like a surprise crop of strawberries at the end of the summer... a little bit sweeter and a little easier to spoil :)
1 Patti 3:17 in case you wondered

And there you have it.

Eleven things bringing me joy.

It's your turn now in the comment section... what is bringing you joy - big or little - this week ?

Ready, set...... GO !!



Kristina said...

I had an eye exam yesterday and my eyes are fine--I don't need to have surgery! Always good. :)

crystalkupper said...

Today is my 10th wedding anniversary, and I got to recreate my grandparents' wedding photos from 70 years ago in England!

Kathy McElhaney said...

S'mores cookies - soft and chewy!
Getting ready to travel to Oahu - my husband's company is based there and we have enough frequent flyers miles that I can fly free :)
New CD by Mark Yandris "A Sound for God's House" (You can get it on iTunes) SO many good songs, but my favorite is "Thankful for the Blood." Which is really why I have JOY!

Bethany Eicher said...

I so totally get your feelings about writing...that's me all.the.way. And I love this post! I've been finding it easy to wallow in the sad and the hard lately, and have been trying to intentionally "count the gifts" makes such a difference!!

Mary said...

Checking in with your family through your blog brought me smiles and happiness! Have a great weekend!

Kerin M. said...

Soft and chewy cookies totally do it for me! Also I love shrimp and would be psyched for that recipe!

Liz/ said...

I really just super LOVE reading you blog and your witty writing and seeing and hearing about your sweet family! That is one thing that brought me joy right now, reading this fun post!!!

Amy P. said...

Just wondering how many scrolled back up to see your forementioned crooked toe. Ha ha. #guilty

Unknown said...

Friends at church kept saying I made the best chocolate chip cookies and I was confuses because I thought I was just using the recipe that came with the Crisco Butter flavored blocks. Then I realized I made substitutions without really thinking about it. I use cream instead of milk, dark brown sugar instead of light, ALWAYS PECAN chunks instead of walnut pieces...We love them.

Patti said...

I'm going to try that !! Thanks for sharing !

cara said...

Right now I am listening to worship music with my husband in bed, and this is bringing me joy!!!! And it is 8:39 where we are on a Tuesday morning, so this is rare. He is on vacation, and we are visiting family in Missouri. Another thing that is bringing me joy. :) A true blessing!!! And all my cuddles with my babes. The Lord is my joy!!

I love chocolate chip cookies all different ways. Sometimes I like them gooey. Sometimes I love them crunchy and hard. I am strange like that.

SO glad you posted. I love your little loves. Reading your post is also bringing me joy! And seeing these precious pictures always bring me joy! xoxo

Anonymous said...

LOVED this post and that picture at the end....priceless. :)