Tuesday, November 28, 2006

tornado shelter

This is a tornado shelter. This may be the only way you could survive an F5 tornado.
Back in May of '99, an F5 tornado came through the Oklahoma City area destroying everything in its path and killing many people. We're talking winds of 318 mph, the fastest wind speeds ever recorded on earth. I even read that had it measured 1 mph stronger it would have been an F6 and there has never been an F6. We were in Oklahoma City a couple months after the devestation and we could not believe what we saw. You could visibly see the mile wide path of destruction that went on for miles and miles and all that remained was dirt and concrete slabs where homes once stood.
Since then we have been seeing more of these concrete tornado shelters each time we visit ... usually built in the front yard so that many can seek shelter in an emergency. They can hold upwards of 15 people and pets, depending on the size built. Here's the thing, very few homes have basements in Oklahoma. How crazy is that! When I think back on those scary nights when our family had to wait out a tornado in our basement (in Wisconsin), I felt so safe and secure... and to think there are those whose only option is to crawl into a bathtub or a closet and cover themselves with a mattress.
I am very thankful my sister has a neighbor that has invested in one of these state-of-the-art shelters and have made it available to her and others on their street. Of course I'm praying they never have to use it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

our Thanksgiving trip

We made it! The trip to Oklahoma went better than we could ever have dreamed! Let me just say, that we Thompson's are the best travelers ever! We had a blast telling stories, singing, laughing, answering Christmas questions from this fun book that Nicole brought called "The Conversation Piece Collection", watching DVD's and listening to Christmas music. (Imagine watching "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" at 80 mph!) I brought along a knitted scarf kit & my Cathedral quilt to work on, books, magazines, my camera manual, and did not do one of them! I did read a good book on the way home, "More Than I Could Ever Ask" by Lori Graham Bakker. I just love her!

We hit the road by 5 am Wed. morning and 17 hours later we arrived at my sisters home. The next two days were packed with a yummy Thanksgiving spread, Miranda's birthday party, Kathy & I to the park with her grandkids while the others shopped and took in a movie, walks in the woods, snapping tons of pics, finding out Aaron & Brandi are pregnant with baby # 3, singing Christmas Carols while walking through the Festival of Lights in Chickasha, sipping hot chocolate, making turkey noodle soup for the gang, taking more pics of the gorgeous fall colors, raking leaves, holding baby Mya, Randy sore from playing "dragon" with Kennady, Alex & Parker and breakfast at Kristen & Joe's Sat. morning before heading out.
What wonderful memories! What precious loved ones! We are so blessed!

Be sure to click the pics to enlarge!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Miranda's Thanksgiving Birthday

22 years ago your Daddy cried out "It's a girl!!!" You were here! We had our baby girl! Your brother Shawn had a sister! We named you Miranda, meaning "admirable & extraordinary". (the title of Miranda's blog) And you would bring us 22 years of love & laughter, pride & joy and song & dance. You were all girl... imaginative, creative, expressive... just extraordinary! You loved to play dress-up and pretend to be Briar Rose, Snow White, Ariel, and Cinderella.

Before you were even 2 years old you could belt out "Tomorrow" from Annie and "Supercalifragilistic" from Mary Poppins. We were thrilled when you went on to do musical theater in Jr High and High School. You shine on the stage and you shine in life. You are wise beyond your years. Your Dad and I love who you are... a beautiful young woman who loves Jesus, a loyal trusted friend, a precious loving daughter.

Miranda & Disneyland. Magical & Captivating. Need I say more. She's been every Disney princess for Halloween. She knows every Disney song. She is still as excited to have her picture taken with a Princess as when she had her first pic at 2 years old.

Here she is with her brothers and sister-in-law at the Hat Shop in Disneyland. Oh and btw, when Miranda is not watching movies or Grey's Anatomy & Lost or hanging with friends, she is an instructor at the Arizona School of Message Therapy. We couldn't be more proud.

Shawn & Nicole had a "silver & gold" party and Miranda won for best girl costume. See, she still loves playing dress-up!

the meal

How cool that we have a holiday that centers around a meal. We gather our friends and family around a table, give thanks and share in a meal. I love that! A day set aside to come together in thanks for our many blessings. And those less fortunate can share in a meal that has been donated and prepared for them and thousands alike who are lost, alone and hungry. They will be in our thoughts and prayers along with those that are spending the day serving them.

My family is traveling to Oklahoma City on Wednesday to have Thanksgiving with my sister Kathy and her family. The six of us will be in a mini van for 16 hours so please pray for our safety as we travel. We will have two days with them before we head back to Arizona. I can hardly wait to see my niece and nephew and their spouses and precious children. Little ones just make the Holiday Season even more memorable. Thank God for digital cameras and pictures galore!

I am so grateful for the memories of my past, the present opportunities that I have to make more and a future full of hope. Life is about choices... choosing to accept what was and what really matters and what will make a difference in my life. As I have said before, I love a good story. I love knowing that the stories of my life have taught me so much and will continue to teach me about who I am and who I am free to become. I wish I wasn't always so resistant to the process... but I am slowly letting go and letting God take control... so I am free to give my life away... knowing He provides everything I could ever want or need.
THANKS God for GIVING me Your peace and joy today.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

fab finds

How cute is this birdhouse! Love the galvanize roof tops and three drawers for storage... only $3.00! And it's big! I have always had this thing for threes. I have plans to do a scrapbook called, "We Three...". (three kids, three brothers, I'm the third daughter... you get the picture)

I have been looking for the perfect storage for my tiny scrap embellishments. Old and new spice racks are the rage for such storage. Well, I finally found mine... perfect size, takes up very little table space and it rotates. AND for only 50 cents! But let me tell you, it was gross... covered in gobs of grease and grim but well worth the hours of soaking and scrubbing. I have plans to decorate the white lids and give it some character and charm.

Friday, November 17, 2006

a bit of this and that

A while back I blogged about things I want to do before it's too late.
Well, these are some random things I am thankful I have done so far...

acting in a theater group
to Alaska with Randy
painting furniture
hiking down the Grand Canyon
starting a blog
discovering Arbonne
saying yes to Koda & Wiley
scrapbooking my life
marriage ministry with Randy
letting the dentist put in three crowns
simplifying my life

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

homemade vs. store bought

I love anything homemade.
Well... NOW I do. But that was not always the case growing up on a farm where everything was homemade. I remember it being such a big deal when something was "boughten". That is what us kids called anything that was store bought.

We would get sooo excited when Mom had to buy 'boughten' bread! Which was rare seeings my Mom made homemade bread every week! How is it that we'd prefer presliced store bought bread over homemade bread! Go figure...

So I thought I'd list some more...
milk... after the milk was brought in from the barn and in the frig for a day or so, my Mom would skim off the top for cream. So the milk always tasted... well, like 'skimmed' milk. So I loved going over to my friend Nanette's house (she lived in town) and having whole milk from bottles... so rich and creamy... so decadent... it couldn't have come from a cow!
Back in the 60's the NFO went on a 10 day strike and alot of the farmers dumped milk in protest. We didn't, but found ways to use all the milk that didn't get hauled away each day. I remember pouring thick cream in my cereal every morning. I am told my Grandma Larson spent days helping my Mom make butter and cottage cheese in our ringer washing machine!!

fruits & veggies... I am sure the reason I prefered the store bought cans had something to do with the HOURS I spent snipping, cutting, snapping, peeling, chopping and husking in preparation for "canning" our bountiful garden produce. I remember wishing the rows and rows (that we spent hours weeding) of carrots, beans, peas, corn, tomatoes and cucs would just shrivel up and die! But they never did.
I would get 5 cents a QUART (not a pint) picking strawberries, often times picking 30+ quarts a day! I would never think to eat even one while picking... because I wanted to pick as many quarts as possible... times 5 cents... that was big bucks back then!

cooking... when I think back on the meals my Mom made us... oh my gosh! We're talking a BIG noon dinner and a BIG 5 o'clock supper EVERY single day! We'd have the usual meat & potatoes & vegetable meal followed by a dessert. Believe me when I say that we never, EVER had a meal without a homemade dessert! It was either a pie, a crisp or a cobbler... or some homemade pudding, like my Mom's yummy bread pudding with warm butter sauce poured over it! But what did we love... going out to eat, which was a couple times a year after each crop of hay... and occasionally to McDonalds or the local A&W Rootbeer stand. Sure never held a candle to Mom's cooking!

clothes... my sisters and I sewed a lot of our own clothes and looking back... I guess you could say they were one-of-a-kind "designer" garments. Heck, we never had to worry about another girl wearing the same Homecoming dress or Prom gown. But the ultimate... ordering clothes from the Sears and Wards catalog! To this day, I love catalogs!

So, I guess I've changed my tune! Cuz looking back, I am now so grateful for all that went into a meal, a garment, a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread. That way of living is slowly becoming a lost art... and how sad is that.
So let's be sure to pass on the art of canning, sewing, kneading, gardening, milking and baking to future generations. I for one, long to get back to what brought me so much inner peace and joy while growing up... creating & designing through the art of sewing & knitting & crocheting. Notice I left off canning.

Just got off the phone with my Mom... and I was mistaken, she made homemade bread TWICE a week! Our family went through 8 loaves of bread every week! And she always made homemade donuts and at least 2 pies every week, along with dozens of cookies, cakes and bars... all from scratch! I'm exhausted just thinking about it... however did you do it all Mom!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

heidi swapp

My friend Nancy and I went to the Lucky #15 scrapbook store in Phx tonight to see Heidi Swapp demo her line of products. SHE was so inspiring! We also got to watch her do a layout using photos from the winner of a drawing. It was fascinating to see her creat and design, using her own line of embellishments, sand paper, ribbons and masks and ghost frames... just the coolest stuff ever!
I am such a groupie! I have been reading Heidi's blog for several months... so you can imagine my delight in actually getting to talk to her! She's so talented and funny and real and cute as a bug!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

the goddess of garage sales

Today I found this ceramic pot at a... you guessed it! a garage sale! (for $1.00!)
So now it's official! I'm her!

My sister Ginny loves to buy old sheet music at garage sales, estate sales and thrift stores. I was thrilled when she found the sheet music for the song "Linda"! I love it, love it! Thanks Ginny!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

hobby lobby

It's here! Hobby Lobby is here!

I am soooo excited because my sister Kathy has been taking me to the Hobby Lobby in Oklahoma City for the past thirty years! And now I have my very own in Arizona!

Thirty years ago I flew to Oklahoma City to see my sister Kathy and my new baby nephew Aaron who was two months old. I was an aunt for the first time... and I was flying for the first time. And I was one excited gal!
Hobby Lobby had only been open a couple years at that time... a little bitty craft store that has since grown to Hobby Lobby stores in 29 states. It's a wonderful Christian company where they have weekly bible studies AND get this, they have never been open on Sundays!
Oklahoma City has also been a big hit for us because they had Walmarts and Sonics many, many years before we got them in Arizona! In fact the very first Sonic was only a few miles from my sister's home.
So on our way home from Hobby Lobby yesterday Miranda commented that we really have no reason to visit Kathy and her kids anymore now that we finally have a Hobby Lobby! But of course, we could go to actually visit... just teasing...
In fact I called Kathy last week and told her that we don't need to take our usual trip to Hobby Lobby when we come for Thanksgiving.... we have our own! And I'm thinking I may get a few extra visits from my sister Ginny in Wisconsin now that I have a Hobby Lobby!
So needless to say, Miranda and I were down-right giddy wandering through the isles of Hobby Lobby. It's huge! A crafter's delight! I could have spent HOURS... and yes, GOBS OF MONEY... but there is always tomorrow... and the next day...
Oh and always be sure to upload your 40% off coupon before you go. AND they have a rotation where everything is eventually, at some time during the month 50% off! I'm serious! Check online each week!

Welcome Hobby Lobby! We'll be seeing alot of each other now!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

my southwest garden

I love old minnow pails and watering cans... actually anything galvanized. I found the stand they are all dispayed on at my favorite little thrift store for only $2.50!

Many years ago while traveling in WI from Eau Claire to Appleton, we came upon a yard sale inside an old barn. Randy was not too keen on stopping, didn't want the kids to wake up and we had no room for more 'junk'. I would be quick! Well, I immediately saw the old Radio Flyer kids wheel barrel in the corner... the old guy wanted two bucks. I showed Randy... no way... why?... too big... we could take it apart... just hurry... yeah, it fit... I was happy!
Several months later I saw the exact same wheel barrel in an antique store for $96.00! Yeah, now Randy was happy!

Monday, November 06, 2006

artful souls tour

The 1st Annual Artful Souls Tour on Saturday was soooo FUN! We started the day with coffee, juice and muffins and then we were off to Lucky # 15 in Phoenix to begin our tour of scrapbooking stores throughout the Valley.

We had lunch outside on the patio at the Wildflower Bread Company in Gilbert. I had their wonderful Autumn Pumpkin soup and yummy crusty bread. The best soup EVER! I can't wait to go back for more! Who's with me?!

Miranda being too cute at the Mystic Paper store in Mesa!

I bought a couple ampersands! YEH!

I will leave you with this quote:
"I've spent most of my money scrapbooking and eating out, the rest I've pretty much wasted."
That about says it all...

Thursday, November 02, 2006


A month ago I had never heard the word.
I first saw the word in print... and then I was the first to ever utter the word. I am serious, I had never heard that word out loud! EVER!
So anyway... ever since... I have had this thing for ampersands.
I have always liked using ampersands... I just didn't know that they were called an ampersand. Did you?
So once I made this discovery... I googled the word... and learned alot about ampersands. Most people abuse the sign. I for one, will continue to do so.
So if you know me at all, you know what I'm about to say, don't you... I want an ampersand. I want one to display in my scrapbook room. But not just any old ampersand... a real cool one. And if I happen to find a couple unique ones that suit my fancy... I'm thinking collection!
Here's where you come in. I am looking to the blog community to direct me to some awesome ampersands. I went on Ebay... saw nothing that rocked my world.
Help me... so that I can move on from this ampersand obsession & onto another &...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Our 17 year old son Tyler got some awesome news Monday...
but first I want to give you a sense of who he is so you will know just how surprised we continue to be at hearing such news...

Tyler is our 3rd born, our brown-eyed baby, our little guy that played and pretended years after his friends moved on to pretending they were grown up.
In fact, Tyler pretended he was James Bond the entire summer leading up to first grade... which means he wore a three-piece bonded-knit suit & tie in 100+ temps all summer long! So, on the first day of school when he insisted on wearing that suit (& tie) to school, I tried to talk him out of it... thinking he'd be teased. But Tyler has always been his own unique self. So, when he got off the bus hours later... I asked how the kids liked his 'Bond' suit... he just shrugged his shoulders and said some laughed, but he was ok with that. So he wore the suit again for 'picture day' a couple weeks later.

Then he went through the 'sniper' years... dressing in all black 'sniper' clothes from head to toe and and climbing on our roof with his toy guns and 'spying'. Our neighbors would often call asking us if we knew we had a 'sniper' on our roof. Nothing surprised us with Tyler. Or so we thought...

Over the years I would ask Tyler if he wanted to learn to play guitar like his Dad and brother Shawn, but he'd calmly decline, telling me he was going to be a singer. Well, I knew he could sing, but he was the quiet one in our family. I couldn't imagine him confident enough to sing in front of lots of people.
Well, last year he got in the top choir at his high school... and we watched the tranformation begin.
This year, his senior year, he has exploded into this confident young man who is coming into his own... singing solos, learning piano, acting, dancing, drawing, painting, designing the choir t-shirts, the list goes on... and it's only Oct.!
We are soooo proud of all his accomplishments!

So get this... on Saturday he auditions for All-State Jazz Choir... and found out on Monday that he got 2nd-chair Tenor!!! He is the first from his high school to ever make All-State Choir! His choir teacher is... well, jazzed to say the least!!!
And so are we! Our little Tyler is becoming all that the Lord has designed him to be! First of all, TALL! He's 6' 4"!
He's tender hearted and humble and honest... and a sensitive young man with deep convictions. He gave me permission to share this with you. While everyone else was ordering class rings, Tyler wanted a 'purity ring' instead. And what do you suppose my first thought was.... what if he gets teased. (remind you of another story?) But not our Tyler, he's just so REAL! I am amazed when he tells me what he says to teachers and fellow-students when they ask him about the ring... he tells them that he is not having sex before marriage. And you know what, if some laugh, he is ok with that. That's just Tyler living out his faith.

Sorry if this is long and kinda all about digging Tyler. But we are just so grateful and truly unable to take much of the credit... other than providing an atmosphere where he could be real, and loved and accepted for who he is! And in all honesty, it was not anything WE did, but rather Christ in Tyler that is making the difference. You gotta love that! And we DO!