Merry Christmas & Happy Birthday

Guns.  Guns are a fact of life in my home.  If you are offended by gun talk, scroll down a bit until I’m done.  However, if you’re not so offended then read on!

Even if I hadn’t been raised by a father who was an avid hunter, fire arms would be a part of my life as the wife of a deputy sheriff.  Cops bring their guns home.  Cops, quite often, carry their guns when they are off-duty.  Guns are cleaned at the kitchen table, and trips to the firing range are made not only for fun, but are a required part of the job.

When we married, my husband worked security at a nuclear power plant.  His duty weapons were an AR 15 rifle and a .38 revolver.  Shortly after we married, he tested for the sheriff’s department in our county and the rest, as they say, is history.  He has his duty weapon, of course, and over the years other guns have come into our home as well.  Both of my daughters own semi-auto handguns, and have for years.  A .40 cal. and a 9 mm respectively.  They were purchased from a trust fund that they were left by my parents.  That would have tickled my dad to no end!  They’re both good shots, too!

I learned to shoot when I was quite young.  My earliest recollection was shooting my all-time-favorite-to-this-day-gun, my dad’s .22 rifle.  I’d gone along to “bird dog” for him one Saturday during pheasant season.  I was probably 8.  He always brought the .22 along, and he let me plink at soda pop cans on a fence post at the end of the day.  I still giggle when I remember the day that my own husband, with that same gun, was going to “teach” me how to shoot.  He drew out a target and took a few practice shots before handing the rifle to me.  Let’s just say that the shots nearest the middle of the target did not belong to my husband.

As a hunter, my dad owned a nice assortment of long guns; however, I didn’t grow up around hand guns and, frankly, the caliber hand guns that my husband and daughters own have always made me uncomfortable.  Not nervous, but I was just never comfortable handling them.  Inexperience, I’m sure, had a lot to do with it; but their hand guns are heavy, and my husband’s all feel way too big for my hand.  Putting a rifle to my shoulder is something that’s familiar and something I’ve done most of my life; but a hand gun is not something that I’ve been familiar with.  A year or so ago I mentioned to my husband that I thought I would prefer a small caliber handgun.  Perhaps a .22.

This year, for Christmas, my husband gave me a very teeny, tiny little gift, along with a note explaning that this would be a combined Christmas and birthday gift.  The gift, you see, was a single .22 round, and the note was an IOU for a trip to the local gun store to pick out a .22 hand gun for me.  Today was my Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday all rolled into one, because my husband took me shopping!

I was able to choose several guns from the display case to check over and see how they fit my hand.  One at a time, of course.  Though my hands are quite small, one grip was still too small for my hand.  Another gun felt unevenly weighted in my hand, and tended to drop as I aimed.  Another had a clumsy clip release that, in my opionion, could cause the user to accidentally release the clip while shooting. But just like Goldilocks, one was just right – the fit, the balance, the mechanism.  Yep, just right.  I passed my written handgun safety test with a score of 100%, and now have only to wait for the ten day background check before bringing my Christmas/birthday present home.  Yee haw!

Okay, gun talk is over.  For today.  No promises about the future.

There’s been quite a bit of talk lately about “keeping it real” when we talk about and share pictures of our homes.  Several of the gals from my church who blog have been discussing this, and I’ve seen it here and there on other blogs as well.  It’s given me some points to ponder, and I thought I might share some of my thoughts with you.  It is human nature, of course, to want to put our best foot forward.  It’s pride, I’m sure, and may or may not be sinful pride.  For example, I’ve shared before the turning point in my own marriage and keeping my home. From that point of view, keeping a neat and tidy home is done as a matter of honor and respect for my husband, so that he may sit, with honor, amongst the elders.  (“Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.” Proverbs 31:23). However, if we are ever motivated to keep our homes in such a way as to glorify ourselves, then that would involve sinful pride.

I think that it is completely unrealistic for any one of us to think that someone else has it all together all the time.  I think it is quite fair to assume that if there are children in the home, there are going to be messes throughout each and every day.  It is also fair to assume that if anyone is preparing food in a home there are going to be times that the kitchen sink has dishes in it, the counters have spills on them, and the stove top needs to be wiped up.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve never mastered the art of preparing and cooking without having at least a few crumbs or drips happen.  If you sew or quilt or work with paper crafts, the fruit of your labors is beautiful to behold, but there will also be some clean up required.

There has also been the implication here and there that women whose homes are clean and tidy must have terribly unhappy children.  Hmmm…….really?  Be careful.  I, personally, do not know any women who do not allow their children the freedom to be children in their own homes.  The women within my own personal acquaintance, as well as those I’ve come to know as on line friends, understand that their children need the freedom to play, to be creative and to learn; and they know that all of those things will create messes.  Lego creations in progress probably drive us all bonkers, but they need to be allowed to have the time to create and that might mean leaving the mess out for a day or two (or maybe longer).  In my own home boys building forts in the house during the cold, rainy months has been a source of great joy for them, and also the source of a huge mess!

That said, we need to guard against the temptation to say that we cannot keep a neat and tidy home BECAUSE….we have kids, we homeschool, we have messy hobbies, we do a lot of scratch cooking…..whatever.  You fill in the blank.  If we live in our homes, they are going to look LIVED IN and that’s a most excellent thing.  But lived in and thrashed are two completely different things.

What I’m trying to get at is this.  We should not place unreal expectations on either ourselves or our friends.  No one should come to your home and expect it to fit some sort of definition of perfect, nor should you imagine (or expect) that any of of your friends’ homes will be so.  It’s okay to take pictures of your home to share that show it at its best, and it’s also fun to share photos of the times that things are a mess.  You know what?  That’s life!  You can’t cook without there being dirty dishes and counters that need a wiping.  You cannot homeschool without books, papers (millions and millions of papers!), pencils, crayons, etc.  Even if all of those wonderful tools have a good and proper home, they are going to be out if they are being used.  If you sew, there are going to be bits and pieces of thread on the floor, and little snippets of fabric littered around the outside of the trash can.  Or is that just me that misses the trash can?

We need to, each of us, find the good and proper balance that exists between actually living in our homes and homeschooling our children and still providing a neat, clean, pleasant home that honors our husbands, and  provides the training ground to teach our children what it takes to maintain their own future homes.  We need to do this without becoming slaves to our homes.  We need to do this in a way that preserves and protects our relationships with our family.  We need to extend one another the grace to have bad days and to actually be caught having them.  If any of you ever come to my home, please do not expect perfection.  If any of you ever expect a visit for me, don’t clean up first!  As my dear mother-in-love ALWAYS said, and she meant it from the heart as do I, I’ll be coming to visit YOU, not your house.

We had a great day today!  A mostly full day of school (interrupted only by my needing to go to town shopping for that you-know-what that I promised not to mention again), our normal Tuesday morning big breakfast, lots of laundry, a bit of housekeeping, and a new recipe for dinner.








The picture doesn’t look like much, but his Cranberry Glazed Meatloaf was very good!  Scroll down to the next post for the recipe.







Dani’s mattress was delivered around 2:00 this afternoon, and she was able to get her new bedding on and put together while we were in town.  I have to say, I think it’s gorgeous!  Don’t take my word for it, take a look for yourself.  Besides, I took this picture in the dark and played with a lot tryinhg to get that cool, glowing effect.  She’ll have fun for a few weeks adding a few accent things here and there, I think.  I like the addition of the black bed to her red and white room.  It’s quite stunning.

My husband spent most of the morning in the vineyard pruning the vines.  We have a nice variety of table grapes, and this last year was the first year that we have really seen a sizeable harvest.  Now that most of the vines are mature, and the method my husband is using to grow them has been established, we are looking forward to many more years of yummy, homegrown grapes.

We are still, in reality, in the depths of winter.  However, we do live in a fairly temperate climate.  In all likelihood, we will not have another hard frost this season.  My weeping willow trees, always the first, are already beginning to leaf back out.  The buds are swelling on the fruit trees, too.  Even the critters are becoming more active.

After I took the picture of my husband trimming the grape vines, this little guy startled me moving in the grass.  I stopped to look at him, and he must have decided that if he was very, very still that I would not see him.  It gave me plenty of time to take several pictures of him until I got one that I was happy with.  Come summer time, all of these cute little lizards are tailless because our cat loves to pester them.  The tails grow back, of course, but it seems funny to always see so many tailless lizards running around.


Of course, all of the nocturnal creatures are also becoming quite active again.  Like the ‘possum and ‘coons that enjoy feasting from our cat’s food dish on the front porch.  Just outside the entry way window.  Which drives the dog out of her mind and has caused irreparable harm to my blinds.  How’s THAT for keeping it real????

I am enjoying the little snippets of spring-like weather, but I’m not quite ready for it to be spring yet either.  I’ve not quite had my fill of keeping cozy in the house, fires in the woodstove, and making soup.  I’m not quite ready to give up our enjoying spending time together during the day inside.  Yep, I’ll be happy if spring delays a bit longer.

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27


Be Sociable, Share!

25 comments to Merry Christmas & Happy Birthday

  • So when are we going shooting????????????

    I LOVED Memom saying that!  She would call around 1 in the afternoon and say “I’m coming to your house in 20 minutes.  Don’t you DARE clean!  I’m not coming to see your house” and she’d scold me if she thought she smelled a cleaning product! :nono: 😆  And now I’m getting all 😥  Good grief! :rolleyes:

  • Hey!  Wait your turn, it has been an unbelievably long time since I have been:wink:

  • I’m with you Cheryl-the cozy season is never quite long enough in my mind! I’m not quite ready for spring either.:sunny:

    What a wonderful post today. We really do need to keep it real on our blog.

    Love Will’s toes:giggle: in the picture and Dani’s bed looks beautiful. What color is her quilt?

  • Well Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to you! Rugers are nice!

    I can’t wait to try your poultry seasoning 🙂

    Dani’s bedding is beautiful!

    I’m in the minority…I can’t wait for Spring. lol!

  • Cheryl,   Thank you so much for your post Reality checks are always good.    Hope you have a blessed day.


  • Hi Cheryl,  I’ll have to try the meatloaf recipe. I make a cranberry glazed pork loin and we all love that. The weather in Georgia can’t make up it’s mind! Is it spring or is it winter.  Last night it snowed but a few days ago it was so  lovely I was out gardening. The daffodils have bloomed and all the trees are in bud. I have one grape vine that did really well last year. I know nothing about pruning grapes! Last year I didn’t do anything to it all and it was a very hot summer which I guess it liked because I got tons of delicious grapes! I’m thinking about adding more – any tips would be appreciated!  I’d love to see more pictures of all the things you grow on your property.


  • Hi Cheryl,

    Dani’s new bed is so pretty. The weather here can’t make up it’s mind. It is in the 30’s at night and about 70 in the day. I made your Cheeseburger soup last night and Dave said it was wonderful.



  • I think you should change the name of yoru blog to “Pistol-packing Mama” 😆  How cool are you!

    ~howiesgal                   fillingmy

  • Wonderful post…full of Copper’s Wife! I have missed you.

  • First, I had never read your “lightbulb moment” story.  It was incredible, and, yes, classic – like the stuff that good Christian fiction books are made of!!!  (Only you would have been single and Copper would have been the responding officer!!!! LOL – sorry, I couldn’t resist that!!!!)

    Second, you’re new gun is JUST LIKE MINE!!!!!!  I knew I really, really liked you for more than just your razor-sharp sense of humor (oh, and your two way-cool daughters :coolman: )!!!

    Seriously, I’ve grown up with guns, too.  My dad was a policeman before I was born, then a fireman.  Somewhere in between there, he became a gunsmith.  He hasn’t worked on guns for years now, but has several.  I used to go with him to test-fire the guns he was working on.  One of my funnest memories is that as we left the shooting range, he would let me climb on his lap and steer the car down the long dirt road.  Sigh…good memories!

    Well, be sure to let us know when you go shooting your new baby.  Sounds like fun to me!


  • One of the gals who was here admitted to the fact that she used to get ridiculously detailed in her prep for guests– making sure the paint was touched up on the baseboards, etc. We both agreed that when we go to someone else’s home, we don’t even notice the renegade cobweb or smudges on the fridge (downright filth, yes. Fingerprints, no) but we get so goofy about it when others will be in our own homes.

    I think you’re right: it’s about motivation and the heart (isn’t it always?) I want my children to learn that “there’s a place for everything, and everything in it’s place”. I cannot function well in clutter, nor can I think well with visual clutter assaulting me. I like clean kitchens and bathrooms. BUT, these things can be an idol. I think the litmus test is when we realize we’re doing these things for the eyes of visitors.

    Homeschooling presents its own messes, and I have never not had a toddler in my home. Someone is always in the “drag stuff around the house and leave it there” stage. So many of us are in that place, too, and I think we do our sisters a disservice when we race around trying to make everything look perfect before someone arrives, or even before a blog photo is shot 🙂

  • Great post on keeping it real!!!  I will be linking this from my blog if you don’t mind!  I think it is something that needs to be said over and over!  Thank you for keeping it real!!!

    Love and God’s Blessings,


  • I enjoyed hearing about your gun. (We’re not gun people, but I’ve no issue with those that like them. Many of our friends shoot … for fun – lol.)

    I found your thoughts about “keeping it real” to be very balanced and well stated.

  • We have an arsenal here at our home. 😆  My 8 year old son owns a 30 aught six (30-06).  My husband owns ALOT of guns.  He’s a plumber…LOL.  He collects gunsand he’s a deer hunter.   We always make sure they have locks and the bullets are kept separate and locked up as well.  My son knows all about guns and goes hunting with dad. In my opinion, its safer to teach kids about guns like this at an early age so they KNOW how dangerous they can be and that guns should be respected…not played with. 

  • Well, I’m not a pistol packin’ Momma, but I have been known to take my DH’s pellet rifle and shoot at a few stray rabbits who were heading toward our garden from the dining room window.  :giggle: 😆  My DH wants to get a hand gun, but I’m not sure when he’s going to do that.  He wants to take DD hunting eventually, but we really need to work a little wee bit more on the self control thing. 😉  Needless to say, all 3 of the children have their own BB guns as per DH’s request around Christmas 2006.  They’ve had a ball with them this past year too.  🙂 

    As for “being real”, that’s why I’ve been posting pictures of my progress for cleaning and organizing.  IMO, I feel it’s better to show that real side of life that I’m sure all of us deal with to a certain degree than to always put that best foot forward….which is really and truly unrealistic.  Mind you, the best foot forward is a good thing, but it isn’t truly realistic.  Right now we’re sitting around the fire in the basement with a 14*F temperature outside.  It’s truly frigid out there.  There are coats on the floor the children have forgotten to pick up and rehang on their hooks, their baskets are on the table that holds their hats, gloves and scarves and we’re covered with blankets right now while watching TV.  During the commercials we’re cleaning, then hurrying up to get back under our blankets.  :laugh:  Yup!  We’re watching “Good Eats” on FoodTV.  They’re talking about hot peppers.  :goodjob:  In the mean time, all the dishes are done, dried and put away.  The person who wipes I think needs to still do that, but that’s ok.  It’s cold, we’ll get to it during the next commercial.  😉  No, we’re not being lazy.  It’s just cold.  Brrrrrr!

    And, you’re more than welcome to come for a visit.  We always love company.  :coolman:

    So glad you’re all feeling better! 



  • I liked your post about the new gun, I think that is so nice of your husband…I don’t have my own personal gun but we do have many at our house all registered, and kept safely…I do get tired of hearing people say how “guns kill people” when the reality is that “people kill people”  I don’t have any statistics but I think the majority of people who use a gun for some sort of crime are probably people who aren’t law abiding citizens…and I doubt there guns are registered…

    I love your blog and read it daily, you are so right about the keeping it real part, life happens and we just need to deal with it..


  • I love your blog. I came over from Mrs. Catherine’s site… I really enjoy your site and hers!

  • Well, said Cheryl. I am one that can get a little wiggy when I invite people over. We’ve alway’s entertained but I like things a certain way. And I admit I have railroaded my kids to get there. I’ve gotten better though. Really!

    So good to see you up and about again. Now you just have to make it back to church! We miss you!

  • I just wanted to thank you. I have been folloeing your blog for some time now. It is always a blessing to me. Thank you for taking the time to be an example to others.:heartbeat:

  • Thank you for such a great post! We as mothers are all in different seasons of our lives and each with different family dynamics. Our homes should be a place of comfort to our families. After all, we do live in them! :o)

    Yvonne :o)

  • Thanks for the post.  I really enjoyed it and needed to read it.  Sometimes I get so flustered trying to keep things tidy I lose site on what’s important.  It sounds like you’ve achieved a good balance.  I’ve been to perfect homes and was impressed by the tidiness.  I have found though that there was always a price for it looking perfect.  I forgot that.  Thanks for reminding me!  :sunny:

  • I used to have a sign at my door which read
    ‘If you have come to visit my house
    Make an appointment.
    If you have come to visit me
    Come on in!’

    The last few nights here we have gone to bed with the noise of a .223 resounding around the bay. My 17 yr old has been out possum hunting with friends.
    It would be totally adequate to take the .22 but the .223 sounds so much better!!!

  • Well, Valentine’s of 2007, my knight gave me an airsoft gun – for fun battles in our family and wee property. haha. Love it. But what I **want** is this cute little number: (gotta click then see the picture). It’s a 38c but really small. Love.How.It.Looks. Hubby has an assortment of firearms but I don’t know what they are, only that they’re WAY too big for me.

    ;o) Sherry

  • We love guns, too. My DH was looking at his newest edition of GUN TESTS Magazine, and on the cover was your Ruger Mark III Rimfire, and I said “That is Mama Cheryl’s new birthday gun!” So I brought him here and read him your gun post.

    Then he read me the glowing report about your gun and how good it is. Good choice! They said that it was “one of the finest handguns that they have ever fired.”


    PS: If you are not familiar with GUN TESTS, they are an advertisement free magazine that just tests firearms and report on them…good, bad, ugly.

  • Tamara – Yee Haw!  Wow, what fun to know I picked such a good ‘un!  I can’t wait until I have the opportunity to fire it.  My mandatory waiting period/background check means I can pick it up on March 8th, but that’s a Saturday.  I’ll probably wait until the first of the week so that my husband can go with me.  The store has its own range, so we might just pack some ammo and stay and shoot.