Saturday, December 22, 2007

What type of a Christmas Shopper are you?

Do you have everything purchased and wrapped before Thanksgiving? Do you shop a little here and there all year? Do you wait until the last minute? Do you just wait and give them when you get around to it later?

I like to shop ahead - make my lists and give them to the grandmas...and then for some reason, it takes me several weeks to decide on the right gift - lots of purchases, lots of returns - and then when I am ready and have finally made up my is sold out everywhere! Funny! And inevitably, every Christmas I promise myself not to get the kid anything next year b/c they get so many gifts from everyone else! It feels so greedy...we really don't need anything - material anyway. I know I need more patience and discipline? Where can you buy those?

My five year old wants clothes and boots...How do these little girls just fall in love with fashion at 5???? She definitely has more fashion sense then me already!

I have learned that for a mom like me - shopping the midnight hours or the early morning hours are the BEST! No traffic, hardly any lines, nice unhurried people...Although some people prefer the crowds and the traffic. I lost my phone at Kohls a few days ago, but a nice lady found it and turned it in. Thank you nice lady!

I do love that at Christmas time we can share our love with other people by giving them gifts - whether gifts of time, handmade items, or some item we think they will like. Obviously Jesus Christ and the eternal life He offers us through His death, atonement, and resurrection is the greatest gift ever given.

I was thinking about Mary (His mom) the other day. There are several songs written about her (and Joseph for that matter) and I heard one while shopping. Can you even imagine what it would be like to be told that you would be having God's Son. That you would be impregnated without any physical contact. We get frustrated when our plans are not God's - but WOW! -that could've been quite the inconvenience. They were obedient and willing and trusting. Are we like that? Is our faith active and trusting and willing?

Hmmmm I am not sure about that...but I will work on that. Maybe I will ask God for an active faith this holiday and this year.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Walking Her Home

Can you imagine that you are 65 and your mother is very sick. Your wife is sick too – but your mother is dying. You are visiting with her in Colorado, trying to spend time with her during her last moments. You get a call that your wife has taken a turn for the worst in Indiana and hospice has been called. Therefore you leave Colorado and your dying mother to be with your wife. Two days later, your mother passes away. In that same day, your wife passes on a few hours later.

That happened to a friend of ours last week. That is one hard day here on earth. I love the following song and the assurance it offers God’s children regarding death. It is written and sung by Mark Schultz. I heard this song in the summer on vacation when I was driving in my car. As I listened, I was enjoying the message and then it got to the end...and then I really listened and heard the message. Wow! It is powerful - totally worth listening to. Pay close attention to the final part of the song as these two sweethearts face eternity together … and the sweetness that is promised when assurance of moving on into the Savior's presence is in the heart of the believer.

Walking Her Home

Looking back
He sees it all
It was her first date the night he came to call

Her dad said son
Have her home on time
And promise me you’ll never leave her side
He took her to a show in town
And he was ten feet off the ground

He was walking her home
And holding her hand
Oh the way she smiled it stole the breath right out of him
Down that old road
With the stars up above
He remembers where he was the night he fell in love
He was walking her home

Ten more years and a waiting room
At half past one
And the doctor said come in and meet your son

His knees went weak
When he saw his wife
She was smiling as she said he’s got your eyes

And as she slept he held her tight
His mind went back to that first night


He walked her through the best days of her life
Sixty years together and he never left her side

A nursing home
At eighty-five
And the doctor said it could be her last night
And the nurse said Oh
Should we tell him now
Or should he wait until the morning to find out

But when they checked her room that night
He was laying by her side

Oh he was walking her home
And holding her hand
Oh the way she smiled when he said this is not the end
And just for a while they were eighteen
And she was still more beautiful to him than anything
He was walking her home
He was walking her home

Looking back
He sees it all
It was her first date the night he came to call

Now if you have a sweetheart, go give him/her a kiss and tell him how much you appreciate him and look forward to growing old together. If you don't, pray for someone else or for yourself to eventually have that type of relationship. If you want to have that same assurance of life in Heaven, please email me - and I would be glad to share with you how to have that peace.

Much love...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

As is!

One thing I love about photographs is the opportunity they afford to remember something as is! It is so tempting sometimes to want to change our kids into their nicest clothes or make sure they match or are perfectly clean - next time you feel the urge to do so - DON'T DO IT! or Don't do it right away...At least take a snapshot of them AS IS first! Tara Whitney is an amazing photographer who has that philosophy. Check out her blog and some of her images HERE. Here are just a couple of my kiddos that I love...

Now the real challenge is taking those photos of yourself:) I have a few - but I won't share them least not now. One is of me after a soccer game this summer. It was pouring rain and very hot and humid. I look hilarious - red shorts, green shirt - nothing matches - soaking wet - BUT it was a great memory b/c I had so much fun and felt so much like me!!!

Monday, December 3, 2007

A few more cute little kid sayings...

My five year old was playing with her dollhouse today. She was pretending that the mommy had a baby in her tummy and the doctor was coming to visit. I heard the mommy say to the doctor, "Today while I was outside playing, I fell and scraped my knee. That is how the baby got into my tummy." Ha - if only it were that easy:)

The littler one was telling me that she needed to "learn" me how to stretch like she did in ballet class. She told Kevin later tonight that I "learned" her how to button her buttons on her shirt.

I wish in twenty years I could just replay all of these cute little things I know I will forget!!!

What's a Honkey?

So we decorated for Christmas least we started. It actually looks like we just moved in b/c of the boxes all around. I won't share too many details but my favorite part of the night was when my three year old and I were reading a book about Jesus' Birth. We were talking about each page and the different parts of the story when I asked her what animal carried Mary all the way to Bethlehem. In all seriousness, she says "That's a honkey mommy." A honkey!!! How cute is that?

I didn't correct her yet. It was just too wonderful. The wonderful that only a little kid with a sweet little voice creates.

She also sings Jingle Bells like this (while shaking her hips back and forth):
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way.
Oh more fun it is to wide on
my old roller blades.
(Again, she really thinks these are the words)

Don't you wish you were three so that when you were singing a song and you used the wrong lyrics you would be cute - instead of kind-of dumb sounding?

Here are two pics from the night. One is of the littlest "honkey" lover.

The other is an ornament that I gave my husband in 9th grade:). He is now a basketball coach. Cute huh?

Have a great week!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Check out the contest

Two of the photographers blogs that I read regularly hosted image contests over Thanksgiving. They were looking for images that show us why we are thankful. I entered both - not with the photos that were the best technically - good lighting, composition, etc. - BUT I picked ones that had the most meaning. It was a great exercise, because I felt like every single photo I looked at had at least one thing I was thankful for. It made me even more aware of how blessed I am - even in the mundane of life.

One of my images was chosen as a finalist for a contest held on Me Ra Koh 's blog. You can check it out - it is number 5. I learned of this photographer and her husband at a workshop I attended. She is very generous and does a lot to teach moms (And dads:)) how to take better pics of her kids. She has also been through a few rough times and written a book about it. She is an inspiration to me.

Jessica Claire is the other photographer who held a contest. She is one of the most amazing photographers out there. I love the color and clarity of her photos - and she is extremely creative.

So here are three of my favorite pics I saw as I was looking through my archives.

I am thankful for JOY. It goes deeper than happiness and is rooted in the true love of Jesus Christ. It isn't dependent on it's circumstances.

I am thankful for INNOCENCE and pray that my children will retain that as long as possible.

I am thankful for the toys that lay all over the floor and drive me crazy. They are a reminder of the little blessings God has given our family.

Check our Me Ra if you get a chance.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Raking the Leaves Part 2

Thankfully - we had more leaves fall:)! This time, they weren't wet, and it was so much more fun. This is more of how I remember raking leaves!

We had a great time and the process was a reflection of our family. Dad went out working earlier than anyone else, never took a break, never complained, and stayed until the job was completed and cleaned up. Mom went out after a while, raked for some time, got distracted and took some pictures, raked some more, helped the kids with something else, took some more pictures, etc. Both kids jumped and played in the leaf piles for a time and then the oldest child didn't rake at all and rode her bike through the leaves. The youngest child literally helped for a long time with a joyful spirit.

the leaf boogey - getting the leaves off

Monday, November 26, 2007

Raking the Leaves Part 1

The entire day before Thanksgiving and the night before it rained. No - let me change that - it POURED! We have four very big and very old trees with lots of leaves. They seem to fall last in our neighborhood and hadn't fallen yet. However, the rain forced almost all of them to the ground. So we were greeted with muddy, wet, heavy leaves that lovely morning.

When my husband suggested raking the leaves, I wasn't thrilled to spend several hours on Thanksgiving, in the very cold weather, raking slimy wet leaves. But we did.

Here is the bright spot - the part I am thankful for....Every once in a while, my rake would uncover a brightly colored red or yellow leaf. They were gorgeous! and brought a smile to my face. Just being together with family should have made me thankful - many people don't have that.

Our daughters only lasted about 20 min. It was really cold and the leaves were hard to move. I see the girls peeking out the window and go over to see what was up. My oldest - in typical fashion for her - says "We didn't really want to get dirty and cold so we decided to come inside and have makeovers!" So funny...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Just a few of the 1000s of things I am thankful for...

lollipops and messy smiles

tinkerbell and being free

walks on the beach in your jammies with daddy

fleeting moments like this

I hope that you can have a Happy Thanksgiving today!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Today's peace

EDITED 11:00AM: Praise God - everything looks good!

Today I go in for a mammogram and an ultrasound. Yes I have had a mammogram before – 5 months ago actually…a screening mammogram since I am high risk - a screening mammogram at age 31. Now I have a lump. Yes – I have a lump. Like millions of other women I have a lump. It is probably nothing. The doctor isn’t worried – I am really not worried – It seems to come and go with my cycle. Not extremely abnormal – for the most part…except that my mom had a lump. My aunt had a lump. Both of my grandmas had a lump. The doctors thought it was nothing. But it wasn’t – it was something. My mom’s something was hidden by a cyst…one that was hormonal…one that the doctors thought had been there for possibly 8 years. 8 YEARS! So, today I go to the doctor to find out if my lump is nothing or if it is something. And I feel God’s peace – the peace that passes all understanding and I am thankful.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Our 1st ballet recital

The girls were determined not to participate - the youngest fell asleep in the car on the way there. She woke up once we walked in and plugged her ears for the first 5 minutes (she does that when she is scared) The oldest was sucking her thumb like crazy and holding her bear - but thankfully they both had about 30minutes to play around before the recital and loosened up! Also, we were sitting in the front row and I think that really helped. Here are a few pics my mom so graciously took for us! It was really dark and hard to get a good shot, but you can get the idea:)

Princess dresses, hair bows, makeup, dancing...a little girls' heaven!

the sisters

mentally preparing :) ...

she actually did a really good job!

she didn't really want to let us take her picture - but she was soooo sweet!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Great thoughts...

How are you??? We are doing well - had a good week! Plan to post some pics tomorrow...
Yesterday I was buying a card for a friend and saw another card with following written on it:

Now to Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory…
Ephesians 3:20, 21

When you are the neediest,
He is the most sufficient.
When you are completely helpless,
He is the most helpful.
When you feel totally dependent,
He is absolutely dependable.
When you are the weakest,
He is the most able.
When you are the most alone,
He is intimately present.
When you feel you are the least,
He is the greatest.
When you feel the most useless,
He is preparing you.
When it is the darkest,
He is the only Light you need.
When you feel the least secure,
He is your Rock and Fortress.
When you are the most humble,
He is most gracious.

When you can’t, He can.

TRUST in that. Like the song says:
He is able more than able
To accomplish what concerns me today
He is able more than able
To handle anything that comes my way
He is able more than able
To do much more than I could ever dream
He is able more than able
To make me what He wants me to be.

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have over-come the world. John 16:33

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

What is your outlook?

Where is your focus? What is your attitude?

While I was exercising today, I saw on the Today show Augie and Lynne Nieto. He has ALS/Lou Gehrig's Syndrome. It was inspiring and humbling to watch he and his wife talk. ALS is a one of those diseases that affects your body but not your mind. Something he said really hit me. When asked how he keeps a positive attitude and how he keeps fighting, he said "You have two choices in life. You can celebrate what you can do...or you can mourn what you can't do."What a great quote! He is trying to focus on the positives. We should all try doing that - even just for one day!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Inside my head personal posts...

I have SOOOO much on my mind, but not much that I can share in any public forum. Some people that I care for and love have had the most horrifying week of their lives. Reputations have been shattered - possibly needlesly and unfoundedly (is that a word?)...families in peril...broken, shattered hearts. I know that goes on every day of every week - but not always in my small little world. It is very hard for me to process. But I KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt, that God is good ALL THE TIME.

Personally, my husband and I had a wonderful few days in Key Largo prior to the rough week. We spent some time away from the kids and reality. It was wonderful and relaxing. There isn't a whole lot to do around the area - but we played tennis, exercised, read, relaxed in the pool (they had 2 large pools and 2 hot tubs and we were the only ones there two of the days), went snorkeling, drove to Key West (but couldn't find a place to park and just went to the bathroom before driving back), ate yummy food, and just enjoyed spending time together and being free. Here is a picture of one of my favorite places we ate. It is called Marker 88 and was so peaceful and beautiful...on the water, live music, torches lit, delicious food - It was lovely.

We like to exercise and be healthy on vacation - not obsessively...but since we have been home, I have been a PIG - stress eating. Not good.

Okay - let me close with a picture I like from a recent senior session. I am not sure that I like it tilted, but for the most part I like the composition.

Here are just a few more...This guy is an awesome musical artist - sings and writes...Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tough five year old questions

So my daughter looked at me from across the desk today. Her eyes a little worried. She asked hesitantly, "Mom when are you going to die? Like - in a long, long, long, long....really long time? like a nanny or poppy? I just don't understand...that."

Yes, my heart sunk. After I picked it off the floor and refused to let my tear ducts open, we had a really great talk. We talked about how some mommies and daddies live to be nannies and poppies. But some other mommies and daddies get to go to heaven a little sooner. She shared with me how her favorite place in the whole world is heaven. We talked about how when we die - whoever dies first will just be waiting up in heaven for the rest of us. That is where we get to go because we love Jesus and He is our Saviour.

Man - tough questions - ones that make me really want to cry. Why? Because every parent has to have some fear of leaving their children before it is time...before it is our time - it may be God's time though. I just pray for complete trust in God in that area. It doesn't come naturally:). I am thankful, however, that I KNOW we will be together in heaven because of the willful choice we have made to be forgiven of our sins and to live for Christ.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sneak Peek

Love this family and had a great time snapping some pics of them!

Gotta love a mom of four boys!

dad and son...

the boys...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Blessings!!! usually unnoted!

Our family is finally feeling better. I still have a nagging cough - but we figured out what was wrong with kat with some abdominal xrays last weekend and kevin survived a bad back and we are on the mend!!! I wanted to share an awesome poem another mom wrote. I can't give her credit b/c I don't know her name (niemen?)!!! So if you wrote this, please tell me! It is such a good reminder of what matters and the proper attitude!

Counting Our Blessings

I'm blessed with a sink full of dirty dishes that greets me everyday and every evening without fail...
It means I have been able to put three meals a day on the table for 10 people.

I'm blessed with walls smudged with finger paint and carpet stiff with play-dough...
It means the happy hands of children have been creative.

I'm blessed that my favorite shopping spot is the bargain fabric table at WalMart, where the fabric sells for a dollar a yard...
It means I can make 8 beautiful Christmas outfits for all our children for under $15.

I'm blessed with a clothes drier, a microwave, and a dishwasher that all broke down within one week of one another...
It means we have a roof over our heads.

I'm blessed with the task of trying to find lost library books under the furniture, and occasionally paying over-due fines...
It means my children love to read.

I'm blessed with a hallway littered with a tangle of shoes of all sizes...
It means I have 16 walking, running, jumping, steady and joyful feet to put them on.

I'm blessed with the soft murmurs and hushed giggles of little girls staying up too late talking...
It means my daughters will always know the sweet joy of having sisters.

I'm blessed with two messy, loud, rambunctious, smelly, naughty little twin boys who came crashing unexpectedly into our lives...
It means my sons will always know the warmth and love of a brother.

I'm blessed with a husband who sometimes gets home late...
It means I have a husband who comes home.

I'm blessed with college students who drop by at all hours of the day and night, often with laundy in tow...
It means our ministry is touching hearts and lives for Jesus.

I'm blessed with a brood of children who constantly clamor for another baby to hold...
It means they must feel there is plenty of love to spare and therefore plenty of love to share.

I'm blessed with yet another home pregnancy test with a little pink plus sign...
It means that God has seen fit to breathe an eternal soul into a clump of cells and give us a new child to love.

I'm blessed by the daily comments of passer-by who inform me that my hands must be full...
They remind me that my heart is full as well.

I'm blessed to realize that the things that daily can exasperate and overwhelm me are the proof of God's unending love and faithfulness in our lives.

Count your blessings today!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

a little rough spot

above: heavy glass dining room light that just fell onto the table

above: French door in back of house that just shattered into a million pieces a few days ago

Since writing last, things haven't necessarily taken a turn for the better...yet. Do you ever wonder - Is God trying to teach me something? or Is Satan trying to discourage me? or Do I need to refocus? or All of the above? Anyway, I am feeling better for sure, but still not 100%. Still coughing and having a hard time sleeping.

Last week on Weds, I heard a loud thud - ran downstairs to see that our dining room table light "randomly" fell from the ceiling and onto the table. It is very heavy and glass and I am so thankful no one was sitting there! The next day, I heard a loud noise - ran downstairs to hear what sounded like a fire crackling - but is was actually my back door shattering within itself into a million pieces. A week later you can still hear the cracking. My nice neighbor came over and duck-taped it to brace it for now. The next day, my five-year old came home from school with a fever, diarrhea, vomiting for the night and severe stomach cramps. These cramps are still with us and kept Kat and I up from 12:45-5:15 this morning. I then couldn't get back to sleep from the coughing. It is going to be hard to get better without sleep! We took the little one to the doctor to make sure it wasn't appendicitis or something - her daddy's ruptured when he was 5. They were worried this morning and considered sending us to the Children's ER at the hospital - but thankfully they think it might just be gas and some blockage stuff. Sleep sure sounds good now! I know things will get better and this is just a little phase - a very small phase compared to what some people have to go through...but I am still tired.:) Thanking God for the fact that this little thing is our biggest thing right now.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


That would explain why I have been feeling so bad for so long. It is funny - I have hardly done anything over the last two weeks and our house is still standing - people are still happy...It just goes to show how easy it is to fill up our time with things we think we have to do - when really the things we NEED to do our much less...hmmm...simplify... What a novel concept!

Prior to this, I was actually in better shape than I have been in in several years. I had even lost a few pounds. Now I haven't exercised in almost 3 weeks! Yikes - it is hard to start over...Oh well - I have enjoyed my quieter lifestyle and just pray that the rest of the family stays healthy!!

love, me

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Ferris Wheel

Have you ridden on one of these lately? Do you know how high they are?

I took my girls to a county fair and allowed them to ride on three rides. We walked through the area where all the kiddy rides are and I asked them "Which ride would you like to go on first?"

Yep. They said "The Ferris Wheel." My 3 year old and 5 1/2 year old daughters chose the grown-up (not the kiddy) ferris wheel! Completely expecting them to freak out and change their minds at the front, I said okay...Nope - they did it. I was terrified when we stopped at the very top and the girls kept trying to look over the edges...I imagined us freefalling to the ground! AND - the older I get, the less I can handle moving rides...

The girls had a great time though!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My fairy tale...

I have felt so crummy for the last two weeks... Since being a mom, I hardly ever get sick - I mean really sick. The kind-of sick where you lay on the floor or couch or whatever is closest by and don't talk to anyone, don't read, don't watch tv, don't eat - don't do anything except be miserable and rest. Which - I should be resting. But when I lay down, I feel like an elephant - a really heave one - is sitting on my chest. Like I am going to suffocate. Do you think there are any invisible elephants in my house?

Thankfully - this is currently the worst of my worries. There are so many other worse things to deal with...So - this has been on my mind lately:

My FAMILY...and the huge blessing they are to me! I could add our parents and siblings too... I have so much more to add to this, but you get the gist ~ THIS is my fairy tale! Thank you Lord!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

These Three Qualities - Group Writing Project

MommyZabs is hosting a writing project! Her topic is "These three qualities make me a better..." (student, blogger, athlete, reader, mother, etc.) You can write three words or elaborate such as I have. She is offering a prize to one person and it is a great way to get more links to your blog. If you want to participate, go HERE.

These three qualities make me a better wife:
  1. Student
  2. Servant
  3. Christ-follower
There are plenty of other qualities that I could include - but I will stick with these three for my husband. In my opinion, every husband needs a wife with different qualities to help complement him. I chose these three because:

STUDENT - A student is any person who studies, investigates, or examines thoughtfully ( As a student, I am constantly learning. I am open to criticism and willing to learn from my own mistakes, from people around me. I seek advice. I want to learn to be a better wife - I want to work on this consistently. As long as I remember that I haven't obtained "perfect wifeness" and always have more to learn, I will also remain humble.

SERVANT - I want to lift my husband's needs above my own. I want to serve him and live unselfishly. Again - promoting humility and thinking of Him first.

CHRIST-FOLLOWER - Jesus Christ is the ultimate model of love. To love my husband fully and unconditionally, I need to be more like Christ and study His Character.

Fear of Failure

Fearing Failure - This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Ever since I was in middle school and probably younger, I have feared failure. Or maybe it would make more sense to say that I have feared letting people down (I am a die hard people-pleaser) and that is what I consider to be failure. Do you know that I have never danced at a wedding b/c I am so afraid of what people will think that it makes me feel sick?

We are going to fail. We are going to disappoint people - it is inevitable. So, for me - it is crucial to not seek other people's approval as my main goal. I am completely imperfect. I cannot keep everyone happy. And I do mess up - This week I had quite a humbling experience which has just driven home the fact that I am going to fail. No matter what my intentions or what my effort - it is humanly impossible for me to not fail.

So how do we live daily knowing we are going to screw up? FOCUS ON CHRIST. Seek to please Him in all that we do. (Colossians 3:23-24 - "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men...It is the Lord Christ you are serving".) He has already forgiven us and continues to - daily, moment by moment ( Psalm 103:12 "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." ). He knows we aren't perfect. He will give us strength and He will extend grace and mercy. Focus on those truths - and bathe in His unconditional love for you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


This website is a great resource of menu ideas. It has links to people who post their menus for each week! I am trying to do this at home this year, so when I can, I will post it here with a recipe or two. Have a great week!

Monday: Walleye lightly breaded and lightly fried, steamed broccoli, rolls, jello

Tuesday: Dinner Out (Every Tuesday is :)

Weds: Italian Baked Shells, salad, bread

Thursday: Chicken Ceasar Salad, canned soup, bread

Friday: Date with hubby (hopefully)

Saturday: Fruit crepes with yogurt and cream cheese for breakfast, camping at dogs and smores:)

Sunday: Crescent Chicken Squares and Orange Mousse jello, salad

Italian Baked Shells Recipe - super easy
1 box shells
1.5 jars of spaghettis sauce
1 16 oz container of cottage cheese
2 c. mozzarella cheese
2 c. cheddar cheese
Parmesan Cheese

1. Boil shells and drain in cold water.
2. Mix cheeses and stuff shells.
3. Cover bottom of casserole dish with a little sauce and place shells in dish. Cover shells with sauce.
4. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
Bake for 30-45 min. at 325 degrees.

Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe
Marinate 1-1.5 pounds of chicken in Italian Dressing or Garlic Expressions or some type of marinade.

2 bags of romaine lettuce
8 oz. cooked penne pasta
some croƻtons
some grape tomatoes cut in half
1/2 c. Asiago or Parmesan cheese

Dressing is 1/2 bottle of Ceasar Dressing and 3-4 T. of red wine vinegar.