Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Thankfulness is the soil in which joy thrives."

I confess, these last couple of years I found it hard work to be joyful. But the above quote gives a simple formula. We have much for which to be thankful. Lots of Love to all our family and friends! May God bless you and your family today.

Now, please use your imagination (on our new computer, I haven't figured out how to downsize pictures, lol) -- on the wall in our hallway we have constructed a Thanksgiving Tree. It's become our November tradition every year. We crumpled up brown packaging paper and molded it into a tree trunk and branches, adding colored handprints, each printed with something for which we are grateful.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This Blog Now Under Construction!

I'm doing a little re-vamping here . . . to make things more fun and inviting . . . stay tuned for my 'New And Improved' spot on the web!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Vacation 2009

This year our annual Fall Adventure took us out West. First, Salt Lake City, where Dad attended a training seminar. Then, after taking a peek at the Great Salt Lake we headed south. We were able to take in Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, Canyonlands National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim) - and then we trekked back east, stopping in Arkansas to visit with friends.

Whew! Wears you out just reading that list! This crazy blogger site has not let me post along the way. For some reason it does not let me type in word and the cut and paste, so I'm doing some catch up. I'll be posting pictures, comments and stories as I can. Hope you enjoy! I know we did.
Here we are climbing the rocks at Arches National Park

More to come!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Anticipation. . .

. . . antici-pa-a-tion is making me wait, it’s keeping me wai-ai-ai-ai-ai-ai-ti-i-in’

And if you are now singing along with me, you are probably at least as old as I am (ok, I won’t ask for a show of hands). But as my children roll their eyes, their mother is dancing and singing this old ditty while her mouth is drooling and her taste buds are set for sweet, ripe, red, juicy homegrown tomatoes.

The tomatoes are just beginning to turn. Seems a bit late this year, but oh well. The tomato vines are loaded and we can hardly wait to start in canning our salsa. We didn’t quite make it through this past year – I had to purchase it at our near by wally-world to get us through the summer.

Soon, very soon, we’ll be peeling and chopping and simmering those tomatoes with our sweet green peppers, spicy jalapenos, tangy onions and zippy garlic. Can’t you just taste it?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Years Are Flying By

Here's a quick update on what's been going on around here:

In June Caitlin graduated from our HomeSchool - 3 down and only 5 to go!

In July Alyssa and her husband George arrived in the states from Africa. They were here for a week's visit - a crazy, busy week as they transitioned to a new time zone and climate, driver's tests, power point presentations, etc.

And then last week we traveled to Chicago for a wedding. Our first-born is now married! We pray for the Lord's blessing on Brent and Melissa as they begin their life together.

And still to come: Our first grandbaby is due in just a few weeks - wow! Alyssa and George will be in the states when their first baby is born. I'm so happy they will be close by, and Lord willing I'll be able to be there to welcome the newest addition to the family.

I'm working up our lessons plans for the upcoming school year - beginning in early August this year. I'd better get busy!

Pictures and updates coming soon! Blessings to everyone checking in here - life is busy and God is good.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


God’s Great Blessings –
Our Freedom, Our Liberty
and the Courage and the Sacrifice
of Our Founding Fathers

Once again, many of our family and friends gathered at our place for food, fun, fellowship and fireworks. It’s become quite the tradition. By the time July rolls around, I’m pooped, partied out. And so Luke and Caitlin have taken it upon themselves to pull this extravaganza together. They do a great job!

After grilling hot dogs for everyone, Luke and the boys synchronized their, ummm, whatever it is they synchronize and got the show on the road.

The girls waited with great anticipation.

After a few bottle rockets to set the tone, the younger crowd worked their way through a few sparklers.

Now, on to the BIGGER things!

As night fell, more sparklers – YEAH!

And then they brought out the really big guns – Spectacular!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Baby Turns 3

Oh, my! Can it possibly be that 3 years have passed already? Yes, it’s true. Baby Bekah is now 3 years old. She’s a little spitfire, able to take on even the most rambunctious big brother and a most motherly big sister. Once again I have the privilege of watching a new little personality grow and blossom. It sure makes life fun and interesting!

She blew them ALL out in one blow! OK, so she had a little help from her brothers, just don’t tell her that.

Everyone was quite impressed with the Treasure Box Luke made for her. Here they are checking out all the little cubbies, nooks and crannies.
Trying on the new hat Caitlin made for her.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Garden Illustrations

Our garden is off to a terrific start. We did have to replant most of the green beans and cucumbers, a few other things. But now everything is up and thriving. We’ve had a mild ( and wet) to this summer, so with hot weather waiting in the wings, it will really take off here soon.

The garden provides so many illustrations for life and the lessons I learn from my children seem to come around again and again. Today, as I was looking out my bedroom window, I was struck by how much bigger the plants seemed since last evening. I’m not kidding – some of these plants grow by inches overnight! I remembered the tiny seeds we sowed only about a month ago. There is so much potential packed inside that wee little package. I have had the same thoughts while snuggling my sweet newborn babes.

After a short time in the warm, moist, nourishing soil, they push up through the surface with incredible strength. So strong, yet fragile at the same time. And so it is with infants. It boggles my mind that when my babies are still so tiny they quickly become mobile. Crawling and pulling up and exploring and discovering, they can withstand bumps and bruises that would send me howling.

Then those seedlings turn their faces to the warm sun, drink up the rains, spread out their leaves, send their roots deep down for the nutrients of the soil. In the same way, my little crawlers are soon toddling along, turning their faces up toward mine for encouragement and approval, reaching out their arms for a reassuring hug, planting their feet firmly as if to say ‘this is MY turf!’

We now have tomato and pepper plants beginning to blossom. How exciting! A beautiful gift to remind us of the fruit still to come. Each new stage and phase in the development of my little one brings the same gift, the same peek into the fruit of the future. I have loved this journey, watching my children grow. Yes, I am always a bit sad to leave the sweet baby years behind, but it is so fun to see their personalities blossom. There are always surprises. Remember that seed with so much potential? Now I really begin to see just what was packed inside.

I have not forgotten the fact that tending a garden also means dealing with weeds, disease, pests. I think I’ll leave that to another post ;-)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another Page in Our Birthday Book

Yesterday was A’s birthday. 22 years old. Because she lives so far away, this is the 3rd year we haven’t been able to celebrate with her. However, we did get to call and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to her. Amazing how our voices can travel across the ocean.

Now, backing up to my birthday last month, here is a picture of the bouquet that was delivered to me, ordered all the way from Africa. Her name wasn’t on the card and I spent the whole day guessing! C made angel food cake and chocolate covered strawberries. A very nice treat for Mom.

There will be more Birthday Installments coming soon, so Stay Tuned!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Why do they call them ‘Strawberries’?

Because you should use a ‘straw’ to de-stem them! I don’t remember where we learned this little trick, but if you take a drinking straw and push it up through a fresh strawberry from the tip to the stem, it remove the core and stem with a perfect strawberry left in tact – ready for your favorite recipe. The younger ones were a great help this year, including 2-yr old R. She’s a real pro!

Again this year, L and C worked for a neighbor that has a U-Pick berry patch, and while they received a nice little paycheck, I received some very nice strawberries! With the berries they brought home, and the berries my littles helped me pick, we put up a batch of strawberry-rhubarb jam and a batch of strawberry syrup and several pints of sliced strawberries in the freezer.

I love getting good things for my family stored away for the winter. The bright red jelly jars on the counter shine like jewels, the packages of fruit in the freezer remind me that we’ll have good things to eat even when the garden has finished producing. I’m thankful and amazed at how the Lord provides and I’m happy to do my part to make sure my family eats well.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

In the Midst of Birthday Season

Our Whirlwind Birthday Season is upon us once again. It started with B, turning 23 this year. WOW! My aunt always told me that when she heard how old I was made her realize how old she was. (But you are still young in my book, Aunt R!)When I hear the ages of my own, I find myself thinking “I’m not THAT old, am I?” With B living in another city, his birthday is covered with a card and gift certificate in the mail (have you picked up your coffee grinder, yet, B?)

Then came my birthday – my children still tell me I’m young, so I won’t go into how old I am (wink), but I’m focusing on not-so-little-N, who celebrated his 5th birthday last week.

His request was a Spotted Dog Birthday Cake. C came up with the idea of a Fire Engine and Dalmation. I could handle the fire engine, but opted for a plastic dog to top it off. He was thrilled. He was also quite impressed that Aunt L's gift to him (unknowingly) was a really cool rescue vehicle set, complete with a fire engine!

It was fun to reminisce, going through the photos of his Birth Day (gotta love those digital photo slideshows!) N was amazed at how small he was. Well, I informed that he was NOT small, weighing in at 9 ½ pounds. He wasn’t convinced. He was also fascinated by his hands. Because he was born breech, his hands took on that healthy pink color more slowly than the rest of him. In his very first pictures, at just a few minutes old, his hands were still a bit bluish next to his pudgy, pink cheeks. He looked down at his 5-year-old hands and was very glad to see them pink and plump.

This boy approaches life head-on. He has learned to read this year, mostly on his own. Once he decides he can do something, he’s usually right – he finds a way to do it! He really lives things up around here, a real joy and blessing.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Garden Is In!

A couple of weeks ago the children helped me get the garden in. L got the tomato and pepper plants in the ground. The younger ones helped get the seeds in the ground after C hoed up the rows. They were fascinated with the fact the a handful of seeds would make enough green beans to fill all those jars we have waiting in the canning closet downstairs. We discussed how those dried-up, dead-looking beans would come to life sending out roots into the ground and stems up to the air and then producing green leaves and fresh, new green beans.

All this led to a discussion about how the seeds have to die before they can come to life again, just like Jesus. We talked about how our own sin has to die, and how we live in Christ. I'm so thankful that God is a God of illustrations. Visual, hands-on kinds of lessons make things more clear not only to my children, but also to me

"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain" John 12:24

"When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn't grow into a plant unless it dies first. And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a dry little seed of wheat or whatever it is you are planting.

Then God gives it a new body-- just the kind he wants it to have. A different kind of plant grows from each kind of seed." 1Corinthians 15:36-38

"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." Romans 8:11

Heirloom Tomato Plants (thanks to a fellow MOMYS' dh) and Pepper Plants -- Jalepeno, Green Bell, Sweet Red Bell

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Seen But Not Heard

That is the way it’s been around here the last few days. No, not talking about the children – talking about me! The family passed around an upper respiratory thingy. I thought I might escape, but it seems they wanted to share with Ol’ mom as well. Bummer.

I could feel it coming on by the time I went to bed Monday night. Tuesday and Wednesday I couldn’t speak above a whisper. So, I took it easy, putting most things on the back burner. Taking care of the ‘must do’ items only.

Times like this can often be blessings in disguise. It has reminded me once again of what an amazing family I have. C and L pulled more than their fair share of household chores and child care. M looked the other way when the laundry wasn’t caught up and his wife was not the best of company.

It also has been a reminder that a quietly spoken word will often get better attention than the same word spoken loudly. I was very aware of how many words I would normally use to express my thoughts, but under these conditions was able to convey my requests with only a few whispers. I see how I speak without thinking, stringing many words together hoping someone hears, hoping someone figures out what it is I am trying to say.

The most difficult part of this infirmity – I was not able to voice ‘Thank You’ for all my birthday surprises! I appreciated everything my family and friends did for me to make it a special day, but couldn’t voice it out loud. I hope they know how much it meant to me, how much I love each of them.

And as an extra bonus – M stayed home today to run my extra errands and do some things around the house so I could take it easy and kick this thing. I can now speak with a gravelly tone and octave or two lower than my usual voice. There are lots of events and projects coming up so I need to be in my top form. Time for my tea w/ lemon and honey!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Big Laundry Monday . . .

. . . has turned to Big Laundry Tuesday

I was up and ready to tackle Mount Laundry yesterday morning, right after breakfast. The assorted mounds were ready and waiting – and then -- no water. What? Couldn’t be. Yes, NO WATER

Apparently, the main water line was accidently cut by a contractor. At noon, the faucets were flowing again, but I never did get back to the laundry room.

And so, this morning, as I throw a few more items on each mini-mountain, I enthusiastically work to scale Mount Laundry once again. I am determined to conquer! We have a big camping trip coming up this weekend, and so need clothes ready for packing, and then when we return – oh, my! I’ll deal with that another day (go ahead, call me Scarlet)

But as I stand there, facing the challenge, I smile. My day would be easier without all these dirty clothes to clean, fold, put away. But then where would I be? No pitter patter of fat little feet slapping down the hallway, no beautiful bouquets of dandelions, no sticky kisses, no scratches and scrapes to miraculously heal with my special healing cream, no late night talks over coffee and hot chocolate, no opportunity to fuss over beautiful young ladies and handsome young men wearing their finest, no chance to be amazed by the talent of a budding young photographer or the ingenuity of a young carpenter . . . I could go on, but you get the idea.

My mounds of laundry have already begun to diminish. My first two are gone. Instead of doing laundry for 10, I’m only doing laundry for 8 and one day I’ll reminisce about how nice it would be to have more dirty clothes to wash again.

I wouldn’t trade Mount Laundry for anything. I going to happily take on the challenge week and week. What challenges are you happily tackling this week?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tis The Season For . . .

. . . Celebrating Dad’s Birthday!

. . . Mushroom Hunting (no success yet, but they haven’t given up)

. . . An Impromtu Photo Session

. . . Spring Flowers

. . . An Elegant Evening

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