Life at our House

Life has been busy here. We are getting ready for Christmas; and Zak officially started his Christmas break this afternoon! We don't have a lot of plans - but are looking forward to enjoying time together as a family.

Things have been going well for us here. I feel badly that I have not posted more; but just have not found the time to go and get it done. It is different not having the Internet at the house and having to go out and do any blogging. I suppose if I was organized I would be able to do it; but just have not mastered this at this time. It looks like we will be getting Internet back at the house and that will make this whole thing a lot easier and I will be able to blog more. :)

Zak has gotten back to his normal again. The doctors did diagnosis him with Tourette Syndrome. They have been talking about this for several years now. So, we have another syndrome to add to the list. I guess it makes life interesting and keeps us from being bored. It was a little bit of an upheaval for me; but then I reminded myself that it is just a name to go with what we have been dealing with for the past couple of years; in actuality nothing has changed - we just have a name for it all.

Overall, he is doing well in school and is learning to read. It is fun to watch the lights going on and have him taking in so much. We are so thankful that God led us to put him into school. It has been very good for him and for the entire family.

The school year is going very well. I am teaching the kids for the first time. (In time past we have used the video school.) I really really like teaching them myself. We will go back to using another curriculum next year as I have not been impressed with the one that we have been using; but it has been good to be the one teaching the kids their studies. Rachel also has helped out a lot in teaching subjects that I am not sure of. That would be - MATH! I am thankful that she is home and able to help me.

Well, that is about it for what is happening at our house right now. I hope to get up a Christmas Letter post here this weekend. We will see if I am able to accomplish that. If I do not, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I am glad you did; and I bet you are glad I finally posted something for you to stop by for. LOL

Merry Christmas,


What's for Dinner

I am posting this at the library. So, there will be no picture. Sorry.

Here is our menu for the week:

Monday: Meatloaf

Tuesday: Pork Roast ( I have a recipe from my Fix it and Forget It book - not sure the page number)

Wednesday: Curry Chicken (never tried this before - so we will see how it goes)

Thursday: Swiss Steak (I will use my crock pot)

Friday: Homemade Pizza and Salad

I am going shopping on Friday - so I do not have a Sat and Sunday for this week. I will try to do a soup for Sat and then something nice for Sunday. Perhaps a baked chicken. Yes, that is what a I will do!

Sunday: Baked Chicken :)

Trust you are having a lovely week and that you will forgive me for posting a day late. (I also am a dollar short, too - if any one was wondering. LOL

Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did.


Weekly Menu

This week’s menu will look quite similar to last weeks. That is because last week was ‘one of those weeks’. I went to sit down and plan the menu this week and realized I had not stuck to last weeks menu. I still had all the ingredients for the menu plan; so if figured instead of reinventing the wheel – I would just do the menu plan for last week this week.
It will be redundant; but here is this week’s menu:

Monday: Poppy Seed Chicken (from our church cook book pg 68)

Tuesday: Chicken Lasagna (also from our church cook book pg 72)

Wednesday: Tuna Noodle Casserole (my Mom’s recipe and also my brother’s favorite meal from my Mom’s kitchen)

Thursday: Spaghetti / Salad

Friday: Zippy Beef Tips (Fix it and Forget It Cookbook (FF) pg 100)

Saturday: Potato Soup (FF pg 61) / Homemade Bread

Sunday: Hearty Western Casserole (FF 111)

I suppose I should state that this is just the menu for the main dish served at dinner. I try to serve at least two vegetables along with the main dish. On a soup night (usually Sat) I serve a veggie tray along with the soup and homemade bread.

So what’s for dinner at your house this week?

Thanks for stopping by. So glad you did.

The Prayer

Tonight it was his bedtime prayer.


To the point.

Sincerely spoken.

Heard by the Almighty God who created the universe.

“Please God, help me to learn to read. Amen”

And in my heart I whispered, “Let it be Lord. Amen and amen”

Thanks for stopping by. I am glad you did.

The Sound of Obedience

I decided to take the little kids out on a walk. Their energy levels were in need of some outlet and I wanted to take in the sights of a town decked out in fall colors. We checked the temperature and decided against a jacket and headed down our street.

Now, the Mom in me seems to think that if we are walking anywhere, down the street or into the store it is always best to hold hands. I love holding my kids’ hands. My oldest is 18 and I don’t mind one bit grabbing a hold of her hand as we walk. This instinct is especially high when I am walking with any child under the age of 5. So, as we were walking down the street I grabbed a hold of my daughter’s hand.

Anna is three and wants the independence of her 18 year old sister. She detests that she needs help cutting her meat at dinner, or that she has to ask for help in getting the toothpaste onto her brush. So, if there is a task that she is capable of doing without help, she wants to do the task to the fullest, without one ounce of help. Walking would be a task that she has mastered quite well. She does not need someone to hold her hand; and on this particular walk her request was right in order. “Mom, can I walk by myself?”

I love developing my children’s independence. I firmly believe that I am raising my kids to be able to function on their own and try my best to allow them the ability to do things for themselves. With this belief in the back of my mind, I agreed that she could walk on her own.

She began skipping and jumping over the cracks in the sidewalk. She was completely enjoying the walk and her ability to do it all. by. herself. Then she turned and asked if we could play the game. The game is something we started a long time ago (perhaps when Abbey and Rachel were little – I can’t remember); but it is a game that is enjoyed by Anna as if she was the only one who has ever played it. The game goes like this: They run forward and wait for me to call out ‘stop’. Then when they hear the command, they stop until I call out the next command: ‘go’. Upon hearing the two letter word they take off until they hear the word ‘stop’ again. We just keep repeating the sequence; mainly to give mom (who is walking, not running) a chance to catch up.

I agreed and we played the game. “Go” is always followed by giggles and the patter of little feet running or jumping at will. Then I say ‘stop’ and the silence that follows is always music to my ears. Not that I mind the noise of giggles but because I love the sound of obedience. As I catch up to the kiddos I tell them to go and the giggles resume and I can’t help but smile.

On this particular day, we played our game. I shouted the commands and they played the game; but today my youngest decided to keep running on the command ‘stop’. She was testing the rules; not the rules of the game; but a principle we live by. Obedience. You see, that is the whole purpose of the game. In the game I am giving them a training session disguised in a game. I am teaching them that when I say something I want immediate obedience. I am teaching this because I want them to know that when they hear the word ‘stop’ they know immediately what to do. The training game was revealing that this child needed more training on the principle that I was trying to instill in her little heart and mind.

I called her to me. “Anna, Momma told you to stop and you did not obey.” She understood exactly what I was saying because I could see the guilt in her eyes. I continued, “When Momma tells you to do something I expect you to listen and to obey. Because you did not listen to Mom you will have to hold my hand for a little while and think about listening.”

We walked on a little further. Hand in hand. In a few minutes I asked her if she wanted to play the game again. She nodded in her agreement. I loosened the grip on her hand and said the command, “Go”. She took off skipping and laughing. I let her go a little longer than I normally do before I gave the “Stop” command. “Stop” I said making sure it was loud enough for her to hear. Immediately her little feet stopped in their tracks and she stood there waiting for the “go”. I repeated the game a couple more times. She played along perfectly; then she turned around and looked at Zak. It was her insight that amazed and pleased me.

“Mom is teaching us to obey.”

Then she turned around and looked at me with a great big smile on her face, “Look Mom, I am obeying you!” She was as pleased with herself as I was.

So we finished our walk playing our game and we came home all the ore better because we had learned. Anna had learned another valuable lesson in obedience and I had been reminded once again that training takes place all day long and in every situation that we have.

“God give me wisdom to seize each training opportunity that is presented to me. God help me to parent on purpose. To allow every walk, every meal time every school lesson to be an opportunity to reach the heart of my child and claim it for God.”

Date Nights

We have always tried to have a date night. It was easy when we were first married. Every night was date night. Then we added the kids (perhaps because of the frequent date nights); and then the date nights were a bit more sporadic. We would do things that were inventive. Get the kids to bed, watch a movie and have a special night all by ourselves. The time after the baby went to bed was our time - our date.

When we lived in the Dakota’s Rob worked with the teens of our church. When your husband is the youth director – date nights are possible more often than not. We seldom had a trouble finding a teenager that was willing to watch the kids. I loved going and getting the teenager, giving the instructions for the kids’ dinner and bed time and then heading out on a date with my husband. On these dates, we found our special places that we enjoyed and became ‘regulars’ on our nights out. Perhaps, my personal favorite place was a coffee shop a few blocks from our house. A lady had taken an old Victorian house and converted it into a coffee shop. Every room had a different theme and there were places all through the house where you could find to sit and enjoy your coffee and conversation. Old closets with the door removed and wiring brought in made for a nice quiet nook to occupy and read a novel or magazine, a lamp on the corner table next to the chair, not only lighting your book but warming the tiny spot with an atmosphere of seclusion. When we were there together, we would sit at a round garden table with two chairs, a coffee in my hand and a hot chocolate in my husband’s. The soft lighting and the quiet atmosphere lent itself to romance. In North Dakota, that was my favorite date spot.

Then we moved to the Green Bay area of Wisconsin. The dates were still frequent, like they had been in North Dakota. Every month or so would find Rob and I heading out the door, kids being watched by a baby sitter and the two of us ready to enjoy our date. Our date spot changed with the move and we found ourselves frequenting a book store in town. We would browse the shelves for books and bargains, enjoy dinner out at a restaurant and head home after a stop at an ice cream shop.

Then Rob’s job changed, he became the senior pastor of the church and life seemed to get busy. Very, very busy. Date nights seemed to be few and far between; and when we were able to fit in the time for a date, my husband was too tired to want to head out and find something to do. Then, we sat down and had a talk. Date nights would need to start back up. We needed time as a couple; and the deacons insisted that he take a day off from church work. So, on his day off, we made the daylight hours family time and in the evening we got away from the normal schedule and had time for each other. In the midst of a job change, something else had happened. The kids were getting older and the need for a babysitter was not there. We had a built in babysitter in Rachel. Oh joy, oh delight! The book store was frequented more often, as was the Goodwill and local thrift store. Rob built a good part of his library during those date nights. Goodwill seemed to always provide a place for him to find a book or two that he needed for his growing library.

When we moved to our current house we made a commitment to our date nights. Despite a job change that paid less than the pastorate we were determined to spend one night a week with each other. We would just have to do it on the thrifty plan. We were in a quandary; not only did we not have money to spend, but our small little town did not offer a lot to do on a weekly basis. There were no coffee shops, no thrift stores and no book stores to occupy our time out and away from the kids. In our town, restaurants are few and far between; and though all of them in town are good, the money in our wallet did not match being able to frequent them each week. I will say though, we have become pretty well known at the Chinese restaurant in town. They know what we want before we ever sit down! On the nights we go there we share a plate on General Tso Chicken. (You might just want to visit Mayville and try it! It is quite good!!) We wanted, though, to find someplace that was ours. The selection was as limited as our budget! We drove the country roads and looked at farm steads and dreamed of what life would be like in the country with a couple of acres of land. We enjoyed the drives; but we still lacked a place to call our own.

Then we found it! Our special date spot turned up in the most unusual of places during one of our country drives. We found a steep hill and drove up to the top. The sight was breathtaking as the view before us was miles and miles of the farmland that surrounds our town. We knew it the moment we stopped the car and took in the view that we had found that for which we had been searching. This would be our date spot! It is the most favorite of all the date spots we have ever had. It also is located in the most unusual spots we have ever frequented. You see, the hill offering us beauty, peace and quiet and seclusion is located at the local cemetery on the edge of town!

When we need time to get away, or have a date night that requires no errands to be run, we head up to ‘our spot’. We get to the top of the hill, roll down the windows, turn off the motor and take in the view. The land surrounds us like a quilt that changes with the seasons. In the fall the golden wheat blows like a flag upon the land. Its beauty is breathtaking. I feel that perhaps, there is not a rose as beautiful as a field of wheat golden with the sun hews, blowing in the wind and waiting for the day of harvest to come. In the fall, we sit and enjoy the golden view as we talk; taking in the colors of brown, gold and red in the quilt before us.

In winter, the hills are covered with a blanket of snow. Blinding white fills our gaze as we take in the miles and miles of quiet earth sleeping beneath the snow so white. We sit in the car, windows rolled up, a warm drink in our hands as we talk. We dream about the future, talk through the present and reminisce about the past. On the hill, the present surrounds us to the right. Hills of white blind us as we look at the quiet countryside; but on the other side of us, to our left, the grave stones are a reminder that we won’t always have the present. Perhaps it is rather odd – this date spot we have found - but as we sit there on the hill in the cold of winter, I am reminded to enjoy the little moments because death will call all of us and we will be left with precious memories of days gone by. It seems fitting, really, to see the reminder often. Sometimes in a marriage and family it is easy to forget to live today and enjoy each other. Winter on the hill reminds me that life is always changing.

In the spring our spot has a beauty all its own. The brown earth, not yet a canvas of life, lies before us as a quilt. A quilt that, though plain and lacking color, offers a promise of warm days coming soon in the near future. The ground before us is empty and brown; but finally can be seen now that the snow has melted its way into the depths of the soil. Soon there will be grains and seeds placed within the brown mounds, and life will be surrounding us in a few short weeks. The windows stay up on the car as we talk - the spring air too cool yet to enjoy it blowing through the car as we sit there. We spot flocks of birds flying overhead as they make their return to their summer home. The Canadian Geese seem to honk their hellos as they fly overhead. I restrain the desire to roll down the windows and holler a “welcome home” to the returning birds. I love the return of the birds to our area every spring. Our hearts are light as we have the assurance that warm sunshine is coming and winter’s cold grip is being loosened. I think we dream more about our future and make plans for our family more in spring than any other season.

Summer allows us to enjoy picnics and talks up on the hill. We sit on top of the hill, roll down the windows of the car and allow the fresh air to fill our lungs. In the summer we watch as the farm land becomes alive with the crops of the season. We see the small green leaves peaking up through the brown dirt; only to find on our return visit the small leaves are now big plants. Each visit they are bigger and I wonder within my mind if I am the only one who is amazed at how fast a crop can take shape. Are there are others that are in awe that so much of the food that feeds our land is grown in just a few short weeks? We sit on summer nights and watch as the bats make their entrance into the evening sky. We tend to roll up our window upon seeing the flying black creatures; but I always am amazed at their flight patterns and enjoy watching them in the protection of our vehicle. Forty-nine cent cones are enjoyed as we talk about our days and plans for the next school year. Summers on the hill bring a close to a long day and gives us opportunity to enjoy being able to talk in solitude without children interrupting or squabbles requiring us to referee.

So when we need to get away, when the kids need to be out of earshot of our conversation, you will find us on the hill enjoying the view. Through the years we have had our date nights, we have had our places of business to frequent; but there has never been, and there will never be, a better date night place than we have here - on the hill. It’s ‘our spot’.

Our Menu this Week

I wanted to post my menu for the week. I have been diligently planning a menu and I like not having to figure out what is for dinner; but rather just look on the fridge and see what is on the menu. So, here’s what’s for dinner at the Spurgeon’s this week:

Monday: Pot Roast (this was on the menu for Sunday; but since we weren’t at church as a family – I moved it to Monday)

Tuesday: Chicken Lasagna (this is a recipe that is in our church cookbook. I am excited to try it.)
Wednesday: Tuna Noodle Casserole

Thursday: Zippy Beef Tips (Fix it and Forget It Cookbook (FF), page 100)

Friday: Spaghetti / Salad

Saturday: Potato Soup (FF, page 61)

Sunday: Poppy Seed Chicken (also a recipe in our church cookbook. I have had this before and it is delicious!!)

When I make my menu I post it on our fridge for the week. Rather than write out the whole cookbook name where I can locate the actual recipe, I have abbreviations for each of the cookbooks. I then just put the abbreviations and the page number where I need to turn to. This works out great for quick reference!

So, what’s for dinner at your house?

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a great week!

A Plan for Zak

Our little Zak has been in school now for a little over a month. Most of his days have been half days; but we have been transitioning into full school days. He is loving school. One of the reasons he has been in school for the half days is so that a team of professionals can test and evaluate him. Because of his unique and special needs it is mandatory for the state to run an evaluation if we so request. We have been hesitant to open this door; but through prayer and counsel felt that God was leading in this direction. Testing and Evaluation started a little over a month ago.
Hours and hours of testing have been done. I have sat in on some of the test and watched as they ran went through the questions. I have come into school at the lunch hour and watched him working with his physical therapist. The tests there were physically challenging for him and I enjoyed watching what they were testing for and his endurance level as they did their evaluation.

Well, yesterday was the date set to go over all the results from the team of professionals. It was the day I had been waiting for since we started down this road. The day when everything is laid on the table, so to speak, and we are able to see exactly where he is at developmentally. If all the professionals come to the table and in their area of experience reveal that their testing revealed areas of delay, an IEP is set in place for his academic year. So, I headed to the school yesterday at 10:30 for his IEP meeting. I knew there would be a lot of people there; because there have been a lot of people who have tested him. I also knew that they would be talking about what they had found with Zak’s abilities.

I told myself that this could be discouraging to spend an hour or so listening to a team of people tell you what is wrong with your child. I prepped myself for the meeting; but was a bit nervous about it. For as nervous as I was about it, I was that excited. For years we have been working with Zak and have come to a brick wall. We just cannot get him any further. We have been stuck, so to speak. So there was an excitement within me as I knew that I would find out exactly what was wrong and listen to the different people talk about what we need to do to get him to the next step. I headed to the meeting with mixed emotions and with questions in my head.

The meeting had to be moved to a different room because of the amount of people that we present at the meeting. That made my nervousness increase by leaps and bounds! I told myself to stop moving my feet around and stop twitching my hands and biting my lips. (All of my nervous habits that come to the surface when I feel vulnerable). Then the meeting was started, one of the school staff who I have worked with a lot started the meeting. It was comforting to hear her voice and to have her assure me that these meetings can be a bit overwhelming and that if I needed a break anytime in the meeting I could call for one. She also explained that they all have come to really enjoy and like Zak and that while they were talking about the problems they wanted me to be assured that the saw the good things too. I took a deep breath and we started the meeting.

Paperwork upon paperwork was handed to me from the different departments that had evaluated Zak. There was speech and language, and advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing, physical therapist, occupational therapist, a school psychologist, the third grade teacher, special education teacher, the head of special education department in our county, the school principle and an autism specialist, and audiologist. Each of them took their turn and showing me where Zak landed on their test scores and gave their evaluation findings to me in paper form (my stack kept growing). In every department Zak scored seriously delayed. At first I felt overwhelmed with the charts in front of me; because it revealed why we have been having such struggles with moving forward with his education. The line for ‘normal and average’ was highlighted and Zak’s lines were far from the colored part of the page.

The autism specialist revealed that he indeed is on the autism spectrum and falls on the severe side autistic. (This surprises people because Zak is so vocal and loves being around people!). They also diagnosed him with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This combined with the autism can be quite challenging in knowing not only how to take him to the next level; but even what the next level is for him. Speech showed that his speech problems are not due to his hearing loss; but rather due to the neurological problems that he has present in his brain.

This was all the ‘bad news’, if seeing the facts is ever really bad news. Seems to me when you know right where you are – when you are staring truth right in the face – you are empowered to be able to move forward. So, with the truth sitting right there in front of me I felt charged with a new unction that I have not felt in a long time with Zak. OK – where do we go from here?

Then they started the other part of the meeting. This was where they pulled out their plans and started with where we are sitting right on the table they started handing over the sheets that showed where they wanted to go; and then (this is the good part) how they are going to plan to get there. When we walked away from the table a plan was set in place just for him. All in all the meeting lasted over 2 ½ hours. I left exhausted from all the information; but also charged with a new hope.

So, in the next two weeks we will be transitioning Zak into a different part of the school. He will be changing teachers, classrooms and will have a new aid for most of his day. He will be included in a normal third grade classroom for one subject a day and for recess. During this time his aid will work one on one with him. (This is good for Zak; because he loves his Mrs. G.) In two weeks time everything will be in place to start him on a new course that has been set for him.

I write this post to tell you, not only about the meeting and findings, but to ask you to pray for Zak. This is all different for him. He is going to have some issues with the changes; but they are changes that need to be made for his good. For example, he will use a different door to go into school. (This caused a major breakdown this morning when I dropped him off. Handling change does not go well for Zak). So, he could use your prayers in the next two weeks. Pray that he will have a peace of God in his little heart that will free him from the anxiety that comes with change. Pray for him to connect with is new aid. The first weekend that followed his start of school was really hard for us and for Zak. We entered into crisis mode with Zak for several days due to the issues that arose at home with his feeling overwhelmed. The same might happen again here for a couple of weeks. Pray that we have the patience to work with him and see him through this.

I end this post to tell you that at the table, surrounded by all these professionals they all said that Zak is one of the most well behaved children that they have seen come in with his issues. They also said that it was obvious that we love Zak very much and that we have ‘poured ourselves’ into him. Somehow, hearing this was such an encouragement to me. We have struggled and worked with him so much. It was so exciting to see that we have made a difference in Zak’s life and to know that people can see, that despite the challenges, we love Zak more than even we can explain in words. Because of our love for him we have to try everything we can to take him as far as he can go. I am thankful that God has provided us with a team of people to come along side and help us in our endeavor.

So, we begin this new phase. I cannot tell you how excited I am to start taking this next step with Zak, and I thank you for your prayers in the next two weeks.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I love to have friends vist. :)

Time to Write

I am trying my best to post more on my blog. It has been a chore trying to get it done. I told my husband, "I want to be blogging about the life I live or want to live; but I'm finding I don't have the time because I am too busy living the life I live."

The school year is underway and the motor is running. Finally the schedule is in order, has been being run pretty well now for a couple of weeks and I am starting to see results. I am finding the time to write because it is in the schedule and the kids have been warned not to disturb me during this time.

It feels good to be back writing. Back here with friends. I have missed writing more than I could ever tell anyone. I love to write. When I write I loose all track of time. They say that is what happens when you are doing something you love. (That is why I know I do not like exercising. I never loose track of time there. I count every. single. minute. till it is over. lol) Perhaps, the only thing I enjoy doing more than writing is playing the piano; but I am pretty sure that they are even and enjoyed the same.

I love what happens when I write. I start seeing life from a different angle. A writing angle. The kids will say something to me that I will make a mental note to write about. A man will pass me on the street and I will analyze him for a character in a story I am writing. Somehow life is such a better place when able to write about it!

I had spent a lot of time writing a fiction book set in WWII. Unfortunately, all of my book was lost when we had computer problems earlier this year. This has been a bit of a discouragement to me; but I am thankful that all my research was in hard copy. I have renewed my quest to write the book and will be starting it again next week. Maybe someday, I will have a book with my name on the front cover - rather than in the front cover. :) (I can dream, can't I?)

Hope you are able to find the time to do the things that you enjoy doing. I think you can expect more blog posts on a more frequent basis. My writer's cramp is gone. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading. I love having guests on my blog.



My Song

Timing in music has not been my strong point through the years. My piano teachers would work and work with me to get the rhythm and beat correct as I sat through endless lessons. My husband spent years leading music in church, timing is not an issue for him. It comes to him as natural as breathing. We have had more than a few conversations on how my timing was off as he was trying to lead the congregational song. Through the years, and with his coaching, I have gotten pretty good at rhythm and timing in music.

I have found that life, everyday life, has a rhythm too; and the older I get the more I love this timing that happens every day. Somehow watching this rhythm and being a part of this song brings a sense of awareness as security that the day is going as it should and all is well.

Something happens when the rhythm stays the same today as it was yesterday. When you get up each morning at the same time, turn on the coffee pot and get ready for you day as you listen and smell the hot jo awakening your senses to the new day before you. For me there is a sense of security and well being when I turn on the same lamp each morning and pull out my Bible as I sit on the couch and read today from His Word just like I read from it the day before. I love, that as I read, my little one comes slowly down the stairs and smiles at me through knotted and twisted hair. Longingly she looks at me and runs to me as I pull my Bible off the center of my lap and pat the empty spot that is waiting for her. I love the snuggle times that we get in the early hour of the morning before the sun has yet made it’s appearance. The quiet of the house engulfs us in the sweetness of the moment. Each day, every day of the week we have this special time. I love the rhythm of this music of life. The slow steady ballad that allows us to enjoy each other, take in each other and just be.

Then there is the morning routine when everyone is getting ready for the day. There is a thought I think every single morning when the kids are busy getting dressed and ready and preparing to come to breakfast: “Another bathroom would be nice!” The house is full of the sounds of the kids getting around for their day as they walk up and down the stairs, try to find things that have been misplaced and get around for the day ahead of them. All of these sounds create the music of life flooding my ears as I pour six bowls of cereal and try to pack Zak a healthy, gluten free lunch. It is often a loud piece of music and I must be honest, sometimes, I wish I could turn down the volume just a little bit! When I move away from the noise and have time ( and ability) to think, I realize that there will be a day when that music will not fill the walls of our home, and I will long for that song to be played again. On the good days I remind myself that the loud and fast music of life has it’s place and time and can be enjoyed for what it is – life being lived out loud. Sometimes the phrase ‘out loud’ is figurative; often it is literal.

I like it when the beat of life is steady and predictable. Predictability in my mind is a wonderful thing. I love taking Zak to school and seeing the same crossing guard, at the same corner standing there waiting for the children headed for school. I love to hear the bell to Rob’s store ring and watching him come out grinning knowing I am stopping in just after dropping Zak out for school. I love seeing the post man’s van pull up and park in front of our house to start the mail route on our street. I love that we get mail every day. Each of these predictable events is something to count on, to look forward to. A reminder, should we say, that says that life is going on as it should; and gives me the ability to hear the beat of life, though soft, is just continually there. The music of life continually being performed without the need for rehearsal because it is as familiar as the songs I learned in nursery school.

Every piece of music has rests. The song of music has rests and pauses too. I love the pause that a Saturday morning brings to the rhythm of life. I love that the coffee is brewed and enjoyed later in the morning, in the softness of my pajamas, with the sun shining brightly through my front room window. I love the leisure that the Saturday brings. Even the happenings in our little town show that the song of life, although having the same musical theme has moved to a different movement. I love that the local grocery store is busy with people and the smell of brats frying on an open grill gives the community an opportunity to support some worthy cause. My body and mind needs a break from the same song, and weekends seem to be able to give the reprieve and add their own flair to the piece of music I love to hear played. I find refreshment to my soul as the laziness of the day enables me to sit with a good book, go out for coffee with a friend, or have the time to walk with my husband to the little Chinese restaurant on Main street as we enjoy some time – just the two of us.

Then there are Sunday’s when the music of life is able to be reflective and purposeful. When I am able to sit in church and sing the hymns that have been sung on Sunday’s down through the ages. To listen to God’s Word as it is preached and be challenged by truth known but perhaps forgotten. There have been many a Sunday when I have left church challenged anew by the Holy Spirit. He is doing a work in my life and that this week ahead of me is an opportunity for Him to continue the work. The music of life on Sunday is meditative and reflective, a time when God is allowed to work and my thoughts and actions of the day are focused on Him. How messed up and purposeless my life would be without the life music of Sunday.

How thankful I am that God is a God of order and that He has placed within us as people a desire for things to be done in an orderly fashion. I finish this blog post and look at my clock. It is time for the laundry to be folded, dinner to be started and an evening with the family to fill the hours left in my day. I think about the schedule and the ‘to do’ list. Someday this music will stop, and life will have a different melody. When this song ends there will be a new song, a new season of life that will have a rhythm all its own; but I am sure that there will be a part of me that will miss this song. I am determined to listen to each line, develop each measure, and enjoy the piece of music my life is on today.

"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord..."

Birthday Boy

We did not get to celebrate his first birthday. Paperwork was not ‘quite’ done and ready; but we had met him. We had held him and kissed him and had thanked God for him. I thought about him on that first birthday. I wondered what the foster home was doing to celebrate his big day. I thought about what we would do to celebrate his birthday in years to come. I thought and I prayed. Prayed that he would be able to be ours, prayed that he was having a good day, and prayed that somewhere deep within his little heart God would give him the realization that he was loved.

That was eight years ago, today. He turned one and just one week later he came to live at our house. When I think back to that day it seems so long ago. So many journeys we have taken with this little guy! There have been multiple surgeries. There have been countless doctor’s visits and numerous diagnosis’; but God has answered the prayer I prayed eight years ago. Zak is ours; and I truly do think that he knows in the bottom of his heart that he is loved. I believe that somehow that day God whispered in his ear that he had a Mommy and Daddy that loved him very much; and that soon, very soon he would have a family to call his own.

How thankful I am that love is an action word and not merely existent because of feeling. Sometimes when you have a special needs child the emotions and feelings can very like the hills of a roller coaster. The journey is long when your child has special needs and often the path is not well lit and seem unnavigable. I am so glad that God knows the way. I am also so thankful that He always provides a way.

This year Zak has celebrated his birthday at school. A new school. A school that is helping us more than I thought was even possible. Sometimes God provides the answers in the most unique of places! He has undergone hours and hours of detailed testing and evaluations. It has been determined that some previous diagnosis are not what we are dealing with. I think I am safe to say that they have ruled out that we are dealing with autism – a diagnosis we were not sure we completely agreed with. So much of the criteria did not fit our little guy. Some of the latest tests have revealed that we are dealing with FAS. This has saddened me quite a bit – for in some ways this can be harder to deal with then the autism; but it has been encouraging for me to hear by countless teachers the ‘success’ stories that they have seen with children who have FAS.


So we celebrate another year of Zak’s life. We start it with yet another label; but with the understanding that all labels are not bad. If a label is used to give you a starting point in knowing what you are dealing with and will help you understand the path that lies ahead – then it is a tool worth having. However, if a label is used to limit and hold back, it is a restraint that handicaps worse than the actual handicap itself! So, I am celebrating Zak’s birthday this year with a thankful heart. Thankful for professionals that know more than I. Thankful that God has given us a provision for the time being in having Zak in school. Thankful for his dear Mrs “G” who makes it possible for him to be in school because she is is shadow and is with him every minute of the day. Thankful that God has given us another year to love our Zak. How thankful I am that God is stretching us, and allowing us to see that our limited view is often not the way He sees things. I am thankful that it is from God that I get my strength. He gives as much strength as I need and knows my limitations.

Happy Birthday, Zak. I am so thankful that you are mine. I know that God has a special plan for you. I am so glad that we get to have a front row seat in watching God work in and through you life.


Zak was asked to choose a picture for his incentive chart. He has decided to have quite the fascination with T-Rex dinosaurs. When this particular breed of dinosaurs comes up he inevitably asks the questions, "Why do they eat meat?" and "What do you think the meat they eat tastes like?

The day his chart was made was no exceptions. The dinosaurs of choice was made and the questions asked. Then he had to choose - choose from the wide variety of pictures that featured T-Rex dinosaurs. He searched and searched through the rows of pictures, his teacher by his side. Then suddenly he spotted it.

'That one, right there!" The chair came out from under him as he stood to his feet and pointed rapidly at the screen. "That's the one. That one right there."

The teacher clicked on the picture and pushed the print button. Out came the coveted picture of choice. I was absolutely amazed at what he had chosen. There before me sat a huge T-Rex dinosaur. He was either starting or finishing his meal - a deer. There on the ground lay a dead deer, a hunk of meat hanging from the dinosaur's mouth - blood dripping from it as the dinosaur fed his hungry belly.

I was staring at the graphic picture amazed that my son would choose that one. I was a little concerned and then I heard the teacher ask, "What are you going to name your dinosaur?"

Zak gazed at the picture in quiet contemplation. (I was still looking at the picture also, contemplating therapy for my child.) Zak tipped his head to the left as he got a better look at the horrific scene on the poster board taped to his desk. "I will name him... Sweetheart. Yes, that's his name, Sweetheart."

I tipped my head to look at the picture with the name attached. I don't know, he just did not look like a 'Sweetheart' to me; but then beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I guess Zak saw something in him I did not.

One thing about it, with Zak in school there will be fewer laughs at home during the day; but I guess I am willing to share him with others. The world needs a little more smiles, a few more laughs, and a lot more 'Sweethearts'.

Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did!


Equiped and Ready

Is changing course ever easy? We are finding it difficult - but not impossible. Shoring up areas where we see there to be deficiency. Habits that have come in almost unnoticed; but now a part of everyday family life. Harsh, bitty words. Frustration. Delayed obedience. Bad attitudes. Lack of attention to detail. We notice it with the kids; and it hurts us when we do. Not so much because the habit is not becoming of them; but we know where they got it from. US!

The realization stings like a knife and we are left to realize that they pick up on our bad habits. We also realize that a lack of vigilance in this area for any length of time allows them to cement that habit down even further.

It is encouraging to know that you can not fix a problem that you do not know exists. We are thankful for the realization even though the truth at times can hurt. It has been made clear to us that it is time to change course. To stop the forward motion and say we have to go another way.

Family meetings have been held. Agendas have been set; and we are looking into the future with hope. Hope that God can change hearts, alter courses and give wisdom. We start with ourselves first. That is the hard part.

I open my Bible this morning and am encouraged: "Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh." I pray for wisdom. My prayers are heart felt - "God change me into what You want me to be. Make me the wife and mother that my family needs. Alter my course."

So thankful that I don't have to parent in my own strength. Rejoicing that I don't have to try to be the help meet for Rob. Ever so thankful; because neither one of these things is possible without His strength.

I close my Bible, turn off the lamp and head upstairs - ready in His strength.

Meal Plan

I have not posted my weekly menu for some time. With having surgery and having meals brought in - I have not needed to plan out a lot. Then, we had the heat wave through here and to be honest dinner was more pick up and go. Yeah for yogurt and fruit, cold cut sandwiches and veggies with dip!

Well, I am feeling better and ready to be back in the swing of things. We also are in full swing of getting our fall routines well undersay and ready fro school. So, I will try my best to start posting every Monday what we will be having for dinner. This is probably more for me than for any of you - as if reading about what we are eating is exciting enough to pop over here on Monday. :)

So here is this week's plan;

Monday: Scalloped Potatoes and Ham* / Fresh Salad (from the garden)

Tuesday: Shell Casserole* / Beets / Salad (from the garden)

Wednesday: Casey's Beans* / Homemade Bread / Salad (from the garden)

Thursday: Chicken in a Pot* / Salad (from our garden)

Friday: Homemade Pizza / Salad (from our garden)

Saturday: Steaks on the grill ** / Hobos / Black eyed peas

Sunday: Sloppy Joe's / Veggie Sticks / Brownies

*Made in the Crock pot

**From meat given to us (what a blessing!!)

I have planned a lot of the meals for in the crock pot due to the weather. This way if it is too hot to cook I can put the pot downstairs and not heat up the kitchen with cooking. We are doing a lot of salad. I was a bit ambitious with planting salad stuff in the garden this spring.

I use the Fix it and Forget it Cookbook for my crock pot meals. I LOVE this cookbook. It comes in handy during the school year too - when I want to have dinner done before we start school.

Hope you have a wonderful week with your family meals. We are trying something new this week by moving family devotions right after dinner is done and the kids are all still at the table. We will see how this works for us. Needing to find a better time with the little ones. Looking forward to eating together from the food God has given our earthly body and the spiritual food He has given us from His Word.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I am so glad you did.




Life is different when you have a child with special needs. Seasons of life that come and pass for the 'average' family stay longer than can be enjoyed. Issues that most parents are able to identify and deal with are issues that seem to stay and be dealt with over and over again. Sometimes, years at a time. It gets long. It requires patience and in most cases it can drain patience over and over again. Christian parents with a special needs child find themselves often praying and asking for wisdom, answers and more patience.

We did not plan on having a special needs child. Does anyone ? Our special needs child came to us through adoption. We had filled out the forms and told them that we were not parents that were able to handle a special needs child. Then God brought us Zak. His needs were hidden. Looking back, our eyes were blind to the needs he had. If I was to adopt again today, having had Zak for the past 8 years, I would see right away that something was not right. But 8 years ago I saw nothing but a little boy who needed a family to love him. I think that is exactly what God wanted me to see. It was His plan. Eight years ago I believed that with time and a lot of love Zak would be a 'normal' kid. That all the things that they kept pointing out to me would disappear. I firmly believed that love could cure anything.

I was wrong.

Having a special needs child drains so much of you. The thing that has amazed me the most is how having a special needs child is a 24/7 job. It requires you all the time. The time it takes to invest in the needs of the child can drain you. There is constant pressure. Pressure from wondering if he is up - again - getting into something; to the pressure you get from dropping him off at Sunday school and sitting in your chair constantly watching the door for them to come and get you. What used to be easy - (going to church, doing school, shopping) - is always hard. Eight long years of hard. The hard does not go away like it does for the Mom with the baby in the car seat and the heavy diaper bag thrown over her shoulder. It stays. It lingers. It is always there. The seasons of life don't change. He does not grow and mature like other kids - he just grows. You still have to watch him in the store the same way you watched him in the store when he was two.

The pressure, as of late, has been intense. I am drained and know that some decisions will need to be made. Other options are being explored from having someone come in and offer respite care for him to enrolment in a special needs program. They are hard decisions; but ones that are needing to be made. It is easy to fear the unknown; but faith says that God can lead - even where we have never been. Please pray for us. We need God's direction. We need something more for Zak. We are committed to him - to giving him the care that he needs; but we realize that we are unable to continue to provide that for him by ourselves. We need help. We are praying that God will show us from where that help is to come.

We are so thankful for Zak. We have invested so much into him and so thankful that our Heavenly Father has a lot invested in him too. So, we wait, tired, drained and a bit discouraged knowing that God will lead.

Thanks for stopping by. I am so glad you did.


I Will Win

On Saturday evening I finally made it over to the garden. With the surgeries and recovery time I have not been there for about a month. The day before my first surgery I went out and got everything ready for being gone for a few days. I did not anticipate having two major surgeries and recovery time longer than I had originally planned. So, besides one short visit to the garden after my first surgery this was my very first time there in a month.

It was sad. There were weeds. Then there were some more weeds. Then, you guessed it, more weeds.

If I needed something visual to make me feel like a total and complete failure the garden did it!
It amazed me how quickly the weeds could take over and with what vitality and gusto they have claimed their ground.

I refuse to be defeated, however. Come Monday - - I will prevail. The weeds will be dominated; and that 40 x 40 plot will look like I am a gardener at heart. Unfortunately, I am still unable to do much; and much is required for me to get this garden back into shape!

Enter: four energetic children.

Labor laws will be violated tomorrow. Children will be working. There will be complaining. I will not relent until that garden looks like it is ready for a Better Homes and Garden photo shoot. I plan on waking up at the crack of dawn, rousing the troops, assembling a good wholesome breakfast and heading out the door.

Note: The theory for the crack of dawn is not completely to build character; but rather to protect pride. There is no way on God’s green earth that I want any other community gardener to see who is responsible for the patch of weeds that houses our garden.

I will win. I will have a garden area worth putting my name on.

Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did. Happy Gardening to all…

Film Credits

With recovery looming ahead, Rob was a good Dad and husband and went to the library to find some kid friendly movies for the two little ones. This has been a lifesaver for me. He was able to bring home some Bible story movies. Zak and Anna love these movies. I got a kick out of Zak telling me about which movie he wanted to watch one afternoon.

Me: “Which movie do you want to watch, Zak?”
Zak: (Picking up the movie about Moses) I think I will watch this one. (Looking down at the case and taking a hard look at the movie) “Yes, it is this one.”
Me: You want to watch the Moses movie?
Zak: That’s the one. God’s in that one. He plays the burning bush. Yes, that’s the one I want to watch.

He is always good for a great laugh! With Zak around there is always a laugh looming in the near future

Slowly Moving Forward

Things have been slow moving here. Literally. I am still struggling to walk upright and with my back straight. I have given birth four times – all naturally and without drugs. I have had several different surgeries in my life time – 5 to be exact. However, I have NEVER been in as much pain as I have been experienced in the past 4 days!

On June 9th I had a preplanned surgery done that needed to be done for some time. The surgery went very well and I was feeling like I was getting back to my normal self. About a week after the surgery I started to experience some pain and an infection was found; and quickly treated with antibiotics at home. The infection pain got better but new pain developed. I was readmitted into the hospital; and a battery of tests run. After much pain meds (one nurse helping me to the bathroom actually used the word ‘stoned’ to describe the state of mind I was in due to all the pain meds), it was assumed that there were two possible options for the pain. One was an infection in lining of the rib cage, causing inflammation and pain; the other was that the first surgery had actually caused my gallbladder to go berserk. I was sent home on more pain meds, and told we would wait it out a few days to see if the pain got better due to the inflammation being gone from the rib cage. Unfortunately, this did not happen! The pain not only did not get better, it got worse. It was decided last Wednesday morning that I would have surgery to have my gallbladder taken out. I found out of this plan one hour before I was due at the hospital to be prepped for surgery.

The surgery went well. I woke up in more pain that I have ever felt in my life. I have since found out the walking takes stomach muscles. Laughing requires them too; as does coughing. The first night home I thought I was going to go out of my mind due to the pain. I have never laid so still in my entire life. Each day has gotten a lot better; but it has been a trip – and not necessarily a fun one at that! Due to having two major operations in two weeks time; plus another surgical procedure that used anesthetic – I have been quite tired. I will fall asleep while I am talking to someone. It has made for some interesting memories of days in a blur. I also am still on a good dose of pain killers that inhibits cognizance and memory. For example, I have a doctor appointment tomorrow – I can not for the life of me remember the time of the appointment.

Other than that, I have been overwhelmed by the love that has been showed to us by so many of our friends. Meals have been sent, birthday parties hosted (Rachel’s 18th), cards and notes received daily in the mail, and countless friends have driven all the way out here to make a house call. God truly has showed His loving care for us through our friends. I have no doubt of His love for me! He is a great God.

The kids have undertaken such responsibility at the house. Abbey has almost run the house by herself. I am amazed at how much that girl can do and how busy she keeps herself. She has truly been a blessing to me! Rachel has been my side kick at the doctor visits, hospital stays and surgery waiting rooms. It has felt odd to have the roles reversed from this time last year – now it is her holding my hand while I am in the bed. I have been so blessed to have her with me. As is normal in our house when a crisis situation arrives, Rob started at a new store the week that I had my second surgery. He has been overwhelmed with a host of new job responsibilities, personnel management and just getting used to a new environment. James has been able to be his side kick and help him out with the jobs that have found him in his new store. We have laughed at how ironic it was that this also happened when Rachel was in the hospital last year. Overall, this has been a pretty smooth transition. God has been good.

I think it will still be a while till I am back on my feet again; but it is coming. Abbey walked into the room yesterday and said, “Wow, you look like Mom finally!” So I am trying to take it easy. The kids have their lists for Dad when he gets home – lists of what I did that they did not think I should have done. (Walking upstairs, doing my hair or the dishes or watering my herb garden outside) It has given Rob and I a few laughs after everyone is in bed. I am surrounded by little police that are watching my every move. It feels good to be loved.

I am blessed and thank God for a body that He has made that heals. I have enjoyed quiet times with Him in prayer and Bible reading and that has been such a blessing. Psalm 91 has been such a blessing to me at this time. “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty!” He has been my shelter and help and granted me peace that has far surpassed my understanding! I am so thankful for His presence it has been felt as I was wheeled into the operating room ( so much so that I felt no fear), in the machine as I was enduring a three hour test in closed quarters ( I slept, uninhibited by fear or alarm), in the recovery room as I prayed through the pain, and in the ER as I endured 14 hours of pain (I felt a great blessing just counting my blessings and thinking of how good God has been to me!). He has been my strength. I have known He was there with me as clearly as if I could see Him. He has whispered my name through the night and I will never be the same.

Thanks for your prayers. God is good all the time!

Mixed Emotions

July 4, 1997 I brought our third daughter home from the hospital. She was just a tiny little thing; but perfect in every way. We celebrated her homecoming listening to fireworks and the neighbors celebrate the holiday.

She was with us for just a few short months. She laughed early, loved to snuggle and had the biggest bluest eyes I have ever seen. She was loved every day she was here. There was not a day that we did not spend with her. She was with us from the start until the last unexpected day.

It amazed me how one so small can come into my life, stay for such a short time, and make such a big impact. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about her. There is not a summer that passes that I do not think of that summer that we had with her. I wonder about what she would look like if she was here? What would she like? What would she dislike? What would her personality be like? All the questions have no answers this side of Heaven. I have learned that not all questions need answers.

It always seems odd when July first rolls around the corner. Odd, that a day that held such significance in our lives passes now quietly. Free from celebrations and festivities. It is a quiet realization that something big and wonderful happened on this day – but it is over now. How does one celebrate the birthday of a child who is no longer there? A day that should be happy – now is overcast with sadness even though the heart wills it to be different. So, I wish her a happy birthday in my heart and ponder once again if there is anything we can do to make this day bear some significance. I am once again without answers – perhaps next year I will think of something - - something to celebrate her – the fact that she was, and will always be in my heart. But alas, this year I just wish her a happy birthday.

Ally, I will always love you. Happy Birthday, my little one. I am so glad that you were, and that you are, and that you will always be - at peace. There is comfort knowing you are there waiting for me. Someday we will celebrate your birthday for the very first time and have all eternity to celebrate being together. I wait for that day. I Love you.

Being Invaded

It is official: Our home now houses THREE teenagers!

This all has happened so fast. The invasion has begun. The old people are being outnumbered - but not overtaken - - YET! (Rachel takes her driving test next week - so anything could happen then. LOL)

Happy Birthday, James! We Love you.

Hard to Sit

I am still recovering from surgery. I had my one week checkup yesterday. Everything went well and the doctor told me that several tumors and multiple cysts were found when I had surgery. We did not know any of this before the surgery. All of the lab reports have shown that there was no cancer; but I am thankful that they were all able to be removed. God is so good to us to give us peace to go forward with the surgery; and then to find out how pertinent the surgery was! We are thankful.

I am trying to be good at home. I have four sets of eyes watching my every move. They seem to keep reporting me for infractions that are being committed that do not help my recovery. It is a little frustrating! It is hard to sit still!

I am working on a little sewing. I hope to have a jumper done that I have been working on for Abbey. I am getting some materials to complete a cross stitch design that I never seem to have the time to sit and finish. I also have finished a book and am working on another one. Reading is hard because I get tired so easy. In fact, I can not think of any time in my life when I have been more tired than I am now. I still can not drive and can not do stairs. I did try to manage the stairs and get a few loads of laundry in; but I was quite sore afterwards; and knew I had done too much. (A fact that my husband was more than eager to continue to explain to me!)

We have changed our phone service and done away with our land line. In so doing, we have discontinued our Internet service. We are checking on our options and hope to have something soon; but until then the library is our source for online. With that said, my Internet posts will be fewer. So, if you do not hear from me - it is just a temporary break from the action.

Just wanted to post on update on things here. Trust your summer is going well. I am looking forward to Rob taking me to the garden this evening and seeing how things are growing there. Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did.



Surgery went well. It took a bit longer than they had planned; but I am home and thankful for my own bed!

God is so good. I was a little nervous before the surgery. On the way to the hospital that morning I was unusually quiet. I was trying to not be uptight about it all; but in the back of my mind I was a bit afraid. Not really afraid to die, but afraid of the pain, of how long I would be down - - I guess in a nutshell I was afraid of the unknown.

The hospital check in continued to increase my nervousness. The IV got in without too much trouble - although I have a nasty bruise on my hand to prove she had to dig around quite a bit before getting into the vein. They had typed my blood the day before and that bracelet was securely placed on my wrist and my family was called back into the room after I was in bed and waiting for the doctor to come and tell me they were ready for me.

My husband walked back and told me that one of the pastors from our church was there to see me before I went into surgery. I made sure I was completely covered (funny how in those hospital gowns you never feel totally modest ) and then he came in. He told me he wanted to read me a few verses and then pray with me before I went back. He opened up his Bible and began reading out of my favorite Psalm. Now, I have never told that pastor, or any other pastor in our church what my favorite Psalm in the Bible is. He read the entire 91st Psalm to me; and with each verse I knew that it was not Pastor Gilmore reading that Psalm to me - it was God Himself reading that Psalm to me through him. It brought comfort to my heart to know that God knew what my favorite Psalm was. God knew what He wanted me to hear that morning; and through those verse God whispered peace.

It was a peace that I can not explain; but it enveloped me - so much so that God's love for me in those verses cast out all the fear I was feeling. Minutes later I was wheeled back into the operating room and there was such a peace. Nothing was bothering me - and I did not even have any drugs running through my system! :)

How precious my God is that He comes to me in times of distress and whispers peace. He sends His word to minister to my soul. I am overwhelmed by His love for me. How great is my God.

I am slowly getting back to normal. The doctor told me I lost a bit more blood than normal and so I would need to take it easy for a few days. I took my first walk today. It was good to get out into the sunshine; but I am feeling some pain now this afternoon.

While I was in surgery a friend of my passed away. She was saved and is in Heaven now. I just can't believe that she is gone. I was able to watch her funeral on line this morning. Makes you realize just how precious life is and that it is a gift.

Just wanted to pop in and say hi. Thanks for stopping by - I am so glad you did.



Taught by a Bird

This past Monday I took the kids on a nature walk through the marsh close to our house. The sun was full overhead and we have the sunburns to show that there was no escaping it's rays! The map was read incorrectly and the wrong path chosen. What was supposed to be a little over one mile walk turned into close to three miles. It was a little long for Anna - but it was fun!

We heard the birds. Saw the different wild life flying overhead and watched as they went about their day in the marsh they call home. We saw several different families of Canadian Geese. Now, if you do not know me personally, you may not understand my fear of birds; but I do own an extreme paranoia of birds. (I have come to the conclusion that being chased by a turkey at a young age can mess with a person's head for the rest of her life.) Because of this fear, I have not spent a lot of time studying the habits and lifestyle of any species of birds. Canadian Geese included.

Because of my ignorance on this subject matter, I found myself fascinated with the way these birds travel in families. As we walked the trail we could see many different geese in the water. It seemed no matter how many geese there were, you could tell where they all belonged. New babies have recently been born and stay close to their mother and father. We would see two adult geese in the water and then see their young swimming nearby them in the marsh. It was great fun to see how much of a unit they were. All together.

The kids noticed it too. They pointed it out. I used it as an object lesson on unity. We walked further - saw more - and talked about how neat it was to see even nature able to understand the concept of family unit. We talked about identity. Working together. We kept walking. (remember, we were on the long trail).

We were nearing the end of our walk when we noticed two family units swimming in a fairly small area of water. One set of parents had one little baby following after them. The other family had quite a few more bringing up their parade. Seven to be exact. One of the young from the big family decided that he wanted to go and be a part of the other family. He tootled on over there to be by his 'friend'. It was then that the mother or father of the 'only child' family took over and began pecking at the stow away making him get away from his child. He pecked and he honked and he spread his wings. It was quite a show! The kids watched. We all took it in. He was telling the other kid - "this is not your family". "Get on home now". The little goose got the picture. He turned around and went on home to his family just across the way. He went to the back of the line and swam along with his other siblings. Perhaps it was just me, but I thought he even looked a little sad.

I was amazed. Amazed at how birds, who have no reasoning intelligence - only instinct - could ward off the fact that this was not how it was supposed to be. Amazed at how protective they were of their family unit. And, as I stood there, I understood the feelings of the honking parent. I have felt that was too. The need to protect the family unit. The need to make a statement that this is our family - this is the way that we are headed and we don't need someone else coming in and messing up what direction we have for our family. I stood there and felt like that goose.

Sometimes as parents we have to say enough is enough. This is how it is going to be. This is not how it is going to be. Sometimes we offend people. Sometimes there are people who don't understand. Sometimes the one's most offended are our very own children. Sometimes parents have to say, "God made us a family and we will grow, we will minister and we will live - as a family.

Sometimes we have to protect our kids against the world. We need to put up quite a stink and keep the world away from our kids. We may loose a few feathers making our territory known. Sometimes we need to protect our family from the busyness of life. It is kind of hard to be a family if we are too busy to ever be together.

Family is designed by God. Family is important enough to be protected.

So I finished my walk that day, with tired kids and with a sunburn that would keep me awake for the next three nights; but with an object lesson that seemed straight from the hand of God.

"Guard your home. It is precious."

The garden is almost planted. I have always wanted a big garden. This year we were able to obtain a plot of land set aside specifically for gardeners. The community garden allows residents to plant in a 40x40 plot. So, James and I have made it our summer project. We spent hours out there all ready; but we are starting to see rewards to our labor already popping out through the soil. It is wonderful to be out in the country air, listening to the birds sing and watching them fly overhead. It was most wonderful, however, to be spending time with James working and talking. I know that at the end of the summer I will have harvested more than just a garden. All summer on that hill I will be planting memories that we will remember, and enjoy for many years to come.

The school year is finished. Rachel is done with high school and plans are being made for her graduation. I am busy planning out our summer schedule and making outings for us to enjoy during the weeks that lay ahead. We will be focusing on the kids all increasing in their piano skills. We also are planning quite a bit of time to work together on family music. Always an adventure!

Plans also have been made to go to the park more often with the kids. I have been challenged to spend my time meeting other people from the community with the express purpose of building bridges and sharing my faith. I am convinced that building relationships is vital for the cause of Christ and motivated to add to my time more opportunities to meet people in my community who need to see Christ. I heard on the radio last week that "Christianity is making Jesus believable." How can I make Christ believable if I am never around those who need Him? I have been greatly challenged with that thought!

Rob and I have been talking a lot about the busyness of life. It gets draining running from this thing to that thing. Seems our lives have been wrapped up in so much that at times there is this feeling of foreboding that we are missing the things that our most important. Deeply this has weighed upon us and caused us reason for evaluation. I think right now we have more questions than answers; but we know this: some things need to change. Relationships are what life is all about. If our lives are too busy to build relationships with those we care about the most - then life is too busy. Period. Lots to evaluate and ponder here.

A trip to the doctor last week showed us that I needed to have surgery. Thursday I will be undergoing a pretty major surgery that we have put off for some times; but feel that we need to take care of it at this time. I will be down for a few weeks; but have enlisted the help of the older kids around the house. Meals are being made and frozen to make life a little easier during the recovery time. I am thankful that it will only require a short hospitalization; and hope to be up and running (or at least walking good) in 2-3 weeks.

So much ahead of us. So much of life being thought about and evaluated. It is shaping up to be a very profitable and building summer for our family. I am excited!

Thanks for stopping by and listening to me ramble on about life here. Trust your summer plans are coming into place.




We are out of town this weekend, up north, where my husband is preaching. Grandparents are close by by and the kids have been spilt between the the grandparent's house and the hotel. The older kids are with Nana and Papa and the younger ones are with us.

Just the four of us. Quite a rarity to have only two kids with us. With motel being our abode for the night, and only two kids for which to prep for bed and church the next day, it feels like we are on vacation or something. LOL.

We arrived at our room last night and started the bath water for one of them. Then I began my work on getting clothes pressed for the next morning. It really was work; because there were several pieces that needed to be pressed and all the hotel had to offer was a small ironing board. It brought back college memories from years ago. (College - was also up North, not too far from here, so it helped the trip down memory lane!)

Kids got baths and the two youngest got tucked into their bed for the night. It had been a long day and sleep seemed to come easily for them. I was so thankful. At the computer across the room, Rob was going over his message for the next day. I was sitting and reading some verses. It was then that I looked at the two in the bed. Still. Quiet. Sleeping. Deep, steady breaths enveloping their bodies every several seconds.

I stared at them as the slept and thought how thankful I was for them. Each of them. I thought about how blessed my life is because of the gift of them. I thought of how both of them could be somewhere else, calling someone else Mommy, holding someone else's hand as they walk outside to the park. I thought about how someone else's cheeks could be the ones being smothered with kisses and someone else's ears could be the ones hearing "I love you, Mommy."

I thought about how much God has given me in the gift of these two little ones. Adoption - such a beautiful choice. Adoption gives a child the chance at a life he or she may have never known; but it also gives a set of parents the experience of finding out their hearts can love more than they ever dreamed possible. I never knew I could love two kids this much. More than my own life. I am indeed blessed by God.

Looking Back

Spring is here. The sun is shining and we are enjoying every. single. minute. of it!

Life has been busy here. Good busy. School work is getting finished up for the year. The close of year activities are surrounding us. There are more this year. Rachel is done with high school. Pictures to be taken. Announcements to be sent. Decisions to be made - open house or a family outing?

And I am here. Busy- but sad. (Or, is sad too drastic of a word for my emotions?)

It all went by so quickly.

My school days with her are over. All of them.

The chapter has closed; and the sound of it is deafening to my ears.

I wish I would have known it was going to happen so fast. Would I have changed anything?

If I had known it was going to end so soon would I have begrudged the grading, the time, the effort?

I just didn't know. My Dad told me how fast life goes by.

Is this how you felt, Dad, when you took me to college? Amazed at how quickly the years had flown. Did you sit and go over and over how it just seemed like yesterday that you brought me home from the hospital? Did you go over and over in your mind at how it was not that long ago I was toddling to you with arms outstretched.

I have thought of all of these things. How I thought it would take forever till she was done with school. Sometimes the forever seemed so far away. A distant reality that in my heart I guess I thought would never come to be. But, alas, here we are.

Did I do enough?

Did I teach enough?

Is she ready?

And I am left with feeling that I wish I could go back.

Not to change things that I should have done better - although, I would.

Not to add to things I should have taught - although, I would.

I wish I could go back because I LOVED being her Mommy. I loved watching her grow. I loved snuggling up every night on the couch and reading before bed. I LOVED watching her play on her swing set and waiting with her for Daddy to come home and push her. I LOVED watching her learn. To read. To write. To understand. I LOVED being with her. Every day.

And, I know - I will always be her Mom. I will still enjoy her as she grows. I know she will continue to learn. I will love watching her life grow into what God has for her. But I know, that there is a chapter that is closed. We have written this chapter.

With every birth comes a death. The birth of her adult life beginning comes a close to the childhood life she has completed. The Mom in me, while excited about the future is also sad that the chapter has closed - it just seems too soon.

Spring Pictures

So thankful for the gift of children. Thankful that Rachel's health is doing so much better. Thankful that we are a family. God is so good! Happy Spring everyone!