Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day

The girls bounded out of bed on Christmas morning and were not disappointed to find their stockings filled. For another year the magic of Santa filled our lives. Morgan loved her Secret Password Journal (voice activated)...she played with it all day and Sarah was excited to get her Candy Jewelry maker and enjoyed making candy necklaces during the day. The morning continued as we opened presents with grandpa and grandma, in their new cozy and spacious living room. Two Wiis were opened, and we laughed as we created our Mii characters. The girls also got marionette dogs which went everywhere with them... well except when we were untangling the strings! Later that day, my sister's family arrived and we enjoyed opening more presents, visiting with each other and had a spaghetti dinner for Christmas... yummy. We got lots of stuff for our boat, so now we will be anxious for boating season to arrive! :) My sister also knitted me a new scarf! My day ended snuggled in Mike's arms... my heart so full of love that the tears spilled out.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Exclamation Mark

Looking back, I wish I would have had more faith when we picked up and moved 18 months ago. I wish I would have had confidence that God would provide. Instead I worried. I fretted. I cried. I complained. I wondered.

Yesterday, was like the exclamation mark for me.

You see, we loved the church we left, and I didn't think we could ever find a home again, when it came to church. But, yesterday, it felt like 'home' know, that place where you can be yourself, relax. That place you are meant to be. So I just wanted to pause (even though I have TONS to do during this Christmas season right now) and write down about yesterday. I don't want to forget yesterday.

The day began with what our church calls "2nd Saturday". During the 2nd Saturday of every month, our church partners with local justice organizations and physically serves others in our community. No strings attached, just seeing a need and putting love in action. Yesterday, 500 volunteers showed up to help as we provided over 1,000 people in our community with free toys, haircuts, medical services, a visit with Santa and carnival, and free groceries for Christmas dinner, all on campus of our church. Mike, I and the girls all helped...along with our entire group.

After that, our group gathered at a home for pizza and laughter. Following that, we concluded our bible study "pursuing spiritual transformation". What an encouragement it was to hear how God is meeting us and speaking to us about areas of our lives to transform and change. Amazing how when we pause, read the bible, reflect on God's truth, and gather with others who are pursuing the same journey, change begins to happen. I was also encouraged by responses to the question "what can other group members do to move you forward in your spiritual journey?". Some things included...They appreciated the honesty of the group, so we don't feel alone in our struggles. Letting go of independence and focusing on interdependence (letting others help us in our journey). They spoke of how the realness and authenticity of the group encouraged them. And of how growing towards speaking truth and sharing accountability were beneficial. How can life change not happen when you are sharing life's journey with people like this!?!

Our day concluded with another amazing Christmas service. In a church of 4,000, with 5 service times, there are often weekends we don't see anyone we know. But yesterday, our entire group came at the same time and we all sat together and enjoyed the Christmas service together. The quality and excellence that North Point Church values and puts into their services week after week amazes me. You know what else I love is that most weeks, I laugh, cry, ponder and am moved in my soul by the service. It's powerful. God is active, living and touching lives through North Point Church. No wonder it is the 9th fastest growing church in America right now (I think it's only 7 years old). And if all that wasn't enough, after leaving Family Theatre with our kids, what a joy it is to hear "Mom, we loved church tonight!"

Church is all these things...serving others, enjoying relationships, and gathering together to worship and grow closer to the heart of God on this journey called life. Thank you God for the exclamation mark yesterday! And thank you for bringing our family to North Point Church...a place to call home!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


So every year during the month of November, I have slips of paper and a cornucopia sitting on our table. Each night we gather for dinner, we write 1 thing we are thankful for. I've saved them for the past 4 years. Think I might make a table runner out of them one day. So here's a sample of this year's "I'm thankfuls".

Morgan: * My friends * My family * School to learn * Daisy * My sister * Soda

Sarah: * Pancakes * My Family * Tests * Drinks * Friends * Home * USA * Girl Scouts * Sisters

Mike: * Warm Fall Days * Indoor plumbing * Cathy, Morgan, Sarah * Food * Real Maple Syrup * Smiles * Dinner

Me: * Date night in 3 nights! * Northpoint Church & ImpACT! * My eyes that let me see the smiles and beauty all around me * Weekends spent with family - just being together and enjoying life! * Mike's arms that I can fall into at the end of a long day. * The little things my girls get excited about.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Little Pencil

So I've been thinking a lot lately, what is my responsibility to the poor and broken in my community, as well as globally. Do I have a responsibility? And what does it look like? Do I have a responsibility with my time, emotions or finances? And does my sense of responsibility come from a sense of guilt or from a heart of love?

Our pastor prays this prayer often, and it's been becoming my prayer as well. It says, "May the things that break your heart, God, break my heart too." Oh, how I want to care about the things that God cares about! And not just care about them, but I want them to break me, to the point where I have no choice but to do something! However, I find that too often it's easy to stay busy with my life, to make excuses and to just continue on, without giving any thought, let alone any action, to the poor and hurting and do I even dare admit it, the dying.

Sometimes I think my lack of motivation comes from the fact that I often feel like just being one person, how can I really make a difference with things like poverty, disease, illiteracy and spiritual emptiness? So I do nothing. I love this quote from church today:

'I am a little pencil the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.' ~Mother Teresa

I am a little pencil...but God is using me (or at least wants to use me, when I take the time to put action to those thoughts that are deep within me) to send His love into the world. Oh, how I need to remember this!

And then I've also had this am I teaching compassion to my own children? Am I giving them opportunity to love others in the community who are hurt and broken? Am I modeling a life like this for them? Well today, we did a small thing and went shopping for food and toys to give to a family for the holidays. It was a small deed, and yet, who am I to judge what a small pencil can do?

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Here are a few pictures that caputre our day today. We spent the afternoon raking leaves and jumping in them. We laughed a lot at the dog's first chance to play in the leaves. Then we had Spaghetti and eyeballs for dinner. And then our neighbors invited us to go trick or treating with them around the block and then had us over for a campfire and smores. It was a fun halloween day!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Profound and Beautiful

This morning our pastor prayed these words, "Lord, help us to rest in you who are both profound and beautiful." I have been reflecting on those words ever since he spoke them.

Here are some definitions:
  • Rest: (a) Peace, ease, or refreshment resulting from sleep or the cessation of an activity (like worry). (b) Relief or freedom from disquiet or disturbance. (c) Mental or emotional tranquillity.
  • Profound: (a) having intellectual depth and insight (b) difficult to fathom (c) characterized by intensity of feeling or quality (d) all encompassing, complete
  • Beautiful: the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit:loveliness
So how would my day, the stress in my day, the worries that weigh me down look different if I truly rested in Him who was profound and beautiful? Why do I let worries and stress steal that sweet place of rest in Him who is both profound and beautiful and who calls me His child? I'm thankful he doesn't require perfection...He just asks for us to accept grace and to take a journey towards His heart to discover a sweet place of rest.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ties That Bind Us

I like this quote I read on facebook. I know this is true in my life.
The ties that bind us are sometimes impossible to explain. They connect us even after it seems like the ties should be broken. Some bonds defy distance and time and logic; because some ties are simply...meant to be.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Long Day, but Perfect Evening

Today was a long day. Really long. Today, my parents should have been arriving, but due to Influenza A (also known as Swine Flu) that has hit our family, they have postponed their trip (can't blame them, it's still disappointing!). Morgan went back to school today, Sarah is still down with a fever. I had to go back to work today and Mike got to stay home with her...I wish I was the one with all the sick leave (not him!) because I want to be home with my kids when they are sick. And yet I know Sarah enjoyed her day spent with her daddy. And I am glad he is so willing to be home with them, it is a blessing that he does have the time and he is willing to take it! It has not stopped raining all day...the kind of rain you can hear on the roof top kinda rain. That meant indoor recess at school. Several kids went home with fever at school today. I easily could have come home from school depressed and yet I decided to put on my pjs, turn on the fireplace (Ok, gas fireplaces are growing on me...although I still miss the smell of real fire!), bake some chocolate chip cookies, make some chicken noodle soup, and cuddle up on the sofa and listen to the rain fall and fall and fall...and I guess 6 more inches are still coming our way...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dancing in the Rain

"Life's not about waiting for the storms to pass, but it's about learning to dance in the rain." I first heard this quote a little over a year ago and I love it. It's the kind of 'life perspective' that I want to have in life. It's the attitude I want to permeate from my core. It's about living in the moment 'and making it so beautiful it's worth remembering' despite the circumstances around me. And as much as I love it, it's not always easy to do. But yesterday I celebrated as I chose this attitude.

Our friends came to stay the weekend with us and go to Silver Dollar City (SDC) with us. We've been anticipating this for awhile. So Saturday arrives and just as we go to leave for SDC it starts raining. And it never stopped. Despite the weather forecast of 30% scattered rain, we spent the entire day at Silver Dollar City in the rain, sometimes misty sprinkles other times torrential downpour. And yet we laughed, we joked, we played in the rain! And what fun the water rides were! On top of that Sarah got sick yesterday...vomited in the car on the way there and the way back. She spent most of the day at SDC enjoying herself, but around 3pm her little tummy began to ache again. So while the others went and rode rides, I sat on the bench with her, held her, sang to her and she fell asleep in my arms. Oh what a precious few moments those were. She's starting to get so big and to have her fall asleep in my arms and give me a moment to just be thankful for her and to smell her hair and kiss her forehead, and thank God for the blessing she is in my life, well it was priceless!

And today, because she's still not feeling well, we didn't go to church. I miss the Sundays we don't go and yet I have been enjoying some time reading my bible, praying, listening to some online sermons from our old church. I've been appreciating this unexpected morning. Sometimes the best plans and routines are interrupted with stroms. So I might not always remember to dance in the rain...but this weekend I did...and it's been wonderful!

Friday, September 11, 2009


Tonight I'm thankful for Grief. It's not that I enjoy grief, and yet there is something healing when you pause to grieve. Today I'm grieving the tragedy of 9/11 once again. It still moves me to tears and I still ache for those who lost so many loved ones that day. I still can't even comprehend such evil acts and I still feel proud for such bravery we saw that day as the news unfolded. What deep tragedy. It still brings tears to my eyes. This year I attempted to explain this tragedy to the girls.

I'm also grieving 'cuz it's grandparents day at school. First, I miss living close to my parents, I miss my kids being able to celebrate fun days like this at school with them. It also makes me miss Mike's parents and I still wish they were here to share life with.

Lastly, this week, I was reminded that I once again need to grieve some disappointments from the past few years. Those disappointments are preventing me from moving forward in some areas of life. I'm hoping that in pausing to grieve, I will be able to step forward again.

I'm glad God gave us emotions, 'cuz I couldn't imagine living life without them.

Monday, September 7, 2009

End of Summer

Even though we've been in school a few weeks, Labor Day really feels like the end of summer. Our 'Fall' is filled with routine and work and commitments. But what things about this last summer did I love? I loved waking up slowly in the mornings, laying in bed with our new laptop. I loved having time to write the draft of my memoir. I loved the week the girls spent the mornings at horse camp and I had some time to myself. I loved that our trips to WI, MA and MI allowed the girls to play with all their cousins this summer. I loved celebrating our 15th anniversary. I loved watching the girls fly across the lake on the tube! I loved the cooler summer that reminded me more of a 'Michigan Summer'. I loved visiting Silver Dollar City all summer long with family and friends. I loved reading more books than I could count. I loved 1/2 price drinks at Sonic. I loved the sunshine.

And here comes Autumn...cooler temps, chili suppers, picking up walnuts, Sunday drives to see the world be painted beautiful, sweatshirts, football, bike rides, long walks. Ahhh, each season has reasons to celebrate!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

One Year Later

So one year ago, I attended the general PTO meeting, didn't know a soul, was overwhelmed about being in a new place and I remember sobbing on my way home. I wrote about it my blog. So tonight on my way there I was thinking about how a year later I would probably know people there...and I did. It was so nice to feel 'connection'! And as I left, I was reflecting on how a year ago the God of the universe amazed and moved me thru and song. Tonight, another song came on the radio and it spoke to me...a lot of it reflects some of my current struggles. And once again I feel loved by the God of the universe! Some things have changed this past year and others have remained the same! Here are a few of the lyrics (it's by Michael W. Smith).
The wind is moving, But I am standing still
A life of pages Waiting to be filled
A heart that's hopeful, A head that's full of dreams
But this becoming Is harder than it seems

Hear me asking Where do I belong?
Is there a vision That I can call my own?
Show me, I'm Looking for a reason

I need your light to help me find My place in this world,
My place in this world

When I was younger I thought it would be easy to find my place in this world - but then life has its twists and turns and here I am... still wondering... thankful for this life that is mine... doing my best to bloom where I am right now... and yet wondering what is next for me....

Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy Medium

So I'm trying to find that happy medium between being busy and not being too busy where I can't enjoy life. I'm adding a lot to my calendar this Fall, but I'm looking forward to it. Getting involved in church again (excited about a new small group), volunteering with a couple of new organizations, being a girl scout leader, and working full time. It should keep me plenty busy...I just hope not too busy. My commitments are only twice a month each, so I don't think it will be too bad. I've enjoyed this past year of replenishing and not being so involved, but I'm also looking forward to this new season of busy. It won't last forever. I'm still hoping my weekends involve a lot of 'down' time enjoying Mike and the girls and being together as family...of treasuring what's most important to me. And even though I've been busy lately, I've noticed a lot of laughter in my days, and that feels good. I've also been singing this song this past week..."Life's a dance, you learn as you go, sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow..." I'm definitely entering a season of leading and it feels right and good.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sleepy ramblings

I should so be sleeping right now...but I just can't. Lots on my mind. School back in session. Trying to figure out where all I should invest my time...besides working, being a wife and a mom...girl scouts? church? other causes I'm passionate about? how much time should I devote to these things? And my body is so sore...skiing and tubing were a blast yesterday...and today, well today, I'm just sore. Wish I could find time to get back to the gym. Perhaps life will settle back into a routine in a couple of weeks...right now it just feels chaotic. This week alone we have parent meetings at school, meeting with surveyor and also with builder (about deck), dog getting spade, following up on volunteer opportunity, meeting with guy from church about volunteering, gymnastics, need to meet up with photographer to finalize our order for family pictures, connect me event at church, and Mike wants to go camping this weekend...which sounds great, just no idea when I'm going to be able to get ready. And I'm not really complaining... this life I get to live is wonderful... it's just that sometimes when I'm in the midst of it, I just wish I could hit the pause button! :)

And why did Morgan have to ask me today on the way to school... "Mom, if you could be doing any job, what would you do?" That's just made me think way too much! :) So I asked them what job they think I would be good at. And Sarah (my daughter who is always thinking outside of the box! - seriously, her answers ALWAYS surprise me!) answers, "I think you'd be a great stuffed animal maker!" It's made me laugh all day. So I'm thankful for both my girls... one who makes me pause and think about deeper issues and the other who makes me laugh!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Better than Dreams....Reality

So if you would have asked me on my wedding day how I'd be celebrating my 15th anniversary...I probably would have answered something like, at a cabin in the mountains, on a cruise ship, at the very least a nice dinner out. So, how did I spend my anniversary?

Well I woke up in our own bed, to Mike snoring at 4 in the morning...think his sinuses are acting up right now. It's a new thing, so I'm hoping its temporary. He left for work at 5:30. Girls brought me breakfast in bed, complete with picked clover flowers from our yard (yes, our yard is more green weeds than grass!). I lingered in bed, played on the laptop....trying to convince myself to get up and face the mountain of laundry from our trip to Michigan. Finally got all 9 loads washed and folded. Mike stopped by the store on the way home to pick up the butter I needed to bake a cake for my meeting the next day, he got home...I realized I was out of oil too...he went back to the store for me...with a willing heart and a smile! Girls came back from playing at friend's house, got on their gymnastics outfits and we stopped by Sonic for burgers, coney dogs, tots and coke for our anniversary dinner. Dropped the kids off at gymnastics, went to the park and spent 15 minutes writing letters to each other on our 15th anniversary (no cards, no gifts...just priceless words!). We lingered a bit at the park, dreamed of winning the lotto that we have never in our lives have played...but hey, if we did, we could spend our days volunteering together....did my husband really say that...after 15 years, he really would like to spend every day, all day with ME?! (Is he sure about that?! :)). Picked the girls up, went to Kohls to buy frames for our family pictures, and a new mixer since ours caught fire when I was making the cake earlier. Finished our evening by stopping at Andy's Frozen Custard with the girls...yummy! Got the girls in bed...then cuddled up in bed ourselves. Yes, living the reality of life is sometimes better than the dreams we once made!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

15 Years and Counting

15 Years ago I married my best friend and the best part? 15 years later I'm still married to my best friend! Sometimes it just feels like yesterday when I said "I do" and yet when I look back, we've needed 15 years for all we've done together! Here are some of the 'moments' we've shared:
  • Both graduated from college
  • Lived 9 different places (5 different towns)
  • Became parents of two beautiful daughters
  • Grieved the loss of Mike's mom and sister and five grandparents
  • Welcomed 9 nieces and nephews into our lives
  • Purchased a boat, I learned to waterski, he learned to wakeboard
  • Discovered we liked mountain biking, Frisbee golf and geocaching
  • Owned 4 cars (cavalier, taurus, xterra and suburban)
  • Owned 3 tents, lost track of number of camping trips
  • Owned two dogs, one hamster and one turtle
  • Traveled to/thru 16 states, (MI, MO, OK, IN, IL, WI, MI, OH, PA, NY, VA, TN, KY, NC, KS, CO plus Canada & Mexico)
  • Attended five churches (dozens more visited)
  • 7 jobs for me, 2 for Mike (plus temporary jobs)
  • Only debt is our mortgage

Then there are all the those little things shared that weave into the fabric of life. So I wonder how many times we've:

  • eaten ice cream cones
  • taken walks
  • watched movies
  • shared meals
  • travelled to visit family
  • stolen kisses
  • told jokes
  • shared laughter
  • argued and made up
  • found a middle ground
  • gone on picnics
  • roasted marshmallows
  • he held me as I cried
  • made love
  • enjoyed silent moments
  • been grateful for this life that we call "ours"!

How blessed I am to share life's amazing journey with Mike!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Heather's Birthday

Today, my sister-in-law, should be celebrating her 35th birthday. She should still have her whole life ahead of her. How sad her life was ended at only age 22. I wonder if she would have fell in love, if she would have had kids. I wonder if she had dreams she would have pursued. I wonder if she'd still love eating fajitas and playing phase 10. I bet she'd still make me laugh until my sides hurt. I miss her. I know I shouldn't really be sad when she's spending eternity in Heaven...the past 13 years have been wonderful for her...and yet I still get a lump in my throat when I pause and miss her.

Also, look at this amazing coincidence:

Morgan's birthday (6/19) is the day before Mike's brother Jeff's birthday (6/20)
Sarah's birthday (2/11) is the day before Mike's brother Ken's birthday (2/12)
and now our newest niece, Meghan (7/22) birthday is the day before Mike's sister Heather's birthday (7/23)

Happy Birthday Heather!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

So every Sunday night the girls and I cuddle up on the couch and watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Mike has his football...we have Makeover. I love this time and look forward to it every week. So I was thrilled when I heard they were coming to our area. I tried to volunteer, but wasn't chosen...bummer. But the girls and I still got to the big reveal today and shout "Move That Bus!" We had to wait 7 hours in the rain and we really couldn't see much...but we were there! And hey, we might even make it on the show, as the cameras scanned the crowd by us several times! We'll see. It's suppose to air sometime in October. We even got to listen to Ashley Tisdale perform today (she plays Sharpay in High School Musical). They girls were excited about that, but disappointed she had brown hair instead of Blond today. :) We got to see Michael, Paige and Ty from Extreme Makeover which was cool too! We even made the evening news. You can see it at: - with my big line "we brought ponchos and umbrellas". :)
On a bitter sweet note...I noticed Morgan "growing up" before my eyes today. She liked the ponchos we made until we got there...then she didn't like the attention..."Why is everyone looking at us?". She thought I was talking too loud on my cell phone today. What, my daughter who has 2 and loud...thought I was too loud on my phone?! It was the first time I think I "embarrassed" her. It was a strange moment. I'm sure it will be the first of many. I guess I can't be "cool" forever! :)

All in all today, I think it will be a fun memory as the years go by...remember when we sat in the rain for 7 hours to yell "Move that Bus!" :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009


One thing I love about summers are lazy mornings. I dislike the chaos of the mornings during the school year. I like letting my girls sleep until they are rested and their bodies say "time to get up". It's 9:00 and Sarah is still sleeping. Morgan and I are sitting here in my bed still, both playing on laptops. Still in our pjs. Got a few ideas for the day, but nothing is set in stone yet. Hard to believe there is only one more month left of summer vacation...but I'm sure it will be as fun as the last 2, it's just going, going, gone too fast!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

One Year Reflections

Where has this past year gone? One year ago we were sitting in a new house, in a new town, starting over, trying to get painting done before the moving truck arrived with our "stuff". Here we are a year later, moving on with life. Things I'm thankful for this past year...
  • The easy transition the girls made
  • Finding a job at the schools which allows me to be home when the girls are
  • Mike continues to enjoy his job at the crime lab and actually enjoys the challenges that arise with his new position
  • I'm still married to the greatest husband who is the bestest daddy ever!
  • Good neighbors, new friendships growing
  • Northpoint Church
  • A new puppy
  • A quieter year for reflection
  • I'm still in awe that the God of the Universe has time to meet me in the quiet places of my soul
New beginnings are hard, but they also allow for the opportunity to experience new things, meet new people, grow wiser, and in the end be reminded of all that is really important in life. So if I ever have to pick up and start over again, I hope I can do it with a smile, but for now, I'm going to enjoy the peaceful feeling of calling this place "home".

Monday, June 22, 2009

Thinking Out Loud

Well June has been a fun-filled, busy-filled month. Our good friends came and visited, we've been camping and boating, we've gone to Wisconsin to visit Mike's brother's family, and celebrated Morgan's 8th birthday with a slumber party. Lots of good times and good memories! Here's a few pictures of Morgan's birthday.

Despite all that, last week I was really struggling with my depression...unmotivated, crying, down. When I look at my life, there really is no reason I should be struggling with depression. I have so much going for me; I'm smart (after all, I did graduate Summa Cum Laude from college); after 15 years of marriage, my husband still thinks I'm hot and enjoys spending time with me; I have 2 beautiful daughters that I was able to be at home with during their younger years and my job now allows me the summers with them; lately I've stopped finding my worth/value within church and found a deeper relationship with God in the process; being frugal and working hard has allowed us the opportunity to live in a nice house, take vacations and let our girls participate in activities like Horse Camp this week. So when I look at all that, I wonder...why do I struggle with depression? It makes me really angry and then even more depressed actually. I called my good friend and asked her if I'll have to spend my whole life struggling with this? Told her I wish I could be one of those people who go thru life without struggling with depression...and she reminded me, that everyone has their own struggle, it just looks different. It reminded me of Paul talking about God giving him a thorn in his flesh. Here's what The Message bible says about it: (2 Cor 12)

"I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down, what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. 3 times I did that, and then he told me, 'My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into it's own in your weakness.' Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness."
I wish I could say that I am "appreciating this gift of depression", I'm not. I'm still begging God to remove it! And yet, is it true, can Christ's strength shine thru my depression somehow? I also considered this verse, "Satan's angel did his best to get me down" this a spiritual battle, one I must fight in prayer on my knees? Is it Satan's way of keeping me from experiencing all that God wants for me? And so the journey continues...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Nicholas Sparks Quote

"Though he didn't dwell on those events from long ago, he didn't avoid thinking about them, either. He could no more erase that chapter of his life than he could change his birthday. While there were times when he wished he could roll back the clock and erase all the sadness, he had a hunch that if he did so, the joy would be diminished as well. And that was something he couldn't contemplate."

I couldn't agree more! (taken from: At First Sight)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Summer days

This past week I've been thinking, what do I want my summer to look like? What do I want to have accomplished at the end of summer? And while I have many things on my "to do" list, I'm trying to look at the bigger picture. At the end of the summer I want to feel relaxed, replenished, energized. So how to I get to that? I'm not sure, but I'm certain it includes several days filled with "nothing". Those days when nothing is planned, I just go as the wind blows or wherever my kids take me with their imagination. Perhaps I read a book or take a nap or sip lemonade or sit quietly and listen to the sounds around me (like that of of my children laughing their way thru childhood) or watch what birds fly up to my feeder. Perhaps I bake cookies or call a friend or go for a walk or run thru the sprinkler with my girls. And while I looked forward to some very planned days and some wonderful vacations (to Wisconsin; to Boston area; to Lake Michigan) -- I'm also really looking forward to these "nothing" days too! The other great things about "nothing" days is that my kids have the opportunity to use their imaginations... their days aren't planned for them... they get make their own fun! Sadly, I feel that is a essential piece which is slowing slipping away from many kid's childhoods.

Also upon reflection, there are 2 things I'm planning to make a priority this summer. The first is to get caught up on my scrapbooking... I want to remember these years and it will be easier if my pictures aren't sitting on my hard drive, but rather in an album to flip thru as the years go by. Second, I'm writing a memoir. I received a phone call in 1996 that forever changed the course of my changed my dreams, refocused my priorities and made me reexamine who God really is. It's a phone call I have to tell my kids about one day. And the best way I know to capture the depth of that journey is thru the writing of my own memoir.

So as the summer stretches before me, I find myself thankful for the gift of time and for the hope of fun-filled, sun-filled days ahead of me. Speaking of which, the girls and I are heading for a water-filled day at Silver Dollar City today. I can't wait for them to wake up and surprise them with this news! :)

Monday, May 25, 2009


It has been such a challenge to train our dog. We've been doing a lot of the "right" things they recommend, but not making much progress. We finally decided to buy a book specifically about beagles. Here's what the author says about a beagle's "true character: stubborn, willful, determined, independent, obstinate, unyielding, uncompromising, strong willed, bullheaded, muleheaded, pigheaded, intractable, headstrong and tenacious. I hope I have made myself clear." Yep, that about sums it up! We are in over our heads! The message at church yesterday was about "stress" and he went thru this list, "This message might be for you if...." and I finished it "you are training a beagle!". Good thing she's at least a cutie!

Friday, May 22, 2009


Here are a few pics celebrating the girl's friendships during their last week as a Kindergartner and 2nd Grader. Really, someone please tell me how they grew so big already! This week was a fun week with Beach Day and Park Day for Sarah. Lucky me, I got to attend both since I work there! She also walked to E1 where she'll attend 1st grade next year. For Morgan she had Friendship Day and Park Day. She also got to walk to E's Inn for soda and ice cream and I took off a 1/2 day to go with her! Lucky me! What joy it is for me to see the friendships they've developed this past year. And I was so worried about it a year ago with moving!
And I also must add that I am SO looking forward to being home with the girls this summer. I've really missed being a stay-at-home mom this past year. We have 3 vacations planned and in-between I hope to just have some lazy, giggly, water-filled days enjoying this season of motherhood! Welcome summertime! I think I'll make a pitcher of lemonade today.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fast Forward

If anyone knows how to slow down time, please let me know! I've been feeling this pull again at how quickly the girls are growing! These childhood years are going TOO FAST! I just want to hold these years forever...and yet I know it will be a joy to watch them continue to grow...I just wish it was in slow motion and not in fast forward! I'm really looking forward to summer beginning on Friday and having lots of summer days making memories. And hopefully scrapbooking too, so that I can remember all these good times in years ahead! I LOVE being a mom!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I have been thinking about internal strength today. Where does it come from? How does one get it? How can I get more of it in my life? I know I need to exercise. I know I need to eat better. I know I should drink more water and less soda. And yet I have been unable to find the strength within me to begin to change these simple things in my life. While I want these things to be a part of my life, while I see the value of them being in my life...I continue to not change. And then there's the bigger things. Where does one find the strength to begin again? New friendships, new jobs, new seasons of life. Some days depression wells up inside of me...and I can not find the strength I need to move forward. I wish I had this amazing strength that moved me forward, but reality is proving otherwise.

Tonight, the girls are gone with Mike (they are buying my Mother's Day present). And I am enjoying the gift of a quiet evening at home. Reading my bible, reading a book, listening to the christian radio station and blogging. Trying to forget all those things on my "I should..." list and just enjoy the gift of this free time.

The book I'm reading is called Anonymous (by Alicia Britt Chole). Her words seem to capture the feelings of my heart. She writes...

"When you're living the gap between your dreams and life's're in an anonymous season of the soul."

"Have you ever moved to a new place or entered a new environment where no one know who you were, what you could do, or what dreams ignited your soul? Have you ever crossed the threshold into another season of life, like parenthood or extended studies, where you shifted from recognition to anonymity?"

"Concealed for months or years or decades, our potential seems to hibernate like a bear in winter, and over time we begin to wonder if spring will ever awaken it again."

She goes on to explain in her book how "Jesus' hidden years (anonymous season) empowered him to live an eternally fruitful life." (For 90% of His life he was actually anonymous/ hidden.) Her words are helping me to appreciate this anonymous season and giving me hope! Is that where strength comes from...from hope?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

This n That

We have been having lots of fun with our new puppy. She's often called "Miss Daisy" or "Daisy Waisy". She's just 4 lbs, but of lots of energy. She loves to bite, especially my feet! We love her, even if she is a lot of work at the moment!

Sarah's Kindergarten Musical was tonight. It was called "How Does Your Garden Grow?". It was adorable! She had lots of fun with it. After we took the 1st picture, I asked her where her missing arms were. So in the next picture, she said, "Here they are!" and did a wave dance with them. We then went out for ice cream afterwards...yum! Sarah was eating her cone from both ends...great smiles, good memories!

Last week Morgan broke 2 bones in her arm when she fell off the Monkey bars. She didn't get a cast, just a brace, which is nice for bath time, but not so protective when she accidentally bumps it (ouch!)! Hopefully it's enough to keep her arm steady enough to heal in the next 4 weeks. She's hardly missed a beat. We even went to Silver Dollar City Sunday (avoided most rides, just went to shows...which were amazing!).

Only 16 more days left of school! I am really looking forward to summer vacation! But for this weekend, we have a date night for Friday and a Cinco de Mayo party on Saturday evening. Mike's also hoping to fix the boat this weekend, so we can get it out soon! :) Should be a fun weekend, even if it's rainy and cold!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Price of Children

I just got this email...thought it was good enough to post!

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140.00 for a middle income family. Talk about price shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition. But $160,140.00 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into: $8,896.66 a year, $741.38 a month, $171.08 a week. A mere $24.24 a day! Just over a dollar an hour. Still, you might think the best financial advice is don't have children if you want to be rich. Actually, it is just the opposite.

What do you get for your $160,140.00?
Naming rights. First, middle, and last! Glimpses of God every day. Giggles under the covers every night. More love than your heart can hold. Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs. Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies. A hand to hold usually covered with jelly or chocolate. A partner for blowing bubbles and flying kites. Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.

For $160,140.00, you never have to grow up. You get to: finger-paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightning bugs, never stop believing in Santa Claus. You have an excuse to: keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh, watch Saturday morning cartoons, go to Disney movies, and wish on stars. You get to: frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.

For a mere $24.24 a day, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for: retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking the training wheels off a bike, removing a splinter, filling a wading pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.

You get a front row seat in history to witness the: First step, First word, First bra, First date, First time behind the wheel.

You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great grandchildren.

You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match.

In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under God. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost. That is quite a deal for the price!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Meet Daisy

We've been talking about it for awhile now and today we finally did it, we got a dog! Meet our newest family member...Daisy. She's a 6 week old beagle (born 3-7-09). Isn't she sweet!?! Can I just stay home from work this week and love her?

Sunday, April 12, 2009


What a beautiful day today was (and I'm not talking about the weather!). This morning began with the girls searching for candy eggs in the house and then we headed out for church. I actually thought I would miss Easter at Woodcrest... but Northpoint's Easter service was so moving that tears snuck out near the end. Oh the message of Easter... that of a creator that loves us so much that he pursues us throughout our lives. I thought Northpoint captured so well the heart of God towards us in their Easter service and I loved every moment of it... from the 3D glasses, to Slumdog Millionaire clips and dance, to the message and the worship "Oh, happy day!". I love that the girls are always excited when we leave church and eager to tell us what they are learning.

We returned home to a treasure hunt to find their Easter baskets (the baskets were hiding in the dryer). We then finished preparing Easter dinner and Darian (our friend and sitter) joined us for dinner and a relaxing afternoon. We all smile and laugh a lot when Darian is around and enjoy her company very much! Morgan said her favorite part of the day was Darian coming over and Sarah said hers was the treasure hunt. My favorite part was being moved by the love of my Creator once again. I love this life I get to live!

Oh yah, did you notice Sarah's new toothless grin?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Something Right

Most days I wonder if I'm making the right choices as a mom...saying the right things, doing the right things, am I building character into my kids, raising them up to be proud of the person they are. It's probably why I like the saying "I'd like to be the ideal mom, but I'm too busy raising my own kids." There's no set of instructions or set formula for raising's a complicated journey with lots of risk. And yet lately, I've received a few glimpses that perhaps we, as parents, are doing something right.

Like tonight, when Morgan prayed, "Thank you for giving me life, so that I can live with you!" Wow! At some level she's beginning to understand relationship with the creator!

And last month both girls won awards at school.
Sarah won a Caring Kid award. Her teacher wrote, "She is always honest and has a great attitude. "
Morgan won a Super Citizen award for self-discipline (her classmates nominated her).

It's nice to know that they make wise choices even when I'm not around. They are great kids and I'm so proud of them! And every night I thank God for letting me share life's journey with them!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring Break

Wow, it's hard to believe it's Friday of Spring Break already. My parents have been here for the past week and we made lots of good memories...playing cards, going to Silver Dollar City, eating out almost every day (yum!), going to Incredible Pizza, watching movies, going for walks. Sadly, all good things come to an end and they are heading home now!

Another part of Spring Break I've really enjoyed are lazy, relaxing mornings! I've been able to read my bible, read a novel (still hope to finish it this weekend) and write/journal. Below is an excerpt from my journal earlier his week:
The birds chirping. Morgan talking with Grandma. Dad chuckling about something. The microwave beeping. Water running. Dad and Mike talking about lawnmowers. The fan from the heater blowing. Cupboards closing. Sarah sharing, exaggerating "all". Drawers opening. Hot Cocoa being stirred. Silverware clanking.

Oh, the power of being still and listening. My life is full as I lay here in bed this morning and just listen to the sounds of the house waking up. I am reminded of how much I have to be thankful for.

And this moment ends with Morgan crawling up in bed with me and reading these words....I never realized what a beautiful sound that was - my daughter reading my own written words -- until this moment.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Tonight is one of those nights where I'm trying to be thankful for my feelings, 'cuz they mean that I get to live life deeply at so many levels. But in reality, I'm just wishing I could take a pill and stop can I feel so disappointed, hurt, depleted, discouraged, angry and yet joy and gratefulness...all within matters of minutes? I really want to just sleep...but I just keep feeling!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Celebrating Mike!

For Mike's Birthday, I asked the girls these questions. It was fun to hear their answers. All I know is that we are blessed to have him in our lives!!!
S (Sarah); (M) Morgan; (C) My answers

What is something daddy always says to you?
S: He loves me. M: I love you. C: I love you.

How does your daddy make you laugh?
S: Saying silly things to us. M: Being silly. C: Makes our girls laugh.

What is his favorite thing to do?
S: Go to work. M: Make things. Like shelves. C: Go boating.

What does your daddy do when you’re not around?
S: Watch football. M: Kiss mommy. C: Love mommy.

If your daddy becomes famous, what will it be for?
S: ‘cuz he’s a really good daddy M: Dancing. C: ‘cuz his girls become famous

What is daddy really good at?
S: Working at work. M: Kissing mommy. C: Fixing everything!

What is your daddy not very good at?
S: Doing splits. M: Sewing C: Dancing.

What is daddy’s favorite food?
S: Tuna fish M: Pizza C: Pizza

What does your daddy do for a job?
S: He finds papers buried in the ground and shows them to police.
M: He works at the highway patrol being a boss.
C: Forensic Scientist (Supervisor)

What do you and daddy do together?
S: Snuggle M: Laugh C: Live life.

How are you and daddy the same?
S: Same eyes M: Both brown eyes C: We have the same cute kids!

How are you and daddy different?
S: Daddy has shorter hair than me. M: Different color hair.
C: Not enough space to list!

How do you know daddy loves you?
S: He tells me. M: He says it. C: He gives me back rubs and holds my hand!

What does your daddy like most about your mom?
S: She’s pretty. M: She’s hot! C: Hmmm….

What does your mom like most about your daddy?
S: Kissing M: He’s cute. C: His faithfulness

What is Daddy’s favorite store?
S: Lowes M: Lowes C: Lowes

What does daddy like to watch on TV?
S: Football M: Football C: Football

Where would daddy like to eat out for dinner?
S: Panera M: Pizza hut C: Anywhere he can get a good steak.

What does Daddy do at 8:30 at night?
S: Go to bed M: Watch football (sometimes), otherwise he kisses mommy. C: Spend time with mommy.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith

I just finished reading this book by Barbara Brown Taylor. Lately, I've been drawn to reading other's memoirs. Below are some quotes/thoughts I enjoyed from her book about her journey in life.
I wanted to recover the kind of faith that has nothing to do with being sure of what I believe and everything to do with trusting God to catch me though I am not sure of anything.

God uses whatever is usable in life, both to speak and to act, and those who insist on fireworks in the sky, may miss the electricity that sparks the human heart.

On raising and releasing a baby bird "That's the whole point isn't take care of him until he could take care of himself, but the intimacy that developed between the two of us made the releasing hard to do." Oh, how I get that as a mother!

I had been given my identity for so long, that I hardly knew how to start making one of my own.

Worship has become too tame and those who come have stopped bringing their own fire.

I saw my humanity was all I had left to work with. I saw in fact that it was all I had ever had to work with, though it had never seemed enough.

Caring for troubled people always took precedence over enjoying delightful people, and the line of troubled people never ended.

But behind that answer lay truths harder to confess.

What made you think that hurrying would help you find your way?

My quest to serve God in the church had exhausted my spiritual savings. My dedication to being good had cost me a fortune in being whole. My desire to do all things well had kept me from doing the one thing within my power to do, which was to discover what it meant to be truly human!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A breath

For some reason tonight I've been thinking about the value of one breath. How one breath separates so breath is the difference between life and death. One breath is the moment between calm and anger. One breath separates silence from action. One breath can stand between the building or ending of a friendship. One breath can give you the courage to face a challenge. One breath can give you a moment of peace. One breath.

Breathing is the greatest pleasure in life. ~Giovanni Papini

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Missed the Wedding

Well apparently I've missed Sarah's wedding, 'cuz she is getting ready for her honeymoon! Yep, I found her in Morgan's room after school today...Morgan had an entire salon set up and when I asked what they were doing, they replied...getting Sarah ready for her honeymoon! Guess she's going to Africa with Eric (I've never met an Eric!) to see zebras! She looked beautiful by the way! (So at dinner Mike was trying to get the girls to promise they'd buy the houses across the street when they were older...he said, "you'll always have free babysitting if you do that!".) Wow, seems like just last week she lost her first tooth! Time flies!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

18th Valentine's Day

This is the 18th Valentine's day Mike and I have spent together, but only the 2nd time we've actually gone away just the two of us.
When we got there, they had "upgraded" our room to a condo...we had a living room, full kitchen and bedroom... and we thought we were just getting a regular hotel room! We felt very spoiled (the rate on the door said it was $409 a night!)... that's not even close to what we paid! It was SO nice. We loved staying at Branson Landing and walking everywhere for the weekend. We unplugged from tv, computers and the phone (except for when the girls and my parents called to wish me a happy birthday! and we watched Fireproof), it was nice! For me, it was intimate on an emotional level, lots of fun (lots of laughter) and extremely replenishing! It was a great birthday! Oh yah, and I can't neglect to mention that the only reason I was able to relax so much, was because I knew my girls were having a the best time with a parent, how great it is to go away and not have to worry about your kids for even one moment! That is a gift! (They went to gymnastics, coldstone, krispy kremes, made purses, baked and decorated cakes, went to Chuck E Cheese, and I can't even remember what else!)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I LOVE Birthdays!

It is so much fun to celebrate birthdays! Here's a few pictures from Sarah's 6th birthday.

Darian, who is like the BIGGEST blessing to our family, made Sarah's birthday cake. (She is also watching the girls this weekend, so Mike and I can get away for a couple of nights...oh yah!)

Sarah had 2 friends come home from school with her today and they went swimming at the pool with us. And just now as I was typing this up, Sarah lost her very 1st tooth! How very exciting!

I love watching her smile all day!!! She adds so much joy, giggles and fun to our lives!

Friday, February 6, 2009

My daughter's joy

There's just something magical about experiencing your child's joy. Tonight Sarah got her ears pierced (for her 6th birthday) -- she has been smiling all evening and has been (and still is) so very excited! She chose the purple ones!
And then we decided to do something out of the ordinary and actually go out this we went to Chuck E. Cheese -- oh my goodness -- you should have heard the squeals and almost makes me want to go to Chuck E. Cheese every Friday night! I just love spending time together as a family...they are a lot of fun to be with! Chances are they will not remember this evening 20 years from now, and I might not either, but life isn't always about remembering every event (although I secretly wish I could remember it all, bottle it up and pour it out whenever I want!), rather life is about enjoying the journey, enjoying the moment we're in right now...and thru those moments you build relationships that make life so, so sweet!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Snow Day #3

Well we have finally seen snow in Missouri this winter! The girls have been very excited. I think most of it will melt today and Saturday we might be bike riding, since it's going to 52 by then!

We have been home from school for 3 days now...there is a layer of ice under the snow. We've had a lot of fun just hanging out. Here are a few pictures from some of the things the girls have been doing. We had a lot of fun outside, making snow angels and sledding...our new home has a great hill for sledding! I didn't want to stop, it was so much fun. The girls have been making crafts, playing their music a bit too loud (the floor below me is currently vibrating...I thought I wasn't suppose to have to deal with loud music until their teen years! :)), building forts, coloring their hair, and watching a few of their favorite tv shows. I've been enjoying staying in my pjs til noon, drinking too much hot cocoa, reading a book, figuring my way around facebook, chatting on the phone with friends, catching up on emails and today I think I'm going to pull out my scrapbook stuff!

Their first fort was in the bathtub, but they decided they didn't have enough room, so then they built this elaborate fort in the basement. They set up all the tables and everything.

Here they are making a fan and gold! They love their craft cabinet and come up with some very creative projects!

Friday, January 23, 2009


I don't always have these feelings, but tonight has been a bit surreal... might I even dare say that the God of the universe is actively involved in our lives... bringing us to a place of community and friendships once again. Might I say that that thought is a bit overwhelming, comforting and fascinating all at the same time?!

So the church we've began attending (about 25 minutes away) is running around 3500 people on a Sunday, 4 services...needless to say it takes some effort to connect and it's also easy to be anonymous. Well tonight we attended "grouplink" at our church...a place to connect with others. I really wanted to connect with others from Republic, the small town we're living in...but when several hundred show up "to connect", it's a bit overwhelming. And yet, it wasn't overwhelming for God. We quickly hooked up with 1 couple from Republic (they live at the opposite end of the walking trail in our neighborhood), then another couple from Republic (who by the way use to be a teacher at Republic, before she started staying home and the teachers were just talking about her yesterday at lunch 'cuz she'd stopped by the school and they live 2-3 streets down from us.) Then we met another couple from Republic and get this...he had just called the lab this morning to find a "science speaker" and he had connected with Mike this morning in that endeavor. Two other couples also connected up with us as lives just outside of Republic and she is a counselor at a Children's Home and another lady joined from Republic whose husband is currently serving in Iraq. So I don't know what the future looks like and if any or all of these wonderful people will become some of our closest friends, but I do know that the God of the universe is intimately involved in our lives...and that brings tears of hope to my eyes.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Letting Go

So today I once again have to "let go". Morgan is going to her 1st sleepover tonight at her best friend's house! She is very excited and I'm sure she'll have a great time. It's just another one of those bittersweet moments of being a mom!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Well I finally joined facebook! I still think I'll like blogging a bit better, but every time I turn around someone else I know is on facebook, so I thought I'd check it out and try it! So if you're on facebook...look me up!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Minute of Margin

I've wanted to read this book called "Margin" by Richard Swenson for awhile now. Our library had his book "A Minute of Margin", which is 180 short readings and I just got it last night. The concept is this...even a page in a book requires margins...but often our lives our so full, they have no margins in them, but our lives need margins. I haven't read very far in the book, but it's VERY good. There are so many thought provoking's a couple:
He was talking about how once upon a time and there were no clocks and he asks..."What was it like to have no notion of a second or a minute or even an hour? To never be late or early? To not even know what late or early is?" He then talks about how the clock broke up the day and the light bulb broke up the night and he says "The clock and the light...they gave us time, then they stole it away."

He talks about how we are a nation on the move and in a food, rush hour, FedEx, Sprint phone calls, Quicken, Slimfast...and he goes on to ask "Is there a speed limit to life...a pace beyond which the brain, body and the spirit begin to suffer? What happens when we exceed this limit?...Speed. Hurry. We pay a price for the pace at which we live."
Life at a slower pace...what does that look like?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Meet Noah

I woke up this morning thinking, OK Noah, you only have 24 hours until I have to HAS to be your birthday! Well I woke up yesterday saying 48 hrs, and the day before saying only 3 more days...and the day before that...well, you get the picture. Speaking of pictures, here are a few of my newest nephew, Noah Benjamin, 7 lbs 15 oz, 20 in long...he arrived in the world this afternoon. Both Noah and Suzie are doing fine. And we're making sure Tori has a fun night at her house tonight before we head back to Missouri tomorrow.