Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Flippity Floppity

The girls are 19 months apart.  Morgan is 11 and a half (yes, the half is important!) - and Sarah will be 10 in a couple of weeks!  Looking back, I'm not even sure how we made it through those early years of parenting.  To say we were busy is an understatement!!  But there have been so many blessings having our girls so close together, I couldn't imagine it any other way now.  

Here's just one little way I love them being so close together:  They got some gift cards from their aunt and uncle and they had this idea to each buy a pair of flip flops and then swap just one of them -- so they could have matching mis-matched pairs! Aren't they cute?! I LOVE THIS! I love that they are so close together that they can share fun little things like this! 

And it's kinda hard to 'sea' their toes...but we are getting them ocean-ready! Sparkles (oh, and I had to add more sparkles 'cuz my daughter who was born with glitter in her veins didn't think one coat of sparkles was enough!) and polka-dots and stripes! Impulsive Purple and Optimistic Pink...good colors for the sunshine that will soon be kissing those toes!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Flashback. Summer 2000.

Flashback. Summer 2000. Feels like a lifetime ago. 

No kids. 

Working full time during the week -- still believing that as a social worker, I could at least make a dent in people's lives. 

Spending every weekend breaking in our new boat, lost in another world on the lake.  

My husband grew up on a lake. He already knew how to ski.  

Me, on the other hand, did not have a clue! So I spent weekend after weekend attempting what felt like an impossible task. I would wear myself out trying to let that boat pull me out of the water so I could glide across the water on skis.  But nope. 

Weekend after weekend, my attempts were met with disaster. Drinking half the lake, body twisted in ways it was never meant to twist.  I'd leave the lake exhausted, frustrated, and disappointed.  Another weekend of still not being able to get up on skis.  

Then finally, at the end of the summer, the boat finally pulled me up! As you can see from the picture, after getting up, I immediately let go of the rope and spread my arms out in I yelled "I did it!" 

 And he brought the boat back around and I did it again. and again.  

We've had 13 summers with our boat and I've skied every summer since! I've even mastered being able to go in and out of the wake.  I'm certainly no pro, but I'm thankful for that determination I had one summer, because I've enjoyed the sweet benefits of all that hard work for many years since.  

I've been thinking about that summer a lot this past week, because I'm kinda discouraged in my current dreams in which it feels like I'm attempting the impossible. And I'm wondering if they ever will really happen.  But when I think back to that summer learning to ski, I'm reminded that...

  • It didn't happen right away. It took persistence  Weekend after weekend.  I had to keep working towards the dream.  I had to set time aside to work on it. 
  • And when I did take the time, I had to block out the rest of the world and focus on the dream. 
  • I had to rest in between disappointment and frustration, in order to be re-energized to keep going for it. 
  • And my biggest encourager (my husband!), who never stopped believing I could do still by me today, encouraging me to go for it! I love sharing life with him! 

Again, it's Tuesday, and I'm linking up with Holley Gerth about dreaming God-Sized Dreams! 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Practicing Gratitude (even in sickness)

 It's easy for me to be thankful on the good days. (i.e., on most days.)  But this past week was a rough one with both Mike and Morgan missing an entire week of work and school with fevers and whatnot.  But I tried to be practice gratitude in the midst of's some of this gratitude...

  • Thankful for good HEALTH INSURANCE that meant that at any moment we could have gone to the doctor, urgent care or even the hospital, if necessary.
  • We have ABUNDANCE enough to be able to purchase as much over the counter meds, powerade, kleenex and special snacks as we want. 
  • Mikes gazillion sick days he's accrued in 16.5 years of employment. 
  • For TECHNOLOGY that lets him catch up on a few hours of paperwork on Friday, from home, when he's 80% better and staying home with Morgan.
  • For the comforts of OUR HOME -- extra blankets, heat, cold packs, couches, extra bedrooms. 
  • And for looong HOT SHOWERS. 
  • Being appreciated by family (I think Morgan's exact words to Mike were "Mom is awesome!")
  • Knowing they'd willing, and without complaint, take care of me if I was the sick one.
  • An online chat with a good friend, texting my sister, and texts from a new friend -- others to share this journey with. 
  • Lysol, hot water, anti-bacterial soap, disinfectant. 
  • PERSPECTIVE.  Our week of sickness pales in comparison to the countless parents sitting by their child's bedsides at the hospital -- week after week, praying for a miracle. I prayed for those parents this week. 
  • The power and beauty of HOPE. This won't last forever. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

If You Give A Mom A Muffin

I saw this on a friend's FB page today, and it made me smile. So I read it to the girls at bedtime tonight.  It's fun they are at an age where they get the humor of this.  So for every mom (or teacher) who's ever read, "If you Give a Moose a Muffin," here you go....

Love Laura Numeroff/Felica Bond books!! Great author/illustrator duo!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sharing the God-Sized Dream Journey

So, this past week, we were suppose to ask a friend to be a God-sized Dream buddy.  Well, being a part of Holley's God-Sized Dream Team, she had a match-up of sorts to find new buddies.  And I'm very excited about this!! So now I have two new online friendships...sharing the journey with others! Love it!

And they are absolutely beautiful people...inside and out...just check out their blogs and you'll see what I mean!
This is Lisa, she writes over at Life After the Shore.
I'm excited to watch her family grow because
she has big God-sized dreams of being able to adopt!
(and I already admire her faith living out luke 5:11!) 

This is Mel, and she writes over at Barefoot Mel.
And I can't wait to read the book she's writing...a collection of stories
about the 5 years she spent in Indonesia!
(and her writing just makes me want to

I love the way the internet has the ability to connect souls! To meet other people who are truly amazing!

And while I didn't personally ask any of my already amazing friends to be my buddy's because I already have several who consistently encourage me towards my dream...and I love them for that! (You know who you are -- so THANK YOU!!)

I think this so so perfect for us <3
So, who is encouraging you in your dreams?
If you need someone, I'd love to be that someone! :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Our 100 Words Weekend

* Pizza. * Friday night worship. * Share communion with daughters.  * Sleep in. * Lazy morning. * Play Words with Friends. * Meander trails. * Absorb bountiful sunshine. * Girls build bridge across creek.*  They hike back with sloshy shoes and muddy pants. * Girls sleepover at BFF house. * Mike & I try new (to us) restaurant (Nakato).*  Catch a Movie. * Volunteer at church. * Clean.*  Make chili and brownies. * Laugh with neighbors during games. * Win at Euchre. * Mike wakes up sick. L * Donuts at new donut shop in town (Rays).*  Reorganize Craft Closet.* Complete new paint/craft kits from Christmas. * Shop online for cruise stuff. * Movies on couch. * Dream.

beautiful sunset, beautiful reflection
One more thing,
I found this New Pinterest Board I love: Everything Outdoors. 
Isn't this a beautiful picture! ?!  

Friday, January 18, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Cherished

Five Minute Friday: Where I write for 5 minutes - no editing, on one word, this week's word is: Cherished, and then link up over at Lisa Jo Baker's website.

Cherished.  It's the thing I most feel in my marriage.  It's also  the way I know God feels about me.  Although sometimes I forget this.  But my marriage, that I feel. I know.  The way he still looks at me after all these years. The way he treats my feelings so tenderly.  The way he still reaches for my hand. The way he longs to enjoy evenings and days with me.  They way he makes me smile at random times of the day from simple texts. The way he loves our girls.  The way he catches my eye from across the room.  The way he enjoys me. They way he helps out around our home.  How he actually does most of the projects I ask him too.  How he listens to me.  And you see -- all these ways he cherishes me here on earth, gives me glimpses of how much God cherishes me. So very much. I'm thankful that I can feel, know and experience this 'cherished'. I truly wish it was something everyone had the chance to know, as well.  How sweeter would this world be, if we were all cherished by just one person?  And I also hope that cherished is what my daughters ALWAYS feel when they think of their parents love for them!  Cherished.  It is a beautiful beautiful thing.  Cherish those in your life today!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Big Dreams: Small Steps

Like I mentioned last Tuesday, every Tuesday I'm linking up with Holley Gerth about God-sized Dreams for the next six months.  So this week, we're suppose to write about small steps we've taken towards our dreams. The smaller, the better. they are.

Dream No. 1: Have my ideas made into family friendly apps.  Steps:
  1. Called a friend who knows something about app development. Got some great (and overwhelming) ideas from him on things to think about and consider.  
  2. Researched college courses about app development at two local colleges...not finding much. 
  3. Checked into professional app development options.
  4. (Okay, this isn't productive...just reality.) I cried. Honestly, I want to give up already. How pathetic is that?!  And yet, I can't.  My dream bubbling up in me won't let me quit.  I'm just stuck. I MUST think of a next step.  One baby step at a time...right?
Dream No. 2: Use my story/journey of healing to encourage others (currently, pursue publishing memoir) Steps.
  1. I wrote a query letter to a literary agent a year ago. Yes, an entire year ago. And it has sat in my computer since then. So I reopened it. Tweaked it. Made sure it included everything she was looking for.
  2. I checked and made sure she was still 'looking for' memoirs. 
  3. I reread through my memoir and made some more revisions. 
  4. Then, maybe. just maybe. before I could chicken out, (again!), I just put it all in an email and hit the 'send' button. Then I held my breath. And I closed my eyes and pictured myself placing the whole thing in God's hands.  If this God-sized dream is really from Him, then He will make a way for it to happen.  I just have to take one step of faith after another. 
  5. I entered a contest to win free publication of my book. 
  6. I've been reading more on building a platform (ie, an audience).  I've been thinking of this since late fall, and I've been trying to be more intentional.  For example, I'm actually trying to use twitter. I don't really like it. at all. but I'm trying to find the benefits.  And I'm trying to grow my platform.  I've gone from no followers to 50 in about 2-3 months.  Gotta start somewhere, right?   
  7. Also, in regards to platform, I've also added 'followers' on the side of my blog.  I find this embarrassing  Only 6 followers. Yes.  But my blog has always been personal, for family, for friends.  They just follow it and comment through my FB posts. I've never cared about followers.  Yet, this building a platform/audience seems like a big deal in the publishing world these days. And it makes since. So, I'm trying to add 'official' followers.  And to all of you who have followed and read my blog for years...thanks (and if you want to become and official 'follower' - just follow along in the sidebar!)
So, there's my small steps from the past couple of weeks.  Small beginnings. I hope you've had the courage too to take small steps have you taken towards your God-sized dreams! Together, we can do this!
Love this I found over at Home Sanctuary blog.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Oh, sweet children of are growing up waaay too fast!  Thanks for letting me capture these photos of you on our walk the other evening...on a January day that felt more like Springtime than winter.
Morgan found this heart in a rock on our walk and snapped a picture of it. 

My 3 favorites!

How'd I get so lucky to be their mom?! 

Sweet Sarah. She found this branch hanging over the water. 

Do you see how tall she is?! 

Doesn't everyone walk on their hands on a walk?

She first had the a way to walk across river without getting wet. 

Silliness. Glad you got over your 'I don't want to walk!' attitude. ;) 

Look at all that Green! In January!

Changing before my eyes...

BSFEL (Best Sisters for Eternal Life)

Friday, January 11, 2013

5 Minute Friday: Dive

It's 5 minute Friday, where I write for 5 minutes with no editing, then link it up over at Lisa-Jo Baker's site. Today's word: DIVE!

Today I am reminded of my girls at the pool this past summer.  They joined the swim team this past summer and it was an absolute blast!  Eight practices a week, swim meets.  I was so proud of how hard they worked at their practices.  And I loved seeing how far they came.

 Morgan's dive improved immensely.  I was quite impressed with some of them by the end of the season.  And her ability to dive gave her both confidence and headstart when the buzzer went off at the meets. 

Sarah on the other hand....well the 'dive' was something she never 'got' this past summer. But she never stopped trying.  I was proud of her effort, even as I cringed watching as somehow both her feet and her hands touched the water at the same time. Time after time.  I think this is why she liked the backstroke in the swim meets the best, because she didn't have to dive in first.

Needless to say, I am definitely looking forward to them doing swim team again this coming summer! I'm definitely looking forward to seeing if this is the summer Sarah finally 'gets' the dive figured out - and I can't wait to be there cheering her on! (Oh that 5 minutes went to much more I wanted to write!)

Also, here is another post I wrote about jumping off the high dive back in 2008!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

BElieve THEre is GOOD in the World!

Salvation Army - Canned Food Drive - Just the Beans and Corn!

I actually wrote this article to publish over at in a few weeks -but also wanted to put it here, because it's something I want to remember on this amazing journey of my life!

So here's the deal.  I wanted to volunteer with my girls. Instill in them compassion for others.  Spend time with them. Give of ourselves, because we've been given so much.  But the reality is, our volunteering was sporadic at best. Until, I started this last July...

I called it ImpACT Chics. (Our church as an ImpACT initiative to reach out into our community each month, thus my inspiration)

To get started, I simply invited several of my daughters friends and their moms, to join the group. (Our church also has a database of groups, so we've been able to make some new friends through that too!)

Here's how it works. 
  • I find one project a month that a group of moms and daughters (approx ages 7-12) can do together. 
  • I then let the moms know what the month project is (either via group I set up on facebook, or via email for those not connected to facebook), so they can let me know if they are coming or not!
  • Then we show up one time a month and volunteer together - usually on a Saturday morning, but not always, depending on the event.
So far we have done things like...
  • make blankets for Project Linus
  • Help at Convoy of Hope's weekly Hands of Hope volunteer opportunity (sorted food)
  • Decorated cookies and took them to police/fire (in honor of 9.11)
  • Painted some rooms at local organization called Community Partnership, which has a variety of programs in our community that seek to strengthen communities, families, individuals
  • Helped be a part of Friends Against Hunger's event to pack 1 million meals in 1 weekend (some meals even went to Hurricane Sandy victims)
  • Sorted canned food for Salvation Army's huge canned food drive for the holidays
  • Helped pack up bags of food for Tiger Totes program which sends home meals for the weekend to 150 kids our school system
  • and next month, we are making a craft at my home then taking them all over the local nursing and giving them to residents there for valentine's day
    Why I love this?
    • It keeps me volunteering on a regular basis
    • I love spending time with my girls. And I feel like I'm instilling in them the value of compassion.
    • I love spending time with their friends and other moms who share same values that we do
    • When we all come together, it really feels like we make an impact in those couple of hours we are together
    • We are supporting great organizations who are already doing some amazing things in our community
    • It's just fun! Especially shared with others!
    Hope this inspires you to volunteer in your community, as well! Here's my newest favorite saying: BElieve THEre is GOOD in the World!

    Helping Friends Against Hugner Pack 1 Million Meals in a Weekend

    Tuesday, January 8, 2013

    Dreams to Reality

    Several years ago I read this blog post by Jill Savage called, Are you a Dream-Maker or a Dream-Taker? It echoes in my parenting decisions everyday.  You see, if I'm not careful, I can easily be a dream-taker.  But I'm conscious of this, and I fight to be a dream-maker for my girls.  But when in comes to me...well when it comes to my own dreams, honestly, I am more of a dream-taker. A realist. Why dream - it's not gonna happen. Why dream - it's ridiculous to think I'm gonna be an author. Why dream - it's a needle in a haystack chance of it ever happening.  Why dream?!

    But here's the thing.  These dreams have been deep in my soul. They are bubbling near the surface.  I've tried to express it through my writing at various times: Simmering Dreams and The Dream Seed. So it's time to start making my dreams happen.  I love how Holley Gerth's new book, "Do What You Can" Plan is reminding me that it is all about small steps. Obedience in small tasks.  And it also takes faith. Believing God will take my obedience and weave it into a bigger story, that is far greater than even my own journey.

    I'm part of Holley Gerth's God-Sized Dream Team (EEEK!), so once a week for the next six months, I'll be writing on here on Tuesdays about my dreams. Holley has invited 100 of us to be part of this team, inspiring each other, (and all of you!) towards the dreams God has placed in our hearts. I'm excited about the accountability this opportunity provides. Excited about the networking that is already happening with so many amazing women also pursuing their own dreams behind the scenes. It's beautiful.

    So, for today, here are two dreams just are bubbling up in me...

    Dream No. 1: There are lots of fun ideas that I have done with the girls over the years, and I'm still doing with them - that I think would make some really fun phone apps for other families to enjoy!  I think the more family togetherness we can create,- more laughter, talking, playing together we can do in our families - the stronger (and sweeter) they are.   Needless to say, I'm in over my head in this app development thing...but I'm taking small steps to explore options and seeing where God takes this.

    Dream No. 2: I wrote a memoir. My story of tragedy. of pain. of my heart being broken into a million unrecognizable pieces.  Of my journey of healing. of discovering grace. of hope. of joy again. I wrote the story for my girls, but sometimes I feel like maybe other victim's families, on their journey of grieving/healing, might be encouraged by my words too.

    It's kinda hard to write that down. What if I fail? But what if I never try? Oh, perhaps the real journey through all of this is giving myself permission to be a dream-maker!

    psst - one small step - the sidebar on my blog has always said, "And... I wonder if I'll figure out what I want to do when I grow up, but try to enjoy the journey and cherish the moments along the way." But last week, I changed it to read the following, "I'm cherishing the moments of life's journey, while pursing my God-given dreams to write, share and publish my ideas." 

    Friday, January 4, 2013

    5 Minute Friday: Opportunity

    My blog has been more of a personal blog.  For family, for friends.  That was my initial intent, to keep in touch with those who live so far away from us, but who still feel so close at heart.  But lately, I've been wondering what it would be like to connect with others. With strangers.  There are some amazing blogs I read and behind those blogs are some amazing women.  They inspire me. Their words often echo in my heart after I read them.  I don't feel quite as alone in my thoughts and struggles when I read their words.

    SO...I saw this opportunity today...and I decided to try it.  I've never done a linkup with another blog before, so we'll see how this goes! I stumbled across it at Gift After Gift, but it's at Lisa-Jo Baker's website (I like her last name already!) and it's called #FiveMinuteFriday.  She gives a writing prompt and you have 5 minutes to write - no editing, no overthinking, just write.  Today's prompt was: OPPORTUNITY.  So here it is, my five minute writing prompt, that I fumbled through on my new keyboard (yay for husband using his overtime money to buy me a new laptop since my old one seemed about ready to crash!). 

    Opportunity. I have so many opportunities every day. And yet how often do I let them slip away?

    Opportunity to interact with my girls, and yet I get caught up on the computer. 
    Opportunity to encourage a friend with a letter, and yet I just let it slip by. 
    Opportunity to pursue a dream and yet I talk myself out of it.
    Opportunity to grow in my relationship with God, yet my bible sits closed. 
    Opportunity to learn something new, but I don't.

    Why? I wish I was one of those Carpe Diem people (Seize the day!) Sometimes I am.  I wonder if it is a skill I could develop?  I'm so thankful I live in America and for all the opportunities I have.  I wonder what my life would be like if I did seize more opportunities.  I'm not talking perfection here, just being more aware of the opportunities I have every day that I miss.  I wonder...I wonder... 

    Hopefully I link this up correctly. :) And yes, I would totally rewrite this if I could and didn't have to follow the rules! :) But since I'm a rule follower, I'll leave it alone! :)

    Thursday, January 3, 2013

    New Year Questions for My Kids

    I saw these questions on Inner Child Learning (via pinterest, of course!) -- so I added a few of my own and asked the girls yesterday morning. I wanted to write down the questions and answers here, so I can try and remember and ask them every year. I think it will be fun to see how they grow and change from their responses each year. My favorite response was about keeping only 5 things in their room. :)

    Favorite Color?
    S: Dark Blue
    M: Purple

    Favorite Healthy/Unhealthy Food:
    S: Chicken/Andy's Frozen Custard
    M: Broccoli/Zingers

    When do you feel the happiest?
    S & M:  When I am with my family (awww!)

    When you look around the world, what is something that makes you sad?
    S & M: Homeless people

    What can you do to change that?
    S: Saving up money and giving them a dollar or two
    M: Give them 5 or 10 dollars

    If you had to stop school today and do a job, what would it be?
    S & M: A Teacher

    If you could learn something new this year, what would it be?
    S: How to use the oven (and the grill)
    M: Algebra

    If you could do one thing and not fail at it, what would it be?
    S: Bake a lot of dinners
    M: Bungee jumping

    If you could do just one chore for whole year, what would it be?
    S: Clean the refrigerator
    M: Taking care of Daisy dog (no poop)

    If you could only keep 5 things in your room this year, what would they be?
    S: Pink blankey, Cupcake & Cookie (her bears), American Girl Doll & stuff, books (she couldn't pick one)
    M: Crackers (her duck), Darth Vader's Head (don't ask), ipod, 2 blankets, clarinet

    Goals I want to set for this year:
    S: Keep my room clean and organized
    M: Save money, finish 6th grade, eat less junk food

    To do this goal I will:
    S: Not randomly put things around
    M:  buy a bank I can not get into, eat dessert only once a week, tv on Saturday only

    One year from now...
    S: I want to tell myself I accomplished my goal.
    M: I want to remember the cruise

    Tuesday, January 1, 2013

    Another 365 Days Around the Sun Begins

    Goodbye 2012...
    We were going to join the festivities downtown last night, but opted instead for a quiet night at home.  So here's the condensed version of our night...

    Sharing ‘2012 adventures’ around dinner table ~ Baked Potato Soup ~ puppy chow mix ~ words with friends ~ Jumanji ~ Hide and go seek ~ We Bought a Zoo ~ more Hide and go seek ~ Homemade Cherry Limeade ~ Zingers ~ Laughter ~  Sister Slumber Party 

    How lucky are we to welcome in the new year with these two cuties!?! #cherrylimeade #2013begins

    Hello 2013...

    • I will continue to cherish the moments of this journey...because moments are all we live, to hold, to cherish. 
    • I will continue to invest in relationships. That is where life is the happiest...shared with others.
    • I will continue to keep my eyes wide opened to all the ways the God gives me glimpses of heaven while on this earth. 
    • I will continue to pay attention to the dreams God has placed in my heart. And I will take small, attainable steps towards those dreams.  Want to join me? I'm starting Holley Gerth's "Do What You Can" Plan today...

    "Do What You Can" Plan, The (Ebook Shorts): 21 Days to Making Any Area of Your Life Better