Tuesday, December 06, 2005

This is an easy and fast to make poncho pattern. E-mail me if you want the directions. (I have directions for sizes from Toddler to Adult.)

Gracie saying "Cheese!"

Pink Version...

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

It doesn't snow a whole lot around here so my daughter (Jessica) decided she'd better make a snowman while she could! I thought it was cute so I took a picture of it. (That's what mom's do you know!)

My Sentiments Exactly!
(Well, as long as I don't have to drive in it!)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I don’t remember what I was dreaming. I only remember the blaring of the alarm clock and the sudden absence of my husband from our bed. He began to rush around and I briefly entertained thoughts of getting up with him.

From my station under the blankets I could feel the bite of the cold morning air on my face and I just couldn’t stand the thought of tossing those covers aside. I knew the moment I did frigid air would wash over me and set my teeth to chattering like a wind up toy.

No, better to stay snuggled under my pile of blankets; maybe even drift back to sleep…

I heard Him whisper...

“You said you wanted to spend time with Me.”

It’s funny how even when clouded with sleep my brain can quickly calculate a plan to keep me in bed longer!

“Honey, Will you reset the alarm for me?”

“I’ll get up at 6:30!” I thought, “That way I can steal another hour of warmth and I’ll still be able to grab a few minutes of quiet time before the kids get up!” I wiggled further into the blankets satisfied with my plan.

Jon reset the alarm for me before gathering the rest of his things. “I’m running a little late so I won’t be able to take the dogs out.”

I stifled a groan. That meant I’d have to do it! Oh well, if he’s late I’ll have to do it whether I get up now or not.

“Okay” I mumbled. We ran through the usual exchange; “Don’t forget your sandwich, have a good day, I love you…” and he quietly shut the door.

As I lay there I heard him go into the bathroom. I shut my eyes and tried to will myself back to sleep, but instead I started thinking.

I thought of the things he needed to do yet before he left. His usual stuff, but today it would be a hassle because he was already running late.

I thought about how he gets up and leaves our warm bed everyday to take care of me and our children.

I thought about how he never complains, even when he comes home from a long hard day at work and still has chores to do at home.

I thought about the overtime he’s been working so he can take the day after Thanksgiving off because I want to go get our Christmas tree.

I started to feel a little guilty but the pull of my bed was still too strong. ‘Oh Lord!’ I prayed, ‘please help me to put myself aside so I can get up and bless him!’

With a sudden resolve I took a breath to brace myself and flung the covers aside. Before I could change my mind I threw on some sweats and headed for the kitchen. As I set to work collecting his things and pouring his coffee he came into the kitchen and stood watching me. I glanced up at him and could read the question in his eyes before he even asked it.

“What are you doing up? I thought you were tired?”

“You said you were late.” I said with a shiver.

The smile he gave me warmed me to my toes. It was a smile that said, “You have blessed me.”

Strong arms enveloped me and held me to his chest. “I love you” he whispered into my hair.

When he had gone, I got my Bible and spent some time with another. I felt the warmth of His presence as I heard Him whisper again to my heart…

“…you have blessed Me.”

Thank you Lord for giving me the strength to get up and serve You and my husband this morning. I am the one who was blessed.
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Saturday, October 08, 2005

What Cartoon Character Are You?

Several weeks ago a bunch of bloggers were doing online quizzes to determine everything from what type of movie they were to what kind of candy they represent. Here is one that you'll have to do your own math on but it was fun and silly so I'm posting it.

Just so you know, I was Sponge Bob Square Pants! (Which has me wondering because that's Jon's least favorite cartoon character!)

Here you go...

Everyone has the personality of a cartoon character. Have you ever asked yourself what cartoon character you most resemble? A group of investigators got together and analyzed the personalities of well known and modern cartoon characters. The information that was gathered was made into this test. Answer all the questions with what describes you best, add up all your points (which are next to the answer that you choose) at the end and look for your results. Do not cheat by looking at the end of the e-mail before you are done.


1. Which one of the following describes the perfect date?
a) Candlelight dinner (4 pts.)
b) Fun/Theme Park (2 pts.)
c) Painting in the park (5 pts.)
d) Rock concert (1 pt.)
e) Going to the movies (3 pts.)

2. What is your favorite type of music?
a) Rock and Roll (2 pts.)
b) Alternative (1 pt.)
c) Soft Rock (4 pts.)
d) Country (5 pts.)
e) Pop (3 pts.)

3. What type of movies do you prefer?
a) Comedy (2 pts.)
b) Horror (1 pt.)
c) Musical (3 pts.)
d) Romance (4 pts.)
e) Documentary (5 pts.)

4. Which one of these occupations would you choose if you could only could choose one of these? (What kind of a choice is this anyway?)
a) Waiter (4 pts.)
b) Professional Sports Player (5 pts.)
c) Teacher (3 pts.)
d) Police (2 pts.)
e) Cashier (1 pt)

5. What do you do with your spare time?
a) Exercise (5 pts.)
b) Read (4 pts.)
c) Watch television (2 pts.)
d) Listen to music (1 pt.)
e) Sleep (3 pts.)

6. Which one of the following colors do you like best?
a) Yellow (1 pt.)
b) White (5 pts.)
c) Sky Blue (3 pts.)
d) Dark Blue (2 pts.)
e) Red (4 pts.)

7. What do you prefer to eat right now?
a) Snow (3 pts.) (Is snow really considered a food?)
b) Pizza (2 pts.)
c) Sushi (1 pt.)
d) Pasta (4 pts.)
e) Salad (5 pts.)

8. What is your favorite holiday?
a) Halloween (1 pt.)
b) Christmas (3 pts)
c) New Year (2 pts.)
d) Valentine's Day (4 pts.)
e) Thanksgiving (5 pts.)

9. If you could go to one of these places which one would it be?
a) Paris (4 pts)
b) Spain (5 pts.)
c) Las Vegas (1 pt.)
d) Hawaii (4 pts.)
e) Hollywood (3 pts)

10. With which of the following would you prefer to spend time with?
a) Someone Smart (5 pts.)
b) Someone attractive (2 pts.)
c) Someone who likes to Party (1 pt.)
d) Someone who always has fun (3 pts.! )
e) Someone very sentimental (4 pts.)

Now add up your points and find out the answer you have been waiting for! DON'T PEEK YET! NOW, COMPARE YOUR POINTS TO THESE CHARACTERS:

(10-16 points) You are Garfield: You are very comfortable, easygoing, and you definitely know how to have fun but sometimes you take it to an extreme. You always know what you are doing and you are always in control of your life. Others may not see things as you do, but that doesn't mean that you always have to do what is right. Try to remember your happy spirit may hurt you or others.

(17-! 23 points) You are Snoopy: You are fun, you are very cool and popular. You always know what's in and you never are out of style.You are good at knowing how to satisfy everyone else. You have probably disappeared for a few days more than once but you always come home with the family values that you learned. Being married and having children are important to you, but only after you have had your share of fun times.

(24-28 points) You are Elmo: You have lots of friends and you are also popular, always willing to give advice and help out a person in need.You are very optimistic and you always see the bright side of things. Some good advice: try not to be too much of a dreamer, if not you will have many conflicts with life.

(29-35 points) You are Sponge Bob Square Pants: You are the classic person that everyone loves. You are the best friend that anyone could ever have and never want to lose. You never cause harm to anyone and they would never not understand your feelings. Life is a journey, it's funny and calm for the most part. Stay away from traitors and jealous people, then you will be stress free.

(36-43 points) You are Charlie Brown: You are tender, you fall in love quickly but you are also very serious about all relationships. You are a family person. You call your mom every Sunday. You have many friends and may occasionally forget a few Birthdays. Don't let your passion confuse you with reality.

(44-50 points) You are Dexter: You are smart and definitely a thinker. Every situation is fronted with a plan. You have a brilliant mind.You demonstrate very strong family principles. Maintain a stable routine but never ignore a bad situation when it comes.

So, who are you?

Friday, September 09, 2005

I Am Still Here!

I just haven't posted for awhile!

Don't you hate it when you have something all typed out and you think you post it but it disappears! Grrrr!

Okay, we'll try this again! I have been so busy lately that I just haven't had time (or the inclintation!) to get on here and post anything. I know, not a good excuse and I will try to post more often. But not right now! :) Arielle (my 9 year old) fell and broke her leg this past Tuesday. I will tell you more about what happened but I want to (gasp!) actually write a post about that so you'll have to wait.

For now, what you need to know is that she won't be getting a cast until next Tuesday because of concerns about swelling and stuff. So, she is here at home but has to be immobilized or the surgery that she's narrowly avoided so far will catch up with her! It was a pretty serious break (she even had to stay overnight at the hospital) so she's still in a lot of pain. As you can imagine I am running ragged trying to take care of her every need (and I do mean every!) and the other three kiddos.

Until then I leave you with pictures of some of our recent events (I know it's sort of cheating but it's better than nothing right?) And please keep praying for my poor girl!

Arielle standing (something she won't be doing for awhile!) by the river.

Our worn out little camper. She fell asleep in the baby backpack while we were hiking back from the river. We just let her sleep there while we played cards. lol

The campground we went to on this trip was waaaay out there but it was absolutely beautiful. I have a bunch of pics of the river but none of them do it justice.

Joshua, Gracie and Jon relaxing on one of our camping trips. I wasn't sure we'd ever get Jon home after this one. :)

Here is Jessica about to be baptized....

This was Arielle when she got baptized. Here she's coming up out of the water. My husband Jon is on the left and our Pastor Dave is on the right.

Gracie showing off her shapely swimsuit figure...

The Three Amigos...Talon, Joshua and Nathan. (Okay, so I was playing in the paint program and they don't really have facial hair but aren't they cute?!)

I Am Still Here!

I just haven't posted in awhile! (Obviously, huh!)

I want to post, I really do! I had been busy and just putting it off but now I have a good excuse! Arielle (my 9 year old) fell and broke her leg this last Tuesday. I will be telling you more about that but I want to (gasp!) actually write a post and I just don't have time right now. She can' get a cast until next Tuesday because there are concerns about swelling and such so I have to keep her still until then or the surgery she has narrowly escaped so far will catch up to her. Which means I am running a little ragged with caring for her every need (and I do mean every!) plus the other three kiddos.

So, until I can snatch a moment I have posted several pictures of some of our recent events. (I know it's sort of cheating but at least it's something right?) One request, please keep praying for Arielle. The break was serious enough that she was hospitalized overnight and like I said, almost needed surgery. Thanks my friends!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Zoning Out...

What a full morning it had been! I was teaching the first through third grade kids at our church's VBS. Those kids have a lot of energy and by the time it was over mine was gone. I was tired and hungry but I still needed to go to the store and pick up a few things. While I was in Walmart I grabbed myself a Payday candy bar to boost my blood sugar. After getting all four kids back in the car I scarfed it down hoping to get a little energy boost. (Pretty picture there for you!) After cleaning all the stickiness from my fingers I started the car and off we went.

I don't know how long I had been driving when suddenly I felt confused and didn't know where I was. It was a scary moment! I was so tired and drained that I had been zoning out and just driving on "auto pilot". The sugar from the candy bar must have just been taking hold when I got confused because a moment later I recognized my surroundings and calmed down but it was such a weird experience. When I used to commute I occasionally would arrive home only to realize that I didn't remember any of the drive but this was different. I had never been on normally familiar road and not known where I was before. It kind of freaked me out!

Of course I was immediately grateful to God for keeping us from harm while my brain was on vacation. He is so gracious and merciful! We always seem to think we need to have it all together, spiritually and here in the physical world but God's grace is big enough to cover us when we stumble (which I do every single day!) or our brain's decline to join us.

It got me to thinking though. How often do I put my spiritual life on "auto pilot" and just zone out? If something had happened while I was driving I wouldn't have been alert enough to drive defensively or avert an accident. The same goes for my spiritual condition. If I am just zoning out I am unprepared for whatever may lie around the next corner. Or I may just crash because I don't have the energy to keep going.

Today I made sure I kept my energy up by eating when I started to lag. I also made sure I fed on the Word and prayed this morning before I went to do VBS again so I had the energy (spiritually speaking) to teach the kids. My beautiful partner Aislinn was so sweet and concerned for me that she brought an extra yogurt so I could have one if I needed it. I know I need to take care of myself but it sure is nice to have friends that will look out for me too.

And above all it's so good to have a God who is watching over me every second of every minute of every day and isn't afraid to intervene when necessary.

God never zones out.

Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 1 Peter 1:13 NKJV *

*When you see the word "therefore" you need to find out what it's there for! If you aren't familiar with this passage then go read at least verses 1-13 of chapter 1. It's a very encouraging passage of scripture!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Where is she?

Hello my friends in blog land. I just looked at my own blog and realized it has been quite some time since I have posted! Bad, bad me. Know what I realized? Looking at your own blog when you haven't been posting is like stepping on the scale after a long time period (especially if you've been snacking a lot!) It's not a good feeling!

I would love to tell you I have a fantastic post for you...

...but I don't.

My Mom has been in town from Wyoming (I only see her once a year). My Aunt who raised me was just diagnosed with lung cancer and had surgery for an aneurysm last week. (It was a high risk surgery that we weren't sure she would make it through. Praise the Lord, she is doing well.) I went camping, to a family reunion and now this week I am teaching at Vacation Bible School. As if that weren't enough, tonight we are picking up our second dog!

Today I need to get prepared for the dog, clean my house, wash the stinky camping laundry and put all our gear away. I also need to prepare for tomorrow's class, read an assigned book and I think I may try to squeeze in a nervous break down (but only if there's time!)

So, I don't think I have time to write anything earth shattering or life changing today. The rest of the week isn't looking too good for that either! I keep thinking life will settle down soon but it hasn't happened yet so I'm making no promises. Besides, if I find a moment I may take it to knit (my new hobby!) That's nice and relaxing and I don't have to think much! In fact, maybe I'll reschedule my nervous breakdown and knit instead....

For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places. He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great. You enlarged my path under me, So my feet did not slip. Psalm 18:31-36

I absolutely love those verses at times like this! I am reminded that the Lord is my strength. He has ordered my steps and makes my way perfect. And when I am to tired to walk any further He gently scoops me up into His arms and carries me. My life can become a whirlwind of activity that makes me feel like I might lose my marlbes, but God is my peace. He is my refuge. I hope that if your life is as busy as mine (or even if it's not) you will take the time to meet with the Lord. He loves to be our strength and our peace. I think I will put aside the knitting for the moment too. I just thought of something I'd rather be doing.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


I was just reading Comforting Words on Fish's blog and now I am anything but comforted! He tells how he went up to the kids camp and there was a girl crying that he tried to cheer up. I have two girls up there! If you're a mom you know how I'm feeling right about now.

It may not even be my kid but I still want to whip out my superhero cape (every mom is issued one when that first child arrives) and race up there to the rescue! I want to protect! I want to defend! Would someone just give me a sword?!

Deep breath.

I am amazed at the fierceness that I feel when someone messes with a person I care about. I don't think it's limited to parents either because there is another situation in my life that's causing me to feel protective and fierce. I want to act but all I can do is pray. Really, that's the best weapon or defense there is but I still feel helpless. I still want to do something to make it better!

I guess this is where trust comes in. I have to trust that my Heavenly Father knows both situations and they are fully under His control. I need to remember that He loves both sets of people far more than I ever could and He has their best interests at heart.

In truth I don't want to spare my kids every heartache because they will never grow if I do. How can they mature and build character if life is always perfection? And more importantly, how would they ever learn to call out to God for help if there was never a problem?

I've seen this played out in my own life over and over again and God has always been faithful. I look back at some of the hard things I've been through and I can see that He used them to grow and mature me.

He has never failed me.

So I will trust Him with my kids and with the other thing (and no I'm not telling you what it is!) I will pray and I will be there for both parties if they need me. And I will trust.

Thank you for indulging my thinking out loud and sloppy writing! Now go find something better to read because I have to get ready to get my girls from that camp. Hmmm, I don't have a sword but I could make a whip out of some things around the house......

Monday, July 25, 2005

A tip (or two!)

My two oldest are at camp this week so I'm a little short on time. When they are gone I am reminded of (and quit impressed at) how much they do to help around here. For example, I have to do the dishes, laundry, sweep, vacuum and entertain the two little ones (among other things.) All stuff I used to do regularly when they were younger, but as they have grown Jessica and Arielle have taken over some of these responsiblities. They are especially helpful with the baby (as in, I haven't yet had a shower today because they aren't here to watch her! I just put her down for a nap though so I'll get one soon!) They also cook simple dinners and Jessica bakes the cookies for her dad's lunches.

I know some might say that I ask to much of them but I think it's important for all of my kids to learn 1). that they are an important part of this family and their contributions are valued, 2). the world doesn't actually revolve around them and they are expected to contribute and 3). they need to learn to take care of themselves and others. Being a servant is an essential part of not only family life, but a life pleasing to God. (There are more than three things that I think are important but that's all I could come up with on short notice!) :)

I need to go take a quick shower while I can. I didn't really intend to blog about this but since I did let me just say don't neglect the training of your kids. They will not die if you tell them no or give them responsiblity and expect them to fullfill it. It takes a whole lot of work (and we're very far from the finish line!) but it's worth it. Even though we have struggles my kids are a blessing to me. One of my aims in parenting them is that they would be a blessing to others as well.

Okay, enough lecturing. It's hot and the fruitflies are abundant (and irritating!) Here's a little tip from the Dollar Stretcher e-zine on how to get rid of those pesky little critters (without whipping out the vaccuum!) I'm going to go shower now!

Fruit Fly Trap
Regarding getting rid of "fruit flies," I learned this tip from the local agriculture extension office website. It worked great for me. Put some kitchen garbage that attracts fruitflies (wet compost materials like melon rinds, egg shells,spoiled food, etc.) in a plastic bag close to the problem area. Leave it open for up to half an hour. When you come back, simply tie the bag closed and throw it away. Repeat if necessary. This really gets rid of them in a hurry. Sara M.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Dropping by for a moment...

What a beautiful morning it is here! Do you know that I am actually cold? It's breezy and raining and there is the possibility of a thundershower! Yes, I am excited by that! I am not a hot weather type of person. To me the best thing about summer is that fall (my favorite season) is next.

The weather guys say that later it should be close to 80 again so I will enjoy this morning while I have it. The melodious tinkling of my wind chimes coupled with the sound and smell of the rain drifting through my window is like a balm to my soul. It speaks of coziness and peace to me. I had planned to stay home and catch up on some chores today anyway but with the rain it's all the better! Who wants to go out in the rain? I need to scale Mt. Laundry, do some baking and I have some blueberries and raspberries that I need to make into jam and get processed.

Am I a dork for looking forward to doing these things today? Maybe, but I'm a happy dork! :) There is just something about taking care of my family that blesses me as much as it does them. There is a satisfaction in working hard to provide and care for them that is unmatched by some of the mindless pursuits out there.

Well, I hear my little Gracie crying in her room so I better get going. (I love snuggling them when they are warm and sleepy!) I just thought I'd check in since I hadn't posted in awhile. I will be posting again soon I hope!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

(Jon built the table and chairs as a wedding present to me almost 14 years ago. Of course this was before we had four kids so we covered them with fabric. Ick!)

(Vinyl that looks like leather! Looks just a little bit better huh? )


I haven't posted for days but it's not because I have nothing to say. It's not because I've been "scooped" and others have posted what I was going to post (although I hate it when that happens!) It's because I've put myself on restriction.

Yep, I'm grounded.

I've noticed lately that I have been spending far to much time on here. With all the blogs to read, the time it takes to write one myself and then e-mail on top of that my time slips away like water down the drain. Pretty soon the day is gone and I have to frantically catch up on all I've been putting off. And, to be honest I think I've been using blogs as a little bit of an escape. Life can get overwhelming at times and my tendancy is to run away. (Of course this only makes things worse in the long run because all that stuff I'm ignoring gets lonely and makes friends with more stuff that I need to do!)

So, while I do intend to continue blogging I'm going to not let it take over my life. Besides, how will I have anything to write about if I'm hiding in my bedroom hunkered over the computer all the time!?

The last couple of days I've spent catching up on some of the things I've been putting off. I've done some sewing (which I love! How did I forget that?) I done some cleaning (which I don't love so much. It's amazing though how a clean house can make me feel peaceful but a dirty one makes me agitated!) I've even done some weeding in my wanna be garden! (Of course now there's nothing in it because I only seem to be able to grow weeds and mold but that's beside the point!)

After checking some things off my to do list I feel a little freedom. And amazingly enough I feel refreshed! (And it probably helps that I haven't been sitting like a zombie in front of this monitor.)

I've got to run, I'm working on re-upolstering my chairs and I've got bread to bake before it gets to warm! Now go outside and play before I have to ground you too!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Happy Birthday Arielle! She's nine today! I wrote a post out last night but I haven't had time to revise it. Maybe I will get it on here tomorrow (but then again maybe I won't!)

Friday, July 08, 2005

A Good Day...

The sweltering summer heat pounded relentlessly on our listless sweaty bodies. It had been like this for what seemed an eternity. We would wake to a cool clear morning but as the day aged everything seemed to blur and melt together in the increasing heat.

All day the kids had been begging me to take them to the river. Now that Jon was home they had redoubled their efforts. We were hot and tired; sprawled atop each other on the garden swing in the front yard. The thought of getting up and walking to the river was not appealing in the least but they were as pesky as mosquitoes and won out over our fatigue. We made some peanut butter sandwiches, got the baby in her stroller and set off down the hill.

As we passed through the dirt field that serves as a parking lot and crested the hill that overlooks the river we could see how shallow it had become. In the winter it would fill the entire bed but in the summer heat it had dwindled to little more than a large stream. Its usual crash and fury had mellowed to a murmur that tumbled idly over rocks in places and in others was a wide smooth expanse.

It was in such an area that I waded out first to test the waters. Shallow and smooth as it was, there was a swift current riding just below the surface that could have been dangerous if it were more than ankle deep. Bitingly cold water caused my heart to skip like the stone Jon had just thrown past me. I turned to see my offspring eagerly bouncing on the shore waiting for my signal to come in.

“It’s freezing!” I warned them.

But they didn’t care. Once I gave them the nod they crashed into the water like the running of the bulls in Spain! I braced myself for the icy spray I was about to receive. Breathless and giggling they splashed and jumped like the rainbow trout that were surely cowering nearby. They were having such a good time I was irresistibly drawn to join them.

We spent the rest of the afternoon down there. Exploring the river we slid over rocks and bounced along with the current. We floated languidly in the deep still pools and overturned rocks to find crawdads and periwinkles. We stretched out on the hot boulders that line the river and sunned ourselves like a family of lizards. We watched the eagles circle overhead in lazy patterns while we ate our peanut butter sandwiches.

By the time we left we were covered in sand and completely exhausted. After trudging up the hill to our house we got everyone cleaned up and ready for bed. Jon and I were once again gently swinging in the front yard when they all tumbled out of the house to say goodnight. They piled onto the swing with us and settled their little warm bodies against us.

The gentle evening breeze ruffled our hair and tickled our noses with the smell of warm cedar trees. As the sky turned orange and pink I felt suspended between heaven and earth. I looked up at my handsome husband then at my beautiful children in awe of the blessings God has given me. Sleepily my son murmured, “It was a good day, huh Mom?”

Yes son, it was a very good day.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

This looks like a good spot!
(His sisters were hogging up the couches and Grace was in his room so he made a bed out of the kitchen chairs.)

I need a nap!

I had planned to blog today, I really did! But the neighbor kid spent the night (think noisy giggling nine year olds!) I lost count of how many times they woke me up! It's kind of ironic too because I was recently convicted for my lack of love toward my neighbors. I had been irritated by them (read self righteous) instead of loving them where they are at. So now I am trying to love them as the Lord does (and praying fervently that He would work that in me because I know I can't do it on my own!) Maybe I was supposed to learn something here? ;)

Anyway, I have a bad cold and I doubt I could write anything good if my life depended on it. So I will spare you! I'm going to go take some cold medicine and drink some tea. Maybe I'll get something posted tomorrow.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Happy 4th of July! This is all you get until at least Tuesday! (Can you guess which feet are mine?)

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Well, the neighbor kids are out in force with their bottle rockets and other explosive devices so I'm here cowering by my computer! For lack of anything better to write (and knowing you're probably all out blowing things up or eating 4th of July fare) I'm just posting random tidbits.

Joke from Jessica when she was six:

Knock Knock

Whose there?


Panther who?

Panth or no panths I'm going thwimmin!


When Arielle was 3 we were exposed to lice. Of course I was terribly paranoid so we sat around like a family of apes looking for bugs on each other. I had just finished looking through her hair when she asked if she could search mine. I said yes (because I love to have my hair played with!) A few seconds after starting she said, "Mommy! There's a teeny tiny pido (spider) in you hair!"

Of course I freaked! "Where!?" I screamed while frantically contorting in front the mirror. Meanwhile, there was my *ahem* darling daughter rolling around on the floor laughing! She had been joking with me! She must get her twisted sense of humor from Jon! ;)


When Jess was three we were going through her dresser and cleaning out the stuff that was to small for her. At one point she held up a bathing suit and asked, "Mom? Is this a one piece or a zucchini?"

I'm certain she'll be thrilled to know that I've shared this with you so here's another!

Also when she was three I asked her what she would like for breakfast. She said "A cheese wallet please!"

So I happily made her a cheese omelet.


Okay, I'll stop torturing you now! (I'd post some about Josh but being a boy his funny things all have to do with body functions and I don't know that you'd appreciate his humor! )

Have a great 4th!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

And the Oscar goes to....

She had wanted to do it for some time but it hadn’t worked out until now. Finally though, the time had come and she was up to the task. She gathered the items she would need and set to work. She cracked, she poured, she scrambled and she cooked. Oh, what a breakfast this would be!

“Juice!” she thought. The crowning touch! There was no beautiful tray to serve it on so she improvised and used a cutting board. Small hands proudly bore her carefully crafted gift down the hall and into my room where she presented her offering to me. The brightness of her smile rivaled the sun. I was touched and deeply blessed by her thoughtfulness.

I was grossed out by the under mixed, runny eggs and ‘so tart I may never pry my lips apart again’ lemonade that was to be my breakfast!

Of course I didn’t say that! Instead I thanked her and told her what a good job she had done and what a blessing she is to me. She stood there looking at me expectantly; waiting for me to eat.

My mind frantically searched for a way to avoid eating that yellow and white pile of slime that was grinning up at me from the plate. Thinking quickly I gestured toward the computer and said, “I’m just going to finish this up since I’m in the middle of something, and then I will eat my eggs. Why don’t you go get your breakfast, okay?”

I took a sip of lemonade to show my sincerity. My lips puckered so much that my cheeks cramped but she saw it as my desire for a kiss. A quick peck and off she dashed to get a bowl of cheerios.

I went back to work and tried to ignore the eggs that were mocking me from the blue trimmed white plate that I used to think was pretty! I would still have to eat them however, I had a plan. I had set them by the open window so they could get icy cold while I finished what I was doing!

When enough time had passed, (and I had given some of the lemonade to my son) I wandered nonchalantly out to the kitchen.

“How were the eggs Mommy?”

“Well, while I was working they got cold so I’m just going to warm them up and then I will eat them right away!” I said cheerfully.

Then I nuked them until they resembled one of those hard rubber balls that bounce all over the house when you drop them! Yummy! Not a hint of slime anywhere! I sat at the table to eat them in front of her and made appreciative noises all the way through.

“Those were fabulous Arielle!”

“Great!” she says, “What should I make for lunch?!”

Peanut butter actually looks alluring after facing those eggs first thing in the morning!


How many times have I brought the spiritual equivalent of runny eggs and sour lemonade to my heavenly Father? It’s probably a lot more than I think! Yet He has never once turned my offering away. Like the loving parent He is, He receives my gift with joy knowing it was my desire to bless Him.

If it is your heart to bless God, don’t be afraid that your gift won’t be good enough. Don’t look around to see the other things laying on the altar and start comparing yours unfavorably to them. It’s your heart He wants. Whatever is in your hand becomes the most precious jewel, the purest gold when it’s given from a devoted heart.

When presented in love an old cutting board, a plate of runny eggs and a tall glass of sour lemonade suddenly becomes a sumptuous banquet on the finest china, a goblet of the clearest crystal and a silver tray so pure it dazzles the eye.

“For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.” Psalm 149:4

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Okay, for those of you who have been bugging me to post a picture to my profile; here you go. Yes, it was painful! I hate having my picture taken (and really hate posting it to the internet!) Be nice to me (because I will delete mean comments!) :)

Justified For Evermore...

Here is a poem that I love...


…The Lord wiped every tear away, and turned
to see his bride. Her heart had yearned

Four thousand years for this; His face
Shone like the sun, and every trace
Of wrath was gone. And in her bliss
She heard the Master say “Watch this;
Come forth all goodness from the ground,
Come forth, and let the earth redound with joy.”
And as he spoke the throne
Of God came down to earth and shone
Like golden crystal full of light,
And banished, once for all, the night.
And from the throne a steam began
To flow and laugh, and as it ran,
It made a river and a lake,
And everywhere it flowed, a wake
Of grass broke on the banks and spread
Like resurrection from the dead.

And in the twinkling of an eye
The saints descended from the sky.

And as I knelt beside the brook
To drink eternal life, I took
A glance across the golden grass,
And saw my dog, old Blackie fast
As she could come. She leaped the stream –
Almost and what a happy gleam
Was in her eye. I knelt to drink,
And knew that I was on the brink
Of endless joy. And everywhere

I turned I saw a wonder there.
A big man running on the lawn;
That’s old John Younge with both legs on.
The blind can see a bird on wing,
The dumb can lift their voice and sing.
The diabetic eats at will.
The coronary runs up hill.

The lame can walk, the deaf can hear,
The cancer-ridden bone is clear.
Arthritic joints are lithe and free,
And every pain has ceased to be.
And every sorrow deep within,
And every trace of lingering sin
Is gone. And all that’s left is joy
And endless ages to employ
The mind and heart, and understand,
And love the sovereign Lord who planned
That it should take eternity
To lavish all his grace on me.

O, God of wonder, God of might,
Grant us some elevated sight,
Of endless days. And let us see
The joy of what is yet to be.
Any may your future make us free,
And guard us by the hope that we,
Through the grace on lands that you restore,
Are justified for evermore.


Thursday, June 23, 2005

The podium Jon built. (I have more to say on this subject but we are going camping today and I just don't have time! I will be back Saturday and hopefully post again soon.)

Scrap Wood...

A few years ago my husband was asked to build a new podium for our church. He is a woodworker by trade so he was excited to apply his skill to something for the Lord. The first thing he did was design it. He went online and looked at every picture of every podium he could find. In the end, it didn’t look like anything he had seen. It was completely original, a one of a kind creation.

When he was finally done with all the planning it was time to choose the wood that he would use. Jon has a knack for looking at a big hunk of wood and seeing the potential while the rest of us just see firewood. He meticulously chose one type that would make up the panels, the deck and the frame. Then he chose another for the dove that he planned to inlay on the front. Each piece that was considered was inspected and when he found the right ones they were set apart for his purposes. Then he carefully cut each part out, shaped it, fit them together, took them apart and reshaped where necessary, then fit them together again.

Finally, when all the parts were to his standards he glued them together and made the body. At this point he had an actual podium that would have been functional but he wasn’t done with it yet. He wasn’t going for simply functional; he wanted to create a thing of beauty. So he sanded it and smoothed it and got it prepared for spraying. It’s when a piece is sprayed that it really seems to come alive. The warmth of the wood is brought right out there for the eye to see. The grain of the wood that before just seemed invisible suddenly appears with shimmering beauty and there is a depth wasn’t previously noticed.

Just as Jon meticulously planned and created the podium; God carefully designed and lovingly hand crafted each and every one of us. He chose the color of your eyes and the shade of your hair. He shaped each and every eyelash. All those freckles you probably hated as a kid? He put each one in its place. There isn’t a single thing about you that happened by accident.

Psalm 139:13-16 says, “For you formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”

Many of us will look at our lives and not see the potential that God sees. We don’t understand how He could use us. The people we would choose have talents and gifts that seem far beyond what we have been given but God sees beyond the rough splintery outside to the beauty that lies within.

One thing you should know about the podium; it was made entirely out of scrap wood. Every piece in it was destined to be thrown away or burned. You may feel destined for the scrap pile but God sees even your potential. After all, He’s the one who put it there. Will you surrender to the hands of the Master Craftsman and allow Him to reveal the loveliness He placed in you?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

A Blank Page

Writing is hard! I sit down with my pen and tablet thinking, “Okay! This time I’ll get something down!” But then I look at that sheet of paper, clean, crisp…blank like my mind! Am I the only one who looks at it and sees a yawning chasm? I know I’m supposed to fill it with thoughts and ideas but it’s so vast! It’s so empty and huge that I feel lost on the page.

I have never thought of myself as a writer. I feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the very idea of it! Writers are these brilliant people who can paint pictures with a word, make profound truths simple enough to understand and touch feelings and emotions with the stroke of a pen. I’m just a woman with a big vocabulary.

And yet I feel a pull to write. I’m drawn to it even though it frightens me. What am I afraid of?


What if I’m just kidding myself? What if they just laugh at me? Will I look dumb? In my mind my thoughts are private. I can scribble and doodle and no one will ever know. But when you write those thoughts down on paper it’s like hanging your underwear out on the clothesline for all your neighbors to see. You know they all have them too but theirs aren’t out there dangling in the breeze!

What if I let my fear keep me from writing? What if I am too afraid to step out of the boat onto the water? I will be safe in the boat, that’s true but Jesus isn’t in the boat. He’s out there waiting for me. I have to get out and stand exposed on the water to get to Him.

If it is true that I have a gift for writing then I want to be faithful with it. I don’t want to just bury it and not share it. If I have it, it’s for a reason.

In Isaiah (6:8-9) it says, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And He said, “Go, and tell this people:”

Am I willing to be sent? Will I “go and tell this people”?

Maybe failing isn’t in writing something lousy, maybe failing is in not writing at all.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

I haven't had time to blog this week so I'm cheating and posting a pic. (I'll get back to it soon!) We've taken to calling her Baby Won Kenobi or Obi Baby Kenobi. Wouldn't she look cute with a little tiny cloak?

Friday, June 10, 2005

I Love You More Than....

My son Joshua and I have this little game we play. I’m sure it didn’t originate with us; moms have probably been playing it with their kids for ages. There aren’t really any rules and it doesn’t have a name but it’s about the best game I’ve ever played. Sometimes I start it, sometimes he does but it always ends with him in my arms.

“Hey Mom,” He yells, “I love you more than celery!

Gee thanks I think. But still, if he loved me less than celery I would be worried!

“Hey Josh!” I yell back, “I love you more than broccoli!” I’ve upped the stakes. Broccoli is my very favorite vegetable and he knows it.

His little mouth struggles to keep from smiling. His shoulders rise up to meet his ears as he fights to hide his embarrassed pleasure.

“Hey Mom.” He’s quieter now “I love you more than Lego’s.”

Wow! That’s a big one! He really means it when he brings in Lego’s! I want to grab him and squeeze him.

“Oh yeah? Well I love you more than coffee!”

Blue green eyes widen in shock! He looks like he may need to sit down for a moment, then he flashes his dimple at me in a mischievous grin.

“Do you love me more than………chocolate?”

I don’t hesitate. “Yup!”

I stretch out my arms and he launches his wiry little body at me. Then I squeeze him tight and smooch that dimple ‘til he squeals.

To One it was no game…

“Lord, do you love me?”

I love you more than heaven…

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” John 1:14

I love you more than my comfort….
“He was oppressed and afflicted yet He opened not His mouth…” Isaiah 53:7

I love you more than my right to be honored…

“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.” Matthew 27:27-31

Then He stretched out His arms and died for me, taking my sin, my shame and the punishment that should have been mine.

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:4-6

Then He conquered death so that I might live…

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

He cleared the way for me to run boldly to Him. I launched myself into His arms; He caught me and holds me tight.

His arms are open for you too…

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


I was standing on the side of the pool breathing the humid chlorine filled air when my gaze was drawn to them, two sisters splashing noisily. They were giggling and chasing each other in an impromptu game of tag that left me wishing I could jump in and play too. The blond one said something that caused the dark haired girl to throw back her head and laugh with such abandon that I had to smile, even though I didn’t know what was said. Though both were married with children of their own I could see the little girls they had once been.

I wanted to call to them and tell them to enjoy this moment. I wanted to point out to them just how blessed they were in case they didn’t know, but instead I just stood there silently watching as the ache in my chest grew. It was a strange kind of feeling, bittersweet because I was happy for them but at the same time jealous of their friendship.

I shared that kind of friendship with my sister once upon a time. We watched each other’s children, shared secrets, went shopping together and all the things sisters do. Then one day she met a man and fell in love with him. Normally I would have been happy for her but this man was addicted to crack cocaine and had problems with the law. He also happened to be our cousin’s boyfriend and had a child with her.

My sister disappeared with him one day and I worried about where she might be, if she and my four year old nephew were safe. Finally they called. They were in Las Vegas and had gotten married in a drive through chapel with my nephew asking for fries from the back seat. It was one of those “If I don’t laugh I will certainly cry” moments.

The only reason they had called was because they’d run out of money. The big sister in me wanted to send some right away but Jon said “No.” I knew he was right but it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. My new brother in law began to rant about what hypocrites we were because we wouldn’t send money. He raved about how if we were truly Christians we would help them out. Jon finally had to hang up on him and we didn’t hear from them again for over three years. I didn’t know where they were or how to contact them.

I cried.

I cried a lot.

Finally I came to a place where I had to give my sister to the Lord. He reminded me that He loves her far more than I ever could. He reminded me that He desires a relationship with her even more than I do. And He reminded me that He is God and knows right where she is and how to reach her.

Why am I telling you all of this? I’m not really sure other than she’s been on my mind a lot lately. I’d love to be able wrap all of this up with some wonderful lesson but I’m still new at this writing stuff and I don’t know how. Instead, I will tell you a little of what I’ve learned from this whole thing.

First, I had to let go of my sister because she was standing between me and my husband and ultimately between me and God. I had always seen her as my responsibility and to many times I put her first. God used the situation to realign my priorities; Him first, then my husband (little sisters don’t make the top two when you’re married).

Second, I learned to trust Him with her. If there is someone you love who has wandered off the path, know that God knows right where they are and what it will take to bring them back. He loves them more than you do.

Third, don’t take your relationships for granted. We don’t know what the future holds and time is too short to be nit picking. If it is an unhealthy relationship then ask the Lord to fix it but be willing to let it go if that’s what’s needed.

And fourth, don’t spend all your time mourning something you no longer have. It may hurt but God removed it for a reason. If you can take your eyes off it to look around, you will probably find He has given you many more blessings in place of whatever was removed. I have many friends who He has brought to fill that void. They laugh with me, cry with me; encourage me when I doubt myself. I can count on them to be there for me when trouble comes or share a Strawberry Frappaccino on a warm spring day.

A couple of them would probably even go swimming with me if I asked them to.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


For days the air had been hot and heavy, pressing down on us like a thick blanket that left us breathless and lethargic. So when the breeze started we welcomed it. It skittered through the campsite like a playful child, flipping the pages of my book until my place was hopelessly lost but I didn't care. The cool breeze ruffling through my hair made me feel as if I were awakening from a dream that had lasted far too long.

All through the camp people were coming out of their trances. Suddenly kids on bikes were everywhere and adults were walking about chattering like they hadn’t seen each other for days.

I wanted to enjoy the turn in the weather but deep inside me a warning was going off. Something was urging me to clean up the campsite. The strong pull to get everything put away and batten down the hatches didn’t seem to fit with the gentle breeze and cloudless blue sky but I couldn’t ignore it.

I hadn’t been cleaning more than a few minutes before I noticed clouds skittering by overhead. The urgency inside me grew and I worked faster. Then someone reported thunder and lightening down by the lake. This news kicked everyone into high gear; tarps were thrown over tents, campsites secured, children and pets were rounded up and tucked inside.

Before we had fully tied the tarps down the first fat drops began to fall. It had gone from hot, still weather to windy torrential rains in less than 20 minutes. We sat huddled in the tent listening to the thunder roll for over an hour.

Finally, the rains eased and the thunder rumbled off in the distance but the wind was reluctant to leave. No longer the gentle breeze that had playfully ruffled my hair, it was now in a full blown tantrum. The tall pines overhead danced and swayed, waving their branches as if in wild applause.

The day was chased away by the fast approaching darkness but the wind still would not subside. As night fell we snuggled the little ones into the tent and settled down by the fire. I usually find evenings at camp to be soothing and peaceful but this night the wind tormented the flames, whipping and swirling them around, blowing hot acrid smoke in our faces before flinging it off into the blackness somewhere along with my peace.

In that dense darkness I could hear the trees creaking and groaning with every blast from the unrelenting wind. Finally, one could take it no longer and we heard it crack then fall with a loud crash somewhere in the inky black night.

I’m sure my eyes were wide with the terror I felt because Jon immediately tried to sooth me. He wanted to go make sure the others were safe but the thought of him disappearing into the darkness caused all of my insides to twist into knots. Finally, though I was reluctant to let him go, concern for our friends won out.

As I watched the beam of his flashlight disappear into the night the huge black void pressed in and surrounded me. I was small and vulnerable, helpless against the power of the wind that lashed about me. I sat there in the dark, alone and afraid.

“Be anxious for nothing.”

The whispered thought crept into my mind amidst the frenzied thoughts of crashing trees and smashed tents. I tried to grab it but I was being tossed wildly about by the fears whirling through my head.

“Be still.”

Though again it was only a quiet whisper the words seemed to carry all His strength and power. Suddenly, the storm that raged in me was calmed and His peace flooded my soul. I was no longer at the mercy of the storm. Instead I saw myself as a tiny flame that was cupped in large strong hands, protected from the wind.

There are so many storms that blow through our lives and most of them are unexpected. We’re just going along enjoying the sunshine and out of the blue the thunder rolls, the lightening flashes and the wind tries to tear us apart. Our minds whirl with fear and doubt and we wait anxiously for the dawn, wondering if it will ever come.

When the night is black and closing in on you, remember He is near. With but a word He created all that we see. With a whisper He can calm the storm or the child caught in it. His love for you is more powerful than the fiercest gale and He cares for His own, whether they are huddled by a campfire or wandering in the dark.

I was lulled to sleep that night by the sound of the same wind that moments before had terrified me.

I know One who is bigger than the storm.

“My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.

In God is my salvation and my glory;

The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.

Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.”

Psalm 62:5-8

Friday, May 27, 2005

Off We Go!

We're going camping today and I don't know who is more excited, Jon and I or the short people! Some of my happiest memories are of camping trips when I was a kid. We would tent camp most of the time but occasionally we'd hike in to some backwoods lake and just throw our sleeping bags on the ground. One time we were by a creek that fed into a lake. While we were sleeping a bear was getting a drink out of the creek not ten feet from us! Back then I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Now, I'd probably have a heart attack to think of a bear that close to my kids! My dad was a single dad and they just don't tend to think of stuff like that! :)

I've been reading a book about writing that Shannon loaned to me. One of the author's suggestions was to carry index cards with you wherever you go so you can take notes or jot down a thought when it strikes so I've packed several of them. Let's see if I remember to use them! We will be home on Monday afternoon and I'm hoping to blog Tuesday morning. I need to keep with writing something every day.

Until then I will be eating smores and grilled bananas* until my buttons pop! Hope you all have a great Memorial Day weekend!

*If you've never had a grilled banana you are missing an essential in life! (Well, not if you hate bananas I suppose, but I digress!) Take an unpeeled banana and cut a triangle shaped wedge out of the center along the length. Eat or in some other way get rid of the chunk you cut out but keep the piece of peel. Fill the void with mini marshmallows, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, walnuts or whatever else you can think of that will go well with banana and bad with your diet. Lay the peel over the top of your goodies and wrap the banana tightly in foil. Grill ten to 15 minutes (depending on how hot your fire is you may need to increase or decrease the time. I usually check the stuff in the middle. If it's gooey, it's done!) Try not to burn your lips off as you eat your gooey mess!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Stop a Moment...

The first rays of the sun have been creeping across the yard. They finally make their way to my front window where they suddenly burst into my living room with brilliant morning light. I sit staring in wonder at the change these golden rays have brought. The greens and browns that just moments ago looked flat and dim have come alive with vibrant warmth reminding me of the mountain woods on a hot summer day. The sun hits my crystal candleholder and it explodes in a fury of color sending rainbows dancing over the walls and ceiling. I am so dazzled I can only sit and blink in amazement.

My eyes have barely begun to adjust to the brightness before it's started to fade and my living room is returned to normal. But the memory of the morning lingers with me.

The day moves on. There is work to be done, things to clean and children to teach. I dash in and out of the house preparing for our upcoming camping trip. Clean the car, wash the coolers, and find the tent and sleeping bags. The sun is still shining, brilliant in a clear blue sky but I have no time to notice it now. I’m too busy with life to stop and feel its warmth softly kiss my face, too busy to be lulled to peacefulness in its presence.

I’m just too busy.

My garden swing has been calling to me all day, finally I hear it. I quiet the busyness for a time just to enjoy the sun. To remember the brilliance I enjoyed in the early morning when the world was peaceful.

I am glad that I was awake that early to catch the beauty of the moment. My quiet time with the Lord has become like that picture of the sun in the morning; A dazzling display of God’s love and presence that stays with me throughout my busy day. The peacefulness of my time with Him lingers with me beckoning me back to Him.

Have you spent time with the Lord yet today? Listen carefully and you will hear Him, He’s beckoning you too. Stop a moment and feel warmth of His love softly kiss your face, let His presence fill you with His peace.

Take a moment to enjoy the Son.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Checking In

Well, I keep intending to post something but so far it hasn't happened. I caught that nasty cold so I'm feeling pretty crummy at the moment. I've also been busy getting my Mom's sourdough recipe collection typed into my computer. She's been collecting these recipes her entire life so you can imagine the volume! And they're almost all handwritten. I don't know how she's been able to find what she wanted all these years because it's just a big jumble of papers. I need to get all of those in before her visit in July so that hasn't left me a whole lot of time. (Let's not talk about the fact that I've had them for almost a year!)

I have been writing in my notebook everyday though so I will flip through it and see if there is anything blog worthy in there. (I'm sure there will be lots to tell you next week because we're going camping this weekend).

For now though here is a recipe from my Mom's collection.

1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup sourdough
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbs veg. oil
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup miniature marshmallows
3 to 4 cups flour

Scald milk then cool to almost room temperature. Sprinkle yeast over warm water and let sit 5 minutes to dissolve.

Combine sourdough, milk, yeast, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, egg and oil til smooth. Stir in enough flour to make a medium stiff dough (no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl). Turn out and knead 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turn once to grease top; cover and let rise until double (1 to 2 hours).

In a small bowl combine 1/3 cup sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon.

When dough is doubled punch it down. Roll out to 14"x10" rectangle. Spread with butter. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the dough. Then sprinkle with nuts, chocolate chips and marshmallows. Beginning on a long edge roll dough jelly roll style. Place seam side down with ends folded to center in a greased pan. (I'm assuming a loaf pan here but I haven't made this recipe yet so you may have to use a larger size). Cover, let rise util double (1-2 hours).

Bake at 375 degrees 40 - 50 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes then remove to wire rack.

Like I said, I haven't made this one yet but it sounded good! If you make it let me know how it turns out.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Attitude starts younger and younger....

Friday, May 20, 2005

New Plan...

I’m sitting at my computer gazing out the window at a slowly awakening world. The birds are chirping, a few frogs are still singing and a soft breeze rustles through the new spring leaves. Overhead I hear the lazy drone of a plane. I feel peaceful and content. Then I hear the melodious voice of my darling son…..


And so another day begins…

That is how my day started and it has been pretty much down hill from there. (Although I was laughing when he said that!) I had planned to write some wonderful thing about contentment and counting my blessings in the everyday chaos of life. I’m sure it would have been my best yet! ;)

But it’s not going to happen.

My kids are grumpy and they’re trying to pull me over to the dark side! I have begun to snap back at them and I don't like the direction we are headed. So my plan for the day is this; we are going to wear our jammies all day, we’re going to lie around on the floor playing games and watching movies. We’ll light a candle or two because that’s what we do on dark rainy days and if it begins to thunder and lightening again we will grin at each other with excitement. Maybe we’ll even bring out the blankets and make the living room into a giant tent. Later we’ll probably bake some cookies and I will let them drink tea out of my special tea cups.

When the day is over and the laundry is still not put away and the dishes aren’t done I will choose not to worry about it because more important things were accomplished. My children will have spent a day doing all the stuff they love with someone who adores them.

Life is fleeting and I don't want to miss a moment. I have to go now, the popcorn is ready.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Ten years ago she was Grace's size!

Here we go...

I feel like I'm standing on the edge of a great precipice. The ground falls away below me, the bottom too far away to see. I can tell by the little rocks that skitter away that I'm about to plunge in whether I like it or not. It's a large unknown that incites fear, sadness and trepidation, but I'm a little excited too. Who knows what that chasm holds? What beautiful thing may lay unseen at the bottom? I have to jump to find out.

I've been inching ever closer to the edge for awhile now. What is this vast space that causes such dread to well up inside of me?

My daughter is approaching the teen years.

You seasoned veterans may be snickering about now but I'm sure once upon a time you too were standing on the edge. Some of you are still falling, catching glimpses of what the bottom may look like but still too caught up in the rush to see the full picture yet. Other's of you have already landed. Hopefully you haven't splatted like a bug on a windshield and can offer me hope!

I know the Lord is trying to prepare me for the changing dynamic we are facing. Jessica just turned eleven and while that may not seem terribly old to some, I see it starting already. Always more of a tomboy than a princess, lately I've seen her casting furtive glances at the trendy clothes and make up. She's forever in the shower and her moods are beginning to rival mine! (My poor husband!) But then that little girl will show up and she'll be out catching bugs and climbing trees.

She's caught in the tension between being a little girl and being a young woman.

I hate it. I love it.

I enjoy her in a way I couldn't when she was just a little girl. I can see glimpses of the friends we will be when she is on the other side. I can tell her to go make dinner and it's edible!

I guess like everything in life there are trade offs. I will lose some precious things as she leaves her childhood behind. But I will gain some precious things too. Like a babysitter. And a shopping partner! And hopefully a disciple.

I guess there is no turning back, I have to take the plunge. Would those of you who have gone before shout out where the sharp pointy objects are so I can try to avoid some of them?

See you at the bottom.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Her Name Was Eloise...

She was like a shadow, a wraith that didn't belong in our brightly colored world. We were loud and boisterous, all swirling colors and brashness like a small town carnival.

She was shades of brown and gray. Quiet. Withdrawn.

She was in pain every minute of every day from the rhuematoid arthritis that had invaded her body. She was tall but walked hunched over, almost folded in half like she was trying to disappear inside herself. Lank, stringy brown hair framed a face that appeared far older than its years. Haunting and filled with sadness, I saw her eyes for a long time after she left our church.

Our church, where she should have found comfort, solace and peace but instead found disdain. A crazy circus of spiritual show offs that offered nothing but cotton candy when she needed so much more. The memory of our pride leaves me dizzy.

Her pain would not allow her to sit for more than a few minutes at a time so we let her lay on the floor in the back. Behind the last row of chairs. Out of sight. Weren't we nice? We even let her bring her pillows. For awhile we pretended that it was okay for her to be there. I think we expected her to join our carnival. We believed that if you were sick or poor it was somehow your fault. You didn't have enough faith or weren't spiritual enough. But she wouldn't put on a mask for us. She refused to be as "spiritual" as we were so we looked down on her.

One day the leader of Women's Ministry voiced her frustration. "What are people going to think of our church with her laying around!?"

I felt as if I had been slapped in the face. When it had been unspoken I could try to pretend we weren't really that shallow. But here it was out in the open, and I was ashamed. I wish I could say that I took her to task, that I took Eloise's pillows and plopped them right up front! That I restored righteousness!

But I didn't.

I stayed silent, too afraid of this woman to stand up for Eloise. Not surprisingly she left our church soon after that. She hadn't heard what was said but I'm certain she could feel it.

I tried hard to forget her. I convinced myself that she'd found a better church where they were nice to her. "Maybe she's even been healed!" I thought. The carnival went on.

The end? Not exactly. About a year later I saw Eloise on the news, or rather, a picture of her. She had in fact found a new church. It was in the basement of that church where she was murdered while trying to protect her friend.

My carnival came to a screeching halt. This woman we had thought of as weak and below our standard of spirituality understood the heart of God better than any one of us. She gave her life for another. I mourned for Eloise and I mourned for us because we had so completely missed the point. And I repented.

I didn't have the chance to tell Eloise how sorry I was for how I treated her, but someday I will. I pray that I will never forget her or the lesson I learned at her expense. Everyone has value. There isn't one who isn't loved by the Father.

Not the homeless guy with the ratty backpack. Not the man in Burger King who talks to his milkshake. Not the woman whose five kids all have a different dad.

God is not ashamed to call any one of us His child. He marches us right up to the front row and gives us the best seat in the house...right next to Him. When He walked this earth He touched the unclean and talked to the outcast. He loved the unlovable. I'm so glad He still does because I am all of those things.

So next time you see someone who seems undesirable, think of Eloise and offer to carry their pillows up front for them.

"By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth." 1 John 3:16-18

Monday, May 16, 2005

Mom's Log Stardate 5/16/05

It is 3:00 PM, Monday afternoon.

I have survived most of the day but my back up is still hours from being here. I have barricaded myself in a back room hoping to out last them. I don't know how long the door will hold.

3:08 PM

I can hear them out there trying to get in. In a futile attempt to fend them off I have given them a large bowl of popcorn and put in a video. This ruse will distract them for a time but I must come up with another plan or all hope will be lost.

3:20 PM

The sounds coming from the living room indicate that the popcorn is about gone and they are fighting over the last kernels like a pack of ravenous wolves! If they turn on me I am done for! I may have to escape out the window.

3:30 PM

I hear nothing but silence from the other side of the door. Either the television's mind numbing effects have kicked in or they are planning something heinous! I am to frightened to go look. It could be my doom.

3:40 PM

I couldn't stand it any longer. I had to go look. They are sprawled about the room staring at the box with glazed looks on their faces. I hope this is not a cruel hoax.

3:50 PM

I am beginning to feel sorry for these limp creatures. They appear lifeless and devoid of energy. All emotion seems to have been drained from them. Was I to harsh in using the televsion on them?

4:00 PM

My conciense will not let me continue to punish them. I feel I must revive them before all brain activity ceases. It will be risky but I must undo the wrong I have committed. I'm going to turn off the TV. I hope I survive it.

4:10 PM

I turned off the TV but they were too far gone. I had to counter the empty stares and glazed eyes. I did the unthinkable. I am taking all four of them to the library. If anyone finds this journal entry I only hope they learn from my mistakes and JUST STAY IN THE ROOM!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Happy 1st Birthday Gracie!!! Don't you just want to squeeze her?! (Well, after she's washed off maybe?)

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Arielle And The Motorcycle...

There it was, sitting in the middle of the front yard all yellow and black like some giant bee. It called to her and she longed to answer yet she was afraid. She had tangled with this machine before…and lost.

Her thoughts drifted back to that not so long ago day. On that day it hadn’t looked menacing at all; a little loud maybe, but harmless. She had watched her big sister get on and ride up the hill, down the street and through the yard with a look of joy on her face.

It must be easy and fun!” she thought.

Before she had her turn she had to listen to Dad explain how to work the controls. She tried to listen, she really did! But she was already sitting on it feeling its power rumble through her little eight year old body. She stroked the handle bars and vaguely heard something about how to put the brakes on.

“Do you understand how to do it now? Are you ready? Are you sure?”

“Yes Daddy!” she replied too excited to sit still.

She straightened her helmet, tugged on her gloves and nodded to her Dad. He helped her roll it a few feet and let go as she twisted the throttle.

And she went.


As she hurtled across the yard she could hear her dad and Tim the neighbor screaming something at her but she couldn’t understand them. She was too scared to do anything other than hold on for dear life as she watched the fence get ever closer. She squeezed her eyes shut tight as she hit. She kept them closed as she flew off the bike, through the air and into the bushes.

When she opened them Daddy and Tim were standing over her, looks of concern and fear on their faces. She tried to be brave but the hot tears fell anyway.

They helped her up and made sure there were no serious injuries. How could all that terror result in only a few scratches? She hated that ugly yellow and black thing!

“I am NEVER going to ride that thing again!” she had announced.
“You ready Littlebitty?” Dad asks, jerking her thoughts back to the present.

“If I die those two will be sorry!” she thinks. Dad and Mom have been trying to get her back on that thing ever since she crashed. Dad even went so far as to hold the back tire off the ground while she practiced using the controls.

She sighs. “Okay Daddy.”

As she swings her leg over the seat and sits down the powerful rumbling sends an unexpected thrill of excitement through her. She takes a deep breath and looks at her Dad.
He sees her fear and reassures her. “Remember, I made it so it won’t go fast. You won’t crash like before. Trust me.”

She stares at him a moment before nodding her head. She looks down at that rumbly black and yellow bike and a look of determination enters those clear blue eyes. She squares her shoulders, takes a breath and twists the throttle.

Her Daddy pushes her a few feet and lets go just like before. She tries hard to keep her eyes open. Ahead of her is the fence but this time she steers away. Pure joy shoots through her! She rides up the hill, down the street and through the yard. She feels the wind on her face.....and she is free.

"...but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead..." Philippians 3:13a