Saturday, November 5, 2011

Household Cents Giveaways!

Hey, my friend Tanya is doing a couple of giveaways! 
I love Tanya's blog... Household Cents.  She has great advice about how to manage your home...and since she is my frugal farmer friend... I like to help her out when I can!  
Head over here to win 25 free Shutterfly Christmas cards. 
If you are looking for a great Christmas gift...or just something a little more on the blingy side...check this out!  Who wouldn't want to win a ring with some bling?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sample Spot

A few weeks ago, I heard about a Target Deal called the Sample Spot.  I clicked over, impressed at the offering...a free beauty bag with a bunch of samples.  I typed in my info...and the computer froze up.  I figured I would not be one of the lucky to receive the bag.

Today I opened our mailbox and found this:
I squealed.  Such a silly thing to be excited about.  The kids squealed with me..and we all started to jig around the house.  This is what I found inside:
Pretty little bag, and some really nice samples!  Ponds cleansing towelettes, three separate shampoo/conditioner samples...Loreal Youth Code Day/Night cream...Burts Bees Day Lotion...and 20 bucks worth of beauty coupons. 
Thanks, Target!  You made my day!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thousand Gifts

I have neglected my list...and should not be...
Remaining thankful in the midst of the madness!

171.  Silence. 

172.  Two napping yahoos when you desperately need them to nap.

173.  Incredibly upbeat, caring Doctors who call you right back!

174.  Just the right words at just the right time from just the right soul to yours.

175.  Linus and the great pumpkin.

pic from here.

176.  Fresh paint for today, and bright hope for tomorrow....

177.  Eccl. 7:13...Consider the work of God:
         For who is able to straighten what He has bent?

178.  Psalm 86: 11...Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth!

179.  Yes, that is what I said, Fresh paint for today...and bright hope for tomorrow!

180.  Blessings all mine..and ten thousand beside!

Sunday Night

I was sitting with my bed buddy, Jasmine Kitty, browsing through some of my favorite blogs, and blogger buddy Deborah had this sweet Sunday Evening I thought I would join her!  A good way to start the week!

1. Name someone with the same birthday as you. 
Mama Fox.  My Epiphany sister.  Love you, Mama Fox!

2. What has been your favorite age so far? 
 Ask me in another 20 yrs!

3. Where did you meet your husband?
  During a singles meet up at church.  He just would not stop following me around.  Go figure!

4. How many children do you have?
 Four yahoos made especially for us!

5. Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people?
 Yes, when I was young and foolish.  Never to be repeated again.

6. What’s the first thing you notice about the opposite gender?
I noticed Jeff's eyes, and his permanent smile...his lips curve up at the corners. Yum!

7. What really turns you off? 
One time wonders who try to make a comeback.  Seriously...get over it!

8. What do you order at Starbucks?
Hot Chocolate  Yeah, I know, pathetic.  Not a coffee drinker...but give me a fancy cup of coco any day.

9. What is your biggest mistake? 
Attempting to watch my first episode of Dr. Who mid season/story.  Totally overwhelmed, lost and            a bit freaked out!

10. As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?
I really don't remember.  I was too busy wondering if I would...grow....up.

11. Say something totally random about yourself.
I am fascinated by Brangelina.  It's an illness, I know.
I have been seeking treatment, but so far, nothing has worked.

12. Do you still watch kiddie movies or TV shows?
Um yeah.  All.The.Time.
Jeff and I used to watch Speed Racer together.
He still loves to watch Leave it Beaver!

13. Did you have braces?  Desperately need them.  Will never have them.

14. Favorite Social Network?  
 fb..I have tried to give it up...but the cooler months suck me back in.

15. What is the most romantic thing someone has done for you?
Jeff, New Years Eve, 1994.  At midnight, he told me he did not want to start the New Year without being sure we were gonna be together forever.  Had no idea he was going to pop the question.  Hands down best moment of my life.

16. When do you know when it’s love? 
When you still like him after 16 yrs of marriage!

17. Do you speak any other languages? 
Yes, we have a secret language we all use around here.  If I told you what it was...I would have to kill you.

18. Have you ever been to a tanning salon?
Unfortunately, yes.  Fair freckled skin and tanning salons do not mix.

19. What magazines do you read?
Family Fun.  World.  InStyle...just to be sure I am behind the times.

20. What is playing on your iPod right now? 
I will rise...out of the ashes... rise.... gee, what is that guys name?

21. Have you ever ridden in a limo?
Yep.  Made out in one, too!

22. Has anyone you were really close to passed away? 
Yes.  Jeff's father left us a year ago...Nov. 30th.

23. Do you watch MTV?
 Last time I watched it was when MJ died.  Billie Jean's not my lover...
All time favorite video....Take On Me!

24. What’s something that really annoys you? 
Blogger.  The never ending saga of signing in...trying to leave a comment...and not being able to do so.

25. Which television show were you sad to say goodbye to? 
This is why I love re-runs.  We don't have to say goodbye.

26. Can you dance? 
Nope.  Not. At. All.  Do I like to dance?  Yep.  Just call me the world's most embarrassing mom.

27. What’s your favorite place in the world? 
My bed.  Enough said. 

28. Have you ever been rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room?  Nope.

29. If you could meet anyone (dead or alive) who would it be? 
Mother Theresa. 'cause I wish I was more like her... George W Bush.. 'cause I have lots of questions and I just feel the need to chat.  My Grandpa Jim....'cause I never met him and I am incredibly curious about what he was really like.  And so help me, I had better meet my buddy,  Tanya someday...soon.

30. If you could change one thing in the world for your child, what would it be?  Honestly...that my kids would be somehow biologically connected to us.  There is nothing I could ever do to truly relieve the anguish that they feel from that disconnect.  I thank God every day for who they are, and how He made them, and how He knit us together, how He will use these things in their life somehow...and that we are spiritually, eternally one in Christ!  But how I wish I could ease their pain...somehow.

Wanna play along?  Leave me a comment and let me know....I'd love to learn more about you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sunday Morning Mess

My 8 year old daughter, Mae, fell apart today. 
 She could not get her shoes laced through...
and was waiting for someone to help her. 
 The house was in a flurry...
Trying to get four girls out the door early on Sunday morning,
My four girls, out the quite the circus. 
It does not happen easily. 
Some one always seems to become a victim.
At any rate, my Mae fell apart. 
No one was tending to her quick enough,
In her fragile emotional state,
she quite literally fell apart...
Clothes came off...
body flailing...
She ended up in a wet, sloppy pile on her bed.
Sure the world was going to come to an end.
What to do? 
Three other girls wanting to get to church...
What do we do?
Wait for her to get it together...
or send the rest onward...
and deal with the consequences?
Jeff let her know her options...
and in the end he left..
 without her.
It broke her heart.
It broke his heart.
As I sat with Mae later,
arms wrapped around her,
her fuzzy, long hair tickling my nose,
she poured out her grieving broken heart. 
We wept over her fears of never being safe,
never being completely loved and cherished.
God came to her in her anguish. 
Her anguish,
that we have all felt before,
that deep, dark hole we cannot ever fill...
Mae got a chance to see that reality,
as an 8 yr old girl...
and the amazing treasure of an inheritance in Christ. 
The only place to ever feel complete,
and safe,
and cherished,
is that priceless gift of salvation
She understands the gospel,
but now she is grasping the significance of how it plays out in our everyday life.   
What a joy, to be there with her in the midst of it..
that bittersweet reality of living out this earthly life.
Today Mae needed to become a mess first,
 for God to start the process of healing her heart.
And so did Jeff.
Jeff left completely wounded...and afraid. 
 Leaving his girl behind, and worried that he had caused her such pain. 
 Jeff is a fixer,
he cannot handle seeing any of his girls unhappy....
it is so hard for him to hand out a consequence
and then see it through. 
He wanted her to bounce back out of her mood
and go to church,
crisis averted,
instead of allowing her to fall to pieces
And I think he kind of fell to pieces,
as he watched her head that way. 
 But he got the rest of the yahoos into the car and left....
....and thank God he did.
Jeff came home, hours later, a changed man. 
He was quiet. 
A bit emotional. 
 He called the girls to come sit with me. 
He had something he needed to say.
He talked with us about how God had come to him during church.
How God had challenged his heart. 
Had called him to serve his family. 
Had convicted him to forgive,
to walk away from that anger,
and embrace the life God had given him.
He admitted how he himself was struggling to forgive, 
struggling to move beyond his hurt and confusion.
He confessed that he was not serving his own family...
and that God was calling him to do just that. 
 Serve. His. Family. 
The whole messy lot of us.
God is so good.
  Life is such a mess, and God is so good
In the middle of the mess, God was there. 
And I really believe the only way we could have ever experienced God,
was to be in the middle of the mess. 
If Mae had slipped on her shoes,
and jumped into the car...
none of this would have happened today. 
The real pain and struggle would still be there,
under the surface,
being avoided or ignored....
Embracing the mess means trusting the Lord. 
Do you know what I mean? 
We try to run away from the mess. 
Hide from it. 
Or clean it up ourselves and fix it. 
 Instead of allowing God to do the work He intends to do...
 in the midst of the mess. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Household Cents Giveaway

My friend Tanya, is having a wonderful giveaway over at her blog...Household Cents.
It is for a copy of the book, The Magic Warble.
If you are looking for a good read aloud for your kiddos....head over to Household Cents
and check it out!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


of Door County always warm my heart.  And my heart needs warming on this cold, rainy night.  School is in full swing and there is no room for much else.  It leaves us wondering if this is really worth it, is it really the way to go?  We spend so much time just reacting to each crisis we come upon, we are no longer parenting with a purpose.  We are merely getting by, checking off the list, trying to survive.

And so on Sunday, we laid it before the Lord.  God, provide for us a way to do this home school thing, if that is what you have for our family.  We know you will provide us with all we need to fulfill your purpose for our life.  If this home school thing is no longer the way to go....please let us know. 

Lord, please let us know.

So tonight I look at my favorite Door County Pic of our Yahoos, and praise Him for that moment in time.

 I thank Him for the privilege of being the mama to those four wild girls, purposely knit together and fitted into our family for His glory.  We do not know what the future holds, but we are so thankful for each and every moment we share.

I do not know how much time I will be spending on my blog the next few months.  There is so much I would love to write about and share, but there is no time these days.  God is working in so many ways.  It is a crazy ride, pretty sobering at times, but I would not wish it to be any other way.

Parting verse to tuck into your heart and mind,

"Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has forgiven you."
Eph. 4:32

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011


with tears, with heartache, with exhaustion.

with emotion, anxiety, fear.

trickle here, dripping there...

the rush does come.

it comes and consumes.

paralyzing the soul,

I know not how to survive,

except to climb aboard the raft of faith.

and so I continue to remember the blessings...

161.  safe arrivals

162.  a bearded Jeff, tanned and toned from hard work

163.  young hearts excited to do the work

164.  potty training a fast learner

165. a giggling Jack-Jack

166.  old hymns and the reminders they carry

167.  homemade pasta, meatballs
and the dear friend who made them

168.  a hot sun to dry up the wet

169.  teachable souls

170.  another day to be reminded and remember

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


It's been a long, hard day, and my patience has worn thin.
I got nothing left.


The yahoos are antsy and rubbing me wrong.
So I issue a decree:
Clean up or no movie night.

I give each a specific job and set the timer.

Off they go.

Kiki finishes in record time. 
I pat her head and toss her into the crib.

I wait.

It is very quiet.

Too quiet.

I walk towards the bedroom.
As the door opens I gasp.
I mean

E v e r y w h e r e.

My lips tremble as the angry words bubble up in my throat.

The green pillow is the final straw.

It is dangling from the curtain rod

Taunting me from above.

I gurgle as I imagine the destruction if it actually slipped from it precarious position.

The shelf with the cds.
The precious moments trinket celebrating Mae's birth.
The sweet jewelry box full of treasure.

Li catches my look, and knows to hide underneath the covers.

I hold my breath.

God help me.  Please God help me.
I am too tired.
Way. too. tired.

Li peeks out.  She misunderstands the silence.  She unknowingly tippie-toes right over the cliff.

"Did you make the popcorn yet?"

What?  Popcorn?  Are you kidding me?

P o p c o r n?

My head spins a full 360 as the rot gushes out of my mouth.

Why do I say this stuff?
What good does it do?
Why do I fall back into it over and over and over again?

I give myself a time out.

The whispers start. 
 I am useless.
I am not good for them.
I am no good for Jeff.
They should all be with someone else.
Someone with a healthy body.
Someone more patient.
Someone more tolerant.
Someone with more energy.
Someone with fingers that can cut up veggies.
And stronger arms that can scrub the sink.
Someone who can clean the house.
or someone who does not get grumpy if the house is a mess.

It has been a long time since I have heard these whispers.

But they are there.
They are convincing.

I know I need help.

Somehow I manage to text a dear friend.
Someone I trust.
Someone I can be honest with about how I feel, and I know she will not judge me.
I know she will pray for me.
I know she will be honest with me.

I type it out.
Bare my soul.
I am afraid to hit send.
But I know I need help.
Off it goes.

Mae is standing next to me
She puts her hand on my shoulder and asks me to check her work.

Her hand on my shoulder.

Mae had her hand on my shoulder.

A few weeks back Jeff and I were having a lively discussion about the eldest yahoo.

She can really get under my skin.
When we need to address a certain behavior, she will inevitably do or say something that sets me off.

If Jeff sees me floundering, he will try to signal me to back away.
He will flail his arms.  Tap a table.
Stomp a foot.

He looks a bit like a traffic cop.
Or a dog trainer trying to get an unruly pup to obey.
Sit Ubu, sit.
Good dog.

It does not work.
I end up ticked off at him, too.

I asked him to stop with the flag signals and just come alongside me and put his hand on my shoulder.

He scoffed at me.
Now I am sure no one would be compelled to come any where near me when I am shooting off my mouth.
I imagine that would be the last thing Jeff would want to do.
But I asked him to give it a try.

Stand next to me, with your hand on my shoulder.
It helps me feel like you are coming alongside me.
To help me along.  Find my way.  Get on the right path.

Ya know, it works?
I melt.
I melt at his touch.
I feel safe.  Like I am no longer in this alone.

Not only did it help me.
It helped Jeff.
And it helped Mac.
When Jeff stands next to me, with his hand on my shoulder, he is supporting me.
Like we are a team.
Mac needed to see that.
She needed to see her parents working together.

Anyway, back to Mae, standing next to me.
I am beyond help, just sent that text, and Mae is next to me.

Her hand on my shoulder.

Mom, come check my work.

I melt at her touch, too.

The room is spinning.

Please come, come check my work.

I shuffle down the hall, and into the room.
Everything is in it's place.

Except a package.
It's wrapped in a baby blanket.
There is a note attached.

"Sometimes you make me happy and other times you don't so read through it and try to be more patient."


I love my Mae.
I love my Lord.
I love how He works.
How He works through her.
To work on me.

I unwrap the blanket.
This is what I find.

More tears.
This is my old hymnal.
From college.
Suddenly the phone rings.  It is Jeff.  He is calling from far away.
How are you sweetie?  What's going on?

I cannot speak. I hug the hymnal.  I am overwhelmed by God's presence.
Overwhelmed at His care for me.
Astonished at His timing.
Mae is breathing next to me.  She leans in to hear.
Her fragrant curls calm my soul. 

Are you ok?

How did he know?  I melt at Jeff's voice.
So sweet.  So reassuring.
I am not alone.

Yes, I say. I am ok.
 But he knows better.
Do you want to talk about it?
No, not now.  Not right now.
It's all too much.
I cannot speak.

Yes, later.

Long before I knew Jeff.
There were lonely nights I would sit at our organ
and peck out the songs I loved with my goofy fingers.
I used to sing as loud as I could.
The words would soothe me.

I did not know what the future held for me back then.
I honestly thought I would be gone by the age of thirty.
I thought my body would just be done.
It would give up.
And God would take me home.

Now, I never dreamed I would have the life I have.
No. Way.
But that is a different story.  For a different time.
Back to Mae.

I turn the hymnal carefully and rub the cover.
Just the feel of it softens the hurt.
I finger through the pages and show it to Mae.
Pick one, I say.
We will learn it together.

She sits at the piano and starts to finger the keys.
A few tries and she's got it.
I peck away at the harmony and she is delighted.

And we sing...
Her eight year old voice just reaching the notes
My middle aged alto rasping along

My faith has found a resting place
Not in device nor creed.
I trust the ever living God
His wounds for me shall plead.

I need no other argument
I need no other plea
It is enough that Jesus died
And that He died for me.

Mae's voice strengthens as she comprehends the words...

Enough for me that Jesus saves
This ends my fear and doubt
A sinful soul I come to Him
He'll never cast me out...

My heart is leaning on the Word
The written word of God
Salvation by my saviors name
Salvation through His blood.

Mae is swaying by now, bound together with the music
 and her Lord...

My great Physician heals the sick,
The lost He came to save,
For me His precious blood He gave,
For me His life He gave...

I need no other argument
I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died,
and that He died for me.

I look at her and see...

Pure joy.

There is no doubt in my mind now.
No whispering voices any more.
Just the pure powerful word of God
and the sweet song of Mae.
It is enough.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Going Without

For the last two summers these two have experienced amazing adventures in the Canadian Wilderness.
They were excited about going again this summer.
But God had a different plan.

I'll let you know more about that next week.
Today I am counting the hours and minutes along with the blessings.

161. Jeff and Mac
162. The Yahoos
163.  Air-conditioning
164.  Quiet play time
165.  Smart phones
166.  Neighbors
167.  Grammy visits
168.  Weekly Lunch with Patty
169.  Sprinklers
170.  A Good Book

Monday, July 11, 2011

One Hot Day....

and ten more to add to the list....
151. lots of purple cone flowers
152. old college buddies that come for a visit
153.  old college buddies that breathe new life into a weary soul
154.  looking back and seeing how far you have come
155. An evening shower after a hot day
156.  cookie dough ice cream
157. Jeff's hummmmm 
158.  one true love
159.  today
160. I AM

Monday, July 4, 2011

It's been too long...

Time to start counting again.
I need to give thanks in the midst of the good and the bad.
It's a rambling list...

141.  Hot summer days, so hot you cannot breathe.

142.  Giggles from our littlest yahoo, and she stalks me from behind.

143.  Sobering discoveries that lead to repentance, healing, and eventually, independance.

144.  Purple cone flowers.

145.  River running across pebble, sand and stone...

146.  One lone catfish that makes the row worthwhile

147.  Silence.  Complete and utter silence.  A gift from Jeff, just for today.

148.  Freedom

149.  Another day

150.  A frog.  In a cave.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Hard Stuff

It is really hard to be thankful for the things you wish were not so.

Thousand Endless Gifts

131.  Pain
Reminds me of our imperfection,
and the need to be healed

132.  Fear
that I might diligently Hide in Him

133.  Weariness
that I might rest in Him

134.  The Unknown
teaches me to trust in Him

135.  Humility
puts me in my place
and He in His

136.  Heartache
Woos me to our One True Love

137.  Hunger
so I might feast upon His word

138.  Barrenness
that I might opens my heart to His children

139.  Insecurity
so I might discover the peace that surpasses understanding

140.  Darkness
so I might search for His light

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What 'cha doing? Wordless Wednesday!


Telemann's Minuet 14
 Pretending to sleep!
 Waiting for a walk!
What are you up to today?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Weekly Passages

This year I decided to try to read through the One Year Bible.  I try to do this every year, and really struggle with keeping up with it.  Every year, I have started strong.  Then I miss a couple weeks, and find myself unable to catch back up.  I will skip ahead to where everyone else is at, missing out on huge chunks of scripture.

I did not want to do this again.  I started a blog.  I needed something to help me keep up with my reading.  It is pathetic, I know.  I wish I could sit here and tell you that the Word of God is so inspiring that I wake up anxious to read whatever it is HE has for me to learn.  But there are days when I am so distracted by my circumstances that I am just not motivated enough to believe He has anything important for me to hear. 

But I am finding that He does have important, inspiring, relevant words for me, everyday.  I do not always find the time to share these words in my blog.  But the last three months have been so rich.  My mind whirls as I read about the Israelites and how they fumble about.  My heart pounds as I listen to the Lord and His deep desire to dwell with His people.  What amazing days those must have been.

Anyway, if you are reading the One Year Bible this year, I would love to hear what you are learning.
You can catch up with us at here! 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Shepherds, and Pastures, and Cups Overflowing....

When my heart is tipping over with grief, and consumed with worry over the future,
Our gracious Heavenly Father bestows upon me a reminder of His goodness in Psalm 23. 
How could I sit in my angst
when He promises us...
Endless Gifts...

121.  Our own personal shepherd...on duty...24/7

122.  We shall not "lack"...for anything...

123.  green pastures

124.   quiet waters

125.  Our own person tour guide...on duty...24/7
(who stakes HIS own reputation on our ability to navigate life)

126.  no.more.fear

127. guidance and discipline 

128.   A feast in the midst of a battle

129.  overflowing cups

130.  Goodness
Dwelling in His house

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring Sensory Giveaway!

Some of you know that one of our yahoos has been diagnosed with a sensory disorder.  Li is our four year old.  She is full of life and teaching us so much.  She is the most energetic kid I have ever met.

She is friendly and outgoing and inventive.  She indulges in all of her senses, from smelling every bottle of shampoo on the drugstore shelf to slowly rubbing lotion up and down, and up and down, and up and down her legs!  She will take enormous amounts of time washing her hands um, arms after playing outside because those bubbles are just too much fun to just wash her hands and rinse them straight down the drain.

Li has a hard time with her senses, too.  She cannot handle bright light.  She frets if she hears a repetitive noise and cannot make it stop.  She has a hard time chewing and swallowing broccoli.  She would rather tuck that green veggie into her cheeks like a chipmunk instead of actually eating it.  She ends up with broccoli juice running down her shirt!  She can be incredibly un-huggable...and yet very huggable at the same time!
Li is not all that excited about wearing jeans.  She spends most of her time in leggings and really cute skirts.
Which is fine with me, because she looks, well, really cute!

Yep, our Li makes life really interesting and really fun. 
Understanding her sensory disorder helps us understand her.

It is always good to connect with others that are struggling with the same issues.  So we have joined a
 SPD blogger network.

Networking is always a good thing, right?

When I was rummaging through my reading this morning, I found that SPD  and Soft Clothing were having a giveaway! 

Check this out:

From the Soft Clothing website:

Soft Clothing for All Children and The SPD Blogger Network are co-sponsoring an incredible Sensory Friendly Spring Giveaway!  2 Grand Prizes will be given (one for boys, one for girls), and will each include the following sensory friendly items, which focus on fine motor development, dramatic play skills, sensory integration, creative expression, auditory exploration, and of course, fun!  Whatever holiday or season your family celebrates, there is something in this stocking for someone you love!

Your Sensory Prizes!

 Puffy Easter Basket (Chick) Pottery Barn Kids (boys prize)
Puffy Easter Basket (Rabbit) from Pottery Barn Kids (girls prize)
"I'll Tell You Why I Can't Wear Those Clothes," by Noreen O'Sullivan
Soft Seamless Sock 2-pack
Vestibular Wedge
Sensory Body Sock
Alex Toys Monster Bubbles
Alex Toys Sack Racing: Frog and Monkey 
Squiglet Fidget Bracelets 
One complete Springy Soft look for girls OR
One complete Springy Soft look for boys
Go check it out! 
I am hoping to share more about our adventure with Li here on our blog.  If you have a child with sensory disorder, please leave a comment!  I would love to hear your stories! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Under the Trellis- March

The weather is finally starting to warm up!

The Yahoos have been out everyday, playing under the trellis!

I wonder how different this will look in a month!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Twelve Years Ago Today...

 12 years ago today...
 a sweet, amazing young lady did a very brave thing...she chose to let go of the tiny little baby girl God has given her. This baby girl she had nourished, looked after, and protected inside of her for nine months...The baby girl she had struggled to give birth to (for a good 19 hours!) The baby girl she had snuggled with, slept with, breastfed, and watched over for the first 2 weeks of her life... This God-fearing, creative, nurturing soul took that baby girl and placed her into my arms, and asked me to be her momma...
12 years ago today!
On that day...12 years ago, Jeff and I were at a christening for our niece. She was 3 months old, and our hearts were breaking. You see, we had been told, 2 weeks earlier, that the baby girl we thought might be coming home, was going home with her birth mama. We were heart broken...and the last thing we wanted to do was go to a christening for the first baby girl in our family!
But we went, and shared that special time with our family. We were so at peace, we knew that our little niece was such a wonderful gift to us all. We left that evening, went home and settled down in our jammies...ready to snuggle up and relax after such a hard day.
The phone rang. We knew it was our social worker from the agency. She had planned to call us that night, just to check in with us both and see how we were doing after going through a "change of heart." Jeff answered the phone in the kitchen. I grabbed the extension in the bedroom. We met each other in the hall as she started to talk.
"Well," she said, "I am glad you are both there. I need you to get in the car and drive down here. You need to come right away. Do not stop for anything, we have everything you need. Your baby girl is waiting for you to take her home!"
Jeff looked at me, tears in his eyes. His dream of a baby girl had just come true.
"Well," he said, "Could we put our clothes on first?"
The baby girl we thought we had lost was placed into my arms that night. She looked right at me, as though she knew she was right where she belonged. Her birth mama tells me when she saw the look on Mac's face; she knew she had made the right decision. She knew that Mac belonged with us.
So today we praise God for Mac's birth mama, and the amazing gift she brought into our life 12 years ago. We praise Him for the courage she has and the complete, unconditional love she gives to Mac, our other daughters and to us. What a privilege, what an honor to know her. And I pray everyday; I might be as courageous and loving as she.

Just a note:  This is a re post from a few years ago.  Mac's birth mom is still very much a loving amazing example to us all.  We adore her and thank God for her everyday.  Mac is so very much like her birth mother, and we praise God for the striking resemblance, both physically, and spiritually. They love the same things, experience life in the same ways, and even use the same words!  Knowing Mac''s birth mama has helped us understand who Mac is!  What a glorious gift adoption is!  People say how blessed Mac is to be a part of our family, but we believe we are abundantly blessed to have her for a daughter, and her birth family as a part of our family!
12 years ago we began a glorious journey with the arrival of our Mac!  God has since added three more to the mix!  What a blessing and privilege to have our little ones with us!  We praise the Lord every day for them!

Mellow March Moon

O LORD, our Lord,
         How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
         Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
    From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength
         Because of Your adversaries,
         To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.
    When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
         The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
    What is man that You take thought of him,
         And the son of man that You care for him?
   Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
         And You crown him with glory and majesty!
    You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
         You have put all things under his feet,
    All sheep and oxen,
         And also the beasts of the field,
   The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
         Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
    O LORD, our Lord,
         How majestic is Your name in all the earth!
Psalm 8

Thousand Endless Gifts

111.  Mellow March Moons...the work of HIS fingers

112.  silent soulful midnight sky 

113. embracing branches

114.  whispers long into the night

115.  dreaming with my favorite dreamer

116.  yahoo's rhythmic breathing

117.  murmers of Neverland

118.  sweaty faces

119.  tiny feet from beneath the sheets

120.  kneading purring feline paws 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Homemade Verses the National Leading Brand!

Last year I discovered homemade laundry detergent.  We were on a play date and our friends were doing laundry.  Their home smelled so good.  She was using her homemade soap to do the laundry.  Yeppers...oh, and did it smell goooood.  
She assured me that it was much cheaper and worked just as well.

Then my Funny Frugal Farmer Friend started telling me about her laundry detergent.  She had a couple different recipes.  We decided to try one.  We went out and bought all the ingredients.  We went back and forth on the size of the bucket we needed, and settled on a five gallon one.  Then everything sat in a pile on the kitchen counter for a few weeks. It's just the way things work around here sometimes!

Mac came home from co-op one day all excited.  They needed to put together a science experiment. 
Mac wanted to test laundry detergent!  She wanted to see if the National Leading Brand worked better than the homemade stuff we were hoping to make!
This is what she came up with!  She used three brand new cotton t-shirts. 
She placed four different stains on each shirt:
Cran-Lemonade Drink,
Hot Chocolate!
One shirt she washed in the National Leading Brand.  She washed another in a homemade detergent. 
She also washed a third shirt in water...nothing added. 
For our blog we will just focus on the homemade detergent and the National Leading Brand.

Homemade before
Homemade After
National Leading Brand Before:

National Leading Brand After
It may be a bit difficult to see in the pics, but the homemade definitely removed the stains better.  We were shocked and delighted all at once!  If you are interested in trying the homemade detergent yourself, you will find the recipe at Household Cents!

Monday, March 14, 2011

First signs of Spring...

We usually think of a few robins flying about.
Or crocus peeking through the snow.
But for us, it is a sure sign of spring when the yahoos pull out their favorite vehicles
and start racing around the front sidewalk.
There may be bits of snow on the cold ground,
but that will not stop them!

Thousand Endless Gifts!

101.  yahoos on rollerblades and scooters

102.  Li shouting that she has seen Gypsy!
(another sure sign of spring)

103.  tiny baby feet

104.  tiny baby socks

105.  darkness coming an hour later

106.  Words that are hard to hear but challenge the heart

107.  Hershey's Candy Coated Milk Chocolate Eggs!

108.  giggling with a co-worker

109.  mint green, pale blue, lilac, yellow and pink!

110.  Jelly Bellys!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Philippians 4:6-7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.
 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Thousand Endless Gifts

91. old love letters

92.  old pictures

93.  musing over memories

94.  DC Talk

95.  the hard stuff that draws them in, instead of pushing them away.
(why are we so afraid of the hard stuff?)

96.  tears and repentance...and a new heart

97. my dear sisters in Christ

98.  the unique and gentle voice of a dear friend, and her love for my children

99.  Mae's arm wrapped around mine

100.  we are at a hundred, and there are so many more!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Shiny New Knobs

I have been wanting one of  these...
for a very long time.
I know it looks like your general run-of-the-mill stove top.

And it is.

But this is what we have been using for the last 10 years.
OK, I will admit that when we first moved in,
there were actually four knobs where the wrench is currently...

Eventually, each knob split in two, and we would have to accommodate the knobless spots...
with the leftover knobs.
Until there was only one knob left.
It bit the dust TWO summers ago.
Yep, been using that wrench for two years.

Now I must admit that I do not do much of the cooking around here,
because my wrists and fingers just do not work real well.
Slicing and dicing just are not my thing.
So there were many, many days, when the wrench would be busy...
wrenching other things, and Jeff would just use his FINGERS to start the stove.

A couple weeks ago he discovered his fingers were just not that...

I have to admit.

Shiny thick new knobs really turn me on.

Monday, February 28, 2011

That's my girl...

She came home from co-op, had some dinner, and dove into her Lit. reading.
That's my girl.

A Thousand Endless Gifts!

81.  watching the Holy Spirit at work in her heart.

82.  giggling in the car on the way to co-op!

83.  inside jokes between my girl and myself.

84.  crazy foreign accents only understood between friends!
(or mothers and daughters)

85.  patience that only the Holy Spirit can impart.

86.  learning to sing my frustrations away, and the one who encouraged me to do so.

87.  the hope of melting snow and ice!

88.  a weekend with precious neighbor baby and the comfort that comes with holding him tight!

89.  the blessing of teachers that look after my yahoos when I am not there to do so...

90.  learning alongside the one you dearly love...