Friday, December 18, 2009

Favorite Invention Friday!!!


Today, after a full day of creating goodies in the kitchen, I just have to fawn over my Kitchen-Aid mixer. It helped out with three of the jobs...would have done more if necessary. And I love how it does the heavy lifting...like stirring the peanut butter mixture for Buckeyes or the dough for Pinwheel Cookies. I would lose an arm wrestling match any day to someone who makes such goodies with out the sous chef, but I am less weary and cranky at the end of the day. I totally love this little mighty machine.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Favorite Invention Friday!!!

OK...OK...I realize that I have been totally slacking on my FAVORITE INVENTION FRIDAY the past handful of weeks. I really don't have a good excuse...I certainly have modern day conveniences that I have been enjoying. Perhaps, just a bit too indecisive...maybe lazy? Let's go with "too busy"!

Moving along...

As the Christmas season motors along and I continue my gift choosing expeditions, I feel compelled today to celebrate the computer, printer and the Internet (My spell check feature determined that this word was spelled wrong until it was capitalized. Hmmm...). Now, at the risk of revealing too much, I can not tell you why I adore these items...but I promise to do so...soon. Perhaps on Christmas...after all the gifts have been opened. Make sure that you are utilizing all the tools available to you as you pick out gifts for loved ones!

UPDATE: Here's some, if not all, of the ways I've leveraged my computer, printer and the Internet for my Christmas gift planning.

  • Hacked my way into my mother-in-law's account at Snapfish, lifted a wedding picture of her and my father-in-law, and had copies made for them and the families of my sisters-in-law.
  • Asked by a friend to get on IM, found my husband's uncle and his pictures of the barns on the farm that my mother-in-law grew up. Contacted the uncle for permission, copied the photos, uploaded them to Snapfish and ordered copies for all my in-laws.
  • Armed with the request for artwork for a specific spot in her home by my mom, printed off scanned artwork (you can find it here ) created by my girls and decoupaged a painted canvas for it.
  • Contacting my sister's coworkers through her Facebook friends list...so I could get contact info for her local Miche Bag dealer and surprise her with an early gift on her desk.
  • Searching Amazon and Half.com for a specific gift book that I had seen in this YouTube video shown here.
  • Inspired by a Donna Summer related Facebook status by a friend, I remembered that my sister had a Donna Summer album when we were growing up. Found a used one through Amazon and had it shipped to her.
  • While visiting a blog, I came across an advertisement for an artisan on Etsy. Was able to peruse the creator's selection to order and ship to my sister.
  • After not finding the denim jacket my dad was wanting in any brick-and-mortar...I lucked out at JC Penney's click-and-order.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hmmm...

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that last evening kind of ended on a sour note for the four-year-old and I. She was having some attitude and misbehavior issues (things that good girls don't do, and she is a good girl...right?) and I was not taking it.

This afternoon, after I had been away all morning helping decorate the church for Christmas, she asked me this question. "After you die, will Daddy get a new mommy?" Let me tell you that I did not hear one drip of sadness, at the thought of me dying, on her question. After clarifying that what I heard was what she was really answered, I told her that I did not know...and immediately went and asked her dad about their morning.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I Was Doing It Wrong All This Time

This morning I asked the four-year-old what she would like for breakfast.

"I don't know. Help me think."

So, I started offering suggestions based on what was available in the kitchen and how much effort I wanted to expend. She stopped me.

"You are supposed to do this when you think," modeling how one would gently rest their chin in their hand while thinking.

Wow! Now I know why great ideas escaped me, or never showed up, on such a frequent (almost chronic) basis. I wasn't always resting my chin in my hand when thinking. I wish I had had this info back in college when working on linear algebra or thermodynamics homework!

Kid Art


The four-year-old created this in November 2009 with marker. I have no idea what it is...haven't asked yet. But I love the big rectangle that she drew along the outside and how purposeful each of her patches of color seem. She didn't just scribble...she chose a home for each hue on the page and patiently filled it in to its predetermined boundaries in her mind. If I ask her about it and get a name or inspiration...I'll be sure to update here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Invisible Woman

A couple of years ago, I received an email titled "The Invisible Woman". I was very moved by it because I can have some of "those" days and I certainly knew many individuals, men and women, who have had "those" days. I have since read the book that Nicole Johnson wrote, given away copies of it and named this blog in its honor. Today, I received an email with this video...I had no idea a video existed! So I share it with you here (A big thank you to my BFF for sending it along to me!).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Family Portrait?

I was recently inspired by another blog I visit periodically to build a family portrait using the kids toys. But, I was going to let the kids each build one. I really couldn't wait to see their perspective. I first tried to get the four-year-old to do it...but...it was the wrong time of day (late afternoon) and she was not in the mood to play along with anyone else's idea (if you get my drift). So, I moved on to the nine-year-old. I told her that she could use any toy they had to represent each member of the family...could a mixture of stuffed animals and action figures...whatever...just go pick a toy that represents each of us.

She really wasn't gone for very long. I don't know if it was just that easy or if she was just grabbing the first thing that she came across to satisfy her mom's request. She provided the following portrait.


I asked her to explain who was who. Well, the lion was her dad because he is king of the house and family. The pretty kitty was her mom (that would be me!). She chose an elephant for her big sister because elephants are one of her favorite animals. She chose a cheetah for herself because they are lean and she likes them. And then...for the four-year-old...she chose an ugly dinosaur. Hmmm...interesting...

Next, I give the same assignment to the eleven-year-old. She returns with five Pokemon cards (she's a huge fan). As she described why she picked particular Pokemon to represent her dad, myself, herself and her nine-year-old sister, I could really tell she considered how each one looked or their particular strengths. But then we go to the one she chose for the four-year-old. When she showed it to me, I asked why she had chosen that one to represent the youngest in our family. Her reply..."Just look at it."


And given my exchange with the youngest daughter over this particular project, I really struggled to make a compelling case as to why representing her with ugly dinosaurs and Pokemon with "Scary Face" powers wasn't appropriate.

So, this exercise did not turn out as cute as I thought it would. But, due to a recurring perception, I think I have a client for my PR work.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Kid Art


I love a child's perspective. When my daughter created this piece, she asked me if I knew what it was. I did not. But when she told me that it was the neighbor's pool...it all became so clear.

Created by the nine-year-old in November 2009 using paint.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Favorite Invention Friday!!!


I know...I know...they are not the most attractive piece of furniture ever created. But this week, I had one of those moments where I was thankful for our...recliner. You see, when we were expecting our first child and building a new home twelve years ago, I placed the request for something big and comfy...that rocks and reclines. Well, there is not a lot of trendy furniture that does those things...and I was already lulled into accepting unattractive things after wearing maternity clothing for several months...so we bought a recliner. And I loved it!! I can't count the number of evenings that I rocked one of my baby girls, humming that one song that was special between her and I (there was a different song for each one). Or the afternoons, napping with an infant, the best blanket in the world according to my husband, laying on top of my chest. I remember watching the Canadian Olympic team from that chair quite a bit during the 1998 Olympics because only a Canadian channel, in our basic cable package, was carrying the winter Olympics in the middle of the night. And I have numerous pictures of the girls sitting together in that chair with their dad (they were usually sleeping).

I was reminded this week of all these special memories when my four-year-old joined me in the chair for some morning storytime. I loved the big armrests that could hold us both cozily. I loved kicking our feet up on the foot thingie and covering up together with a blanket. If I had gone with an old fashioned rocking chair or one of those gliders twelve years ago...we would not still be sharing that chair and those moments. It dawned on me while I was sitting there, that it won't be long before I won't be able to enjoy that chair with her anymore. My firstborn is way too big to join me...the nine-year-old might but would have to pull all of her limbs in tight, insuring she won't last long. So, I will savor it while it lasts.

And if you are an expectant mom, I encourage you to duck the allure of style and flair when looking for that special chair to rock in with your baby...instead go with the ol' recliner because I bet it will allow for a lot more memorable moments that go beyond those first few months.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Favorite Invention Friday!!!

With a vote on Nancy Pelosi's healthcare bill tomorrow, I must reach back into the archive to celebrate my cell phone, it's QWERTY kepboard and texting technology. In a matter of 15 minutes I was able to send out dozens of messages encouraging friends, family and acquaintances to call their elected representatives in DC to express their opinion on the legislation. Love it! For the previous celebration of this convenience in my life, click here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

If God Is In It

I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. While it may not sound sexy to the modern world, I realize it is the single most important thing that I could and should be doing right now. After an engineering career in the automotive and service industries, I can assure you that I know that when I approach the end of my life I will not be wishing I had achieved a higher level of reliability on an assembly machine or reduced turnover in a client's plant by 10%. I will be thankful for the time with my kids and for the opportunity to make my home a haven for my husband.

That being said...there are moments in the day-to-day life of a person where you can wonder if what you are doing is really important. Your feelings can be hurt because of appreciation not shown in the manner you prefer. Now, I realize that these thoughts are not confined to home duties...plenty of people feel this way at their desk, machine and cash register today. Sometimes its easier to hide those thoughts, though, behind a title and the perceived status it imparts.

This morning, at Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), we sang a hymn that was new to me. The title is "Little Is Much If God Is In It". I loved it! It made me think of so many people that may feel like they are not doing anything important...that may get dragged down by the minutia...including me. But...if you put God into it...praying that He uses your hands and feet for His glory...whether it's wiping little runny noses...driving teenagers to the mall...cooking Hamburger Helper again...going to a job that you don't care for...you will find that the little does mean much. It means much to others and it means much to God. Remember...real JOY comes from serving Jesus, others and yourself in that order. When you don't want to do something for others...do it for the Son of God who fulfilled your biggest obligation.

I also recommend that you notice and show appreciation for those in your life that do the "little". Let them know that you are grateful for what they do for you at home. Thank your waitress who is struggling to get to the end of the long day. Thank your spouse who leaves the home to provide for the family. Be nice to the cashier and the bank teller. Anybody can be grumpy and difficult to deal with...but anybody can be pleasant and easy to work with too.

To listen to the hymn "Little Is Much If God Is In It" by Kittie L. Suffield, go here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Favorite Invention Friday!!!

TGIF, Everybody!! I'm so glad that Friday is here because I get to celebrate some convenience in my...er, I mean...our life. This week's honoree is...drumroll please...the hospital gown!!!

You see...I had my annual doctor's visit this week and they provide a paper shirt, meant for a petite tween, and a paper sheet. Then, I had to sit on an examining table that was viewable when the door opens. In a gallent effort to use my paper wardrobe strategically, in the pursuit of modesty, I ripped a corner and I can't explain the horror that it caused because...well, it could have been worse and the worse could still happen.

Let's just say that by the time the appointment had ended, I had started my personal wish list for Christmas and the very first item is my own personal hospital gown...one that I can bring with me next year.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

And for me too...

I was reminded this week that Jesus came for Nicodemus (John 3)-- a wealthy, educated religious leader -- and for the woman at the well in Samaria (John 4)-- a non-Jewish, sinful, probably ostracized and barely educated woman. He came for all of us...regardless of race, gender, education, socio-economic status.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Favorite Invention Friday!!!


I always loved that precious week or two in gym class, during the elementary school years, where they would bring out the trampoline. Remember having to stand around the outside while someone was jumping off of it...for their safety...in case they flew off? That part always scared me...what was I going to do if they came flying off in my direction? The only way that I would have somehow caught them or cushioned their landing would be if I wasn't looking and didn't see 'em coming. But I loved it when it was my turn. And I would have never dreamed that we would have our own someday.

It is a special day when the trampoline comes out of storage and is set up. As you can see in the picture, the kids can't even wait for the sides to be put up...or for warmer weather. And once it's up...it will be visited regularly...sometimes with a sprinkler underneath it when it finally does warm up. And the kids have a special memory of their dad halting dinner during a pretty good downpour outside, so that they could all go jump in the rain. It's a sad day when it is put back into storage, because that means summer has departed and winter weather is on the way.

Now I know that there have been many a child injured on trampolines. A co-honoree with the trampoline, has to be the tall side wall-thingies. I could never find enough third graders in the neighborhood to stand around it any time my kids wanted to jump. And we already know that I wouldn't have been very useful. Thankfully, we have been able to avoid anything major...just my husband being a bit sore after having overdone it when bouncing with the kids.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Kid Art


The four-year-old created this this very morning with markers and crayons. She titled it A LEAF MACHINE FOR FALL. Love it!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Kid's Eye

I love that the nine-year-old's term for spaghetti straps is "noodle handles".

It's the Little Things

Don't you love the little unexpected things in life that will bring about a celebration in your children? Never fails to make me smile.

The celebration early this afternoon was led by the four-year-old. I heard her run from one bathroom to the other, followed shortly by one of those breathy exclamations of "Yes!" (I even imagine a fist pump)...because she found a roll of toilet paper for the other bathroom...as if she has had many a TP crisis in her young bathroom-using career.

I share her jubilation because there was extra TP to be found.

Wouldn't it be great if everyone was so easy to please?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Favorite Invention Friday!!!


You thought I had forgotten, hadn't you, dear readers? But, I had not. As I thought about what wonder I would celebrate today...I decided to wait. You see...I knew we were going to the orchard.

I knew that we were going to buy apples.

I knew that I had thought about canning applesauce (a Rachael Ray recipe that I love...warm in the fall and cold in the summer).

I knew this would take quite a few apples.

I knew that I would not like peeling the said apples.

I knew that I would love one of those tool bench peelers (Jeff had even suggested one when I casually mentioned trying my hand at canning the applesauce).

So, I waited...

And we did go to the orchard.

We did buy apples (2 for 1 on McIntosh today...PERFECT!).

And I did buy one of those peelers. It took two trips into the store, but I found one on the second trip in. (I do realize that there have probably been 58 of those available at garage sales within two miles of my home for the last four months for the very reasonable price of $1.)

And I love it!! It PEELS, it SLICES and it CORES! A little piece of heaven on earth. And I received lots of assistance preparing the apple sauce tonight...all because there was a toy/tool/machine involved.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Favorite Invention Friday!!!


Here it is! Favorite Invention Friday!!! This week's honoree is very similar to last week's...it is relevant to HEAT!!!

As you may realize, it is October in Michigan...a chill is in the air. Early this week, I was treated with such a treat by my husband. While I was away from the house running errands, he connected the mattress heating pad. That night I crawled into bed and the flannel sheets were toasty!!! Aaaahhhh...

So, this week I would like to honor the mattress heating pad. Now that I have had the privilege of enjoying one for a few years, I would put it right up there with food, clothing and shelter during the chilly mid-western autumn and frigid winter. I turn it on about thirty minutes before going to bed and it is sufficiently pre-heated when I manage to fall in to it. Did I say "Aaaahhh..." yet? I recommend that you put one of these on your Christmas list.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Favorite Invention Friday!!!


After camping over a late September weekend...on the shores of the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan's upper peninsula...this was an obvious choice. Thank you, portable heater...thank you.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Kid's Eye


Out of the blue, the four-year-old yelled "HOTDOG!"




It was actually the lifeboat on a Great Lakes Freighter that is now a museum in Sault St. Marie. Of all the things on the giant ship that could capture one's eye...and we had just finished lunch.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Same Person?

My youngest keeps me on my toes...her moods can swing pretty widely. I am beginning to dread the teenage years.

In the afternoon, she was trying to lure her older sister away from schoolwork to jump on the trampoline. I interrupted, informing the 4-year-old that her sisters couldn't go play at that moment. She replied "It's not your business!" We immediately retired to another room for a business talk.

At dinner, one of her sisters dripped water onto the floor. Without being asked, she went to the kitchen, got a paper towel and dried up the water.

Before bedtime, she exited the family room by walking backwards...beeping as she went.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Favorite Invention Friday!!!


Swim goggles have been a staple of our waterplay gear for years. We have gone through several pair...whether they were discarded due to wear, broken straps or simply didn't fit the owner any longer. I love these for the underwater world that they open up for my kids...being able to see rocks or fish clearly...being able to jump fearlessly into a pool or lake with no fear of discomfort to the eyes. I also love them in a fun photo.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kid's Eye

Heading up north at that time of day when the sun was sitting just low enough that it was flashing at us from behind the trees as we moved along the highway. The four-year-old, shielding her eyes, said "Mom! The sun is taking pictures of me!"

Monday, September 21, 2009

Kid Art





Fall starts officially this week...and one of the perks is apples. Here is some apple art by my three daughters. The first was done by the 11-year-old with paint. The second was created by the 9-year-old with crayons. The last, but not least, was made by the 4-year-old with crayons.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Seventeen Years

Today, my hero and I are celebrating 17 years of marriage. It is fun to think back to that special day in my life...

Remembering how my special-order contact ripped one week before and I was sure I would either have to wear my coke-bottle glasses in my wedding pics or not see one thing that we had so carefully planned (it arrived the day before the wedding).


I remember Jeff taking a sip of the wine during the communion and me draining the WHOLE cup during my turn (no idea what I was thinking!!). I still remember the priest's expression when he looked into the challis...and Jeff rolling his eyes.


I remember my uncle who had enjoyed a little too many "beverages" congratulating Jeff's cousin, Pat, on his marriage....thinking he was Jeff.


We had this cute idea to change into black and white sweats...carefully decorated to look like a bride and groom...so that we could dance and not trash the "weddin' clothes". Cute, eh? At the reception...it was. We looked like total dorks on the plane to Jamaica the next day, though. (How I talked Jeff into this is beyond me. He's a trooper!)


Jeff's dad had ball caps made with our names and the wedding date on them. He distributed those to the wedding party on the evening of the rehearsal. The priest even used it in his sermon during the ceremony. We still have a couple of those knocking around the house.


I remember how the limo to take us down to the airport didn't show. My dad was not a happy camper with that company. But Jeff's best man/college roommate and his look-a-like cousin/recent roommate chauffeured us...way more fun than being driven by some stranger.



And while it is amusing to recall those special details, the important one that stands out for me is that we made a commitment to one another before God...for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer. Each of our days has fallen into one of those categories...and each day teaches us more about ourselves and each other. With seventeen years behind us, I'm already looking forward to what tomorrow and the days ahead bring.

You can read more about my hero here, here, and here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Favorite Invention Friday!!!


My friendship with the calculator has been long...it has had different phases.

As a child, it was a toy..."What words could I spell?...HELLO...SHELLOIL...".

As a student that often found herself in math and science classes (pursuing an engineering degree will do that to you), it was often a necessity with homework, labwork and tests.

As an engineer, it was tool to getting the job done...whether calculating dimensions, machine rates or budget numbers.

And, even now, as a wife and homeschooling mom...it has a role in my life. Sometimes it's conversions in the kitchen or working on my budget. But, currently, it's most important job is helping me correct three- and four-digit multiplication and long division problems. I think this may be one of its most important functions yet.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

An Invitation

I don't know about you, but for years I would sit in church and listen to what I considered children's Bible stories and some teachings from Jesus' best friends. I had done some Bible studies with friends, but never really got the whole picture. Then ten years ago (Wow! I need a moment to recover from the realization of how long ago that was...) a friend invited me to a Bible study to which she had recently been invited. That one invitation led me to an education that I am so thankful for. And that is what I am extending to you now...

As summer comes to an end and all of our schedules begin to take shape for the fall, I would like to invite you to BSF -- Bible Study Fellowship. You can find more info about it and where to find a local class by going here.

Let me share with you what I gained from this experience.
  • I came to understand that the entire Bible is about Jesus Christ.
  • I came to understand that the Old Testament is not just a collection of children's stories, but foreshadowing of Jesus and His sacrifice for me.
  • I came to understand the Epistles, Psalms and Proverbs.
  • BSF provides historical and cultural context to make the Scripture clearer.
  • The study is all about the Bible...no commentaries.
  • They have a wonderful children's program!
  • It's for everyone...there were over 150 churches represented in the class I attended.
  • It created a habit of daily Bible reading and study.
  • It helped me see the modern application of the timeless principles shared in the Bible.
  • It challenged me regularly to examine my motivations, relationships and attitudes.
  • I met wonderful ladies!

The BSF is a seven year program. I have been through the entire program once already. I am planning to return this year. I wanted to give my youngest the opportunity to participate in the BSF program. And, I know that I will learn because I am at a different point in my faith journey.

So...what do you say? Not sure what to do next? Go to the website link I shared above...look for a local class...call the administrator to find out when the next intro class is being held and go. There's no charge...and you can always change your mind. Now, there is work involved to get the most out of the class...but I promise that it is worthwhile and you will be blessed through the effort.


Update (10/22/09) -- They are adding an infant program! Yay for the young moms who will now be able to participate!! And they are adding a study of Isaiah...to be done next year. Yay!! My pastor has been covering Isaiah for the last several months, but you may never had the privilege of learning about it deeply. I'm excited to go over it again...catching any pieces I missed and re-inforcing the ones I caught.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Overheard in the Backseat

This episode actually happened a few months ago on a road trip to Arkansas. It had popped up in my memory and then I heard the girls recalling it...so I thought I'd share it.
11-year-old to younger sister: "You are my favorite 8-year-old."
Younger sister: "I'm 9."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Yes I Did!

While on a family vacation this past weekend, I read to the kids each night from James Herriot's Treasure for Children. My nine-year-old would often read the title of the evening's story as I was getting settled. After she had done this the third night, I complimented her reading skills. She looked at me and said "You did that!" recognizing me as her teacher. My heart instantly warmed as I thanked God for allowing me the opportunity to raise each of my girls, teach each of my girls and get to soak in the related rewards of such tasks.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Favorite Invention Friday!!!


You may be asking "What is it?" It is a FM transmitter for my Ipod. I plug it into the lighter socket in the car, plug the other end into the portable jukebox, set the radio to the appropriate FM station and enjoy. I love this contraption because it allows us to enjoy whatever we want to listen to...music, audiobooks, educational tracks...you name it. And, it charges my iPod...BONUS! Someday I will have a vehicle with the fancy little jack that you can plug the iPod directly into ... but it still won't charge it. (I guess you could always plug a car charger into the iPod while listening via the fancy jack, but please allow me to enjoy the fact that I only have to use one cord to accomplish both tasks!). :)

Happy Friday all!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Favorite Invention Friday!!!

My mom provided the suggestion for this week's celebrated invention. Over a year ago, she was laughing at me upon realizing that I had grown accustomed to calling this contraption a "chip clip" because that is its primary function in our home. She even gave me 40 of them on my ... 29th birthday :) . When did I transition from "clothespin" to "chip clip"? No idea...but it happened. Now, we do use it as a clothespin when we are camping. Something has to keep those wet towels and swimsuits from hitting the ground. My husband has used them to secure lights to the awning on the camper. So, maybe my summer uses will lead me back to the original nomenclature...or maybe not (they are still used as chip clips when we camp).

Do you have any unusual uses for the humble "clothes pin"..."chip clip"..."bomb diffuser" (I bet it was used for this purpose on more than one "MacGyver" episode)?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kid Art

In a wonderful class for homeschoolers, taught at the local art institute, my now 9-year-old was inspired to make this portrait of her cousin, Abby. This piece won the Grand Champion award in the People category for her age group at our homeschool group's art fair.

Created Spring 2009 with various papers and paint.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Life is Great...

...because I can listen to my 11-year-old sing LOUDLY with this song and then discuss its meaning. LOVE this song!! Gives me instant goose bumples.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Imagination


I love to watch a child's imagination in motion!! And it can come out in quiet, pretend play with toys...or loud, rowdy play out on the trampoline. Perhaps it has been spilled on to a piece of paper and can now be called art. However it shows up, I am always surprised by what they come up with. It reminds me that playing and pretending are fun and limitless.

My second daughter is always exercising her imagination. Her history includes cutting shapes out of paper which look meaningless or abstract to anyone else. But she colors them and they become characters in her mental plays. She can sit quietly at the table playing with pens or plastic spoons...each one taking on a personality and acting out some adventure created in her mind. One day, I turn the corner from the hallway and find her in this position.

"Rachael, what's wrong?"
"Nothing."
"What are you doing?"
"Pretending to be a starfish."

Obviously.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Life is Great...

....because I have the privilege and pleasure of listening to my kids' prayers.

Favorite Invention Friday!!!


I have been in love with the SnapCapp from the moment they joined our family. We received them as a gift at Christmas from my sis...I mean...Santa. We each had our own color to clearly mark our beverage. It was now possible to save the cans the kids opened and didn't finish. I could throw my can of Diet Coke into my purse with the contents suffering no soakage! It helps keep carbonation...and it will keep any rogue insects out. Why didn't I think of this?!

Now, they are not perfect. They can not be washed in the dishwasher. If the lid is not on tight and the can is knocked over onto the floor at the basketball game, there will be fizzing and beverage loss..I've heard ;) . If you put it on before you open the can....good luck. You do have to mangle the can a little to get it off (Michiganders must be careful not to mangle the UPC code read by bottle return machines...if the dime is important to you). And if the can is full and still closed, well...as I said...good luck. With all that said, though, I have to admit that the good outweighs the bad. I love our SnapCapps!!

So, where do you find this little treasure? Is it strictly bounty from the North Pole? Just do a search for "SnapCapp" and you will find sites you can order them from online...or just keep your eyes open at convenience stores, gift stores and gas stations.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Shift Out of Reverse

The hardest person to forgive is often yourself.

From "Morning Jam Sessions" by Betty Malz...
There is no reverse gear in the the Christian race. The saddest words of tongue or pen are these What might have been. Stop punishing yourself. Even in a court of law, a man can be punished only once for the same crime, while we keep looking in the rear-view mirror of our lives. If you keep looking back, you will run into something and cause a wreck. Godly sorrow worketh repentance, but only one application is necessary for the cure. Get out of reverse. Your are "accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6). Paul said, "I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me."

Don't let others remind you of your past, either. Tell them, "I distinctly remember forgetting all that!" And then sing to yourself this song of declaration: I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Kid Art



I woke up this morning thinking about this picture that my now 4-year-old drew and colored last spring. I love the shapes...the colors she used...their hats. Just not sure why they are not happy...nor sad...nor mad...just emotionally neutral...which is not her style.

Created Spring 2009 with markers.

Friday, August 14, 2009

"I Guess You'll Have to Leave"

The youngest was loudly complaining about her oldest sister..."She's not my sister! I only want Rachael as my sister!...etc." Over and over again, loudly and with tears. Why all the drama, you may be wondering. Now brace yourself, friend. The issue is that the 11-year-old makes the 4-year-old bounce too high and too much on the trampoline due to the difference in their sizes. Mmmhmmm...too much fun and adventure, I guess.

Weary of the inconsolable noise, I finally told her "Well, she moved in first...you were last...so I guess you'll have to leave." Peace was soon achieved.

I know...I should be writing parenting books, shouldn't I? :)

Favorite Invention Friday!!!




Last year when we got our camper, with a small inoperative refrigerator, my folks loaned us this baby. And it has been a lifesaver on many a camping trip!! It's a cooler that I can plug in at home to get it cold, fill with groceries, plug it in while it is in the car to keep it cold and then plug it in once we are set up at the campground. I love it!! We don't need anyone managing the ice so that no yummies perish! We did get that fridge in the camper fixed...but have found that we still need the cooler to help haul enough food and drink for a weekend.

And since we are "storing" it for my parents (Hey! They told us that if they need it, they know where to find it. After all, they buy much bigger refrigerators for camping...wrapped in a much bigger RVs.), we have found it useful for non-camping road trips. For my husband's recent weekend trip, I loaded it with stuff for sandwiches, fruit and breakfast fixins'. He plugged it in for the trip in the car, then carried it to his room and plugged it in there. He was able to break bread in his room throughout the weekend, saving money and time...two of his love languages.

Suffice it to say that, when this thing is called home (to my parents or the curb), we will be looking for another one. It will pay for itself with saved bags of ice and less frequent meals wrapped in paper on the road.

Happy Friday, ya'll!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

She's 4 Now...


I can't get to sleep tonight. No idea why...cold medicine...Emv (energy drink) consumed too late in the evening...or my brain is busy thinking about my youngest. Four years ago tonight, I was in a hospital being induced to deliver my third child. It was the end of a long road to add another roommate to our family. There was a gap between older siblings and this child due to life's dramas. The pregnancy had been filled with some drama itself and, before this day would be through, so would her entry into the world. And she has been a firecracker ever since. I believe God is sovereign and His timing is perfect. He had to hold this one in heaven for just a little while longer so that we would appreciate His gifts in her. And so that her sisters would be old enough to offer empathy rather than retaliation over some of her antics.

Last night, I asked her dad what he loved about her. His answer..."her commitment". She shows this commitment on a daily basis by her willingness to go to the mat over whatever is important to her at the time. His answer gave me some much needed perspective. You see, it has often been her commitment that has tied my day up into knots. I am not usually enthused about dueling with her over what she wears, what she eats, what she wants to do now, where she wants to go, etc. But, if I can keep a long term vision, shape her heart with the help of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God, then she will be a passionate instrument for God someday. And that's what I want for her...to fulfill the special purpose for her life as designed by God.

So, I will enjoy those curls and eyelashes. I will laugh at her songs and hang her art up on the wall. I will do puzzles with her and applaud her "Pledge of Allegiance". I will try to keep life in perspective and thoughtfully choose the "hills to die on" with her. I will remind myself to enjoy these days...slow them down...because they are fleeting.

Happy birthday to us...the birthday of being a familly of 5.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Favorite Invention Friday!!!

I know that so many people have these little contraptions. You can't walk through a mall without seeing a teenager walking along in their own little world, focused only on the path they walk and the noise bouncing from ear to ear.

My focus here isn't really about the iPod specifically, but on the MP3 concept. When going on road trips, it used to be a big ordeal to pick out and store the desired 8-tracks...cassettes...CDs. Thank goodness no one ever had a turntable in the car! Now, I just grab my iPod and the FM transmitter (I will feature that sometime) and we are off. I have enough selections loaded to keep everyone in the family happy! I have country, 80s rock, High school Musical, AC/DC and Air Supply! It's always a little schizophrenic to listen in the shuffle mode because you never know what you are going to get next. (I have found that some of the songs that I enjoyed in my youth, really are not appropriate for kids when you listen to the lyrics...easy enough to skip ahead, though.)

I LOVE that I can carry my favorite tunes, educational audios and episodes of the Office with me! And I haven't even tapped into the treasure of podcasts yet.

On a recent road trip, I enjoyed a special moment with my iPod and my 11-year-old. We were on our way to Arkansas for a family reunion, with my mom, sister, nephew and two younger daughters. During some leg of the trip, she and I were together in the seat located in the way back. After several miles of chatting, I put my earphones on and shuffled. When a HSM song came on, I passed an ear bud over to her and we sang together. After that, a Garth Brooks song came on about dreams being like rivers. I told her that her dad liked that song and we discussed it's meaning. Next came a song from my first date with her dad. It was so fun to relive these memories with her...discuss some of the poetic lessons of life included...create a new memory with her. I certainly didn't see that when I clicked "Add to Cart" last year.

Note: You can buy refurbished iPods here. You might have to be patient and wait for what you want. But, you will save money and they still have a 1 year warranty on them.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Timing is Everything

In case it has not come across clearly in other posts, I have a three-year-old (four next week...yikes!) with a lot of personality and opinion. She can put up an admirable battle for her position, whether she believes it's her turn immediately or she does not want to finish her dinner before having a snack. When she doesn't get her way, she will stick out her lip, drop her shoulders, slink away or shriek, turn red, get physical (with her sisters). Last summer, we had left the beach earlier than she would have liked. She screamed "No" on the drive all the way back to the campsite and continued after all of us got out of the car and closed the doors. We called her the princess of "No" that day and quipped about how we looked forward to her running out of stock of the word. It is often difficult to get her attention or interrupt this process...but it always seems to be the time I choose to define the terms of obedience or kindness or patience to her. Needless to say, she never hears a word I say or learns from my brilliant lectures.

Today, she and I were cuddled up reading the story of the three bears and Goldilocks...discussing the wrongs committed by the flaxen-haired young lady. It suddenly struck me as we cuddled and whispered together, that it might be the perfect time to discuss what I love about her, define those fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) to her and point out the times she has practiced them beautifully. We chatted about examples when she would have the opportunity to show how she could obey and that obedience was still expected, even when it was not what she wanted to do. It really was a pleasant interaction for me...memorable. I will now have my eyes and ears open for additional opportunities to teach her gently and pleasantly...then it will be a little easier to call those lessons to mind when the storms hit.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Snap Judgment

From "Morning Jam Sessions" by Betty Malz...
Avoid hasty conclusions and snap judgments.

... The Bible says there are three things that cannot be recalled, brought back or returned: a shot arrow, youth, or a sharp word spoken in haste. "Their tongue is an arrow shot out; it speaks deceit; one speaks peaceably to his neighbor with his mouth, but in his heart he lies in wait" (Jeremiah 9:8).

Let's not lie in wait to make snap judgments.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Feelin' Dusty


I understand that no one will ever be bragging about my housekeeping skills. And it's not because I wasn't raised in a well-kept home. My mom was very disciplined about her weekly cleaning and we were expected to help. I even subscribe to the Flylady's website and have read her book. I love her ideas and principles, just haven't implemented them very well...yet (I am optimistic). I do not like to clean. I try to keep the house from getting buried and I pull the vacuum out when my mental buzzer telling me how long it has been since I last vacuumed goes off. I know I need to be teaching these life skills to my three kids because they will have homes of their own someday and I don't want them to be the roommate everyone talks about...and I am working on the plan for that.

What always surprises me and convicts me, though, are the unexpected places where I find dust. This may be where my mom let me down in the training arena. For example, in the bathroom, we had to shake the rugs, clean the sink, tub, counter, toilet and mirror, dump the trash and sweep the floor (let me know if I am forgetting anything, Falula). But not once did she have me dust the top of the TP holder. Imagine my surprise on the day I found dust on the TP holder in my own house. I had never even thought to clean that. And those six panel doors that sounded like a great idea when building our house? Well, those six panels have 24 corners that can hold dust. I really am seeing the practical reasons for going with a very modern decor -- flat surfaces, minimal stuff to dust, no grooves or ridges.

So, I know where some of my dust is but I am always finding new places where it hides. It is the same with my life. I know, generally, what areas of my life need some polishing...but sometimes I am surprised when a new issue pops up. This past week, a girlfriend who I respect immensely as a wife/mom/friend, paid me a wonderful complement in regards to my parenting. My heart was instantly convicted because I know that I am still a work in progress in that area of my life. I know that I would be embarrassed for others to see my moments of impatience and frustration with my own children. And if I would be embarrassed for others to see it, shouldn't I be embarrassed for my children to see it? I am...but it still happens. Perhaps there's dust bunnies in the corners of my role as a wife. They show up as a poor attitude or an uncooperative or unsupportive spirit...maybe a flash of martyrdom because "he doesn't understand what I do all day". Well, that's when I need to cry a river, build a bridge and get over it. I am a blessed woman because I get to stay home and spend these wonderful years with my daughters...and it is thanks to him and his sacrifice.

Just as furniture needs to be repeatedly dusted, so do my skills and attitudes relevant to my various roles as wife, mom, teacher, friend, daughter, sister, etc. I have to be regularly reading books or listening to CDs that help me in these areas. I also need to be associating with those that have the fruits in those areas so that I can learn from them. I am blessed to have my mom, mother-in-law, sister, sister-in-laws and friends that I do, because I am able to learn from each of them.

There is one other key ingredient to effective dusting. As this post was coming together for me mentally, I pondered that we don't have any cleaning solutions, like Endust, to keep the dust away in our lives like that product does for furniture. But then I realized I do. I can read my Bible...I can pray...I can hand over my dust to Jesus and he will help me clean with the aid of the Holy Spirit. Any day that I can start out with some quiet time...reading some Scripture...a devotional...writing a prayer out in a journal... that day is going to go much smoother. I can ask that my dusty spots be revealed to me and for the help to clean them up. That is way better than Endust.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Favorite Invention Friday!!!

Today I am celebrating one of God's best inventions EVER....GRANDPARENTS!!! I could spend my whole day describing why they are awesome. Here's my evidence, though, just for this week

We have a grandma, who is out of town taking care of my grandma, writing multiple letters each week and sending treasures to the girls. This week, the grandpa, that goes with that grandma, let the girls hang out with the him for a few hours while I had an appointment. He took them all on a date to McDonald's, made sure there was treasure in the treasure boxes that grandma usually maintains and had the Power Wheels jeep battery charged. And finally, my in-laws are taking all of them away for the annual Torch Lake weekend with their cousins. They celebrate special days...such as backwards day (have dessert for breakfast, pancakes for dinner and wear their clothes backwards) and everyone's birthday...they swim...enjoy the special menu that their grandma planned just for them...go fishing with grandpa...enjoy adventures unforeseen at this time. The kids have so much fun that they start counting down to the next year's trip the moment they return from this year's excursion.

They all set a very high bar for grandparents. And they each are blessing in our lives.

Back to my material enjoyments next week!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

So, You Had Spaghetti For Dinner

Just have to reveal another of my superhero powers...I can communicate to you what I've had for dinner without even saying a word...because it is usually all over my shirt. For now, my story is that it's to communicate empathy to my kids for when they get something on their shirt...but what will I do when they have moved out?

3-Years-Old Going On ...?

Today my dad was going to let the girls hang out with him while I had an appointment. The 3-year-old insisted that she wanted to sleep at his house. I told her that they would not be sleeping over.
"I want to take my bag."
"What bag?"
"My pink bag with the jammies in it."
"You don't need to take your bag because you are not sleeping over."
"You're not my friend!"
As my sister noted...I'm not her friend, her dad is her boyfriend...she is acting like a 13-year-old already. She certainly adds some spice to my life.

What WOULD That Look Like?

My 9-year-old often asks me if she can get her hair tie-dyed. This has been her term for a couple of years, so I think she just means colored or highlighted. While the answer for her remains "No"...I am curious what the literal interpretation of her term would look like...on someone else's 9-year-old.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Are You the Imp in Impatience?

From "Morning Jam Sessions" by Betty Malz...
If the devil can't get you to be immoral, drunk, profane, backslidden or a cheat at business, he will rally his imp guerillas of impatience and cause you to wound someone's spirit and bring guilt to your own inner control.

Morning Jam Sessions

Years ago...in a galaxy far, far away (just kidding!)...a dear friend gave me a devotional titled "Morning Jam Sessions" by Betty Malz. I really wish I knew when I had received it...it was definitely 1994 or later. This book has been a daily treat. It is formatted as a page per day for the year. I started writing in the year that I visited each page in 2005. Sometimes I make a note on the page if that is the anniversary of a significant event in my life. And I made a rule for myself that I can never visit a missed day. It is interesting to reminisce about what may have been going on in my life on a missed day...camping or just off track (and why?). I totally envision this being a treasure to one of my daughters someday.

The author is funny...relatable. Sometimes she makes me smile and sometimes she opens my eyes to my stumblings. I tell you all that to introduce this series of blog posts, where I will share tidbits from the book. The ones that I share will be the ones that I needed...so don't be offended...I wasn't thinking of you. But, I figure if I needed the reminder or education, maybe someone else does too. ( I hope so...otherwise it is just me with all these issues.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

I Will Happily Share Him


We have three daughters...currently ages 11, 9 and 3. On a recent family camping trip, conversation around the fire, while enjoying s'mores, somehow turned to boyfriends and dating. I don't even know how we got there. The interesting part was that it was the 3-year-old who was vehemently proclaiming her desire to date and have a boyfriend. My husband and I looked at one another, saying everything with our silent expressions..."We have our work cut out for us". I now another reason to hope that Jesus returns soon.

The next day we were all splashing around in the waves of Lake Erie, having a great time. Suddenly, the 3-year-old grabs her dad's face and plants a kiss on him, informing him afterwards that they were now "dating" and that he was her "boyfriend". I looked at her and asked her "What about me...his wife?" She kindly allowed that we could "share him".

Considering the conversation of the previous night, I am happy to share him with my girls. He can set the precedent on how they should expect to be treated when they are dating...in the way, far away future. It will take some special young men to live up to the bar he sets for them.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Favorite Invention Friday


It was such an easy pick this week...sandwiched between two camping weekends. I want to celebrate the pop-up camper!

Speaking as an engineer, I have to say that I am impressed with the concept of the pop-up camper. It takes up so little space when all buttoned up but has a decent amount of room when fully opened. And it uses real estate wisely for stashing all of those camping necessities (many of those are worthy of their own FIF posts).

Speaking as a mom, I love all that it represents in our life--quality family time...away from distracting duties at home...opportunities to explore new places together...playing games...going on bike rides...skipping stones on any nearby body of water...passing time by poking at the campfire with sticks.

Now, I realize that it is not luxurious...but it keeps me...er...I mean...us...dry when it rains and we are off the ground away from the creepy-crawlies. It was perfect for breaking the family into the camping adventures and will help us appreciate any future upgrades.

If you want to read more about what I love about camping, you can go check out a post I did last year by clicking here.

Well, have to run...we are still packing for this weekend's fun!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Buttprints in the Sand

I originally came across this poem in Anita Renfroe's "A Purse-Driven Life" (A laugh out loud read, by the way!) and wanted to share it here. While looking for the poem online, I also found a site that now sells postcards, posters, etc. inspired by the poem. You can find that site here.

Enjoy the poem!

Buttprints in the Sand (author unknown)
One night I had a wondrous dream
One set of footprints there was seen
The footprints of my precious Lord
But mine were not along the shore.

But then some strange prints appeared
I asked the Lord, "What have we here?
Those prints are large and round and neat
But Lord, they are too big for feet."

"My child," He said in somber tones
"For miles I carried you along
I challenged you to walk in faith
But you refused and made me wait."

"You disobeyed, you would not grow
The walk of faith you would not know
So I got tired, I got fed up
And there I dropped you on your butt."

"Because in life there comes a time
When one must fight and one must climb
When one must rise and take a stand
Or leave their butt prints in the sand."

Friday, July 17, 2009

My Favorite Quote Today

This morning I had left a message for a homeschooling friend to call me back...I had a task that I wanted to see if she was up to. It was a long time, an hour perhaps, before she returned the call. In that hour, though, another solution had presented itself. Now, before I tell you her response, let me explain that I know that she would take on whatever was asked...that is what makes it so funny. Here is a (rough) summary of the call.
Me: "Hello!"
Friend: "Hi! Just returning your call."
Me: "I appreciate you calling back. Since I left you the message though, the spot has been filled."
Friend: "Procrastination pays off again!"
Ha!

Update 7/28/09 -- Oops! I was looking at something else and in a skim over this post saw that I said "It was a long time...before she returned the call". What I meant to say was "It was NOT a long time...". My sincerest apologies!!

Favorite Invention Friday


It's Friday, People!!! Ya know what that means, right?!! That's right!! I get to talk about something that makes my life enjoyable!!

Today, I'm talking about my cell phone with the QWERTY keyboard for easy texting!!!

Now, I believe I was a little late to the texting party...really only started about 18 months ago-ish. But I love it! I love it because it saves time! You might be thinking "What?!" It does, its saves time and cements relationships. My sister lives in CA and I live in MI. She's a busy, working wife and mom. I'm a busy wife and homeschooling mom. If something strikes me as funny, have a question, need to let her know the check is in the mail...I can text it and I'm done within seconds. If I had had to make a call, it would have taken several minutes because her and I just don't do quick phone calls. While I love talking to her, neither of us have time for daily 30 minute phone conversations. So, I saved time for both of us and still got to communicate with her. The phone has provided the same benefit in regards to some of my closest friends. We don't have time to talk everyday, but I can send them a text to let them know I'm thinking of them or that I need an arrow prayer (a prayer you shoot up quickly, short and sweet) in no time at all. I'm quite excited that my mom is now trying out texting in her life. I expect the same benefits. And finally, I love that I can easily drop a love note to my husband...whenever I feel like it.

And I love the QWERTY because of it's ease! My right thumb would get sore when I texted on my old phone and texting took longer.

Now, I do understand that there is a time to text and a time not to. Don't ignore others that are with you to text someone who is not with you...excuse yourself if it is urgent and IMPORTANT. And, don't make texting your primary mode of communication. It is better to talk to people...in whole sentences as opposed to abbreviated-text-speak. Utilize it when you need convenience. Beware of letting texting language (e.g. using "r" for "are", "u" for "you") influence how you write normally...that would make all those high school English classes a waste of time and we don't want to do that....and it looks unprofessional in a work-related memo or email. And, you could fall into an open manhole if you are not paying attention while texting, and lose a shoe (go here for the story).

So, thank you, cell phone with the QWERTY keyboard, for all you do in my life!!! I won't leave home without you...on purpose anyway.

See you next week on FIF!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Golden Rule

I had one of those normal everyday situations where I got to flex my parenting muscles. It started with the following exchange.
"Mom! She slapped me on the back of my head!"
"She wrote on my math page!"
"Well, she wrote on mine!"
The resulting discussion was filled with teachings on tattling, example (particularly for their three-year-old sister) and, of course, the Golden Rule.

From Mark 22:28-34, we read that a scribe asked Jesus what the first commandment of all is (out of the 613 contained in the ancient Scriptures, and recognized by the religious leaders of the day). Jesus teaches that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. He goes on to teach that the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. This often called the Golden Rule. Treat others as you would like them to treat you.

So, after reminding them of this teaching from Jesus (I love the leverage He provides me as a parent), I reminded them to filter all actions and words through the question "Would I want someone to do this to me?" After the girls departed, I continued to ponder the Golden Rule. I measured myself, my attitudes, my actions, on any given day, against it. Do I always treat others the way they want to be treated? What about when they are not with me or when they have turned their back? While I may be doing the right thing, what is my motivation and/or attitude about it, and how am I displaying it? What example am I providing for my daughters when I am in a store or driving? The results of my thinking...I have as much to learn about how I treat others as my kids do. The nature of my acts against others may not be as obvious as those between young siblings, but that doesn't make them any less harmful. They may even be more harmful because, as an adult, I should know better. But as a sinner, knowing and doing don't always align.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Inaugural Post of Favorite Invention Fridays

Welcome to the first ever Favorite Invention Friday post. There can only be one first time at anything and I'm glad that you decided to join me for this one. Now, before we get to the primary purpose at hand, I do feel it necessary to take care of some business. I want to make it clear to all of you, that despite the rampant rumors, this is not the gig that led Sarah Palin to resign from being the governor of Alaska. Secondly, President Barack Obama will not be joining us today. He had discussed returning early from the G8 shindig in Europe to take over this responsibility. But, I told him that he has enough on his plate with banking, industry and healthcare. He could leave this one thing to me. If it doesn't go well, I'm sure I will hear from his appointed American Mommy Blogger Task Force ...a group comprised of single men who work in the aerospace industry and career women who have decided not to have children. Now on with FAVORITE INVENTION FRIDAY!!!!

The first post has to be dedicated to the item that inspired this whole concept...the FLOATIE BATHING SUIT!!! I love this item! It means that the kids get to go swimming way more because I don't have to get in with them to keep the three-year-old upright. I wouldn't say that it allows me to be a lazy mom...but it does allow me to stay dry, except in the event of an emergency or 85 degree water. It really is a win-win. The kids get to go swimming way more because they don't care what the water temp is -- to say that I was a bottleneck here would be an understatement. And, I get to read from a nearby perch, ready to leap in as needed...enjoying any number of books from my reading pile and catching a little vitamin D.

So please join me as I say "Thank you, floatie suit!! Thank you!!"

And I invite you to meet me here next Friday as I celebrate another wonderful item that brings quality to my life.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

They Will Keep You Humble III

While making breakfast for the 3-year-old, I hear her say so sweetly "I love you". My back is to her, but I know that she is talking to me because no one is in the kitchen with us. So, I give the obvious response..."I love you too". "Awwww"...right? But then I hear the giggle.

"I wasn't talking to you."
"Well, who were you talking to?"
"The toaster."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Marching to the Beat of Her Own Drumming

The three-year-old has a toy laptop that does all kinds of activites...math...spelling...music. It was the music that caught my attention
yesterday.

Apparently, she can hit some combination of buttons and a song plays. As I was making dinner, I hear the tune of "Jimmy Cracked Corn" in the background. I suddenly realize that she is singing along with it, but she has lyrics of her own. It goes something like this...

Gimme that ball and I don't care;
Gimme that ball and I don't care;
Gimme that ball and I don't care;
Gimme that ball!

So...does anyone want to schedule a playdate?

Monday, July 6, 2009

What a teeny tiny HUGE World We Live in

If you are reading this at my actual blog site and not through a feed, look up there at the top of page but below all that toolbar stuff. See where it says "Next Blog"? When you are done bouncing around my ramblings, click on it and find out where it takes you. I am always amazed! In the blink of an eye, I am whisked away to any number of places in the world...shown through pictures and languages. I may land on a blog created by some happy parents who just want to keep distant relatives up-to-date on their biological roommates. I may land on an artist's page where photos or sketches can mesmerize. Maybe it's a blog about techie stuff or political stuff. Sometimes it is inappropriate and I speedily click "Next Blog" to whisk me away and sometimes it is an absolute joy that I linger over. Today, I landed on a blog documenting the money found on the streets of New York City by a single person(you can read about it here) The blogger promises to write until $100,000 is collected...currently at $25.98. So many people with so many passions. I am reminded of the concept that we can learn something from each person we encounter because everyone is an expert at something.

I wonder what I can teach anyone.

If you are bouncing around the "Blogger" world and land here...and learn something...you are welcome. But, if you don't benefit in any way...I'm sorry. Please click on "Next Blog".

Now, if you are reading this post through a feed, you have homework. Go to the original postand read from the beginning again.

Happy Travels! Let me know what interesting blog destination you find.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Coming Soon...Favorite Invention Fridays

As I was helping the kids get dried off and dressed after an afternoon of swimming, I was struck by how much I love the ....wait...I'm not going to tell you now and waste an idea for a future post. What I will share with you, though, is that at that very moment a new idea for this blog was born...Favorite Invention Fridays. So, on many (I can't promise every, or even most, yet) Fridays, I will share with you my favorite items that make life easier...make me wonder why I didn't think of that. Hope you find something new...or take advantage of the chance to celebrate one of the blessings of living in these current times.

Look for the first next Friday...assuming I will remember...and that the current beloved item will not have lost its shine for me.

Friday, July 3, 2009

What Are You Planning?

During the course of normal parenting, have you started to keep a list of the things you will do someday when you are visiting your then-adult children's homes?

I must admit that I have started to make plans. Here are some of them...

  • Make sure to tell them that I don't like what they cooked.

  • Leave my shoes everywhere.

  • Change my clothes multiple times.

  • Look in a totally different direction when they are talking to me.

  • Tell them that I no longer like to eat _____, even though I have already eaten half of what was given to me.

  • Carry dry, crumbling leaves into the house.

  • Leave lights on when I leave a room.

  • Leave toilet paper holders empty.

  • Hide dishes until the dishwasher has been started.

  • Hide clothes or linens until the washer is almost done.

  • Suggest to their children, that they get the shopping cart that looks like a car and is near impossible to drive through the aisles.

  • Eat from their plate and drink from their glass, bottle, water bottle...perhaps leaving a souvenier behind.

  • Leave any kitchen messes or spills just where fate created them.

  • Just after they sit down, I will sit really close to them and roll around on them, making sure to embed my elbow in the most uncomfortable places.

  • Walk in on them in the bathroom and the shower.

  • Make sure I bring my friends Nobody and Somebody with me, because they are the ones that create all the havoc.

  • Start talking to them or singing whenever they pick up the phone.


Well, as I look back over this list, it is apparent that I have thought about this a bit. Now, you know I won't do this stuff...while it may be tempting on that first visit. I will, though, continue to threaten them with such behavior until they adjust their attitude about what I have cooked.

Honestly, as I consider all of these "challenges" to parenting, I am overwhelmed with the appreciation for the blessing of kids. They teach me so much and I know that any inconsistencies that show up in their actions are because their teacher has been inconsistent, ineffective or both. Genesis 33:5 reminds us that children are a gift from God and it is my job to train them up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). I will continue to do so faithfully, and imperfectly, knowing that when they are old they will not depart from it (as Proverbs 22:6 continues and promises). Secretly, I will also pray that they at least behave proprerly at the homes of others...because I am vain, and that shows they can apply the lessons learned at home. I'll take any signs of progress, people.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My New Follower (of the blog...not my cult)


I have to introduce you to my new follower...my grandma. She is 85 years old, we all call her "Granny", shares a birthday with my second daughter (shown in the photo)and she enjoys Twinkies.

I had the privilege of visiting her in Jonesboro, AR this past weekend. I managed to squeeze in a little one-on-one girlfriend time with her one morning...laughing about my life as a wife and mom, sharing how she managed to raise six kids (only one of them a daughter, my mom). Talk eventually turned to this blog.

I booted up my cousin's computer sitting nearby and shared my posts regarding my birthday gifts. I then brought my sister's blog up on the screen. It was so fun to laugh with her! After reading a few posts, I asked her if she needed a break or really didn't want to know that much about either my sister or myself. She looked at me and said, "I can't know enough about you." Made me weepy...so thankful for technology. So, I promised that my sister and I would keep our respective sites updated (Did you get that, Falula?). This will allow us to visit with her a little more often.

Now, if I could just get her to start a blog...

"We Should Have Named You Grace"

"We should have called you Grace". Yep...that's what my mom said to me upon hearing of another of my clumsy mishaps. You see, I have this propensity...really a superhero-type power...at falling and other crazy acrobatics...over things unseen even. Take yesterday as an example.

I shut my hair in my car door. Now, before I describe what really happened...I am dying to know what you visualize based only upon that sentence. Was I inside the car or outside? Was it the bangs or a side section...or a pony tail? Was the car running? My husband assumed I was outside the car and wondered how I got loose. Anyhow...on with the facts.

I jumped into my van to run an errand. Always trying to live up to the maternal expectation of "multi-tasking"...I decided to close the door while leaning towards the door so that I can remove my cell phone from my front right pocket (another super-hero power of mine...long, run-on sentences). Impressive, eh? Imagine my surprise just after the door closed and the phone had been extracted, when I go to straighten up in my seat and feel the painful tug of my head, by my hair, back to the door. My first thought..."Did anyone else see that?" Of course, I couldn't look around to find out. I quickly opened the door, pulled my barely-hits-the-shoulder tresses out, closed the door, started the car and drove away...to live another day to assault...myself.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

With a Kid's Eye


I love how kids look at things. A couple of days ago, my 3-year-old pointed out to her aunt that she could still see the moon in the morning sky. She then commented that it was broken...because it was only a half-moon.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I am Blessed

So, have you been keeping up? While I realize that blogging really seems to be a self-centered enterprise, my hope is that my ramblings will help you recognize the blessing that have been placed in your life. As I wrap up this series of entries, there is still the most important gift in my life to be ooohhhhed and aaaahhhhed over...the gift of Jesus.

In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul quotes Old Testament scripture to remind us that every person has sinned in some manner through their character, conversation and/or conduct. I know I have failings in each of those categories on a daily basis. Paul goes on to share the Good News, though, in Romans 5:8..."while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

So, I am thankful to God for the many blessings in my life...those described throughout the week and those still unmentioned. But, I am most thankful for God's love for me, a sinner...poured out through the sacrifice of his perfect and holy Son, so that I can look forward to eternal life (John 3:16).

Friday, June 12, 2009

They Got My Back


Well, the birthday celebration rages on...even though the big day was two days ago!!!

Today I want to give thanks for all of the special ladies in my life.

Let me start with my sister. She and I are total BFFs! While it was not always that way (you can read just one incident here), it is that way now. While we live time zones apart, we keep in touch through text messages, pictures on the phone, e-mail, Facebook and good old fashioned phone calls. Every visit is anticipated and relished. We don't necessarily agree with each other on all of life's issues, but we love and respect each other...always willing to listen and learn from each other. Jodi is creative, smart and one of the funniest people I know (second to my dad). (Pssst....don't tell her that I said any of that, ok?)


My two sisters-in-law (or is it sister-in-laws?) are two more special people that I can always count on. While I don't get the chance to spend much time with them, they are always nearby with an e-mail and a prayer. They are quick to send cards and flowers during tough times and I always learn something from them that helps me be a better mom. Remember...they were raised by one of my favorite Titus 2 women!

Then, there are all my sisters (or sistas!) that I'm not related to but could not be closer to. They too have been there in good times and bad. We encourage each other as wives, moms, teachers and followers of Christ. They have character and the courage to live that character out in their daily lives. I appreciate so much their efforts to always be working on themselves and their willingness to serve others.

I am thankful for each and every one of these special women...they have certainly played their part in building this cathedral (she's a brick...howwwse....oops! sorry! could not resist), whether they know it or not.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

His First Builders


Remember my top earthly priority? (If not, go here.) Well, two of the major reasons that he is the man that he is are my in-laws.

Many of my friends have had distressing in-laws issues, but God has blessed me in this area of my life too. My father-in-law is the friendliest guy you will ever meet...in fact I don't believe he has met a stranger yet. And my mother-in-law is the picture of a Titus 2 woman. I always learn something when I am around her. They have been loving towards me from the moment that I met them. I never feel as though I am being judged or am falling short of any expectations they may have for the wife of their son and mom of three of their grandchildren.

Speaking of the grandkids...they are adored by all of them. Grandpa and Grandma grab the kids and dash away with them for a long weekend. They spend their days celebrating "backwards day" where they start with dessert for breakfast and end with breakfast for dinner...going fishing...swimming...having a birthday party for everybody. This is on top of them attending school and sporting events...going garage saling with Grandpa...making cookies, having tea parties and playing games with Grandma. They, too, are setting the bar high for us as future grandparents.

They will be celebrating their forty-fifth wedding anniversary this year. They continue to serve others in countless ways...such a wonderful example for the rest of us. I thank them so much for the man they raised to be my best friend and I thank God that they are a part of my life.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My First Builders


Just as I was sitting down to think about this particular God-given gift, I received a phone call. It was my dad and mom. They were singing "Happy Birthday". Perfect timing!

I am blessed to be their daughter. They are the only ones who have known me my entire life, with the exception of God. They were chosen for this assignement by the Creator himself. Their love has always been encouraging, nurturing and unconditional. They have held the bar high for me and did all they could do to prepare me for life. They've been with me at the hospital, attended countless school events, taught me to ride a bike and drive a car. And now it is my privilege to watch them as grandparents in action...once again setting the bar high.

This summer they will celebrate their forty-fourth wedding anniversary. I've seen them weather many storms together and I am thankful that they are now able to enjoy life in the manner they choose.

I love still being their "little girl" and am thankful to God for sending me to them. It is a privilege that I didn't earn, often haven't appreciated enough and wouldn't change for the world.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Three of My Best Friends


They are a collection of giggles, freckles, curls and eyelashes. Each one is different from the other two in countless ways...interests...sensitivities...sense of humors (or is it senses of humor?). God uses them each day to teach me something about others and myself. And it is my pleasure, privilege and blessing to spend each day with them as we learn about the Creation together.

When I consider my own friendship with my sister and my mom, I look forward to what the future holds for us and our relationship...just don't rush me. I am enjoying being employed in the oldest profession...motherhood.

My Top (Earthly) Priority


As I consider the gifts that God has given to me, I have to start with the my husband. He's my best friend...hero...partner in life. We have known each other for 21 years now (over half my life) and been married for almost 17 of them. We have faced some of life's challenges, learning what each of us was made of. He is a man of integrity, loyal to the end, has an amazing ability to assess a process and immediately formulate improvements/solutions. He is a hard worker, a kid at heart, a man of faith. I learn from him each day and am thrilled that he is the dad to our three beautiful daughters. He may not be perfect, but he is perfect for me...God thought so first!

You can read more about him here and here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

So, this is my birthday week and I...What?...What do you mean "Weeeeek?"...Don't you have a week long festival in honor of your birth?...hmmmm...Well, you are certainly welcome to join all those that adore me in their celebration of me (she said with humility).

Now, where was I?...

Oh, yes..

I plan to celebrate my birthday this week by exclaiming thanks for the gifts given to me and my gratitude that I am starting a whole new year of enjoying them.

So, sit back and enjoy as I unwrap each one...and join me in the "oooohhhs" and "aaaahhhs".

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Is 3-years-old Too Early?

Too early for what?

Doing your own laundry. Marrin is on her fifth shirt today and it is not even noon. And there was nothing wrong with the first four.

I should add that she was wearing black pants throughout the changes. One of the shirts was black with "LOVE" written in bright balloon letters. When she appeared later with a green shirt, I asked her "Why are you not wearing your black shirt anymore?" She promptly answered "Because I'm not a ninja now".

The Heavens Opened...The Angels Sang!

This may be premature, but...

This week, when asked to vacuum a room, one of my kids moved stuff out of the way without being asked! I know! It was a beautiful thing! She was heaped with praise...in front of the others...to her dad (that was a huge deposit into his love tank).

One time in a row counts as a new habit...right?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rotted Lips...a story from Grandma


I just received this story from my mom. I laughed out loud! Enjoy!

"Tracey,

Just wanted you to know a conversation I had with Nicole and Rachael in church yesterday in case it comes back to pinch me.

This is not anything for you to act on except as information in case a question comes up.

Somehow, we got on the subject of dating and kissing boys. I told them they should never kiss any boy until their parents agree they are old enough to date because their lips will rot, fall off, and won't be able to ever wear lipstick. Rachael, with a very serious face, told me she would put her lipstick on her face surrounding her lips then.

She trumped my warning!!!

I had a hard time keeping a straight face and I did have to look away so she wouldn't see my grin!

Love,
Mom"

They Will Keep You Humble II

It's Monday...back to the homeschooling routine.

My nine-year-old sits down next to me and asks "Do you like what I writed?" Yep...two syllables...ri-ted. I asked her if she had ever read that word in a book. She responded "No". I filled her in..."That is because there is no such word. The right word to use is 'wrote'."

She promptly looked at me and said, "I should have said 'drawed'." Oh yes...she did say that.

As I told my sister and dear friend today when I shared the story...the books about my homeschooling approach and success will fill shelves...in the humor section.

P.S. I am glad to report that the spell check feature of this blog did catch those two words...that don't exist...except in the world of my students.