Tuesday, April 28, 2009


This week we are studying snakes in science. Because my boys are their father's sons, they felt compelled to have their own snake hunt. And because they have been on many a snake hunt with Andy, they knew where to look. So, just for the week, we have a new pet. He's a ring snake that we call Rocky. This is hands-on education at its finest! :) If the snake gets loose (and many a temporary pet has in our house), I will be finding a hotel!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Flat Stanley

I have loved the Flat Stanley series. Not only did we read the books, but we also saw the play, too! Today Toot finished the books and made his own "Flat Joshua". He will mail it to a few relatives to travel around the world like Flat Stanley. But before we mail him away, Toot wanted to show him the neighborhood. Jaybird and Lydie joined in and made their own versions, as well. This book series marked a big milestone for Toot. Although he has been reading chapter books since Christmas, these were the first that I let him read quietly and then narrate to me. We usually alternate reading pages to one another. But he read independently and comprehended beautifully. He has been reading through Jaybird's Boxcar Children book set and The Magic Tree house series at bed time. It is so amazing to see him come downstairs in the morning with his latest book. I can't wait to see what first grade holds for him! Pictured above: our new little friend and Toot, the kids tried to see if their little friends could take a trip down the sewer- what a disappointment!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Just what the doctor ordered

It's been a relaxing, quiet weekend and I'm thankful. But, I can not wait to see this little girl, along with her two amazing older brothers! I am getting ready to go and pick up the kids. The house has been cleaned, which is a beautiful thing. Our unbelievable church is providing meals every other day for a few weeks, as well as taking care of our yard work. While Andy was resting, I have planned for school this week and paid the bills. I also organized my junky bedside table and traded out my winter clothes for spring. My Mom is sending the kids home with clean clothes and they have all had showers. Our clothes and dishes are washing now. Besides going to the store, I am ready for the week!

With my "planner" personality, all of this help with housework and yard work is such a relief. Thank you everyone! God's provision is so uplifting! I'm not sure if any of the people that have helped us will ever read my blog, but I am so grateful. I am praying that Andy will be well enough for our week to be somewhat normal for the kids. Maybe there will be time for me to take them to the park, teach a full week of school, and spend time with friends. If things go really well, maybe we'll proceed with our usual movie night and game night. I hope so. I'm ready to move along, and I know Andy is, too.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Moving along

This week has been a little gloomy. I am so thankful that my mother-in-law was here. And, my sweet friends Liz and Tammy took the kids for the entire day yesterday. Now they are all at Nana and Poppy's for the weekend, anticipating fun times with my brother and his family, too.

Andy is still in bed, but able to walk a little. I think this back injury will take at least another week in bed. We are inundated with "disability" paperwork from his employer and trying to work with a lawyer regarding the car accident. That stuff is overwhelming! We are alone now just sort of staring at one another. The kids were fine, only I knew that with the stress of it all, Monday would come too soon. I think it will be good for us all to have them with grandparents.

I am so thankful for the many emails, prayers, and offers of help. We have even had offers of help with yard work for the next few weeks, not to mention help with the children and meals. It is a beautiful thing to be part of the body of Christ. We are looking for how God is at work in it all. For starters, we know we are loved and it feels amazing.

On a lighter note, here are my pillows that I've made for the sofa. The weekend before Spring Break I made a few (before the chaos began). I'm enjoying them and looking forward to making 5 or 6 more for the other corners on the sectional. I didn't realize how many fabric "scraps" I had! The green and cream toile (with the brown ball fringe) is from my kitchen curtains in our last house. I miss those curtains! And the cream and brown polka dot and green paisley fabrics were bought for aprons that never came to fruition.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

We're home!

So happy that Andy was discharged from the hospital. He is getting around a little with the help of this little baby.He's a trooper. Thanks so much for praying.

Another update

Dear friends,
Thank you for your prayers on our behalf! Andy had an MRI and CAT scan yesterday, along with an steroid epidural and many medicines via IV. We saw small progress as he was able to walk to the bathroom with the aid of the nurses and a walker. We are praying that today he will be able to have a little more mobility and come home. Surgery will not be needed at this time!

I went to bed last night with my first migraine. The nausea brought me back to my last pregnancy. But after an hour or so I was able to fall asleep and sleep until 9:30 this morning! The kids seemed stressed yesterday, but I have been able to play with them this morning and they are doing great today. Puzzles with Toot, dancing with Lydie, conversation with Jaybird-20 minutes with each, speaking 3 completely different languages (love languages, that is).

If you want to know how to pray...Pray with us, as the doctors have suggested that Andy's discs are bulging and herniated in two places which may be a result of his car accident. We will need discernment to know how to move forward with that information. Also, pray that each precious one in our family will feel loved by me as God gives me the grace to encourage and see us through. Pray that Andy's employer would continue to extend heart-felt grace and patience with him as he is out of work for the rest of the week. Finally, pray that we would sense His presence and He would be glorified with our thoughts and actions.

Thank you so much for your concern. We are loved and blessed. God is good, all the time...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Survival mode

Family and friends,
Please pray for us! I wrote of a few of our struggles recently with the car accident and other trials. This weekend, Andy called while I was at a ballet performance for a teenager at church, to tell me he had hurt his back and couldn't move. On Sunday I had to call an ambulance to come and get him. The pain was very bad and he couldn't bear any weight on his legs, nor even his knees to crawl. So I had no way of transporting him to get the medical attention he needed. They admitted him last night to the hospital. As I was leaving to come home for the night, a tornado passed through just over our house. Sweet Mimi had to take the sleeping children in the basement. Praise God the weather did not damage our house. And I am thankful that I made it home just fine, but soaking wet!

I am now doing a few things for the children, and then back to the hospital. They will run an MRI later today and hopefully we will get some answers. I am afraid Andy will be out of work all week. Poor guy, this week his employer had paid for a week-long class out of town. A world-renown botanist was teaching outdoors a very special, once-in-a-lifetime series. According to Andy, the scientist, it was very exciting. I hate that he is having to miss. I am thankful for quiet time by his hospital bed to just look at him and talk alone. It's nice to see him out of pain, as they are giving him a variety of medications. And, it's nice to be able to show him how much I love him by smothering him with help and attention.

We are so thankful to Liz and her family for coming to get the kids and bringing them home last night. And we are so thankful to our zealous, loving Mimi for scooting across state lines to take over for Liz and spend the night(s). It's such a blessing to be loved by friends and family. Having said that, please pray for a season of health and calm for us. The last month has been crazy. And I am finding myself looking slowly and cautiously around each new corner...a little nervous about tomorrow.

Friday, April 17, 2009

When you're desperate...

for 20 minutes alone to clean the bathroom, there is a wrong and a right way to buy time.

The wrong way...
is to leave the finger paint-loving two year old alone with a yogurt snack. Although, her beautiful face and the sound of "Jesus Loves Me" sung to the beat of swirling, happy fingers isn't so bad.

The right way...is to ask the boys to recreate their history lesson with Legos. Not only will you get 20 minutes, but possibly an hour and 20 minutes. And afterwards, they will get the joy of reenacting the barbaric ways of the Ninevites leading the Assyrian army against the Israelites. And that will be a good show!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The game plan

There is no denying that times have been tough since January around here as Andy had to find a new job. Financially, emotionally, and spritually we are tired. There is a slight feeling of being behind the ball every day as a parent. But lately, we just can't catch up financially or any other way, it seems. In fact, we keep getting farther behind. It leaves me with a feeling of defeat.

Last night I stayed up for several hours alone with the Lord. I don't really care to have the "Why?" questions answered. I just want direction. What do we do now? How do we make this better? I went to bed with not a shred of insight, but a peace in knowing that I had spent time with the Lord in an effort to listen and obey.

This morning I woke up and met the Lord with some time in His word. I am (slowly) reading the Bible from cover to cover- today was the day to start Job. I was not excited. Could you even imagine his circumstances? I left for the dentist office, only to find myself in another frustrating circumstance. More dental work, more bills, more doubting other people's honesty. I called my husband ready to give up. I'm tired of it all. In that moment, I was ready to send the kids to school and find a (paying) job.

Now I can see that this is all spiritual warfare. And suddenly, I am determined to fight. As I read in the book of Job, what do we have left on this earth to cherish if not our salvation and the deep Joy of walking in obedience to Christ?

Here's my game plan:
~We will continue to tithe 10% no matter how many unforseen circumstances happen that are costly. We owe Him everything- this is the very least we can do.
~I will continue to stay at home and raise my own children. I am completely convicted that this is my calling.
~I will continue to cut coupons, help with the garden, cook deer meat more often (ugg), and buy clothing and household items second hand.
~I will be a strong voice for our family when it comes to medical and dental procedures. I would be stupid not to look at past situations and see where we have been taken advantage.
~I will pray and stay in His word. The children, my husband, family and friends need someone who is living in the Spirit, bearing His fruit, which cannot be found living independently. And above all, He should be glorified.
~I will pray for opportunities to serve and encourage others. Other people are hurting financially, and in other ways, much more.
~I will make sure my family is getting a healthy diet, taking care of their bodies, and getting plenty of exercise. An ounce of prevention...
~I will support my husband in his work, as well as in the decisions he makes for our family- even if they make life more challenging for me. We are all going to have to put on our big girl panties.
~I will arrange for us to sell all the things that we do not need, as well as look for opportunities to help us find financial freedom again. Every little penny helps.
~I will purposefully strive to have a grateful heart when I am tempted to have an angry or sinful heart.

I am absolutely incapable of doing all of these things alone. The Lord will have to work through me in order for me to accomplish any of these objectives. We will venture forward in faith that He goes with us, before us, and in us. Through Christ, all things are possible. (Not a million earthly licks in this boxing match called life could convince me otherwise!)

Matthew 6:33
"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness..."

Monday, April 13, 2009


We're home from a visit to my hometown for Spring Break. We had fun with both sets of grandparents and all of our cousins. We enjoyed a children's museum, lunch and a photo session with cousins, donuts and pizza galore, a trip to the zoo, spend the night parties, a birthday party, Easter egg hunts and festivities, and the boys got to go to the farm, too. Unfortunately, when Andy was coming to join us on Thursday, he was hit by another vehicle that swerved into his lane. His car is totalled, but we are very thankful that he only had a few cuts and some soreness. He is already feeling back to normal, again. Unfortunately, we will be looking for a new car. It takes a scare like this to force us to pause and be thankful. We went into the Easter holiday grateful for both physical and spiritual life. We are so blessed beyond any depth of gratitude we can muster.

We had a wonderful Easter with my side of the family. I love worshipping at my parents' church where Andy and I got married and where I experienced my first taste of understanding God's grace. We had great fun at lunch with 24 family members. And the kids loved hiding and re-hiding the eggs. And best of all, we all took a special day to meditate (as we should every day) on the great hope and love found in the resurrection of Jesus.

We never quite get that family photo. My boys (and husband) are too impatient to stop long enough to get someone else to come and take the picture!

My 3 & my brother's 3- We have 6 cousins total- all were born between the birth of my oldest and youngest. We are a closely knit bunch. My heart throbMy only picture of Andy from the day (but it's a good one- handsome guy) My nieces in their hand-made dresses. My sister-in-law's mother (Gigi) is a phenomenal seamstress. They always look like little angels.
Our little cabooses- Greyce and Lydie are 11 months apart and the last of the bunch, I'm afraid. We ended on a GOOD note. They are both full of life and affection.

I pray every day this year will be a day to celebrate "resurrection day"! As I told my son yesterday, there is always something to look forward to!!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Weekend fun

Sunday hiking is not going to happen-it's raining again. Hoping for a restful, quiet day.
The kids and I took an impromptu trip to the aquarium on Friday to see the sharks we have been studying this week.
Lydie and I did some baking together.
On Saturday, the boys agreed to help all day with extra things in the yard in order to earn money for a new book.
By late afternoon, the kid-size jobs were done. It was play time.

But Lydie was too little to play Frisbee with the boys.
Jaybird couldn't stand to see his little sister upset. He came to the rescue, as usual.And then climbed a tree.
Not just any tree, my favorite tree, our weeping cherry.
And Andy joined in on the fun. Here he is giving the Frisbee a behind the back pass. The day ended with a trip to Mellow Mushroom, a movie from the library, and bubble baths for everyone. Maybe it's not so bad that we missed (aka forgot about) baseball registration this year. I wouldn't trade a dozen home runs for a day to regroup as a family- working and playing together! I love Saturdays!
Happiness is a sunbeam....When it strikes a kindred heart,like the converged lights upon a mirror,it reflects itself with redoubled brightness.It is not perfected until it is shared.
--Jane Porter

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Living Lovely with Family series: Yearly traditions

I am participating in Heidi's "Living Lovely with Family" series. This week's theme is Yearly Traditions.

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures."

--Thornton Wilder


Liz's annual family New Year's Eve party with many friends from church- food, fireworks, and even a disco ball to drop (at 9 pm!)


A new tradition of doing a mercy project together at Valentine's day and having the children's valentines tied to a string maze that wraps around the house and leads to a hunt for their treats March

My husband's birthday- always celebrated with a yellow cake with chocolate icing and usual something outdoors St. Patrick's day family celebration
Hiking, gardening, walks together outdoors

Easter and spring break with extended family- egg hunts, meals togetherMay

Boys' camping trip June

Camp Stinky Feet with my nephew- alternately here or my brother's house- a 4 day boys' dirt fest July

For the 4rth, we have traveled with family on my Dad's side for the past few years. We love being with all of our cousins! (we usually go somewhere with fireworks, amusement and water parks, and lots of bbq)
Jaybird's birthday- for the kids, we have a party with friends and then another party with family in our hometown. We also spend the entire day of the birthday eating what they choose and opening treats all day long.

First day of school celebration- pizza/cupcake party

Toot's birthday

Our anniversary


The county fair

Lydie's birthday

Vacation to the beach, usually

Year-round trips to our family farm with my side of the family


Annual Halloween party at our friends' house

Baking and evening bonfires We love fall festivals

Thanksgiving with family- sometimes in the mountains

We make thankful leaves

My birthday- my husband's divine made-from-scratch strawberry cake with strawberry icing


Annual Gingerbreadhouse-building contest with the Harpers

Christmas Around the World study
Worship, family, celebrations! (Christmas traditions could be another post entirely)

We celebrate Advent with interactive, daily devotions as a family

"Today is a smooth white seashell, hold it close and listen to the beauty of the hours."