Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How much bliss can one girl handle?

I would say I am a lucky girl, but I know better. Luck isn't even in the equation. Only God could create a life this perfect. I am blessed!

Today I went to work. That's nothing unusual, but today I realized during my prayer time (on the way to work) that I need to remember to say THANK YOU for my job more often. So many people are out of work & searching for a job. I have the PERFECT job for me. Ideal hours, ideal environment...and to top it off, I love what I do! I love it when God reminds us that He's in charge of everything, right down to those tiny little details that He could so easily brush over. I COULD be working in another job that I love, but with crappy hours....or a job with great hours that I hate.

After work, I came home & emailed my class parents to remind them about the things they signed up to bring to the Easter party tomorrow. Again, I realized how fortunate I am. So many people around the world live without such things. No computers, no internet access, no way to purchase frivolous items for a child's school party. We are so richly blessed to have all these things available to us.

After picking up my kids at school, I came home and worked in the yard with my husband, who had jury duty today & wasn't selected. The boss told him to go home if he wasn't selected for the jury. You see, my extremely dedicated husband puts in so many overtime hours that he routinely has to "burn time" because he's accumulated too many hours on his time card. The state will only allow you to have so many hours of "comp time" on your records. My sweetie routinely pushes the envelope on that limit so it's not uncommon to see him show up at the house by the time I get home from work. I'm so grateful for a hard working husband who has no issue with keeping a job & providing for our family.

After we worked in the yard, we all had egg salad sandwiches & chips. Yum! Again, one of those things that I take for granted so often. We have food to fill our tummies. We have the knowledge & ability to cook the food. We are so much "richer" than so many others.

After supper, Larry & I went for a walk around the neighborhood in this beautiful weather & then I spread a blanket in the front yard & layed out there reading a book for a while. Wow. Thank you God for the perfect day to do such a thing!

Seriously, how much bliss can one girl handle? I can only say Thank you, Lord.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Samuel's 10th Birthday

My sweet boy is turning 10 today. That's double digits. That's a decade. A decade since his birth (click the word 'birth' for the story of that day, written a couple years ago). It seems like just yesterday, he looked like THIS!

Of course, it seems like he should still be THIS small, too!

Ha....is it any wonder people used to ask if they were twins!!??

He doesn't follow Larry around with a toy lawn mower anymore....in fact, he's just about tall enough to run the big one, now.

How quickly the time goes by. I'm trying not to sleep or blink too much. I know that, all too quickly, he'll be heading off to college & my sweet little boy will be gone. For now, I'm trying to remember to always enjoy the dirty hands & the stinky breath, the torn up tennis shoes & holey-kneed jeans. I'm excited that I have someone else in the house to buy chocolate pudding cups for and a reason to know what a Webelo is! It's amazing to see this little 'stinker' annoy his sisters to death & do his best to make their lives miserable, only to turn around & give them gifts on their birthday & Christmas that come straight from his heart. I love that he still comes to cuddle with me as often as he can & relishes every moment that he can sing a silly song to his mama.

For a million reasons, I love you sweet Samuel! I hope your upcoming year is as sweet as the last one! Happy 10th birthday, my beautiful boy!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My favorite blogs! (Well, at least the top 15.)

Obviously I've got QUITE a list of blogs in my righthand sidebar. Feel free to take a peek at all of them. Some of those folks post daily, others only once in a while. Some are personal friends, others are people who I stumbled upon at some point, usually through a friend's links on his/her blog. Some are blogs to chronicle the life of a cancer patient, a family with triplets or quadruplets or an adoption journey. Others are just funny! Some are inspiring & still others make me think. Although I don't watch much TV, I do spend a lot of time reading. I read books, too, but I love to read blogs & feel like I'm living life with the people who are writing. I guess, in some way, that's how I feel about the people who read my blog --- like I'm sharing life with them. What a sweet connection you guys are, my blog family so to speak.

I'm always happy to find that one of the blogs in my blogroll has a new post, but the ones below are the ones that I'll spend a few more minutes reading...making me late to wake the family up or late to leave for work or late to go pick up the kids. The ones that make me say "YES! ___ has a new post!" You'll enjoy them too!

Alyssa & I met online in the latter 90s. We were in an online moms' group together & both of us were trying to conceive 2nd children at that time. She's passed me up in that area, but even if she's got twice the number of kiddos, we still see just about everything eye to eye. And her photography skills are amazing!

Amber & I also met online....can't even really remember HOW now, but we did. I was still living in the fishbowl at the time we met (that is, living life in a ministry family) so we had that in common. Even though Larry & I aren't in vocational ministry right now, Amber & I could totally get together for a weekend slumber party and have a blast hanging out. She is a hoot and she writes a great blog full of both humor & inspiration. So glad I know you, girlie! (And I should also add that Amber created my header above! Isn't she talented??!!)

Angie is an amazing lady. Last winter, someone turned me onto her blog. Her husband was in his final months of life with a brain tumor. Her almost daily blogs told the world how he was doing. Her raw & touching posts made me feel like I was sitting at his bedside with her. Since he passed away last March, she's kept the blog going & watching her work through the grief & loss has been heartbreaking at times and incredibly honest & touching. She is the widow of Brian, mom to two precious boys and she is doing great! Her life & her heart go into every post. So glad we've become online friends.

Angie S. ..... Wow. What more can I say? Reading her blog *always* moves me, ALWAYS inspires me. I preordered her book months ago & can't wait for it to be released. I'm looking forward to that box arriving with the pretty Amazon.com smiley face on the side. Angie's blog began during her pregnancy with Audrey Caroline, a baby girl that received a fatal diagnosis inutero. Her words captivated the world and her transparency allowed us all to live those hard days with her. What an honor to walk through those days with her family. And yahoo....Angie's expecting again!

April's blog came to me through links that someone else posted on their blog. They were in the middle of adopting a little boy from Taiwan when I started reading. What joy to be able to watch that process unfold & to be able to "go with them" to Taiwan when they brought sweet Harrison home! Ironically, after all that time of reading & following & commenting, we found out a "small world" connection. The man who was my youth pastor throughout Junior High & High School works with her at the church where she serves as the children's ministry director!

Darcy somehow found my blog in early 2007 when we were planning our trip to California. She emailed me & offered to mail me maps of Disneyland so that the kids could start planning which rides they wanted to ride, which shows to see, etc. With her incredibly kind & generous gesture, we became fast friends. It's been 3 years since we were in California and we've talked a thousand hours via email & facebook since. Darcy & I are so very much alike it's not funny. We could live in the same town & have so much fun! Maybe one day!

Kelle's blog....wow. I can't even explain how much I love her blog. It started only a few weeks ago when I read her daughter's birth story. Sweet Nella was born with Down Syndrome. Kelle & her husband were unaware of this prior to the birth so it came as quite a shock when they layed baby Nella on Kelle's chest for the first time & she saw those sweet eyes for the first time. The birth story post was SO intense & SO full of emotion. Every post since then has relayed the way they've come to terms with Nella's diagnosis...and come to love that extra chromosome. So sweet!

Kate McRae is a precious 5 yr old girl who is fighting cancer. Her parents are pretty special folks. I'm so honored to follow them on the way & pray for them often.

Sweet Lisa! Lisa began attending our church somewhere during the years that Larry & I were at Rose Heights (where he was on staff). Although we did not know each other at all, we had heard each others' names through the grapevine of church friends. I found her blog first, I think. We followed each others' blogs for a long time before Larry & I ended up coming back to our (current) church home. Although we got to spend part of 1 year together at church, Lisa & her family have moved to Missouri now, so it's back to following each other via blogs. Sure will miss seeing her in person, but we'll make do! It worked for a long time before we met face to face!

Lots of Scotts and Steece's Pieces are both blogs written by the mothers of multiples. Specifically, triplets & quads. I don't know the moms at all, but I do know Ann! (She has triplets too!)

McMommy is hilarious! She says all the things that all of us moms think & feel, but don't or won't put into words. She is a brilliant writer & always cracks me up!

The Rockstar family is so fun to read about! They've got a few biological children & a whole crew of adopted children. Every post is honest & inspiring. So glad I stumbled upon this blog!

Susie is one of the world's best young moms! Two years ago I began reading her blog, shortly before she lost her 2nd child to a birth defect. His condition was fragile throughout all of his short life, but her trust in the Father's hand was what drew me back to her blog over & over. Susie has become a friend since that time. I get to live vicariously through her because she is an American living in a far away place as a missionary. Such a cool life!!

Friday, March 19, 2010


I am what you might call 'directionally challenged'. Unless you're asking me how to get out of my neighborhood or how to get to my church, there's a good chance I'll give you screwed up directions. I don't like driving long distances. Around town is one thing, but any great distance requires a navigator. Usually, one named Larry. When I give directions, I give them by landmarks. You know, go to CVS & take a left. Go down past Walmart & turn right. Please don't give me north/south/east/west directions. I'll never reach the destination.

Similar to my directional skills, I find myself going through life living by 'landmarks' as well. Those big moments or major memories that stand out....the ones that we gauge everything else by. The ones that form the timeline of our lives. Things like "ABC happened the week before grandma died." or "DEF was before we moved to the house on Main Street, but after we lived in the apartment."

It struck me this week....is today a landmark? Will my family look back & say "that happened right after XYZ." (note: XYZ=things that happened today)

We don't know if today will be our last day with our spouse or our children. We never know when a car wreck will occur or when someone will have a heart attack or when a terminal illness will strike. Will you still be alive tomorrow? Will you remember this day for the rest of your life, whether for good or bad reasons? Life is uncertain. Scripture tells us that our days are like grass (Psalm 103). We grow for a short time & then we're gone. We are not promised tomorrow.

Is today a landmark day in your life?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Book Review: Beautiful Mess The Story of Diamond Rio

I've got to be honest. BookSneeze (formerly Thomas Nelson book review bloggers) sent me this book MONTHS ago. I've tried. Really, really tried. I love biographies that tell a "God story". I love to see the testimony of God's grace & divine leadership in a person's life. Seriously, those are some of my favorite books. But no matter how much I tried I could not get "into" this book.

I tried to read it in bed & in the bubble bath (my two favorite reading spots). I tried to sit upright & recline on the couch. Location didn't seem to change a thing. The book was very boring to me.

Perhaps it's a "guy" book & my being a non-guy effected my acceptance of a wonderful story. But the on & on & on details just seemed to drag for me and I couldn't get excited about finishing it.

I'm sorry Diamond Rio. I liked you as a band, but your book was not my favorite. Maybe someone else will enjoy it. I'll just keep looking up your old songs on youtube.

To learn more about the book review program I am in, click the link in my sidebar or go to www.booksneeze.com.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

3 years

On February 18, 2006 our family grew by 2. Many of you began reading my blog at that time to follow along as our newly-larger family meshed & stretched in those early days. The 13 months that followed were so many things. So many emotions...

Happy, yet unbelievably sad.

Fun, yet undeniably tense.

Growth, while stunningly painful.


When I think back to the morning of March 16, 2007, my eyes well up. I envision sweet Kourtney curled in my lap with big ol' tears running down her cheeks telling me how much she wanted to stay. I remember seeing Andrew climb into the SUV without looking back, ready to embark on a new adventure. I see the truck pulling away. I feel my heart breaking all over again. I remember falling into Larry's arms and sobbing until my sides hurt while standing in the front yard. I watched as my in-laws pulled away & drove home and knew it was really over.

I have no doubt that we made the right choice. We filled those kids with more Jesus in the time they were with us than they'll probably get in the rest of their lives. We loved them deeply, held them closely, walked through life with them. But it still hurts like heck. It's hard to believe that they've been gone for three years now.

If you don't know our story of growth & then loss, the easiest way to catch up is to read this post, then this one (part 2 to the first one).

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ask me a question!

Over at this site, I am answering questions. Ask me questions & I'll try to answer everything!

Spring Break 2010....is over.

I got tons accomplished this week. I stayed up late every single night & got to sleep at least at LITTLE bit later every morning. I relaxed & enjoyed some really peaceful moments. I relished time with the kids. But now it's over. I don't want to whine that it's over considering it was a great week....but I wish I had more of it. I knew ahead of time that's how it would be. I'd enjoy it...but it would pass too quickly.

Here's a random list of things I did this week from my list of Spring Break goals that I wrote out about this time last week.

*Visit GABC library (you local folks will recognize those initials)
*clean & organize the kitchen
*clean & organize master bedroom & bathroom
*Samuel's orthodontist appointment
*Savannah's orthodontist appointment
*trip to the post office
*haircuts for Savannah & Samuel
*complete Spring evaluations for my students (of course, except for the 1 child who is beginning school on Monday...haven't met him yet, so I can't fill out his evaluation for a few weeks)
*drop off stuff at Goodwill
*benefit garage sale for youth pastor's international adoption
*shop at the Goodwill store for a lightweight jacket/sweater for Savannah (of course they had already put them all up for the season, so we left empty handed. Ok, so we weren't empty handed, but we didn't get a sweater/jacket.)
*cut out fish for school (to be used Monday)
*use firepit--hot dogs & S'mores
*family game night (We played this game & LOVED it.)

Add to this list the fact that I got a fun new book by Laura Jenson Walker at the library & I've been in a nice, relaxed blissful mode most of the week. (If you don't know about Ms. Walker's books, check her website by clicking her name...she writes great stuff!)

Tomorrow begins a new week. We will have church in the morning & evening. I've got to make a trip to the school where I work somewhere in the middle, too, so it'll be a full day. And then it's back to the grindstone. I love the routine & schedule...but I sure will miss being able to sleep late. Oh well. I can't fuss. I'll work almost 3 full weeks & have another 3 day weekend (Good Friday). Hmmm....off for a week of Spring Break, then work 14 days before another long weekend. Yeah, I can do that. (grin)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

RIP Layla Grace

I think just about everyone on Facebook and Twitter have heard about Layla Grace. Little Layla was born Nov. 26, 2007 and lost her battle with Neuroblastoma early this morning. Please pray for the Marsh family in the days ahead.

You can follow them on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/laylagrace or on her blog at laylagrace.org.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring Break

Spring Break has arrived. I'm thrilled. The last few years we've not been able to make it to the week of Spring Break without Sarah having had a case of croup. She had a cold in January that I THOUGHT was going to turn croupy, but it didn't. We were able to head it off with some fancy mom-tricks. (You know, the things you figure out work or don't work as an asthma/allergy mom!)

We had hoped Spring Break would be filled up with lots of new dog bonding time. Instead, the new dog has moved on and we've got some free time to fill. And I know just how to fill it!!!

We're going to sleep later every day.

We've got 2 kids going to the orthodontist this week. (Yes...two. It's time for Samuel to get started on the appliances & braces fun. Savannah's just going for her monthly rubber band & wire change.)

We're going to watch a few movies. At home of course.

We'll probably head to the park at some point.

And the kids don't know about this one, but we've got some serious cleaning & organizing to do around the house. ha ha ha ha ha! (That's my evil mommy laugh!)

If they play their cards right, maybe they'll get to stay up late a few nights. We'll see.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

What a day!

As you read a few posts back, we started pet-hunting recently & discovered a beautiful female Great Dane. We met her Thursday night, fell in love, and worked the plan out to bring her home today.

We went over & got her this morning about 11:00. We went straight to PetsMart & bought food, some treats, some shampoo and a tag for her. It's always so fun to go to PetsMart with a dog on a leash....but when it's a miniature HORSE you're walking through the store, it's fun because everyone there stops to look & admire. Such a fun feeling for us & the kids! Kind of like being a celebrity for a day. :)

We brought her home, introduced her to the backyard that would be hers & hung out with her (in the yard) for a couple of hours. We finally decided to come inside after a long while & well....Guinevere decided to follow us. We had barely walked into the front door before she came trotting across the front yard. Yikes! We caught her & took her back to the backyard & closed the gate and watched her use her nose to raise the latch & open it right up! ha ha! Smart dog! Larry figured out that he had some clip things he could put into the latch to lock it and they worked. She couldn't raise the latch with those in place. We told the kids right away that if these clips would keep her in, everything would be fine....but if she decided to jump over the fence, we'd be in trouble. We wanted to prepare them for the possibility that we might not be able to keep her if she could jump the fence.

After hanging out with her in the yard for a while, we came back into the house & things were fine for a while. We waited about 45 minutes & we were getting our shoes on to go back out to take her for a walk when the phone rang. It was a neighbor 4-5 houses down calling to tell us that Guinevere was in their yard! Yikes. We checked the gates. Sure enough, they were still locked, which means she figured out how to jump the fence!

We went to get her from the neighbor but knew right then that Guinevere wouldn't be able to stay. If she's jumped the fence once, she'll do it again....and what if that happened while we were all at work/school? What if she ran away? What if someone took her? What if she got hit by a car? We'd never be able to live with that. We called her previous owners & took her back there this afternoon. She was THRILLED to be back 'home'. Larry drove her back & he said he didn't even get the side doors to the van opened. She climbed OVER the drivers seat & bailed out the door & went RUNNING for the front door of their house. She knew where she was & she was happy to be there. I'm glad she's happy.

Samuel took it pretty hard, but he's better now. He actually crawled UNDER my bed to hide & sob for a good while. The girls understood the situation & while they were sad, I don't think either of them cried. I hate to see any of us sad about a pet, but at the same time, I'd much rather see us unhappy now than to face greater grief later if she were to get out & get hit by a car. I want to know she's safe & happy...and clearly, she IS safe & happy being back at her old home.

Larry & I talked this evening & we think we're going to hold off for a little while on any pets. Maybe a nice parakeet or some fish would be good. :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Layla Grace

If you haven't already seen Twitter updates on Facebook, please go over to the right side of my page & look at my blogroll & click on Layla Grace's blog. This sweet girl is 2 years old & she's fighting Neuroblastoma. Unfortunately, at this point, she is on Hospice care at home. Her family could use your prayers & donations if you can do that.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

We're adding to the family!

If you're my friend on Facebook, you already know about this.

We lost our beloved King last April & for about 9 months, we just couldn't bring ourselves to consider another dog. His doghouse sits empty in the backyard, but we just weren't ready to move on until now. Last week we decided to start actively looking for a new dog and on a whim, placed a craigslist ad. Sure enough, wham.......a zillion emails! When I posted to Facebook that we were going to meet a Golden Retriever this weekend (an hour and a half away!), a local friend shared with me about a Great Dane.

You should've seen the grin spread across my face. You could've heard the pitter patter of my heart as well. I LOVE Great Danes! Immediately, I asked for more info. We met her tonight. She is perfect for us!!! Very calm, loving, gentle, sweet. We're anxiously waiting for Saturday morning to arrive when she will come home with us!

Meet our new sweetheart: Guinevere!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Some Random Monday Fun!

My sweet friend Amber posted this on her blog & I thought it looked fun, so here we goooooo!!!!

1. What's your favorite time of the day, and why?
Any time that is quiet & peaceful. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore my family & all the noise that erupts when they are with me. But I love some quiet solitude. I need a little of it every day to stay sane. Funny thing...when I googled peace, quiet, solitude, this is one of the images it came up with....and it's dark in this pic. Realistically, most of my quiet, peaceful, alone times are when it's dark. Either it's super early in the morning before I wake everyone up or it's late at night when they're all in bed. It fits!

2. If health wasn't an issue, what food could you live off of?
You know, I can't think of anything at this moment. Most of the time I really do like healthy stuff. Fruits, veggies, chicken, turkey, yogurt...those are my daily diet things & I love it. It's just during a few days each month that I crave everything under the sun...and lots of it! Sooooo...those days it's usually sugary, cheesy, salty, savory, heavy on the carbs sort of stuff. Stuff like this.

3. If you could have one wish granted (besides wishing for more wishes), what would it be?
A magic pill...you know, the same one everyone else wants that makes them thinner without having to work at it. And if I'm going to get that, I may as well go ahead & win the lottery, too.

4. What's one thing that you get teased about a lot?
Well, to my knowledge, no one other than Larry & the kids tease me about anything. (And that's a good thing....I don't have thick skin, I'd just get upset & cry a lot if I was being teased.) Larry loves to joke around & tease me about being hot tempered. I'm anything BUT hot tempered, but he likes to joke that I fly off the handle & cuss all the time. Trust me, I can't even say the D word (it sounds like the big wall that holds back water) without giggling. It's just not me.

5. If you could choose one movie, book, or TV show to spend your life in, which would you pick? What type of character would you be?
I have to spend my whole life there? Can I take my husband & kids with me? Seriously, that's a hard choice.

I'm torn between being Sandy in Grease (and Larry is so totally my Danny!).....the younger version of the couple in The Notebook (their sweet romance is sooooo Larry & I!)......and the couple in Home Improvement. How's that for confusing?

6. If you could have one talent that you don't already have, what would it be?
I'd be able to play beautiful piano music.

7. If money were no object, where would you go on vacation?
You know, it's really less an object of WHERE I'd go than it is how OFTEN I'd go! Because, after all, if money were no object, I could afford to vacation all the time! We'd go to the mountains, the beach, all the funny little towns with weird things like the world's largest ball of twine....we'd travel all the time!

8. If you were an awesome singer, which genre would you sing?
I'd sing contemporary Christian because it's my favorite genre!

9. If you could have a $10,000 shopping spree to one store, what would it be?
Lane Bryant! I'd have a lot of really cute clothes!!!

Or Target because I can't seem to get out of there without a couple bags full!

Or Walmart because I'm there all the time anyway!

Hmmm.....heck, if you're going to give me a $10K shopping spree, you pick! ha ha!

10. If you could live in any point in time, when would it be?
I don't know. At different points in my life, I've convinced myself for one reason or another that this decade or that one would've been better to live in. However, as I get older I realize that there are pros & cons to every time period. So I will just stick to living right now, I guess.

11. If every outfit in your wardrobe had to be one color, what would it be?
Do I even have to tell you? What color is every question on this post? It's my favorite color!

12. If you were one of the seven dwarfs, which one would you be? (Doc, Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Bashful, Happy, or Dopey)
Does this answer your question?
13. What's the last album you listened to?
14. What's something we'd be surprised to know about you?
I have no idea. I think anyone who's read my blog for a long time knows my personality fairly well. Hmm....does the fact that my husband & I slept on top of our comforter with a quilt over us for a couple days last week surprise you? We did it because we had washed our sheets (we only have 1 set) and the days were so full that we had not put them back on the bed yet. So we just improvised for a couple days! ha ha!
Now it's your turn!! Comment & let me know if you plan to repost this on your blog!