Sunday, December 11, 2011


So....we moved. And 4 months later, I am remembering this sad blog. I feel I've almost forgotten how to write, or even what to write about. My life is in a phase I'd like to dub "newborn job," which means that I don't sleep much and I'm working about as much as I would be spending time feeding, changing diapers, dealing with all that fun newborn stuff. I really like my job, I just would like to not spend so much time there. I'm hopeful that maybe by February I'll be working more 10 hr days and fewer 13 hr days. And by summer...who knows? The sky's the limit. Maybe one day I'll work 8-9 hr days again.

I could bore you with all kinds of stories about myself, but tonight I need to make it short and kinda sweet. I've had enough of my own whining this week so I want to be more positive today. We moved to a great new city into an amazing house. It's about 1600 square feet I think, which is approximately 35% bigger than our last apartment. We have the best fenced in backyard with shade trees in just the right places, but plenty of sunny areas for the occasional baby swimming pool and slip-n-slide. I am, from the bottom of my heart, so grateful for this home. For the first time in a long time, I feel we are making a home somewhere and not just surviving. (at least most days!)

If I choose to be positive and thankful, I will admit to myself that though our situation is a bit strange, I know that God has His hand on the whole thing. He was the one who orchestrated this whole move and He has blessed it. As much as I would ADORE to stay home full time with my children and be a home maker, that is most obviously not His plan for me. So I have to embrace with my whole self the fact that He has other ideas. (this is one of those "easier said than done" kind of things, in case you were wondering....) But the thankful part of me says that it is amazing that Marc gets to stay home with our children, and build so many fun memories with them. And the thankful part of me is grateful to even have a home with hardwood floors that echo every tiny noise so that I can't sleep in past 7 am.

Long story short, I am thankful. And grateful, and blessed, and honored that God has even chosen me to do anything for Him, in His Name. The days when I feel dishonored at work, like I have no purpose....I can choose to believe the same things I would believe if I were a full time mom/homemaker and struggling with the fact that "no one sees" what I do all day or the significance of it. I choose to believe that whatever thing I do, great or small, significant or insignificant, easy or difficult, if I do it for Christ and for His Name's sake, nothing is lost.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

You didn't think I was going to stop at 200, did you?

This poor blog has been so neglected. Since Marc started his part time evening job, I have no more energy for writing...all my brainpower is sucked out the window or something. But I have a surge of energy right now (or maybe it's just adrenaline but either way, I'll take it!) so I thought I'd jot down some of my thoughts.

1st thing, and this is a much longer story than just this simple sentence, but we are moving to Alabama next Thursday!! It's a very exciting move for us and very much all in God's timing and I don't feel like spending the rest of my night talking about moving so I won't. Moving post coming soon to a blog near you. But tonight...I want to talk about being yourself. Or myself. Or whatever makes more sense to you as you read this poor neglected blog.

Talking to my friend on the phone tonight, I was reflecting on how 3 years ago, I never would have pictured me in this place I'm in right now. I was still dealing with "friendship" issues with other women, stuff left over from childhood/schooldays that caused me to fear rejection and all the weird things that go along with that. I hated going to women's groups, hated trying to think up something to say so I wouldn't sound stupid, hated feeling that awkward silence when someone else feels awkward too. Fast forward a few years, and here I am. Nowhere near perfect...but I feel I'm really growing as a person. As much as I've hated having to work full time instead of being home with my precious children, I know that my job is probably one of the biggest things that has helped me really learn & grow.

What makes me feel like this all of a sudden? Not sure. I guess I was thinking about how I would have reacted to certain situations "back in the day" and I suddenly realize those things just aren't issues anymore. I wonder if part of this growth has just come from the forced patience you learn as a mom of young ones, too. When you haven't slept in 4 days, then what so-and-so thinks about me today because I didn't dress up for Bible study doesn't seem to matter so much anymore. :)

This past year, I finally feel like "me." I mostly feel confident and secure in who I am and where I am going in life. And it is pretty darn good! I know a lot of these changes have been because of my fantastic husband, and just all the learning that comes as a normal part of marriage. 12 years together have taught me a lot...and honestly, when I look back at that woman 12 years ago, I have no idea why he even picked me. You talk about nerds? Biggest one on the planet, right here. I don't even think I really knew what fun was until I married Marc. And now, here I am, turning out to be a bit of fun myself...and he's collecting playing cards for a hobby. Isn't that hilarious? Maybe we've switched roles a little--ha ha! :)

Everything I wrote in the last 10 minutes seems like a lot of rambling, but I'm not going to bother to even go back & re-read any of it. This will be like one of those "stream of consciousness" posts on all those really cool blogs, except it isn't. Cool, I mean.

Thanks for listening, or reading, or whatever. Maybe I can get this blog to 300 posts by the end of this century, wouldn't that be great?

P.S. My baby turns 1 year old in exactly 1 month. That just can't be possible. The End.

Monday, May 16, 2011


No, not 200 things you wished you knew about me. (breathe a sigh of relief!) 200 posts on this blog. Probably would have been a lot more had I not started working full time 2 years ago, but oh well. I'm not in it for the numbers. Over the last few weeks I've had so many pictures & posts I've wanted to put here, but I've had to spend my time on other things. Such is life!

3 kids are busy. 3 kids and 3 jobs is even busier. Needless to say, I withdrew from "university" this summer. There was absolutely no way that was going to work out and in the words of Kenna, "That's just ok!" I prayed for God's will and He made it clear. Moving on to the next thing!

Lately I am almost overwhelmed thinking about the responsibility of raising these 3 blessings of mine. When they are babies, it seems easier somehow. All I'm concentrating on are diapers, feedings, and snuggling. Now, it's "so-and-so's not my best friend anymore because he always gets into trouble" and "what is hell?" These questions are not as easily answered. I'm finding I'm spending more time in God's Word and books from those I trust and less time the places you used to find me. Each day I'm practically running to Him for help. I just can't do this on my own--training these young ones is exhausting--but oh-so-worth-it!

Marc just got a new job, working at our church 4 nights a week. We are basically swapping out duties--he picks me up, we have about 10 minutes at home and then he leaves for work. It is great because it forces me to have quality time with the kids. But wow, is it tiring! The good news is that I can sleep more because I don't have to wait up for anyone. He is really enjoying this new job, and I'm enjoying watching him enjoy. Did you enjoy that? :)

One of my favorite things about moving to WV is that it has forced us to do a lot of things we may not have chosen for ourselves. Marc has taken on several roles he never thought he would--and finding that he really likes the new roles. I am gaining a thorough understanding of what it means to work all day and then come home to be bombarded with husband-kids-housework-etc and just crave 15 minutes to myself to wind down. Having virtually no friends in this town, we have re-become each others' best friend. Evenings spent together have been so rewarding and fun, and our marriage has grown stronger. I see both of us responding more patiently, more selflessly. At least most of the time... :) I wish that we would/could have learned some of these lessons 8-10 years ago. How much richer our relationship would be! But then, there's always the possibility that it is only because of the hardships we've been through together that we now know the right way to respond. Hmm.

I wish I had something wise and profound to write about tonight, but I'm just too tired. And the baby is crying. Something about teeth coming in...and why do both girls have to teeth at once? Every time? It just doesn't seem right.

Emi is 8 months old tomorrow. I could say "where does the time go?" but you're tired of hearing that. She is crawling around like a crazy baby. One minute she's right there, the next she is in the bathroom because she heard the bath water running (loves her bath!). We finally bought her a dresser this weekend. She still lives in the closet but at least now she has a proper place for her clothes. Those 3 drawer clear Rubbermaid bins only last so long. She has 3 teeth and 1 on the way. Only 4,286 more teeth to go. I jest...

Zach "graduates" from preschool next Wednesday. I watched some young kids get on the bus this morning and thought to myself, "He is not going to school in August and he is most certainly not riding the bus." But...he will be doing all those things, and without me. I'm not ready yet. I know this will come as a shock to those of you who really know him, but his new favorite topic is weather. (Maps, only makes sense that weather would be next.) Unfortunately for us, that results in some obsessions with bad weather and feeling scared. And since it does nothing but rain where we live, I had to get creative. Last week when it started to storm, I told him that every time he heard thunder or saw lightning, he should say, "God loves me." Cheesy, yes, but I had a feeling it would work. So far, so good. He still gets nervous so he says it all run together, like "Godlovesme." Melts my little heart. Also, we are re-learning first time obedience because Mom/Dad have slacked off apparently. We are discussing telling the truth and that character means that you do what's right no matter if anyone is watching you. Did I mention this is exhausting? I'm sure my mom is chuckling under her breath as she reads this...

Kenna. Maybe we should skip the paragraph about Kenna. She's two and a half. All we do is first time obedience. It's hard to do without laughing at her, and she knows it. She tries to get us to laugh now which makes it even harder to be serious. Bundle of joy and wonder--she is so caring and loving. One of her new favorite things to do is "give a present." She takes her owl blankie, wraps up a little board book she has, like a present. And says, "would you like to open it with me?" Then we both have to open it together and we both say, "Wooowww" with a very surprised face. She wants to do this over and over for about 20 minutes. Then she gets tired of it for about 5 minutes, and then we start again. I'm enjoying all her forces me to be more creative with her and to really engage myself. Her other new favorite thing is for me to put her hair into pigtail braids. I did this one night after bath and she was so that's the only way she wants you to do her hair! I have many pictures, and maybe in the next 2 weeks I'll post some. (Just being real, this is my life. Sorry!)

I think we covered everyone in the family so now you have the update. It might be the last 2011 update since we're going to be very tired this year. Ha! Trying to get out of debt and stay out, and we're very determined. You don't know how tempting it is to just rush out and buy a second vehicle... But last week I paid off a credit card, and that feeling was so much more rewarding than driving around a new minivan. Or so I keep telling myself.

It's 8:33 and that's my cue to put jammies on and go to sleep. I am thankful I even made it through this blog post. I also got to nurse my baby to sleep for (I'm sure) one of the last times ever in my life. I complained earlier about the teething thing, but it was pretty special to just sit in the darkness with her and watch her sleeping so peacefully. It's always nice when that happens and it's not 2 in the morning! I am thankful for Nabisco because without them it wouldn't have been possible to eat the 5 Chips Ahoy! cookies I just ate. I'm thankful that my husband works so hard to take care of our family. I've never met a more hard-working man, such a servant. So blessed!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Can we boast?

"You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things." Rom 2:1-2

I'm grateful that a man who chose to do so much evil can no longer do it. However, I wish hell on no one. Jesus said whoever hates his brother is a murderer. So, I am just as guilty as Osama. Maybe the consequences to my sin are not as great as his, but I am guilty, no question. "No one is righteous, not even one." Rom 3:10

"For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him...We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

"For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins." Rom 3:20-24

"Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No." Rom 3:27

Friday, April 22, 2011

Before noon

I was walking in to work this morning from my car across the parking lot…it is cold and rainy and I shivered. And then I thought, “Was Jesus cold on the cross? Did He even feel the temperature amidst all the other pain?” Oh, how He suffered. For me. I’ve been reading the story in Matthew; this year it seems to pierce me through and through all that He went through. The mocking, the torture. The sleepless night before, praying, “…but not my will be done. Your will be done.” Knowing early the next morning all that He would endure.

He was crucified before noon. Not sure why that never struck me before. Even the revolutionaries crucified on either side of him mocked him, Matthew says. People walked by Him and said, “if you are the Son of God, rescue Yourself!” He was so unconcerned with His own reputation, His own name. He honored His Father with His obedience, even to death on a cross. At noon, darkness fell. For three hours, it was dark…Jesus felt the rejection of His Father. “why have you abandoned me?” And yet He obeyed, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning its shame.

After that, He shouted and released His spirit. The curtain tore in two, the earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. Godly people who were dead came out of the cemetery and appeared to people in the city. And the people said, “this man truly was the Son of God!”

He suffered such agony, so that I could live. So that you could live. Suddenly, it doesn’t matter so much, this cold wind and rain. The smoke in my apartment they can’t get rid of. This blemish on my chin that really hurts.

Such love, that overcomes every obstacle, every chain, every sin…and rushes me to His side. I am overwhelmed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A message to my peeps (not the marshmallow ones)

I can't come up with a title for this post, but I might by the end of this. Got a whole lotta things going on...

  • Registered for classes yesterday. Feeling old. Might be a good thing that I'm only taking online classes this summer. Feeling a little nervous that I don't have this in me. But I guess all I can do is try, right?

  • Going to bed at 10 pm every night. It feels weird, but good all at the same time.

  • Emi turned 7 months on Sunday. She grew a lot today; her face looked different when I got home from work. I hate it when that happens because then I definitely know I missed out on stuff while I was working.

  • Reading some really great books, all of which send me to my Bible for more reading. I like that. Elisabeth Elliot is my new favorite author of all time. That woman has a lot to share and a lot to give.

  • Amy Carmichael is my new hero. Or heroine? That just sounds too much like the drug so let's just go with hero. She's in heaven with Jesus now so I doubt she cares what I call her. I don't know that I've ever had a hero before (other than my mom who is still my hero). I like this too.

  • PixyStix. Grape ones. That your husband finds hiding on the top of the fridge for you when you mention how there is nothing left to eat in the house. That have an expiration date of Nov 2011 on them which makes you wonder how long they have been there, and how long, exactly, PixyStix last on the shelf. But, oh, the wonder of it!! Takes me back to when I was 11 and used to ride bikes up to Colonial Pharmacy in Sarver, PA. 25 cents would get you one of those really big fat PixyStix things. And a whole lotta sugar buzz.

  • Do you ever wonder what Jesus did for fun? I do. We were created in His image, after all, and so there's got to be some sense of humor or desire to have fun there, right? So what do you think He did? Volleyball? Communist Church? (just kidding) Tic tac toe? It's something to think about, for sure.

  • I'm not all fun and games, either. I've got a ton of serious stuff going through my mind and heart right now, but none of it that I can share (yet?). I hope whatever He's doing in me is for keeps.

  • All 3 of my kids want singular quality time with me when I get home from work each night. It's challenging. Oh, and impossible. Did I mention impossible? To share a bit of the drama with you, last night I ate my dinner (wonderfully cooked by my adoring husband by the way) with Kenna on one knee, Emi in the other arm, trying to scoop corn and rice into my mouth while missing Kenna's face/hair with the tines of my fork, and keeping the plate away from Emi who is now grabbing everything in sight. Oh, and from time to time Emi would dive bomb my shirt because she wanted to nurse. It is nothing short of a miracle that my plate did not crash to the floor. Hard to describe but trust me, it was funny!

  • Talked to my dad on the phone tonight. A rare few minutes when neither of us had anything to do but talk to each other. It was wonderful.

  • I saw a sweet potato (yam for all you southerners) that was as big as my head tonight at Kroger. No lie. I would have taken a picture to prove it to you but I was talking to my dad. Now that I'm thinking about it, I should have just bought it to show my son. Maybe I could get him to eat the BIGGEST SWEET POTATO EVER.

  • I caught myself looking around the house for inspiration for something to write about, which is a sure sign that I need to end this post. (I always do this when I was sending tokbox video messages to my sister, and funnily enough, she would do the same thing to me. You know you did, Jacque...)

I'm almost 100% sure that I will not be writing here again before Resurrection Sunday. Please, have a blessed weekend with your we celebrate our Savior's death, burial, and resurrection, remember the suffering, the sacrifice He made so we could live eternally. And then remember that our sins are buried forever with Christ and we have been made alive in Him!! Oh, Happy Day, Happy Day!

Grace and peace to you all. My peeps.

Monday, April 4, 2011


" 'In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.' I think the devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds. If he can keep us hearing radios, gossip, conversation, or even sermons, he is happy. But he will not allow quietness. For he believes Isaiah where we do not. Satan is quite aware of the power of silence. The voice of God, though persistent, is soft...Let us resist the devil in this by avoiding noise as much as we can, purposefully seeking to spend time alone, facing ourselves in the Word...Satan is aware of where we find our strength. May he not rob us!" --Jim Elliot, in a letter to his family during his college days

I am reading this book about the life of Jim Elliot (Shadow of the Almighty), the quote above is from pg 85. There is so much wisdom that can be gleaned from the life of this missionary, who died at an early age at the hand of a primitive Indian tribe. Challenging, to say the least. I have to read it in bits and pieces, mostly due to time constraints, but honestly, there is much to think on after I read.

One thing this has convinced me of: I need to re-start writing in my journal. And I need to write more paper letters. Email is great, but what does it leave behind for others? Yes, I suppose I can hope that this blog might "endure," ha ha, but really, probably not. Unless someone knows this little ol' blog exists, chances are good that it remains mostly anonymous.

Yet there are things I do not wish to write for the world wide web to see, things my heart is pondering, that one day I might wish for my daughters to know about as they begin their journey of motherhood. Those things may be missed because I am too busy, or because my email password got lost.

So, I begin. A cheap little journal from BAM and I'm ready to go. Yes, I did need a new one, because I have no earthly idea where my others are.

Oh, and on the silence passage above? I felt compelled after I read that passage to return to my hotel room (traveling for work this week) and NOT turn on the tv at all. Do you have any idea how hard that is? When you are traveling alone, the tv is like company. It really doesn't matter what's on, the point is, someone is there with you.

Seriously, I about fell off my bed just typing that when I realized how ridiculous that sounded. "the tv is like company." Really? I clearly have some issues with quiet and just "being." I thought it was interesting that Jim said (speaking of the devil) "For he believes Isaiah where we do not." Because, isn't the absence of practicing something an unbelief in that practice? If I really believed the Bible, wouldn't I act like it was true for me, at all times?

Read your Bible, pray every day, and you'll grow...grow...grow.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I've been thinking a lot

Is it a lot or alot? Hmmm...too bad I don't care enough to actually look it up in a dictionary. ha ha

Yes, back to the thinking. See, I have so many things I could write in this public space, but each time I try I erase it all & tell myself, "maybe in a few more days." It feels so ridiculous to say something like "God's been talking to me so much." It almost feels preachy and irreverant and cocky. I think it should be worded more like "I'm listening to God more." Because He's never stopped talking to me; it was always me who was not listening well.

The practices in this book are changing me. "Make thankfulness your sacrifice to thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me..." is what He tells me (Psalm 50). It's not a trite statement or a silly habit. It changes a person, from the inside out. Don't get me wrong, I am NO saint. It seems like the closer I get to Him, the more I experience a desperate need for Him. The more I know His ways for me, the more I realize that I "have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Rom 3:23) Without His daily grace, I am nothing.

So...I have just typed 2 completely different paragraphs, neither of which is fit for print or web, and erased them both. This is one of the things I have been learning. To weigh each word carefully....I definitely do not always succeed. But I'm finding with practice that more words are left unsaid on purpose and my heart changes with the discarding of them. Instead, I try to speak His Words. "As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in Your commands." Psalm 119:143

The things I learned from Ann Voskamp's words...they leave me grasping for air, grabbing for my Lifeline and wondering whether I can survive the hard things I am being asked to do. Giving thanks is easy to do when life is good. You get a raise? Thanks, Lord! Have plenty of food in the fridge? God, You are so good! But what about when things take a turn? "Lord, I thank you because my best friend has cancer." Umm...? "God, I am so grateful I had a really horrible week at work." Not so much.

But I am challenging myself. The concept of a gratitude journal seems very tween-ish to me, like something I would have done (or probably did) when I was 12. I didn't care, though; I bought one anyway. A little $2 notebook that I keep in my purse, right next to my pocket Bible (the New Living Translation is my favorite). I'm up to 56 things right now. Some thankful thoughts come easier than others. A few days a week I struggle to find ways to thank Him, but I always can. It's not a Pollyanna attitude, it's a new way of thinking. Not pie-in-the-sky, but a true view of my reality, good or bad, and then like a glass of water in the face it hits you, this blessing. And then, that one. I find that it comes easier each day.

1. Chocolate chip cookie making with my kids
6. Daughters in dresses
13. Free lunches
17. Prayer calendars
19. Being remembered
23. The joy of losing weight
24. Free cake
32. Baby teeth and milestones
39. A God who does not change like shifting shadows
44. Turquoise necklaces
45. Men who translated the Bible
49. Six bowls of Honey Bunches of Oats

(yes, the irony is not lost on me with #23 and #24...funny because I wrote them on different days & didn't realize!)

When I first visited A Holy Experience and witnessed Ann's counting of gifts, I thought, "oh, well, that's so sweet that she keeps track of the things she's thankful for." I had absolutely no idea what it would mean for me. I have a feeling that this little notebook will be my Bible's companion and that I am now forever destined to carry around a large purse. ha ha

Gifts, they are all gifts. From the greatest Giver in the world.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Some things you should know about me

  • I do not like truffles (the chocolate kind). I'd rather have a caramel or something with chocolate/nuts.
  • I'm not ready for my oldest to be in kindergarten. Enough said.
  • I wonder most days if what I do really makes a difference to anyone.
  • I hate matchy-matchy things. I want furniture that doesn't come from a set, decorations picked up from here and there. This is, of course, when I actually live somewhere that I can decorate. Currently my walls are renter-white with no pictures hung.
  • I used to think I loved the mountains more, but my heart belongs to the Midwest. The rolling prairies, the "big sky," the gorgeous sunsets and sunrises....I want to be there forever. I think that is what heaven will be like for me. And my closest mansion-owning neighbor will be 45 acres away from me.
  • I also want my children to grow up close to their grandparents. Which means I'm going to have to wait til heaven for my beloved prairie life.
  • I love Bacos. You know, those fake bacon flavored bits? Yes, I know it is "hydrogenated something-or-other" but I just like it. Blame it on my sister in law who introduced me 12 years ago. :) I also do like real bacon bits on my salad, but if I'm given a choice, it will be Bacos all the way. (p.s. I cannot find Bacos in my city any more...feel free to send me some)
  • I do not understand why God sovereignly placed me in America. Why should I deserve any better than the 95% of the rest of the world who live so differently? I'll spend my days figuring out why and trying desperately to make a difference whereever I can.
  • About to re-read my copy of One Thousand Gifts. This book has changed my life, in the best of ways. It will be the best $10 you ever spend, I promise you that.
  • I love turquoise. I want to buy everything I see that is this color. Porcelain birds, necklaces, placemats, belts, throw pillows.
  • I am ashamed when I think of all the years I spent arguing with my husband about stupid things. The number of times I ruined an afternoon drive or a trip to Chicago because I wanted to do things "my way." I can only hope that I can grow and change to be the wife he needs me to be.
  • God delights in me. He loves me, He treasures me. I cannot believe most days that He brings Himself down to my level to speak to me. That the God of the Universe, known and unknown, would lower Himself, become a baby that grows into a man just so we could know that "He was tempted in every way, just as we are, and yet was without sin." It's more than I can take in.

What should I know about you?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Don't need it don't want it don't gotta have it

I had a mini revelation of sorts tonight. It was awesome. What's that? You want me to share it with you? Oh...sure!

(For the record, I really do know that I'm a geek. I like it that way. The End.)

Tonight was my Target night. I try to do that about once every 2 weeks...get out of the house for the purpose of being non-mommy, non-wife, non-employee and just be good ole me. Usually this results in exciting purchases like toilet paper, toothpicks, or greeting cards. But tonight--tonight was a good Target night. I found some cute pants & an adorable top for work. And these really amazing earrings that go with like a hundred shirts I have (did I mention they were amazing?).

Of course, there were a few things I actually had on my list, like a replacement tv stand so that my children don't injure themselves when the old tv stand from 11 years ago finally stops wobbling back and forth & lands on top of them. I love to browse at Target...who doesn't? I walked around the whole store, picking up this shirt, those pants, that cute pair of earrings. Since I work full time, I can justify those purchases. And they were on clearance--a very important fact!

But you know what, about the time that I was heading to the checkout counter, it hit me: I don't need that adorable shirt, those cute pants, or those amazing earrings. I just don't need them. Yes, I can justify it. Yes, it was on sale. Yes, the money was in the budget for them. Yes, I wanted them. I really didn't need it...and for the first time ever, I realized that I really didn't want it either. Crazy talk, I know.

I'm not entirely sure I can put my finger on what happened tonight. After all, I am one of the world's cheapest individuals. I've weighed my want for an item against the price and put lots of stuff back, knowing I could get a better deal a few months down the road. I can deny myself things. But today, it was just different. I actually wanted to make a better choice with my money, more than I wanted to buy the stuff.

All this Dave Ramsey stuff is wearing off on me. "Debt is normal. Be weird." It's my new motto.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


What little time I've spent on this blog in the last year has been mostly my serious thoughts. I figured it was about time to update you on the family and show some cute pictures. I think everyone who reads this is probably friends with me on Facebook, but oh well--you get to see these pics twice, then!

Happy New Year 2011! Several years ago, we started a new tradition of making a Happy New Year Cake...I use the numbered candles. This year I added a twist: Happy New Year Cinnamon Rolls! Since I started back to work, the last day of the year is a busy one for me and I often don't make it home in time to make the HNY cake, let it cool to frost it & then celebrate. I saw a post online about a family who decided to celebrate NYE at noon on New Years Day...still "12 o'clock" but actually lets the children enjoy the time. You can tape the ball dropping (which we didn't do this year since I thought of it that day) and replay it to let them count down with you. I especially loved not having any pressure to stay up later. I think the kids enjoyed the cinnamon rolls and this way no one had any "cranky-before-bed" attitudes. :)

Marc has started a new hobby of collecting playing cards. He has some pretty cool ones, if I do say so. I initially gave him a hard time about his hobby, but have since asked forgiveness--I love playing with the different colored decks! Our favorite deck is the brown one. I bought Marc a book called "great card games for one"...basically a Solitaire book. There are some really neat solitaire games I had never heard of! We learned a game together called "The Scorpion" and spent all night playing solitaire "together" trying to beat was a little funny thinking about playing separate solitaire games at each end of the table. We're still trying to beat The Scorpion with the brown deck....

Marc & Zach played with the decks of cards one day while I was at work. Marc took some really neat pictures; here's one!

Zachary is 5 now (back in November, I think I forgot to post about it). He is SO smart and such a sweet little man. His reasoning skills are definitely improving, which makes first time obedience a new challenge for him. He's getting better at obeying "the first time with a happy heart" (one of our mottos), but I love to see the wheels turning in his mind when he comes up with an alternate solution. :) He can have a great conversation with just about anyone, and his latest favorite things are maps of any kind. We bought him a globe for Christmas & on the days when we have extra patience, we sit with him on Google Maps and check all the places out that he's never been before.

A month after his 5th birthday, I was able to pray with him to invite Jesus into his heart. Pretty much the best night of my life! We've been talking about him praying for awhile, and he's always expressed that he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart, but he'd say something like "when baby Emily is born, then I'll pray" or "after Christmas, mom, then I will ask Jesus into my heart." My favorite part of the whole experience with him is that it happened during our regular nighttime Bible reading/praying routine (not just a "special" church service or something else like that...there's nothing wrong with that but I just loved that it was a normal, everyday thing). More than anything, I want my kids to grow up seeing us model the Christian life and embracing their spirituality on a daily basis. We're no saints, but we hope we can teach our children to rely on God for everything...even on the bad days we need to ask for help! I digress...

Emily...She is 4 months old in this picture (a few weeks ago). "Emi," as she was nicknamed by her older sister! This little sweetie is such a joy to be around. She's an easygoing baby and rarely gets upset. When she does, she has a strange "throaty" cry which, to be honest, really drives me & Marc crazy! It's such a weird little cry, but it's hers. :) I went back to work on November 1st (6 weeks after having her) and while Marc had a bit of a transition, things are going very smoothly now. She's been sleeping in her own crib in her "room" which is really our walk in closet. I'll have to post a picture of that sometime; it's pretty funny, actually!

She coos and squeals and laughs and is in love with her older brother. She & Zach have a special bond. Kenna is warming up to her; for the first few months, she just acted like Emi didn't exist, but now she'll sing to her and talk to her and every once in awhile kick her in the head or something truly affectionate. She loves her Exersaucer and her swing and will pretty much be happy with wherever you put her. We are so thankful for her sweet temperament and she brings us so much joy!

My three on a fun Saturday morning we had together, just the 4 of us (Marc was sleeping since he worked the night before)

Kenna....well, there's not much to say. Below are the many fashion styles of Kenna Stone. She is tomboy and girly-girl princess and feisty charmer and little ninja all in one. She keeps us on our toes! We can't turn our backs for a minute when she's awake--and sometimes when she is asleep we can't even relax. One morning around 10 am, Marc said to Zachary, "Why is there a stick of butter on your bed?" Z said "I don't know, Dad." Then we realized that Kenna had gotten up early, gone to the kitchen, gotten a stick of butter & brought it into Z's room & put it on his bed. Then she went back to her room and we all slept through it.
Last Sunday, she salted my bowl of Froot Loops while I had to leave the kitchen quickly to tend to Emi. Marc was in the kitchen loading the dishwasher and she must have done it while his back was turned. I'm telling you, we can't turn our backs for even a second! And yet, she's such a charmer, and gives the best hugs ever. I love watching her grow and learn. Today I was planning to make some rolls from scratch. I got out the flour, set it on the counter, and then Emi woke up from her nap. I had to feed her, so I settled on the couch. About 2 minutes later, I realized how quiet it was & called out to Kenna. No answer. So I got up with the baby, went into the kitchen and found that she had brought her stepstool to the counter, pulled the whole (almost full) 5 lb bag of flour onto the floor, gotten a spoon out of the drawer, and started spooning flour onto the floor. When I saw her, she looked up & said, "I'm making cookies, Mom." Like, "no big deal, I've got this under control." A hot mess, I'm telling you...

She wears this bucket on her head most every day.

Bucket and snowpants. You'll see it on the runway in a few months....Oh, and don't forget the black cowgirl boots. Trend setter for sure.

Hoodie sweater and snowpants. She would wear these snowpants all day & night if we let her.

I finally got a good picture of Emi's double chin! Sometimes when she's tired, her face droops ever more and she starts drooling. She looks like a cute little bulldog!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures & the updates. Marc & I are pretty much doing the same thing we always do, so no updates there. We're learning to embrace our new WV life the best we can...I'm learning that no matter what, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.
Love to all!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mommies with Grace

I've had this post on my mind for quite some time. It's a tricky one to share. I'm talking about Stay at Home Mommies (SAHM) vs. Working Mommies...and just the word "versus" makes me angry. :) I know that none of us actually "say" that we are at odds, but the truth is that I don't think we know how to act around each other.

I've been both, for a decent period of time, so I guess I feel I've seen both sides. I'm even experiencing an interesting version of Working Mommy right now because my amazing husband is a SAHD and cooks and cleans.

So, here's the thing I've been dying to say. I've waited because I wanted to be able to share it with grace and peace and love. NEITHER ONE IS HARDER THAN THE OTHER.

Did you get that? Let me say it again: NEITHER MOMMY JOB IS HARDER THAN THE OTHER. They. are. both. hard.

A few thoughts, & then I'll jump into some pointers for "the other side." I know that a lot of people have opinions on "what is always best" for mothers and their children. I had some pretty strong opinions myself a few years ago. Please, please please. Can we give each other some grace? Because I know I need it....

The Stay at Home Mommy's World

This is a difficult road to walk. Staying at home with your kids is what you always dreamed of, right? Those glorious mornings when you would leisurely wake up at 8, make a healthy breakfast for your little sweethearts, spend the morning reading and learning Latin. WRONG! More like, your day starts at 5:30 a.m. when a 2 year old climbs into your bed (if not earlier when you are nursing a little one), you stumble into the kitchen, MAKE COFFEE, turn on Barney, and sit on the couch and pretend you're awake while your kid says, "Mommy, watch THIS!" Then when they won't quit bothering you, you drag yourself off the couch, pour them a bowl of Froot Loops, and wonder how you're ever going to make it through this day.

The reality is, you have hard days even when you aren't in a corporate environment. It's still a struggle to get out of bed every day and feel purposeful in the dishes and the laundry and the endless "Mommy, watch THIS!" You know that God has called you to train them and teach them, but you have no idea how to do it, much less do it well. You feel like an utter failure when 4:30 p.m. rolls around and the house looks like you haven't touched it all day, you totally forgot to put your roast in the crockpot and the only thing left to eat is peanut butter on a spoon. Except all the spoons are dirty...

Dinner, bath time, Bible time, bed time. Didn't think you'd make it this long. Fold the 2 loads of laundry you somehow managed to wash during the day, set them outside the rooms to be put away in the morning, load and run the dishwasher, balance the checkbook, put the baby down, and then finally, blissfully, it's your time.

The Working Mommy's World

Yuck. Even now, I think about this world, and I want to stick out my tongue at it. It's the world I'm currently in...not by choice, although I am learning to find joy every day in my new role. The thing about the Working Mommy's world is that it's different for every WM. Some of us work part-time from the home (a "status symbol" in my mind...still hard but at least you are mostly home with the kids!), some of us work part-time out of the home, and still others full-time outside the home. Some of us choose to work, others of us feel forced to work.

We didn't dream about waking up early, squeezing in a nursing session with the newborn, hurry up and ignore the older ones in order to get a shower so you look presentable for work. Rush through getting ready, get your coat on, pick up the baby to get one last breath of that beautiful "baby scent" only to get thrown up on and have to completely change clothes. Late for work again, this time with no breakfast. And we drive to work (or are driven to work in my case), checking work email on the way there to anticipate the next "crisis," all the while wondering "How on earth am I going to make it through this day?"

Is there really a purpose in those daily and weekly reports, the last minute "I've got to have that number!" and "Your action plan for increasing cash collections is due by Friday."? Most of us don't think so. We wonder if the baby is adjusting to his morning nap or if our 2 year old is feeling better since she was up half the night with a toothache. Lunch is a scarfed down bag of microwave popcorn around 1:30, and next thing you know, it's 4:30 and that report didn't get turned in on time. Fail, fail, fail.

Get home from work (the lucky ones have at least 15 minutes in the car before being attacked by the kids). Get attacked by the kids, nurse the baby, read stories, get attacked by the kids. Desperately try to get 5 minutes to breathe. Hide in the closet. Be found in the closet. Try to find humor in the fact that your kids want to be with you on the floor in the closet. Give up, help with baths, Bible time, bed time. Finally scarf down the cold remains of supper while collapsing on the couch. Sometimes do dishes and fold laundry, balance the checkbook. And then, it's You-time.

See what I mean? Still hard. Just different-hard.

A couple of things to take away from my tongue-in-cheek post. One, there is no way I could ever do justice to a single mom's lifestyle. Way, way, way, way, WAY harder than anything I just mentioned. Props to those of you who do it, with God's grace and strength. He will carry you.

Two, we need to do a better job of reaching out to "the other side" of women. It's really hard, I know. For a long, LONG time, as a working mom, I felt like it wasn't even worth it to meet other moms because I knew I didn't have much to give. I couldn't meet for coffee after dropping the kids off at school, or have a playdate at the park. Not to mention that even if I remembered to call my friends in the middle of the day, I simply couldn't while I was working. We need to learn to love each other well, even when we can't completely relate to the other's current lifestyle. It's a work in progress for me.

Three, we are different. But different is okay. As much as I would love to stay that God "calls all women to stay at home with their children," I can't. Because if I said that, does that mean I'm disobeying God right now? A lot of you know my story, but basically it was "homelessness" or "Mommy goes to work." Not so hard to make that decision when you know your kids eat 2 tons of food every day.

A few challenges to SAHM: 1) Realize that while you are just as busy as the working mommy, you have more "free time." Enjoy it. Use it wisely. Doing dishes and folding laundry is pretty mindless. Take charge of that time and use it to pray for others, or meditate on God's word. 2)Also, reach out to a working mommy you may know. A quick call to say, "I'm thinking of you," means more than you ever know. Even if you know she won't or can't answer the phone, taking 2 minutes out of your day to do that is a such a blessing. 3) Try not to complain too loudly about being at home all the time. Others are desperately wanting to be where you are.

A few challenges to Working Moms: 1) Be thankful for the time you get "outside of the house." Whether by your choice or by necessity, you get to be with other adults for awhile. See it as a blessing. God is giving you a chance to be Salt and Light in the world. Don't forget that others' eyes are always watching to see how you respond to situations. 2) Make an effort to be a friend. Continue your old friendships, or try to find a new friend. Don't let your loneliness drive you away from other women. You need community! A quick phone call to your SAHM friend means a lot to them, too. She realizes that you are busy, but knowing you thought of her makes her feel special! 3) Don't make SAHM feel "less than" because they don't bring home a paycheck, or they don't "do as much as you do." Their role is just as vital as yours, and they work just as hard. Remember that you get appreciated and usually paid! And they often do not.

What do you think, ladies? Can we show grace to each other? Thanks for reading.