Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's too bad I have nothing important to say

Nothing at all. 

One would think that I would, seeings how I am on day 6 of a 10 day hiatus from work and have had plenty-o-time to think up something important and enlightening to write about. 

But one would be wrong.

I have in actuality done very little thinking this week.  I have been MUCH too busy wrapping and unwrapping presents, napping, and drinking iced mochas from Starbucks to put together a meaningful thought, much less a string of them to put into something worth writing down.  But, really...when has the absence of a coherent thought ever stopped me from running off at the mouth, or as it is - on the keyboard? 


I read a really great book this week. 

I got it from my son Nick for Christmas, and once I started reading it on Christmas day I only put it down long enough to brush my teeth and go to bed for 8-ish hours on Sunday night.  Then I was right back into it on Monday morning until I finished it.  It was amazing.  The best book I've read in a long while.  It did make me think, actually.  Alot.  About the reality of the spiritual realm that exists all around us but we rarely think about.  And about the power of prayer.  Incredible.  I highly recommend it.

Hey, I guess I AM capable of putting together a thought or two after all!  But apparantly only in short, fragmented sentences.  At this point.  Oh well.  At least it's something.

I got out of the house for a little while today.  After dropping my son off at basketball practice...and by the way has his basketball coach not heard that it is CHRISTMAS VACATION??  I was less than thrilled that my sleeping in plans were interrupted at early o'clock to take my son to practice by 8:30 in the am.  Anyways, after I dropped him off I had two hours to putz around town, so I went to my favorite store to check out the "after Christmas deals".  I got exactly no "after Christmas deals", but did pick up a vegie scrubber and some little measuring cups that I don't need, but am certain will revolutionize my vegetable cleaning and measuring tasks in profound and unexpected ways...

Then I bought a newspaper and some coffee and sat in my car until my sweaty teenage son emerged from the school.  It was boring and uneventful and I loved every second of it!

I had such high expectations for this week.  I was going to clean my house room by room.  And catch up on all of our laundry.  And get all the Christmas stuff put away.  And then, with all the rest of the week that would for surely be remaining because of my proficiency at getting those aforementioned things done, I was going to catch up on my scrapbooking (of which I am about 5 years behind). 

How am I doing so far?  Well, I cleaned my bathroom!

Actually, no.  I prepared to clean my bathroom and took the rugs down to the laundry room.  I may or may not have actually started the washer, then I promptly sat down on the couch because I am on vacation.

I got our Christmas letter written and sent out!   

Well, actually no.  I emailed it.  That still counts, doesn't it?  This was our first year doing a "digital" christmas letter, and I LOVED IT!  It was fun to create, and not only were we able to send them to many more people than we would have if we would have printed them out and paid for postage, but we have been hearing back from lots of the people we sent our letters to, and you normally don't hear back when you snail-mail them, so YAY! GO DIGITAL CHRISTMAS LETTERS!   We may be doing that every year from now on.

And as far as putting the Christmas deco away, I have seven Christmasy things sitting on my dining room table that I removed from my kitchen counters today.

There you go. 

In between all of my intense laboring, I have done a significant amount of piano playing, hangin' with the kids, napping, reading, and relaxing.  And I don't regret a minute of it!

Now, we have just finished dinner and I announced that "we" would now commense with the putting away of Christmas.   My poor husband was under the delusion assumption that I would be doing this during the day while he was at work.  Silly man.

Monday, November 14, 2011


So here I am, sitting on my couch in silence.  Silence.  That is not something that I get to experience very often.  In a house full of kids and dogs and husbands (well, just one of those), silence is hard to come by.  And I forget how relaxing it is. 

I am not a big fan of tv.  If I had my way, we probably wouldn't even have one at all.  It's not that I have a moral opposition to it, I just think that for the most part it is a huge waist of time.  And it distracts us from eachother (which I recognize that sometimes can be a good thing!)

I love declaring a "tv free night" like I did tonight (well, except that Nick & Vinny already had plans to watch the Vikings/Packers game with some buddies, so I allowed that...downstairs.  But it didn't last long because last I heard the Vikes were gettin annihilated so they apparantly lost interest and came upstairs).  Usually as soon as the tv goes off, the kids start talking.  I LOVE it!  They break out the games, and get creative.  They tell us about what happened at school (more than the "not much" that I got earlier) and they demonstrate the sweet dance moves that they are learning in phy-ed, as Napoleon - er, I mean Nick is doing now.  (Shhh, don't tell him I told you that.)

Sure tv can be entertaining, and there is a place for that.  It can even be a great time of family bonding.  But the large majority of the time the tv is just on to be on.  That's when the extraneous noise starts to get on my nerves and if my husband doesn't veto me, then I declare a "tv free night!"  The kids might whine and complain at first, but it always ends up being a good time. 

Or they start fighting and get sent to their rooms.  Either way, there's silence and I win.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Woman Behind the Stone

The snow, soft and moist like the kind a child would make snowballs with, frames the cold cement. 
We can see it's reflection as we approach. 
Hear the crunch beneath our footsteps.
Feel the sun shining, and the cool breeze lightly kissing the cheeks of the children
who shouldn't have to be here.

Her hands, bigger than they had been last time she approached, yet still so small, clutch the stem of the sign that she would soon push into the earth next to the stone.  The sign, and it's twin...the identical sign that she would bring home with her to keep...represent the things that were most important to each of them.

His hands, the strong hands of a boy who is emerging as a young man now, gently and securely wrapped around a bouquet of for each of them who should not have to come here...that he would soon push into the earth next to the stone.  He remembers more, but speaks less.  Holds on tightly to the flowers, and to her in his heart, pretending to understand. 

I have already been crying for miles.  Anticipating the scene that I am witnessing now.  Thinking of all that the woman behind the stone is missing out on.  A little girl, half of her life has passed since the last time their eyes met, the last time she felt her embrace.  Is mine any comfort?  Some, but not enough to dry the tears that I see streaming down her cheeks now.

A young man, standing here where he shouldn't have to stand, holding back his own tears.  Holding back, yet the look on his face speaks volumes.  It speaks of the yearning, the longing, the acceptance, the determination that she would be proud of. 

Time stands still for a moment.  They feel closer to her, as they run their hands over the roses, the cross, and the words of love engraved in the stone.  Yet strangely it makes the distance seem farther.  The emptiness deeper.  The wound in their souls that hides during the living of life that continues on, comes fresh to the surface now. 

We never met,
the woman behind the stone and I,
yet we are connected.

Through those I stand with now, whose reflections I see
in the stone framed with snow.

Through the love of a mother's heart.

Through the life I see
in their eyes,
and in their laughter
as they share their stories and their memories
of their mother.

Monday, August 15, 2011

On purpose

I could not sleep last night for anything.  I woke up, for no apparent reason, at 2:22am, and laid there and laid there and laid there.  I very rarely have that problem.  I can usually fall asleep within seconds of my head hitting the pillow (or as my husband and children can attest, withing minutes of starting a movie at home regardless of what time it is or how interested I am in the movie).  So, I got up and read and messed around on the 'puter for a couple hours until I started getting tired again.  I did get back to sleep, but it was a restless sleep for the next couple hours until my alarm went off far too early.

As a result, I was quite tired today.  Normally this would cause me to be in less than a chipper mood for the day, and I would be struggling and feeling a little overwhelmed with everything all day long...

But not today.

Because of my new best friend, Joyce Meyer, I chose to have a good attitude!  I have been listening to some Joyce Meyer cd's loaned to me by a friend, and I have to tell you they are changing my life...more accurately God is changing my life through the messages she shares in them. 

The cd's are about to have a trusting and patient attitude, a hopeful attitude and a peaceful attitude, no matter what your situation.  They are about choosing to have these Godly attitudes, not only when things are going well, but when we go through trials.  Especially then. We can choose to have a good attitude on purpose, and not let the enemy of our souls tell us what kind of mood to be in all the time.  We so easily give up our peace when things don't go our way, or when we are struggling with things...big and small.  Joyce said "If you are already in a tough situation, it doesn't do any good to make it worse by having a bad attitude about it."

So I chose to have a good attitude today, despite the fact that I had only about 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep, and it was Monday, and my job requires alot of mental and physical energy.  Was I tired?  Yes.  But did I complain about it or let it determine how my day would go or what kind of mood I would be in?  Nope.  I believed that God would get me through the day in His strength, and He did. 

And I was happier, too.

So I have a feeling that this little lesson that I learned today is just a small building block for God to use to continue to build my character.  To make me more like His Son.  Yay, go me!  Yay, go Joyce!  Or rather...yay, Go God!!!

"Do everything without grumbling or arguing"  Philippians 2:14

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I'm going to resist the urge to try and summarize all the happenings in our lives since the last time I blogged.  It's hard for me, to resist such a tempting temptation, but I quite often  have trouble summarizing things and tend to ramble on and on, so it's probably best if I just talk about today.

Today was....

See, I'm doing it already.  I have typed and backspaced about 14 sentences and just can't decide how to describe my day.  What is my problem?  There may be a name for this, I'm not sure, but whatever it is I need to just press on and keep typing until something resembling a coherent thought finds it's way out. 

Church was amazing today!  It usually is, but it was especially amazing today.  Besides great worship and a great message, there were tables set up in front of the sanctuary where people could come up together or individually to take communion.  I love that.  We went up as a family (I temporarily left my post at the piano to join my clan) and it was very hold hands with my husband and children, remember the sacrifice that bought our freedom and salvation, and pray together with these wonderful people that I am blessed to share my life with...well it doesn't get any better than that at church. 

I also had the opportunity to talk with three parents who are grieving the losses of their children this week.  I am quite sure that they ministered to me more than I did to them.  The strength and peace that emminated from them at the most painful time in their lives is truly nothing short of a miracle.

This afternoon I had the opportunity to partake in my favorite Sunday afternoon pleasure....a nap!  Then it was on to Kyle's baseball banquet at the city park.  Fun!  I love baseball season, and also love when it comes to an end and our lives can resemble something a little more close to normal.  And there is alot less sand in our couches.

Tonight I had a photo shoot, and learned some very valuable lessons in my photography quest:

1.  Make sure to allow plenty of time for the shoot so you are not playing beat the clock with the sun. 
2.  Don't be afraid to reschedule, it's better than trying to rush and getting frustrated when there just isn't enough light left in the day, and you have to reschedule anyway.  Hmmph.
3.  It is SO WONDERFUL to have understanding and gracious friends who not only understand the need to reschedule, but totally don't act inconvenienced at all, and are even grateful for the "dress rehearsal" and the time we got to spend together!
4.  It's also wonderful to have very generous friends who are awesome at gardening and bring you fresh vegies from their garden....yum!
5.  And last but not least, always be sure to scope out a location ahead of time to avoid wasting precious daylight by trying to find the just right spots and realizing that the waterfall you were told about wasn't all it was cracked up to be. 

And now, it's time to retire for the evening...I did it!  I summarized today without rambling on and on (at least not too much.  I think.)  I surprise myself sometimes. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What I've been doing when I'm not spilling water on expensive electronics and lighting things on fire

Besides working...and taking and editing lots of pictures...and watching my boys play baseball nearly every night and weekend...and tending to things and people around our house...and working on music for church...and planning and preparing for Trevor's graduation party...and overusing ellipses...and trying to resist the urge to curl up into a ball and go to my happy place, I really haven't been doing very much this summer. 

Things have been so boring and uneventful, that just for fun one evening I decided to spill an entire glass of water on my computer.  The one that Vince built for me last year for my birthday for me to use for my photography business which stored ALL OF THE PICTURES I HAVE EVER TAKEN SINCE 2006, which was when I got my first digital camera. 


I literally thought I was going to have a stroke.  But Vince took it apart and assessed the damage, and discovered that my harddrives were indeed saved but the motherboard was toast - you know, the most expensive part of a computer.  Again, sigh.  Well, I can be thankful that all of my pictures and documents were ok.  A motherboard can be replaced, but pictures cannot!  Vince has it up and running again, so I am thankful.

And because that was so much fun, the very next evening I decided to light some candles and watch helplessly as the match I just lit broke in half - sending the flaming half floating to the floor where it singed a beautiful little hole in the carpet.  One more sigh.

Those who know me well, know that this is not the first time I've had episodes of brain flatulence that resulted in mass destruction, and it most likely will not be the last.  (Again with the sighing).  But a little reprieve would be nice, so that is what I am praying for!

Actually, I have learned something through this recent round of mishaps...I need to have more grace with our kids.  I am often harping on them to be careful and I can sometimes lose it when things get scratched or broken, but I really need to have more grace because looky what I can do!  Wow.

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy."  Matthew 5:7

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Things that are frequently said in our house that are funny or annoying and sometimes both

It's fun at our house.  In the midst of all the chaos and drama, we have fun.  That's a good thing, because if we didn't I fear that the chaos and drama of our everyday lives might just swallow us up.

If you happen to draw the short straw be blessed enough to spend time at our house on a daily basis, there are certain phrases that you might hear spoken a time or ten.  So I thought I'd share them because they are funny and, well, sometimes annoying too.

"No offense, but..."
This phrase is most popular with our younger two children.  Nothing good ever follows it.  It's when you have something to say that prolly doesn't need to be said, but alas you say it anyway because you are, you know, 9 or 10 (and sometimes older) and haven't learned how to properly censor yourself yet.

"No offense, but today you look like you did in that picture of you with your sister."

"You mean the one I have framed in my room that is very special to me because I thought we both looked good?"

"Yea, that's the one."

"Mmm, k."

Just as nothing good ever follows "no offense, but...", nothing good preceeds this next phrase which is also very popular in our home, moreso with our teenagers.

"I'm just sayin'..."
It's also used when you have something to say that shouldn't necessarily be said, but it is intended to justify whatever preceeded it, which may or may not imply a direct slam.

"Joe's mom is SO COOL!  She makes the best mac & cheese in the world and lets us do whatever we want.  She's like the coolest mom EVER.  Not that you aren't cool too, Mom.  I'm just sayin."

"Thanks.  I feel awesome now."

Sometimes if you are really crafty, you can take "No offense, but" and "I'm just sayin" and sandwich an insult between them.

"No offense, but you're feet smell like cheese.  I don't mean that in a bad way, I'm just sayin". 

"Your face..."
This is a phrase that Nick started and it's caught on like obnoxious wildfire at our house.  It is very versatile and can be used as a response to virtually any statement that one makes.  It really has no meaning at all, so don't bother trying to make any sense out of it.  We sure don't.

"You look tired."

"Your face looks tired".

"Time to shut off the tv."

"Your face can shut off the tv."

"Will you make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?"

"Your face can make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich."

It's very Napoleon and Kip, which is why it is so prevalent in our house and why I find it so amusing (most of the time).

And, lastly but certainly not leastly, is the ever popular...

"Not Me..."
"Not Me" is not so much a phrase, as it is a living and active member of our family.  Not Me is responsible for most of the things that go wrong around here, and if it weren't for him our kids would be in a lot more trouble.  Despite my recent announcement that Not Me has moved out and no longer resides here, he still gets blamed for everything.

"Who made this mess?"

"Not Me."

"Who left the freezer door open in the garage so that hundreds of dollars worth of meat and tater tots can spoil and need to be thrown away?"

"Not Me."

"Who ate all the Nutella?  I just bought a new jar like a week ago!  Oh wait, that was me."

That's all. 

And you thought I was going to end this post with some witty application of one of these phrases, didn't you?  Well not me, my friend.  Sometimes I am predictable like that (your face is predictable like that), but obviously the mysteries that surround me are far too vast and varied to be predictable all the time.  No offense, but you obviously don't know me like you think you do.  I'm just sayin.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Unbelievably ridiculous and unnecessary

And I thought this was bad.

What's even more annoying than birds chirping outside our bedroom window at 5am?  I'll tell you what.  A cat caterwauling (aka making a really loud obnoxious sound) in our yard at 4AM!!

I just have one word for that.  Actually I have lots of words for that, but only one that I will share...


Needless to say, we were not happy to be awakened by this noise at 4 O'CLOCK IN THE EVER LOVIN' AM.  Then once I fell back asleep I got to dream about someone trying to kill me.  Nice.  And Vince was all cool about it (in my dream, hopefully I'd get a better reaction out of him in real life).  It was some teenage kid living in our house (who incidently bore NO resemblance whatsoever to any of the teenage kids who actually live in our house, just to clarify). 

Whoever he was, and for whatever reason he was living in my house and wanted to kill me, this kid was relentless.  And I have to say, despite Mr. W's apparent apathy toward it all, I was a genius at thwarting each of his plans.  He tried setting up a machine gun, but I took all the bullets.  He tried making me sniff three different chemicals, but I plugged my nose.  I even went and told his parents, who were at a party and just laughed at me.

I'm not sure why I dreamt all of this.  Maybe it was a direct result of the cat incident and Vince's comment as he shut our window at 4 O'CLOCK IN THE EVER LOVIN' AM...

"That cat needs to be shot". 

You may not know this about me, but I am really good at interpretting dreams, so here goes.  The way I see it, this particular dream could mean one of three things...

1)  Someone is indeed planning to kill me and I am subconsciously warning myself in my dream.
2)  The teenagers who actually do live in our home sometimes sound like screaming cats in heat.
3)  I am the cat.

There is also a 4th possible interpretation of my dream, and that is that I need therapy.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Four years ago this very day...

I woke up very excited because in a few short hours I would be dining at Red Lobster and cruising down the Mississippi on my first date with this guy...

...who blew me away with his warmth, gentleness, charming wit and the best kiss I had ever had IN MY LIFE!  He treated me like a "queen" and has ever since.  Of course, I intimidated him with my sweet mini-golf skills, so he knew he'd better treat me right.  And right, he does.  My life was forever changed four years ago today, and I am forever blessed!

A New Day Has Come - Celine Dion

"I was waiting for so long
For a miracle to come
Everyone told me to be strong
Hold on and don't shed a tear
Through the darkness and good times
I knew I'd make it through
And the world thought I had it all
But I was waiting for you...

I see a light in the sky
Oh, it's almost blinding me
I can't believe I've been touched
By an angel with love
Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new sun
A new day has come.

Where it was dark now there's light
Where there was pain now there's joy
Where there was weakness, I found my strength
All in the eyes of a boy."

Monday, May 30, 2011

Flowers, Friends, and What we do when our kids are away

My husband is watching a show on tv that is explaining step by step how air conditioners are made.  Step. by. exciting. step.  Would you like to know how interested I am in this? 

(Crickets chirping)

Yea, 'bout that much.  And now he's fallen asleep on the couch next to me.  I'm pretty sure that implies permission to take over the remote and change the channel, which I would not hesitate to do except he's holding the remote on his chest...nice.  If I try and take it out of his hand, I'll risk waking him up.  If I don't, I will have to endure this torture or get off the couch myself and do something that requires energy.....oh the dilema.  Guess it's the perfect time to babble on my blog!

We have been having a fantastic weekend!!  I planted all my flowers on our decks today ~ something I look forward to every year, and I am especially happy with how they turned out this year...

This afternoon was spent at a memorial day party at our friend's home.  My friend Kam is a fabulous decorator who shares my love of country decor...

...and her husband Dave is an amazing chef.  We feasted on grilled burgers & brats, homemade black bean & corn salsa, blueberry iced tea served in mason jars with lemon & lime wedges...

...and homemade strawberry & peach shortcake.  I'm talkin' homemade melt-in-your-mouth biscuits and real whipped cream......can you say YUMMO?!!  'Cause we did...alot.  I woulda/shoulda taken more pictures of the food but I was too busy eating with my eyes closed and moaning.  Good food, lots of laughs, wild kids armed with nerf guns, and a hysterical game of  "Leisure Suit Relay"...

And tonight, we shared a treat with the kids.....Vince and I found these Jelly Belly Sodas at the fruit market on Saturday morning, so we bought one of each kind and shared them with the kids tonight.  We each sipped a little of each one, decided which ones were our favorites, and then each of the kids finished off the bottle of their favorite flavor...

And, another hi-light of our weekend was some "just us" time.  The kids were all gone for the afternoon and overnight on Sunday (Kyle & Nick to a Twins game with their dad, and Vinny & Hope had sleep-overs with their friends), so it was just Mr. Wonderful and I at home to enjoy the day and evening.  And we did.  Dinner on the deck, Little River Band really loud, and a movie later (that I may or may not have slept through), followed by staying up 'til 2am...uninterrupted time, just us!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Embracing 40

Nothing like hanging out with 20 & 30 somethings everyday to make you want to hi-light your hair, lose a hundred or so pounds, and say "I know, right?" alot.  Such is life at my new job ~ which incidently I absolutely LOVE!  The kids are amazing, and everyone I work with is fantastic....everyone.   I am the new kid on the block, and also am one of the "older" ones.  Ewww...did I just say that?  I'm used to being one of the younger ones, or at least working with people who are mostly my age and know who Little River Band is. 

I'm learning alot.  Besides all the professional stuff, I'm having some other very profound and life altering revelations, the biggest I'd have to say is this...

No one wears big poofy hair scrunchies anymore.  You know the ones that you have that match all your outfits (oh wait, that's just me).  Yea, no one wears them anymore.  Why was I not informed of this?  It's all little elastic hair bands now, like I wore when I was 10, before the big hair and oh so fashionable scrunchies of the 80's.  I realize that I am probably a decade or two late in making this revelation, but seriously no one told me.

So, I guess it's time to say goodbye (sigh) to my favorite powder blue scrunchie that goes PERFECTLY with my faded denim vest - which I refuse to give up.  (Sorry, I will hang on to that with a death grip until the seams rip out, so everyone will just have to chillax about it). 

But it will not be goodbye forever.  Oh, no.  I'm stashing them safely away in my closet because someday... someday they'll be back.  Oh yes they will.  And when that glorious day comes, I'll be ready...armed with a rainbow of earth toned scrunchies that will look amazing in my big spiral permed hair...which I also miss terribly and needs to make a comeback.  I know, right?

Monday, May 23, 2011

In case you were wondering....

...why I fell in love with the man I am blessed to call my husband, this is why (click here to read his latest blog post, which makes me cry!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I just have one question...

...actually seven.  I have seven questions.

1)  How much awesomeness did James Durbin have on Idol tonight?

2)  How mad am I still that Casey was voted off?  Best not get me started on that.

3)  I am intrigued by the show "Extreme Couponing".  Even though every episode that I've seen so far is basically the same with nearly the exact same ending, I still feel compelled to watch yet another episode.  However, someone please 'splain to me why some of these people have purchased so many items that there is NO HUMANLY POSSIBLE WAY to use them in any normal life cycle before they expire.  Seriously, could anyone possibly use 60 bottles of hot sauce in their lifetime? 

4)  Ok, I take back my previous question.  I just watched a woman purchase $1800 worth of groceries for $22.  I'm not even kidding, which leads me to my next question...

5)  Can I start couponing and sale-surfing and save us such a large amount of money that we can take our family of 8 on vacation to Aruba for $3.98...all without losing my mind? 

6)  Why are Nathan's hot dogs on the grill so RIPPIN' AMAZING??!

7)  Why does my husband have twice as many blog followers than I do, when he only blogs about once every four months now?  Sumpin's not right, I say.  Wait, did I type that out loud?  What I meant to say was how proud I am that so many people are aware and intrigued by how fascinating my Mr. W is :) 

I just have to share this quote by my son Kyle today, as he and Hope were getting ready to leave for school on their scooters...

"Hope, we have to stay together because if you fall I'll help you up.  And if I fall, I'll man it up, cause I'm just Kyle that way."

...and that's why I love being a mom!

Monday, May 09, 2011

I have decided to stop freaking out

We have lived in our house for almost three years now, and although I love the house and so many things about it, I have not been able to truly enjoy it.  Not really.  And it's all my own fault, and here's why...I have this terrible habit of continually focusing on how clean it's not

Am I a clean freak?  No.  But my kids will tell you that I am a handwashing nazi and I swear that is why we get very few colds around here.  (Yes, I know that four of us had strep in January....ssssh!)  I am not a clean freak, per se,  ( I didn't know that I knew how to spell "per se", but according to Wikipedia, I do.  I surprise myself sometimes), but I have this thing that I can't seem to relax and enjoy our home unless it is clutter free, dust free, and organized.  And since it is rarely all of those things at the same time, well, I don't often allow myself to relax and enjoy it.  I tend to look around and see the mess and the flaws and focus on them and sometimes allow it to make me cranky.  And when I am cranky about the house being messy, I typically react in one of three ways (sometimes a combination of the three if I'm feeling especially feisty):

1)  I yell at everyone and threaten to throw away their stuff if they don't put it away (yes I do...just keeping it real.  Would I ever actually throw away someone's stuff?  No, but don't tell my kids that.  I like to keep them in a healthy state of fear and panic). 

2)  I sigh alot and grumble under my breath, which may or may not contain colorful language.  Or,

3)  I declare that I GIVE UP! and flop myself on my bed and implode for a while.  This is a personal favorite of mine, because it's the one where I don't end up having to apologize to anyone afterwards :/

Am I proud of any of these reactions?  Not at all, and the part of me that wants to perpetuate the illusion that I don't ever behave in these ways wants me to delete this entire post right now.  But, I am allowing transparency and vulnerability to prevail in the hopes that someone will fess up that I am not alone in my dysfunction.

So, yesterday I made the revelation, and the subsequent declaration to Mr. Wonderful, that I am now and forevermore NOT going to freak out about the condition of our home.  Does this mean that I am giving up on keeping a clean and orderly house?  Au contraire (almost spelled that one right too...bada-bing!).  We will continue to hold the kids (and ourselves, eh-hem) accountable for picking up our things and cleaning up after ourselves.  We will still keep our "daily job chart" going, and make sure that things get done and stay caught up....especially the three stinky things (laundry, garbage, and dishes).  But, I am going to give myself a break...permission to enjoy our home and those who inhabit it, without obsessing about it being perfect.

And (this is a biggy) we are going to start INVITING PEOPLE OVER!  We have not been doing this as much as we really want to because I always feel like the house has to look perfect before we can let people in.

And perhaps an even bigger revelation that I have had in realizing all of this, is that I am all too often like that with God too.  I can't let Him's too messy!  (As if the omniscient Creator of the universe doesn't know about my stuff).   I can't let others know what I really struggle with either, or they might not think that I am as strong in my faith as I should be, or maybe that they think I am. 

Oh dear.  This could go on for a while.  I should know better than to start blogging at 10:30pm...I need to get to bed!  I'll write more tomorrow...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Embracing change. Really.

"The key to to let go of fear." - Rosanne Cash

I think I need to tape that quote to my refrigerator or something, because it's so good.  And so relevant for me.  I am on the cusp of a new chapter in my life...maybe even a whole new book!  Today was my last day of work for the agency where I have been employed for the last 18 years. 


Did I really just type that?  I think I did.  It is something I never thought I would do, leave my job that is.  I started working there when I was only very first social work job!  I loved it from day one, and the friendships I have made (both with co-workers and with the people I have supported) have changed my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined.  For the past three years, I have been working in the children's therapy program as a therapist for children with autism spectrum disorders.  It was quite a change from the 15 years of working with adults, but a change that I welcomed and it wasn't long until I fell in love with these kids.  Every one of them.  They are amazing.  But with the new program came new expectations....namely, working later in the afternoons and sometimes into the evenings.  I wasn't getting home until 5:30 or 6:00, or sometimes later, which made it very difficult to get supper going and get the kids to all of their many activities on time.  I was frazzled, always in a rush, and always feeling like I was missing out, and that I wasn't there when my kids or my husband needed me.  I wasn't there anymore to help with homework, and I missed more of my son's basketball games this year than I care to mention.  It made my heart hurt.  The toll that this schedule was taking on our family became very evident recently, and I felt God pushing me towards a change.

Change, that I of course resisted.  At first.  I'm not one who likes change very much, and God knows this about me all too well.  He knows that if I am all curled up in my comfy little spot, there's very little short of a massive explosion (or the promise of chocolate) that will get me to move.  But God, being God and all, knows just how to prepare me, motivate me, and remove the fear that so often resides in and paralyzes me in order to get me where He wants me to go.  And perhaps most amazingly, He has the timing of things down perfectly!  About three weeks ago, I decided to update my resume and send it to two autism centers in Rochester, which is about a 45 minute drive from our home.  In my cover letter, I told them that I was looking for daytime hours, about 30-35 hours a week.  I know it's not always smart to put restrictions on your availability before you even get in the door for an interview, but I figured that is what I was willing to leave the job that I loved for, and nothing less.  So I took a chance and with a prayer, I clicked send.  Within two hours I was offered an interview from one of them....and to make a long rambling story a tad bit shorter, I'll just sum things up to say that I start my new job on Monday! 

These past two weeks have been filled with many walks down memory lane, words of appreciation, laughter, tears, and most of all....grace.  God's grace has been abundant and His hand has guided every step of this journey, as He prepares me for the new co-workers, new experiences, new families, and most importantly...the new children whose lives I will have the incredible blessing and opportunity to touch and make a difference. 

And even more profound than that, are the benefits and blessings that I am already anticipating will happen within our family.  I will be home to see them off to school (almost) every morning.  I will BE there when they get home from school....EVERY day!  I will be the one (ME!) to say "how was your day?", to help with homework, to drive them to their activities, and to sit in the stands cheering them on.  My heart is filled with so much joy and gratitude and praise that I think I will burst!!

"Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart...Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him."  Psalm 37:4-7

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Do you see it?

This morning, as I was driving Kyle to his grandparents' on my way to work, the bluffs were amazingly beautiful!  All the trees were covered in a beautiful layer of bright white, freshly fallen snow, and I told Kyle to look (he was distracted by something else because, you know, he's 9).  He looked out the window and said "Wow!  That's so cool....Mom, it looks like God."

"Look...that part of the hill right there looks like His face.  And His hair.  Do you see it?"

I do now, son.  Thanks to you.  I was tempted to take the opportunity to tell him about how all of creation worships God, that nothing exists without Him, how everything was created with love and beauty, and go on from there.....but I refrained.  I decided to let the awe and wonder of the moment be just that.  And let God be God to my son and I, in that moment. 

And He was.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday fantastique

It's still Christmas on my blog.  I am aware of this.

And I know that I really need to change it, but I don't know how.  Vince, being the wonderful geeky tech master husband that he is, built me a new computer that stores and backs up my pictures in a much better way than the old one.  But the trouble is that Picasa - the photo editing program that I use to make my blog header on - can't find my pictures on the new computer and therefore won't upload them.   GAH!  And it won't listen to me when I say "THERE!  They are over THERE!  Go over THERE!".  It is very stubborn, that Picasa.  So, until I figure it out (translation...when Mr. W gets sick of my whining and decides to figure it out for me) it will continue to look like the North Pole on my blog for a while.  That's ok, the elves are cute.

We have had an awesome Sunday today!  It's such a nice reprive after having strep throat visit our house and terrorize our lives for the past few weeks.  Hope was the first to get it, then me....then me AGAIN (seriously??) and now Kyle.  It has more than overstayed it's welcome, but hopefully my Lysol wipes and idle threats have scared it off for good.  Church was awesome today, followed by lunch at Subway and dates with our kids...Vince took Hope to the new Justin Bieber movie (oh yes he did) and I took the boys shopping and to Starbucks...yum! We hesitated at letting her go to the movie so as not to encourage the boy craziness that is already hitting young girls her age, but were pleasantly surprised to hear that JB is a christian, prays with his band & staff before every concert (how cool is that?), and highly values family.  Hopefully he stays grounded in the midst of all of his fame, fortune, and temptations that young celebrities face. 

So, that was our day so far.  Now everyone is home involved in various activities and we are about to gather to watch the Grammys and have some "family time"...Sunday fantastique!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

How did we ever survive this long without doing this?

Vince and I haven't been very consistent with doing devotions as a family.  We've tried different scenarios and different devotional books, but for one reason or another we haven't stuck with it...until now.  A few weeks ago Vince felt God speak to him during church (you can read about that here on his blog - which by the way has more followers than mine - NOT FAIR!  Eh-hem, sorry.)  That evening he had an emotional talk with Nick and Vinny, explaining what God had put on his heart and his desire to follow through.  The boys received this talk so beautifully - with hugs and "I love you's" later that evening - and every night since then the three of them have sat down and done devotions together.  Every night.  And what's amazing is that they look forward to it.  No more dragging the boys away from the tv or whatever activity they are into and "making" them do devotions.  They want to.  They pay attention and listen as Vince reads the lesson from the book they are going through, called "Why: 40 Days Pursuing Answers to Life's Biggest Questions"  They talk, ask questions, and think.  It's awesome!

And things are different around here. 

Tempers are tamed - which really weren't all that harsh to begin with - but it's the little things.  The boys seem a little more patient, a little more obedient, a little less inclined to argue their point with us, and a little more thoughtful. And since they already were thoughtful, it is just that much better! 

And (for the most part) I'm staying out of it.  That is hard for me, I'll admit.  But I have resisted the urge to tell Vince what book I thought they should go through (I would have picked something else...and been totally off base) or interfere too much in their conversations.  I am letting them have this guy time and letting Vince mentor and teach his sons how to walk with the Lord at this very critical time in their young teenage lives when the world is screaming at them from every direction.  I am humbled and grateful beyond words to have this man of God in my life...not only for myself, but for my sons.   

In the mean time, I have begun having "bible time" with Kyle and Hope every evening.  We are going through a book called "101 Questions Children Ask About God".  I got the book years ago for my boys, I think from a garage sale, and over the years I have gone through most of it with them (see, the on again/off again devotional times is not a new thing for me or us.  Sigh.)  It is the best book!  I highly recommend it for anyone with elementary age children.  It covers everything from "How did God create the world?" to "Why doesn't God just zap the bad people?" to "Why did I have a bad dream if I prayed before I went to sleep?"

Some pretty big questions for a child, huh?  The kids love the book and last night (our first night of this...I'm a little slower on the uptake than Mr. Wonderful) they came to the table with their bibles and notebooks and eager hearts.  Tonight we decided to climb up on my bed and do our devotions there.  It was so cozy I think that is where we will have it from now on.

We have tried all sitting down together and having "family" devotions, and honestly that would be our preference.  But when we tried it, either the younger ones were lost or the older ones were bored, not to mention that the chaos-o-meter is usually off the charts when EVERYONE is in the same room at the same time around here.  So this is what's working for us.  God is blessing it, and I am grateful beyond words.

And now I am asking myself, how in the world have we made it this far as a family without doing this?  I don't know...not very well at times, I'm afraid.  Like I said, we've tried before, but for one reason or another we didn't stick with it.  We let ourselves get too busy, too tired, too distracted, or too lazy.  But now we are into it and are already seeing the benefits and reaping the rewards!  It's kind of like an exercise program.  Except without all the sweating and moving.  And pain.  And misery.  Ok, it's really nothing like an exercise program.  I have no idea why I thought of using that as an analogy at all...that's what you get for reading my ramblings :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

A pretty good start's strep.  I had a throat culture this morning - which is all kinds of fun if you happen to enjoy having someone gag you with not one but two really long q-tips.  And it's an extra fun and pleasant experience when the nurse asks you if you have ever had this done before, and upon telling her "yes but it's been a long time", she decides to put you at ease by reminding you "yea, it's not pleasant."  Thanks for that.

So I've been home all day.  Just me and the dogs.  And my Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time Tea.  I love it, even the smell makes me happy.  Add a big squeeze of honey and it's a little bit o' heaven on a massively sore and scratchy throat.  It's my new best friend...but not the new best friend that I was referring to in yesterday's post.  That would be Jasmine Star

She is an amazing wedding photographer from Orange County California.  Amazing as in Ah-May-Zing, and I've been obsessed with dilegently studying her blog for the past several days now.  Her photography is incredible, but what is even more incredible is her story.  She had no formal training in photography whatsoever...just a camera from her husband that she fell in love with, and a dream that she followed.  She not only posts very specific information about photography that I am completely soaking up, but she shares her fears and her failures and her insecurities.  She still has them, even as she charges (rumer has it) close to $30k to shoot a wedding.  She is a Christian, married to her highschool sweetheart, and very encouraging and inspiring to an aspiring photographer like myself.  And I am learning a TON...about lighting and settings, and making your clients feel comfortable, about making them laugh and relax in order to get those candid shots that tell their story, and perhaps most importantly I'm learning that I really can do this!  Even if I don't have the nicest camera, the most expensive lenses, a business background, or a lack of fear. 

What I do have is this...a husband who supports me and believes in me, and a God who can make things happen if I put Him first.  And a dream.  I'd say that's a pretty good start!

Tea with honey at 5am

...because I'm pretty sure that I have strep.  And I'm pretty sure that it sucks.  It hurts to even think about much that I have to talk myself into it.  "Do I really need to swallow right now??  I mean I just swallowed like 30 seconds ago.  Do I always swallow this often?  I don't think so.  Maybe if I just stop thinking about it...nope that doesn't work.  Just makes me feel like I have to swallow even more". 

Such is the reality of what goes on in my brain.  Fun, huh?  Yea.  You should be me.  Or my husband.  There's a trip.  He puts up with alot. 

Yesterday was Sunday, but it was not your typical Sunday at our house.  I went to bed feeling kinda crappy on Saturday night, so we didn't set our alarm for church.  I had my suspicions already that I may have strep because my throat was already getting sore enough for me to start taking some drugs, and sure enough I woke up feeling even crappier.  Is "crappier" a word?  I'm not even sure that "crap" is a real word.  Oh well, it is today.  At least on my blog.  I wouldn't be so hasty at jumping to the conclusion that I have strep, were it not for the fact that Hope was diagnosed with it 5 days ago and my symptoms were pretty much the same.  So much for my theory that washing my hands - and being militant about the kids washing theirs - will keep us from spreading germs around.  Hmmph.  At least no one else has it...yet.

Anyway, back to yesterday.  It wasn't our typical Sunday - not only because we didn't go to church, but because Vince and I didn't even get out of bed until 1:30PM!  That is not a typo!  I woke up around 9:30, and after popping some advil I was back in bed and started reading the blog of my new best friend (I'll get to that later).  Vince woke up and picked up his book and also began reading...which we continued to do for the next four hours.  No lunch...just Sunday morning relaxy awesomeness!  Hope knocked on the door every so often to see if we were STILL in bed and wondering if we were EVER going to get up???  I was tempted to pull a John & Yoko and stay in bed all day, but we did eventually get up and move our reading from the bed to the couch, where I remained firmly planted for most of the day.  And I didn't get bored.  Not even once.  Aside from cooking us scrambled eggs & toast for breakfast at 1:30pm, and then stir fried vegies (broccoli, carrots, and peppers) along with kielbasa & potatoes for supper at 7pm, I didn't do a whole lot of moving.  By the end of the day I was ready to run laps around the house or do a bunch of jumping jacks or something because my legs were so restless, but since the "feeling crappy" meter had continued to escalate throughout the course of the day, I didn't.  I settled for stretching alot and going back to bed.

I've been talking too much.  Time to go warm up my tea.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Saturday and a dream

It's quarter after midnight on Saturday night and Mr. W and I are sitting on the couch eating carrots and cheese and watching Hoarders.  It's not as pathetic as it sounds, really.  Ok, maybe it is, but we DID watch a movie and share a glass of wine earlier in the evening, so there is hope for us, right?! 

The day started out the way many of our Saturdays least the ones where we don't have to set our alarm and get up and hurry off somewhere.  We slept in 'til 9:30 (yes!) and soon after we were up and on our way to the fruit market.  We love going there on Saturday mornings, sometimes combining it with a stop at Starbucks, however not today.  Today we decided to grab lunch at one of our favorite lunchy spots...Blooming Grounds Coffee House.  We talked about our day and how much we loved our turkey cheddar paninis and homemade potato soup.  Our laughter echoed off the mossy green and brick- painted walls, as I read to him from the front page and talked about how awesome the ambience is in here and how I can make my newest dream come true.

A photographer?  Really?  Can I really do this?  How do people pursue their dreams, and transform them into reality?  There are as many answers to that question as there are stars in the sky, and believe me when I say I have thought of them all...including the ones that don't have happy endings.  But one thing I do know for sure.  God has a purpose for my life.  And if it includes pursuing this photography thing, then He will make a way.  I just need to have an open heart and ears that hear His voice.  Some wisdom would be good too.

I asked Vince if he thought that God values photography, and without hesitation he said "absolutely"!  Then he went on about how it appreciates the beauty of His creation, and how God is creative and artistic and aren't we made in His image?

I love that man.  He just gave me permission to be excited about this.

So now what?  I've been overwhelmed the past couple of months...surfing the web for information about cameras & lenses, apertures and white balance and lighting and iso's,  In my quest to take things to the next level I have found many sites of photographers far more talented than I, and have had to fight off the temptation to be discouraged and wonder if this is just ridiculous.  I know in my heart that it is not...that there is a passion there that I think I can do something with.  That God can do something with, that will not only bless me but our whole family too, not to mention those who may find themselves on the other side of my lens.'s 2am.  I could still babble on and on, but for now my bed is calling and tomorrow I will blog more about my thoughts, oh and my new best friend!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Just in case you have been contemplating breaking into our home and stealing our toaster, I would think twice about that, my friend.

Mom:  Kyle, don't forget to lock the door, ok?

Kyle:  Why?

Mom:  Just for safety, honey.  We've talked about this before, remember?

Kyle:  Mom. (Dramatic pause for inflection).  I have a mini-sword.  I'll be FINE.  Remember the one dad got me in Mexico?  It's really sharp.  I'm like a ninja with it.  Seriously.

Mom:  OK, then. 

You have been warned, would be breaker-inner.  My son has a mini-sword and he WILL use it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I'm in love! I'm in love! And I don't care who knows it!

I'm playing with my new new baby...otherwise known as my new lens :)  Check this out.  The following pictures were all taken of the same (very awesome) basket with berries that currently sits on our kitchen table (along with alot of other stuff that was pushed out of the way to create the illusion that our home is always neat and tidy).  But just ignore all that and look at this. 

Ok, the first picture was taken with the first digital camera that I've ever owned - a Canon PowerShot.  It's pretty awesome for a point and shoot (I think) and takes great snap shots.  I took this on Manual setting, shutter speed 1/30, iso 200, and f2.8 (the lowest it will go).

Are you impressed with my "camera speak"?  Yea, I thought so.  Tehe :)  Anyway, the next picture was taken with my Canon Rebel - my first DSLR (which is fancy terms for a camera that you switch lenses on).  The lens I used was a 50mm 1.8 II, which up until today was my favorite lens.  It made me fall in love with my camera and with the art of photography, and it's taken some pretty sweet pictures for me, I must say.  This was taken with the same iso and shutter speed, but at f1.8.

Not bad, not bad.  Pretty big improvement I'd say.  But now, drum roll is the same shot, taken with my Rebel and my *new* lens, a 50mm 1.4, again with the same shutter speed and iso. 

HELLOOOOOOOOOOO!  I am in love!    I have wanted this lens for months, but I made a promise to myself (and to my husband too) that I would only upgrade my equipment with money that I earn from my photography.  So here it is, the first harvest of my new passion.  I can't WAIT to start taking portraits with this...and thankfully I won't have to wait long because I have 4 family sessions and a maternity session coming up soon - yay!  And if you come over to my house (or pretty much anywhere near me anytime soon) I WILL be putting a camera in your face, so consider yourself warned and please try not to blink!