Sunday, January 31, 2010


Happy birthday,
precious, precious boy!

You are a priceless gift... a heaven-sent treasure...

a lemonade-drinking,
super fast-swimming,
big bear-hugging

nine year old boy.

And I love you with all of my heart~

Friday, January 29, 2010

(Fabulous) potato soup

Last winter, Hannah (over at honey & jam) shared a potato soup recipe
that is utterly divine.
Around here, it's a hit.
It's a favorite.
It's a treat.

And it's also the perfect meal for a bitter-cold-oh-I-can't-wait-for-spring sort of day.
Just thought I'd share :)

Potato Soup

6 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
1/2 cup chopped carrots
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cube chicken bouillon
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 pinch ground black pepper (same here)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1 1/2 cup chopped bacon

1. In a large stock pot add potatoes, carrots, onion, chicken bouillon, water.
Season with salt and pepper and simmer until vegetables become tender.
2. In a separate bowl mix flour and heavy cream.
Once it is well blended, add to soup mixture and cook until soup becomes thick.
Stir in cheese, cooked bacon and simmer until cheese is melted.

If you can't get it to thicken up enough, just add a little more flour or cheese.

You should probably also load the top with green onions.

Because green onions are good.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Snowflake Classic

January 23-24, 2010

Noh-man (in the lead above),
with a bald head once again. Sigh:
8 races,
8 first place wins,
6 personal bests,
1 'A' time,
and 2 new team records

with a head full of hair... long hair...
well, long for him at least:
7 races,
5 personal bests,
and 2 'A' times
(1 of them being an Age Group Qualifying time)

15 outstanding races.
2 dedicated swimmers-- humble,
hard-working, gracious, determined, & brave.
1 very, very proud mama.

Monday, January 25, 2010

1000 Gifts: January blessings

I sing the goodness of the Lord, who filled the earth with food,

Who formed the creatures through the Word, and then pronounced them good.

Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where’er I turn my eye,

If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky.

I Sing the Mighty Power of God

--Isaac Watts

After a long and difficult week,
I offer thanks to the One who made survival possible...
to the One who displays His wonders everywhere...
to the One who offers new mercies each and every morning.

Hubby's lunchtime phone call, just to say I love you

swim lesson success... grins & giggles.... confidence... rising... hoorah!

MY daddy's mid-week visit, Lolli's run to greet him, hugs & hugs & hugs, sacrificial love

their precious, priceless bond... deeper every day

cold winter nights... crisp clear air... lots of warm comfy layers... outdoor play

ice skating at the pavilion with very special friends

and the bright white lights that illuminate the dark night sky

time to chat with other moms

shared stories, shared laughter, common bonds... motherhood

hot chocolate!

these three little magpies... fed & bundled & ready for fun!

and the biggest one of the bunch, anxious to tackle the challenge in the rink!

excited anticipation

and then Big Man and daddy... together on the ice

hours together... hours to play... moments to cherish... memories

swim meet celebrations... swim meet success

my parents there, too... to cheer on the boys

the prayers of a friend... new prayers for a friend... and our LORD who hears... who answers...
who knows our needs, even before we ask.

His strength, His comfort, His help in time of trouble

His throne of grace


"Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving,
let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God,
which surpasses all comprehension,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:6-7

The Gratitude Community...

holy experience

and the list continues...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Sometimes the news on the other end of the telephone is NOT what I want to hear.

Sometimes the verdict handed down is NOT what I'm expecting.

Sometimes the answer I've been anticipating in NOT forthcoming.

And sometimes, as a result, my fears assail me.
My anxieties overwhelm me.
My worries flood over me.

Because sometimes my world feels like it's crashing in... like its very foundations are shaking to the core.

And sometimes I simply canNOT handle the load I've been given.

And as a result I question and doubt and fret and worry and wonder, why, LORD, why?

And then sometimes I just need to be reminded...

that the LORD who created the universe,
the LORD who formed the fish of the sea & the birds of the air,
the LORD who made me, "fearfully & wonderfully,"
the LORD who stepped down from His throne
to enter this fallen world in the form of a helpless babe,
the LORD who gave His very life for me
and then rose from the grave three days later,

still cares.
And loves.
And protects.
And defends.
And comforts.
And uplifts.
And heals.

And that nothing, absolutely NOTHING, takes Him by surprise.
Nothing, absolutely NOTHING, happens by accident.
And nothing, absolutely NOTHING, is impossible with HIM.

Sometimes I need to remember.

So that as I'm tempted to question and doubt and fret and worry,
I'm able to recall that
the LORD uses our crises,
our moments of panic and struggle,
our periods of grief and despair,
for His glory....
for His divine purposes...
for His will to be accomplished IN us and THROUGH us.

And that I need to expect... to anticipate... the revelation of that almighty glory.

I need to remember that God still sits on His throne.

That He has not forsaken,
He has not forgotten,
He has not stopped loving or caring or protecting or defending,
And that He's here, in the midst of it all.
And He always will be.

Sometimes I just need to remember....

"I lift up my eyes to the hills--
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip--
He who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, He who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you--
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm--
He will watch over your life;

the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore."

Psalm 121

Monday, January 18, 2010

1000 Gifts: A weekend visit

After a wonderful weekend with our very best friends
(though without a single photo to show for it :),
with a heart overwhelmed by His amazing grace,
with a spirit refreshed
and a soul restored,
I give thanks.

"Now, our God, we give You thanks,
and praise Your glorious name."

1 Chronicles 29:13

God's gift of friendship

the tie that binds

relationships that only strengthen with time

confidences shared, struggles understood, and praises... rejoicings... together

questions answered, her help freely given

and prayers.... shared prayers

precious children and the sound of laughter

healthy bodies and energy galore!

train tracks and Wii games

treasure hunts and woods-walks

airplanes and rockets

new movies and popcorn

restful sleep

thoughtful companions

a church service together, a shared pew, voices raised, family in Christ

promises of another visit soon

and very. best. friends.

"A hug is worth a thousand words.
A friend is worth more."

-- author unknown

holy experience

and my list continues...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

For my mom...

who's missing her grandkids & lamenting the
end of the Christmas season... all at once :)

And for me.... because I needed a late-morning break...
because it's been one of those days...
because evidently my children ate pure sugar for breakfast, and as a result, my home is now a crazy-high-energy battle ground. A game of capture the flag meets tackle football... even Lolli is playing along.

So far, no injuries.

And all this after Big Man-- who had almost completed his last workbook exercise-- reported that he just didn't "have enough energy to finish the goats." I guess those goats were simply too labor-intensive.

Meanwhile, here I sit-- blogging for therapy... blogging for relief... blogging for my mama :)

Thankfully, I found a few photos tucked away from our Christmas holiday... a few snapshots of the kiddos (both young and older... not old :) at her house on the hill... sledding and speeding and hollering down the side of the mountain in what remained of our Christmas-break blizzard.

So here you go, ma... just for you... with much, much love :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

1000 Gifts: Everyday things

The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes,
and surely it is in the everyday things
that the beauty of life lies.

--Laura Ingalls Wilder

a clean dog, a healing dog, a happy dog

and one medicine scratched off his very lengthy list

afternoon naps

ipods & earphones, music to share, a few favorite tunes and new dance moves for all

the Bee Jees (thanks Pops!), 4 silly children, laughter galore and that 70's swing

a clean kitchen, a thoughtful husband

busy hands, a creative mind

swim lesson excitement

healthy appetites

healthy food

and willing eaters

shared stories

developing speech (in my almost 2-year old) and new words spoken, every single day

Bible study with my boys

warm blankets, central heat

the television turned off

boys that haven't outgrown their mama's lap

melting snow

a Mighty Fortress

His comfort


"I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies."

Psalm 18: 1-3

holy experience

and the list continues...

Friday, January 8, 2010

My 2010 book list

Alrighty, it's a new year, and you know what that means... time for a new book list! Last April, I started reading again (for pleasure, that is :) and at the time, I shared a list ... an overly ambitious list... of titles that I wanted to tackle first and foremost. Well, I made it through many of them (and a few additional ones, too), but lots of those books never made it off the library shelf (or my own, for that matter :). I still want to read every single one of those selections very much, so as I worked on compiling my new list, I decided to just tack those guys on to the end of this one. That makes for a whole lotta books, but who knows? I'm starting in January (as opposed to late April last year), and I'm having a ball! I'm also marveling at some of these great works-- the fact that I never read them before! Anyhoo... as I like to say, onward and upward! To books!

In no particular order:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
A Dog's Life by Peter Mayle
The Testament by John Grisham
Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
April 1865 by Jay Winik
I am David by Anne Holm
The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Watership Down by Richard Adams
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
The Dean's Watch by Elizabeth Goudge
William Henry is a Fine Name by Cathy Gohlke
The Divine Mentor by Wayner Cordeiro
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Gods and Kings by Lynn Austin
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Crazy Love by Francis Chan
1776 by David McCullough
John Adams by David McCullough
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Going Rogue by Sarah Palin
The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

And from last year's list:

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandra Dumas
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Deconstructing Penguins: Parents, Kids, and the Bond of Reading by Lawrence Goldstone
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
My Antonia by Willa Cather
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth
I Dared to Call Him Father by Bilquis Sheikh
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Castain
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emma Orczy

Whew! Lots-o-books to keep me busy in the weeks and months to come. And if I've missed any one's favorites, please, please, please pass along a few more titles! I've been out of the literary loop for so long... I need more worthwhile choices!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The next installment, so to speak

Years ago, when Chris and I adopted our very first dog, we started a trend...
each of our male dogs has been named for a Civil War General.
A Confederate General, to be more precise.

Now at the time we didn't realize we were doing such a thing;
it just sorta turned out that way.
And as the years passed
and a few more canines found their way to our doorstep,
that trend continued.
(yes, my husband-- the history buff-- initiated this pattern,
and the rest is, well... history :)

First there was Jackson.
Then there came Beauregard.
Next in line was Mosby.
And now, our most recent installment...


I know, he's quite the sight right now, but I've gotta tell you, he's one of the sweetest little boys in town! Our family adopted him on New Year's Eve from a wonderful rescue league here in our area, and his tail hasn't stopped wagging since. To say that we are absolutely smitten with him would be an understatement... he's cruised right in to our hearts and taken up residence with all the other pups we hold so dear.

Now, for a brief explanantion: when Annie died last spring, Mosby was forced to fly solo around this joint. And while we all adore him beyond measure, we soon began to miss the pitter patter of additional paws. So eventually, we decided to start searching for another playmate. Now we didn't intentionally seek the most pathetic creature in town; again... it just sorta happened that way, for once we stumbled upon Ferg, we knew he was the one. You see, Chris and I have a passion for pups. All pups, but especially the downcast and the outcast, the unlovely and the unloved... and this little guy fit that bill perfectly. He's probably one year old (two at best), and at the risk of overstating the very, very obvious, he's been sorely mistreated and terribly neglected. I'm not sure how well it comes across in the photo, but I'd estimate that half the fur on his little body is gone...gone!... due to mange and other untreated skin ailments (see all that pink skin??), and in addition to the raw misery such conditions create, he's also battling an abcessed eye, a double ear infection, multiple secondary infections due to lack of timely medical care, and an emaciated frame. Thankfully, our substantial arsenal of meds is already making a difference, and the good, good eats we're pumping in daily are starting to pack on a few pounds. It's also quite amazing-- what a little bit (or a lot-a-bit!) of attention and love and good old-fashioned TLC will do~

So, Ferg's the new man on the block... and Mosby thinks he's quite swell. The boys are quite tickled with him, too, and they're glad we decided as a family to pick him. It's been very rewarding to watch them take a very active role in his care, and it's been really neat to see baby steps of physical/healthy progess each and every day. And his tail... his long tan tail with a white-tipped end continues to wag and wag and wag at an ever-increasing rate! Now that's a treat!

It still amazes me, though-- with each medicine I serve, with each meal I prepare-- with each touch across his sickly form-- that someone... some unfit misfit of a person... could actually allow one of God's creatures to end up like this. It's reprehensible & utterly inexcusable, but I don't think anyone would argue that point with me right now :)

So... when all is said and done, this little guy is going to be quite the gem! With a new coat and a healthy frame, Ferguson will surely be one of the most handsome-- and most loved-- little guys on the block!

And hopefully, in the months and years to come, I'll be able to share more stories like this... more success stories, I pray, should the LORD provide us with even more opportunites to open our doors wide to the unwanted and the unloved... to the abandoned and the forsaken... to those who have seen the other side of the tracks... that they might finish out their days, if only for a very brief time, with us... that they might know what it feels like to be loved.

Cause there's just nothing greater than that.

Monday, January 4, 2010

1000 Gifts: Rejoicing

With a heart full of gratitude,
with a heart in awe of His mercy,
with a heart overwhelmed by His grace...
I give thanks.

a Christmas Eve service, a time to rejoice... with songs of deliverance, our candles held high

the gift of His Word and His promises... true

a time of celebration, a time to give thanks... a time to remember the gift of His love

the soft glow of lights, a roaring fire, sleeping babes, the anticipation of things to come

a silent night

and then... a white Christmas on the mountain with Grandmom & Pops

eyes of wonder and eyes of delight

and children-- never-tiring, always-laughing, ever-smiling... priceless gifts

Super Mario pajamas, a Transformers helmet, an acoustic guitar,
and the imagination of a 5-year old

family traditions... stockings on the table... an orange in the bottom... precious memories

big Uncle Dave and his family... they made it!

more homemade doughnuts, fabulous feasts, laughter around the table... all of us

new games & old, sled races & snow, cousins together, fun all around... family

silly boys

funny faces & favorite jokes

and laps that always have room

Everyone together... the grandkids, all well... music & dancing... rejoicing

a wonderful year and the new one to come

new opportunities,
and family to share them all

"Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name;
make known among the nations what He has done.
Sing ot Him, sing praise to Him;
tell of all His wonderful acts."

Psalm 105: 1-2

holy experience

and the list continues...