Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Science lessons lay scattered across the kitchen table.
Gilgamesh sat unopened on the bed.
Library books rested neatly on the desk.
And math problems remained unsolved on the chalkboard.

Cause when the sun shines brightly in October,
the outdoor thermometer tops out at 73 degrees (yet again!),
and rain rests squarely in tomorrow's forecast...
what's a gal to do??

Scrap the schoolwork (for the time being, at least :) and head outdoors!

It seemed to be a popular choice :)

Monday, October 10, 2011


Today, my baby is thirteen.

My baby. Thirteen. Today.

And I couldn't be more amazed... more joy-filled... more thank-full for him
and the extraordinary young man God is fashioning him to be.

Thank you, heavenly Father, for your good, good gifts.
For thirteen bless-ed years.
For this precious, precious boy.
And for the privilege-- the honor-- of being his mom.

Happy, happy birthday, Bub!!

{I love you with all of my heart}

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The end of an era

Tonight, just before tucking Big Man in to bed, he politely informed me that it's time to switch up his bedtime routine. Instead of praying AND singing together, we now only need to pray. The song is no longer needed..."because I'm big now."

"Ok, sure honey." Smile. Hug. Shiver.
Because my little boy is growing up, and that's not always an easy pill to swallow...

"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens..."

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Creamy White Chili

I love autumn-- the changing colors, the cooler temperatures, the falling leaves...
the crunch, crunch, crunch underfoot.

And I love soup. And stew. And all things hearty.
Like this delicious new find-- a wonderfully savory complement to fall!

Creamy White Chili (thanks to Mel's Kitchen Cafe)

*serves 6

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder or 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon oil
2 cans (15 1/2 oz each) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 1/2 oz) chicken broth
2 cans (4 oz each) chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream
fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

In a large saucepan, saute chicken, onion, and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies, and seasonings, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer (uncovered) for 30 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream and whipping cream. Garnish with cilantro if desired. Serve immediately. It's especially good with tortilla chips.

OR... In to a medium round slow cooker, place 1 pound chicken breasts, either fresh or frozen (do not worry about cubing them). Add the chopped onion, garlic powder, beans, chilies, and all of the spices, but do not add the sour cream or whipping cream yet! Also, reduce the chicken broth to 12 oz (about 1 1/2 cups) and pour it over the other ingredients. Stir the mixture to incorporate the dry spices and cook on low for 5-7 hours (longer if chicken is frozen). Remove chicken to a cutting board and shred it to bite-size pieces; then return it to the crock. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and whipping cream; then add mixture to crock and mix well. Let the chili cook until heated through. And serve... with chips!

And as one additional note or suggestion-- these chips, which I buy at Whole Foods, are the best we've tasted.
I can hardly keep them on the shelf!

Monday, October 3, 2011

1000 Gifts: In the woods

This past weekend, we journeyed to Mom's and Dad's house for an early fall get-away, an algebra session with Pops, some tree-house building with some special friends, an early birthday celebration for Grandmom, and a few fantastic romps through the woods.

And it was a gift. All of it... from top to bottom, inside and out.
A precious, precious gift.

Thank you, Lord...

(#1124 -- 1145)

long walks with Grandmom through the woods
on lazy fall afternoons
pockets full of acorns
deer tracks
baby mushrooms
and fallen trees
the colors of the forest floor
the fox's hidden den
tucked-away hide-aways
their joy in discovering His gifts
the neighbor's friendly dog and Noh-man's love of all things furry
showers of leaves
a search for hickories
a turtle in the garden...
and desperate waiting for him to emerge
baby pigs at the farm next door
and extra-stale popcorn to feed them
old tractors
with pumpkins on top
their love of the woods
and the time to spend therein
the beauty and splendor of creation

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...
and [He] saw that it was good."

Genesis 1

and the list goes on...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's fall...

and the flowers are still blooming.

The bugs are still hopping,

the bees are still buzzing,

and the tomatoes are still growing.

Hopefully, I'll eek a few more off the vine before the weather snaps and all is done.

The windows are wide open and the cooler breezes are filtering through...
an absolute delight!

I love, love, love this time of year. Sometimes I wish fall would stay for 12 months on end.
But then I'd miss the snows of winter. And the new life of spring time.
And the heat of the sun in summer.
Yes, change is good.

Still, fall is my favorite.
And I'm so very glad it's here!

Monday, September 26, 2011

1000 Gifts: Seven

On Saturday, my smallest musketeer turned seven.
How did THAT happen?
And... where DOES the time go???

Still, fly by it does, so today I add another page to my journal.
As I remember. And laugh. And smile. And rejoice.
Because my little boy turned seven.

And because God is so very, very good.

This boy

... and seven phenomenal years with him

His spunk. His zest. His strength. His heart.

My. Big. Man.

His birthday party at home... just the way he wanted

... with superheroes -- a Lego Ninjago cake, Transformers plates & napkins, and a Batman


And a number 7 candle on top.

This time to rejoice

With friends & family gathered round (more then a wee bit blurry, but gathered round nonetheless :)

Legos. Legos. Legos. And countless other thoughtful gifts.

And clearing after the rain for outdoor games

Simplicity and fun

And a big tree with a branch at just the right height

For a little pinata fun

... with special people

And the privilege... the honor... the gift of parenthood.
How could I ask for more?

"Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them..."

Psalm 127: 3-5

and the list goes on...

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Today, we took down the crib and put it away... probably for the very last time. Lollipop was thrilled to finally have a new big girl bed, but for me, it was an emotional transaction. I slept in that bed many, many years ago, as did my younger brother... and all four of my kiddos have found sweet, sweet rest therein. Putting it away sorta feels like the end of an era.

As for what tomorrow will bring, I certainly don't know. Surely the Lord has prepared new adventures for our horizon. With exciting possibilities and thrilling dreams and special plans filled with wild imaginations.

But still my heart longs for these days to remain. For my littles to stay little. For their squeaky voices to stay squeaky. For their tiny shoes to stay tiny. For their tender hearts to stay here... at home...with me.

Still, I know that's not the Lord's design.
And His designs-- His ways-- are always best.
So in them I find peace. And rest. And hope.

And then I thank Almighty God for the wonderful gift of motherhood.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Three words

Boot Camp stinks.

Words like--

Suicide planks.
Jump rope for ANOTHER minute.
And... close grip push-ups-- one. more. set.

-- have absolutely no place in my vocabulary.

Of course, I intend to go back tomorrow... but until then, I think we'll just plan to school from the sofa :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

1000 Gifts: September sunshine

Another week of counting.
Another week of heaven-sent gifts.
Thank you, Lord!

Aunt Francie's Labor Day pool party

Chris's family

an entire afternoon... to swim and jump and sit and eat

the opportunity to catch up and plan ahead... plus the anticipation of what comes next

synchronized cannonballs... sort of

a moment to breathe

all 14 cousins gathered for the annual family photo

bigger every year

this backyard pool

a new school year

new goals, new subjects, new possibilities... and a new washing machine!

online classes with a Biblical worldview

Tammy Duby

and algebra with Pops!

lessons learned when life.is.tough.

perseverance and determined stick-to-it-iveness


four days of rain, and then... the sun!

skateboards... built for two ??

a pink sleeveless top, pink corduroy pants, and fancy (pink!) hand-me-down church shoes...
an outfit of her very own design


neighborhood walks

our neighbor's ever-growing pumpkins

the end of the season to savor


"The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God my Savior!

Psalm 18:46

and the list goes on...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Around here

Or... more aptly titled-- What Next? Because the last few days have been... challenging. Interesting. Tricky. And... amusing. Here's why.

So school. Yes, school. It comes around every September, but for some reason or other, it completely caught me by surprise this go round. A crazily busy summer surely didn't help. Nor did my decision to read only for pleasure these past few months (note to self: a little school prep-work truly is necessary before the calendar flips to September. Now I know :). So currently I find myself volumes deep in the Great Books, Ancient Egypt, latin declensions, and algebra 1... all of which are more than my overly tired brain can handle on any given day. I think I'm in deep. Very, very deep.

Costco. I {LOVE} that place. Love, love, love, love, love. But really. Christmas decorations? On the shelves? Smack dab in the middle of the warehouse? Seriously??? And why?????
And that's all I have to say about that.

The family room carpet. Beautifully clean (thank you, Stanley Steamer). For one night. Because sometime while we slept, the dog got sick. In three different spots. Ugh.

The laundry room. Probably my least favorite room in my house. Now... surely my least favorite. Why? Because five days ago my washing machine died. In mid-cycle. Right before the first rinse. Soaking wet sheets and towels had to be wrung dry (Chris handled that one splendidly :), the water had to be emptied from the basin (again... Chris), and those sopping wet linens-- I had to dry them in the dryer so that I can re-wash them tomorrow when my new machine arrives. Hallelujah! Still, anyone care to wager a guess at how many pounds of laundry a family of six can generate in the span of 6 days (in addition to the bits & pieces that came home dirty from the beach)? I'll tell you this much... it's a lot.

And finally, I now have this beauty-- tall, proud and black-- dominating a
portion of the boys' bedroom.

Uncle Donnie offered it to them a couple weeks ago; I was told they were inheriting a punching bag. You know, something easily stashed in the corner or even under the bed if necessary. Evidently, we experienced a minor miscommunication. I'm thinking you won't find anything even remotely similar in the Pottery Barn catalog.

Big Man later created this sign and attached it to the top of the "Big Black Beast"
...so that I might find its presence a little more appealing :)
How can I argue with that??!

And that's about it. For now.
Tomorrow may find me back on Everything-is-fine-and-dandy Street. Or it may not.
Either way, I'm reminded that I have a choice:
Whether I soar through the day with the wind at my back OR struggle just to keep my head above water as the hard times roll, I can grumble. Or I can praise. I can complain. Or I can give thanks.
I must choose... because I simply cannot do both.
I must choose.
And remember...
that even when things don't seem to work out quite right,
Every little tidbit. Every single breath.

Thank you, Father.