Family Day

Today we decorated sugar cookies.   It is a "tradition" that a lot of families have, but honestly, we have never done with our children.   I take the blame for it completely as the thoughts of the mess of decorating have always scared me away from making it happen.   This year though, decorating sugar cookies was just something I really wanted to do with the kids.   I baked cookies yesterday and this morning and we frosted this afternoon.   Truthfully, it was better than I had expected, but there was still mess involved, perhaps that is part of the fun of it....

Everyone waiting for me to get everything ready for the decorating.  

Almost ready.... Table is set, just a few more things to do. 

 Kids are patiently waiting....

 And we begin.....

Finished Product....   Looks good!  

We then took the kids shopping for their gifts for each other.   This is perhaps one of my favorite shopping times.   They each take this time very seriously and it is fun to see what they pick out for each other.  

The perfect ending to a day getting ready for Christmas, we all sit in our pajamas and watched "How The Grinch Stole Christmas."

Christmas with the Kaske Family

Last nigh we had Christmas with the Kaske Family.   The kids had a great time playing with their cousins, and of course, opening presents. 

 E & Addy with their cousins before the presents are open. 

 E by his stack of presents.

 Addy by her stack of presents.

  Addy wanted a book to practice her cursive handwriting.  

E opening presents.  

Great Grandma Tanner made Dolls for each the girls.  

Grandma Kaske made matching pajamas for the kids and the stuffed animals. 


Weekend in Review

Snow, snow and more snow.   Snowed in for a weekend, I was able to get a lot of things done and caught up in between the many times I was out moving snow.  

Presents are wrapped, Christmas cards go in the mail tomorrow, laundry is done, and played wii with the kids.  It is Sunday night, I do not feel like I had a quiet weekend at home, rather I am very tired and about to head to bed.   But I wanted to share with you an experience that we had on Friday night.  

One of my mom's friends from high school came to visit on Friday night.   Mom invited us to come to her house for dinner so we could visit and meet, again, her friends.   The last time I saw these friends, I was a little girl.   I remember vaguely the visit because the friends had just gotten married.  The wife's family is from India.   What I remember about their visit when I was younger is her hands.   They still had the henna tattoos that is custom for the wedding ceremony.   The designs were beautiful, intricate, and to my very intriguing and different.     This time, I was able to introduce my family to my mom's friends.

My mom's friends are missionaries in India.   I was so excited to be able to talk with them and learn from them some more about the country one of our Compassion children is from.   It was so fun to show them the letters that we have received, which they were able to read the writing without the translations.   We learned about the climate, some of the foods, and some of the living conditions.   I so completely enjoyed the evening, the conversation, and getting to know some more people. 

Here is the picture of the child we correspond with in India. 


I Love Them So

Mark mentioned that he was talking with the kids about what to get me for Christmas.   While I am putting groceries away, I am half listening.   "Oh?"  I ask.   He stops what he is doing and proceeds to tell me that E, knowing we did not have enough money for a plane ticket to Indonesia, had asked Mark if we had enough money to buy me a plane ticket to Honduras.   Both E and Addy thought a great Christmas gift for me was a plane ticket to visit our little girl in Honduras.   Wow do they know their mom!  

While unfortunately the answer is no, we do not right now have the money for that, I love that they wanted for me to go, even though they themselves would love to go with me to Honduras.    I think, E and Addy being my children is a huge gift, and one I do not take for granted! 

Worth It?.... Absolutely

The day after Thanksgiving, we were at my parents' house getting ready to put our Thanksgiving meal on the table which consisted of:

Turkey--delicious because it was smoked to on the grill, Dad's specialty,
Ham--cooked to perfection
Stuffing made from scratch--Mom makes homemade bread for the stuffing,
Creamy homemade macaroni and cheese--not the boxed Kraft kind that the kids love so much
Navy Beans in Marinara Sauce topped with Bread Crumbs--A new recipe that quickly became a favorite
Scalloped Corn--is it a holiday meal with out Mom's perfected recipe?
Jell-O--The recipe Dad's grandma made for him when he was a child
Deviled Eggs--My sister's gift as I never make them myself
Pies--Homemade Pumpkin and Apple, need more be said?

We are in the middle of getting this meal ready to put on the table.   Mark, bless him, has run home to get something I had forgotten.   He comes back into the house and hands me an envelope as the mail had come while he was home.   I don't need to look twice to know this envelope.   It is a cream colored envelope with blue writing on the front.   With a squeal of delight, I open the envelope from Compassion that contains a letter from one of our six children.  

It is a letter from Angel, our little boy in Mexico.   Angel is a sweetie.   He always writes how much he loves us, that he is praying for us.   In every letter we get at least two, if not more, thank-you's for the gifts and letters we send him.   This letter was much the same, he sends his love and a thank you for the gifts and letters that we are sending him.   He promises to take care of the pictures that I had sent him of our family.   But there is one sentence in the letter that caught Mark and I both as we are putting on our big family meal.   Angel wrote about his holidays and that he was going to be spending them at the church, and that he wished he had money to buy food...... 

And now, here I am in the middle of a two week challenge of no refined sugar counting the days until I can eat a piece of candy again.   And I have to stop and look at what I consider a hardship in my life... no candy, really?    Wow.

I wrote back to Angel asking him about the food.   I may or may not hear back from him about this, as the letter writing and translation process is slow at best. 

I have in many attempts, that never get published, tried to explain how important Compassion is to me.   I can never find the right words to describe what is going on in my heart and in my head when I think about sponsoring our children.   I can tell you it is something I am passionate about.   I am so excited and so happy to have the opportunity to share what God has given us with other families.   I love the idea that God gives us the resources as a family,  to help another family giving them hope, showing love, and investing in their lives.   I also love the way E and Addy have taken the sponsorship to heart and that even in their hearts, our family extends beyond the city, across state lines,  and over country boarders.   If someone were to ask me is sponsoring a child worth it?   My answer, hands down.   Absolutely. 


New Pictures

We just received updated pictures of our boy in Indonesia!!  I am so excited!!  

New Picture

Previous Picture


Family Reading

When I started the bible reading plan that I am currently on a couple of weeks ago, Mark quickly jumped in and started reading it with me so that we could talk about what we were reading.   E, upon hearing this quickly grabbed his iPod and signed up for the same reading plan.   I asked Addy if she would like to join us telling her that I would read the daily passages to her, and she was excited.  

As it happens, the time that I end up reading the passages to Addy, we are all gathered around, and it has become a family devotion time.   I am loving it!    (If you missed the previous post where I talked about the reading plan, we are reading an overview of the bible in 100 days.)  

The day has been long, I was tired and the kids were extra hyper tonight.  As I looked at the scheduled reading for today, I wondered how we would get through the six chapters that we needed to read.  My original thoughts we would just read a couple of chapters, the kids could go to bed and I could get some down time.  As it turned out, the reading was about Moses and the plagues in Egypt, and we made it through all six chapters.  We had fun guessing/remembering the order of the plagues.  

After the reading we talked about what we had read.   I was so excited about the answers and thoughts that the kids were putting into the discussions.   They weren't just answering the questions I was asking, they were giving some good thoughts about them as well!   I love to have discussions like that!  

We ended the night with prayer and we each prayed for one other person in our family.   I know it is one of those nights that I will never be able to put into words, but I am looking forward to the next time it happens.  On a day that I was dragging and in a mood that was less than good, the day ended in such a great way! 


Our Advent House

A gift from my parents, the advent house has become one of my favorite traditions that we have in our house at the holidays.

I have as much fun planning the treasures for the house, 
whether candy or other items.....

As the kids do discovering them each morning. 


Today's Highlights

Waking up and spending my first waking moments in prayer.
A good workout after a five day break.
Crawling back into bed for some cuddle time with Mark before the kids wake up.
Addy's excitement at the "pure white snow".
A little girl running up to give me a hug as I show up for computer classes.
Another little boy wanting to hold my hand as we walk to class.
Finding a buy one get one free deal on something I was shopping for.
Hot bowl of Black Bean Soup shared with my Sweetie.
Both kids receiving an award at school.
E helping his sister with her homework.
Great piano students.
Start decorating for Christmas.
Playing ball with Pix.


Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving weekend is drawing to a close and I have yet to post what I am thankful about.   The weekend was full of family visits, shopping, playing games, and kids playing with their cousin. 

As for what I am thankful for:

Mark--I am thankful for the wonderful man who is my soul mate, my friend, and a source of strength in my life.

My Children--I am thankful for my children, two very special gifts from God, who bring so much joy to my life and are great young people to be around.

Pix--I am thankful for this little guy and the joy that he has brought into my life this year.  He is always happy to see me, cuddles when I need it, and was a great addition to our family this year.

My Parents--I am thankful for constant love and support in my life and that we are now friends, a gift that I do not take for granted.  

My Sister--I am thankful for the friend that has loved me, supported me, and been there through all of the ups and downs of life.   

Compassion Children--I am thankful that our family extends around the world now.   I love the connection that E and Addy feel with our Compassion Children and that we are all connected through God.

My Jesus--I continually stand in awe at his love and grace.   As I look back at the person I was, I am so thankful for the person he is helping me to become.

Friends--I am thankful for the friends that I have.  The support, love, and laughs that we share in life are so important in my life.


Our Day in Pictures

The day began with Computer Class - I had two big helpers today.

We met Daddy for lunch.

A trip to the grocery store and wash the car.

Time for wii....

and a win!

Playing ball.

Mail from Ama & Apa.

Nap time.

Monopoly challenge.

E snagged some cash...

Addy contemplates the trade.

The day ended with Addy cuddling with her daddy and E and I laughing so hard that we both had tears running down our face.    I love having my family home.



Last week I listened to a presentation on passion.  The presenter had put a wonderful power point presentation together on passion complete with quotes, pictures, and songs.   I wish I could give you more details about the it, but honestly it was presented during a spinning class and I was paying more attention to keeping up with the others in the class even though this was my first class.   I do remember these things about the presentation:

A picture of Lance Armstorng

A picture of Apolo Ohno

There were also pictures of the most passionate "famous" kisses from movies and art.  Unfortunately due to the class time, I had to leave before the end of the presentation, but I guess it ended with a picture of the Mayo Brothers. 

I think about all of these people and more, and look at their lives and what they have done with their lives, all I can say is... "Wow!"  These people live, breathe, and dream something until it is accomplished.   I admire this about them.  

Coincidentally enough, I had been wanting to read Apolo Ohno's book, Zero Regrets: Be Greater Than Yesterday.  I purchased the book last Thursday and began the book on Saturday.   Talk about getting in the mind of someone who is passionate!    I am not yet through the book so will save my review of it for later, but I am thoroughly enjoying it. 

Yesterday I listened to Scott Harrison's story, the founder and president of Charity: Water.   Another phenomenal story.   If you have not heard his story,  please check it out here

Scott, after visiting Africa, began a drive to bring clean water to one billion people.   He recreated what a charity looks like and because of bringing clean water to people, is bringing health and a chance to earn an income. 

Both passionate in a very different way, Apolo and Scott have made me ask the question of myself, what am I passionate about?   Do I live each day like like there is no tomorrow?  Do I live each day with "zero regrets"?    The answer is no, but I am trying.   Of course I am passionate.   I passionately love my husband and my children.   Each day I strive to make their lives as easy and as enjoyable as possible.   I hope to give my children the best possible foundation that I can so they can succeed in the future.  I am passionate about my students and that they have the best opportunity to express music and the gift that it is.  I am passionate about the friendships in my life and aiming to be a good friend.  I am passionate about our Compassion children, wanting them to have a better life, looking forward to when I will see them, in heaven if not here on earth.  Above all, however, I am passionate about my God.   Each day I want to become who he has made me to be.   Each day I walk with him, wanting the world to see his love though my life.   In Apolo's book he says,

"Every single on of us has a path to travel.  Everything happens for a reason.  This I believe.... I profoundly believe God has a plan for me." 

I don't know exactly where life will take me as my course is not as clearly defined as some.   But I keep building on the things that I am passionate about, and I may not touch the lives of millions or even billions, but perhaps I can share my love and passion for God, even if it is with just a few.