Monday Morning

The holiday weekend was great.   With five days off, we had a lot of time together as a family.  We avoided the stores after Thanksgiving Day, as I am not about to get out in the crowds and try to get the deals, that is not really my thing.   Rather, we spent the weekend visiting extended family, watching movies, pajama days, and decorating for Christmas. 

As I sit in our quiet house this morning, the routine of life has begun again, and my mind is clear.   Because I am a planner by nature, I look ahead at the upcoming month, and I do not feel the stress and anxiety that seemed to crowd in during the middle of November.    Close to breaking point, something needed to give.   Thankfully, a day off with Mark closely followed by Thanksgiving weekend, I am feeling like things are right again.   The schedule is still busy, but I am better rested and better prepared for it now.   

My hope and goal for the next month is to be able to get through the next month with the same clarity and peace that I feel this morning.   I do not want to get wrapped up in the busyness and hype of the holiday without remembering the reason that we celebrate this season.   I set up a month long reading plan for December about the biblical roots of classic Christmas songs.    If you would like to join me, check it out here.   If this one does not interest you, there are other reading plans that you might find interesting as well.  

Happy Monday Friends!  I hope you find many blessings in your day. 


Giving of Thanks

I love the holiday season because it brings more time with family and friends.  Time spent together enjoying each other.  Mark and the kids are home a little more, it is some of our best times together, when we just stay home and do what we feel like doing.  

While the schedule does not always permit time to spend with each friend or acquaintance, I am grateful for the people that we call friends.    Our lives crossing sometimes daily, weekly, monthly, or maybe even less, and yet, each friendship has made a difference in my life.

Our life is rich with many blessings.   In this time of reflection and gratitude, I have much to give thanks for, and I do not take that for granted.   

 From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! 


A Loss

My heart is aching for a family in our church who has lost their wife and mom.   She was a wonderful person with a great sense of humor and loved God deeply.   It is a bittersweet, because I know she is sitting with Jesus, and yet, I feel for her family members still here.    To have her one minute and not the next is brutal.   On this week when we are celebrating what we are thankful for, a family is grieving over their loss, a pain so deep and so acute. 

Today, as I lift this family in prayer, I hope that you hold the ones you love close.   Nothing is guaranteed, and I am reminded of that again. 


Wordless Wednesday

I have been lucky enough to spend a couple of days with some special kids! 


Making a Difference

Yesterday in church we learned about living a bold life for God.   The illustration given was that of a balance beam.   When we begin our walk with God we are so excited, standing tall, ready to walk across the beam with enthusiasm.

As life continues on, many of us find ourselves on the balance beam, yet now we are crawling across, yet still feeling like we are living a bold life for God.

More time passes, and now we are hanging on to the beam for dear life, arms and legs wrapped around it, and our bold move is to lift one hand off the beam, raise it to heaven and pray for safety.

The message has challenged me to examine my life and see where I am living the life that God has called me to live, or if there is an area where he is asking me to move forward, but I am clinging with dear life to the safety of my life right now. 

I read this post by Shaun Groves this morning from the Compassion Bloggers trip to Ecuador.   It touched my heart in so many ways.   Because everyone needs a hero, and sometimes being a hero is loving someone.   Isn't that what God does for us?  He loves us just because.

This week I am going to continue to pray about the message yesterday, but I find comfort in the fact that what we are doing already, loving the children in our home, city, and around the world makes a difference.   Maybe there will be more I am supposed to do, maybe right now I am doing what I need to do, either way, I want to live a bold life for God. 


Five Minute Friday: Unexpected

 Happy Friday!   It is time again for Five Minute Friday.   If you would like to, join me here

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Most importantly: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing!
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:





Unexpected.   Out of the ordinary.   A gift from heaven.   

God has so richly blessed my life with the unexpected.   A husband that loves unconditionally.   Unexpected.   Children that accept and forgive me for who I am, even when I make mistakes and they bear the brunt end of it.   Unexpected.    Friends who are like family, that we met when our lives would not normally cross paths. Unexpected.   A peace that sinks deep into my soul in the middle of a stressful week.  Unexpected.   

A beautiful sunset, the colors of autumn leaves, the excitement of children over the first snowflakes, an embrace, an "I love you", a note from a friend saying, "You are making a difference."  Unexpected. 

He continually provides, and while I know this is what He does.   It is unexpected. 



Thursday and Thankful

Mark, you were waiting with open arms and a hug when I walked in the door.

Thank you. 

Mom, you called with an "I love you".  

Thank you. 

Dad, you were there when I didn't think I could do it one more time.  

Thank you. 

Sister, you often say that you have the benefit of being the younger one because I lead the way.  Today you took my hand and walked down the path ahead of me.  

Thank you. 

Today, I am reminded again, the blessings and support God has surrounded me with, and I am ever so thankful. 


Letters and Trips

This weekend we received a letter from Nyamvula in Kenya.   I love that the letters we are receiving as of late seem more personal.   I am hopeful that it means the children are feeling more connected with us.  

In this letter Nyamvula thanks us for the photos and gifts that we sent.  She is happy to know that we love and pray for her and that we consider her part of our family.  She was glad to hear that Ethan and Adline's report was very good.   She is doing well in school and is assisting her parents in household chores while on holiday.

In other Compassion International news, there is a trip to Ecuador going on this week.   The bloggers will be sharing their experience with us through their writing.  These bloggers are amazing writers, I follow some of their blogs.   I can't wait to see what they have to share with us.    Each trip that I follow through other bloggers, makes me so excited for the day when I will be getting on a plane to see one of our children from around the world.   Until that time, I am glad that I can at least experience the other trips through the bloggers.

If you care to check out what is going on for this trip, follow the link below:

Compassion Bloggers: Ecuador 2011


Five Ladies

It was a much needed weekend with my girls.   We gather together in one spot for the weekend and enjoy each other.    There is not a set agenda, and every year looks different, but one thing is for certain, it is a time when we connect, touch base, and support each other.    God gave me these women and girls in my life and I am so lucky to have them not only as my family, but also as some of my closest friends.  

This year we managed to go to the Build A Bear store 
where two new bears joined our previously owned animals.  

We captured first smiles, with many more to come. 

Addy, being one of the big girls now, changed diapers, a first for her.   
In another first, she was able to give a bottle to the baby for the first time.  
She was such a big help!  

And we ate some amazing food.  

 As a new week starts, I have fond memories of the weekend that has just past, but I am refreshed and encouraged ready to face life again because of these five ladies. 


Five Minute Friday: Remember

 I am linking up with Lisa Jo for Five Minute Friday.   Join me here

 1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Most importantly: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing! OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:



Remember when we said "I do."   Standing in front of our friends and family, we had no idea what we would happen in our lives.   

 Remember the birth of our children, and how you didn't leave my side for a moment during labor and delivery?    

Remember the times where we sat and talked long into the night and cried because of the difficult situations that we were going thought, the times that I wondered what the next day would look like?  

Remember when I was struggling and didn't think I could make it one more step, you were there encouraging me, telling me I could do it? 

Remember the times you would come home tired from work and ready for some down time, but you spent time helping the kids with their projects and talking to them about their day? 

I remember each of these moments, the joys and the sorrows, and what I remember about each of them is that we did them together.  

I am who I am today because you have been by my side for over twelve years, and I am so thankful that we do life together everyday.   What a gift you are in my life and I thank God for you every day.

I don't know what our future will hold, but I do know that we will do it together. 

I love you. 



Letters from Around the World

I was in the garage cleaning out my car when the mail carrier walked up with my stack of mail.   Before he was even half way up the driveway, I was already scanning the mail in his hands to see if there was a cream colored envelope, and guess what!  There was!! 

We received a letter from Angel in Mexico.   He is the one that in his last letter to me was asking about the rainy season here and telling us that he had to take care of himself as to not get sick.   Today's letter was full of more details about his life, and I love it! 

We learned that he was promoted to 8th grade, his favorite subject is Spanish and that his teacher is "really cool".  (I love it!)   He tells us he is participating in a parade with flags and that he likes to do that.  He also shares which days he has PE and what sports he is playing and that one of the teams he supports is named "America". 

I am so excited to finally be getting some more details about his life and what he is doing and what he is interested in. 

Late last week we received a letter from Mary Grace in the Philippines which, as always, was so much fun to read.   She thanked us for the journal, stickers, and poem that we sent.  She was glad to hear that E and Addy are doing well in school and their "performance in their studies."   

Her letters are fun for us in the fact that she is one of the only ones who really references the letters that I send to her.   If I ask her a question, she will respond to those questions.    Being she is our most recent addition, we are getting to know her a little more quickly because of it.   


A Way to Give

In a conversation with a friend last night, she told me about a program in which you can bring your Halloween candy to certain locations and on Veteran's Day, they will gather all of the candy and send it to the soldiers fighting across seas. 

I was intrigued by this idea for a couple of reasons.  First, honestly, the amount of candy that my children acquired in an hour of trick-or-treating is a little overwhelming to me.

The other reason I liked this idea is because Mark's cousins are in the military.   One of them has just returned from duty, and the other has just left for a seven month tour.   In conversations with Mark's aunt, I have gotten a small glimpse of what life is like for a marine on the font lines and have developed a deeper sense of appreciation for what these men and women are doing for our country.

In one of my conversations with Mark's aunt, she was telling me about the things she sent in a care package for her son.   Items that we have access to 24/7, become a huge blessing to a person sitting in the hot and dry sandy climates.

I brought up the idea to the kids about sending half of their candy to the soldiers fighting for our country.   Addy, without a moments hesitation, said "Yes, I am going to do it."   E, as a normal ten year old would, hesitated and asked if I really meant half of his candy.

Addy looked at E and said, "Soldiers do a lot for our country and this is a way we can help.  Just like in the movie Mom showed me this morning."

The movie.

Yesterday I received a link to a website in an email that encourages us to give, even if just to one person, it makes a difference.   The video she watched is at this link:

Addy did not see the entire video, in fact, she saw just the last minute or so of the video, but that minute was enough to make a difference in her day, and I had no idea.  

Both kids divided out their candy last night, giving half to the cause.   While it helps cut down on the unnecessary sugar in the house, the bigger picture is that the kids gave what they could with a cheerful heart, hoping to make someone's day just a little better.

I am so lucky to have the children that I do. 


Wordless Wednesday

Dedicated to the puppies that bring so much joy to my life. 


Halloween Fun

This is the first year the kids did 
(almost) all of the pumpkins for Halloween. 

Of course Dad came to the rescue to help

All cleaned out and ready to carve....

They are careful and precise. 

And we have masterpieces! 
And....  the costumes....
  Adam Savage & Kari Byron
of the Mythbusters!