Friday, December 23, 2011


Eleven years ago, on a night so cold that I put on an extra pair of my boyfriend's pants over my own to keep warm, we walked along the canal and stopped for a kiss on the top of this bridge.

Then he asked me to marry him, and pulled a ring from his pocket. I'm one lucky girl.

Monday, December 19, 2011

What Matters

It doesn't matter
that my floor is cluttered,
or that there is laundry to be folded
and put away.

What matters is God
is always,
has always been,
and forever will be

It doesn't matter 
that yesterday was full 
of mistakes and 
shortcomings and

What matters is God
reminds me to seek him,
redeems me from the pit,
forgives my sin,
and gives me new mercies
every morning.

 Today I want
And by his grace
the desire of my heart
and the joy of my life
to be found in him.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Conversations are interesting things when little ones are about. Today while talking to our doctor's billing office, I found myself saying, "We don't step on cats, Hope. That's not nice." The giggle on the other end reminded me I had listening ears.

Also today while Hope was making some very unladylike noises, I asked, "Hope are you a lady?"
"No," she said. "I'm a girl."
Not to be deterred, I rephrased, "Are you a girl?"
"Girls grow up to be ladies."
Trying to change the subject she pointed at her dad, "And he's a man." Hope said.
"Yes," I replied, "but you are going to be a lady. And ladies should not make tooting noises with their mouths."

Another long interruption where she tells me who in our house is going to be a man and who is going to be a lady. Then we look down to see that Breeley has emptied a tub of crayons on the floor.

"And look at the mess the little lady made." Hope said.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Red Stains

Today we practiced for our church's Christmas program. Like last year, we practiced in the sanctuary on the "regular stage" for a several weeks. Then the church undergoes a dramatic transformation when they build the set into our sanctuary. Really, it's quite amazing that they do what they do. I love watching it come together.  Each year they gather the set that was broken down the year before and move it in and put it together like one giant 3-d jigsaw puzzle. Although it has minor changes year to year the main structure stays the same.

We practiced on the set for only the second time today.  As I stood behind a curtain waiting for my cue I was looking over the set. Taking time to notice a few details I don't normally pay attention to. On the back of a wall someone had written LCT 2000 - AWESOME. It made me smile to think of the people who wrote that. The story is just that: awesome.

Some days I get bogged down by the struggle to learn a dance, remember a cue, get all my kids their costumes and get them into them. Some days of practice are great community builders. Some are just gotten through. Some days, I forget that it's an honor to be a part of retelling this Story. This tremendous Story.

This last week was one of those weeks.  Doug and I are both just worn out, burnt out. We're ready to be done. And it was with a rather rotten attitude I headed to practice today: the first of 9 practices and performances in 8 days. Getting cranky kids in costume. My body hurting from past weeks of dance practice. My emotions torn between my commitment to the show and my baby who was teething and wanted Mama.

All this was on my mind as I stood looking at the scenery. It is beautiful. Our set designer and builder does a great job, but that wasn't what caught my eye.

What caught my eye was the red stain on the floor. Over the years the red make-up from the back of the man who plays Jesus has soaked into the stage.  I was entering to dance where the cross would soon stand.

In that moment, I experienced a rush of gratitude, humbleness and meekness.  My feet would dance where the red stains from make-up had fallen on the stage. The truth is my feet dance everyday because of the blood shed and grace of Jesus Christ. My hope, my joy, my peace are the gift of a red stained road He walked for me.

I am so grateful for the red stains on a plywood floor today. Tomorrow will be another long day of practice. My baby will still be teething, my four kids will probably all lose something and need me to find it in a rush, I will still be tired, but I will be dancing with a refreshed sense of joy, humbleness and gratitude on red stained floors.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Days are Long....

When I look back through the photographs of my children,
I am reminded that although the days sometimes seem long

the years go by much too quickly.

So I will treasure the moments.

The joy of riding in Daddy's arms.  The giggles over silly songs.

I'll treasure the memories and the secrets whispered into my ear.

I'll hold them close and let them go.

Because the joy of holding my babies close only grows when my children choose to run back into my arms.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Living Christmas Trees

Yesterday I had a chance to hang out with Hope and Breeley alone for a little while. We were driving to get chocolate milk, apple juice and a coke when Hope piped up from the back seat. "Mommy, turn on the 'ees song." I asked her to repeat herself several times as I normally don't have any trouble understanding her. When we stopped at a light I half turned and said, "What song, Hope?" Closing her eyes and raising both hands in the air she begins to sing, "At the cross I found my knees...." *

Our family is once again involved in our church's Christmas production. I never blogged about it last year, so this seemed like a good time to pull up all the old pictures and relive the memories.

Living Christmas Trees tells the story of Christ's life from birth through resurrection. Our dear friends are once again directing it and it is a privilege to work alongside them to share the story of Christ.

The kids absolutely love being a part of it, which I knew they would. What I didn't know was how much closer our family would grow to each other through this experience.

Doug was hesitant at first and ended by fully embracing his roles, makeup and all. So the the makeup was a stretch - he could hardly wait to get home and take it off. :) He was really great about helping put it on though. Years of helping his mom came in handy here.

Bree was a trooper. She got fussy towards the last of every evening. They were long days for her, but she hung in there and made into at least one scene in every performance.

Hope loved practice, but was a little unsure of walking into a room filled with people. She did great being a part of several scenes. Her favorite part was the make-up!

Becca grew up so much during this process. I loved watching her grow into her roles and love being on stage. During the scene of Jesus' ministry the song Healing Rain played. Becca was the "dead girl" who Jesus raised to life. A dramatic and heartbreaking scene. She did so good holding still and coming to "life" on cue.

Tyler had a short appearance as "little Jesus" as he grew into a man. Being on stage is totally his thing. He loved everything but the makeup.

We are enjoying putting in the hours, growing together as a family and being a part of telling the story of Christ. If you live in the area and would like to come, here is a link to the church website for information.

*The song she was singing is Hillsong's "At the Cross."

Friday, October 28, 2011

This Crazy House.

I wish that when life got crazy, blogging didn't take such a backseat. Even though it's an "extra" thing, it's my kids baby book! I want to make sure I keep up on it. Consider yourself warned - This is a random post.

I'm hoping to catch up over the next few days on the fun our family has had this fall. We had our first camping trip since Becca was Bree's age, started practice for our church's Christmas program and our homeschool co-op, small group, a new Bible study, friends, family.... I realize that a lot of people do a whole lot more, but I'm feeling like my cup is running over. Mostly in a good way, although the clutter that occasionally spills off the table tops reminds me when my home is getting neglected.

I'm loving this season of life. Tyler is getting so big. He's ready to "be a man". (his words) But every now and then I still get to wrap him up in my arms and he'll squeeze back for a few minutes.  I'm treasuring those hugs. The sitting and chatting and listening to his giggle. It's rough some days. Trying to find that line between making most of my growing boy's decisions and letting him begin to make decisions. I hear from parents all around me "it only gets harder." So I'm holding on, savoring, learning, listening. In my short nine years of being someone's mom the only things I've learned for sure is to love hard, hold on tight and pray for the strength to let go when I feel the Lord's nudge.  It goes too fast.

Sitting with Breeley snuggled in my arms reminds me of this. We had just moved into this house when Ty was her age.  Becca came soon after. Bree is such a mix of the two of them as babies.  Bree reminded us so much of Becca as a baby. Snuggly, good sleeper, adapted easily to a variety of sleeping arrangements, loved her blanket, sucked her thumb. When one hit, we got a glimpse of a whole 'nother child residing in Bree's little  body.  Now I feel like I'm re-raising Tyler...with lots of older siblings thrown in the mix.  I'll suffice it to say, she lets her needs be known. Quickly, loudly, repeatedly.  She is now "that child" in the church nursery. "Oh, you're Breeley's mom." It's always funny to hear that from new people at church.  I'm so glad my skin has gotten thicker in regards to remarks about my children. Bree needs to be loud many days for me to hear her over the clamoring. Clamoring so loud that it makes me wonder what the neighbors think of us. I love watching my children's personalities unfold year by year.

 Hope is full of personality, spunk, and sass. She makes us laugh. Even Doug can't always keep a straight face when the situation calls for it with her. The other night at dinner she was refusing to eat what was served.  I have never been able to keep a straight face with my kids. Never. It drives my patient husband crazy . I can't blame him. It's got to be beyond frustrating when your backup is laughing so hard tears are running down her face. So I normally leave. But this night at dinner, Hope came up with a response so quick, so funny even Doug was rolling. I think I need to pray for more wisdom here. :)

Adding a cat to our home recently has created another set of challenges. From finding litter sprinkled on the bathroom floor and beyond (gag) by chubby fingers (gag, gag, gag).  To the scratches on hands, faces, legs to the ones who should know better than pester but still don't resist.  To the dog and cat fights that are happening more and more regularly around here. Some days I wonder if there wasn't a better solution to the mice than the cat. And yes, we tried everything. My husband was staying up at night to shoot them with a BB gun because we could not catch them in traps. One mouse even pulled itself off a glue trap leaving all it's belly fur behind. I like to think of it as a free wax job.

When my kids are grown I wonder what they will take away from this crazy house? What will the consider worth passing on to their kids? What will they find that needs to be purged? Talking to my dad this morning reminded me of the great heritage we will pass on to our children.  I want to pass on a heritage of love: for the Lord, for his kingdom, for his people and the people who have yet to become his.  I pray this is the heritage I will leave:  passion for God and the things that matter most to him. The responsibility of raising my children in a way that honors and pleases God is daunting, overwhelming and solemn.  Yet I wouldn't trade it for the world. I am touched by lives that will never be the same because their path of parenthood was different. It was much to brief.  The joy of seeing their children walk, talk, or take their first breath was not theirs to treasure. So I am reminded to treasure the  moments and parent with purpose. As I try to teach them the things of God, my children remind me to treasure my faith, and celebrate it. As I was typing this post they came in excited, overflowing with excitement really, because they had made something out in the backyard: two left over pieces of wood and a jump rope, twined together to make a cross. And I was reminded by my little ones of the words from Psalms:

"Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me." Psalm 51:10 &12

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Photo Shoot

My friend, Cristi, let me take pictures of her kids today. It was fun to practice and try to capture other kids expressions and personalities. The weather this week has been GORGEOUS! The fall colors are coming out. Being a true pro (HA!) I didn't charge my batteries the night before. Oops! We're going to finish on Friday. Here are my favorites from today.

My favorite of the day!

The "goofy" picture bribe. It worked for awhile!

Thanks, Cristi! My battery will be in the charger soon!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Just a Day in Our Life

Sometimes, life comes clearly into focus. Like when my little ones giggle and I stop to giggle too.
When sisters try to kiss brothers. And brothers put up a mighty protest, even when Mom says something like, "It's just a little kiss." Oh, but honor is on the line. I realize as my finger presses the button. My boy is becoming a young man.
And I get this look. And the request "Please don't put that on the blog." Sorry, Ty.  I'll attempt to clear your dignity with this, you never let her kiss you. Although she got mighty close. :)
My sweet baby trying to figure out what all the fuss is about. And why  Mom-mom has the camera out for so long today. Ignore the fact that the one I'm still responsible for dressing is still in pajamas.
Like watching Becca try desperately to ignore me. She is so much like me. Give her a book and she is lost to the world. But that little grin....
Almost succeeding in refocusing....
After lunch one is worn out.Her heavy body sagging against me as I read "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm" to the oldest let me know she'd given in. The soft snoring punctuating my reading brought more giggles.
It really is the simple things. The things that matter. Not a single perfect picture in the bunch. The house is cluttered. We were still doing school when the school bus dropped the last kids off for the day. It didn't matter. There was joy. And giggles. And kisses. And most of all love.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Out of the mouth of Hope.

Last night Hope and I went to the grocery store.


It was a big deal to her. She got to move up a row in the van to sit closer to me. We chatted, she requested her current favorite, "Adventures in Odyssey."

We were having a fabulous psuedo-date (You know, the ones where you get to spend time together and still accomplish something mundane yet necessary.) until I parked the car.

I half listened as she rambled.

"Mom, (uh-huh), we can't eat your grocery list. That's gross."

"That's right, honey. Give me a second, okay?" I gathered up my grocery list, coupons, purse grab her hand and we get out and walk towards the store.

"Mom, (yes, Hope), we can't eat cars. That's gross."

"You're right. We don't eat things that aren't food." At this point I should probably mention we are shopping at the dreaded dinner hour. The store was packed; tons of people were coming and going. I should also mention, I'm married to a tall, strong man. It takes a lot of tall to make me notice.

But there was a man walking out of the store tall and big enough to make me notice, just as Hope started in again, looking at the said man.

"Mom, (yes), we don't eat people. That's just gross."

I've rarely seen a man so big that scared of a child so small.

Monday, August 29, 2011


I feel like
I have two sets
of twins
separated by a few years.
I know this is blurry, but I love the big brother protector thing going on here!
Anyone else see the same thing?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lucky 13

Thirteen years ago a friend of mine introduced me to a friend of his at the Indiana state fair.
Little did I know what the next thirteen years would bring. Last night we went to the fair for the first time since Becca was a baby. It was a fun full few hours.

Checking out the exhibits. And celebrating accomplishments.
Waiting in forever long food lines.
Checking out the baby animals.

Some that share we share a name with.

Stuffing our faces with ice cream and other fair food.

By far, though, the kids loved the "Little Hands on the Farm" exhibit best. They worked their way through a farm set up and sold their fruit, veggies, milk and wool at the end to buy a snack from the farm market. Bree took it all in from her stroller.

It's been a fun thirteen years.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

One Year Pictures

It has been horribly hot this summer. When my friend/mentor/my kid's church grandma invited us up to swim there was no way I was going to turn her down. Couple that with their gorgeous landscaping and I decided to finally get off my lazy behind and take Bree's one year pictures. After all she is almost fourteen months now.
Oh, the joys of white balance. This one was *obviously* set wrong. But with a HUGE amount of editing it almost passes. I just love her expression in this one. Ty did a great job getting her to smile.
Melt my heart! Is there anything more to say about this sweet pose she struck. The girl's got talent... or something. Maybe I should hold off on any modeling talk until her daddy has gotten used to Hope's new haircut. ;)
Always on the move! She keeps me hopping...especially when I'm shooting with a 50mm. Sometimes I think I'd give my right arm for a fast zoom lens. I'm learning so much shooting with this lens. Anyone have any tips, lenses for Canons that you love and want to share about?

Grandma "I" and Breeley. Love this!

She so did not get her long legs from her short mama. 

Rockin' the snorkel.

She loves her big brother!

Thanks, "I", for letting us come swim and take pictures! We love you!!!