Saturday, November 26, 2011

My Men

 I have been surrounded by males all my life.  Growing up I had 2 brothers, no sisters.  We played lots of boy things and our home was pretty noisy.  Now with 4 boys that hasn't changed.  They like things like super heroes and guns.  They have contests regularly because winning IS that important.  They value strength and speed. 
 They do things like this--note the projectile flying through the air.  The other day Ben was trying to work on his AP Government on the computer when Chris came up behind him and shot him in the head with a Nerf dart.  It's a common occurrence. 
 There tends to be wrestling--often.  And usually it's in the dining room/kitchen area.  Everyone is out to bring Dad down.  I don't get it.  I remember when I would wrestle with them when they were little.  Once Sam, who was about 18 months or so, sat on my head while I was wrestling Ben and Fred.  That was the end of my wrestling 3 at once. 
 I love these men!  I remember when we found out that we were having another boy.  I mourned for the loss of reading Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie together and the various other things you think of when you think you are going to be the mom of a daughter.  That lasted about 20 minutes, and I've not looked back since. 
I am blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful young (and not so young) men.  I have come to respect and value those qualities of manliness that exude from our home.  I love that they don't carry grudges--they are over it in about 3 minutes.  I love that they are strong and brave in the face of real and imagined dangers.  I love that they can lift things and open things.  And I also love that they will listen to Anne of Green Gables  even though they are stunned at the amount of words she uses, and that one of their very favorite movies is The Princess Bride.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


 YACTS is a drama troupe in our community for students in 6th to 12th grade.  Sam has participated for 2 years, and this was Peter's first.  This shot was taken after their successful Saturday night performance of the musical "Flat Stanley, Jr." 
 They practiced, sang and danced their way to a successful play.  Sam played Dr. Dan, a confused physician, and the Sneak Thief, stealing paintings from the Lourve.  Peter was the French guard at the museum who caught that thief.  Their good friend Benjamin played Stanley's brother Aurthur and did an amazing job singing his solo.
Sam loves to act and to make people laugh.  He did that very well last weekend.  Peter donned his best Cleuseau accent and chased Sam down.  It was such fun to see them get to use their talents to entertain.  I'm so proud of both of them!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Yesterday I was going to post that I was thankful that my husband was taking me out to dinner for my birthday, but I didn't have time.  And then he didn't anyway! 
My dear friend Donna gave me a surprise party for my birthday.  I've never had a surpise party.  It was a lot of fun.  The cake, made by Barbara, was gluten free and amazing.  Raspberry and chocolate are one of my favorite combinations. 

I'm thankful for the love shown to me by my friends, and for good food!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Friends part 2

 I'm thankful for the friends my boys have made over the years.  I've prayed for good friends for them since they were young.
 I'm thankful that they have people to talk to, to play with, to call, to hang out with.
 They and their friends bring joy and spice to my life.
                                                          Friendship:  What a great gift! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Friends are such a gift.  I don't know what I would have done without these ladies and so many more.
 I'm so thankful for the friends I've had over the years. 
 Whenever we moved, or when one of them moved, God brought another friend into my life.
 Each of them taught me so much--how to love, how to parent, how to be a wife, how to laugh....the list is too long to write.
I treasure these dear women.  We have shared much laughter and many tears, along with babies, frantic calls about teenagers, dinners with our husbands, and God's Word.  I'm so thankful for good friends! 

Friday, November 11, 2011


I am the thorn in Your crown
But You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow
But You love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist
But You love me anyway
I am Judas’ kiss
But You love me anyway
See now, I am the man who yelled out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking
Yes then, I turned away with a smile on my face
With this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night, I still called out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life
But You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known
Yes,You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me
You love me, yes You love me
How You love me
How You love me
How You love me

This is one of my current favorite songs.   It replays in my mind again and again.  You see, when God looks at me He doesn't compare me to Joe Paterno or Lindsay Lohan.  He compares me to Himself.  And I don't ever measure up.  When pride rears it's ugly head, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble," (James 4:6), and He says I'm to "be completely humble and gentle." (Eph. 4:2).  I spend way too much time worrying, and I seem to wear it in my body, but God says, "Do not worry about anything but pray about everything."  (Phil. 4:6).  My mouth runs ahead of my self-control, and I say things I shouldn't.  I complain, gossip, lash out.  But God says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their need that it may benefit those who listen." (Eph. 4:29)   I can't measure up.  I don't deserve this love.  I never will.  There's nothing I can do to be good enough, to earn this love that would give everything for me.  God didn't just love the world so much that He sent His only Son, He loved me and you and each and every person in the world so much.  Words can't describe how utterly grateful I am for this love.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


 We had the privilege of hosting a passel of kids this summer to play kickball, ghost in the graveyard, and manhunt.  Manhunt, as described by one of the young ladies, is "hide and seek on steroids in the dark."  Sounds fun, doesn't it? 
 You'll note the proliferation of black.  These are the seasoned man-hunters.  They understand the goal--to disappear into the dark. 
 Since my children were young, I have prayed that our home would be a place where their friends come and play and feel welcomed and loved.  God has answered at least part of that prayer.  This summer we had a lot of friends here regularly.  I hope that they felt welcomed and loved! 
 Each time there was a different group, different dynamics.  From 6th graders to college freshman played together into the night (sometimes long into the night).   They would sit with us around the fire and share their lives with us and with each other. 
 There were many laughs and lots of running.  Only a couple went into the pond.  Only a few got hurt, but not badly enough to keep them from playing again. 
 What a blessing and what fun to be a part of the excitement of manhunt!  I'm blessed by knowing these guys! 

Butternut Squash Souffle

As per request:

Butternut Squash Souffle
2 cups mashed butternut squash
1 tsp salt
1/4 c. maple syrup
2 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp corn starch
3 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cup whipping cream or evaporated milk
1/2 c melted butter
slivered almonds or pecans

Combine squash, salt, maple syrup, brown sugar and corn starch and beat until fluffy.  Add egg yolks, whipping cream, and butter.  Mix thoroughly.  Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into squash mix.  Pour into greased 1 1/2 qt casserole and sprinkle with nuts.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour and serve immediately.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011


 There's something about coming home.  When I see this view my shoulders relax, my breathing is easier, I smile and think, "home."
 For so many in this world home is not a safe place.  It's filled with anger and hurt, or longing and hunger and cold.  How thankful I am that the home in which I grew up was a safe and wonderful place.  I remember driving "home" when Chris and I were first married, and even up to the time my parents moved from our childhood home.  There's that feeling of joy when you can see the house.  It's not the place.  Ours was certainly not a mansion, nor was it perfectly decorated or even exceptionally clean (nor is mine today!), but it was home.
 We in the United States have the unique privilege of owning homes that are heated, with running water, insulation, glass windows, and closets.  I'm so thankful for my home.  It's old, built on corner stones with no foundation to speak of.  It's cold most of the time since the heating vents were retro-fitted in the top of the walls.  But when we considered putting it on the market this summer, our realtor, after walking through and around and in, said "You guys are all through this place."  She didn't mean our stuff either.  Our home exudes us.  Our laughter and tears permeate every room.  It's where we belong--for now.
As much as I love my home, I'm even more thankful that I have a home waiting for me that will never break down, never be cold, never need repair.  A place where there are no tears or crying or pain; where we will truly and finally belong----forever. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011


 I'm a foodie.  I love all kinds of food.  Before I had children, and then before they got busy, I would regularly try new recipes, peruse cookbooks and buy cooking magazines.  One of my friends used to always ask if we were eating a new recipe, and nine times out of ten we were.  She agreed to keep being a guinea pig for me though. 

I still love food, but not like before.  I don't have time to be adventuresome, nor do I like the clean-up it now entails.  I'm very thankful for the abundance of food available to me.  It is a luxury that we take for granted

Today I'm thankful for this not-so-nice looking but amazing butternut squash souffle.  It's truly a delight. I am counting it as a vegetable.  There are 2 cups of butternut squash in it.  That counts.  But it tastes like smooth butterscotch.  Yummm. As we scarfed it down last night Peter said, "Mom, I hope there is A LOT of this in heaven.  It's amazing!"  I would agree.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


 Living in the east is a blessing.   I don't know how I'd handle living in a place where fall looked just like summer.  God has an amazing sense of color.  Of course, since He is the one who created color that makes sense. 
 Many times I'm just too busy running to notice the beauty around me, and yet there it is.
 If I would take time to look--to say thank You--I'm sure my days would be more meaningful.
 I love how they all go together.  Since when can you put yellow and orange and red together unless you are talking football teams?  But God does it so skillfully.  It looks perfect.
 This tree took my breath away the other day.  The picture doesn't do it justice.  I drive past this tree at least twice a day, and most days 4 or more times.  But as i looked up on my way to the middle school, it jumped at me.  The color is so brilliant.  I love the reds!
This was the scene out my window as I prayed the other morning.  Amazing colors!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Sleep and I have a somewhat tenuous relationship with a sordid past.  Many times he's happy to oblige me, gentle and faithful each night.  But there are nights when I scare him away with worries and business, or when my usually calm tenants, the Hormones, decide to go on the warpath.  Then Sleep flees away, too frightened or put out to show his face.  Other times though, for no apparent reason, he hides from me, always just beyond my reach.  Sometimes its just for a night, like he had another engagement, but quickly returns the next night to make up for it.  But there are days and weeks and even months when he hides so well.  He furtively creeps in around 2 or 3 and then promptly disappears again way before the alarm.  Ahhhh Sleep.

But each day, each week, each month God is faithful.  When I call on Him, He hears me.  When I cry out for strength He answers.  Isaiah 26:3-4 says, "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You.  Trust in the Lord for in Yah the Lord is everlasting strength."  I can't tell you how many days that has been my cry.  His strength is mine if I ask.  He is ever so faithful.  Some mornings it's all I can do to hold back the tears and just function, but then I remember that I can call on everlasting Strength, and He provides!  I'll be doing that again today and praying that Sleep will forgive me and return again. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


It's November again!  Time for the daily thanksgiving posts.  I am not a thankful person by nature.  It's much easier for me to see what's wrong than to be thankful for what isn't.  I hate that about me, but this tradition gives me the opportunity and the obligation to look for things for which I'm thankful.  Having to record it means that I have to look beyond the things for which I'm always thankful like my husband and my children (well, o.k., not always).  So today, November 1st, when one of my children is not speaking to me and two have more candy than any human being should which means I have to deal with it, I am looking to be thankful. 

I didn't have to look far.  This morning again I was challenged and encouraged by my Bible study.  Two friends and I are working through Beth Moore's Daniel study.   We've done several together, and I'm always surprised at how much I learn.  The last part of Daniel is about the visions of the future that God gave him, and this verse from Isaiah set the tone for today:  "I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.  I say:  My purpose will stand and I will do all that I please."  Isaiah 46:10.  When I feel like things are out of control what a comfort to know that God does what He pleases and His purposes will stand since He loves me and is for me and is changing me into the image of Christ.  It also helps me to remember that there are bigger things going on in the world than what I can see in my little life. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Life has not left a lot of time for reflection, but I want to get this down before I move on. 
This is how I spent much of my time in life.  I guess I thought it would stay this way for a very loooonnnnggg time.  And it did really.  It just doesnt' feel like it right now.  I tried to cherish those moments and to not wish away the days of small things.  I listened to those moms who declared how quickly time flies and that I needed to enjoy them.  We have been very busy and very full. 
But now we are here.
And time is still flying.  I'm thankful that Fred is away doing college things.  He should be.  Leaving him in a dorm room with 4 other young men was relatively easy.  I've done it before, but he always came back.  But the longer he's away, the more my psyche realizes that he's not really ever coming back.  He may be here for an extended period of time, but it won't ever be the same.  My little boy isn't mine anymore.  He's headed for bigger and better things, and my heart isn't ready. 
A door is closing on this chapter.  It's been closing since it first opened, but now it's imminent.  This isn't new, but it sure is new to me.  Of course Peter still has 7 more years of school, so we're still in the thick of parenting, but the realization of the closing door makes me more aware of the brevity of time. 
Don't get me wrong.  I'm not lamenting or depressed--just wistful.  I pray that this new awareness makes me take more time to enjoy my boys.  I pray that it reminds me to continue to build my relationship with my sweet husband since soon it will be just us.  I pray that I will appreciate the moments together and stop being petty over the little things.  Mostly though, I pray that I will be thankful for the privilege of being a mom and embrace with joy the young men that God is molding under my roof.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Easter Weekend

What an amazing Easter weekend we experienced!  The Good Friday Service was so moving and personal.  We learned about the last 7 "words" of Christ from the cross.  I was surprised at the emotion that met me as I contemplated those last thoughts Christ shared.  After that, Karen delivered a monologue as a person witnessing the crucifixion and coming to the realization that without that death, without that horrendous act, there is no salvation for any of us.  We have to join our voices with the crowd in shouting, "crucify!" or else we are lost.  Powerful, humbling thoughts as we took communion together. 

Saturday we joined our church in the Eggspedition outreach to our community.  We worked the putt putt booth, while the boys worked in the concessions area.  We never really have a hunt--it's more like a vacuum!  We watched as 12,000 eggs disappeared in under 90 seconds.  It was great fun!  Then we had good friends here for dinner that night. 

 The boys were trying their hands at a physics experiment.  God made the egg so strong, that if you hold it in your hand (the right way, of course) with the pressure distributed evenly and squeeze as hard as you can, it will not break.  We tried it with hard-boiled eggs!  It did work though.
I'm so very thankful for my wise husband who told me no a few weeks before when I wanted to invite people for Easter dinner.  We were exhausted!  We awakened the boys for their egg hunt and breakfast before everyone had to leave.  After another inspiring church service shared with new friends, we came home to another Easter egg hunt.  Ben and Fred left church quickly, and Ben set up an egg hunt for Chris and me.  It was very thoughtful, but also pretty difficult!  We relaxed and enjoyed each other the rest of the day.  It was a great way to start spring break.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


At first I thought I wasn't a blogger, but when I got started, it was kind of fun.  But I was right.  I'm not a blogger.  I think in my heart I am, but not in the reality of time and life.  I compose them daily in my mind, but there they stay, lost amidst schedules, lists, and school stuff.  Sigh.  At some point there will be time to reflect, but not in spring, not with sports and plays and concerts and tests and graduation looming with more things to do than I can muster the energy for.  Ah well.  Here are some photos just to freshen things up a bit. 

 The boys were snowboarding on the ice-covered grass.
 Ben's birthday party.
 The hot tub facial hair at Myrtle Beach.
 Beautiful day on the beach in South Carolina.
 Peter leads the singing of "Happy Birthday" for himself.
 Mugging on Fred's 18th birthday.
 Peter plays in the drum ensemble at the Fine Arts Festival.
 Fred throwing shot at states for winter track.  He was seeded 24 and placed 12th.
 My brother Todd and his wife Kim at his going away party.
The kids at the party all played Just Dance together.