Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Golden Anniversary

My parents came to town to celebrate their
Golden Anniversary.

50 years.
That's a lotta years.
That's a lotta anniversaries to remember.
Good thing it is always on the same day,
huh, Dad?

On our way out the door,
my hubby grabbed my camera outta my hands.

I have to admit,
sometimes I am NOT a good sharer.

However, I was enjoying the generational power shift,
as I bossed my parents around for a few minutes.
My Dad was sticking his tongue out,
and mom has a tendency to shut her eyes.

Other than that,  I was thinking
"WOW!  They look great!
And these are MY parents!"

Caught in action.

I was impressing upon my husband the need to have
really GOOD pictures,
not just a slew of awkward pictures,
because he had an itchy trigger finger
and my camera was on the continuous shooting mode.

Not sure if they were laughing when my
high heels plunged into the soft grass and I lost my balance,
or when I was fussing at my husband
about awesome pictures,

but, this is my favorite shot.

I love that my parents love each other.

I love that they have loved one another
for more than five decades,
more than fifty years,
more than 600 months,
more than 2,600 weeks,
more than 18,250 hours,
more than 26,280,000 minutes.

Like many their generation,
Mom and Dad didn't have studio portraits taken
to document the accumulating years.

They were too busy trying to keep six growing kids
fed and clothed.

I was pleased with the pictures,
but found it to be a small tribute to such
a wonderful accomplishment.

That's amazing.
That's incredible.
That's my parents.

Glad I kept them,
they're keepers.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Time for Tea?

Ingredients for a summer Tea Party:

vintage tablecloth,
glass dishes,
peppermint tea,
sweet and salty morsels,

one  very well-dressed,
well-mannered young lady,

one Mommy willing to
stop what she is doing,
and do what
really needs to be done.

When the kids were younger,
we did what we called
"One Fun Thing A Day."
To keep the routine of chores and school
from overwhelming us,
we planned to make time each day for something fun.

making a fort

Our summer routine usually find us
working in the morning
and playing in the afternoon.

I have to admit,
it is hard to make myself play these days.

I've had seasons where lack of health and stamina
kept me from really
cleaning the way I wanted to cleaning,
organizing the way I wanted to organize,
and decorating the way I want to decorate.

When I have a season of good health,
I don't want to waste it,
so I try to work really, really hard.

I want to get my house and life back in order.

I am thankful to have a little girl,
who reminds me
what's really important in life.

I always need to make
time for tea.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lists, Lists and More Lists

Another Monday.

Another week stretching out with too many things demanding my attention.  It always makes me wonder how I accomplish anything during the school year with homeschooling daily breathing down my neck.

My first order of business will be to find and compile all my To Do Lists from the past week in my Summer Binder and on my computer. I am getting a lot done, but I am not always efficient - YET.

I jotted one list  down on on a small pad of paper in my Bible,  

three lists on sheets of lined paper
 on a clipboard next to my bed,

five pages on my desk
 that I scribbled on when  at my computer,

and another list for those urgent things
that popped into my head first thing this  morning.

Oh yea, then there is the task box in my Outlook.
See all the little red squares on the bottom right of the screen?
Yea, those things are DONE, baby.

My plan for organizing the lists:

Long-term lists -  These items are high-faluting goals, like painting rooms, sewing curtains, fixing things, ordering books, things that need or should be done in the next six months, but there isn't any urgency.

They can be written out according to rooms and subjects, just beautiful inspirational lists of aspirations.

If I need to yearly track the list and accomplishments, like when planning Daily Vacation Bible School, I love to use OneNote, my favorite Microsoft product of all time.

If I just want to cross off the things and throw the lists away, I write them on paper.  My summer binder  will also include lists  for planning  our family vacation and our trip to Bible Camp.   In turn, these are divided into To Do, To Pack and To Buy segments. 

Weekly lists -  Overall view of weekly obligations.   I use my Outlook Calendar (see pic above) program faithfully, listing all baseball in blue, appointments in orange, company in teal and traveling in lavender, etc.  The calendars can also be printed and posted on fridge or in binder if I need to make it available to everyone.

Daily lists- Just so I remember to do little things and keep priorities straight.  Monday is laundry day, that goes without saying, so I don't even write it down, unless I have that undeniable urge to write it down just to cross it off. As I read my Bible in the morning and have those two cups of coffee, I am always prompted about little needs, like

-Does Jon need another teeth cleaning?
-Oh, I need to sent a card to my niece.

Sometimes I put so many things on a daily list, it automatically becomes a weekly list. That's OK!
Don't Do List - I am giving myself permission to NOT tackle anything for homeschool this week. 

Our summer schedule is simple -
Morning - work
Afternoon - play

I usually get up much earlier than the kids because I cherish those golden silent moments and the ability to sometimes work on a project alone.  After they obey the Morning Rule - "get up, get dressed, make your bed" -they eat and we decide what needs to be conquered.  They usually aren't allowed to clean their rooms during this time, that is expected to be done.  Mornings are Mommy Projects, extra things I need help with and skills that I am teaching them.

Lists should be a tool, not a torture.  We are not a slave to them. There are days I give myself permission to not even look at my lists, or have to cross anything off.  Somedays, I do a bunch of stuff that isn't even on the list, and wasn't ever going to be on the list.

I still want to be led by the Lord in how I spend my time and energy.  According to Proverbs 16, we plan,  but the Lord guides. I am embarrassed to say that sometimes I forget to pray over my lists. 

The lists are NOT to hang a noose around my neck, they are just to keep me from forgetting things that need to be done and keep me from wasting time. 

Plus, when they are on the counter, the kids might even go see what "needs to be crossed off" before we can go play.

I am hearing the sounds of summer, laugher and lawnmowing, and the sun is peeking through my curtains.

I'm gunna throw in a load of laundry, stack my lists on the Summer binder in the kitchen and grab another cup of coffee.

'Cuz, I have another Monday to face.

Follow me over to Nan's Blog where she hosts
for more encouragement to start your new week.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

MM Meditation - Are You Lonely?

I have been blessed by the writings of A.W. Tozer. 
I would encourage you to read his works, starting with The Pursuit of God.

The following excerpts are from a sermon
printed in its entirety at SermonIndex.Net.

The Saint Must Walk aAlone

Most of the world's great souls have been lonely.

Loneliness seems to be one price the saint must pay for his saintliness.

In the morning of the world (or should we say, in that strange darkness that came soon after the dawn of man's creation), that pious soul, Enoch, walked with God and was not, for God took him; and while it is not stated in so many words, a fair inference is that Enoch walked a path quite apart from his contemporaries.

Another lonely man was Noah who, of all the antediluvians, found grace in the sight of God; and every shred of evidence points to the aloneness of his life even while surrounded by his people.

Most revealing of all is the sight of that One of whom Moses and all the prophets did write treading His lonely way to the cross, His deep loneliness unrelieved by the presence of the multitudes.

He died alone in the darkness hidden from the sight of mortal man and no one saw Him when He arose triumphant and walked out of the tomb, though many saw Him afterward and bore witness to what they saw.


The man who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual inner experience will not find many who understand him. A certain amount of social fellowship will of course be his as he mingles with religious persons in the regular activities of the church, but true spiritual fellowship will be hard to find. But he should not expect things to be otherwise.

After all, he is a stranger and a pilgrim, and the journey he takes is not on his feet but in his heart. He walks with God in the garden of his own soul and who but God can walk there with him?


The truly spiritual man is indeed something of an oddity. He lives not for himself but to promote the interests of Another. He seeks to persuade people to give all to his Lord and asks no portion or share for himself. He delights not to be honored but to see his Saviour glorified in the eyes of men.

His joy is to see his Lord promoted and himself neglected. He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk.

For this he earns the reputation of being dull and overserious, so he is avoided and the gulf between him and society widens. He searches for friends upon whose garments he can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces, and finding few or none he, like Mary of old, keeps these things in his heart.

It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God.

"When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up." His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else. He learns in inner solitude what he could not have learned in the crowd that Christ is All in All, that He is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, that in Him we have and possess life's summum bonum. (Latin for "highest good")


May you be blessed with true spiritual friendships, relationships that provide soul-stirring fellowship and the likemindedness that comes from believers obeying the same Bible and adoring the same Savior.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jana Loves Her Daddy

To Daddy from Jana

Jana was four years old, and her portrait is hilarious.
The hair is accurate, but we always laughed about the spoon.
 We also love his knees.
Maybe because that is the height she was at the time,
that is what she was seeing.
Read on to see how her vision of her Daddy
changed over the years.

To Daddy from Jana

Being the oldest isn't always the funnest role in the family,
especially the oldest girl.

My Dad and I fought many battles growing up...
Jeans below the belly button? *gasp* NO WAY!
Eyeliner? "It will just make you look goth."

Having an opinionated girl was all new territory for everyone.
I didn't know how to be a teenager and
Dad was trying to figure out how to relate to me!

Dad teases me quite often with words that I said when I was little,

"Me do myself."

Those three words pretty much sum me up.

There's one word that sums my Dad up -


Looking back over my life,
I see over and over again
 his demonstration of his love to me.

And not just the lovey-dovey love.

Love when it seems impossible to love someone.

Love when he wanted to rip my head off.

Love when his heart was breaking.

Love when my heart was breaking.

Love when he didn't have any love left in him.

Unconditional love.

My attitude of "me do myself" gets me into trouble.
A lot.

But Dad stood,
 and continues to stand,
 by me.

He didn't agree with paths I had chosen,
but he would continually show me love.

A text message. An email.

Constant little reminders he was never leaving me.

He gave me a glimpse of how the heavenly Father loves.

He taught me how I should love.

Love is action.

Dad's actions speak louder
than anything he could ever say to me.

Except, when he says, "I love you with all my heart."
I melt like a Popsicle on the 4th of July.

And now not only does my Dad continue to Love me,
he is loving on my husband and two kiddos.

What an answer to prayer!

If you know our story,
you know that Dad had to the right
 to pull out the shot gun.

Instead, he opened his big heart,
(how does he still have so much room after me?)
 and his arms, and welcomed Aaron in.

I know it was hard for him.
I could see it in his eyes and graying hair.

But underneath,
I saw his Love starting to pour out.
I saw our Heavenly Father shining through Dad,
helping him love.

Dad's love has supported me and
helped me grow into the young lady I am today.

I know it wasn't easy but he really has let "Me do Myself."

He showed me how to turn that into something good.

Now I want, "Me do together with the Lord."

He has taught me how to forgive.

He has taught me how to reach people.

He has taught me how to be a witness.

He has taught me how to live out a life of love.

He has taught me how to show love to my family.

He taught me how to love by loving me with All His Heart.

Dad, I love you with all my heart.

Read the other love letters to Daddy by

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Grace Loves Her Daddy

To Daddy from Grace

Dear Dad,

Father's Day is ridiculous

I think we should spend everyday celebrating you,
not just one day every year.
But since it only comes once a year,
today is a special day.  

I want you to know that I feel sorry for all the girls out there
who don't have you for a father.
You have taught me so many things,
and I know I can always look to you for advice
or money..hehe.

You are always willing to give a hand when I'm in trouble,
and I appreciate that.
I think my favorite memory of us is when I was younger
you would take me on a date to get your hair cut Saturday mornings,
and afterwards you would take me out to breakfast.

Just a few of the many things you have taught me are:
 to love the Bible,
make eggs the 'right' way,
the correct position for my arms while running,
 and to love Duke University's basketball team.

You are truly a man of God and a great father,
and I am so blessed to be your daughter.
I love you, Grace

Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bethany Loves Her Daddy

   To Dad from Bethany
The love that a father has towards his children is one of the most precious things that can be portrayed. In the Bible we have pictures of Abraham and his son Isaac, Jacob and his son Joseph, and many others. But the most beautiful ones we see is the Heavenly Father and his Son, The Lord Jesus Christ. Those are some pretty incredible examples of a Father’s love. A couple of verses that were brought to my mind were in Romans 8:14-17.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are sons of God. For they have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry ‘Abba Father.’ The Spirit itself shall bear witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if Children, and joint heirs with Christ; it so be that we suffer with him, that we may be glorified together.”

How beautiful it is that those of us who have trusted to Lord as Savior to be our Redeemer have the privilege to call The Heavenly Father Our Heavenly Father. I am so thankful and privileged to have an earthly father who loves the Lord with all his heart. It is because of his godly influence in my life that I can have a closer walk with my Father who is in heaven.

The guidance of a father is a beautiful thing.
It is even more beautiful when that guidance is given
through thoughtful prayer and communion with the Father above.

I love you, Daddy
Happy Father's Day

Monday, June 21, 2010

Rebekah Loves Her Daddy

You always feel safe in Daddy's arms.

Deuteronomy 33:27
The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
He will thrust out the enemy from before you.

A Daddy carries the weight of the world
on his shoulders.

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

A Daddy makes a comfortable chair.

Ephesians 2:6
...and raised us up together,
and made us sit together
 in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus...

Being lifted into your father's arms,
is like being a little bit closer to Heaven.

Psalm 103:13
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

MM Meditation - Is He YOUR Heavenly Father?

Most people know that the God in Heaven is called Father. From that, the natural assumption would be that since He is the Father, then all people are His children.

The Lord's Prayer, which  is commonly quoted, chanted and sung, begins, "Our Father, Who art in Heaven..."  This beautiful piece of Scripture was intended as an outline to instruct His followers in how to pray, but has become a rote prayer.  Though some love the experience of repeating this in unison, we must understand that lip service alone to these words "our Father" is sounding brass or clanging symbol.

Believing that God is your Heavenly Father apart from saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, is like crashing someone else's family reunion. 

You don't belong. 

You aren't a part of that family just because you show up and go through the food line and shake some hands.

You need to be born into or adopted into a family to be a part of that family.  We are not physically born into God's family.  We are created in His image, but not born into His family.  You need a spiritual birth to become a part of the Heavenly family.

John 3:3
"Jesus said to him, “Most assuredly,
I say to you,
unless one is born again,
he cannot see the kingdom of God.”


When the words "our Father" are used in the New Testament in  reference to the God of the Universe, they are always used in conjunction with His Son, most often the Name, "the Lord Jesus Christ."

You can't have God as your Father apart from the Son.

Galatians 3:26
For you are all sons of God
through faith in Christ Jesus.

Long before we understood this, God determined that whoever would come to Him by faith in His Son, would be adopted into His family.

Ephesians 1:5
"having predestined us to adoption as sons
by Jesus Christ to Himself,
according to the good pleasure of His will,

 We have the privilege to have the God of Heaven welcome us into His family through faith in His Son and adopt us as His true children.

Is the God of Heaven YOUR Heavenly Father?

Friday, June 18, 2010

They Grow Up So Fast

Written September 5, 1994.

"They grow up so fast!"

You cannot count how many times this phrase has been used.

It is offered as sage advice from older moms, who are are wistfully musing  moments slipped away and opportunities lost, and are encouraging younger moms to cherish the moments.

It can be a frustrated exclamation of a  new and stressful developmental crisis, a mommy facing a stage that had once seemed far in the future.

It shows a disbelief at the passage of time and the natural pace of maturity. With a longing tone, the mommy wishes to hold precious memories and feelings as near to heart as at the moment of occurrence.

As I watch my oldest daughter, I am continually reminded of the dark-haired, smiley, chubby infant she was. She was my firstborn joy and delight, the child who crowned me with motherhood.

Can this really be her…already?

She has the all-important air of being a second grader, complete with the toothless confident smile, and the oldest reigning over three siblings. As she bustles around caring for and chasing after the 13 month old toddling toddler, soothes frustrations of a  four year old sister, or patiently teaches the 5 year old brother to read, I am amazed.

How can she do that?

How does she know what to do?

They grow up so fast!

I imagine my friends must feel this same surprised amazement as they send their children to college, down the aisle for marriage or into the world for employment. Do they wonder how the time to say good-bye is  already here?

They grow up so fast!

As our own children fly through their lives on wings of independence, we find the inward musing turns to outward advice, as we try to prepare younger mothers for the unstoppable passage of time. We want to warn them, somehow, as older women tried to warn us.

So, when the simple sentence is uttered, it means many things.

Don't let the days go by without many hugs, kisses and encouragements.

Don't le the days go by without teaching, correcting, disciplining.

Don't let the days go by without laughing, playing, sharing.

Don't let the days go by with anger, regrets, unspoken apologies.

They grow up so fast!

Why do we never, never tire of this overwhelmingly simply spoken sentence?

Because, they grow up so fast.

16 years later

Jana with Brookelyn Grace, 3, and Brayden Aaron, 1.
She blogs at The Roli Poli's.

Can this really be her…already? She has the God-given importance of being a young mommy of two precious kids. As she bustles around caring for and chasing after the 1 year old toddling son and soothing frustrations of a precocious three year old daughter, I am amazed.

How can she do that?
How does she know what to do?

And now her heart beats with mine with the same agonizing eagerness to cling to the moments and cherish the memories, because -
They grow up so fast.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Lord's Plans for This Old Mommy

Rebekah has always been very observant of  people around her.  Since toddlerhood,  she would stare with childish frankness until caught. We quietly reminded her not to stare, or would turn her gaze away by gently turning her face.

One day, when she was three, she was enthralled with a beautiful toddler girl and an equally beautiful young mommy strolling by us in the grocery store.

 “Look Mommy, she’s with her big sister,” she said, staring and pointing to the little girl.

 “No, honey, that’s her mommy,” I replied.

 Rebekah looked quite confused and looked from the other mom’s face to my own several times before protesting again.

 “No, it’s her sister,” she insisted.

 I realized she was recognizing the fact that her older sister, Jana, 18, was closer to the age of  the young mom than I was. Rebekah had been taken on many exciting excursions with her older sister, but always came home to an older mommy. She couldn’t imagine that some children have young mommies.

(A week old Mommy with a week old baby Jana.)

I attempted to explain that I used to be a young mommy, and I looked young like that other mommy when Jana, Daniel and Bethany were little kids.

(A 15 year old Mommy with a newborn Rebekah.)
(Off the subject, but my labor secret is to put on waterproof mascara
 and put my hair in a bun when I go into labor.
When I'm done,
 I pull out the pins,
toss my hair like a movie-star
and am as ready as I'll ever be for pictures.)

I explained how 7 years went by between Jon's birth (baby #5) and her birth, so I was now an older Mommy. I thought I had done a great job of explaining this great mystery to Rebekah and turned to finish loading the rest of my groceries onto the conveyor belt.

 I hadn’t realized we had an audience until slight chuckles from the man ahead of me punctuated Rebekah’s final I'm-gunna-win-this-conversation statement.

"Mommy, I know it's her big sister."

*****(click on links to read the verses)*****

We all marry and begin our new lives with great plans and expectations.  They may be good plans, they may be spiritual plans, they may even be plans to serve the Lord.

But, Proverbs 16 teaches us to commit our plans to the Lord, and our plans will succeed.  In the spiritual realm, success is being in the Lord's will, physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally.  We can trudge through life as a  falsely humble suffering martyr, or we can accept the Lord's plans with a sincerely thankful and worshipful heart.

I never planned to be carrying a diaper bag at 38.  We began our family young with great plans to be young when they moved out.  The Lord had different plans.  We learned that His plans are best.  We would never change our life now,  and the blessings of being older parents have been tremendous.  Tiring, yes, but amazing.

We don't plan miscarriages.  We don't plan children with health issues.  We don't plan to lose our children to any disease or accident.

We do plan how many we think we should have.  We do plan what we think they should look like and how they should act.  We do plan the spacing we want.  We plan the gender we want. 

Sometimes, our plans are the Lord's plans.  He was gracious enough to grant me the desire of my heart with the number of children I wanted.  Since I was about 11 or 12, six was emblazoned in my heart.

But when His thoughts are not our thoughts and His plans are not our plans, we need to trust in His love, His mercy, His grace and His compassion.  Even in our sorrow and grief, He is there, and His plans are still FOR US and not AGAINST US.

Jeremiah 29:11

 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,
says the LORD,
thoughts of peace and not of evil,
 to give you a future and a hope.

As far as the Lord's plan to allow me to go through cancer from the time Rebekah was 2, and never allow her to know a well Mommy?  This is for MY peace, MY future and MY hope.

What joy Rebekah Joy brought us all through times of darkness and sorrow.  She gave us all reason to continue on in laughter and peace, when we purposed to not taint her childhood with fear and lack of faith.

His plan to make me one of the oldest moms at my daughter Rebekah's graduation in 11 years?  It is for MY peace, MY future and MY hope.

What better future than to grow old with one child still at home?  I cherish the thought of her as my company in my old age.

Have you ever had parenting plans that didn't match up with the Lord's?  Have you surrendered your will and your heart?  Can you accept these plans for peace and hope in your life?

The prophet continues with precious words:

Jeremiah 29:12-13
Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me,
and I will listen to you.
And you will seek Me and find Me,
when you search for Me with all your heart.

Sounds like a great plan,
and a great promise,
for this old Momma!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

₡lothing Ex₡hange $ave$ $$$ on Teen$' ₡lothe$

Having daughter$ is an expen$ive habit.
We know.
We have four.

They n-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-d
(said with an exaggerated whine)
₡lothe$, $hoe$, make-up, ₡lothe$, per$onal ₡are item$,
jean$, hair ₡are product$ and gadget$, $hirts,
finger-nail poli$he$ and gadget$, ₡lothe$ and $hoe$.

Once you buy one item on the li$t,
it require$ $everal other item$ on the li$t
to ₡reate a properly a₡₡e$orized outfit.

To help fill teens' closets without
emptying the wallet,
I hosted my second clothing exchange
for teenage girls and their mothers.
Read about the first one here.

The rules are simple.
You bring clothes and stuff,
you take home clothes and stuff.
There are no rules on how much you bring
or how much you take home.
The "stuff" would be purses, belst, shoes,
makeup, personal care items,
that would be useful to someone else.

We all have items in our closet
that didn't really match,
didn't really fit,
we outgrew,
or grew tired of wearing.

It didn't take long to fill the garage with clothing
 when people began arriving for set-up at 1:30pm.

I forgot to take pictures during this time,
as I was busy enjoying
grown-up conversation
with grown-up Moms.

I had three empty bookshelves in my garage
that I labeled with the items
and the sizes.

The girls were able to walk in and just put
their clothing on the shelves and the tables.

It's always thrilling when each of the girls
end up going home with a bag,
or two,
or three
of "new-to-them" clothing.

Irena modeled an outfit she put together.

India is ready for a festive occasion
in her beautiful new dress.
Free fashion for Mikaela and Rachel,
who really had a great sense of putting things together.

A new dressy, sparkly t-shirt
with the perfect colors for Abigail.

Little Norah was the star of the day,
clomping around in these high-heeled shoes.

Little girls want to grow up and be big girls.

Moms want to know how their little girls
became big girls
so quickly.

And, in the midst of all the growing the daughters are doing,
and the marveling and reminiscing the moms are doing,
a clothing exchange is a great way
to keep the growing girls
in well-a₡₡e$$orized outfit$.