Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Never a dull moment...

 Because in this house there is never a dull moment...


Maggie: "I'm going to do this (train for shooting) in the house every Monday."
Dad: "That'll drive mom crazy, but ok."
Me: "I'm already crazy."
Dad: "That's why I love ya babe."
Me: "It's probably why I love you too."


Maggie: "Joe go away and let me train or you are going to get a button buddy to the head."

Mom: "Please, for the Love of God Himself, would you stop hugging yourself."


Your guess: "Really, you couldn't just wait OUTSIDE the bathroom door, would YOU like an audience while you pee?"
Answer - so innocently "no, I would not like to have an audience and besides I have to poo, I don't think the audience would like that much."

Joe: "Do not unplug the x-box, the world will end in a huge explosion."
It was already unplugged and on my desk in the other room.

As I take Joe's phone: "Hey, I didn't throw that at you..."
as if that was the ONLY reason one would take a phone away from a 17 yr old boy.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Joy Dare: A Gift Before Dawn, At Noon, After Dark

A Holy Experience
Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare
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Jan 26 Joy Dare: A gift before dawn, at noon, after dark.

#94 and 95 Before Dawn
   Before dawn this very morning, I heard a small knock on the door. I struggled out of bed, thinking I'd see the littlest miss coming to go potty or comfort herself in our bed after a nightmare. Turns out it was the next oldest little miss Jesse. She had the nightmare and wanted to crawl in bed with mom and dad. This ended up being a gift for two reasons.
1. I was able to get up and take some Advil which enabled me to get to church this morning. If I'd waited till I woke up at my normal time I doubt it would have had time to work and I'd have been stuck at home. Back pain is just not fun.
2. Because it was little miss Jesse instead of little miss Emma it was not my back little knees were jabbed into but daddy's. Funny how kids find a "favorite" side to sleep on even at these early ages. Had it been little miss Emma she would have done her routine of choking me first, me turning away from her to ease the pressure on my throat, and then her knees would have been lovingly jammed into my lower back... I love my kiddos, but just don't think I could have taken that so early in the morning.

#96 At Noon
    After church today the husband cooked the bacon. I love bacon, we all do BUT I hate to cook it. Hot grease splattering, ouch, enough said.

#97 After Dark
     I am in the midst of scanning old photos into the computer. Oh the memories. I've gone through some from 1983 to 2001 so far. Definitely a gift. Just look at this cute little bug...

Is this not the cutest little bug ever? Today he is 17. Not so little anymore.
And the # of kids was just half what we have now.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Visit

Five Minute Friday
It's that time again.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you and encourage them in their comments.
Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
FMF: Todays prompt: visit

Visiting my memory today of some favorite visits. I could not think of just one to write about.

Visiting my grandparents in the mountain cabin. Looking at the clouds laying in foot after foot of snow. Snowmobiles and fire pits that burned several feet deep while watching races. Playing in the woods. Finding the old treehouse. Walking the tracks with grandma and grandpa, picking up glass bottles and arrowheads. Swinging on the rope and 2x6 swing hanging from a tree limb. Playing in the creek.


Visiting my grandparents in a trailer in town after they'd moved to be closer for doctor visits and out of the snow. Them getting more fragile, but telling stories we were old enough now to understand. Grandma understanding short bank accounts and handing over the silver coins to be melted into wedding bands. Grandma went first, out of the pain of this world, and to a place so much easier to breathe. Grandpa giving up, visiting soon became the job of caring for while he would dream of days from his youth and chasing chickens out of the house and days when grandma was still here and by his side. He fought our efforts to prolong his life. He missed her. Then he too was gone.


Visiting the graves of those beloved, getting advise from the grave. I swear to this day that I had heard her voice telling me to get back home where I belonged. Visiting the windswept hill where we laid their bodies, asking questions that we would never have answered. And missing them as the tears flowed.


Visiting back through time with photographs of all the fun we had, the days they would sit and play cards or just talking with the smoke filtering around them. Remembering as I look at one picture where I sit with my head on grandpas chest, how his voice rumbled from deep down, and how comforting that was. Pictures of grandma surrounded by others, so many times laughing at this story or that. And always feeling loved.



So many visits... too many to count in such a short time.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Joy Dare: 3 Gifts Found in Christ

A Holy Experience
Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare
Do you dare? Click here

No. 85
In you my Lord, I find a softer place to fall when I fail. I have failed and fallen into your arms more times than I can count. Each time you have caught me and let me rest while encouraging me to brush myself off and move on.

No. 86
In you my Lord, I find the strength to get past the challenges I face. There is always something that happens that points me to that book, the Word, the Hope.

No. 87
In you my Lord, I find peace. My worries get smaller and often taken away completely. Someday, I will learn to seek that peace BEFORE I waste time worrying.

Thank you, Babe in the Manger, for all you have given me. I pray you continue to find me worthy and deserving of your love and blessings.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Artist Introduction: Sarah Dean

This artist is a young lady that I had gotten to know a little bit through a school we had sent the kids to once a week several years ago.Sarah's drawings are stunning. For a while I have wanted to have a picture painted or drawn of my oldest in his uniform at West Point and thought of Sarah. I had no idea what one would charge for such a thing, the only way to find out was to ask. As it turned out she was very reasonable. So I waited and waited and waited for my son to send some pictures. Finally he did.

This is the result:

Cadet Robert Oberle USMA Class of 2014 by Sarah Dean
Thank you so much Sarah.
Just amazing. I will have it framed and it will be displayed proudly in my home. However I also wanted to show my appreciation to Sarah. She does have a website where she shares her artwork, go take a look, she truly is a talented young woman. Define-X

Joy Dare: A Gift Wrinkled, Smoothed,and Unfolded

A Holy Experience

Jan 22 Joy Dare: A gift wrinkled, smoothed, and unfolded.

# 82, 83, 84...

A mom with streaks of gray in her hair, gets out of bed more slowly this morning then some others. There has been an ongoing issue with pain and lately it has been making getting a good nights sleep very difficult. She can take more meds but so far she is not sure if the blah feeling the extra meds give her is any better than the pain. Teaching, cleaning, worrying about decisions not yet made... all of it takes a toll. But she counts her gifts, and she knows she is blessed. This morning as she looks in the mirror she sees the extra lines that have shown up on her face, the wrinkles that time place along they eyes and mouth. Her hands have more of the wrinkles than before as well. And she scoffs at the mirror with a wave of her hand as she moves along to begin her day more slowly then before.


Breakfast made and delivered, kids still in bed, they need to be shook awake, we really do have to keep school going, but momma just sits, it is a crazy morning and there is little to no motivation. Then the verse that has been on the cabinet for a few weeks now catches her eye and she knows this one, but it was a prompt she needed. Go read more... look to Him. The kids get a treat, they will sleep in just a bit today. Out comes the bible which she has carried around for several years. It's in very good shape, but it has lines and book marks. It has been used through the years. And as she flips through the she notices something, even the bible has a few wrinkles... some dog creases on some of the favorite pages. It isn't as if she has visited with this friend weekly or sometimes even monthly. But still the signs of age show up.

She unfolds a page that seems to be the most worn, and she begins to read the words that have clearly been underlined a couple of times...

Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.  Hebrews 2:18

His word unfolded and smoothed. And as she contemplates, taking another sip of her coffee, in the quiet morning, she thinks she understands. Give it to Him, ask for His help and trust. He suffered so much, and He did it willingly. I have to try harder.

She prays: Lord help her to get through the pain, help her to be happy in the chores that are assigned to her. Lord help open her eyes to see a clear path you place before her. Is this it? Being a mom and a wife, is this enough or is there more she is supposed to be doing. Her friends are active outside the home, as well as in... is she supposed  to get out there and be loud? Where do you want her Lord?

   Her day goes on, she wakes the kids, gets dishes going, laundry going, school is started, and she thinks about the things that went on in the early morning. She is putting folded towels away when once again she glances in the mirror, and she notices that some of the lines had been smoothed. She remembers how tired she was as she got out of bed, and wonders how she has had the energy to move on, life had been smoothed as well. It is, of course, answered in the words she unfolded. He has been tested, He has felt pain like no other and He has answered at least some of her prayers. The pain has been worked through, energy had been found, at least the essential things had been done for one more day.

She had been wrinkled and tired and felt broken, she unfolded his word, read it, contemplated it and she was smoothed, soothed, comforted and encouraged.

God is good. Thanks to the Babe in the Manger for helping me through another tough day.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Joy Dare: Gifts Only Seen Up Close

A Holy Experience
Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare
Do you dare? Click here. 
January 20 Joy Dare: Gifts only seen up close.

No. 80
The Word of God. It can be seen everywhere, so it is not actually true that it can only be seen up close. BUT it is only when we look at it up close, study it, apply it that we will truly SEE.

My favorite winter thing is snowflakes. Until you look at them up close, you can not see each snowflakes true beauty.

Joy Dare: 3 Gifts That Might Never Have Been

A Holy Experience
Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare
Do you dare? Click here. 
Jan 19 Joy Dare: 3 Gifts that might never have been.

No. 75-79

After the early and scary birth of this oldest child:

Momma and "the Kidd" 6 days after an Emergency C-Section
delivery. This was the first day I got to actually hold him.
We (mostly I) got scared and we thought (without consulting God) that the best thing for our family would be to stop. No more kidlets. And as a stubborn Child of God it took 6.5 years before we finally did consult God. AFTER a God smack upside the head in the form of a doctors words "IF you want to try for more, you better do it now."  Good thing for that smack OR THESE 5 MORE GIFTS might never have happened:

The "happy new year" pic from this year. Mom, dad and the
5 added gifts that might never have happened. God has
blessed us with 6 beautiful kidlets.
Having a baby early is a scary thing, but today it is far more scary to think about what would have been if we had not learned to trust God.

Joy Dare: 3 Gifts From Gods Word

A Holy Experience
Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare
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January 18 Joy Dare: 3 Gifts From Gods Word.

No. 72

No. 73 

No. 74

Friday, January 17, 2014

Joy Dare: A Gift Bringing Laughter, Prayer, and Quiet

A Holy Experience
Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare
Do you dare? Click here. 
1 #64 Laughter

A brother obsessed with doing what ever this is on every surface possible, except the top of the 10' club house, but only because we have forbidden him to do so. And truth be told he is really only abiding by that because Junior Olympic Tryouts is this weekend.
A sister who thought it would be fun to pretend she's levitating brother.
A mess because once again this is how we "take a break" in the middle of math problem #3.

2 # 65 More Laughter

Trying to get 5 kidlets to stand in a circle so mom can take another one of her "crazy pictures". One kidlet dropping out before the pic was taken because HEAVEN FORBID mom put up a pic of her feet covered only in SOCKS. I know... shame on mom.

3 #66 Prayer

Because I'm trying to be thankful even for the hard things... I was thankful for the opportunity to ask for guidance, grace, and healing from Our Father and the Babe in the Manger today when I got out of bed first thing this morning exhausted and in excruciating pain. And then throughout the day for patience and perseverance while we continued with our normal homeschool day.

4 #67 Prayer

The opportunity for prayers of thanksgiving for all the above prayers answered. The pain did not leave, but it did subside, and the kids did their school work with minimal pushing from me.

5 #68 Prayer

The opportunity to pray for many today who are not having as easy time.
* A mom who lost a precious baby.
* Another who is afraid she might.
* A mom stressed by the unreasonable expectations of others.
* A woman who is having to submit to her husbands will to get a vasectomy despite her disagreement.
* Two babies saved from abortion.
* A friend who has seen a setback in medical healing.
* Another friend who is on the verge of a medical procedure.
* A good friend who has been ill for some time, and my resolve to be more of a friend and encouragement.
* A friend being buried in medical expenses.
* For my children each of whom are in their own state of growing, with their own set of decisions, and contemplations.

6 #69 Quiet

I am thankful that my little ones who have not been accustomed to "free time" in the afternoons have found things to do that do not involve hanging on me asking what's to eat and can we do something we know we can't while begging, and telling the littlest of the littles to give me her puppy dog face...

7 #70 Quiet

The opportunity to go shopping with JUST the husband, maybe a date in the midst of our shopping trip.
If nothing else, that is quieting to the soul.

8 #71
Time to contemplate my bible verse for this week. I have memorized it but have not had the time to REALLY contemplate on it this week. It's still pretty bare.


Five Minute Friday: Encouragement

Five Minute Friday
It's that time again.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you and encourage them in their comments.
Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Encouragement comes in so many forms
"Go mom!"
"You can do this."
"Way to go."
"I like your style."

And we hear encouragement a lot. In peoples actions and words.

So why is it that the discouragement seems so LOUD?

Recently, this past week in fact I experienced something. I get a lot of complements on the things I make, but it would seem I still lack confidence at times.
One person questioned my lack of religious knowledge based on a rosary I made for someone. I don't know if the rosary is even used, but it was made with a lot of thought and love.

You can see there among the beads is a small vial of sand. The colors are Navy colors. The vial is filled with Iwo Jima sand and it was made for a young lady going to the Naval Academy and I think aspiring to be a Marine.  This rosary was personal.

But last week someone new saw it and exclaimed that I had done something wrong, that you should not personalize a rosary like this. She insisted that this rosary that I put my heart into - like all my rosaries - was not a true rosary. Despite the fact that I had asked a priest, and despite the fact that a priest actually blessed this rosary, those words rang in my ear. So I went to a large group of Catholic women and asked their thoughts.


The encouragement that rang out was awesome, so much so I almost felt silly for having had to ask. Of course you can personalize a rosary. If a person connects with the rosary and is ENCOURAGED to PRAY it then it is a good thing.

Not one single woman on that list with 108 comments (a few of them mine answering specific questions) mentioned that this was asked on a homeschooling page, was off topic, and probably should have at least stated it was OT. They were simply ENCOURAGING!

So, here is my thanks to all the ladies on the page! Thanks for the encouragement, and for the kind words.
You ladies ROCK!

Speaking of encouragement:
To learn, or refresh yourself on praying the Rosary
please visit this site:
 Pray the Rosary Everyday

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Joy Dare: Three Witnessed Blessings

A Holy Experience
Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare
Do you dare? Click here. 
Jan 16 Joy Dare: Three Witnessed Blessings.

1 #60

Yesterday's sunrise. Definately a witnessed blessing. Just look at the colors.

2 # 61

That sunrise is beautiful, no doubt, but the reason I actually saw it would be the witnessed blessing.
My children are not morning children. They simply do not like to get out of bed in the morning. But on Tuesday I had promised bacon for breakfast and I'll be darned if every single kid was not up before it was finished cooking. One of the littles had kept herself busy by looking out to see if it was snowing. She saw this instead and made sure everyone else did too.

3 #62

A smile, KINDA, on Jake's face WHILE he is doing his school work. With this, my 3rd boy, 4th child, and 10 years old to boot, it is less common to see a good mood while doing school work. Maybe I should only count this one as a half blessing? Nope, God does not do things half way and the way the other 4 kids were behaving, it really was a blessing that this one, who is so like his mother, was happy.

4 #63 More conversations with Emma.

We gotta have a talk.
You know that thing called bedtime?
Yeah, at 8:00 pm. That one.
I was kinda thinking...
I don't like bedtime...
If I'm happy will you let me stay up?
No? I don't think that's fair.
If I give you a cute smile will
you let me stay up?
No? Well then no more smiles.
Just kidding. But, I still don't like bedtime.
Those were my witnessed blessings. I thank, profusely, the Babe in the Manger, for all I've been given.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Joy Dare: 3 Startling Graces of God

A Holy Experience
Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare
Do you dare? Click here. 
Jan 14 Joy Dare: 3 Startling graces of God

I am not sure startling is the right word to place these under, but they are graces of God in my life.

1 Gift #57
As I spoke with my children today about the Catechism I found a short and to the point phrase that will hang on my wall for a good time to come.
   Fit your life into God's plan. Do NOT try to fit God's plan into your life.
The reason this is important to me, is because I had been sitting here trying to explain to my children how our lives are supposed to be led by our striving to find, and then live, God's plan for us in this world. It is so difficult at times to go on day after day and continue to search for that plan. It is especially difficult when it seems all the world (or society) seems to be telling us that what ever WE want to do is fine and that doing that will make us happy.
God's grace to me on this subject was to enable me... no to directly place the exact words I needed to speak directly in my heart so that my children would have to stop for just a minute and say "I get it, I understand."  And give me a phrase by which I can remind them to seek out God's will FIRST and their own desires LAST.

2 Gift #58
God has placed within my marriage an overabundance of His grace. I still get frustrated at times, there is no doubt, but all that we have gone through has put enough strain on us to end several marriages. We have made it through hard work, and above all God's grace. And it ties directly into the previous gift as so many times we tried to put God in a place in our lives so that He would fit the rest of what we wanted our lives to look like. And that is usually when things would get rough. When we seek out God's will and His plan for us, that is when our lives get easier, more fulfilling, and we are happier. It is always that way, without fail. It's more than coincidence. Our faith is directly related to how well we weather the storms in our lives. I am and have been extremely blessed by this grace of God.

3 Gift #59
After having 6 children and losing 4 more I have been able to see that God's grace extends to every part of our lives. Each one of my children have come into our lives at the "perfect" time. And with a personality that enhances our family not only in good ways but in the EXACT ways that we need it at that moment.

My oldest child was so easy, but when he cried, he REALLY cried. He would often cry until he threw up. That does not sound like much of a blessing probably, but it was that child that taught me the difference between being an attentive, nurturing, caring mother and a mother who demanded that a baby fit into a schedule or routine just because I said so (or because a doctor advised so). Just like that example, all of my children have taught us something that we needed to learn, even the ones we lost to miscarriage. Because of God's timing and sense of humor (at times) we have learned to be better parents and better people.

I guess maybe the startling thing about God's grace on us might be that when we need it, it is there, regardless of our openness to it. BUT it is easier if we just seek out God's will. It makes the roller coaster just a little less shocking to the senses.

Thanks to the Babe in the Manger for making it possible for me to receive God's grace in so many ways and so many times.

Here are January's prompts. Click the pic if you dare!