January 3, 2019



Outside My Window...
I am thinking...
I am thankful for... mama
From the kitchen... mama
I am wearing... mama
I am creating... mama
I am going... mama
I am reading... mama
I am hoping...mama
I am hearing... mama
Around the house... mama
One of my favorite things... mama
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: mama

By: 7 yr. old Barrett

April 19, 2012

Psalm 139-a repost of an old post :-)

I originally posted this in 2009, but wanted to share it again:

Lately, more than ever, I've begun to see the importance of memorizing God's word--it is life to my soul!
Shortly after we began school this year we started working on memorizing Psalm 139. It only took my 2 younger sons 30 days to memorize the whole Psalm, whereas I'm still working on it, 40 days later. I'd like to think that's because my brain is full of years of Bountiful Wisdom...but I think in reality it's just getting rusty.

Anyway-it took 2 Dove chocolates and some extra computer time to bribe #4 into letting me share this video with you. I hope you enjoy it.
(BTW-he is disgusted with how young he sounds on the video and wanted to make sure you know he's not 3.He's 8!)

Basically, all we did was read the psalm once a day until he got it.

April 12, 2012

4 boys &....?

Well, my heart is back in my chest and the lump in my throat is gone. I'm still wondering about the phrase buck up though. Where on earth did that come from? Yes, I know. I could always google it, but sometimes it's more fun to just wonder about something, isn't it?

Anyway, I wanted to show you a picture of my sons.



I love this picture. It cracks me up every time I look at it. All you have to do is look at their faces and you'll understand each boy.

Take the guy on the left for example. He's the oldest and it shows. No nonsense, confident, goal oriented, thoughtful...aren't those typical first-born traits? He's compassionate, but only to a point. He's a lot like my dad. A practical, git-her-done kind of guy.

Then the boy on the far right. # 2. That look? I've seen it hundreds of times. He's saying, "Yes, I did it, or said it, and even though it may not be something you approve of, I'm glad I did and too bad for you. Just wait. I have something even better up my sleeve!" He's sarcastic, witty, tenderhearted, and unpredictable.

The guy in the white shirt? He's number 3. He's sweet and shy, confident, hilarious, and humble. He hasn't always been that way. God worked what I think is a miracle in that boy's heart. He was our "strong-willed" child and you can read more about parenting one of those in my " raising a strong-willed child" posts. Like his big brother, you never know what he's going to say or do next. Living with those 2 middle sons has been a wild ride, let me tell you!

(I'd like to interrupt myself to say my sons are not perfect. I know that, and you know that, but I felt compelled to say it. In fact, at one point in my mothering them I spent an entire day researching military boarding schools and seriously contemplating a life of freedom....)

OK. Moving on to # 4. Look at his face. Really??... He may be the youngest, but he's onto his big brother. He's looked at each one of his siblings that way-he's tender and very sweet, but he's learned, at an early age, you just can't believe everything you're told.

Did you know we're in the early stages of adopting a little girl from China? I know some of you know that, but thought I'd mention it just in case you didn't. I wonder sometimes, if it will really happen. Right now she just seems like a dream and in no way a reality.

I'm excited to meet her, and momma her, and introduce her to her big brothers and sisters-in-law. I'm excited to see what her personality will be like and what captions I'll be writing under her photos....I'm excited to wake up and have the dream end and real life with her begin...

April 6, 2012

fish cheeks

Guess what? I remembered what I wanted to say about fish cheeks.

Did you even know fish had cheeks? I'd never even thought about whether fish had cheeks or not (nor did I care) until the spring of 1982. That's when I discovered fish:
had cheeks
those cheeks are cute
and tender
and romantic
and they can talk. Yes, fish cheeks can talk. You didn't know that? They say a whole lot if you'll but look and listen to them.

The guy I married is a quiet guy. His words are few and getting to know him was a challenge. I think that's why he let his fish cheeks do a lot of the talking for him. They told me things about him he would never have told me himself.

The spring of 1982 found us living in the boonies of Wisconsin, at a small private school that sat nestled on a large lake that was, you guessed it, full of fish. And, the guy I married loves fishing. As a matter of fact, if he could make a living at it, and support a family by it, he'd fish day and night to bring home the bacon. (Or cheeks, if you will.)

So anyway. The school was very picky about the meals served and who prepared them, and who was allowed in the kitchen and when. The only time they relaxed about all that was on Saturday mornings. We were allowed to prepare our own breakfasts then.

Every Saturday morning, while the rest of us were sleeping in, my not-yet husband was out there reeling in...blue gill? I can't remember what kind of fish they were....

Anyhoo, every Saturday morning he'd catch a fish, fry it with an egg, and toast a piece of toast. He wouldn't eat that breakfast though. He'd watch for me and when I walked into the dining room he'd be standing there, smiling, that plate of food warm and ready, waiting for me. He'd motion me to a table, put the plate in front of me, and we'd sit together while I ate.

The first time Mike made breakfast for me I discovered fish had cheeks. I sat down, starving, and looked at my plate. There was the egg, the toast, and the fish. But there also, off by themselves, in a little spot all their own on the plate, sat two tiny, round pieces of fish.

"Um Mike? What are those?" I pointed.

"Those are the fish's cheeks. They are the tastiest part of the fish!" he grinned.

I picked up my fork and stabbed a little cheek with one prong. I put it in my mouth and smiled.

"Oh, you're right. That is amazing!" I couldn't taste the difference between the cheek or any other part of the fish but there was something different about that small piece of meat. It talked to me.

It told me: here is a guy who wants to serve. He is thoughtful, caring, and patient. (You have to be patient to cut around a tiny fish cheek and lift it from the fish's face. You have to be gentle with it so you don't demolish it while you're cutting and lifting and frying it.) It told me this guy thinks about others, not just himself. It told me he had a sense of humor but he knew where to draw the line. (He never once served a fish with the head still attached to its body. He knew I couldn't eat anything that sat there watching me while I ingested it.)

Those two little cheeks were the best part of the fish-they said so much even though they (in all honesty) never said a word.

April 3, 2012

a letter from my son

I started a pen pal journal with my youngest son a few days ago. The idea is to write little letters back and forth to each other, but you have to be sneaky about it. We're not supposed to let the other person see us writing in the journal, nor putting it in the other person's room. You just write a letter, then hide the notebook somewhere where you know that person will find it.
I didn't come up with the idea, but I love it. It's fun and precious and eventually I'll have a notebook, (in his little boy handwriting) full of his thoughts and feelings and bits of him. I must admit, the teacher in me thinks this is a great way to get him to practice writing. (something he hates doing at the moment)

(This would be also be fun to do with a nephew or niece or a grandchild. Especially if they lived far enough away that you'd have to mail the notebook back and forth to each other. Everyone loves getting little packages in the mail, don't they?)

Anyway, that's all for today. I just wanted to pass the idea along and show you my first letter.

Dear mommy,
I love you too! I love
you more than Lydia! (Lydia is his new niece)
You are funny, sweet, lovable,
and most of all your mine.

March 29, 2012

if i could...

If I could, I would put you into a deep, sweet, lovely sleep. In the back of your mind you would hear whatever it is you love to hear:
seagulls flying over the shore of a warm, sandy beach, or the waves of the ocean themselves as they come in...go out...come in...go out...
maybe you'd rather hear the paddle of a canoe and water splashing off it as it slices through a deep blue lake
or perhaps you'd prefer a playground where children are laughing and teasing each other as they run through the grass?
You might long for the sound of the wind caressing pine branches while they wait patiently for the moon to rise behind them
or the sounds of your mother quietly loading the dishwasher while dinner simmers on the stove.
Whatever sound it is that brings a feeling of peace and safety to your soul, that's the sound you'd hear.

I'd do the same thing for your sense of smell. Whatever it is that comforts and gives you joy-those are the smells you'd smell.
Maybe you love the smell of grass right after it's been cut or the smell of a fat little baby fresh out of a bath? Perhaps you love the smell of fish and worms and wet roads after a summer storm or the way a cornfield smells at harvest time?
You might find comfort in the smell of a good cigar or brownies right out of the oven. Whatever smell it is that gives you a feeling of contentment and calm, that's the smell you'd smell.

If I could put you into a deep, sweet, lovely sleep, (don't panic-I'd make sure you were on some sort-of life support) I'd gently lift your tired, aching heart out of your chest. I'd carry it to God and say, "Please? Would you please, please heal the deep hurts hidden here? Would you reassure this heart that You are always near? Lord, would you please give this weary heart what it needs today? Trust that You are capable or hope that You are faithful or peace that You have forgiven? Would you put your large, warm comforting hands around this heart and love it like it's never been loved before? Would you please be the tender Father this heart needs and let it know all is well because You are all it needs?"

That is my prayer for you today. Refreshment, strength to take the next step, knowing you are loved...peace....joy in the circumstance you find yourself in...I can't take your heart out of your chest literally, but I can in prayer.

My heart just lifted yours to His...

March 28, 2012

oh so thankful for:

-my tire falling off my van yesterday while I was driving slowly. It could've come off the day before when I was going 60.

-my leg has had what I would call a miraculous healing over the last 10 days or so. It's not completely normal, but the change has been dramatic.

-friends-they listen, put up with all my quirks, encourage me, make me laugh...

-4 sons who laugh at and with me.

-my husband...

-curly hair. I can hack at it every month and the curls hide most of my mistakes!

-being able to write. That is how I express my heart and let things go. I think I'd have ulcers if I were Elizabeth Bennett.

-2 daughters-in-law that have become daughters and friends

-books, the empty ones as well as the ones with ink typed across every page

-living in a place that has 4 seasons. I need variety in my life.

-a perfect little granddaughter

-a safe place to walk each day

-boys again. I'm thinking in particular about their curiosity. I see a toaster and think, "Cool! this thing crunches up my bread." My sons see a toaster and they think, "Cool! What are those coils for? How do they get hot? How does it know the exact length of time to stay hot enough to brown my bread but not turn it into charcoal?" etc. etc. etc.

-the crows that circle over our house and gather on the trees each evening

-music-there is so much power and beauty and depth and life and...and...

-thrift stores and hand-me-downs

-the gift of memories (at least some of them)

-a mother who tried

-creative outlets

-houseplants. I need green therapy

-a tiny house-it gives me more time to play

-photos

-binoculars and our microscope. I can spy on our neighbors-the big and the small

-21 years of home schooling

-being able to email instead of having to make some uncomfortable phone calls

-my back and leg stuff required standing all this time instead of sitting. I would've gone stir crazy being stuck in a wheelchair for 20 months

-extended family

-God doesn't always talk in a still small voice, sometimes He shouts at me. (I can be pretty hard of hearing at times)

-a mother in law who taught me how to play and love and have fun with our sons

-my daddy