Sunday, December 28

Being true to my word

My last post I stated that I was going to spend more time being more mindful of how I was spending my time. I wanted to try to focus more on the people around me and the things that were important to them. I wanted to be more, do more, know and understand more. So how has it turned out?

My children and I have had more conversations, something that is not easy since there are four of them and only one of me. We have talked about serious things on their minds and giggled about silly things. I have met with friends for breakfast a few times a month and had in-depth conversations with them, we have shared life and traded secrets. I have learned more about my job and committed to it long term (this job was only supposed to be for three months) and invested my heart as well as my time into my bosses lives (they are wonderful friends with whom I've worked off and on for over 12 years and attended church for over 15 years). I have been cooking dinner (something I'm truly trying to hate less) most nights. I have been working on my photos for friends and even a few for a collection I'm hoping to complete this year.

I have also wandered into other avenues of outreach and contact. Through facebook I have re-connected with my sweet roommate from college (we had lost contact when I got married and she transferred colleges)...I have also found that facebook is an easy update for my day to day since I can update it from my iphone while sitting in the gym during a cheerleading class (my daughter's class, not mine ;) ) I have also tried twittering...not often but enough and I have read many many many other blogs.
I've been praying for those around me and those whom I only know via the internet.

So all in all, I feel like I have been true to my word. I have taken the break I needed, breathed a little deeper and am ready to dive back in. I am praying for the direction this blog is supposed to take and trusting that the words that flow will be exactly what they are supposed to be.

Here we go into the new year...2009 I am excited to see what you will hold for us all.

Friday, November 21

Driving, Working, Life goes on and on

The other day I had to drive the girls to ortho appointments in a town that is about 45 minutes away. This drive is one that I actually like because it has such beautiful scenery along the way as well as the fact that the road takes us right by my husbands work. Each time I've driven down this road I have wished for extra moments to stop and take a scenic shot or two. This day happened to be the day, this one shot is just a drop in the bucket of the beauty I found.

Life is so often like these trips I take. I look forward to them and often notice the things of beauty around, but rarely find the time to not only stop and enjoy what I'm seeing, but to actually document it for my memory or for others. Such as:
*My youngest leaving for school each day. She so obviously loves school,and looks forward to it with great zeal...
*My son when he is immersed in a book. His eyes are lit with joy, his face is completely animated...
*My second oldest daughter when she sings. She not only sings the words, she feels them...
*My oldest when shes talking to her dad. When they talk to each other about things that they have in common it's like a mirror of joy reflecting back and forth...
*My husband when he's watching the kids play. His love is pure, evident and everflowing...

The road in my life is curvy, has ups and downs, stops ands starts. But there is alawys something of beauty to behold...How blessed I am!

Friday, October 31

Taking a minute to catch up

As I wrote a bit ago, I've been focusing on constructive purposes. I have been working quite a few hours, keeping up with the housework, and spending time with friends and family. My husband has been on vacation for the past week so we've spent time with him during the day when all the kids have been in school.
Moments celebrated:
Bria turned 15. She is now legally allowed to learn to drive.
Halloween trick or treating (happening as I type...Aunt Jill is taking them)
Ryan went to the Barn swings with the older kids for the first time (a huge priviledge)
Niki wrote and performed two songs with one of the bands in our youth group (made me cry with pride and touched my spirit very deeply...a longer post about this later)

I'll work on some photos and try to get them posted this weekend. Until then, I've missed you and hope to be back more often as things begin to slow down.

Sunday, September 21

My Son

This month has been choke full of life. My only son had his 9th birthday, and while I'll not wax poetic about how it seems like yesterday he was a tiny bundle of joy and cuddles...I will honor him with a quick post about all that is embodied in a boy of this age.
My son is:
Pokemon cards (200 +)
Webkinz (15)
Wii (2 new games)
(wants to be an artist and a photographer when he grows up)
Spy games
Silly voices
Dancing crazy
Begging me not to leave for a few hours with friends
(yes, he's still quite attached to me)

Life is never boring being the Mom of a 9 year old boy. And it keeps getting better and better.
My Son.

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Wednesday, September 3

Constructive purposes

yard wide web
Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

When I went outside to grab the newspaper I noticed this beautiful spider web hanging between my tree and the shrubs. Its pattern, though not perfect, was done with obvious diligence.

Life, as we all know, goes by too fast. We spend our days trying to get as much done as we can in the limited hours we are awake. Our children complain that life is too slow. "That's too far away" is an often heard complaint around here when we talk about an upcoming event. In this life God has granted, I find that I fall short much too often in areas of importantance...but somehow I accomplish many trivial tasks merely because I can. I have decided to focus on more of the meaningful things in life in my day to day workings. I want to take more time for quiet time with my Bible and communion with the Lord. I want to sow into relationships in a way that blesses them. I want to know that when I look back at these days that I did more than make sure I caught the Today show regularly or see that my health is greatly improved to reflect a godly stewardship of the body God has given to me.

Wednesday, August 20

Holes that make us whole

I found this shell while walking along the beach last week that struck a chord within my spirit. It looked a bit like a heart with a key hole in it....the sand shifted by the time I got a clear picture making it less heart shaped looking, but still the image was frozen there. I've thought about this image since then dozens of times. To me, the purest part of the heart with a key slot is that they key is required to fully make the heart complete, without the key there is still a hole there....but filling the hole makes it whole.

In my life I've had times of fulfillment and times of want. I've had times when I recognized the need for something or someone to fill a hole in my life. Early in my life I had the need for Someone, and He filled my life in a big way. As an adult, I find myself in cycles of times where I have a need, but I'm not sure what is needed to make me feel filled. As a mother, I've struggled at intervals for something more...something different, also as a wife. Always, and I do mean always, that need comes to my life and fills my empty spaces, not always in the ways I imagined, but always exactly how it is needed.

There, in that shell, my thoughts were triggered in a "key-hole" moment. Something clicked in place for me...something that I think I might have always known but not always in my consciousness:

The need that comes in our lives is by design! We have been designed to have needs. Just like a door with a lock is designed to need a key...the key is the integral part of the lock...the function being the lock, when fit with the key lets one in. My heart has many keys. On my key chain of life are these keys:
1. My savior
2. My husband
3. My children
4. My friends (some of which are also family)
5. My family
6. Photography
7. Travel
8. Writing
9. Music
10. Reading

These are some of my main ones. I enjoy seeing what key the Lord will use to open another area of my heart. What are your keys?
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Friday, August 8

Breathe in, Breathe out.

While on my trip with Jean 2, I found this shirt that summed up the feelings we had during our adventures. We both have children, husbands, responsibilities, and so much on our plates that it seems like we are serving a buffet. But during this trip we were just us. Just two women on an adventure. While we were on the deck of the ferry, water surrounding us and wind blowing softly in our faces, we were relaxed. Neither of us thought of dishes that needed to be put away. Neither of us were concerned with how much milk was in the refrigerator. Neither of us were sorting laundry, changing sheets, folding towels. We just were there. In the moment. Being who were are when all the other things of life are not pressing in on us. We took pictures. We texted our friends and families about how wonderful it was to be where we were. We talked. We relaxed. We took deep breaths and laughed. I have found the fresh air I needed to begin on the new year of school that starts the 25th.

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Tuesday, July 15

Autograph Please!

Recently on a trip to Chicago with friends I had the opportunity to see in person a famous actor. He was filming a movie that will come out next July about a famous criminal, the movie being set in the 1930's or 1940's. This man, J. ohnny D. epp, happened to be walking in to film a portion of the movie when my friends and I were walking down the road (video will be shared once I have the opportunity to get it edited for the web). My children, being very big fans of the P irates of the Caribbean movies, were/are thrilled with my brush with fame. My friends, with whom I was traveling, were also thrilled since they had been fans of his since their teen years. The meeting wasn't extraordinary, no physical embraces took place (although I'm sure my friends would have been thrilled with a hug) but it was the fame of the person that made the experience "something to tell".
The more I have thought about this experience, the more I began to wonder what it is that makes us so enamoured with celebrities...after all they are only people who get paid to be on film/t.v./radio. It's not like they have been gifted with special powers...I've yet to hear of a movie star giving sight to the blind, healing a lame man, or delivering mankind from their sinful nature. It's not that I disdain or have any kind of dislike for celebrities, but I simply see them as they are, just people. I have a friend who is related to a very popular celebrity couple. She is the sister. She is, to me, as important as the persons with the celebrity image. She is nice, kind, a loving mother, a giving aunt and has a deep vested interest in the local school. She is, to me, no less important than her family members. Maybe I should try to get her autograph.
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Saturday, July 12

Garages for Sale?

Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

Today my children had a garage sale. They all priced, arranged, negotiated, bagged, and made change. The sale was mostly their stuff that had been living in our home, growing and morphing into piles of disproportionate sizes. I also had items that I wanted rid of, so out it all went. We started setting up at 8 (I know, professional garage sellers start at 7...but I'm not crazy enough for that) opened the doors at 9 and finished by 3:30. After the completion we loaded all that was left and took it to the Disabled American Veterans charity. While loading up the leftovers, I also decided to grab as many clothes as I could find that I no longer needed and threw those in to be donated.
The result? Some money was made, even more space was gained and the kids learned a valuable lesson..."just because it costs $20 new doesn't mean you'll get more than $3 for it at your garage sale."

Friday, July 11

Update on the madness that was my day

So, stated, my phone went crazy, therefore I did too. I was without phone, email, etc...for eight hours. It was something that drove me a bit crazy. Then? My tv's stopped receiving signal due to a line issue with the satelite. Then? Then? I discovered that someone had left the big freezer open and ruined all the food. ALL. THE. FOOD. I had just restocked it two days ago. We then headed to a fun filled lunch at Fat Rat's (Chuck E Cheese) and to errands. I did have the foresight to shut the freezer tight so that they ruined food would first re-freeze before I had to clean it out, thereby avoiding the worst smelling garage for our garage sale tomorrow.
In summary:
My phone-back in order
My tv-working again
My freezer-full of spoiled food
My house--a wreck with garage sale stuff
My brain-crashing quickly.

:) Try to control your jealousy.

Iphone issues

Ok, so most of you who read my blogs (or know me just in passing) know that I love technology. My husband always gives me electronics over any other kind of bauble because that is my "diamonds". Last year for our anniversary he gave me my most favorite item to date, an IPhone. I use it constantly. And I do mean CONSTANTLY. Except. Today. Why?
Today there has been a release of the new IPhone, for those who either waited to get on the bandwagon or for those who want to upgrade for speed. I, however, am keeping my current phone and began the process to upgrade it with software. All was going great until I came downstairs to see my phone display a message scroll across my phone in six different (or seven..not sure because it was hard to read when my brain is about to explode) languages "slide for emergency". WHAT!?? I tried to restart. Nope. Nothing different. I tried resetting it. Nuh uh. I waited and tried again. Nyet. I disconnected and reconnected it to the computer. zilch. I finally called Apple...holding five minutes...then ten...not a good sign....beginning to wonder if there was a glitch in the upgrade...maybe a virus...what if phone is ruined....what am I going to do without my iPhone....THEY BETTER GIVE ME A NEW PHONE IF THIS DOESN'T WORK AGAIN.
"Hello, this is (insert some name that I cannot hear since my ears are only processing all sounds as white noise). I see that you have x number of days until your warranty expires. Would you like to upgrade to two years? (said sweetly, but not at all what I am worried about right now.)
(snickering I reply) "We'll see about that later, right now my IPhone needs help."
"Mrs. HappySahm, I'm sorry for your inconvenience. As you may know, the new 3g IPhone was released today."
(Rolling my eyes) "Yes, I'm aware of this."
(Responding with glee)"Well, our server is just jammed with folks activating their phones. Itunes is having a difficult time keeping up with the demand."
(groaning, I reply)"So, how long do you think this will take?"
(Pretending sympathy, like only those who's phones will not be affected, she returns)"Well, it could be a few hours. Just keep your phone connected to the computer and when it's your phones turn, it will begin to work."

I have places to go, things to do, twitters to update, facebook to check, text messages waiting to be sent, email that needs to be read, not to mention the fifty other things I do with my phone. And now she's telling my that I will have to use my desktop COMPUTER TO DO THIS? What is this? The stone ages????

So, as I wait, my fingers are trying to remember how to type normal. I sit with my currently defunct phone in front of me, with the "emergency slide" taunting me...while I try to remember how live a normal life...checking every five minutes for my IPhone (from hereon to be known as electronic c.rack) to spring back to life. (*sigh*)

Wednesday, July 9

Promotion Time

As you may recall from a few posts ago, Ryan and Christi have been taking swim lessons for the last seven days. They started out very fearful of getting their faces wet, willing to only "go under" as far as their chins. Today they were evaluated and were deemed "graduated to beginner level 2". I am so proud of their efforts and how well they did. They will start level 2 next week. This has been such a good experiece for them and for me to watch. Yay!

Tuesday, July 8

Treasure found

Treasure found
Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

Flickr is doing something wierd. Here's the photo that goes with the post just below.

Where your treasure is...

jaedon, baseball, susan or mexico 308
Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

While Rob and I were in Mexico we took time each day to find a few treasures that we thought our children would like to have or that struck us for one reason or other. Some of the items were just pretty shells, some of them were rocks that the ocean had formed with pits, bumps and colors. Rob tended to find shells that had either been homes to crabs or snails and I tended to look for asthetic beauty. Either way, each item was picked as a result of our judgement of beauty or interestingness. When I look back on the days spent finding the items the treasure lies in the memory of the day. I love knowing that we spent that time together thinking about the kids, looking for items that would be special to them.
There are two items I retained for my own to treasure and remember. One is the piece of aquamarine that I found (tiny blue-ish rock on top of the rock on the far left) and the foot shaped rock at the top left. Those two became special to me for a couple of reasons...The foot shaped one because when I found it the verse "Rejoice for the steps of a righteous man are ordered of God". I found a joy in that reminder that God is always there guiding my foot steps. The piece of aquamarine became mine without question since it is both my favorite color and my favorite stone, I plan to have it wrapped with gold wire and made into a necklace charm. The color, to me is the most soothing and relaxing color ever. The color brings to my memory the beautiful water, the wonderful sound of the waves and time spent with my husband.

Saturday, July 5

Girlfriends and Giggles

Remember the day you (if you're a girl/woman) that you first applied makeup? How about having your nails painted? Remember the feel of looking so grown up? For me it happened around age 12...although I was officially allowed to wear makeup at age 14. My oldest daughter awaited the magic grade, grade 8, with excitement and impatience. My second oldest has begun to look at makeup and plan for her induction into the makeup privileged population, which will happen next month. My youngest, age 5, as a result of all this makeup wearing has become fascinated with all things "girly" and pretty. If you are lucky enough to come by my house unannounced you might get a chance to see me in all my "makeover" glory.

Recently Christi was invited to a birthday party for a little girl that she me in gymnastics class a year ago, the same little girl who asked her to play t-ball with her. We arrived at the destination, Christi with her her shyness fully activated and me with my curiosity peaked. The name of the establishment, Girlfriends and Giggles, had somewhat prepared me, but not quite. We were ushered into a land of High School Musical music, glittery hair spray, multi-colored nail polish and flashy dress-up clothes. The girls dressed for their "Stage appearance", had makeup applied, hair styles performed, nails painted and then took the stage to greet their fans and have their photos taken by the paparazzi. All of the girls loved, loved, loved it. My precious one did get a bit nervous (as you can see in the photo) right before she took the stage. But by the end of the party she was dancing on the stage with the rest of the girls, giggling and having a wonderful time.
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Tuesday, July 1

Photo that is SUPPOSED to be showing up with the swim lessons post. ;)
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Swim Lessons

"Summer time and the livin' is easy. Summer time and my blogging gets cheesy" Oops! Guess those aren't the actual words to the song, but I do believe they fit me. :)

Yesterday was a big day for Christi and Ryan...they began their long awaited, eagerly anticipated swim lessons. One of the big universities does programs where you can get lessons for sessions of two weeks at a time for your little ones with a maximum of four kids in the class. Sign me up! We went for an evaluation of skills (does being able to sing 15 different Veggie Tales songs and knowing most of Mary Poppins by heart count as skills?) we were assigned a swim level. Beginner 1.

We arrived primed and ready...and late. I had misunderstood their lesson time so we had to take a later slot and waited around. It turned out to be a great thing because by the time it was their turn they were so READY to get in water. Ryan, who is a bit timid about water and who hates water in his eyes brought along goggles and asked to be last for each skill being taught to the three of them in the class. Teacher says "This time we are going to take turns putting our face in the water" Christi is able to get her face in for a nano-second and comes up wiping like a maniac. Ryan is able to dunk his chin and then smiles triumphantly. ;) Teacher says "Now we are going to dunk under to get our face and hair wet" Christi leans as far backward as possible to get all her hair wet but does not go under. Ryan raises his eyebrow at teacher and dunks as far as his ears and then stands back up. Teacher says "Great Job! Now we are going to learn how to float on our backs!" Ryan and Christi flatten themselves against the pool wall and ask to not be first. (I know, at this point you are marveling at the way I have been able to embed such adventurous kids. Don't worry, I'll write you a handbook if you would like.)
Well, by the end of the 30 minute lesson they were both putting their faces in the water COMPLETELY and they both floated on their backs unsupported. (It was so amazing that I had to include pictures of their incredible development in just one lesson.)
I am so proud of them overcoming their fears! At this rate they will be happily swimming unassisted before we head to Alabama's Gulf Shores. Woo Hoo!

Monday, June 30

Johnny Depp's Posse

Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

I have been blessed. My life overflows with gifts of love and kindness and friendship. I am wealthy in ways I never dreamed I would be. I'm not talking money, although I do not have an aversion to it ;) , but life.

I have always dreamed of travel. I used to think that my life would most fulfilled if I had a job that required me to travel as often as possible. Not because I was running from anything, but because I have such a thirst for different cultures, cities, states. I love to see how others are living, whose lives are being impacted in ways that I cannot imagine. Plus...I really love staying in hotels!

This summer is my dream come true. It has worked out that I get to travel four times. Once was with Rob (see previous post) and it as great. Now I have had the fun of going on a long girls weekend to Chicago with the two friends pictured above (I will withhold their names for privacy sake unless they give me release). The trip was a long anticipated 40th birthday celebration....for one of the others on the trip. {I know, looking at the picture you are having a hard time believing that one of the three is now's not me ;)}
We had a wonderful time of shopping touring and was so blessed to be the recipients of God's mercies on us. How?
1. We entered and won the opportunity to buy 4 tickets to "Wicked" at the price of $25 for $90 seats.
2. We had a close encounter of the star kind with Mr Johnny Depp, I think my travel mates are still giggling about that.
3. We procured said stars autographs to bring home to share with family along with video and photos to prove that it's really his autograph.
4. We met dozens of kind and considerate people in Chicago, some of whom we have exchanged emails.
5. We found great deals while shopping. Yippee! ;)
6. We arrived loving each other as heart-engaged friends...we returned home even closer.
7. We laughed until our abs hurt. (That's a lot of laughing)

We had a great time. My next trip? Jean 2 and I received frequent flyer tickets from my husband to go anywhere so we've chosen the Nantucket/Martha's Vineyard/Hyannis area. Look out Massachusetts! :)

Saturday, June 28

Resort of Relaxation

Resort of Relaxation
Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

Whew! Things have finally slowed down enough for me to do some blog posting. It seems like May and June tend to slapshot me like a hockey puck in the last seconds of a tied score hockey game. Kids have programs, field trips, graduations, t-ball, camp and then this year Rob and I got to take a summer vacation which I followed by a long weekend in Chicago (those photos will come in a few days after I cover the pics from vacation).

So, where do parents of four that have been married for 17 years go to get away from it all and just have time to themselves? Mexico! I am willing to go many places, but my beloved has fallen in love with the shores of Mexico. This year we went to the Riviera Maya to a lovely gourmet resort titled "El Dorado Resort and Spa". The weather was lovely (only rained a couple of times..unlike in Missouri where it began the month of flooding) and the sun was warm (but not too warm) and the food was wonderful (sushi, italitian, mexican, mediterranian).

We met a lovely couple there who were on their honeymoon. We had a chance to visit, share our testimonies with each other and I believe start what will be a beautiful friendship.

Throughout it all I had praise songs of thankfulness and blessing that cycled through my mind...almost like a worship cd had been downloaded into my brain. I believe the Lord did this to keep my heart and spirit in the right place...mindful of what it means to be one in spirit with Him and with my husband. We fell in love again and again, talked and laughed. What a blessing!

Monday, May 19

Green bags

Have you noticed that you can no longer go a single day without hearing the word "green" in association with the enviornment, food, cars, products, parenting, etc.? I'm not against being "green minded" in many areas, as long as it isn't the route that leads me down finacial ruin just to be politacally correct. I am one who does what I think is best for my family. I try to be a good steward of the planet and all that God has given me, but I am also in favor of pesticides that rid my home of ants/bugs/spiders. I buy organic makeup, but only because it makes my skin really healthy, organic shampoo because it doesn't damage my hair and use things packaged in recycled materials if it happens to be less expensive. But when I came across "these bags"recently I was skeptical{note: move your mouse over the words "these bags" and it will give you a link to click to view the bags}. Not because of the name "Green Bags" but because of what they promoted. "Keep fruits and vegtables fresh for up to 30 days" the infomercial stated. They showed some moldy tomaotoes that had been left out (I admit mine have ended up like that more times than I can count) and then some in the bag. WOW...THEY'RE STILL GOOD AFTER 14 DAYS! Last Monday, during therapy a trip to Target, I came across these bags at the end of an aisle and decided for the price I would give them a try. I mean, come on, if they do work it would save me some major cash since my family usually ends up tossing at least $15 worth of fruits and veggies a month from the crisper.

I have to say...they work GREAT! To test the bags I put bananas in one, tomatoes in one, and apples in one...and left them on the counter in my fruit bowl...a week ago. All of them are still healthy, fresh and even the tomatoe is still firm and the banana is still bright yellow. Yay!

I know, I sound a bit infomercial=ly myself, but when I find something that actually works, I have to share! :)

Monday, May 5

Putting on my shoes

I've been gradually working myself toward getting in shape. I looked for motivation, but found cookies. I prayed for self control but bought control-top hose. I asked for a treadmill and found out that it doesn't do any good if you're not on it. But today I put on my shoes. I turned the treadmill on and stepped into action. I ate right and found my motivation. Where did I find it? How did I do it? I counted how many days I have until I am scheduled to be sitting on the beach in Mexico and decided that I would rather look back and know that I had at least done something to make myself a little more confident rather than look back and regret that I had not put forth at least a tiny bit of effort. I know a month isn't a huge amount of time to get myself in peak shape (DUH!) but at least I am on my way. By the time the new school year dawns I will no longer be pudgy mom of four, but at least somewhat reasonably in shape mom of a high schooler and a kindergartener.

Friday, April 25

Happy Spring...Finally

spring blooms
Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

Yesterday I took a walk with my youngest and her friend at a local park. It was still flooded in the lower areas due to recent rains that have followed the tornados, ice storms, and other crazy weather. (As I type this there are 15 men and 1 woman atop my roof repairing the damage done by the hail and high winds)

I am quite happy to bid "hello" to spring and look forward with hope an joy to flowers, green grass and vacations.

Monday, March 31

Horsing Around

Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

Yesterday we finally had a birthday party for young Christi. It was horse themed (duh!) at a local park board owned farm. There were wonderful animals for the kids to pet, watch and learn about. The park was great, the staff wonderful and best of all, the kids got to pet a mini-horse named bandit. The cupcakes ended up being a great last minute order...I had planned on asking Stacy to do it, but then when we were hit with snow days, flooding and every other weather phenom...well, it just made it easier to walk in the day before, order the horse themed cupcakes. I'm sure Stacy's would have been better, but at least I didn't have to make them. :)

Sunday, March 23

Eggcellent color

Eggcellent color
Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

The kids and I spent time last night coloring eggs for our Easter deviled eggs....there's something signifcant about using our eggs that celebrate resurrection to make eggs named after the devil. :)

I thought the eggs turned out rather beautiful. The trick? Sharpies! Yep, drawing on the eggs before coloring them made them rather vivid and special.

Happy Easter! And though Easter isn't about eggs, chocolate bunnies nor jelly is a fun way to celebrate such a joyous day.

Monday, March 3

Happy birthday Christine

Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

Yep! She's 5. And beautiful. And she prayed for snow for her birthday. And...I made a PRETTY cake. I'll post a photo soon. ;)

Friday, January 18

My Family

I finally got my children all together for portraits and to put together a shot for our New Years Cards. This one is not the one on the card, but one of my favorites.

Sunday, January 6


My family and I had a wonderful Christmas and New Years. The contrast from last year to this year was amazing. It was such a relaxing and joyful time unmarred by drama and chaos...we remarked on it so many times that it became our motto "It's so much more Christmas-y this year!"
Last year, although I didn't blog about it, was wrought with drama and was marred midway by sadness and anger and then progressed into release and freedom. (The particulars aren't necessary, just the message) Holy Spirit took our family on a path that required death of self, forgiveness (for our hearts' benefit) and eventually release. We as parents were forced to introduce the harsh truth of what happens when someone you have loved and trusted breaks that and heads into rebellion and deception. We were completely honest with them about the sin that had happened and the things that followed. It broke all of our hearts. And we said "goodbye" to that relationship. This all happened as we were also saying "goodbye" to GreatGrandma. It was a very difficult time.
But, as all paths do, there finally came a bend in the path, it started leading us into different areas of freedom. It reminded us that we have to guard our hearts against sin and yet still be hopeful for redemption for those who are walking terrible paths by choice. It encouraged us to cling to truth and honesty, to look for the fruit of the person and not the words of their mouths. It provided a practical lesson for our children, that you must side with truth and The Word at all costs, regardless of rejection and sentimentality (Sometimes people that we love will do very bad/wrong/sinful things and we must be willing to stand for truth regardless of the world's stand on it) It also allowed us to teach them that we can line up with those in truth even if it is the unpopular choice and come out better for it.

As I sat at lunch with my family I reflected on the path of the past and the message that our pastor gave at church today I had such a deep sense of peace for the coming of the toxic issues of last year, removed from the drama and stress and happily engaged in a life full of peace and joy. And I proclaim "The Best is Yet to Come!"

Tuesday, January 1

Heading into the new year

The path may seem a bit foggy and unclear, but the road still remains. As we head into 2008 I am taking a few minutes to look forward..we so often look back at the "good ole days" that in the scope of reality were just the old days. Sure, some things great happened. Yes, we did lose a few friends and family along the way that are still missed today. But while we were in those days they were just like these days...they were life. So I am looking forward to what it is that I can do to make the coming days, weeks, months and years not only memorable but also meaningful.
  • This year, in 2008, my second daughter will turn 13 (in two days). She is a teenager now, along with the oldest. My hope is to help her establish a more positive self esteem and to learn to love herself just as she is. I hope for her success and accomplishment in all areas of interest. I hope for her to make some deep and nourishing friendships.
  • This year my youngest turns 5 years old. She will start Kindergarten in the fall, a fact that is mentioned by her weekly with excitement and joy. My goal is to encourage that excitement, to feed that joy and prepare her (and myself) to enter the doors of her classroom with confidence and be okay with a touch of sadness.
  • This year my son will turn nine years old. He, being my only boy, will grow in ways that I do not yet know or am able to predict. He is learning french in school, he writes in cursive, he reads voraciously, he is a gentleman (I find him often standing holding the door for countless people just because he knows its a meaningful gesture) he is a whiz at computer games and continues to astound me in so many ways. He is a soccer kid. I do not know what lies ahead, but I look forward to watching him.
  • This year my oldest will finish middle school and enter her first year of high school. My goals for her are to encourage her to explore as many avenues of talent, interest and joy as we can find and not let her fears, insecurities nor challenges keep her from trying. I hope for her to keep and nourish wonderful friendships that carry her throughout her school career.
  • This year my husband and I will celebrate 17 years of marriage. My only hope is that we have a continued life of the joy and love we have developed and to love each other more and better.

Happy New Year and Blessings to you and your family!

NOW faith is the substance of things hoped for (Heb. 11:1a)