Sunday, November 30, 2008


As this Thanksgiving weekend comes to an end, I am pondering the many things I am thankful for.

Simple things - the smell of coffee in the morning and the chatter of kids.

Things I take for granted - a place to live, a car to drive, and money for groceries.

Things I should be more thankful for - a husband who never complains about what's for dinner and plays with the kids afterwards.

Things I remember - family vacations, the smell of Grandma's house, and sneaking down the hall on Christmas morning with my brother and sister.

The good times - the births of babies, summer cookouts, baseball games, piano recitals, afternoon visits with friends.

The hard times - the loss of babies, too many hours spent in hospitals, family and friends taken too soon.

The precious moments - a kiss from a toddler, football with all the kids on Thanksgiving, hot chocolate and movies, quiet moments with my husband.

Life is far from perfect, but there is much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gift of God

Jonathan means gift of God and that is is exactly why he was given this name eight years ago today. After three miscarriages and plenty of heartache, I thought our family was complete - mom, dad, girl, boy.

Fortunately, I am not in total control and in the spring of 2000, I was surprised, excited and a bit frightened at the idea of being pregnant again. Besides, I had given all baby things away thinking it was better for other folks to use them than for them to just sit in the attic.

I remember having a conversation with Ken early on that March morning about his thoughts on our family increasing and something he said caused me to make a bee line to the drug store for a pregnancy test. I couldn't think about anything else, so with two little children in tow, I was off. I took the test as soon as I arrived home and let the little kids call Ken at work to tell him that his suspicions were correct - we were having another baby!

I won't lie - the pregnancy was long and emotional. There were many days I wondered if he would actually get here safely. I was very tired, but it was also a time of learning to trust in the God I said I believed in. It was so much easier to just talk about believing that God has a good plan even when things are hard than to actually walk through the hard stuff with a faith that says I believe. There were so many things to be worried about right down to the fact that my first two children arrived rather quickly when labor started, and now I lived thirty minutes from the hospital. I often wondered if we would make it there in time.

Jonathan arrived safely Thanksgiving weekend and we had plenty of time. All those items I had given away didn't matter as people loaned or gave us all that we needed. We did not have to purchase anything. Our friends and family brought so many meals, I didn't have to cook until after New Year's. It was amazing how every detail seemed to work out - God truly provided every thing we needed.

So today as I stand in amazement of God's handiwork, I will remind my little pretender with the vivid imagination what an incredible gift from God he is.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Little Things

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. ~ Robert Brault

This is the place I want to live. These are the things I want to focus on during the day. Life really is only a breath and I don't want it to slip past me while I am trying to check things off my to do list.

I am thinking that in thirty years I won't remember not being able to hear myself think for the sound of the piano, but I will remember the beautiful songs played all day and the students who benefited from her passion to play.

I imagine that several years from now I won't think so much about how annoying it was that he threw everything and anything that resembled a sphere, but I will remember all those weekends at the ball field and the trips and memories that went with them.

In the not so distant future, I won't think so much about Play Mobile and army men scattered all over the floor, but I'll miss the imagination of a little boy who grows up much too fast.

Some day I will crawl into my bed and sleep the entire night all by myself and, oddly enough, I will long to hear the pitter patter of little feet on the way to slip under the covers and snuggle with me.

There is always one child who wants to get up and talk before I finish my coffee, always a little one who wants to be in my lap no matter what I am doing, a teenager who wants to talk late at night when I just want to sleep, and another who is constantly moving, drumming, throwing and always wants something to eat. These are the little things in my life. These are the things that make me feel crazy and completely overstimulated by the end of the day. These are the things I will miss the most as soon as they are gone.

So today I will try again to really live in these moments, to see all these interruptions as opportunities to snuggle, engage in meaningful conversation, see the world through their eyes instead of mine. Today I will recognize that sleep is overrated and it's much more fun to stay up late talking to a teenager. Today I will relish in the music - the pounding of drums, the melody of the piano, even guitar hero. And tonight when I hear the pitter patter of little feet, I'll smile and pull back the covers to invite this small invader of my sleep.

Much faster than I am willing to admit, the little things will fade and the kids will grow up. The constant interruptions will slow, my house will be clean, and I will have quiet times to write. But for now, I will try a little harder to embrace all those little things that seem like a pain at the moment, but really are the heart beat of raising a family.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Funny Stuff

Today Jonathan had to go to the dentist. Obviously, this is not his favorite activity and all through breakfast, he was trying to convince me that he really didn't need to go. I assured him that the dentist would only brush his teeth and take pictures. As he continued eating and contriving, he promised that he could brush his teeth as well as the dentist. When that didn't work, his final plea was, "Can't we just take pictures of my teeth and send it to the dentist?"

Monday, November 3, 2008

It is Well

It is Well with my Soul is my favorite song of all time and I love the story of the old hymn just as much as the song itself. Last week's CBS lesson was a reminder that I can have peace whatever my lot.

Horatio Spafford was a Chicago lawyer who endured incredible personal tragedy, yet trusted fiercely in God that all would be well. The story goes something like this:

In 1870, Mr. Spafford's only son died of scarlet fever. Then, in the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, he lost all of his real estate holdings. A couple of years later, Horatio and Anna Spafford decided to take the family to Britain to help D.L. Moody on an evangelistic campaign. Mr. Moody needed the help and the Spaffords needed to get away. At the last minute, Mr. Spafford was detained on business, but Anna and the girls headed for Europe as planned aboard a French steamer in November 1873. The plan was for Horatio to join them a little later. Sadly, their ship collided with another in the Atlantic Ocean and nine days later, Mr. Spafford received a telegram from his wife in Wales that read, "Saved alone." All four of their daughters were among the 226 that drowned when the ship sank in just twelve minutes. Horatio Spafford boarded the next ship bound for Europe to be with his grieving wife. As his ship passed over the place where his daughters had died, Horatio Spafford penned the words to this timeless hymn.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

My favorite remake is by Audio Adrenaline and Jennifer Knapp. There's not a great video that I can find, but you can listen to it here.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A New Twist on Making the List

This morning at the breakfast table, our family was discussing the fact that Christmas is only a few, short weeks away. In addition, the two youngest kids have birthdays in November and December. Needless to say, they are beginning to tell me daily the things they would like to have for their birthdays and Christmas.

I can still remember each Christmas going through the pages of the Sears catalog, making a list of the things I wanted for Christmas. The list was always much longer than what I knew I would actually receive, but it was so much fun to make The List. Of course, I always made my list with pencil and paper; it was the only way to insure that mom and dad knew just what I wanted.

As we were discussing birthday and holidays wants this morning, Jonathan was telling me exactly what he wanted for his birthday. He was very careful to tell me the exact name and he was very specific to tell me he wanted it for his birthday, not Christmas. When he had finished with his elaborate descriptions, he said, "And if you forget, don't worry, the commercial is DVR'ed."

DVR'ed? Are you kidding me? I suppose in this technological age there is no longer the need for pencil and paper to make The List. This year the commercial is DVR'ed by an eight year old; next year I'm sure he'll email me a list of his favorites from various toy company websites.

And I guess I shouldn't complain. I mean with a commercial to watch, I won't have to worry about the handwriting or spelling of items on the list and I can experience the wants and desires of my children in full color and surround sound. Yes, making The List has certainly changed.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Baking Bread

Eating is probably one of our favorite things to do and with a large family, I spend a lot of time thinking about food, planning menus, and shopping for food. My family loves homemade bread, but I have to tell you that I do not grind my own wheat nor do I knead the dough by hand. I applaud those who do this or have fancy machines to do it for them, but really, I don't think I want it that badly.

A while back while visiting Money Saving Mom, I discovered a wonderful recipe for wheat bread that kneads in the bread machine and bakes in the oven. Now this I can handle as someone gave us a bread machine a couple of years ago and we have put it to good use this fall as we bake this bread several times a week.

This recipe is so simple (even my teenagers can handle it), only takes about ten minutes to get the machine going and in less than two hours - homemade bread!

Put the ingredients into the machine in this order:

2 tsp yeast
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp milk
1 cup warm water

Set the machine to manual and let it run. When this cycle is complete, place dough in greased loaf pan, cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled. Bake at 350 25 to 30 minutes.