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Saturday, October 31, 2009

a box and a rope

the favorite toys as of late....i love the way boys create fun out of "everyday" items.
I stopped by a local appliance store and humbly asked for an extra box. They were happy to part with it and the boys had days of indoor fun....
and then we have the faithful rope, this thing turned up out of nowhere and has been the best "toy" this entire Summer and Fall. Thank you Mr. Rope for entertaining my children.....

I have this great piece of paper on our refrigerator. I picked in up at the bank earlier this Summer. It's a helpful reminder of the endless ways we can turn everyday moments into fun learning opportunities. Try adding some of these to your regular routine:

  • let your child help
  • pretend
  • have a conversation
  • introduce a new food
  • sing a song
  • ask your child's opinion
  • invent something
  • laugh together
  • share a memory
  • go outside
  • play a game

Paisley is 6 months old!

Yesterday our sweet Baby turned 6 months old! Oh, we are so in love with her!! She brings great JOY to all of us, her Daddy and Mommy and her two big brothers!
She is the apple of her Daddy's eye. I see God's love in the way Jake loves her.
Secure. Confident. Assured. Safe.
"Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him,
for he shields him all day long,
and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders."
Deuteronomy 33:12

Monday, October 26, 2009

anderson cooper

looks like my husband....seriously, i was thrown for a loop!

My niece put that picture of Anderson on her facebook with the caption that says, "I heart Anderson Cooper" and here are the comments that were left......

Janelle Stoltzfus
me too. he is so calm, he reminds me of Jake when I watch him 'cause he doesn't have much facial expression, but he means so deeply what he says!!
October 21 at 10:57pm

Lindsay Beiler
and he looks like Jake-holy cow. when i was in NYC a few years ago with my school we went to the CNN studio and he was there!! i freaked out.
October 22 at 3:40pm

Mitch Smucker
first thing i thought when i saw this picture was..Jake?? ha,then i read these comments and see i'm not the only one.
Sat at 10:20pm

Carson Smucker
Anderson Cooper's got nothin on Uncle Jake!!!
Yesterday at 12:53pm

Janelle Stoltzfus
he really does look like Jake in this picture....all focused and stuff! mitch, that's funny you thought that!

Megan Beiler
hahahahaah! this is hilarious. all the comments. and the picture. and the fact that he really does look like Uncle Jake. wow..
Yesterday at 7:28pm
I got a good laugh out of all that......

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Our 1st Tea Party

What a delightful day, my daughter and I had our first tea party. My dear friend and mentor Orpha treated Paisley & I to "high tea" at a local tea shop. It felt so good to get all dolled up and sit down to a quiet meal so elegantly served. Orpha held Paisley, kissing and hugging and cuddling her while I enjoyed every.single.bite and sip of my meal. Thank you Orpha for taking the time to make such sweet memories for me. Thank you also for giving me a break from the ordinary day-to-day life and making me feel like such a Lady! I am so blessed to have Godly, wise, real, integral, quality women in my life. It has always been important to me to have someone speaking into my life and that I am in turn speaking into someone else's life. On some days that "someone" may be my children, and on other days it may be a friend who needs a listening ear or a "shoulder to cry on." We all have someone in our life that we can give to, but do we have someone that gives to us? I encourage you today, that if you don't have someone you look up to, someone that builds you up and gives you sound counsel.....pray them into your life. God works through people, through relationships, through accountability and through cups of tea!

"Godly women~
may we be them,
may we know them,
may we raise them."
~unknown author~

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Today I, along with many others, remember the unbelievably short life that Logan Stoltzfus lived. He is the first born son to my dear friend Kara. He was born on October 18th, 2005 and died shortly after birth....he was perfect, although his lungs were not strong enough to support his life. Isn't he beautiful? They have never been the same and yet they have courageously continued living. What did not break them brought them closer together. I can say that I have watched in amazement at the unity that has taken place between she and her husband over the past four years.
I remember the morning well, receiving the phone call and collapsing to my knees, an instinctual reaction when crises hits. My heart couldn't handle what my mind was telling me. I barely slept for days as I called my family and friends with my raw, grieving voice and my broken heart. How will we get through this? How will I help my friend from drowning in these unknown waters? It was a storm, an unexpected, fast and furious storm. I'm sure there are many reading this now that understand what that looks and feels like.

Seven days after he was born, he was buried. This is what I wrote in my journal the night after his funeral. As I read it again today, I feel it just the same, possibly even deeper:

"Tonight I touched heaven....what courage I sensed in Clark and Kara this evening. Grace was thick in the air. I was surprised at how well she was doing. I was almost sick with nerves as we approached her parents place. I didn't know what she would be/act like during the funeral. She was so composed, elegant, graceful ~ a Mother. I knelt at his tiny white casket and touched his cold skin, his perfect face and long fingers. He just looked like he was sleeping, peacefully sleeping. He little mouth was open like a baby robin....waiting to be fed. But no earthly food will stain those lips, only the spirit food of heaven! How wonderful! How delicious!.....My Mother heart beats with hers....God, be near."
And He was....and He has.....not always in obvious ways, but there nonetheless. They felt abandoned, helpless and hopeless at times, God seeming so far away. So many of their hopes, plans and dreams came to a screeching halt. Those days were hard and foggy, I remember her using the word "nightmare" more then a time or two. I say this now, not because their life is perfect, but because it is healing....the wound isn't quite so exposed. The skin of time has formed a scab. But there is and always will be a scar, a remembrance of what was or could have been. He will never be forgotten or replaced. Even as I watch Tyler grow I think of him. He and Tyler were 6 months apart and I am sure they would both be tall like their Daddy's.
Over the past four years they have had two healthy, beautiful children. Maddie is 3 and Max is 4 months old. I see Logan in him.
"When you've been broken, broken to pieces.
And Your heart begins to faint 'cause you don't understand.
And when there is nothing to rake from the ashes.
And you can't even walk onto the fields of praise.

I bow down and kiss the Son.
Oh, and I bow down and kiss the Son.
Let the praise of the Lord be in my mouth.
Let the praise of the Lord be in my mouth.

Well, though You slay me, I will trust You, Lord.
Well, though You slay me, I will trust You, Lord.
Though You slay me, I will trust You, Lord.
Though You slay me, I will trust You, Lord.

When the rock falls, falls upon you.
And you get ground to dust,
no music for your pain.
You open the windows, the windows of heaven.
And then You opened me and
You crushed me like a rose."

~"Kiss the Son" by Kevin Prosch~

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Paisley's 1st Tooth!!

My Baby Girl cut her first tooth today! Oh, the love of it all!! Poor Dear had 4 different fingers in her mouth at the dinner table tonight, to feel this new "breakthrough": Daddy, Mommy, Tyler and Luke.....
I would have NEVER done that with my firstborn....
put other people's fingers in his mouth on purpose...
ALOT changes the more children you have!

She brings such JOY to our lives!

"Laughter is like changing a baby’s diaper.
It doesn’t permanently solve any problems,
but it makes things more acceptable
for a while."


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

date night

sometimes it's so easy to let life take over and suddenly you have a roommate instead of a lover! we took some time, money, energy and thought to make this date night work and it was worth every minute. we went here and it was delicious, elegant and quiet! the longer i am married to this man the more i love him and appreciate him. he is the kindest man i know. i will love him forever and ever, amen.

"If you wonder how long Ill be faithfull
Ill be happy to tell you again
Im gonna love you forever & ever,
forever & ever amen"
~Randy Travis~

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tid bits...

We really love our church. There are many reasons we were drawn there, but the biggest reason is the practical, applicable teaching that is poured out EACH. WEEK. Every week we make the 2 mile trek back home and say to one another, "everyone needs to hear that message!!" and we mean it!

For some time now I've been wanting to post my "notes" from Sunday mornings....although they are tid-bits, sometimes all you need is a "tid" or a "bit" to encourage, uplift, challenge and inspire you:

Be encouaged today.....

*a command is God's choice for you.
*a command is my choice for my children.
*many treat Christianity as a cultural heritage & not a reality of day-to-day life.
*Don't just tell your children what to do "because I'm the Mom" ask them you believe I love you?, do you believe I have your best interest in mind?, am I older then you?, etc.
one wags a finger and is built on requirement, the other is based on relationship.
*speaking about relationships with others~hatred can be expressed by indifference; a neither "here nor there" attitude, a nod, a wave, a "hey" instead of being TRULY present with them.
*True love will demonstrate itself for one another and not do as hatred does which is to "give up on" the other person.
*True love goes the extra mile and prays that God would pour out His best on that person....true love gifts them! GIVES in a gift card, a wrapped present, something tangible....this reestablishes relationship in the most selfless way!
*We must CHOOSE the right people to impact our lives.
*Most people pick friends according to who'll tell them what they WANT to hear as opposed to what they NEED to hear.
*Find someone to set me straight and give them permission to counsel and correct me and tell them it's okay to be the door to accountability.
*If you have someone that is a true friend, speaking into your life and holding you accountable, hold them tight and celebrate them.....if you don't have someone, pray them into your life.
*don't "set up shop" or "build a little cabin" near the edge of darkness. Little slivers of darkness begin to captivate and cultivate until they become the absolute downfall of a person.
*Let my walk not only be in word, but in DEED.

Friday, October 9, 2009


My Mom is awesome. I started out thinking that and then went through a phase where I wasn't so sure and now, thanks be to God, I'm back again!! She's not just awesome because she helps me with my newborn babies or randomly cleans my home or brings us dinner or sends me funny comic strips and newspaper articles or prays for me and my children by name, everyday.....all these things are wonderful, but she, as a PERSON is where the awesomeness lies. She is strong, brave, compassionate, kind, merciful, giving, warm, and if you want a GOOD hug, she's the one to come to! I've come to love this poem....helps keep things in perspective! My awesome Mom and I made applesauce the other day.
My Dad saved us a lot of time and work by getting up early and cutting the apples for us.
Thanks Dad!
Next they were cooked in this big pot and turned to mush....
then placed in the strainer....or whatever it's called....what IS this thing called? and with the push of a button the apples were squeezed into applesauce.
a spoonful, (or bag full!) of sugar was added....

the jars were washed and the hot applesauce poured into them.....
such a rewarding part of the process,
watching the yumminess being canned knowing that in January
I will have a bowl full of August....
Sweet Paisley watching Grandma and Mommy....
our little canning station.
Let me explain this picture:pictured on the far right is my Dad's beloved wood pile....this is akin to his very own World Series Trophy or Super Bowl ring....or his own Stanley Cup, I mean seriously, every.year. this man puts so much pride into this wood pile it's just about humorous!
Further Left, behind Paisley's car seat you will see the red wagon:
don't know where it came from, but it's been around for quite some time and the grandchildren like to take it for a makes for some great pictures. And it is the wagon that was used on our wedding day to pull some of the "baby" flower girls down the aisle.

Continue with me to the corner on the far left....I honestly don't know what to call this other then
my Dad's "little spot on the earth." I sat in the old recliner and looked about at all his.....stuff.....
and had a good chuckle! Old newspapers, small strands of baler,(or is it bailer?) twine, shotguns, labeled tools, pictures of his children, old calenders, pictures of horses, old church bulletins....and the thing is, it all means something to him. I am not making fun of him in anyway because I am my Father's Daughter...
Our finished product:

Precious Paisley very excited for the sweetness that will be hers in a few months.....

"October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came-
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band."-

~George Cooper, October's Party~

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ocean City, NJ

Can you have a Summer without at least ONE trip to the beach.....I think not! I was brave/stupid/crazy/desperate enough to drive to Ocean City, NJ this past July for the day....



If I had to do it again, I would at least spend the night and have another day there. Our Pastors daughters came along so the ratio for caregiver to child was 1:1 ~ this was good.
I love these girls....and so do my boys!
Their Grandparents LIVE at the beach so we had a "home base" ~ this was also good. We headed out bright and early and after 3 1/2 hours on the road, (mesmerized by the faithful heaven sent portable DVD player) we arrived safely.....we went right to the beach with all our gear. Their Grandpa helped carry all our stuff and I nicknamed him our "Cabana Boy!" We spent the day playing in the waves, lying in the sand, eating watermelon with two forks and red Italian, I mean Ice and getting some sun on our backs. Luke took a nap on the beach blanket, bless his heart...while Tyler played and played! Paisley sat in her seat and got sand in her cracks....leg and arm cracks that is!

After our day on the beach we went back to our "home base." We took naps and enjoyed the air conditioning and love of the quintessential Grandpa and Grandma! I want to be like that when I grow up....welcoming strangers into my home and feeding them!! Here's Tyler totally doing a little impromptu model pose...he thought he looked so handsome. "Let me look in the mirror and see how handsome I am!" HA!!!!
Can a picture get sweeter? Precious girl in the forefront and Kohr's ice cream in the background!

and then the rides....such DELIGHT!

some poses in polos on the dunes...gotta have some of them.
Tyler age 4
Luke age 2
Luke is cracking me up! I love his "cheese" smile!

Do I look tired or what? I was exahusted and thinking about the 3 1/2 hours ahead of me.
It took me a few days to recover from my "day trip", but I would do it all over again.
I can always capture my sleep, but not the Summer of '09.

"Let's get up early now,
dive clear into the day.
Let's get out of the car with open arms..."
Innocence Mission~