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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Our own acre

Paisley still isn't feeling so good, a bit of croup. Last night I sat under a blanket that was draped over the warm mist humidifier, then bundled her up real good and sent her on a little evening stroll with her Daddy. I think that helped....she breathed and therefore slept much better. Thanks to my facebook friends for some advice! Good ol' Lancaster County wisdom passed down from our Mom's....anyway, the boys are with their Daddy this morning at church and I'm here with Paisley and my nephew Chase who is spending the weekend with us so his parents can sit around and do nothing for once in their lives be refreshed. So I had a chance to read this morning, I like the way this describes us as individuals:

"...every single one of us at birth is given an emotional acre all our own....everyone gets one.  And as long as you don't hurt anyone, you really get to do with your acre as you please.  You can plant fruit trees or flowers or alphabetized rows of vegetables, or nothing at all.  If you want your acre to look like a giant garage sale, or an auto-wrecking yard, that's what you get to do with it.  There's a fence around your acre, though, with a gate, and if people keep coming onto your land and sliming it or trying to get you to do what they think is right, you get to ask them to leave. 
And they have to go, because this is your acre." 
 ~Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott~
"And yet, we know both from statistics and from Biblical wisdom, that no family becomes righteous without the devoted teaching and intentional training of their parents. We also know that when the next generation of adults, (the children in our homes), are neglected, then the future adults will have no godly character, no purpose or direction and will cultivate the demise of culture.

I think that scripture teaches us to live by faith. There can be many ways of working out a family life in which righteousness is passed on to children. We must trust the Holy Spirit to direct and accomplish His will in each family according to His direction." an excert from this blog that I also read this morning. 
Sometimes I don't know exactly what "righteousness" looks like here in our home.  I can assure you it's not when I'm yelling at my boys to stop fighting or when I feel like I'm going to loose my sanity while trying to make dinner without burning it, hold a hungry baby, keep the boys out of the kitchen, and fold the last, (or first) of the laundry. ..all at the same time!!  So, in times like that I will apply those words, "we must trust the Holy Spirit to direct and accomplish His will in each family according to His direction." 

We're not alone and don't forget it!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Paisley girl ~ 9 months

Our Sweet Paisley is 9 months old today.
This is her.
And she truly is this happy most of the time.
Smiles easily.
Laughs Loud.
Drinks in any love that comes her way.
She loves to have books read to her.
She just sits on my lap and laughs at each page.
She likes to eat.
a lot.
and often.
She has rolls and cracks that could make The Pillsbury Doughboy jealous.
And she is edible, I'm quite certain of it.
She is content to play with nothing.
She will sit on the floor and just soak in life.
She started crawling last week and the world is at her fingertips.
She's as tall as some 1 year olds.
She wears pink.
A lot.
I have so much to learn from her.
One of those things is to be content
Yet at the same time,
try something new.....everyday.
Here's Paisley in her little corner of the earth.

"Remember when all we had to do
was to keep our ponytails straight and catch fireflies?"
~Author Unknown~

Friday, January 29, 2010

Writing Class~week 1 (updated)

Hi. I've enjoyed a semi-quiet night on our couch last evening with my required reading for the writing class I'm taking. The book is called, "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott. I really enjoy her way of connecting with her reader. I feel like she's my friend and I'm only on page 39.

I've decided to go back to week 1 and put down some of my short writings that I was too *worried* to put down earlier. What will people think about what I write? Yada-yada-I'm-in-sixth-grade-again. I've been thinking lately that my blog isn't really for you, as much as I appreciate and am humbled that you would take a few minutes of your day or month or year to read my words.

This blog is for posterity's sake.
This blog is for my sanity.
This blog is for me.

And just because I'm curious, if you're reading this and have a blog, why do YOU blog? I'd love to hear.

And if you happen to be encouraged or humored or inspired along the way then that is awesome too. I'm saving $$ in an envelope called "Print Blog". I'd like to print the posts from my blog each year, but with the amount of posts I've been having that book will; 1.) cost some pretty pennies, 2.) not be thin and 3.) bring me great joy to have my words on paper.

Our one assignment from week one was to take five minutes and write about a happy moment in childhood:

"I could barely wait for the school bus to stop. Already I was out of my seat and to the front of the bus, toes on the revered yellow line, before the screeching brakes brought me to a halt. I ran inside my home, changed into my old clothing and out the door again ~ faster then yesterday. September came and stole my June and I wasn't ready to say goodbye. My playhouse under the pines awaited my arrival."

Next, we were to take 5 minutes and write about a painful moment in childhood:

"He lay lifeless in the ladies arms, brown fur coated in red.
We lived on a corner and my dog didn't know it.
I visited his burial site more then twice a day
and poured water on top of the fresh dirt,
just in case he was thirsty."

And lastly, we were to take that same memory and write it in 3rd person, (someone else's perspective):

"I was late, my mind was cluttered with my to-do list; rent was due, there was nothing to eat for dinner, appointments, demands. Suddenly my body reacts to the unfamiliar and heart dropping THUD of life under tires. I carefully pulled over and see to my left the lovely dog, someones dog, lying lifeless on the warm pavement. I burst into tears knowing that my day has just become worse then I had time to digest. I pulled death into my arms and walked toward the little white house. Blood dripping."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

sips of milk

Tyler counted out loud the number of sips of milk he took
at the end of his cereal inhalement.
I was instantly transported back to my own childhood kitchen,
glass bowl with blue ducks on it in my hand...
numbers on my lips and milk down my chin.

Sometimes it's scary how much i see myself in him,
not bad scary, just crazy scary.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Writing Class~week 2

First of all, "My Sisters Keeper" is the BEST SOUNDTRACK EVER!!!! I'm listening to it now!

In case you missed it, here is a post from my writing class~ Week One.

Last night was my 2nd writing class and as usual, it was enlightening, challenging and inspiring. Shawn talked about our "narrative voice" and how it's sounds very much like the voice we use everyday; it's unique, sets us apart, let's US be heard as an individual. The ultimate goal as a writer is to be published....

kidding, that's NOT the goal, but many have focused on that instead of the TRUE goal which is to DEVELOP YOUR VOICE. There are several ways to do that, one of them is reading. Read to improve your writing. Not just picking up a book and reading the words, but reading the tone, the formation, the style, detail, sentence structure, pace. "Close reading can become one of my greatest teachers" he said. And you know what, I've never done that before. I know what I like to read, but I couldn't tell you exactly why. So, as part of our homework this week we are to read CLOSELY a few paragraphs by our favorite authors.

Our assignment in the first minute of class: Take 5 minutes and write about school recess:
"Freedom or bondage. School Recess.
The smell of fresh air, the freedom to run.
Girls in a corner, can I join in?
I'm twelve, but pretending to be sixteen.
Should I play or should I stand?
My growing self wants to stay little,
to not be afraid to shout, leap, sprint, cartwheel.
It's uncertain what is acceptable anymore....
freedom or bondage."

Next, we were to pick one character from that writing and write about them:

"It's rough being yelled at constantly.
Never measuring up, always coming in last
and being placed under the broiler of life~
never let's up. heat. intense. summer.
It's rough being yelled at constantly
especially when it's the voice
that first whispered your name
welcoming you into this world.
cold world."

And lastly, we were to take that character and write about their greatest enemy:

"It's not right.
It's not perfect.
It's out of place.
Her greatest enemy was waiting for her
when she opened her eyes each sunrise.
Was waiting for her when she cracked open the bathroom
door each afternoon, finger in throat.
Waiting patiently each evening, pen in hand and
homework strewn about.
Never ceasing when the needle penetrated her thin skin~
soaking the vein with relief.
He would wait, he would wait~


And now our homework is to write a scene where this person meets up with their greatest enemy. We are to include a scene, word or idea that our parents would be very uncomfortable with. I like this idea. Shawn spoke about how true writing began for him when he stopped worrying what his parents would think. When you care so much about what others think about your writing it becomes "sanitized." Very true. (And don't worry, I won't be dropping the F bomb anytime soon in this blog)!! I still care a little about what you think!!
Lastly, I'll rephrase a bit of advice from last night~

knock it off with the cliques.
no one wants to read them.
they have no meaning.
they don't get any attention.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Park City Plucking!

Today was a normal day, a fun day out for the kids at our local mall. Ride a few rides, munch a few fries, sip some lemonade. And then it all came to a screeching halt! I bent down to get something out of the stroller and my sister gasp and looked at the top of my head. My eyes widened, "WHAT?" I said. "Shrish, oh Shrish", she said, (our nickname for one another). I'm thinking there's a taranchula or some sort of creature on my head, or perhaps a wad of dandruff, but no, it was my first gray hair, sprouting proudly out of the top of my head, like a palm tree in the dessert! She reached for it and PLUCK, out it came with a few other strands of dark black hair! She handed it to me and I just starred at it! It was long, course and just....just so ugly!

"Should I scrapbook it?" I said.
I don't even scrapbook, (I wish I did, but my children are all still jpeg files).

And to make it even worse we were kneeling outside the store so paradoxically named "Forever 21." I've had a few hours to think about what just happened and you know what, I'm okay with it. I don't think I could be paid enough to return to age 21, as lovely as it was for me. 31 feels good, feels grounded, feels gray! I kid!

No, seriously, I'm so thankful that I get to grow older and hopefully, (PRAYERFULLY) wiser. My sister, (Von) once said to me that she knows what she wants to be like when she's older, like 80 years old. And you know what, it will be a mirror of who she is becoming, kind, compassionate, and wise. So, a simple question remains: am I becoming the person I want to be? I'm convinced that it isn't necessarily experience that brings wisdom, but time that brings wisdom. Those are thoughts held for another day, another post.

Until then, I'm off to examine the top of my scalp with a magnifying mirror and tweezers... seriously, I am.

Back in the day....forever 21 right ladies??

"At twenty we worry about what others think of us;
at forty we don't care about what others think of us;
at sixty we discover they haven't been thinking about us at all."
~Author Unknown~

Monday, January 25, 2010

Seasons of Motherhood Part 1 and 2

I wasn't feeling so well the past few days so I've been lying around more then I usually do....and it's been a good thing. I think I've just been going too hard, too fast, too much. I'm sure you know nothing of what I'm speaking about, right?? One comment a friend, Sarah made via facebook was this and it really blessed me:

"there's a psalm that says, "in your faithfulness you have afflicted me", which is something that comes to mind each time I catch some nasty S. American bug. Sure it knocks you down, but it also stops you. Stopping and resting are gifts in disguise. Especially for a busy Mama. God's peace be with you and over your home."

My husband has been so kind in helping with the children so I could rest...and rest I have. He's been making them breakfast the past few mornings, bless his heart. Grinding the spelt into flour to make them fresh waffles. He's awesome! He even folded some laundry and put it away and cleaned the kitchen spotlessly last night. Sometimes I wonder if he could keep this house running more smoothly then I do. Seriously, he's very driven and not easily distracted, highly motivated to complete projects. I'm sure he'd have less "things" too, less piles of.....shall we say, crap lying here and there!

But, alas, I am the one who has the honor of staying here with my children, making this house a home and all the while doing the best I can.

So, today I came upon this beautiful teaching by Sally Clarkson called "Seasons of Motherhood" and boy, it was just what this Mother's heart needed. So, all you Mama's out there, if you have time, or shall I say, please make the time to encourage's worth your few precious minutes I assure you.

To all the Mothers that take the time to read my ramblings, thank you. I hope you find yourself gaining strength and encouragement for the day, (or hour) ahead. And just like my friend spoke over me, I do the same to you today: "GOD'S PEACE BE WITH YOU AND OVER YOUR HOME." *you'll want to pause the music at the bottom of this page first*

Part 2:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Garage Sale in January!

Where I live it's cold and cloudy and the landscape is dead. So, in my mind this morning I was going to a garage sale donning my flip flops, my wad of $1 bills, and my eagle eye. And then I remembered that I hadn't posted about our awesome garage sale this past Summer. So, here's a peek into one of my favorite Summertime past the best garage sale in town!! It doesn't take much to make it fabulous. Here are a few hints:

Make sure you have nice signs around town clearly pointing them your way, hey, the way I look at it; nice signs=nice sale. I don't waste my time following signs I can barely read.

Get out your stereo, pop in a CD or hook up your ipod to speakers,
something to entertain the shoppers with, (works in the GAP, might work here too)....fresh coffee and pastries in the morning, (and sweet little girls with aprons selling it), ORGANIZATION, selling stuff that isn't crap,having clearly labeled prices, (cute sayings don't hurt either)
i.e. "Darling Aprons $2"
partnering with a neighbor that is your dear friend, (and a stylin' one at that),

taking some time to rest with the ones you love most,
(cutie in the blue shirt isn't for sale)!(Paisley at 3 months) having adequate parking is a good idea too,
the employees in the office building across the street know me by now, totally BANNED, i just cracked up when i saw this.
Are my sales THAT big? To post a sign and set up a barricade? I love it!! be ready to sell with a smile, (and change your clothing if you have a nasty sweatband from working like a freakin' German workhorse in the middle of a heatwave)!
oh and one last thing,

check the weather.....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Writing Class-week 1

My first writing class was last night, taught by Shawn Smucker. It was a wonderful night, having parts of my brain resuscitated! I so enjoy writing and can already see the benefits this class will have. My first thought as I entered the beautiful conference room was, "I would have paid just to sit in these comfy office chairs and sip hot coffee in silence!" But that was just the icing on top! Shawn is a calm presence who effortlessly taught us some of the basic elements of writing. He spoke about imaginiation being like a muscle, it must be worked! It felt great to have an "imagination workout" last night. Better yet I was joined by my Mom, my oldest sister Fan and my dear friend and neighbor, Jess.
Our first writing assignment was to take 5 minutes and write in 3rd person, (someone eles perspective) about why we were is what I wrote:

"My Mom was making sure everything was cleaned;
the dishes, the floor, the laundry...she must be going away I thought to myself.
She came down the steps and I said, "you look pretty."
She had her makeup on and her boots that she only wears when she goes away without me. "Where you going?" I asked. "To a writing class, a class that just big people go to,
to teach us how to write."
"Will there be a snack there?" I wondered.
I'm already anticipating next weeks class. It feels so good to cultivate the parts of me that have been dormant for so long, to do something just for me.
"Writing is always unfulfilled until it has a reader."
~Shawn Smucker~

Saturday, January 16, 2010

If I lay here

I took/survived my first spinning class yesterday at our local YMCA. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, (pictures of me fainting and falling off the bike in front of everyone came flashing through my mind). I got my butt kicked by the 60+ year old instructor Larry. He and his wife Anna go to our church. He is a gentle man with fire in his soul. Besides my butt feeling like one big hemorrhoid I'm doing okay today. Can I get a special bike seat pillow?
Anywho~Larry had a GREAT play list for us to bike to. If you could have seen me pedaling my very legs off while "Highway to the Danger Zone" blasted over the speakers, you would have laughed yourself silly! But, it was quite motivating listening to that song and watching my sweaty self in the mirror only 2 feet away.....that and I kept thinking of Tom Cruise in "Top Gun." It was awesome!!!! So, during one of our "rests" he played this song. It's been a long time since I've heard it and it resonated with me in that moment. I don't think they are singing about Jesus, but to me it was a song encompassing my relationship with my God. Here are the lyrics:

"We'll do it all
Everything on our own
We don't need
Anything or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

I don't quite know
How to say
How I feel
Those three words
Are said too much
They're not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden
That's bursting into life

Let's waste time
Chasing cars around our heads
I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden
That's bursting into life

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes
They're all I can see

I don't know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things
Will never change for us at all

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?"

With all that has been happening in Haiti I guess I want to just forget about this world and all the suffering, destruction, pain, depression and hopelessness. I've been watching too much news, but why shouldn't's their reality and I don't want to just continue living my life with no compassion toward them. But, how do my hours of media intake even help them at all? Perhaps those hours could be directed toward more beneficial things like: prayer for the families in Haiti, giving blood at the local blood bank, donating $ to a charity, helping someone I know that is in need. Just a few thoughts.

In other news, (no pun intended):

* I'm going to be taking a 9 week writing course starting this Tuesday. It starts at 8pm which excites me beyond measure. The dishes done, house settled, Mama gone!! My cousin Shawn is teaching it, (author of Auntie Anne's book "Twist of Faith" and Jonas Beiler's book "Think no Evil"). I am so excited to learn more about the art of writing. "We write to taste life twice, one in the moment and in retrospection." ~Anais Nin~
*I drank the smoooooothest cup of coffee yesterday and better yet it came from MY kitchen. I took my cousin Martha's advise and double ground my beans. Absolutely amazing~try it yourself!!!

*Wawa has outstanding coffee creamer....for cheap!

*There was concern in my mind about getting the boys to say good bye to their beloved gingerbread house, (that was stale and falling to pieces as they tried daily to remove the glued on candy). And then I had a revelation......boys find great amounts of joy in destroying things! So, I gave them each a hammer and placed them outside with their house and let them have their Ty Pennington fix! It worked like a charm! I think they'll remember the destruction more then the construction of this little candy house!
*Luke counted to 13 the other week.....I didn't even know he KNEW how to count! See here for other amazing bragging about my 3-day-completely-potty-trained-boy!!

*The conversation in the kitchen earlier this week: "Tyler, that painting you made is beautiful!" You're beautiful too Mom!" OH~MY~WORD!!!!

*I found Paisley sitting up in her crib yesterday, I just about cried! What is happening to my baby??

*You'll never believe it: DONUT MAN IS COMING TO DUTCH WONDERLAND on June 5th. I'm so excited and pretty sure my heart is still 6 years old!!

*I was GIVEN a laptop in exchange for teaching bread lessons! I sit with it now on our new double recliner! I have to wonder at my luck in this situation! Pretty sure I came out ahead! Thank you Curt for giving me a way to waste even more time perusing the web and listening to Pandora. No seriously, it's a-w-e-s-o-m-e!!

*Tyler is really into letters lately and "reading." Driving down the road, "Oh Mom, 4-5, that's how fast we can go." "Mom, 8-9-6, that's the road we are on!" We've almost completed our first preschool book. It's really fun watching him learn. I'm thinking a lot about homeschooling him next year. The question isn't whether HE can do it, I'm sure he could.....the question is; CAN I DO IT?? I have fantasies about having a darling little "classroom" of sorts in the playroom upstairs. Teaching him the sounds of letters, days of the week, memorizing verses and watching him bloom into his own mind. Perhaps even being a part of a homeschooling co-op, (Tina? Jo?Shar? Ang? Jena? you game??) He definitely already has his social outlet down pat. Ultimately I want what's best for him and have to decide if homeschooling is just that.

*I'm going to be starting a series introducing you to my 7 amazing siblings. I'll be getting my questions together and begin interviewing next month, (Mel~you're first cause your the oldest and funniest....or so you would like to think)!!!

*I also have visions for a series called "Unsung Heroes" about some outstanding people I know that live their life to sustain the life of someone else, (and yes, that could be each Mother reading this)!!
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND friends, maybe even an Ephesians 3:17-19 weekend. I hope you find some time to show those around you how much you appreciate them....and in turn feel appreciated yourself!

"Life is an art we are required to practice without preparation,
a score that we play at sight
even before we have mastered our instruments."
~Lewis Mumford~

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

a letter

Dear Mr. Clean Magic Eraser,

Truly, I have no words. You are just down right amazing. I find myself spending more & more time with you. Just keeping you tightly in my hand as I make my way through my home, on the prey for the crudest of crud. You ALWAYS come through for me, even in the toughest of situations. Sometimes I just have crazy thoughts about seeing how good you TRULY are,
"what if I wrote with permanent marker all over my yellow kitchen wall?" Would you come through for me then? Silly Man, I know you would. You've never failed me yet. So, in closing I just wanted you to know that you will always, always have a place in my home.

Yours forever,

Monday, January 11, 2010

Potty Training 101

This little boy is amazing and doesn't even know it.

I can take no credit for his potty endeavors. Friday night he took his diaper off, went to the bathroom, closed the door, sat on his little throne and did his business, (1/2 landing on the floor), but who cares! Informing me after he was finished by marching his little bare bum out to the kitchen, jammies at his ankles, "pee in potty Mom,"(sorry Jeane for the free show)!! **We had some friends here for bread making lessons!** So, after eating his fair share of m & m's and being showered with praises and lots of "banging hands", (his way of saying "high fives") he continued to be without his diaper the rest of the evening and the following day. Saturday there were a few accidents, but by the end of the day he was running there all by himself, even going poo on his own! WHAT!!?? I just laughed because I could hardly believe it! So, it's Monday afternoon, not even three days after beginning his "training" and he's peeing like a champ! I am seriously amazed at this guy! My Mom said he is "Jake resurrected"....meaning that when he makes up his mind, he does it, preferably on his own, without fanfare and quite efficiently!

So, Luke if you read this someday, just know that when you were 2 1/2 years old you had a quiet determination and deep resolve unlike most adults I know! This afternoon his Aunt Jan came and took him to Turkey Hill for a "prize" and boy was he PROUD of his candy stash. And out of the kindness of his heart he gave me a pack of candies and Tyler a pack of candies, leaving him with his lone lollipop. What a darling, darling boy!

"Nobody else like him, he's unique - - this one.
How fortunate we are that he is our son."
~Author Unknown~

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

i can't handle the cuteness....

can you even handle this?

A year without the idiot box

This is my cousin Shawn and his lovely wife Maile.
These are their children: Cade, Lucy, Abra and Sam
And this is their new blog called:
"A year without the idiot box".
Self-explanatory, right?
Admirable to say the least,
especially with four children, God bless 'em!!

I am inspired. I told him that if they don't end up in Phil Haven when
this is all through, we MAY take up this adventure for ourselves.
So, go see their blog and follow them in this journey if you'd like! You won't regret it.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Who knew??

that an old answering machine could create hours and hours of fun? Hey, if you have one hidden in some old drawer or box, break it out and let the fun begin!!

"There are no blueprints for couch cushion forts"

~Dee Ann Stewart from "What Spock Forgot~

Friday, January 1, 2010

January 1st, 2010

I love the way that looks....
January 1, 2010.
Doesn't it look so nice, so fresh and clean and new?

Do you want to know one of the first things I thought about in the new year?
Sure you do. "I'm going to turn 40 in this decade!" That's what I thought. Weird, I know.

And then I said to my honey, "did Paisley have a good poop this morning?"

Yes, that's the season we're in right now. And that conversation is actually somewhat captivating and important to us. Who would have thought?
Paisley's tree
I am so deeply grateful to have experienced another year of LIFE on this earth.

2009 was beautiful.

I am looking forward to 2010 and all that it may hold. I like the way that sounds, twenty-ten.

Better go now, time to clean up the tornado of toys that was our day, get the kids ready for our nightly hot tub dip and then enjoy the close of this, the 1st day of a new year.


P.s. here's a little Christmas house tour! Enjoy!

what the boys watch as they fall asleep, (or get yelled at from downstairs; "GO.TO.SLEEP!!")

our hallway shelf

"He Shall Hear My Voice"
Our living room
our mantle

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank.
We are going to put words on them ourselves.
The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."
~Edith Lovejoy Pierce