Tuesday, December 21, 2010

So this is Christmas

i have been silent with not much to say but lots on my mind.
i have tried to be intentional this season and keep the focus on Jesus.
it has been so much more peaceful yet i still struggled with overdoing the shopping.
baby steps.
maybe next year we can tone even that aspect down.
it is hard to find a happy medium but i am determined.
we leave tomorrow for a week in the cabin, tucked in the woods with nothing to do except enjoy one another.
i have a lot to do today before we are ready to go.
Merry Christmas.

Friday, November 19, 2010

home sweet home

i was gone all week on business. this is the first time I have ever gone overnight, so i am thankful for that.
i don't plan on doing it again.
turns out I am a homebody.
it was almost worth it for the huge hugs Cassidy gave me when i returned.
she is rather stingy with her hugs typically, so this was clearly a treat born of absence.
hotels, even nice ones with down comforters and soft towels, are very lonely.
cookies in the lobby by the fireplace every evening helped.
as did facebooking with my 13 year old at home in her cozy bedroom.
i corrected her on something she wrote (privately) and told her i was always watching her. haha. loved that!
she still wrote back that she loved me. she is a good girl like that.
my baby turned 12 last weekend and i still haven't been able to write about it, but i will.
i love her so much and want her to stay small.
she does too, which stole my heart!
the dog won't leave my side, i guess she missed me too.
it is so, so good to be home. to have a home. to have a family.
God has burdened my heart for orphans recently. i'm not sure what this is leading to, but i want to obey.
i wish everyone had a home and family.
it's good to be back.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


i seem to be questioning everything lately.
not my beliefs, but how they are lived out, and represented in the choices and associations we make.
maybe this is the result of making a radical (for our family) change.
maybe it is that, because of our obedience to make that change, God has taken off our blinders and blessed us with deeper insight in other areas.

i don't know why, but i do know where.

in youth group when cailin shares the lesson and something in it resonates a warning in my soul.
in a group of christian girls who quote scripture yet blatantly travel as an exclusive clique.
in manipulative statements written on facebook.
in the lessons taught our youth leaning heavily on do's and don'ts, and less on why.
in lives so full of normal there is little time for extraordinary.

i am questioning... knowing the answers will come.

i don't know when, but i do know from Where.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Tuesday Thoughts

  • Waking up with the same migraine that sent you early to bed last night will inspire a very unique dog walking outfit. Bra optional being the scariest part of the get up.
  • Home made soup in the fridge, to quickly warm up, makes almost anything better!
  • I am married to the most generous and selfless person I know.
  • I don't like it when my girls are sick, but I do love taking care of them.
  • Penguin cool mist humidifiers from Target are fun. 
  • I think I have decided to wrap all our Christmas presents in brown kraft paper this year.
  • Today is my Mom's birthday. I love her so much, even though we are very different. The fact that she always celebrated my uniqueness from her, instead of feeling offended, is one of her best mothering qualities, and one I try to share in my own parenting.  She really is amazing... flexible, fun, and way cooler than I am or ever was.
  • Our house is finally starting to feel like our home, after nearly 2 years. I think I am a slow adaptor, maybe.
  • My baby turns 12 Saturday. It doesn't seem possible.
  • We have officially begun playing Christmas music.
It is going to be a great day, just because it is a gift to be alive.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Not Counting Shopping Days

I planned to do this study last year, "Preparing My Heart for Advent" by Ann Marie Stewart , in an attempt to return my thoughts to the real meaning of Christmas, and not just the mile long shopping list I faced. Unfortunately, busy-ness won, and so I shelved it in anticipation of studying it this year.

So I am excited to begin, this morning, to prepare my heart for Advent... to think on things other than shopping and decorating, and pray that this season will truly be one which I remember for more than the gifts under the tree.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I was just thinking.
They really are His.
As Christians, we all say that, believing it, since He said it.
But today, I felt it.
Really felt that they are Someone else's,
and I am just taking care of them for a while.
Am I speaking to them in the way that He would desire?
Are the decisions I'm making for them according to His will?
Is what I am doing pleasing to Him?

But then, I felt the gratitude of knowing,
 in a wave of comfort and peace,
that He is always steering me in the right direction.
That He chose me to be their Mom.
That He will give me everything I need.
He is.
Not only am I their Mommy, but still His child as well.
He has us covered, all of us.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Cook's Country

I love this magazine!
They test standby recipes (as well as local specialties) and perfect them,
making them delicious and also easy and fast to prepare.
Apparently there is also a show on PBS,
which I haven't seen.
But I will be looking for it.
Especially since it is filmed on this farm, in this house. 
Is this not a dream home, or what?
Apparently this farm still has a few cows and a dairy barn.
Not too many years ago, when it was a 200 acre working farm,
they used to drive the cattle down the main street from the pasture
to the barn for milking.
Doesn't that sound enchanting?
Of course in today's world we would all be so impatient to get
where we were going, that the inconvenience
 of waiting for the cow parade to pass
would be intolerable.
I miss those slower days.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Trivial Pursuits

Cailin ate her breakfast at the kitchen counter while Cassidy primped her hair in the bathroom mirror.
We had 10 minutes until I needed to start barking out orders and rushing everyone to the bus, so it was the perfect time to steal away to my office for a few minutes of facebook and blogging.
After a few minutes I felt convicted that these free moments are precious and few, and would be better spent with the girls instead of on the computer, so I immediately popped up the stairs to the kitchen.

As I topped the stairs and could see Cailin's stool, it was bare. She wasn't there any more, she had wandered off in my absence.
The image of the dimmed kitchen, empty now, hit me with an almost physical force. She was gone, and I had missed her.

For the moment she was just down the hall, but too soon, she will be in a dorm or a home of her own, with Cassidy soon to follow, and my kitchen will be empty every day.
I know that God chose to use this morning to speak to me, to remind me of what is truly important, and where my time is to be spent.

The days are fleeting, and as endless as some of them seem, that is an illusion. I want to make better choices, I want to be present, I don't want to miss those moments that may be no more than filling a milk glass, because no matter how trivial, they are with the ones I love.

There is nothing trivial about that.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Good Life

I'm not really a fan of the morning.
Actually, I love mornings once I am awake,
it's just the waking up part
that I struggle with.
So this morning, when Rusty's alarm went off at 5:20
it was very out of character for me to hop out of bed
and get started with the day.
I popped a load of laundry in the dryer ,
(at 10:00 last night I realized Cailin's PE uniform needed to be washed)
put the tea kettle on to boil
 so the girls could have their hot cocoa and tea,
and then started folding the towels that had been blocking
the door to the laundry room for a few days.
Or maybe for a week.

I opened the blinds, made the bed,
and then enjoyed a leisurely time of prayer and journaling.
Mundane or not, as I bustle around the kitchen,
prepping a roast for the crock pot and sorting out the pantry,
I feel so blessed that I get to be the one doing this for my family.

 Cooking, cleaning, and washing out PE uniforms aren't glamorous,
but knowing I will always have things taken care of for the girls,
and that home is here ready for their return,
is a reassurance that is priceless. 

I think glamour must be over - rated, anyway.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I love 13

Only a 13 year old would talk on her cell phone while jumping on the trampoline.

I love this age.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Really Bad Before

When we looked at this house over a year ago, we fell in love with the neighborhood and the woods surrounding us. The high ceilings and beautiful trim work captivated Rusty,  and even though we recognized that a lot of the house wasn't our style, we weren't scared of the challenge.
We love renovating and putting our stamp on our home, and with my ideas and Rusty's effort, we're a great team. (Yes, he insists that a paintbrush fits my hand, too, but let's not test that theory, 'kay?)
As we toured the main level I saw changes I would want to make, but nothing that prepared me for what I would want to do when I saw the  master bath...
Yes, that is an extremely narrow door, and no, we aren't abnormally narrow people!
However, that is probably a good thing because we certainly never wanted to go through that door to the moldy interior, blech! You can't see the "best" part, which is the black and pink flowered powder room, which really sets off the mauve toilet and tub. I told Rusty it takes a real man to use a pink potty!
Everywhere we looked there were different, albeit consistently ugly, finishes that led me to nick name the bathroom the "train wreck".
But we agreed that we could do ugly for a while, and boy did it qualify, so we have been living with the pink and gray, and schlepping  our toiletries down the hall to the girls bathroom for showers while we saved and dreamed. Hallelujah, the time has come and Momma is gonna get a new bathtub! We are a few weeks into our reno, and I am beginning to have hope that I may shower without looking like a college coed one day soon.

Nothing, But It Was Good

Tonight was filled with nothing. I got home late and found Papa and the girls relaxing in the basement, with Cassidy making paper beads and Cailin sniffling through the cold she has been fighting since Saturday.

After a 2 1/2 hour drive home, which fell on the heels of a 3 hour meeting, which had been preceded by a 2 1/2 hour drive there, I was a tad bit lazy sleepy, and ever so grateful for the white chicken chili in the crockpot. I kissed the girls, heard some stories about bus and boys drama (one and the same... life lesson 12,001... when one boy tells another boy that you like him, boy #1 really likes you and is testing the waters), and crashed for a few minutes to read email and blogs.

Cailin joined me while I cleaned the kitchen and shared more about her day and her school work, or lack of it, which is an entirely other post. Cassidy had expanded her paper bead jewelry making to head bands and came upstairs to snatch a few old ones for her efforts, and Cailin and I snuggled on the sofa. I didn't enjoy seeing her under the weather, but took full advantage of the cuddles resulting.

A load of towels in the washer, supplements doled out (and then again when Cailin tried to pass hers off to her sister),  cough medicine given and Vick's salve rubbed in, and we were off to bed. Prayers, giggles, hugs and kisses, a few more sniffles from Cailin and an extra kiss from Cassidy, and the night is done.

An evening filled with absolutely nothing, and yet one that filled my heart.

Monday, September 13, 2010

This Weekend I...

Keys to the Cottage

  • Enjoyed catching up with friends, while our children auditioned for A Christmas Carol.
  • Spent a Friday night at home doing very little beyond reading decorating blogs.
  • Enjoyed the beautiful fall weather at our annual day of Nascar, at the Richmond Races with some of our favorite friends. The people watching cannot be surpassed and is one of the highlights of my year. This time was no exception as the "shirtless cowboys" tailgating next to us decided to lasso one another. Have mercy!
  • Watched the girls jump for hours on the trampoline Daddy and Papa set up Saturday morning.
  • Underestimated the physical ability required to remain standing on a trampoline when 2 monkeys are jumping and doing their best to terrorize their mother. Laughed hysterically at the image I must have made.
  • Spent some quality time at Home Depot looking for tubs and tile for our bathroom renovation.
  • Read "The Fixer Upper" by Mary Kay Andrews in guilt free peace, since Rusty was in the mood for delivery pizza for dinner. Not cooking Sunday dinner is a rare treat and great ending to the weekend.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Hold On Tight

I love this hug. Sums up everything I think sisters should be about. 
It reminds me of the way I am clinging to God right now, as I process
the changes I hadn't foreseen in our family.
I love knowing that He is holding on to me just as tightly,
and He promises never to let go.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Joy Comes In The Morning

Today when I awakened, I felt it. That first sparkling glimmer of hope breaking through the bleak despair that has held my hand these past weeks. A sense of "me"  struggling, as if swimming through deep water, trying to break the surface and reach the luminous light at the top. Yet I realize it isn't me who is breaking free, it is the Holy Spirit in me, acting as lifeguard, carrying me to safety while I rest easily in His arms, passively watching to see where He is taking me.

I know now that it will be ok, this new place I am journeying to. It will be better than ok because He orchestrated it, He planned it, and He has been so eager to show me this new place. The wailing and gnashing of my teeth as I fought Him on this voyage didn't alter the course or make Him doubt his plan, rather it saddened Him that I was missing out on the great things He was taking me to. He wanted me to celebrate, and instead I chose to doubt and wonder, making comparison instead of looking with expectancy .

I asked Him to make me different. I asked Him to show me the best for my family, to draw us to Him and to seek Him desperately. And then I thought He misunderstood. His directions were not what I asked for, this must be a test. If I passed, He would set us back on the better course, the one which makes sense to me. But then, He spoke, and finally, I listened. The  quote that has been on my sidebar for over a year, has been waiting patiently for the day I would read it with an open spirit, and know I had received my answer.

"When you and I desire God's best for us, but become annoyed when He steps in to change the course of our lives, we rebel against the very thing we prayed for." Priscilla Shirer

Thursday, August 26, 2010

First Day Of School

The girls are ready for their new adventure! I'm not, but I am not known for my love of change. Deciding to leave our Christian school the night before school started was the hardest decision of our life. Praying God has an amazing plan for them and trusting Him to lead us where we never planned to go.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Topsy Turvy

I feel like I am in a dream in Alice In Wonderland, nothing is as it should be. We aren't going to the Christian school we have attended for 8 years, but instead are going to a public school we never even considered until 2 weeks ago, and I am hearing people say the very things I myself said for years, now in shock and disbelief.

For example, Rusty's high school played our former (as of yesterday!) Christian school tonight. It was surreal. Yesterday Cailin was a cheerleader for that school, and today her team mates were texting her messages of anger at her abandoning them. As we chatted with friends, one of the students said "Jesus loves you" to the public school players, as if this was a foreign concept that only Christian school kids would know. Yuck! Double yuck!  I saw football players scoffing at some of the kids from the other school, in a superior attitude not Christlike at all. My heart hurts at the reality that the utopia I imagined was a farce, an illusion I created to make myself feel I was doing the absolute best I could do for the girls, when in fact, kids are kids everywhere, and unfortunately, many in private schools are elitist Christians- an oxymoron if I ever saw one. I am so ashamed that I may have shared that false pride in their school, so ashamed!

Rusty welcomed the visitors to his (public and rural) school, and even took free popcorn over and passed it out in the stands. I was so proud of him, and felt like a breath of fresh air filled my spirit. He was living his faith instead of talking about it. In that moment I realized, no matter how hard and no matter how alone I may feel, we made the right choice. God is NOT only in Christian schools, but He is most definitely ONLY in Christians, wherever they may be.

Father God, please forgive me for my prejudices and preconceived notions. Cleanse my heart and soul, and bless my girls wherever they go, that they know You are with them and guiding them.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Never Say Never

Tomorrow is the first day of school. Except we won't be there. The girls friends have been called, and told the news that they won't be there in matching outfits after all, because they are going to go to public school. For the first time ever... for middle school.

This was never my plan. Never our plan. Yet here we are. I have to believe it is God's plan, and that means it is better than we could have hoped or imagined.

I hope so.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

No Matter What

I'm discovering that it's easy to feel peace and joy when things look like they are going according to my plan.
I don't mind "relinquishing control" when God seems to be leading in the direction I would like to go.
I love my husband being the leader of my home, when he makes the choices I would like to make.
But I'm not quite sure what to do when the answers start looking like "no".
When do I continue to pray and believe, knowing in my heart the desires there were planted there by God?
When do I let them go, knowing He gave me a husband to protect and guide me, and who would never make a decision that wasn't in our family's best interest?
I cling to the knowledge that God is for me, and so I will trust in hope, no matter what.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Will They Ever Stay Home Again?

Cailin in her first cheer uniform,
getting ready to leave for a week of camp.
I'm so proud of her for trying out for the jv squad, as an 8th grader,
and making it even though it was her first time cheering.
I hope she has a great week with her friends
and learns all kinds of new techniques.
However, I did mention to her that if she wanted to
stand off to the side and just applaud her teammates,
instead of being a "flyer" I would be totally ok with it:-)
To add insult to injury, while she is at camp
Nana and Papa are taking Cassidy camping,
so I am, once again, home without my girls!
Oh, well, it gives Rusty and I the opportunity to clear out the
basement so we don't look like we belong on Oprah as hoarders!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Colossians 3

I may be the last to notice this, but Colossians 3 is like a hand book for the family. It is so powerful I have started reading through it each morning during my devotions, to encourage me and remind me of what God expects of me.
Today this verse really spoke to me...
Colossians 3:15: Let the word spoken by Christ have its home and dwell in you in all its richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom (in spiritual things, and as you sing) psalms, making melody to God with His grace in your hearts.

Friday, July 23, 2010

To Do

I love lists.

I love writing my "to do" list for the day, and then checking off each item as it is completed.

I also love to keep my lists, and look back at them. It's reassuring, really, to see that I actually am accomplishing things in my days and not just spinning my wheels, as it often seems.
Lately I have been carrying a spiral bound journal that I found on clearance at Pier One. It has a fun cover and smooth pages. (I'm a stickler for the feel of paper to write on, as well as the pens I use. Quirky much?)
I am loving it because I can look back and see exactly what was going on in our life at that time, and it brings back such sweet memories.

"Take Cailin's costume to the cleaners",  immediately takes me back to those fun and crazy days when she was performing as Little Alice" in "Alice In Wonderland" last fall. She grew in her confidence so much in that role, and had such sweet times with her cast mates.
In another, older, book I found names and numbers of cardiologists, written in a shaky hand and with lots of nervous doodles. I remember making those notes as we decided on the surgeon who would do my Dad's triple bypass. I remember every detail of that day, the light in my office, the way I was sitting with feet up on the desk, crying intermittently as I researched his condition and spoke to physician's offices. Now it is a testimony to God's grace and healing hand as we celebrate the two year anniversary of his restored health. (Praise God!)

Another page mentions mundane tasks like trips to the library, returns to make, and items to pick up at the grocery store. People to call and school parties to plan fill a corner of another days notes, and reminders to record my debit receipts show up on nearly every days agenda.

It's interesting that when I make these lists it really is just a way to keep me focused and on track in the hectic days that are our life. They are generic things that every mother in America is doing, nothing special, yet when I look back at them, they have the added bonus of memory attached to them. They are our life on paper. Memories of those tasks hold  deep emotions as they are less a reflection of what I needed to do, and more of what God has done.

What a tangible reminder that no matter what  I have to do, I know God will be the One to get it done.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


If you ask God to speak to you, He will.
But be ready, because there is no greater thrill
than hearing Him address the very thing you have prayed for.
The challenge is to be still and hear, and then to step out and obey.
I love the adventure that is life in Him.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Cross Roads

I am so blessed to be their mother.
Am I doing this most important job justice?

I make sure they have all the necessities and shuttle them, gladly, to their many activities.
I make their meals and welcome their friends. I tuck them in and wake them for breakfast.
As we go about our days, I sneak in tidbits of wisdom  regarding friends and life, and pray that it settles into the crevices of their hearts.
Yet this morning, as I look at our time together as a family, I feel that I'm missing something. Something unidentifiable yet critical.
I feel like there are desires God has planted in my heart that I have ignored because of the sacrifice they would require.
I am afraid of rocking the boat, of fighting for something I'm not even 100% certain I should be seeking anyway.
I weigh the "what ifs", and fear making wrong decisions and having to live with the consequences.
I worry about being alone in my beliefs in a situation that desperately cries out for unity.
I am seeking, but I'm not brave enough to take the first step.
My greatest fear is missing the opportunity and blessing because of indecision.
My faith is tested. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's All Good

Preparing for tomorrows meeting with a client.
A physical for camp and the dreaded 6th grade shots.
Picking up Cailin's cheerleading uniform and dropping off her 8th grade class requests.
Emptying leftover boxes from our move, 15 months ago.
Purging toys that have remained untouched since being unpacked.
Reminding myself to see the blessing, even in a mundane day.

(View of Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Good Answer

She is hanging with Nana and Papa today while I work.
Daddy just got a call that she is going to Petco with Nana.
He asked her why she was going to Petco.
Her answer?
"Because I can."

Well when you are with Nana
I guess that answer applies to most questions, now doesn't it?
(This picture doesn't really have anything to do with shopping with Nana,
but it's one of the few she allowed us to take with me loving on her, so I had to include it.
This was on our "Old Fashioned, Family Fun Vacation to Maine". We had stopped at
a road side area to picnic in New Hampshire.)

My Sunshine

"You are my sunshine, do you know that?".
I say this to her at least once a day, every day, and it's true.
She's always good for a hug, and always has a ready smile.
We dropped her off at camp yesterday, and I am already counting the days until my next hug.

(Cassidy is also counting the days, since she is not such a hugger,
 and is getting twice her share until her sister comes home!)
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Date Night

I am so thankful to parents who love spending time with their granddaughters, and encourage Rusty and I to have date nights.

Mom spent the day watching the girls while I went to Richmond for meetings, and then took them to tumbling, where she is undoubtedly watching through squinted eyes. Cailin is learning to do back hand springs and Nana is not a fan of anything that involves feet leaving the ground. In fact, she already explained to Cailin that she may not ever see her performing with her cheer leading squad this year since she is a "flyer", and that requires Nana to spend extra time in prayer. Therefore, whenever she is performing Cailin shouldn't be surprised to see Nana's eyes closed. Cailin just laughs. She knows her Nana. Nothing surprises her.

After tumbling they are off to Nana and Papa's house for a sleepover, and Daddy and I have the night to ourselves. Some sweet neighbors blessed us with a gift card to a favorite restaurant, and after dinner we are debating a movie or perusing the aisles of Home Depot for items for our upcoming bathroom renovation. (Praise the Lord. No man should have to endure pink fixtures for over a year. Rusty has paid his dues!) I am voting for Home Depot and a Redbox movie at home.

As I plan our evening I'm thinking Rusty is a lucky man, if I say so myself. Between the gift card and $1.00 movie, I am one cheap date... and willing to price potties to boot! I'm pretty lucky, too, though... having an evening to just hang out together is truly priceless.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

He Rocks Our World

The girls and I are so thankful for this guy.
He was especially handy on vacation.
He was our back pack wearing super hero and carried our pursess
(and snacks and water!) everywhere. The girls loved it (NOT!) when he and I sang the Dora song "Backpack, backpack" before every excursion.
I love him even when he sees me approaching with another "BE CAREFUL" warning,
 and pushes our daughter off the rock she is standing on,
(which I happened to think was on the edge of the cliff )
He thinks he is sooo funny. I do too, in spite of myself.
I love him because he is game for anything and poses for
silly pictures.
I love the way he is truly present when he is with us, and involved with the girls.
He works hard and has long days,
 but when he is home with us he is a part of whatever we are doing and not distracted.
I love the fact that he has no pride and will pose with his dinner for me.
Better yet, I love that he shared it!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Back To Reality

Two weeks with my family was a dream come true.
Today I am back to work, and even though I am looking forward to hearing from my clients, nothing will replace the pure joy I felt each morning I was off,  knowing that the only people counting on me were my girls and husband.
What a gift that was, and one that has left me feeling changed, somehow.
The peace of  the New England landscape seemed to fill up something in my spirit that I never knew was empty.
The rugged coastline and its roaring silence...there was no sense of urgency or of rushing from one task to another.
For the first time in my life slowing down seemed like a good thing.
I don't want to go back to the way things were, yet I don't know how my days will be different.
I just know this time away and this trip was good, it was a gift from God, and I want this peace to linger.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I want a do-over.
I want to have patience with Cailin when she can't find the jeans that "don't make her butt look funny"...I want to be calm with Cassidy when she is being disrespectful in her speech to me...I want to wake up early enough to pray before the girls are up so I will have a reserve of grace to draw from...I want to remember that this is only one morning of chaos and not an indictment of my parenting, or representative of every morning to come.
Tomorrow will come, and there will be my chance for a do-over.
Thank You Lord that your mercies are new every morning.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I love books. I love to read. I love information. So wherever I am in life, I seek out books on the subject and pore over them, calming myself that I am not the only one who has traveled this road, and hopefully finding some answers to make the journey a little easier. Consequently, we have many, many titles on hand for nearly every phase of parenting.

It should come as no surprise, then, that my bookcase is like a mini-scrapbook of my life, reflecting the various stages I have already passed through as well as some on hand for the future. Case in point, "The Girlfriends Guide to Toddlers" shares a shelf with "Your Girl: A Bible Study for Mothers of Teens", "The Mission of Motherhood", and "Making Your Children Mind Without Losing Yours".

As she looked on a jam packed book shelf for the concordance last night, it was the titles "I Refuse To Raise a Brat" and "Parenting The Fussy Baby and High Need Child" that Cassidy took offense to, however. Sorry to say, we have been there and done that! Moving right along to "Dateable" and "Raising a Spiritually Sound Daughter", ugh, these topics make sleeping through the night look easy!

Monday, May 24, 2010


She is beautiful, with a smile that lights up a room.
She awakens with a smile, ready to face the world.
She is easy going, unless you are her sister and you touch her things. Then she is a special kind of crazy.
She loves her friends, her dog, and laughter.
She is completely present when she is with you, and makes you feel  important.
She isn't easily swayed by others opinions, but is very teachable when coached or disciplined.
She has the tenacity of a pit bull and pushes the boundaries constantly.
She has a natural sweetness that balances the pit bull and keeps her mother from insanity.
She loves field hockey, theater, gymnastics, horse back riding, and (recently) doing her hair and makeup.
She is fiercely independent and will try anything. Except tomatoes.
She loves to sing and surprises with a big voice from such a tiny body.
She is always the shortest one in any group. She is ok with that.
She loves her Nana and Papa. Fiercely.
Her hugs are not for the timid.
She loves as she lives, with her whole heart.
She is my baby girl. My rock star. The one who made me a Mommy.
And now she is a teenager and I am crying. Because she lights up my world and I want the days to slow down.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hair Daze

Only a preteen would set her alarm for 4:30 a.m. to curl her hair.
Her 40 year old mother wishes she hadn't heard the same alarm. A pony tail will work just fine for her, thank you very much!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Working Myself Out of a Job

An acquaintance told me last week that while Rusty's gift to me of a weekend away was fabulous, she herself could never have actually gone.
She explained that she "just couldn't leave her children" , she had never been away from them, and she just wouldn't enjoy herself.
Her insinuation was that she was a more devoted mother, but "good for me for being able to think of my own sanity and get away".
It made me laugh, because even though I missed the girls, I also knew they were as cherished with Daddy as they are with me.
They love their time together as much as I enjoy being recharged by my solitude by the ocean.
More importantly though, my job as a mother is to teach my children how to live without me, to guide them into loving, capable adults
who are able to thrive outside the safe nest of our home.
Do I like my job description? NO!
I have a lump in my throat even typing this.
However, disliking the objective doesn't change it.... my responsibility as their Momma is to prepare them for independent life.
I look at their confidence and ability to make choices on their own,
 and I realize I am succeeding.
I am working myself out of the only job I love.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

The New 30?

Rusty surprised me last Friday.
He sent me away, with a precious friend, for a weekend of pampering and relaxation.
He made reservations at a hotel he knew I had been eager to visit.
He gave me an envelope of cash for tipping ... things he always does for me and knew would fluster me.
Another envelope held spending money for a shopping trip on the way to the beach.
He programmed my GPS so I could focus on laughing and not getting lost.
He made sure we would visit the spa, which was an easy sell for both of us.
When we returned he had cleaned the house, even the floors.
Dinner was waiting, and everyone survived. (Except the bird... let's not talk about that.)
40 really is fabulous.

I love this girl. She gets me.
We laughed the entire trip. Well, except for the tunnel under the bay portion. Then we prayed.
Alone at the top of the hotel enjoying my Bible study in solitude. God is so good.
This was my view while I was spending my time with God... 21 stories in the air. Breathtaking.

So another milestone has come and gone, and I survived.
Not only survived, but marked it with an exclamation point, and with a friend who will help me remember it forever.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Too Much To Absorb

Milestones. Big ones and small ones. We seem to be in the midst of a flurry of them.

Such is the life of a momma, one big moment after another, with lots of tiny changes thrown in like sand between the boulders.  The big moments are noted on the calendar, but the smaller ones are captured on my heart.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Time is flying by. How can it be a month since I have written? Life has happened, I have had thoughts to journal, but why didn't I take the time? Maybe because so much that has happened has been too mundane to record, too painful to dwell on, or too hectic to remember by the time I had a second?

That pretty much sums up life, though doesn't it? We are so consumed with living and dreaming of our goals that we forget the life we live day in and out, boring, hectic or painful, is what it really is all about. Worth remembering regardless of what it includes.

I hope I remember the last month... the rebirth of the trees and grass, the struggle of major decisions for our family, the utter chaos of four sports and only two parents. I hope I will remember the moments I felt God holding me and reassuring me, or those times when I was sure I really got it right as the Mom, and even the times I completely missed it. I pray that the memory of the arms of friends holding me and praying is etched into my heart, to be recalled for strength when darkness comes again.

Most of all I hope I remember that God has never left my side, and promises He never will.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Window To The World

Dishes stacked high.
Not perfect beauty, but
beautiful to me.
A reminder of dinner filled with laughter
and my family.
A morning of getting the kitchen back in order,
washing dishes, folding laundry... solitude.
This window is where I view much of my world.
As I wash dishes the deer graze, birds flutter by,
and in the summer I have the perfect shot
of Rusty manning the grill
and  making funny faces at me as I supervise.
Above this window hangs a sign saying:
"It's a Wonderful Life"
It sure is.

Text From The School Bus This Morning

From my 12 year old who just left for school 20 minutes ago...

"Hey ,there's a guy with hand cuffs and a mask near the CVS. I think Mr. Beasely (the bus driver) is calling the police."


Friday, March 12, 2010

Glimpses of Home

Home. The place I most love to be.  This is my haven, this is where I belong.  I pray that my girls will look back at the houses they lived in, and find the common denominator to be love and security, even more than the decorations and home improvement projects we are always embracing.

But if there is one material image they will associate with home, I think it will be this chair, my "comfie chair".  It was our first purchase as newlyweds, and  beyond our budget, except for my discount as the in store designer, working at my first job out of college to support us while Rusty finished his degree.  I will never forget how proud we were to special order a piece of furniture. We were so young and innocent, playing grown up it seemed.

This chair and ottoman have moved  to 5 homes in the last 17 years, and no matter where we've lived, it has been my "home spot". Every morning finds me perched here with a soft blanket, my sweet tea, and stacks of Bible study materials, as well as my daily notebook to jot down my to do list for the day and week.
This is where I carried the girls from bed, and cuddled with them- both- every morning until we could no longer all squeeze in together (not so long ago, actually!). It is where they still come, one at a time now, on Saturday mornings and climb beside me as they slowly come to life. They know when they awaken, this is where I will be, and I hope it says "home" to them, just as it does to me.

For more glimpses of home, visit Emily at Chatting at the Sky.

**I have to admit the flip flops with paint on them will also probably shout "home" to them in their memories. They tried to replace them with some lovely new under armour ones, but I just can't give up my oldies yet!**

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ladies, Start Your Engines

This picture has nothing to do with anything
except to remind me of sweet, relaxing days in the sunshine.
I hear the peepers in the yard, which means spring is really going to come. It also means the snakes will come, since peepers are a tasty snake snack, but I am trying really hard to squelch that thought. Squelching is my primary coping skill, much to Rusty's delight, because otherwise
incessantly asking him for reassurance is my second choice.
So I am denying the existence of slithery wildlife in my yard, and trying to focus instead on the joy of the birds chirping, the longer sunny days, the gentle breezes, and lots of quality time in the car.
Yep, in the car, because that is where spring will find me.
Shuttling girls from soccer, to field hockey, to lacrosse, to theater.
We dropped what felt like a small fortune
on new cleats, sticks, balls, shin guards, socks,
and stick bags and I am now planning lots of portable meals,
so we won't spend what is left of our 401K on meals out.
Have mercy- I hope the girls like wraps!
Since tonight is the first practice of the season (lacrosse),
today is my kick off day. I am loading the van with my mom chair
(the new deluxe model I got last year that has a cup holder and a flip up table for my sweet tea- woohoo),
a rubbermaid container with homework essentials
so we can do schoolwork between practices,
blankets, extra snacks, trash bags, and lots of paper towels.
At this stage of parenting I feel like I have regressed to my diaper bag days,
although now it is a Lands End's jumbo canvas bag
stuffed to overflowing with travel necessities and extra jackets.
All this preparation has become a springtime rite of passage, like turning forward the clocks Saturday night, and I am almost as excited as the girls. Running into friends and their moms at Play It Again Sports, we are all in the same stage of readiness, swapping Parks & Rec horror stories, guessing at sizes, and lamenting the chaos about to take over.
But we really don't mind, it is the tween Mom version of sleeping through the night and labor stories. Every phase of parenting provides fodder for commiseration and encouragement, and this stage provides lots of shared time on the sidelines, sharing sunscreen and crazy tales
of minivans filled with fast food wrappers and water bottles.
I frequently smile, as I swoop into a parking lot already filled with minivans and SUV's,
and see the other moms and kids tumbling out, loaded down and rushing to make it to the field on time, thinking how blessed I am to be a member of this Mom club, at every age.
So come on Spring, bring it on!
This is my season to shine and I'm ready to play!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Here Comes The Sun

The sun is shining
and grass is peeking through
after weeks and weeks of snow.
I loved the endless days home with them...
And being trapped in this...
But the sun is shining
and now I'm ready for spring.
Our first winter in our new home
was certainly memorable ,
and I'm hoping the spring will
be just as fun!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Love, love, love, love....

Every time I sit down to write about what I love, I keep hearing that song that is always done in rounds at church camps, "Love, love,love, love... the gospel in one name is Love. Love your brother as your neighbor (or is is it love your neighbor as your brother? That would make more sense, wouldn't it? But I am song lyric challenged. Big time. So who knows?) Anyway, here I sit, thinking of what I love and humming that song, and ready to share the love, so here we go...

20. I love the Christian theater group Cailin is in and the friends she has there. It is such a positive experience for her, and the shows are so impressive. Sometimes I forget what a blessing it is for her to be able to enjoy theater and learn so much in an environment that is also Christian and filled with like minded families. Love it!

21. I love seeing Cassidy try new things and discover her own gifts and talents. I think it is so easy for a little sibling to feel over shadowed, particularly by a sister so close to your own age, and this has been a sticky spot for awhile around our household. So it is particularly thrilling for me to see Cassidy trying her own sports, and doing well at them. I can't believe I, the one who refused to play anything even remotely athletic lest I break a sweat (ugh- what a priss I was!) have a daughter who enjoys riding, gymnastics, field hockey, and now lacrosse. Love it!

22. I love seeing our family grow and continue to be "better". I know that sounds weird, but I really think we are constantly evolving as parents and spouses, and it seems like some days we really "get it". I love being married to a man who is willing to try harder, and he inspires me to strive to improve and make our life the best it can be. I love that even though life is good, we both truly want it to be even better and realize we only have one shot to get this right. I love being able to do this life with him and with the girls. Love it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Love Day 19

I love our shih tzu Sadie.
I love that she is spunky and energetic, and that if she wants your attention she demands it. I love that she is such a goof ball that she climbs in the dishwasher when the door is warm so she can snuggle there, or laps up the water if it is cool. She's a mess.
 I love that she is always happy to see Rusty, and that if he holds her and I try to hug him she pushes me away with her paws and tries to kiss him herself. I think Rusty loves all the blondes fighting over him- HA!
I really do love my little buddy, pain though she may often be,
she is sweet and comical,
and adds so much to our family.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Still love...

17. I love the day stretching out in front of me, full of potential, available to spend however I choose. It won't take long to fill those hours with work, cleaning the house, running errands and an evening backstage at Cailin's dress rehearsal, but for now it is a clean slate.
I love the anticipation of what this day will hold.

18. Being the Mommy and wife of this family. I love the trivial moments that meld together to create the pattern of our days... kissing their cheeks and noses until they stir in the morning, rubbing a back to coax them some more, and then finally letting Sadie paw at them until they can't hide the grin and admit defeat- they are awake.

I love end of the day snuggling and prayers before I squeeze in some alone time with Daddy. I love those last sleepy conversations and wish I could linger, but morning comes too soon. I love the rituals and knowing that as soon as I leave Cassidy, she will expect Bunny ( aka Daddy) to hop past her door, awaiting an invitation in. I love that they both demand this silly game, even though she is 11, because it is "theirs" and tradition is everything to them both.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Love Day 16

This quote by Mother Theresa, found here:

Start by making your own home a place where happiness and love abound,
through your love for each member of your family
and for your neighbor.
Try to put in the hearts of your children a love for home.
Make them long to be with their families.
So much sin could be avoided if our people really love their homes.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Love Day 15

OK, now I am 9 days behind... and Blogger, once again, won't let me download
pictures. Or is it upload? I always forget, but whatever.
No pictures. So here we go:
5. My sweet shih tzu puppy Sadie.
She is pure energy and love. And kisses.
6. Real friends, and knowing the
difference between them and acquaintances.
7. Homemade chicken pot pie for dinner,
and the joy of cooking for my family each night.
It is a chore, for sure, but I try to remember the blessing it is
to have abundant food and a family to share it with.
8. A husband who is always on my side
and ready to go to bat for me,
sometimes even when I don't need it:-)
9. A furnace that is repaired and a cozy home.
Hopefully a (much!) reduced electric bill
to go along with it.
 10. A Bible study of diverse
women who are quick to pray
and slow to judge.
11. The privilege and responsibility
of raising two godly young women.
I don't know how God ever deemed me worthy of this task,
except that He knows it will all be through His strength,
and not my own.
12. Seeing glimpses of the women
they will be, and being overwhelmed with gratitude
for their hearts.
13. 30+ inches of snow that forced
us to slow down, and left a wonderland of beauty
that I am still enjoying.
14. Confidence in the decisions
we have made for our family,
and peace, even as others question them.
15. What I love most today, at this moment,
is the knowledge that God loves me...
right where I am. He isn't
waiting for me to be perfect, or even trying to be.
He just loves me and accepts me.
What's not to love about that?

Thursday, February 04, 2010


Deirdre has such a great idea, to spend the month of February dwelling on things we love, that I just have to join in. Since I am 4 days late to the party, I guess I will have a longer list today, which is fine by me since I seem to love so many things!

(One thing I don't love... blogger and the inability to post pictures consistently. Grrr! Now that is un-lovable!)

1. We love because He first loved us. 1John 4:19

I don't know what it is like to live without the peace of knowing I can go into the presence of God at any time, and be accepted and embraced, and I am so thankful to have been raised in a home that shared that truth with me from an early age.
I pray that my life is an example of that love, and that it is especially evident in my home, with my own precious children. I love the time I get to spend snuggled up with a blanket and my tea, surrounded by my studies and journal and Bible. There is no happier time or place in my day, and I am so thankful for those moments in His Presence.

2. I love the sunrise peeking over the treetops in the morning, even though I'm really not a morning person. It always inspires me to want to wake up earlier... it's just the actual waking up part that is still my struggle!

3. I love seeing my girls after they have been away at school or a friends house... even when they wake up after sleeping in. It is like opening a Christmas present everytime I "get them back", and I look at their sweet faces with new appreciation. It amazes me that they will never grasp the depth of my love for them, at least until they are mothers themselves, and then maybe they will begin to understand.

4. I love knowing that I am married to a man who loves me more than himself, and sacrifices endlessly in an effort to bring joy to my life. He truly exemplifies love and inspires me to try harder.

I love "love". Thanks Deirdre for encouraging me to be thankful for all the love in my life!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Snow Days

So far Snow Day #2 has held:

One doggie fashion show.
A cupcake decorating contest.
Several rounds of Wii band hero.
One Cake Boss episode, tivo'd for a day like today.
American Idol Dallas episode.
Homemade french bread pizzas and carrots for lunch.
3 friends playing in the snow.

Meanwhile I have been at work in my office, getting caught up on paperwork since I can't travel.

Not a bad day.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Desire of my Heart

One of my favorite verses in the Bible, selfish as it sounds, is the one about God "giving us the desires of our heart". Not because I think He has a magic wand, waving my whims and desires into reality, but because I believe He "gives me" the desires of my heart, as in, plants them in my heart so I will know which dreams to follow to be on His perfect path for my life. I think it also means that when my desires line up with what He desires for me, they come to fruition, and my life is blessed. So I love this verse, this proof that God has my heart on His mind.

I struggle with it though, because my greatest desire, my only real dream, is to be a stay at home mom. Oh, sure, I would also love to home school, flip houses and travel with my family, but the only burning desire I have had for the last 12 years is to be home with my daughters. Admittedly, as a working Mom I am exceedingly blessed, since I work from a home office and have a flexible schedule. When the girls were little I had a sitter who came to my house 3 days a week so they were still in their own home with their own things, and she was with us for 7 years. There is no doubt that God provided and blessed our situation, and I give Him so much praise!

Yet, as good as it is, it still is not the desire of my heart. I have struggled over the years, first faulting my husband for not wanting it as much as I do, then faulting us both for wanting more than his income provided for, then faulting myself for being ungrateful when I was so, so, very blessed already. But the reality is that noone is at fault, the facts are the facts. Rusty was a teacher, and no amount of sacrifice would have provided us with life in our area on his salary. Moving wasn't an option, we felt called to be here, and so I have learned to accept that God is using our situation, and blessing us despite the less than my-ideal circumstances.

I still pray, asking God to allow this change in our life, but truthfully, now that my girls are in school, it doesn't make much difference in their lives. I am home when they are, albeit exhausted from spending 5 hours in a car per day, shuttling to clients over 2 states, skidding back home in time to meet the bus. On the days I'm not back in time Papa greets them, and the time together is a special treat. Everyone is fine, except for me with the hurt in my heart from not being in my favorite place on earth- my home. But I have accepted that this is the life we have lived, and it is such a full and wonderful one that it must have still fallen into the plan God had for us.

My working has allowed Rusty to stay in the field we feel he is called to, and minister to kids as he was by coaches and teachers. He has been able to give back some of what saved him, and make a difference. I am so proud of him, and honored to have been a part of his journey. But sometimes I will read something on a blog, or have a conversation with someone who stays home, and a sharp pain will pierce my heart. The pain of truly not having the desire of my heart, and trying to reconcile that with the heart so full of love for the life I have led instead.