Monday, October 10, 2011

Our First Homecoming

It isn't every freshman whose Daddy is also attending the Homecoming Dance.
Not only was he there chaperoning, but he was the one opening the car doors and escorting the kids out. I soo wish I had a picture of that- this student took his breath away when he saw her.

 My beautiful girl. I love that she wore the corsage on her arm instead of her wrist.
I think she started a trend at the dance!

 Her best friend (boy wise, that is) who was sweet enough to escort her to homecoming when she decided she just wanted to go with a friend, and not one of the boys pursuing her. So much more fun, we thought! He loved (NOT) that people kept telling him he looked like Justin Bieber.
 Practicing their moves!
 Helping her with the corsage. What a gentleman!
This boy is everything a young man should be. I am so glad they are friends.

 We made a last minute appointment to have her hair done, and I am so glad we did!
I never could have even attempted this!
 The real Tam and Cailin!
As hard as it is to believe she has had her first homecoming, it was such a fun experience!
I loved shopping with her to pick out her dress, and then all of us going to help Tam get his clothes (his mother was recovering from surgery, so we got to fill in).
Teenagers are so fun and we had so many laughs together.
As much as I miss the days of little ones, these days are fun and special  in a whole other way.
I am so blessed to be her Mommy and share these memories with her.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


Turning 40 was such a turning point for me, as I evaluated where I was in life, and where I wanted to be. I recognized that one of the biggest frustrations for me is my lack of diligence in following through on tasks I set for myself, small and large. So for the past year and a half, I have been slowly  but surely working to improve myself. Sometimes I see huge results, and other times it seems like I am a puddle of inactivity, stuck where I am.

So for the rest of October, I am going to journal here the baby steps I have taken to bring order to my life and home, and the efforts I am making to be better in all areas. This way I can look back and see my daily efforts, and hopefully accomplishments!

  • I sorted through all the cleats in the garage, cleaned them up, and sent them to school with Rusty for donation to The Boys and Girls Club.
  • Went online and checked the girls grades; a dreaded task that I usually procrastinate until it is too late to be of any benefit.
  • Recycled items I really just wanted to toss in the trash. Instead I took the time to remove the labels and rinse clean, before putting them in the recycling bin. (See? How pitiful is it that this is an accomplishment?)
  • Completed nearly all the items on my to-do list for work. It was so nice to start today not feeling like I am already behind.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

All In

My precious friend Amanda is one of those people who is "all in". Do you know what I mean? She is wholeheartedly a friend, wife, mother, Christian... whatever she does, she does it with all her heart. This can sometimes bring her grief, I think, because she realizes not everyone is who she thinks they are (been there, done that! I so identify with her!), but more often I think it blesses her. I know it blesses those who know her and are encouraged to see how she allows the Lord to guide her and her family. God tells us we are to love Him with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind. What better reminder is there, that we are to love Him and live "all in"?

So today as we were texting, I shared something with her that I often say to my girls, Cailin, in particular.

"You are the best You I know".

As soon as I said it, I realized it is one of those things I say so frequently, and yet don't always hear myself.
God created me to be who I am, always striving to be more like Him, sure, but inherently imperfect. He knew the struggles I would have, and He also provided me with the grace to be free of them in Him.

He wants me to be who I am, not a poor imitation of friends who seem to be so perfect and everything I desire. He wants me to be the best me I can be. It's enough. I don't need to hesitate or hold back, I can be all in, because I am the only one who can be.

So as I was trying to encourage a friend, I was blessed in return. Funny how God works like that.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Waiting For Easy

I'm discovering that with parenting, it actually does get harder as they grow older. Sure, it's easier in the reduced physical demands; I'm no longer carrying a toddler or chasing a mischievous preschooler. But in the mental arena it is exhausting. I am racing to a finish line I don't want to cross, and as I protest the passage of time, I am expected to run this race with wisdom and the intent to win.

I constantly wonder if I'm doing the right thing, disciplining correctly or too strictly (or lenient, depending on the day). Am I preparing them to be good mothers and wives, to love God and to think of others? Or am I creating narcissistic over achievers, who will find their value in accomplishment or approval?

Am I showing them the way, or making them want anything but that which I teach? When do I intervene and when do I let them make their own way? What is right and what is fair? Does fair matter, or should I teach them to accept injustice. Aaagh... it is a never ending conundrum of decisions, and I feel perched on a tight rope of indecision.

Then, when I feel myself teetering, a friend prays and lets me know she understands. My Mom listens and validates my feelings. My Dad gives me a break from carpool and shows up with laughing, happy girls.

It is then that I hear God's still, quiet voice, reminding me that He is still here. The same God who carried me through colic and a host of other childhood maladies, is the same One who will get me through this. Not just endruing but prospering in His amazing will. His ways are good, He blessed me with the gift of mothering, and His grace is sufficient for each day and stage.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Quiet, peaceful. Refrigerator humming and the clicking of my keyboard the only sounds, as the rest of the house slumbers on.

But it is more than the quiet of a house in solitude, it's a deeper peace, the calm of storms passed, and normalcy on the horizon.

This week was fraught with weather disasters, but they seemed perfectly symbolic for the upheaval in our home. Changing Cassidy's school at the last minute brought so much friction and stress, as we were already embarking on Cailin's first day of high school. Tension from work kept both Mommy and Daddy on the tips of our toes, and juggling everything threatened to break the dam of control I had a stranglehold on.

A never experienced earthquake shook our day, literally, and sent the week into a tailspin punctuated by a tropical storm and a hurricane. A week that I had planned to be calm and about back to school shopping became, instead, filled with shopping for emergency supplies and schedule changes, as schools closed or let out early.

It was just one of those weeks that felt emotionally charged and draining. But God.

God was with us, and instead of allowing the natural disasters and stress of every day life overwhelm us, He blessed us with time together, a home safe from the storms, and a weekend of calm as the storm raged on all around us.

Once again, God used this world to remind me of His blessing and protection in all things. He is always our calm in the midst of storms. We are not of this world and need not fret, but instead, run to Him as the skies turn black, knowing He has great beauty in store for us,  if we weather all our storms in His safe harbor.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

And They're Off!

It never gets easier. Different,  with each stage, but never easier.
I always reminisce and get weepy, they always mock me, "Mooom!".
Pictures in a hurry, as we scurry out the door, typically late already.
The hands I used to hold as we walked in the school, are now cradling a cell phone, pausing from texting long enough to smile for the obligatory pictures.
Backs bowed under the weight of backpacks and hair tossed back as they are oblivious to the ache in my heart.
Seemingly relaxed, nerves must be on edge, but excitement wins the battle of emotions.
Air kisses so I don't smudge lip gloss, and they are off.
One with Daddy, and the other, in a happy surprise, on the bus with her best friend. (SO glad to see Hannah this morning!)
Happy First Day of School Girls. I love you!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Day Our World Was Shaken

We had an earthquake yesterday.
Unusual when you live in Virginia!
It was a 5.9, and I truly never want to experience one bigger.
If you haven't been through one, trust me, they are scary.
Cailin and I were home alone getting ready to leave for her first high school (non scrimmage) game, when it sounded like helicopters were landing on our house.
The floor was shaking, and then I realized that instead of calming down it was growing in intensity.
I told her it had to be an earthquake, but I really thought maybe there was an explosion beneath our house or a plane was crashing into our home.
As I watched the windows and walls literally moving, I told her we needed to be in the tub (more used to tornadoes maybe?!) and waited it out with the puppies.
As soon as it calmed down we went outside and everything looked perfectly normal, sun shining, men working at the house across the street. So weird.
We called Daddy and found that we were 25 miles from the epicenter of an earthquake that stretched down the entire East coast.
Cassidy was at her first day of school and the desk she was in tipped over. She then hid under the teacher's desk, smart girl. Smarter than her Mama.
Papa was fishing in the mountains, and sitting in his car having lunch, when he felt his car being shaken back and forth. Thinking someone was hitting his car he was getting ready to jump out and confront them!
Nana was in a meeting at school, even closer to the epicenter, and they all fled the building.
Of course Daddy was at Spotsy getting ready for the first day and could barely walk across the room.
Such an exciting day!
Praising God for safety and protection.
And an extra day of summer, as schools are closed today. Woohoo!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

She Knows Us!

Quite possibly my favorite thing she has ever said,
as she bounded down the stairs into the family room,
 "Hello, People who love me!

Truer words have not been spoken.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Go Knights!

Cailin played in her first high school field hockey tournament Saturday.
She worked hard and gave it all.
Her efforts earned her a position on the varsity team.
As a freshman.
So proud of her hard work.
 She's on the hop!
 Love the hair in motion.
In step with Coach Baker.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Saturday Morning

Fernado Ortega on Pandora.

Sweet tea, followed by protein shake. (Weight, please come off...)

French doors open to allow the breeze from our deck to flow through.

In my cozy chair, surrounded by Bible study materials.

How blessed I am to have this Saturday morning.

Friday, August 05, 2011


I want to remember this word, and this day.

It isn't a word I would typically find appealing or relevant, but view instead as stifling the uniqueness in each of us.

I prefer seek and explore. Live loud. Find our special.

But today, God showed me, so sweetly, that those are all fine, but empty without a plan of order.

In Genesis 1:28 God commanded Adam and Eve to subdue the earth; to rule over it in such a way that it is not only mastered, but cultivated, nurtured, and brought to productivity.

What a perfect description of what we are to do for our children, to raise them to live in the gifts God placed in them. To embrace their true selves, the ones God desires them to be.

Today I commit to subduing, not stifling, but cultivating the beauty that is within each girl.

That is true creativity and freedom.

Monday, August 01, 2011

And So It Begins

August 1
Official VHSL athletic sports practices begin.
All around Virginia high school athletes are suiting up for the first sanctioned practice of the 2011 season. (Conditioning goes on all summer).
Cailin is part of it for the first time, as a freshman.
Field hockey 7-11.
Long day.
Praying it is a good day.
Praying it is a good year.
Not sure how we reached this stage.
She is still just a baby, right?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Endings Bring Beginnings

Last Walk Home From the Bus Together
Yesterday was the last day of school for the year. Typically a day I celebrate, because I love having my girls home, and the lazy days of summer together.
But this ending was bittersweet because it meant the end of middle school, another chapter ending, and goodbyes to be said.
The girls both came home with tear streaked faces. Cailin saddened as she prepares to leave her new friends to attend high school with her Daddy, instead of the school around the corner with her friends.
Cassidy broken hearted to learn that her best friend would be moving an hour away before they return for 7th grade.
Yet even as we grieve these losses, I have hope, knowing God is preparing the next step for them.
These changes are a reminder of God's great love for us, for we only mourn loss if we have first celebrated the gift.
So while I am sad to see the days of shared middle school evaporate, I am excited to see the great things ahead.
We are never free to receive, until we first let go, and so today I relinquish my strangle hold on the yesterdays and look forward to the tomorrows to come.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Enough About Me

Watching in the rear view mirror, as the girls climbed on the bus this morning, was like an analogy of my life as their Momma.

Looking back at all we have done together, all that I wish I had done differently, all that slipped through my fingers no matter how hard I tried to hold on.  They just keep climbing and growing, moving away from me without looking back.

It is good and right, my task is to prepare them to flee our safe haven and face the world. It just isn't easy.

I'm not ready for Cailin to head to high school. nor am I ready for her little sister to ride the bus alone, walking home from the bus stop solo, instead of head close to her sister's, giggling secret sister laughter as they head home to me.

I may not be ready, but they are, and once again, I am reminded that parenting is not about me.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Ears To Hear?

It has been a quiet year for me, with not much to say.

After struggling with the decision of where to send the girls to school last fall, I felt drained, and spent most of the year trying to acclimate to a whole new world, awakening most mornings still questioning our choice. The girls jumped in to this new environment feet first, diving and splashing in the ocean of freedom and new friendships, while I waded along the shoreline, tentatively dipping my toes, but yearning for the safer pond we left behind.

New friendships were happily forged, and mornings were simpler as the girls eagerly got ready for the day. Evenings were spent relaxing instead of focused on hours of homework,  and things were truly more peaceful, in so many ways.

Yet my heart still aches for the presence of God in their midst, cries out for Godly teaching and children from similar families.  I know the platitudes, "as long as there are tests, prayer will always be in schools"  and "God is always with our children, even in public schools", and of course I know He never, never leaves them. He certainly made the way for the ease of transition and the friends who welcomed them, I know His hand was on them every step of the way.

Yet I can't help but question if this was best. I know it was fine, and in many ways great, but was it best? As a parent I desperately crave giving the girls God's best for their lives. Was this really it? Did we hear Him? Has this year given them anything for their future faith? How has it shaped who they will be?

I still have more questions than answers. That's the hard part of parenting, we don't truly see the confirmed success of our task until they are adults, so it is easy to question and veer off our course along the way, but I trust that  God has things under control.  Even if we missed His plan, He uses all things for good.

So I continue to be quiet, and listen.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Sister Love

It is so hard to make the girls come in to fold laundry.
They are giggling and tumbling on the trampoline,
and I love nothing more than for them to enjoy being together.
There is nothing like a sister,
except being the Momma to sisters.
That is pretty sweet, too.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

Mother's Day 2011
Dad and Rusty grilled steaks
and cleaned up.
One kitchen fire,
quickly extinguished,
but long to be remembered.
I love my family.
They give me gifts and a day of honor,
but I am the thankful one.
For such a gift to celebrate.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Baby Girl

Just a random shot,
taken backstage between performances of A Little Princess,
but it sums up Cailin perfectly.
I love this picture.
I love this girl.
How can she be in her last weeks of middle school?
She's still my baby girl.
Always and forever.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Break 2011

Banana Boat Ride 
Pelicans Game
 Before dinner with friends.
 Miniature Golf at our favorite course ... despite the sudden chill. Brrr
 Low country boil with friends. 
 Early morning sunrise.
 Reminded me that just like the hidden sun, God is always there,
 even when I can't "see" Him... was a powerful visual as I did my Bible study that morning.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Lovin' It!

Today I am loving these things...

1. My Mom sneaking into my messy kitchen last night, and tidying it all up while I was with the girls at youth group. She knew I felt lousy and was dreading coming home to it.

2. Rusty getting the girls off to school while letting me sleep off my nyquil hangover. Seriously, sleep felt good, and so did an empty house when I awakened.

3. My 2 shih tzu co-workers, especially when they chase each other and make me laugh.

4. The fresh bouquet of tulips on the kitchen table that make me so happy. I have to figure a way to afford weekly fresh flowers, they add so much to a home.

5.Having the pass word to my 13 year old's facebook account, and hacking into it to delete comments I disapprove of.  Along that tangent, do other parents not read the comments their kids leave on other pages? I check out all of Cailin's, and if she ever says anything I don't think needs to be broadcast to the internets I remove it. That has only happened once, but I see plenty of other things that parents either overlook or are oblivious to. Yikes, people! Step up your parenting game! OK, back to my happy place.

6. Paint colors spattered on my walls as I decide which to go with. My house is topsy turvy, but it is exciting to see progress. I love making our house our home.

This is the day that the Lord has made; I will be glad and rejoice in it!

Friday, April 01, 2011

A Little Princess

Christian Youth Theater
We are so blessed to have this opportunity for the girls, to enjoy being a part of
quality theater in a Christian environment.
This was only the third time Cassidy has opted to do a show,
and I'm so glad she did. I loved seeing both girls on stage,
they just made me smile every time I saw them.
 Daddy and his "seminary girls".
She was happy that she had a line in this show and got to wear a mic.
That is pretty much the goal of every girl in every show:-)
 Daddy and Cailin, who played "Becky", the best friend of the little princess.
This was such a great role for her and really stretched her acting ability.
She was an orphan who works as a maid and it about broke her Daddy's heart to watch her;
she was very convincing and pitiful!
 Nana always likes to see the last show,
 even though she and Papa both had already seen it opening weekend.
 The aftermath.
These are the boxes the girls carry to and from the show,
everyone has them,
and it is now a familiar sight to have these tubs full of shoes, misc clothes, notes, shoes,
perfumes, and occassionally food leftover from a forgotten lunch,
hanging out in my kitchen for days on end.
Eventually we will get motivated and cart them to the closet to wait for the next show.
 Inside a box... jazz boots and tights.
There is usually an ipod or phone in there, as well, to occupy them on long rehearsal days when they aren't called. I remember when their boxes used to contain polly pockets.
 Costume bags with the many outfits they wore, ready to go to the dry cleaners.
This is always what the house looks like for the week after, as we catch up on all the missed laundry and house cleaning that was neglected while we spent the past two weeks
 preparing for and performing the 8 shows.
It is exhausting, consuming for the whole family, and expensive, but I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

To Remember

The Girls Winter 2011
Because I think I will always remember,
But I won't.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Sometimes it is just hard.
I like things to be easy and happy, with everyone doing what they are supposed to, and with a good attitude to boot.
I don't want to have to check for texts that I wouldn't approve, or remind my daughter (again) that she isn't allowed to listen to that particular radio station.
I don't want to ground the other daughter for poorly spoken words to me, as I rush her through her morning routine... rushing only because I allowed her extra sleep after a long, full weekend.
I don't want to hear, as we pull out of the driveway, that one is out of lunch money and now will not have time to pay at the cafeteria.  I will now need to pay it online, for a $2.50 fee. Fee to be paid this once, with grace, next time it will be her obligation.
I don't want to find wet towels on the floor, laundry outside the basket, or forgotten mugs of tea still on the vanity.
If I were doing this job, this mothering, "right", surely I wouldn't have to do these things. At least that is the lie I tell myself as I allow defeat to tire my soul.
But God.
God knows exactly what I need to hear. He knows I need a word of encouragement from another who has been there, who has doubted her abilities at this most important and all consuming task.
He knows I need a reminder that grace is needed for me and for them, my precious girls.
He knows that as much as I want todo this "right", I sometimes hide in books or screen time, escaping to images of beautiful homes and loving families. Seeking inspiration, yes, but in that journey missing beautiful moments of my own.
He knows what I need. I am so grateful that hard means worthy, and that nothing is too hard for Him.

Jeremiah 32:27
I am the Lord your God, the maker of all. Nothing is too hard for me.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day Off

The girls don't have school today so the teachers can tally their grades.
Perfect timing, as we have 4 more shows of "A Little Princess" this weekend, and we are all tired. Cassidy is under the weather... I never know if it is allergies or illness, but she perseveres, and I try to be patient to her grumblings.
We slept in, I've worked, done some Bible study, laundered the sheets, and now am tackling the girls bathroom... clutter be gone!
Nothing exciting, but a good day nonetheless.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Moment In Time

Focused, engaged, at peace, and oblivious to anything else.

This is how I want to be in God's Presence.

Absorbed by the moment.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Thankful to be thankful, on this day of love, the Source of true gratitude.

love given and received
pink heart shaped pancakes with chocolate chips
pantry full, and a family to cook for
home full of peace, hard fought for and not taken for granted
rowdy breeze in the trees, spring in the air
hearts turning towards obedience
legs intertwined in sleep, security and assurance in the night
a date with my husband and grandparents to love the girls while we are gone
a house silent on a saturday morning, but for the furnaces constant breathing
music, always


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Letters

Once again I am joining in with Sunday letters to my family. Thanks for sharing this great idea, Deirdre!

 Dear Cailin,

You have looked so grown up to me this week, especially with your hair curled and  piled up on your head. I love seeing you grow, but oh, how I miss that chubby cheeked toddler who giggled and ran around the house in circles.

Driving you and your friends home from the movies Friday, it dawned on me that this is such a fleeting stage. I need to hold on to those loud giggles and singing (shouting?) from the back seat. Soon enough you will be driving your selves everywhere, and I will miss those conversations and laughter. Oh, sweet girl, I love middle school and don't want it to end! I'm so glad you were able to see the Justin Bieber movie, and tickled that we ran into Danie at the theater. What a bonus to add an unexpected friend to our numbers.

I love you and I love being with you.



Dear Cassidy,

Wow! You did it! You convinced us that we must have another dog, and Sadie will soon be sharing her princess throne with Mia! Thank you for your great attitude when asked to walk Sades. I know you really want to prove your responsibility to us, and we are thankful for your effort. Consider yourself warned- there will be lots more when Mia comes home- ha!

I loved seeing you work through your anger with Cailin this week. It has to be hard to be sisters so close in age with such different personalities. You both want to be best friends, but it's hard to remember that when fighting over the wii, or t.v., or hair accessories, or clothes, or the way you look at each other. Yikes! The song you wrote her is precious, and I love your willingness to share your heart with her. You amaze me, really, and I am so thankful God blessed me with you.

I love you sweet thing!


Dear Rusty,

I am so thankful things have quieted down slightly for you, even knowing it is the eye in the storm. God has brought me so much peace, and I hope you feel my support and pride.

Thank you so much for letting us add another dog. You absolutely spoil us all, and I love knowing that you would give us anything to make us happy. I hope you know we feel the same way about you!

I love that I left for the movies with 2 girls and arrived home with 5, and you didn't bat an eye, but just helped me tidy guest rooms and inflate air mattresses. Getting them all to rehearsal the next day on your own, while I went to buy the dog you don't even want, well that is above and beyond! You are a rock star Daddy. (I love the friends comment at breakfast that it was like being at a hotel... you do know how to put on a breakfast spread for your girls!)

Thank you for being such an amazing husband and Daddy. We love you!


Friday, February 11, 2011

Bieber Fever

Tonight I have a date with my two favorite girls (and a friend).
3-D glasses, popcorn, and possibly ear plugs.
I LOVE this age!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Is there anything better than awakening to a surprise snow day?
I love unpredictability, so snow days are at the top of my list of happies in life.
Letting the girls sleep late while I enjoy unrushed Bible study and sweet tea is manna from heaven.
Rusty, knowing me, whispers softly as he leaves, "Snow Day. Go back to sleep, your tea is in the fridge."
He grins as if it is a gift he ordered just for me, and I know he would if he could.
Gifts everywhere, from the One Who can delight me.
And does.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


He is here, always.
When silence answers my prayers it is me, not listening.
He is always speaking, in the whispers of blessing I too often overlook.
I want to hear Him.
Thanks comes first, opening the path so His voice carries clearly, resonating in my soul.

I am so grateful my life includes
sun filtering through the trees, a cozy fire, sweet tea
the hugs of a sleepy girl awakening, and the puppy who kisses my tears away
friends who pray and parents who cherish
comfy yoga pants, my favorite blanket, a singer who moves me to cry
soup simmering and a stocked pantry
a husband who loves me imperfectly, and a God who helps me forgive
laughter uproarious ,
early morning sunrise and a night sky filled with stars

Gratitude 1-16

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Sunday Letters

Dear Cailin,

Taking you to the AP Curriculum Fair at Daddy's school was full of so many emotions. Pride in you, sadness at the thought of you being a high school freshman, and excitement at this next phase of your life. Your Daddy was so proud to have you there, I thought he would burst! 

We were both so impressed at the way you approached each teacher and introduced yourself. You really didn't need us there, and you were like a ray of sunshine to everyone you met. It seems like you just started middle school- I cannot believe this is your last year already, but you're ready and are going to soar. I know that.

Thank you for working so hard to be responsible and help more at home. I really appreciate it, and the humble way you receive discipline. You are a force to be reckoned with and I love seeing where God is taking you. I know it was hard to see people being unkind to daddy this week, and you were so quick to want to defend him. We love that loyalty- it is all that matters to your Daddy... the words of strangers can't touch him as long as he is still the hero of his girls.

I love you Sweet Girl. So much.
Dear Cassidy,

Wow! You have the tenacity of a pit bull, and I love it! You found out that Sadie's daddy is for sale and are determined to have him. You have worked so hard to show us how responsible you are, that you have almost convinced us, although I probably shouldn't tell you that! I love the little notes you leave for us around the house, and my favorite from this week was finding a note under my pillow, attached to a packet containing all your money that said, "This is for Lucas. But if we can't have him I want it back!". Cracked me up!

You are such a sweet girl, and have the tenderest of hearts. I know you sometimes struggle with controlling your words, and I have seen you try harder than ever this week. I am so appreciative of the effort required to "tame the tongue". It isn't easy for any of us and I am so proud that you want to be better.  I know God will honor your desire.

Thank you for loving your Daddy so much and wanting to defend him. Know that he doesn't care what anyone else thinks, as long as his family is proud of him, and you certainly proved that devotion this week. Thank you for loving him and encouraging him.

I love you Little Bit!
Dear Rusty,

I love you.

I am proud of you.

You are exacly where you are because it is God's desire. Few men could make the impact on kids lives that you do, and keep the insane schedule that you do, without complaint. You never rest on your last achievement but are always reaching for the next best thing for the kids and teachers in your school. 

This week has probably been the single worst week you have ever endured, and yet you did so with grace and humility, and were such an example to our girls. You don't deserve what you have been faced with, and the girls and I have tried to temper our anger with the knowledge that God is with you, and He has your best interests at heart.  He will fight on your behalf, so we don't have to. 

This whole experience has been eye opening as I see the craziness that is part of your daily life, and I will say for the millionth time, "I would NEVER do what you do".  I'm glad you do, however, and are passionate. Your 15 minutes will soon be up, and we will be able to laugh at the absurdity. I hope you know, though, that your family and those who know you will always support you.

It is an amazing feeling to know that I am married to a man who is 100% willing to do the right thing, even at the expense of popularity, and even when you are going to have to stand alone. You are a shining example to our girls of everything a man of character is.

I love you and am so honored to be your wife.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday Letters

I always enjoy the letters Deirdre writes her girls each Sunday, summarizing the week, and have decided to join her in this new series. The days fly by in a blur, so I am hoping this will be a good reminder of what filled those days, or at least what I was thinking as they passed me by.

Dear Cailin,

I am so proud of you as you have really worked hard this week to be responsible in your schoolwork. You have faced some challenges at youth group and praise team, and I'm sorry for the pain it has caused you, but I'm so grateful that you will share your heart with me.

We had so much fun last weekend at Great Wolf celebrating your birthday, and hearing you say it was your favorite birthday ever made it all worthwhile to me. I love you and I love your friends, and I want to be better about giving you opportunity to spend time with them.

I love you so much Doodles, and pray this week is full of the joy you bring to the world.

Love, Mommy

Dear Cassidy,

You really tried to be more cheerful in the mornings this week, and I appreciate your effort... you get your dis-like of mornings from me, so I understand the struggle. However, your bickering with your sister nearly made me want to snatch myself bald.  Have mercy! I am hoping this week involves us getting out the door without me screeching and then lecturing all the way to the bus stop.

I loved seeing you spend time with a new school friend and hearing your giggles; girls are so fun!

I love you Little Bit. I can't wait to see what this week brings.



Dear Rusty,

Thanks for working with me.

I feel like we are becoming a better team, and I'm so thankful for everything  you do. You really are Superman.

I love you,

As I have written this the girls have gotten into a dispute over clothes and I am ready to go back to bed and hide. Ugh! Maybe tomorrow morning will be peaceful?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Peace Comes Down

Unexpectedly, snow is falling again.
The weathermen didn't predict it, so I almost didn't believe my eyes.
I guess God doesn't need their forecasts to do His bidding.
I am so thankful for this cozy and peaceful start to the day.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


This time yesterday we were thankful to be home; having driven treacherous roads home from Cailin's voice lesson, in the the snow that had started suddenly and furiously.
The chili had been simmering in the crockpot all afternoon, and Rusty built a roaring fire once he finished filling up the snow blower, preparing it for early morning duty.
We ate by the fire, watching a movie and napping, then let the girls have a sister sleepover in Cassidy's room.
Rusty was so sweet to blow up the air mattress so they each had their own space, and pulled the extra electric blanket out so Cailin was toasty on the blown up bed.
Sadie nestled in with her, and we were out for the night.
An evening that had been scheduled for a late night at school for Daddy and youth group for the girls and I turned into a lazy night together at home.
I love snowy evenings and the peace they insist on bringing.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Girls Are Fun

We celebrated Cailin's 13th birthday, by going to Great Wolf Lodge, with her sister and best friends this weekend.
Her birthday was last May. Timely, hm?
Actually, it only happened as the result of my resolution to be more intentional this year.
Life slips away if we don't plan, if we don't "just do it".
So we did, and it was a blast!
More for the girls than me, honestly, because who likes being awakened at 2 a.m. by a cell phone ringing (Cassidy rolled over on it and it started playing some ridiculous ring tone. I wasn't the nicest at the moment, but in the morning it was pretty funny.), and a bathing suit in February is cruel if you aren't 13.
Despite the lack of sleep and humiliation of my tankini, I really enjoyed the time anyway.
I loved listening to the whispers and giggles, and observing the dynamics of 12 and 13 year old girls.
I was grateful for a husband who gave me an envelope of cash and didn't complain, despite the fact that January is the TIGHTEST financial month we have.
I was blessed to spend hours of  mostly uninterrupted time poolside, reading a book on fasting and , when my brain was overloaded, the latest Southern Living.
I even learned to let teenagers be teenagers and stop harping at them about their cocoa puffs battle, one that netted me a few chocolate puffs of my own.
The girls enjoyed some alone time in the teen hangout and arcade, and I got plenty of exercise hiking from our room to those same locations so I could surreptitiously peek in and see for myself that they were safe.
Most importantly, they enjoyed the gift of time together. And lots of junk food.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Back In The Saddle

Operating on not enough sleep, I feel like our first morning back in routine was better than expected.
Two girls to school, on time, check.
One dog walked, check.
Dishwasher emptied and reloaded, check.
Beds made, check.

Now to tackle the to do list that I have been ignoring for 2 weeks.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Overly Ambitious?

I love, love, love a new year and the anticipation of what is to come.
A brand new planner, a clean home after the Christmas decorations have been put away, and the hope of cozy days inside inspire me to create not only resolutions, but a hefty "to do" list as well.
So here's what I am aiming for this year:
  • More reading of books and less of blogs.
  • Being intentional about my time and efforts.
  • Eliminating excess, from stuff to obligations to relationships.
  • Adding scripture memorization to my daily Bible study.
  • Seeking opportunities to reach out to others.
  • Blessing my daughters with more responsibility around the house.
  • Organizing photos and videos.
  • Playing more games as a family.
  • Painting, purging, and creating window treatments.
Oh, I guess I should add lose weight, be more active, and drink more water. Because those are a given, right?

Better Than Good

It's funny. When I try to be objective and detail some hard things that happened in 2010, I can't. I just can't do it.
Not because 2010 didn't hold its share of disappointments, misunderstandings, and really hard moments, but because even in the less than stellar hours, I truly feel blessed to live each new day.
I know I am a glass half full kind of girl, but it isn't because I am in denial.
Rather, it is because I know that my God has good things planned for me, and the hard times? Those are bumps in the road; they don't define where I am going or who I am, they are just that, bumps that try to knock me off course, but can't succeed if I keep my eyes focused on the One Who guides me.
I admit, there are moments when I allow my focus to be on those obstacles, and I pout and question, sometimes even having a full blown pity party for me or my family.
But then, I think of all the blessings that God has lavished on me, and I realize those difficulties are minuscule in the shadow of the One Who created the world. His hand is still not waxed short, He still sits on His throne, watching and leading.
So my hope for 2011 is that I would choose to trust Him even more, and that my moments of doubt and fear would vanish in a cloud of faith.
Happy New Year!