Thursday, May 28, 2009

Need a laugh?

I often go to Cake Wrecks for a giggle or two. Today I ran across this blog that brought tears to my eyes (the good kind). Have fun!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


We do try to eat dinner together each night, but it never lasts as long as I like. By the time the children are served it's about three minutes until they are done and ready to go back out to play. Someday.

Occasionally, there is some dinnertime excitement. Last night was a prime example. Earlier in the afternoon Joseph let a "grasshopper" in through the sliding door. He was watching it for a long time jumping all around the kitchen so I decided to check him out.

His "grasshopper" looked a little to much like this guy:
So I simply trapped him under the table in a glass for Sean to deal with later.

Well, we were sitting down to dinner when I heard the clanking sound of a glass on the floor and suddenly remembered our little friend.

"Oh, no, the cockroach! Don't let him go!"

Mayhem broke out. Shrill screams of terror sounded as 18 legs suddenly recoiled into their chairs. Hysterical!

Sean chased him down with the fly swatter. He's no longer a threat.

It's a good thing we sit down to dinner for three minutes or we'd miss all the excitement.

Friday, May 22, 2009

May Garden

The weather this past week has been PERFECT. This has inspired me to spend a lot of time digging and moving plants around. It's kind of like rearranging furniture. Most of these plants came from my mom's, sisters' or friends' gardens. I can't help but think of them when I'm tending to my Garden. I love to share, too, so let me know if you ever need some flowers to fill in your garden. The pastel spring colors are fading and soon the bright yellows and reds of June will be here.

Underneath our living room window. It's fun to watch the birds come and feast (before the bird feeder broke).

I saved these lillies from my dear friend, Carrie's, house last Spring before they started a landscaping project. I'm excited to see what will happen now that they are established.

Our up and coming butterfly garden- a part of our Certified Wildlife Backyard Habitat.

The tree is finally tall enough to provide some afternoon shade. Nothing has ever survived this spot in the garden. Now, hopefully, the plants won't get fried in the July sun.

And lest you think all is perfect, this is our backyard "garden". Grass wouldn't grow here so we dug it up a few years ago and it has sat there since.

I have visions though:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Coram Deo

Coram Deo
In the Presence of God

God is the God of all creation. There is no corner of life that His light does not fall upon. Indeed nothing good exists in our lives that His light does not permeate and sustain, and nothing bad that His light ever fails to illuminate. The eyes of God are ever upon us, but His eyes upon us are not an imposition. They are, rather, an invitation. They are a call to a relationship of divine love and freedom. Freedom not to do as we please, seeking to wrest control from God, but freedom to live joyfully in the understanding of God's love and sacrifice for us, of His intimate concern for us, and of the glorious union with Himself He has one day promised us.
To live life Coram Deo we must begin at the point of understanding that we are not fearful slaves following strict orders, but we are a son and a daughter who together joyfully and creatively walk through each moment of each day under the loving gaze of our Father who receives the totality of our existence as an act of worship unto Himself.

Sean gave me these words handwritten and framed when he asked me to be his wife. It remains on our bedside table to this day. There is no secret formula for marriage. It is a daily giving and receiving from one another. It is a choice to put the other first, to remain vulnerable, to ask for forgiveness or to grant it again.

Fourteen years ago we committed to living together in Coram Deo. We had the words engraved in our rings. I had no idea at the time that loving and being loved could bring such fulfillment. Marriage just keeps getting better and better.

Monday, May 18, 2009


While Sean participated in a meeting of the minds last Saturday, the kids and myself sought to take in Nashville. We were there a few summers ago and saw some of the standard Nashville attractions. We only had about six hours so originally, I had planned to surprise the kids with a day of cowboy fun. The weather, however, did not cooperate.

Instead, we enjoyed the Frist Center for theVisual Arts downtown. The Medieval Exhibit was fascinating. We particularly found the sculpture series of the life of Jonah of interest. Also, the many broaches and earrings displayed were so ornate and individually beautiful. It was fun to imagine who might have worn these and what their lives would have been like. There were also manuscripts on display with perfect writing and scrolled designs in bright colors. When I explained that these were not printed off the computer, that a person actually worked very carefully to create these, the jaws dropped. Perhaps a little more attention will go into handwriting now.

This museum boasts about being family friendly and with good reason. The top floor is devoted to children’s exploration of visual arts. There were thirty different activities. The workers were themselves artist who shared their knowledge as the children worked. This was such a change of pace from our past art museum experiences where I spent the whole time shushing everyone and making them keep their hands behind their backs. And to even sweeten the deal, kids are admitted for free. If you ever have some time in Nashville, the Frist Center is a must.

After three hours at the museum, lunch was on the agenda. It was the Spaghetti Factory for us! We even got to sit in the trolley car.

The final stop was the Parthenon. Nashville has the only live scale model of The Parthenon. I’m not quite sure why that is, but it was fun to explore nonetheless. We decided to forgo actually touring the museum and it’s replicas of various idols and just stayed outside to watch the thunderstorm roll in. I might build on what we saw by using some lesson plans this summer on those rainy days or days that are just too hot.

When picking Sean up, we met some of his math teacher friends. One man was sharing about how his friend from another country has several children. In their home country the families did most everything together. If one child was invited to a skating party, than the whole family joined in. An opportunity for one was an opportunity for all. There was quite a culture shock when they came to America and the family was split in so many directions.

Again, I am thankful for the opportunity to homeschool and have these few years together as a family to live, explore and learn. I know that it might seem like a crazy hassle to make such a quick trip, but for us time is precious. These years all together in the span of their lives is very short, yet God has given them each sibling for a purpose. It won’t be long before schedules will be full and responsibilities greater, so I’ll embrace each opportunity we have now.

I often wonder what our children will look back and reflect on when they are older. Will they remember tracing each other’s hands to make prints? Or the Parthenon? Or laughing themselves silly over Shirley Temple movies in the van? Perhaps this blog will jog a few memories:)

I do pray that these times of togetherness builds in them a bond stronger than experiences. I pray that they truly do enjoy one another’s company. I pray that they are refreshed to see other parts of the world and it used by God to give them inspiration for their own lives. I pray that they will inspired in their own families to stay together and not be pulled apart.

**Sean and I have a fun time dreaming about what we want to show the kids. The discussion stems from this: “I really want to see their face when the see/experience (blank) for the first time." How would you fill in the blank?**

Friday, May 15, 2009

I resemble that remark

I've been known to say that natural childbirth is useful in the sense that it completely changes one's reference for pain. "It prepares you for motherhood. After that you can slam your hand in the car door and just walk away thinking, 'Well at least it's not as painful as giving birth.'"

I'd now like to reascend that comment, because as of today I can testify that shutting one's own finger in the door is in fact MORE painful than childbirth. And now here's a little story:

I had a coupon (naturally) that needed to be used for haircuts so I took the three youngest to Great Clips. Our usual lady was there and made John as cute as ever. The unusual lady was there and did not listen well (or chose to ignore) my instructions for dear Joseph. "Use #4 clippers on the back. Scissor cut the front to be shaggy. Long sideburns, please. We do not want to see his scalp."

Well, let's just say she got a little crazy. Maybe she made a mistake with the clippers and used the rest of his hair to cover it up. I don't know, but he ended up with a Lego hair cut. He, too, is as cute as ever, but he does resemble a Lego man.

(I'll add a picture here tomorrow. He's sleeping right now.)

Getting back into the van, I was pondering his hair and whether that really is what a $6.99 haircut looks like, when I shut the door with all my might on my right thumb. My response to this pain was one of flight (not fight) and I pulled my thumb out of the closed door. SERIOUSLY, I have never been in so much pain. The nail immediately turned purple. I drove home with my thumb stuck in my Diet Coke while moaning loudly.

Of course, I had Joseph there to encourage me. "Mom, do what you tell us to do. Just relax, Mom. Breathe. Think about something happy, Mom. Try not to think about it. Are you breathing, Mom?...."

We were to leave for our weekend trip in an hour and I was sure that my thumb was broken. The pain would not let up. By God's grace, I found a hand doctor that agreed to see me as a walk in as his last appointment of the day. Why go to the ER for a three hour $800 visit/Xray, when I knew they were just going to send me to see the ortho doctor who wouldn't be in until Monday?

The xray showed a small chip which will cause some discomfort, but no casting was required. He said the major pain will come from the nail which may or may not fall off. I kind of which it would fall off right now to relive some of this pressure. I can sit here and count my heart rate.

So with only a slight delay we made it to Nashville in good time. Tomorrow looks to be a fun day!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Not my finest parenting moment...

So, Sean met me with the kids after work at KFC so we could use our free meal coupons before they expire tomorrow. We were denied the free meal, but instructed to fill out a form to receive a coupon by mail for another time. Filling out eight forms took both Sean and myself a few minutes. We sent the kids out to the car together to get buckled in, got in our respective cars and drove away. About two minutes into the drive I realized that Lydia and Betsy were not with us. A kid can hide in a fifteen passenger van without a problem. Looking in the rear view mirror I could see Lydia with Sean. But where was Betsy?

We quickly did a U-turn and with my heart in my throat we made a B-line right back to KFC. She was waiting eagerly by the door with an employee. I expected that she would be in a crying heap, but she was not. Our Elizabeth is growing up and handled the situation beautifully.

When we got home there was this message on the machine:

Hi. This is Elizabeth B...... I'm lost mom, um, and I'm at a restaurant. Do you think you could come back and get me? Ummm....I'm at KFC in Avon. That's where I am. Bye.

Betsy had gone into the restroom and come out to find herself abandoned. She told the lady at the counter that her big white van was gone and asked to use the phone. We asked her how long it took for us to come back. She said, "Oh, about 20 seconds." Yeah, that 20 seconds added about 200 white hairs to my head.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Now, don't get me wrong. I love homeschooling. I really do. But there is nothing like the feeling of having finished 180 days of school. We set up a schedule at the beginning of the year and have done our best to stick to it. It's a necessity to have a routine that would enable us to get it all done, but it truly does go again my grain.

Some of my kids flourish with routine. They love knowing what to expect. It makes their day seem to fly by and makes sense. They need direction when the schedule is open ended lest they become bored, or even worse, whiny.

For others routine seems like a low ceiling. They feel just a tad squished under it and can't wait to break out to get under the wide open sky. They will find countless ways to spend their free time and prefer not to be interrupted.

Summer at our house is a crazy, fun time. Sean is essentially off of work. I pick up more work hours. We like to travel when possible and definitely stay active. The trick is keeping the housework on a schedule so that the house does not self destruct. This summer won't have the thrill of last summer, but it's going to great nonetheless!

So what's on the agenda for this summer?
  • 4-H. This is our first summer to participate. There'll be quite a bit of dog training, crocheting, knitting, cooking and cake decorating going on around here.
  • The summer reading program (when we pay off our hefty fine)
  • Basketball camp
  • Indiana State Park's Patch Program/ camping
  • A weekly Writing Institute at our house
  • Free Bowling
  • A week with my family just hanging out and having fun
And what is on my list?
How about you? What are you doing this summer?

Friday, May 8, 2009

My mom

Shuffling down the stairs in my plastic feet pajamas and being held in her fluffy lavender housecoat while she sipped her morning tea and ate toast.

Getting off the bus and seeing her lying on the sidewalk looking up at the sky. We lined up beside her waiting for the first big drops to fall on our faces.

Fielding softballs at dusk that she would hit way out into the field.

Talking in the dark in the big, green van about things that mattered to us and not feeling afraid to ask questions.

Looking out into the crowd at a piano competition and seeing her confident smile as I began to play.

Watching her prepare creative and engaging Sunday School lessons on Saturday evening after a long day of work.

Skipping school with her to eat Chinese and visit the great aunts.

Knowing that when the phone rang in my dorm room before 9am that it was my mom. She just missed me. I missed her, too.

Calling her to let her know we were expecting a new baby and knowing that she would not only supportive, but excited.

Visiting her house and then being told to go take a much needed nap. She would gladly watch the kids.

Sitting together at Grandma's bedside as she passed away. I was overwhelmed by my mom's love and strength and wondered if I could ever let her go.

This is my mom. When I grow up I want to be just like her.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Godly Dominion

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men..." Colossians 3:23

A few weekends ago, by God's appointment, I ran into a dear friend, Rebecca, while in Cincinatti. I was able to have lunch with her and her husband. We've known eachother since our college days where we spent many hours together in prayer, deep conversation and dreaming about our days on the mission field. We were both on track for a committed life of medical missions. She became a physician's assistant. I became a nurse.

Where are we today? We are both homeschooling moms living in Midwest suburia. Many of our classmates have gone on to the uttermost ends of the earth. They are planting churches, translating the Bible or fighting the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Rebecca and her husband (a surgeon) are in the process of praying and heading out with their four girls in the coming years.

When Sean and I were newly married we were going down a path that led us straight overseas into missions. I had just graduated with my RN and Sean had just recieved his teaching license. With wise counsel, we decided to stay here and get some much needed experience in our fields.

And here we are today. To some that might seem like we've failed. Failed to keep our promise to ourselves and to God. I'd be lying if I said that there are times that I haven't had those exact thoughts.

But I've been learning through the years that God has called us all individually to the work HE has prepared in advance for us to do. That work should be a reflection of who He is. No work is more superior than another and always gives way to give God glory. That work should be done excellently. Christians really should be the best at their professions and it's in those arenas that the Gospel is proclaimed.

Sean lives this out in front of me everyday. When no one is looking, he is constantly giving each task and project his best efforts. This past weekend he was honored at Rose Hulman, one of the top engineering school in the country, and given an award for Outstanding High School Teacher. He had been nominated by a former student. At the banquet he was asked to give a 5 minute presentation before the faculty of the University as well as the Alumi being honored.

In typical Sean fashion, the first words out of his mouth were, "Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them." (Psalm 111:2) He went on to talk about his methods of teaching as well as the need to enlighten in his students a passion to know more of God through math and science.

I was thinking to myself, "Here is Sean standing before some of the brightest minds in the country giving glory to God." Only God could provide that opportunity. It's all could do not to cry.

Later the Distinguished Alumni gave their speeches to the students. These men have done amazing things that frankly I can't understand. They were speaking a completely different language as far as I was concerned. One was a famous pediatric surgeon, the other a statistician/economist for a major insurance company and the other was an entreprenuer who invented some kind of amazing laser. The doctor just came out and laid it on the line, "I've seen the inside of the human body and I know there is a God." Another thanked the Lord for his gifts and the ability to apply them.

That, my friends, is taking Godly dominion. (Psalm 8:6)

So naturally I have to ask myself, "How am I taking dominion over the areas of work/influence in my life here in my little community? Here. Today. Now."