Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas the easy way

This past sunday my husband and I concurrently spent about 4 hours on the mac and ipad surfing for kids presents for christmas.  After we'd consolidated our lists of ideas I went to work on amazon.  I found everything we were wanting, save one item.  All included free shipping, again save one.  So for all of our stuff I think it was something in the range of $4 shipping.  I can do that - since I would have spent that much in gas and time running to stores.  

As for the item we didn't find, well, that involved two (count them - two)  edge-of-your-seat-nail-bitting-Ebay-bid-offs - yes, shamefully, my hubby last second out bid the other contenders and is now the proud owner of four die cast Tonka trucks - yippee - and I hope that our almost four year old appreciates the angst and excitement with which those trucks were absconded with!!!

So the boys are done - without the frustrations of the crowds.  Admittedly, I am not a Friday after Thanksgiving shopper by any means.  In fact, when we do shop at Walmart my husband has to coach me on the walk into the store to take deep breaths and relax... deep breaths ... patience ... God's love ... relax ... etc ... etc.  

I think this (amazon) is my new mode of shopping.  Yeah it took a bit of effort - but significantly less effort than the stores and the driving and did I mention my dislike of crowds ...

My other focus this Christmas has been on the true meaning of christmas.  Christ was born, that's what we're celebrating, not the presents, not the man made Santa - Christ!!  In a bit of wisdom I learned from a friend, we bought each boy three gifts - like the three gifts Christ received when he was born and we bought three "family" gifts ( ok they are three gifts both boys will enjoy and mom and dad will enjoy through the indirect result of the boys playing quietly with said family gifts).  So, we'll set out cookies for Santa but we'll hopefully give the best gift we can back to God - that being - our belief in Him and in His Son Jesus who came to earth to die so that we may live forever in God's glorious realms.  Praise God for His faithfulness to His creation.

Blessings as always and may your christmas gifts list include the most important gift you can give ...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's been a while ... No?

Time to update? I should say so...
Well we had a buyer and went through a few rounds of offers and counter offers and offers and counters ad nauseum. Finally we put our foot down and said here it is buyer - calling your bluff we'll accept your offer of X (even though we thought he was blowing smoke) and it turned out .... He was blowing smoke - so we've moved on and are back in the groove of pristine showings.
We had another showing today - read encouragement. I'm recognizing this first go around as preparation by God. I'm teaching a Sunday school class that is currently studying the Isrealites exit from egypt then their much wonderings in the dessert and their final conquering and moving into etc of the promised land. In all of it - the living under slave rule - the wanderings - the campings and conquests God is patiently teaching them to trust in Him and wait for the blessing from Him in His time. I'm learning and recognizing this in our current state. God is giving us the time - graciously - to prepare, to rework, to frankly wait for the timing of the blessing He has in store for us. I know that we could have made the last deal "work" in a worldly sense but then we would have missed the blessing of God's plan. It's up to Him and I'm sure that He'll let us know when the deal is right and when it's time to move. Dare I say it, I'm certain He'll ... Call us.
Praise God who is good all the time.
Blessings while waiting for the call from Him. Heather

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Keeping up is so much easier when there's less to keep up with...

We've cleared our house of all the nick knacks and stuff that make it lived in and that just seem to find their way in during every day life.  It amazes me how much time I save now in  quickly wiping down surfaces and vacuuming floors when I don't have to first move stuff to get to them.  There's something to that old saying "a place for everything and everything in it's place".

We have had several showings of our house in the two short weeks it's been on the market.  Awaiting an offer now ... or maybe it's just been a lot of nebbers / look-see-ers and what have you.  It is encouraging seeing quite a bit of traffic come through ... it means that at least we're priced where people are interested.  
Now I'm just waiting on God's timing to provide the people who should live here next with the showing and the means to - well - live here next.

We found a house that we like very much and that is on a nice amount of land.  It's our standard and will probably be our pick if something happens with our house soon.

We had a professional take down some, honestly a lot, of wallpaper and replace it with a nice neutral paint. 
It amazes me how that transforms the look of a room.  Combine that with cleared surfaces and minimized stuff and wow - I like this house.  It just goes to show how deceiving the staged home can be - once you actually live in it it probably shrinks faster than that little door in Alice in Wonderland.

But I'll play the game and honestly, if my skills are up to par - with enough practice - I'll be able to hopefully - prayerfully continue this minimized theory and not accumulate so much stuff after we move.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Your Pumpkin Is Showing ...

It's been a whirl wind day.  The incongruity of the title goes to show how my mind has been processing ...

It was my oldest sons field trip day to Triple B Farms today - and I went along with several other parents.  It was a really great field trip.  Really fun activities and really informative and still fun for the kids.  Plus the weather was BEAUTIFUL so that always helps.

First we went for a ride on the slides...

Then we went to the Education Barn where Mrs. B of Triple B farms taught us about donkeys and honey bees.  My son goes to a christian school and our field trip group was with a public school.  Since we were two schools in the same group - Mrs. B kept us back to tell us special stories since we were from a christian school.  Like -  all donkeys have a dark mark down the center of their back and a second dark mark across their shoulders - forming a cross!!  And to think that Mary road a donkey to the Bethlehem to birth our saviour ... then later Christ rode a donkey on Palm Sunday - God's great plans...

Second she shared with us after the honey bee lesson to think of how great God made the honey bee and they are just a little bee and how great God is to make them so intricate and so powerful in helping so many foods that we eat grow by pollination like apples and pumpkins.  The sad part is that she isn't able to share these stories with groups that are non christian schools.  Sad that in a free country on a family owned farm, they are not allowed to speak of Christ.  It really saddened Mrs. B too - so touching.

We then had some lunch and then saw the goats that "worked" for their meals...

The kids shouted "pull the rope" and the goat pulled the little feed can up!!

 We walked through the pumpkin patch where familiar characters were "made" out of pumpkins ... here's Noah and his minions ...

And then we took a hayride ...
And I quickly got my phone out to be ready for pictures and had received a text from our realtor that our house would have a showing in an hour - thank goodness I made the beds this morning!

So that's when doing this ...
... picking pumpkins mixed with trying to remember if I'd picked up the runaway socks and I realized that my mornings are going to be MUCH more busy - taking stock of the house to determine if it is showable or if the potential buyers would rather see a pumpkin.

Obviously, prayers are welcome, however I've reserved myself to the fact that if someone is really going to be that turned off by a rouge piece of laundry, perhaps God is leading them to another house or pumpkin anyway.

Blessings ...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Renting a 10X20 Storage Space

I am the proud renting owner of a 10X20 Storage Space - which the Storage place guy tells me is way to big, but that I'm sure my husband, my boys and I can fill up quite nicely.  

We're going to be moving, hopefully soon, so we are storing all of the things that you use on a daily basis and that make a home look lived in since potential buyers want to buy an "un-lived" in looking home.  

Honestly, it is amazing how big the rooms and counters and furniture look when you don't have life spewed all over them.  The realtor took pictures this evening and he was showing them to me as he took each one - boy does the house look nice in still life photos.  

We've got plenty of packing and work and fixing and stress management to deal with soon, but I'm sure that we'll handle it just fine.  In the end it will be worth it.  

I've decided to leave it to God's hands.  He's the absolute best handler of all things and I know that if I try to do this it won't work out near as well as He can make it work out.  

I'll let Him lead my packing, I'll let Him lead my planning, I'll let Him lead our picking of the next home.  He's got it I'm sure and I'm planning on just getting out of the way and seeing where He takes it.  

Won't you join me on this journey and see just how amazing He is.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

If the shoe fits....

I was pleasantly surprised today with how comfortable my new shoes were.  They fit well - stayed on when I walked - and they had absolutely no scratchy or "rubbie / rubby??" areas.  Just all around great feeling shoes with good support and stylish to boot (excuse the pun).

Disclaimer- I'd bought them yesterday at a consignment shop - one of my favorite places that has consistently delivered for 10 years now.  If they had been worn, it was very little wear as the sole was without wear - without any wear.  They drew me to them as they were the black dress shoes with a-little-heel that I've been looking for but that have been eluding me.  And they were kind of cool in a stylish way that said - we're a little sassy but traditional enough.  What - your shoes don't talk to you?!

Imagine my amazement when I finally look up the designer of these podiatry accessories sent straight from heaven and find that for a mere $15 I've bought $200 to $400 shoes!!

Wow What a find!  I'm getting over my Eddie Bauer lustings quite easily with such a thrifty find.

May God lead and Bless your shoe shopping as He has mine.  

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Coveting ....

I received in the mail this past Friday the new Eddie Bauer catalog.  I almost threw it away because I had visions of the clothes I wore in the high school in the 90s and visions of walking through their store back then - and now thinking - nice quality but just not my style any more.  

Had I tossed it then I would have been better off - because I didn't and now I've been sinning away for the past day coveting every single outfit in that book!  I'm usually pretty predictable in my wearables.  Mostly modern cut Tshirts and boot cut jeans.  Come on, give me a break, I'm a mom of two and for the past year worked in a plant where I had to wear a lab coat all the time anyway.  I think I do pretty good going for the modern cut.  

But gracious, looking through the pages of that catalog - I've never had an experience before where EVERYTHING I saw was something that I said - wow that's my style - I'd feel really comfortable in that.  

So, just musing but the redefinition of Eddie Bauers style is really something to check out.

Blessings for a wonderful Sunday celebrating our God and our Saviour.  And perhaps some prayers that I could get the coveting under control ;-)   Thanks in advance! 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Life Revised - Finding Balance

Sometimes I've felt like I'm still learning to balance ....
Recently I've felt like I'm mastering the perfect balance whilst whistling ....

I've posted before, auspiciously and not so, about how ... honestly ... hard it can be to balance family, work, fun, chores, etc.  It seems that for the past year my energy during long commutes has been focused exclusively on "how to decrease said long commutes" and how to get done in the day everything that needs gettin' done and that I want to get done.

Recently, my work schedule / work requirements have been modified and it's been pure bliss for me.  I am getting to work in the office and avoid the 1+ hour commute in each direction.  My commute is now more like - 20 minutes - so doable!   Of course the first week I had all sorts of things planned to fill that time space like grocery shopping before getting the boys from the babysitters, running past (and stopping at) the bank, restarting karate with the boys ... the list goes on, you get the point, no need to bore you.  The second and subsequent week I discovered the art of sitting on the couch in the evening and relaxing - doing some reading, watching a show with my husband.

The stress level is significantly reduced, I feel like I'm getting things done, the boys and I are getting fit again with karate - I feel like there is some semblance of balance - relatively speaking.  I'm getting to enjoy life and not just feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water.  I'm getting to be awake and see my kids more.  Get them up in the morning, pick them up in the afternoon and not pass out for a "quick mommy nap" on the couch but actually spend quality time together.  I'm really really enjoying this pace.  I'm praying desperately that it can continue.  If it's where God wants me and I'm doing what He intends then I'm sure it will continue.

Prayers that you'll find your balance and get to enjoy life as well.
Until the next call ....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My boy is a communal sleeper ...

We have had the nicest bedtime routine since we could have a bedtime routine with the oldest.  Baths or at least teeth brushing - ok sometimes we even skip that - but we do always read a story and say our prayers.  We've started doing catechism questions also thanks to our godly pastors wife who provided the neatest books with which to do that.  We are learning at the same time as the boys and it amazes me how much my oldest knows / gets about God and Jesus and Holy Spirit and how it all fits together and governs and guides.  So proud!

Now with said oldest, we'd go through our routine, hugs and kisses and off to dream land for him.  And it worked - from early on - even when he had a cold.  He was a pretty much sleep-on-your-own kid from quite early on.  Of course he was not a napper since early on too - so there was probably some exhaustion factor at work there.

With youngest - well - he is a napper and a darn good one!  After lunch to late afternoon.  Weekends are a different story usually because we're on-the-go enjoying the time together.  But during the week he's very structured and naps well.  Which leads to "but I'm not sleepy" after our very nice bedtime routine.  He stays in bed for a while then has some excuse to why he no longer wants to stay in bed - I'm not tired, it's too dark, it's too light, I'm scared, but I want to watch TV, etc. etc.

This evening for instance, after stories and prayers he climbed in his bed, had his George monkey to hug, I turned on his car light (cute little one bulb low wattage light that with the heat of the bulb causes the shade with cars to spin around and thus the cars to "drive" around his room) - all set - not too light - not to dark - fingers crossed - and heading downstairs for some bible study.

And a bit later - arrival of son - but I'm not tired and it's scary in my bed.  Ok. So we have him lay on the couch - no snacks, no fun, just lay on the couch and hug monkey.  He's good with this and falls asleep within a few minutes - peacefully.  

  • At the babysitters he naps in a room with other kids, and falls asleep easily
  • When we vacation and he sleeps in the big bed with his brother, and falls asleep easily
  • When we camp we all sleep in a row of sleeping bags, and he falls asleep easily

Maybe he just wants that tiny bit of extra time with us and wants to know that we - or someone is there.

Is it really that bad?  Didn't families all sleep in the same room in years gone by?  

I think he's a communal sleeper and honestly, if he falls asleep well and peacefully and is not in danger and is easily transferred to his bed when we go to bed - I may choose my battles and let this one go - and wait for a more pressing calling...

Blessings and Sweet Dreams - even if they are communal


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Getting ready to fly

We're flying tomorrow for the first time with the boys.  I'm a tiny bit concerned that they may have issues with the pressure change and the popping of their ears but I know that I shouldn't worry - what kid isn't going to want to chew lots of gum - because their ears need to pop of course ... I fear this may follow us home and become a new excuse.

We're flying to Madison Wisconsin for the US Transplant Olympics.  My husband is an athlete in the games.  He's doing a 5K and a swimming relay - though as a dear friend clarified - he's not in it to win it.  He's in it to be part of the experience ... to show that you can undergo a transplant and have a life afterward.  He's probably the most healthy and in the best shape now.  It's funny how much the value of health becomes obvious when it's taken away for a time.

I'm glad he's participating in this incredible event.  I'm glad that he's here with us and able to.  And I'm glad we can be there to support him.  But most of all I'm glad that God used the transplant of my husbands liver to transplant Himself in my husbands heart.  He was saved through the experience realizing that he wasn't in control.  Now, God's in control of it all and it is prospering mightily - as only things that God controls do.  

We're blessed further because his donor was a friend and the transplant was a living donor transplant (liver's regenerate to the size needed by the body).  So we'll be enjoying the games with his donor and her husband as well.

Consider giving the gift of life by being an organ donor and saving someone else's husband - someone else's Daddy.  


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pruning and Gardening

I planted a garden several weeks ago, however, other than an occasional water when it hasn't rained recently enough, I haven't been back much to check on it.  To cut it back, pick it's produce or even just appreciate it's bounty.  I justify it because those plants need some time to grow and produce, but really it's just life "getting in the way".  When my day ends, it's way to late, way to dark and I'm way to exhausted to, well, care.  Perhaps I should plan on prioritizing and fitting that in somehow.  I know it needs some attention and a trim or pick here or there.

I, on the other hand, have been getting trimmed - well - down right pruned by the Almighty recently.  A few passages have really been sticking with me and made me ponder in recent days.  Those being, Lot's wife and the whole pillar of salt thing.  I always wondered why was she being picked on for just wanting to gaze at the car wreck on the side of the road.  I had the epiphany that when she "looked back"  it was not to see the destruction  but now realize it was that she looked back and dare I say it longed for the sinfulness.  

Also I've been pondering the temptation of Jesus when he's led into the wilderness and tempted by the devil.  It says he's led there by the Spirit to be tempted.  Good gosh does the Holy Spirit actually provide temptation to us or us to temptation.  Upon study and talking with other believers ... I understand that God does allow temptations / tests to see what's in our heart - what we're actually made of - where we stand.  

And then ... He prunes.  He cuts off and tears out the deadness so that we can be more His image and less ours.  

I have a friend who keeps calling me their angel.  It's amazing to me how God works to change a circumstance and make them - well mine - my angel that is.  An angel that's shown me the test so that I can understand and submit and hopefully pass God's ultimate test.  

This all to say, as we look to others to fill that space or void or to have the answers, perhaps it's just God, providing us, the opportunity to look to Him for those answers and to fill that space.  

May your earthly and eternal angels be as numerous and hard working as mine.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


The forecast yesterday was for scattered thunderstorms all day.  Just before leaving work my husband checked the weather and it was clear at the lake, so we took our chances.  We went sailing last night ...  we won the gamble. 

There were virtually no boats on the lake.  There was very little wind too - but just enough to keep us moving with both sails out and, at times, to get us going a little faster to make it a little exciting.

We were able to sail up the lake and turn back and sail toward the marina until this happened.  

How beautiful.

God's creation is so magnificent - the pictures He paints each night and morning are more beautiful than anything in a gallery.  What a gift He gives us when we take the gamble, slow down and just look.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Traveling and Visiting

This is the Grasse River that flows past the farm that my husbands family owns. This is the river that we went for row boat rides on while on vacation.  My husbands family compared to mine is very large and so we spent every day of our vacation seeing new aunts and uncles and cousins.  It was all very exciting and busy - the visiting - but relaxing as well.  The busy of seeing friends and relatives is so much different than the busy of getting to work and getting to karate and getting dinner made and keeping track of little ones and cleaning and laundry and and and....  

We camped in my in laws back yard in our new tent.  It was great for the boys and comfy enough for us.  The great part was that we could run into poppa and grandmas house for food, coffee, showers and other facilities.  Roughing it - the easy way.

We did lots of things that we don't take the time to do or have the toys to do it on at home - like four wheeling, tractor riding, kubota digging (and kubota grass raking - boys can be so creative in their use of toys).  

It was all --- fun.  

Even though some things were work (like cleaning out the pond) they were still fun.  And work like making dinners and treats for the 4th of July family picnic - were fun when done with grandma in grandma's kitchen that smelled WONDERFUL the entire weekend - savory and sweet constantly wafting out the kitchen windows and tempting our olefactories on the back porch.

The thing I noticed the most during our vacation was the way that chores were incorporated into the day - even with family around - and completed with breaks for rest and fun.  I'm an all or none type of girl - either I'm cooking and cleaning from sun up to bedtime, constantly moving from one chore to the next and quickly wearing myself out .... or I'm a nothing girl who will "get to it later, or tomorrow, or never" justifying that it's really not that dirty, or that big of a pile, etc.  When I'm a nothing girl, everything, gets bigger and more time consuming as it mounts quickly in waiting.  

My mom in law grew up on a farm - with chores that had to be done - and as she's said before "if you didn't do your work, then someone else had to do it" that's a good mantra.  What my mom in law does is nibble away little by little at things and 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there gets things done - like laundry washed then on the line - break to read the paper - bake some cookies - break to sit on the porch, etc.  I'm inspired.  I'm planning on how to incorporate.  I'm ready for the little chunks of keeping up with life mixed with the little chunks of enjoying life.  I'll let you know how it balances out.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Maybe we're a good luck charm...

That's probably inflated head thinking of me - but on the rare occasion that we attend a sporting event it always seems that the team wins.  A few weekends ago T (6yo) attended a friends soccer game and her team won - I think for the first time that season!  Yesterday we went to a MLB game and they won - against a team that they lost to the day before and I believe lost to the day after and ... let's face it ... their record is ... well ... they loose a lot.

I'm sorry all you real fans but we're not going to start watching professional sports on TV or regularly attending games, but on the off chance that we do attend we usually have a really nice time.  Probably partly because we get the tickets either free or at a very reduced rate and only have to purchase food and drink.  So it's cheap and fun entertainment, well relatively speaking.  If I was actually paying full price I probably wouldn't have as much fun.

This past weekend was my husbands company day there - we got the tickets at at least half off, plus we got coupons for a restaurant that we frequent often for breakfast ... and here's the big plus it was a jersey night so we all got jerseys of a great player!  Now we all have something to wear to school / work when it's theme team day.  Here we are sporting our jerseys ... sorry it's a cell phone picture - you can only do so much with those...

We ate hot dogs, nachos, foot high icees and ... dun dun dun duuuuunnn ... cotton candy!!  Which my youngest did not like and proceeded to wipe out his mouth with his new jersey - which is now black, gold and pink.

The game was followed by a fireworks show and concert by Collective Soul ... brought back our college days ... 

Now here's what impressed me the most about the night - it was a sold out game and so the twelve gazillion times we had to go to the bathroom with one or the other of the boys (after drinking the foot tall slushy in 2.1 seconds flat) there was no line - at the ladies room !!! and there was a woman in there keeping it clean and supplied.  

As a mom who has to take little boys to the potty upon a request that should have been made 5 minutes ago and is now a true emergency and who usually has to broken record the "don't touch anything don't lean on anything no i mean that don't touch that - no don't put your hands anywhere near your - oh my gosh not your mouth - wait  stop agghhh germs - do you realize the germs...." It was such a pleasure at this ball field - thank you!! way to go!!!!  You guys did it right.

Yeah so I'm easy to impress.  As far as what actually happened in the baseball game - really not sure - I think I glanced at the field maybe 3 times and there's one player who can bat well and run really fast with his dreadlocks dancing behind him as he speeds by - and oh yeah the perogie race was great... I think the yellow one won - woo hoo.

We had a wonderful time and would definitely go to another game ... the next time we get free tickets ...  

Thursday, June 3, 2010

And she floats once more...

We received the exciting news last week that we had received a dock space at a nearby lake for our sail boat.  We were thinking that we were not going to be able to enjoy sailing this summer as the shuttle service to the mooring (shown above) was done away with in an attempt by the commonwealth to save money.  We didn't want to invest in the cost of a "dingy" to get to our boat, so had reserved ourselves to the fact that the boat was going to sit on it's trailer for the summer - my wonderful husband was going to do some work on it - and if we couldn't find another spot to launch it it would go up for sale at the end of summer.

It is absolutely still amazing to me the way that God works.  Here we were responsible and decided to not frivolously spend money on another boat we didn't really need - and God made the dock space become available.  He did - really - we'd been on the waiting list for years - before we even had our last boat - so somewhere in the neighborhood of 7/8/9 years - whenever I first got the itch to return to my childhood weekend routines of sailing with my parents.

We got word today from the wonderful man who trailers, launches, enhances - read - does all the hard work - for our boat that it was in the water.  So I'm thinking that we'll take some time this weekend to go and enjoy our floating boat - our ONE floating boat.  

And ... here's the challenge for all of you ... what should we name her?  We've been thinking about it for the two years we've owned her and can not come up with anything ... 

Awaiting my next calling and a name for our boat ... 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Will the laundry ever get done ...

I have so wanted the warm weather to start ... and then stay ... and now that it has - boy does the routine have to change. The warm ... no who am I kidding ... hot weather has directly resulted in the boys wanting to be outside ... all the time. Well that's all well and good what with getting fresh air and exercise - but there's that little (read huge) pile of laundry in the basement, and the pile of dishes in the kitchen, and the clean clothes in the bedrooms ... etc etc etc ad nauseam. And I just can't find the time to get to them.

Rather, I have really enjoyed watching the plants sprout in the garden and sitting on our patio chatting with neighbors and just enjoying the outdoors.  It's such a different feeling to relax in the sun and to eat al fresco.  Everything just smells, tastes, feels better somehow.  

Should I really worry about the inside stuff that's not getting done, should I cut myself slack because I'm now adding outside things to do as well, should I just not worry about it and enjoy each and every blessed moment I have the privilege of receiving each and every day?   

I think I'll go with the last option ... that seems to be the loudest calling at the moment.

Monday, May 17, 2010

This is how my garden grows...

In a bit of desperation to actually get summer started, the plants were transplanted this past Saturday afternoon from the overgrown seedling tray to the garden.  They were so overgrown and it was still not the best outdoor weather that I decided to just give it a try and if I have to then I'll break down and buy a few plants from the local nursery.  

Here are the two plots planted.

Notice the tools and kneeling pad - see I did do the work with the help of my three year old.

In both plots you can see that I "marked" off my square foot sections.  The very well established onions, parsley and lettuce were volunteers from last years plantings - how nice of them to grow relatively close to a square foot section so as to not throw off my grid by very much.  Several plants were relatively substantial enough and hopefully will make the transition well.  Some were not so hot looking and may need replacement.  I had made a very nice matrix (the engineer in me) documenting which seed had been started in which quadrant of the my seedling tray - ie. 1-1 was a tomato - 1-2 was some basil, etc.  Unfortunately, I could not locate this matrix when I planted, so there are a few tags in the garden that state "mystery" They'll be like the matchbox / hot wheels car that comes in the black container that the boys so love getting at the store. 

My wonderful husband made the cedar planters /beds for me.  I was envisioning a couple of 2X6s nailed together - I got cedar mortise and tendon construction - Norm Abrams like - masterpieces.  They are beautiful - no?

He also made me the trellis's for growing things vertically.  I grow tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, and beans vertically on those.  Here's a better picture of the trellis...

He made those out of copper pipe and stripped copper wire.  After the pictures I put up the bunny fencing to prevent last years event where all the bitty plants were "trimmed" to the ground the following day.  And then I watered in very well so that the plants would grow big and strong.

Then, I had the idea that perhaps watering other things would also make them grow big and strong, and so - need I say more ....

Can you tell I'm happy summer is here?!  Thanks God for a very capable husband who is willing to make anything that I can dream up and then some and for wonderful children and friends that know the very best way of greeting the warm weather and life!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Going Without

We have our internet connection back - Phew.  It had been blow out - zapped - unconnected - or otherwise disabled by a recent storm in the area.  This storm woke me up at 3 am to the tone of "oh my gosh that bolt of lightning actually hit our house I'm sure of it ..."  And I guess I was close.  Something in the magic locked box outside our house was "screwed up" and amplifiers weren't permitting an acceptable level signal into our house.  That box is locked with special cable guy locks by the way - Hubby did try to "take a look" to see if he could fix it rather than wait three days for the technician - but lo and behold - they use special keys that prevent the home owner from taking matters into his own hands.

So we had to wait - through the mother's day weekend - until Tuesday evening - for the expert.  Who by the way was the most respectful nice guy you could imagine - way to go Comcast!!

It was OK and I mean that - not just to pacify my withdraw - it really was OK.  I wasn't checking facebook or email or blogs that I follow several times a day.  Hubs wasn't surfing about planes and being enticed with all the stuff he has to do to complete the plane.  Weird - yes - but strangely - OK.  Probably because we knew that it would eventually be back and probably because we could resort to surfing, emailing, etc on our iphones but still - the screen experience - I've said enough.

We did miss being able to easily check the weather, but looking out the window works too.  We did miss catching up on the shows that were supposed to be downloaded to our apple TV but weren't because - no connection - but we'll just have some extra break time this week.  We read, played, relaxed, enjoyed each other.  Perhaps the electrical bolt from earth to heaven that fried the internet allowed the passage from heaven to earth of a very important message - enjoy each other - for a little while.

Your ways are mysterious and magnificent ... and all I can say is ... God, Thanks for the Blessing.

Friday, May 7, 2010

It's all in how you see it...

My husband and I have been carpooling to work at least a few days a week.  Certain days we have other activities in the evening that require us to drive separately or my husband will have a known extra long day so in order to pickup our kids at a reasonable hour we drive separately.

His commute is about 40 minutes.  We drive to his work, drop him off , and then  I go about another half hour to get to work.  I'd be driving that distance anyways so it makes sense to share half the ride.

Yesterday we carpooled and on the way home, about 2 minutes before I was to pick up my husband, he texted me that he had just been called into late meeting.  So time to revise our plans.

Simply put  ... I drove to very near our home to pick up our kids then drove back up to pick up my husband.

Less simply put ... this involved meeting my parents at a park and ride to pick up our not yet school aged son who'd been the lucky purveyor of a day with gramma and pap pap, followed by picking up our older son at the babysitters, running by the house to drop off perishable food from lunch boxes and letting the dog out, then heading back to my husbands work.  Of course we hit a traffic jam on a main highway on the way back up due to an accident.  By the time I got to his office I'd been driving for 3 hours.  At this point, I could have seen all of this as "Agghhh, why can't we just be home".

Instead, here's how I saw it...

My younger son was tired from a very busy and happy fun filled day with grandparents - he gets to sleep in the car - nap done. 

What am I out?  I get to sit and cruise around in a fun little car  in beautiful weather- OK I'm good with that ... some people even do that on purpose! 

My older son needed some down time after a long day at school anyway. 

On top of that I had to Thank God that my husband and I both have wonderful professional careers that God has led and blessed, and most importantly that He (God) reminded me to get gas before I got on the turnpike after leaving my work.

When we arrived at my husbands work and he was still in a meeting - so I had time to review my sons spelling words with him for the spelling test the next day.  Plus my boys and I had some quiet time in the car just being with each other while we waited for Daddy.

When Daddy was done - here's the best part - we had a nice dinner at a very nice restaurant and .... I didn't have to cook dinner!!  Kind of an early mothers day.

God is so full of blessings, you just have to be sure that your focus allows you to see them, because sometimes it's easy to loose focus ...

Monday, May 3, 2010

God Doesn't Do Voicemail

Well, with best laid intentions comes change and reorganization and re planning etc etc.  I knew this when I posted my Friday to do list for the weekend, but thought at the time it may behoove me to actually make a plan for a weekend - not just wait to see what my husband was doing then fit my tasks around that. Well that seems to be the silliest plan ever.

It started out relatively well, I was working at the office near home on Friday which opens up two extra hours of time.  So, I left work on time and stopped at the grocery store on the way home before picking up the kids - boy can I be efficient when it's just me and the buggy (yes honey that's a shopping cart).  Watch out fellow shoppers - I get a thrill out of flying through the store and was almost on the brink of being the crazy silver haired lady that pushes her cart into you if you're taking too long picking out pork chops - they are all the same just pick one and move on.

Getting the groceries done freed up a good 1.5 to 2 hours on Saturday or Sunday that would have been otherwise devoted to getting the food with at least one child at the wheel of the race car shopping cart - beeping the horn at anyone that gets in our way.

Friday night was nice and relaxing - beautiful weather, take out pizza, kids playing, husband putzing in the garage ... most importantly me sipping a glass of 2006 Passages Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot on the patio swing - delicious stuff try it some time.

I guess I should admit here that I did not get all of my list completed.  

Saturday morning my husband and I split up the day and the kids - he took our youngest to a meeting and I took our oldest to a doctors appointment.  After the Dr. we (oldest and I) enjoyed bagels coffee and juice boxes at an outside patio table - so European.  Then we headed to a cabinet store so that I could get an idea of options for additional cabinet space in our kitchen.  So I traded the pantry clean out for beginning the getting of a pantry organization cabinet that would not only match our existing cabinets but make the pantry something more than a stuff and quickly shut the door closet.  Still kind of sort of on track.

We head home and it is absolutely BEAUTIFUL outside.  While my goal oriented side is telling me - you told people you were going to wallpaper and paint - my practical revise as your go side is saying it's beautiful out and you do need to do outside work - save the inside stuff for the rainy weather.

So I decide to clean out the leaves from our front flower beds in preparation of putting lava rocks there to perturb any future weeds.  Trying to decide how to make this "fun" for my kid.  Here we go...

Me: "Sweetie I want to clean out the front flower beds - how would you like to ride your bike out front while I do that - though you will have to stay between the neighbors mailboxes where I can see you and be sure to get over if a car comes ... ?"

Son: "Umm..."

Me: Thought - uh oh

Son:  "Well Mommy, you only have two hands, but if you put your two hands and my two hands together we'd get four hands (woo he is paying attention in math class - or did he use fingers - can't see I'm driving) and four hands will get the work done a lot quicker than just your two.  So I'd like to help you with cleaning out the beds"

OK, yes I'm gloating, but geez I'm just so proud of that boy at this moment.  He has been listening and gosh he's just won me over!  Completely.  Please keep being such a good caring person the rest of your life.

He proceeds to add a very thought out process of integrating the husband and other son when they get home to make even quicker work of the flower beds - he even got our dog in the act because she could stomp on the weeds.   He was a great help and fortunately or other wise we were done with the cleaning out when the rest of the crew arrived home.  We had all the weeds pulled and dumped, all the dead leaves removed and shredded and dumped.  Oldest even decided that since we worked so hard we should get freeze pops to take a break - awesome idea.

As part of the break a neighbor stopped over and she and I were chatting on our patio ... that's when God,  frustrated with the whole voicemail thing, hit me like a wall.  My sinuses let go and oh the drainage and following sore throat.  Like - nothing and then boom SICK.  It kind of went down hill from there.  I really wasn't feeling good the rest of the day but pushed through the trip to get the lava rocks and get them loaded and run to a craft store to get the felt to finish the jewelry box hubby's been making for me for four years ... future post of his awesome woodworking abilities.

Sunday I made it through church and after lunch at home I decided it best to nap with younger son - so he wouldn't be so lonely - it's all about the kids.  I only got laundry washed and away on Sunday.  

The walls are still flowers, the quilt still undone, the beds are ready and awaiting the rocks.  I am still free and not committed.  Laundry is ... as laundry always will be - for ever there - kid of like a metaphor for God.  I'm recovering after much sleep.  Thank you God for ignoring my silliness and making me take a break when I needed to - reminding me that even you had to take a break after 6 days of hard work - Geez if you have to then I better too.  And I shouldn't worry so much about "getting it all done".  Rather I should enjoy your presence, the gift of my family and of course sleep - what a wonderful blessing.

Voicemail is now off ... calls are once again being received...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

And so it begins ...

I mentioned in a previous post that my husband is going to be building his own plane. Well, it's all begun. The plans arrived this past week - kid in a candy shop!!

He started reviewing and figuring and redrawing in CAD etc. etc.

This past week he took the very big step of buying the first piece of aluminum. After he'd done all the cad work to determine the size of aluminum that he'd need and the layout of pieces that would maximize it's usefulness.

So this is what the plans look like - it's a huge tree where you make all the boxes in one branch and end up with say a wing, then make all the boxes in the next branch and get a tail piece etc.

I want to know when we will get to this box ...

He and I won't bet on it but I'm thinking approximately 28 years... I think he's hoping for a bit sooner.

He started working on it with our oldest son this afternoon. Here's them hard at work and smiling for mom - power tools!! pay attention to what you're doing!!!

working some more

taking a snack break

partially done (can't you tell they are father and son - exact same smile ...)

Finished piece - labeled and ready to wait for assembly.

How cool is it to see father and son working away on a project together. Someday they'll be flying it together.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Some things I've been working on ...

I have many hobbies and I have projects in each of these hobbies that are ongoing - they just take a long time to complete. That's partly due to my inability to do repetitive things for long periods of time, but mostly due to the fact that my lovely boys get in the way of doing them, but I want to enjoy them (the boys) now, because when they are older and are off doing their own thing, I will have plenty of time to work on the hobbies then.

So confession time ...

I have been working on this knitted dishcloth since Christmas break for instance.

I did complete this "quilt blanket" for my youngest son after I set up my sewing machine in our dining room which rarely gets used (the dining room that is - though the sewing machine is now at a close second again). Just noticed - as I'm looking at the picture - not when I laid out the blanket - that I didn't fringe all the tabs - better get that done eventually.

Of course when my older son saw the blanket and at the prodding encouragement of my younger son they decided that I should in fact complete a Spider-man quilt for my older son. I have only had the fabric for a couple of years now - and he has not yet outgrown the superhero phase so ... really boys ... lets not get hasty... here's the fabric in pieces hopefully I can show at least a completed top soon.

OK now I'm inspired. It is supposed to rain some this weekend anyway. I am going to work on that quilt, and clean out the pantry, and clean out my closet, and remove wallpaper....

... then paint the kitchen walls - seriously. From flowers to "Mustang" - sounds powerful!

I'll let you know how all that works out Sunday night or Monday morning ... if my husband doesn't have me committed first ... Happy Weekend Everyone!

Based on the list above, any callings will be taken by the voicemail and will be handled in the order in which they were received ... thank you for your patience ...

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I have a women's bible study this evening and a hungry family. So to get dinner done quick I made Mixed Grill.

Here's the quick recipe.

In a lidded casserole combine 1 cup rice ( the sack kind from Sam's club), one pat of butter, two cups of water and a pinch of salt. Microwave for 10 minutes.

Coarsely chop 1/2 a large red onion, 1/2 a red pepper (save the other half sliced in a baggie for lunch tomorrow - don't worry there will be other stuff with lunch ;-) )

Heat tbsp or so of olive oil in a skillet.

Slice chuck steaks in to thin strips. Add to heated oil and sprinkle with whatever steak grilling seasoning mix you have in the pantry (I use Montreal steak seasoning or Kansas steak seasoning). Cook until browned on all sides.

Add the chopped onion and peppers and sprinkle a bit of salt over top to help sweat the vegetables.

Continue cooking the mixture on medium to medium low until beef is done to your liking.

Take rice out of microwave, spoon (or in my case dump) the skillet mix over the rice and serve.

Done start to finish in about 15 minutes - even with interruptions from the kids.

My boys both liked the dinner.

Hope this helps on a night that you need a quick meal.

My calling is coming from bible study - I'm off ....

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Magic Letters in the Alphabet

Did you know that there are magic letters in the alphabet that, when combined, provide immense power and unbelievable stress relief? I've discovered them this past year when my work schedule changed drastically and I had very very little time for basic living let alone relaxing.

After having worked from home for two years (where I had ample time to take care of family, house and work) I received an assignment which included a 2 hour, if traffic was decent, commute across town everyday. Guess how often traffic was decent ... I had to take stock one day and determine how much time I actually had in a day for "life".

I allowed 8 hours for sleep each day (I need at least that or I get really really grumpy - even with coffee). I also had to allocate 11 hours to work and commuting. So, 24-8 = 16 hours ... 16 - 11 = 5 hours. Figure of that 5 hours ... 1.5 hours for meal prep, eating and clean up, 0.5 hours for shower and makeup, 1.5 hours for helping my oldest with homework / studying and reading with my younger one ... what are we down to 1.5 hours left. 0.5 hours for bedtime and bath. That's maybe - if everything goes smoothly - 1 hour for me to brush teeth, read my bible, workout, do a little TV watching - oh yeah, I forgot laundry, darn.

So when I saw how little time I had left I decided that I had to stay sane somehow. I'm very efficient and driven when I'm doing things, however I don't like to be overloaded. So I realized that when other requests for my time were threatening my time with my family I had to get creative.

This is when I found the magic letters ... n and o ... I realized that it really is ok to say no to requests when it threatens your family life and family time. I also say no to things that I may want to do but realize don't fit in with my life in it's current season. Saying no is ok and people do understand - particularly those who have been through or are going through similar seasons in life. By saying no to salon haircut time (who am I kidding - Supercuts) for example allows me to instead spend time making a puzzle with my kids. That time is so much more worth it and fulfilling. I've said no to job opportunities that would require me to travel and be away from home. I've suspended, for a time, my and my sons time in karate class to prioritize his studying during the school year.

I find that I have to be very selective of what I say ok or yes to. I have to balance and prioritize ... and my husband and kids are first priority. Not their activities, not what others ask me to do, and definitely not the dust bunnies. After all I know that my boys will remember me sitting on the floor playing a game with them right among the dust bunnies, not that the dust bunnies were there. And that's just the way I'd want it.

Awaiting my next calling - which when from God - I never say no to...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Our dear sweet Heinz 57 doggie recently had some surgery and I'm very grateful to share that she is recovered and has returned home to reclaim her position as "Queen". She's - how shall I say - very mature in years so the surgery was a risky event. Thankfully our vet and surgeon were extremely sensitive and careful and most importantly God was with them and her during the surgery.

She had a bit of nip and tuck done - indirectly. Without going into gory details ... she had some fatty deposits and one of them on her leg got out of hand. So it had to be removed. The funny part is that through the very skilled hand of the surgeon he not only removed the problem nodule, he made that leg look so slim and sleek and "young". It's funny in a way because she is somewhat unbalanced in appearance. The rest of her is still a bit bumpy and saggy but her one leg and bun is so firm and young.

It got me thinking that under all the bumps and sags of our "Motherly" bodies is still that young firm woman of youth. And how perception of appearance can be so deceiving. The young naive inexperienced lady is still there, but I have the extra layers of wife, mom, experiences of life, and maybe a few to many pieces of chocolate and potato chips as well. We add those layers day by day and always carry them with us. It's kind of a tribute to where we've been and what we've done. Our accomplishments in life.

While at times vanity sneaks in and I work out to "get back" the younger version of me ... I wouldn't for a minute truly give up the layers of life that have happened and made me who I am now ... with all my lumps, bumps, scars and sags.

Awaiting my next calling ... I think I just heard those chips calling ...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One way to clean your floors

Our laundry room has been in a state of disarray for way to long. We try to organize then end up using the space as a dumping ground for things that are headed to the garage, to the garbage, to the donation places etc. It's a transient world - kind of like an airport terminal with some passengers who's flights have been delayed way too long.

Well, God decided it was time to clean up. We'd cleaned the bedroom areas last night which resulted in mounds - no mountains - of clothes being sorted in the laundry room. One stray shirt, unbeknownst to us, managed to slip through baggage check-in and landed in the laundry tub / utility sink. So of course Niagara Falls resulted all over the floor (us happily munching on "bedtime bed snack" right upstairs from one of the seven wonders of the world. It flowed and flowed right through all those other unwanted passengers.

The mess and ruined items are now awaiting the Sunday garbage pickup, the room is organized, and the floor is oh so clean!! What a blessing in disguise - sometimes I just need that extra kick in the butt to get a job done - even though I may not be super grateful for it at the onset. Thank you Lord for a clean laundry room, Please help us to keep it that way, Amen.

Patiently awaiting my next calling ...

Monday, April 19, 2010

The only part of the cat left in the bag is the tail ....

For those of you who lived through this experience, I apologize for the repeat - but frankly I just can't keep it all to myself...

My wonderful husband recently celebrated a "relatively" milestone birthday so in an effort to be the loving wife I decided to get him a super special birthday cake. He's currently working on getting his pilots license and also wants to scratch build an airplane - yeah I was wondering about raiding those boy scout can collections for aluminum too - but I digress. I've got a really incredible source for custom cakes ... like Ace of Cakes - cakes. So I ordered a cake in the shape of the plane he wants to build - sent them the website with photos, really got things rolling.

In a moment of Mommy Insanity I decided that it would be prudent to include the kids in picking up and "hiding" the cake at a friends house. Bad idea when they are less than 1/2 and 1/4 a dozen years, respectively.

So one evening we (me and the kids) stealthily exit the house with the pretense of running to the bank. Well, this will take longer than a bank trip so I text dear husband "taking the kids to the park" - response text "which park" - shoot - he's thinking of taking a motorcycle ride and meeting us - what to do - just don't respond seems reasonable at the time.

We make the long trip to the pick up the cake - it's more than I could ever imagine - lots of fuss from me and the store owner about " it's a special surprise for Daddy - we can't tell Daddy - forget you saw the cake ...." and we make the long ride home - stopping first at our friends house at a way-to-late-hour-for-anyone-with-kids - to hide the cake in her fridge - Thank You AGAIN!!!

Upon exiting our friends driveway - literally 0.035 minutes from our home, my sweet husband calls "Where ARE you?" Not in a yelling mad way - in a what are you up to and oh yeah are you all still alive way. I am the fast thinking Engineer mind at work woman and say - ok fine, I actually took the kids to get your birthday present (not really a lie) and it took way longer than I thought and I'm so bad at this ... he and I are both laughing I finish by saying I'm pulling in the driveway now and need help transporting sleeping kids. He says, ok I'll wait until you hide my HUGE present call up when you need me * great so now I have to FAKE hiding a big present that I didn't get him. * Ok can do, well shoot once you start the downward spiral of "just a little lie - sin" it really starts swirling. Note to self - you're terrible at lying and sin is really bad. We make it through a relatively quiet evening and following day until dinner...

So we’re at dinner and I could have killed (OK not really) husband – he’s (intentionally or not) making comments and asking questions about his birthday. I explicitly tell him to stop – so the later punch he receives is well deserved. OK another sin - shouldn't punch husband - so much for the christian part of this blog ;-)

Our older son starts reviewing what his day on Friday will be like for us – I’ll go to school, do Standardized Achievement Tests, blah blah blah – ending with and then we go to my friends house for a party.

Hubs: Oh a party – but how are we going to celebrate my birthday without a cake?

Older son: Oh don’t worry the cake’s already at the Family Name’s house (gets that look as soon as he says it and quickly looks at me with the “did I do something wrong” look)

Quickly followed by younger son who just has to add his two cents ….

Younger Son: Yeah the airplane cake. (pride just radiating)

At which point I wasn’t mad at the boys but at Hubby and told him so and did he know how much work that had been that he just ruined and why couldn’t he just keep his mouth shut and let the surprise happen – and then I punched him - I still feel bad about that - Sorry Sweetie. God quickly intervened and told me in my heart that it wasn't that big of a deal and that some day I'd be laughing about it so I might as well laugh now.

Besides Hubby still didn’t know how cool it was until the REAL surprise ...

and he knows that he’s never ever going to get another surprise in his life. Later he told me he probably subconsciously doesn't like surprises - ya think? At least now I know.

So Here It Is ...

Well, it only took several hours and a bowl of chips to decide on a title. The suggestions from my friends - thank you all - were really good to get the creative juices flowing. To bad so many were already taken!

So the meaning behind what I chose - God is calling all the time and He's guiding me through all the daily paths and roles. Calling me to be a better, more patient mother, a more loving wife, a better engineer, a listening friend, a counseling friend, a courteous driver, a nonabrasive person on the street that you pass that may, through a smile, brighten your day. Whatever the role -- He's there.

So this blog will be about what life brings (no what God allows) in the life of: a Servant of Him, a Wife, a Mommy, an Engineer - in that order. May it all glorify Him.

Ready for the Journey?