Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year Dawning.

Good-Bye 2011.
Welcome 2012!

6 out of the 7 of us wish you a Happy New Year!  
One of us isn't so sure. 
 (She'll get there )  :)

The sun comes up
Its a new day dawning
Its time to sing your song again
What ever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes
Bless the lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship his holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I worship your holy name

10,000 Reasons-- Matt Redman

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Let me Hold you Longer.

Recently, my Mom gifted me a book.

It looks like a child's book, all big and square with a book jacket. In actuality it is a book just written for an oldish mom like me.

The book is titled
Let Me Hold You Longer
By Karen Kingsbury

If you don't mind too much, I've a little heart outpouring to do... yet again.

Let me Hold You Longer tells the story of a mother who wishes she had recorded "the lasts"

We mothers take special note of the firsts that our children achieve. But do we always notice the lasts with such sentimentality? I can't say that I did. Until now, that is.

The older Naomi gets the farther away I step from what I adore.


It's that precious stage from conception to oh, about one year old.  Or whenever they start walking. (whichever comes first)

It's crazy isn't it?  My baby is 8 months old and I feel like she just turned 18.   
Yes,  slightly cRaZy.     But each month it hits me.   This is the last time.
This is the last time.

Since I felt the ache of losing April and never knowing her firsts,   it is fair to say that I am savoring every bit of Naomi's firsts.   But her lasts keep piling up,  as I hold her tighter than I might have had I not known loss.

What I try to take away from all of this firsts and lasts business are these things:

Although it is extreme blessing to record the firsts,  experiencing the lasts is really what my heart desires.  To see them grow, to watch them mature and learn,  live and love.  
All of my (our) children are gifts from a loving God.  And not just in babyhood.    
They are the gift that keeps on giving all throughout my life.   I can bid sad farewell to  each passing month and year,  or I can relish the full life that they are living.  I can record their lasts because perhaps it means more firsts are on the horizon.  

In my last post I had been asking myself the question,  "Now what I do?" 

Recently I've struggled with things like working outside the home,    or the fact that I'm leaving the child bearing years,   and even the insanity of moving to a small farm house.  (that is a different post altogether)  

As for the immediate, the answer is pretty clear. 
Do.  what I do.

Raise my family.  

Notice their firsts and lasts and be grateful for each one.

Long ago you came to me,
a miracle of firsts.
First smiles and teeth and baby steps,
a sunbeam on the burst.
But one day you will move away
and leave me with your past.
And I will be left thinking of 
a lifetime of your lasts. . .

Get this book.   an inspirational tear jerker.
Thanks for reading. 
And Mom,  Thank you for the book.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

now what do I do?

From this:
To this:
In 8 short months.

This baby. 
Finding herself in more precarious positions as the weeks tick by.
Oh, how I love her.

She's not the only one asking the question,   now what do I do?  
So is her Momma.

I'll be exploring that in my next post. 
How's that for a teaser?

I'm sure you can hardly wait  
(insert sarcastic tone)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

what is up.

I interrupt these deep thoughts to offer up a pictorial update.   We've had a crazy packed fall season and before 2011 wraps up I'd like to bring this blog up to speed on things other than my mental gymnastics.

September=  Back to everything.   
school, out of state work,  soccer,  extra-curriculars.

 skating par-tay!

I have to admit it.  As a card carrying member of the anti-Autumn club,  this particular Fall season has been fan-tab-u-lous!    We had mild temperatures here in the Mitten all the way through well, yesterday.   We have only a couple leaf giving trees in our yard,  so the kids had a great time raking up the droppings of this special Maple that my Dad planted here 9 years ago.

 My excellent score from the second hand shop----this vintage slipper chair. 
 October 15.  Our second annual participation in the International Wave of Light. 
It was good.   I looked back on this post  to think on a year ago.
 Annual Pumpkin Decorating/Family dinner/ Birthday party

 Chase's costume scared(s) me.  
Whatever happened to Thomas the Train?

Naomi and cousin Easton. 
I have a special place in my heart for Easton's costume.   When Chase was a baby,  he was given this handmade little hunter's outfit.   I saved and saved it for someday I had hoped to give it to my brother's son.  I was so delighted to see how perfectly adorable Easton was in his Camo.  
What precious gifts these to babes are!!!!

Girls shopping trip this year took us all the way to Washington DC.   This pic is front of Betsy and Nick's new home in Takoma Park, MD.   A gorgeous weekend spent catching up, shopping and relaxing on very.little.sleep   :)   It was good for me to get away again.  I heart DC and the special loved ones that live there.
We missed you Lia & Sara !!!

That sums up some the doings this fall.  As we enter the holiday season,  I hope to blog about Mom and Dad's 40th anniversary celebration   and  the 30 Day Mom challenge... take two.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

my Lil' Homemaker.


Is this still considered a profession/occupation?

Yes.  I suppose it is.
But not a paid one,  so really nothing's changed in the last forever of housewifery.  (yes, it's a word!)

I asked Chase what he would say my job is,  if someone were to ask him.

He replied,
" Um, probably you take care of baby and clean.? "

Okay,  true enough.   He also says that I am the weirdest mom he knows,  so that proves he is honest.

True as all of that is,   he did however miss a lot of my purpose as a Wife, Mom,  and someone who hasn't seen a Medicare or Social Security deduction since the year 2000.    

The day to day, week to week of the same ol' same ol'  has been my dream. come. true.   You see,  I always wanted to be a mother and make a home.   I feel blessed to be given this opportunity in life and for the most part enjoy it very much.    That may sound strange in a society of many over  great achievers.    Would anyone dare  say that being a mom (who isn't working an outside job) doesn't contribute to the world?    Well,  of course she is,  right?    She contributes a functioning adult into society at the end of her tenure.

Allow me to stop a second for the sake if clarity.   No one has ever made me feel like a lesser contributor,  rather it is I who have allowed myself to think it.  Sometimes I think I'm not doing enough,  you know... in the real world.

In the last 11 years I have often lost sight of exactly what I am doing.  That was recently revealed to me in the moment I folded the colorful towels with my 3 year old.

I had lost the joy.

I wasn't finding a sense of accomplishment in tasks completed.   Somewhere along the line I no longer purposed to make a home.  I just kind of slogged through the week in the hopes that somehow everyone had a full tummy and clean underwear.

I needed a booster shot.   Something to (re)open my eyes to my calling and to encourage my pursuits.
When I took a look at Juliet in these photos,  my eyes are opened.

Her concentration, 
her happiness, 
the empty laundry basket.   

Recently I've renewed affection for my purpose.

Yes,  folding towels and chagning a diaper for the millioneth time
isn't glamorous.  

But, it is life.  
My life.

I have decided to start thinking about what being a homemaker,  SAHM, whatever you want to call it,  allows me. 
It allows me time to drive my kids to school,
It allows me time to commune with my dear friends.
It frees my mind to ponder,  and opens my eyes to see things I'm certain I would miss if I had a career,  simply because I know I wouldn't make the time for those things.
It allows me the ability to Blog and create this journal of our lives.
It allows me to serve and think,  and pray, and laugh.  
... and much more...

Homemaking as my profession lets me be who God created me to be.
Every little thing that I do 
(laundry most certainly included)  
is for the Glory of the One who made me.

I need to remember that fact when I'm meal planning,   bathtub scouring,   and booger wiping.

P.S.  ~~~   My thoughts expressed in this post are strictly my own and are written for the sake of record keeping and personal accountability.   It is not my intent to persuade or judge,  or force my views on anyone.  This includes my daughter(s),  who will most likely grow up to manage a career,  home and family with beautiful ease,  
and I will be so proud.   


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

How's the grief?

A friend of mine has recently asked me lately how I am doing.

My response to that question is usually one of the following:

"Not too bad..."
"Really great..."
"Good, how about you?"

I knew though, that she was asking more than just a "how's it hanging?" kind of a question.
In fact she was deeply caring for me in asking me how I am.

The answer that came immediately to my mind was:

"It's complicated."

I was really blessed by her question,  and it was certainly timely. This particular time of the year brings about thoughts of a life, created from love that would have been, could have been, but never was meant to be--
a one year old.  

Following the many days of grieving and growing, hurting and healing that I lived the last year I am now one year distanced from that time period of profound sadness. At the time I knew not how to move forward, but forward movement was what I chose.    I wanted so badly to hurry past and through the pain of losing our baby.  I desperately wanted to see what God had planned for us,  I was in a rush to see His revelation.   

So here, one year later I daily hold (probably too tightly at times)  a bouncing 6 month old.  Naomi is so full of life at this age.  Smiley and communicative.   Beautiful and adored.    It would be dishonest to say that her birth hasn't helped the healing process. 

It has.

In many ways. 

I feel it every time I watch Naomi reach another milestone.

But,  (isn't there always a but?) as I take stock of the last year and a half,  I still feel a kind of void.  There's still a yearning.   I imagine what my life would be with a one year old daughter right now, and if her eyes would have been green like mine.   I'm sure they would have been green.  I imagine her taking her first steps and running around the back of church with the big kids.   I daydream about reaching Heaven's door and seeing her, holding her as if she had never been lost.   These are the feelings I keep, and that is OK.   For me, (and I know others will differ)  losing a baby isn't something that I can take a been there, done that type of attitude about.    Yes, it is a part of my past,  but also my present and future.  

Grief isn't a task I want to check off my to-do list.   It is part of me,  it is part of almost anyone who has lost a dear loved one.

I realized recently that I tried to run so fast from that painful time,  and now-- strange as it may seem--  I kind of long for it.   I don't wish for pain,  for that seems silly.   What I mean is,  I miss the amazing closeness with family,  community,  and God that I experienced during those days. 

I'm not sure if that answers my friend's question,  but I sure am glad she asked.  Anything that gives me the opportunity to think on April,  is blessing to me.   That is how I feel connected to a baby I grew and held but never had the chance to raise.   My grief isn't the same as it once was,  and that is good.  My grieving takes new forms and different roads,  and that is good too.  

Good. Grief.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Miracles Happen.

If you have followed or prayed for this precious life over the last few months,  
please click on over and rejoice with so many at the
homecoming of baby Bird.  

Psalm 71:5-8 

New Living Translation (NLT)

 5  O Lord, you alone are my hope.
      I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.
 6  Yes, you have been with me from birth;
      from my mother’s womb you have cared for me.
      No wonder I am always praising you!
7  My life is an example to many,
      because you have been my strength and protection.
 8  That is why I can never stop praising you;
      I declare your glory all day long.

Miracles happen.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

O Perfect Love

I remember paging through the white vinyl bound book when I was a young girl.
It had already showed signs of aging even though it was only 10 years old.   As I stared at the photos long enough somehow I felt transported to that day.

The day my parents were married.  40 years ago today.  

I loved looking at her wedding gown,  the 1970s fashion,  the familiar and noticeably younger faces of loved ones that stood next to my blonde haired father and fresh faced mother.  It was beyond interesting to think of my parents as a bride and groom and of a time before I came to be.   It felt special and comforting to me at that young age.  It inspired hopes and dreams of one day being a bride myself.   Turning the pages of that album  I knew not the reality of being a bride and becoming a wife.    Little did I understand that the wedding is a day,  the marriage is a lifetime.

Now I understand as my own marriage is nearly 15 years in.  Today we celebrate 40 years of God's faithfulness to a couple of 19 year olds,  who  made a commitment to love and to cherish.   My parents have a great story to tell.  Stories of blessing,  stories of struggle,  stories of God's work and His guidance,  when the path was unclear.    Isn't that what it is all about?   Going on faith and love into a future unknown?   Their union has inspired me all of my days to live and love as they have.   Give and serve as they do,   trust and find contentment in every circumstance. 

I type with tear filled eyes at the wild blessings they are to us and so many others.

We Love You Mom and Dad!
Happy 40th Anniversary!

O perfect Love, all human thought transcending,
Lowly we kneel in prayer before Thy throne,
That theirs may be the love which knows no ending,
Whom Thou forevermore dost join in one.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

this is the stuff

I like things the way I like them.

Don't we all?

When you (or me in this case) are faced with something that's downright unlikable,  what is the virtuous response?

I have spent the better part of two weeks getting way ahead of myself and working myself into a tizzy.   Yes,  I just said tizzy.    Making something way too big in my life and letting it push most everything good out of the way.    The specifics of what that was I won't go into because that's not really important, and in the big picture of life---  it wasn't a huge problem.

That is precisely what irks me the most.   When did I dive into shallow waters again?   When or why did I start letting an irritation turn into an infected wound?

When our unborn baby died last year my eyes were opened to the significance (or the insignificance) of stresses in life.    What really matters, and frankly,  what does not.     I welcomed that new perspective,  considered it one of the results of enduring that painful loss.    In the recent past I've lost that perspective.   So now,  kicking myself (which incidentally I seem to be doing a lot lately) I need  to grab it back.

What is important is what I am trying to learn from it.  I have to record this lesson learned,  or I am likely to forget it the next time things don't go my way

 My old method of coping:

Get upset.
Talk about it until I am blue in the face and people want to punch me.
Figure out how to manipulate change the situation
Perhaps cry,  but that might be too soft and sensitive this early in the problem
Generally assume a bad attitude.
Resist acceptance.

New plan.   When stuff drives me crazy I have the power of choice. 
Looking anew at the debacle (and future difficulties)  I find myself in, 
I will choose to:

Stay calm.
Pray about it,  asking God for clarity and direction.
Do not try to change manipulate the situation
Cry,   if needed.   A little crying is good for the heart.
Have patience.
Resolve to accept.

This is the stuff that drives me crazy
This is the stuff that's getting to me lately
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed
This is the stuff that gets under my skin
But I gotta trust You know exactly what You're doing
It might not be what I would choose
But this is the stuff You use                                ---Fransecsa Battistelli

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mom's Last Ride (now with pics)

A decade passed.
In a blink.
Or so it seems.

This past week we spent our days enjoying the lake of my childhood, and that of my Father'.
As we soaked in the sun's warmth my boys learned a few skills (water skiing) and overcame fears (un-hooking caught fish).  Pretty good for an impromptu vacation, right?

A take away,  if you will,  from the week are the realities that swirled in my mind as I rode lap after lap around the lake on the wave runner.

"Mom,  you wanna ride?"  Chase asked everyday.   
"You know I do!"   I replied.

I   "take him for a ride"   on the wave runner because I am of age to drive it.   What really happens is he takes the reigns and follows the counter clockwise route.   I hold on to the back handles and enjoy the the passenger position.   Shhhh... don't tell the DNR!

Early in the week as we zipped through waves and pockets smooth as glass ,  I began to realize quite heavily that this is Chase's last summer before middle school ensues.   For me to think that he is not going to change is hopeful but perhaps a bit naive.  Although his heart is kind and helpful,  he is a 'Tween now.    'Tweens are an interesting breed,  I hear.   In fact I can almost remember what it was like to be one.


That is how I know my position as his Mom will take on a bit of a different perspective to my budding young fella.    

It was almost as if he was growing up before my very eyes--in those moments!   I watched him maneuver the wave runner with skill and noticed him increase it's speed and daring as we passed by neighboring hooligans (that are older than he).    I even sensed the faint odor of smelly teen in his hair as I was back wind from his unwashed bed head.    What was happening?   I wanted to hit the red STOP button on that machine!!   Pause the moment,  keep him young and near me. 

But,  I cannot.  

So,  I kept quiet and let him grip the handle at full throttle,  knowing I had a couple more days to enjoy him like this.     And by Friday ,  our ride around iconic Payne Lake was extra sweet.   Not only did we have a good laugh when we ran out of gas,  but the the wind no longer smelled of greasy hair because I had just made Chase wash up in the lake.     He is growing up,    but for now  he might just need me in the passenger seat now and again. 

I thank God for opening my eyes through our daily living!  

 Drew's magic fish un-hooking Glove!   That thing changed his life!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I stumbled upon a website this week that posted a list of ways to intentionally love on your kids through a different method everyday,--for a month.   It's the 30 Day Mom Challenge

I don't count it an accident that this came to me on the last month of summer.    Being home all summer with my kids has been great overall-- but... (there is always a but)... The bickering, begging and bawling does get to me now and again.   Sometimes I zone out from it all,  try to hide out in my shower.  That is my calm way of coping.   The other  (and less admirable way)  of coping with the chaos of 5 kids,  is yelling.   Neither one of these methods is not particularly productive, nor do they give my kids what they are clammering for in the first place---  my positive attention and affirmation.

Enter the 30 Day Mom Challenge.  

I will be the first to admit that I lack a certain sticktoitiveness that a 30 day challenge requires.   However, this is for my kids.   I want to make the last few weeks of summer break 2011,  good weeks.   I don't want the last few weeks to be me at my wits end, resulting in they at their wits end. 

Such lofty goals,  I know.

I'd like to record the progress so I can look back fondly??  at this time and know if it made a difference in my home.   Enjoy, Mom.  (since you are probably the only one still reading)  :)

1.   One thing we can do together this month--   We decided to take a trip to the cemetery.   I know, kind of a dark outing,  but the kids have been asking to go,  and I will always, always, always take the opportunity to talk with them about April and remember that time in our family life.

2.  Go the Whole Day without yelling at your children--   Well,  they don't ease ya into it, do they?  This was a difficult one,  but knowing that was the challenge for the day I was quite mindful of my tone and volume.   I made it to bedtime and slipped. 

3. Hug Your Child 3 times today--   15 hugs happily delivered.   A great one!

4. Kiss your Children when they are sleeping--  The Girls looked forward to it.  They told me they would wake up when I kissed them.   They didn't.   The Boys were a little squirrely about it,  but promptly asked me the next morning if I followed through with the challenge.  

5.  Tell yourself  "He's Only ___ years old,  still a child.  Then, treat him that way--  I am not sure if I really performed this one.   But I am certainly more mindful of it now.

6.  Today's Challenge-- Bake, Make or Buy them their favorite food--  This one is hilarious.  I thought they would request homemade cookies or to go out for ice cream.    No.   They have thoughtfully requested "Fruit (and I use that term lightly) by the Foot"  and  "Gushers"    Gross.  But I have to follow the rules they tell me.

More to come as the month moves forward... 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Little Things.

I have this plaque hanging near my kitchen sink:

It was a gift from my Mom last year and she knows me well.   One of the reasons I created this blog was to record things.   Things big,  some small,  at times humorous, others very heavy.    In the certain craziness that 5 children brings I have not been able to record as I wish I could.   I suppose their needs do have to come first, after all.

So, with shrinking free time on my hands it made perfect sense to start another blog,  right?

Probably not.  But my hope is that I can quickly pop in the things that inspire me.   Hardly a day passes that I don't notice something,  feel a deep thought,  or want to celebrate a thing or two.

As a result I'm starting a new effort to record Little Things.    Call them pieces of joy,  or endless gifts,  or beauty in the ordinary.   Little photos of things that bless me, inspire me,  speak to me.   My hope is to be able to do this on a daily basis---  but don't hold me to that OK?

So here (again) I go...
if you'd on over to Little Things 


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

looking back on the summer that is !!

Ok,  I'm forcing myself to stop.
If I don't get our summer doings recorded in this virtual memory book,  I will have to kick my actual self!  

I'm making myself stop and take a look at all we've been able to experience this summer,  
"the summer that IS"
You see,  for me,  2010 was the "summer that wasn't."

That phrase originated 5 years ago when my sister was on bedrest awaiting the birth of her triplet daughters.   She spent 7 weeks of summer 2006 incubating those 3 little blessings.   Her summer wasn't the typical party having,  sparkler waving,  cottagey goodness that it usually was.   It had a different purpose.

I can look back at my summer season 2010 and feel that tangled mess of grieving,  living,  and hoping.   It was a summer that wasn't.    
I am thankful,  hard to fully express actually how full I feel this summer.    Still somewhat tangled up, but truly seeing this season in a new light.  

With 3 weeks to go yet,  find below some snapshots of the the doings thus far.
Thanks for walking down both roads with me.

 Lord God, I accept both from Your hand, pain and joy, accepting that in this world, they come together. Someday it will be only, always, joy — You whisper Your certain triumph with Jesus, and daily mercies, and Advent and Your comforting presence. And lilies blooming in winter.   ---Ann Voskamp
You will have pain but your pain will turn to joy. (Jn 16:20

 The Curley Cone  (FYI,  they don't accept debit or credit)   HAHA!  (that one's for you small group)
 Rack-O on a Rainy day.  I'm not sure who's having more fun,  Grandpa or Naomi
 First boat ride for little "Nomi"

 Cousins,  reunited.
 Birthday Buddies is their claim to fame.
 Candy store golf cart rides were a 3 or 4 times daily occurence.
 Dieleman/Wierenga Grandkids
 Naomi and Easton :) 
 Fishing with Grandma, who incidentally hooks all the worms and un-hooks all the fish x4 kids!
 She also plays a mean game of Twister!    Love you, Mom!

Friday, July 22, 2011

a snapshot of life these days

cottage vacations, baby crying, kids not listening to me, Pajamas all day,
...more to come.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Please Pray.

Please Pray for baby Tessa. She will meet her family today.
Pray for lung function and health and life.
Pray for hope, courage, strength for her parents, brothers, grandparents.

Thank you so much.