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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Winter


Ah winter.....it's been full of snow, ice, snow, more ice, oh and yes, more snow! LOL! Today was the first day we've been able to see the blacktop of our driveway for MONTHS! I kid you not! And as I type we have another big storm rolling in calling for upwards of 6" of snow. Goodbye driveway....it was good to see you for a bit. :) 
We are thanking God that we have the mountain taxi with chains to get us up and down the driveway otherwise it would be a VERY LONG WINTER! 

The kids sledding trail froze over and they loved being able to slide fast without sleds! 
Oh and yes, I am one of those worried moms that make my children wear helmets to sled.
Actually...this sounds crazy but they were even wearing helmets to just be outside because it was so darn icy! It's a good thing too because we had several slips resulting in helmets hitting the ground. Much better than little heads! :0)


Kyalynn loves the trampoline!


A winter walk at the State Park. Cold and deserted but beautiful just the same.


Do you think Samuel has a big personality?! Really? What makes you say that?! LOL!


Nolan counting money and change. 
This little man is doing amazing with his schooling! 


The other 3 amigos working hard at school. :)
 We are rolling right along and they are all doing well.





One of their favorite parts is for me to start a story by writing the first line or two and have them finish it. They love to write! It's fun hearing their very different takes on the same story. 


Monday, February 16, 2015

Life

Psalm 39:4Amplified Bible 

Lord, make me to know my end and [to appreciate] the measure of my days—what it is; let me know and realize how frail I am [how transient is my stay here].

1 Corinthians 15:55 (KJV) O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?


Here on the mountaintop we've been walking through the valley. That dreaded valley of death. It never gets easier, does it?! It's been bitter and sweet. Tears flow freely at the weirdest moments. Memories flit through my brain and put a smile on my face and a pain in my gut at the same time. It's made me, again, really think about what I believe, how I am living, and if I am making a difference with this one life God graciously blessed me with.
I once thought to make a difference I had to be doing incredible, God-sized things that impacted hundreds, thousands even. I thought being a mommy, loving my family well and sharing my life with others was not enough. There had to be more!
 "When Lord will you let me do big things for you?" was the cry of my heart. You know what I mean, right? Like being an evangelist, or a missionary, or starting a ministry, or gathering orphans from all over the world, or, or, or......I guess I'm one of His slower sheep because I'd hear His voice whispering to me over and over "you are doing big things for Me", yet I didn't believe it and I'd always struggle and strain against "my calling" because it just didn't feel....enough. After all, look what God did for me. I could at least be doing world-changing stuff for him!  
And then sickness consumed my precious Aunts body and Jesus beckoned her home. It happened so quickly. Too quickly! She fought hard but the pain was constant and the hope of healing faded fast.  I am so ever thankful that Sean saw the necessity in me going to the hospital only days before she passed to spend time with her. I was able to hug her, pray with her and talk with her one last time. It was such a gift! 
But my heart hurts. When I think of life without her boisterous laugh and her encouraging notes the pain is deep. Her life was well lived. She made her days count. She gave out of her abundance and her lack. She always, always, always had an easy smile and a hug. She loved my babies (all of them!) with abandon. She would call or email me just to see how my little ones were liking the snow or the holidays, etc. She was a gift!
Her death has taken me to a new place in my life. A place where I finally understand what "making a difference" truly looks like.  It is simple really. I was making it way tougher than it is. I was trying to make it about doing something BIG for Jesus but truth is, it's not about that. It's about living our lives for Jesus. That's it! 
Wow, right?! 
You see, my Aunt Dawn was not a missionary in a foreign country but she was a missionary in her city. In fact, one of her neighbors was visibly touched by her gift of friendship and her caring towards him. He spoke not once but 4 times at her service!
Aunt Dawn did not have great wealth or riches by the worlds standards but if you would have seen the room overflowing with friends and family that loved her, you would have known how rich she truly was! 
There were many tears as we celebrated her life through the many stories we all had of her. Many, many stories of shared laughter, tears and doing life together. Ahhh, she will be missed because she made a difference in this world by living her life with her eyes focused on Jesus! 
So I am going to honor her legacy by just continuing to do what I've been doing.....loving my family well, serving others and keeping my eyes on Jesus. I'm not going to fall into the trap of thinking what I'm doing doesn't matter or isn't enough anymore. Because I've witnessed the fruit of a simple, ordinary, woman just living life with her eyes on Her Savior. And someday, when I pass into the Promise Land, I pray that there will be a multitude gathered sharing how my life made a difference in theirs. Not to praise my name but to praise the One who lived in me! 





Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Granny Brand


Evelyn Brand felt called by God to go to India. For a single woman in 1909, a calling like that required a truckload of faith. She married a young man named Jesse and together they began a ministry to the people in rural India, bringing education and medical supplies, and building roads to reduce the isolation of the poor. For seven years they went without making a single convert to Christianity. But then a priest in a local tribal region developed a fever and grew deathly ill. No one would go near him, but Evelyn and Jesse nursed him as he was dying. He said, "This God, Jesus, must be the true God because only Jesse and Evelyn will care for me in my dying." The priest gave his children to them to care for after he died - and that became a spiritual turning point in that part of the world. People began to examine the life and teachings of Jesus, and in increasing numbers began to follow Him. Evelyn and Jesse had thirteen years of productive service, then Jesse died.  By this time, Evelyn was fifty years old, and everyone expected her to return to her home in England. But she wouldn't do it. She was known and loved for miles around as "Granny Brand", and she stayed another twenty years under the mission board she had served so faithfully. Her son, Paul, came over to see her when she was seventy years old, and this is what he said about his mum: "This is how to grow old. Allow everything else to fall away until those around you see only love" (see 1 Corinthians 13:1-2).


At age seventy she received word from her home mission office that they weren't going to give her another five-year term. But she had Caleb's "we can certainly do it" attitude. A party was held to celebrate her time in India, and everyone there cheered her on. "Have a good trip back home", they all said.  "I'll tell you a little secret," she announced, "I'm not going  back home. I'm staying in India." Evelyn had a little shack built with some resources that she had smuggled in. Then she bought a pony to get around the mountains, and this septuagenarian would ride from village to village on horseback to tell people about Jesus. She did that for five years on her own. One day, at seventy-five years old, she fell and broke her hip. Her son, Paul Brand, the eminent doctor, said to her, "Mum, you had a great run. God's used you. It's time to turn it over now. You can go back home." She replied, "I am not going back home." She spent another eighteen years traveling from one village to another on horseback. Falls, concussions, sicknesses, and aging could not stop her. Finally, when she hit ninety-three years old, she could not ride horseback any more. So the men in these villages - because they loved Granny Brand so much - put her on a stretcher and carried her from one village to another. She lived two more years and gave those years as a gift, carried on a stretcher, to help the poorest of the poor.  She died, but she never retired. She just graduated. 


Do it with all your might - Ecc. 9:10 NIV

We can certainly do it - Numbers 13:30 NIV

(from my Daily Devotional - A word for you today)


This story made me seriously sob. The grit of this lady. The unwavering commitment of her life. The fruit from her steadfastness.....oh, how I want that to be said of my life. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Before the snow......


Unbelievably warm December day enjoying our local history.  These days it's bitter cold and lots of snow around here. The kids are loving sledding, snowboarding and body surfing the snowy hills. Love, love, love my babies!!! 


Monday, December 1, 2014

Ah, the beauty....

The beauty of God's creation surrounds me....when I look into these precious faces, when we hike a trail through the woods, when I hear the giggles and belly laughs that resonate from "someone being silly" I stand back amazed that this is MY life! I am truly blessed beyond measure.....


One of our many hikes in the great outdoors....


This sweet jewel just had a birthday! She is growing into such a beautiful little lady...



Our son Ryan stationed in Korea with his beautiful girlfriend, Michelle.  Aren't they adorable?!


Our second snow of the season. Enough to make 
snow angels and snowmen. Kids were so happy!


My little baking helpers making cupcakes.


Turkey cupcakes!!


Samuel being his usual silly self. He is so funny and
 loves to make his brothers and sisters laugh.


Nolan showing off his creations.


Connor's turkeys.


Gabriella all smiles.




And back for another year is......Ginger! She is my version of elf on the shelf. I have her doing fun things each morning when the kids wake up. They love it and try to be the first one downstairs to see what she's doing. LOL! She made her appearance this year by parachuting in. :)


Then she was playing the drums....


And this is what they will see tomorrow. :)

Silly fun that I hope makes memories that they will look back fondly on. I love when our whole family gets together and remembers the crazy, silly, fun stuff we've done over the years. I especially love to hear my two biggest boys talking about the fun they had growing up. Warms my heart. :)


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Just because....:)

Just because I know y'all are tired of looking at that pic of me and my man and needed some sweet cuteness instead. :) 
My babes enduring me taking some pictures. 
NOT their favorite thing. LOL!


Sweet cuteness indeed!!


Friday, October 3, 2014

A Quarter of a Century....


Sean and I recently celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary! How extremely grateful I am that God brought this amazing man into my life all those years ago! We surely had no idea the journey God would take us on and what He would teach us through each day, which is probably a good thing. LOL! I could say huge volumes about this man but I will just say this one thing....he is truly my very best friend (next to Jesus!).  

For years we have been saying we would do a big adventure on our 20th - which we did- we flew to Kansas to pick up Samuel and flew home the next day! :) So when my man began talking about getting away for this big one I was hesitant but when he talked about flying out of country I became concerned! Of course the idea of having him all to myself sounded divine BUT having 5 small children, 4 of which have significant special needs, throws quite a wrench in things. LOL! We planned the trip but to be honest, I did call to cancel but my sweet travel agent who knew our story wouldn't let me. :) The night we were to leave, Kyalynn was already displaying serious anxiety which caused me to have serious anxiety(!) but we did it and am I ever glad we did! 
This was the first time Sean and I have been away alone together for more than a day and a half since our honeymoon! How sad is that?! 
We didn't realize how exhausted we were until we hit the hotel and then we just wanted to sleep for the first day. 
We didn't have internet so we weren't able to keep a close tab on things back home which was probably a Godsend as well. Let's just say everyone survived but my sweet mom probably lost a couple years of her life! Sorry mom!!
We were able to sleep all.night.long without interruptions, eat without worrying who was choking or needed food cut, not have a schedule or give medicine or do all the things we do each day to maintain the chaos.  It was GLORIOUS!! :)
BUT 
we were ready to come home and see our babies. And although somedays I long for that relaxed and no problem place there is no where I'd rather be than right here in my humble abode with my precious gifts!! 

Samuel is getting better but he would scream and cry forever if I left the house to go for a walk. He was so afraid I was going away again. Poor little guy. 
Sean and I keep joking about our next vacation alone.....in another 25 years! LOL!

What a blessing it was to go.
What a blessing it was to come home.
What a blessing it was to have my parents and oldest son and daughter in law take turns keeping the kids so we could go because they knew how much we needed it. 
And as they say in Jamaica.....
No problem mon! :)




My babies sportin' their dreadlocks....LOL! 
Aren't they ADORABLE?!