Monday, December 28, 2009

Heavenly Hosts?!

Christmas Day has come and gone and we managed to survive the EPIC CHRISTMAS BLIZZARD OF 2009! We were snowed in a few days and church services were cancelled but we managed to have the family brave the elements and come over yet on Christmas Day. At one point during the raging winds I looked out of our back window and saw what I thought was a very cool snow drift. So I took a picture and then I posted it on facebook. And then it was brought to my attention that it looks like an angel.
Do you see an angel? Or do you see a super model? I don't know about you, but I much prefer the idea of having an angel outside my window than a super model!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth, peace to men on whom His favor rests.
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Blessings in the New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


There used to be a barn along Highway 60 that sat close to the road. It was old. Falling down. Not safe. Not pretty. I remember coming around the bend and seeing the side of the barn and could tell the owners had put Christmas lights on it. Being the good frugal Dutch girl that I am, I remember thinking "What a waste to put Christmas lights on that old, falling down barn!" And then as I came farther around that bend I could start to see the front of that barn was quite decorated... and then... I could see inside....
While it was just a cheap plastic nativity scene inside, it was enough to make me stop and go "Oh. Sorry." Instantly I was humbled when I put together this falling down shack with the reminder of our Mighty Savior's humble entrance into this world. His parents were grateful for the shack, and the star of David shone like Christmas lights to point out this humble abode.
The old barn isn't there anymore. They doubled the road width and the barn was taken down. I miss it whenever I approach that curve. It was a gentle reminder when I needed it most.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 1But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 1Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Chris the Lord.This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest! and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." Luke 2:8-14

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Tour of Homes

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

Every year, (for at least one year!) I find the bloggy Christmas Tour of Homes, usually hosted by Boo Mama, this year by the Nester, and love it! So, here is my own little tour. And because I am so good at technology, these pictures appear in no particular order.

My cute little Kitchen Tree. I love the little muffin pans, rolling pins and wooden spoons! So much fun!

Here is our "advent calendar" Some year, I will have one, Maicy wants one badly, but for now, this will have to do.

Oh yes, lets start outside shall we?? Ahem. I have no control over these pics! I would have tried to clean this up a bit, but it is only 3 degrees outside and the wind was blowing, so we snapped quickly and hurried back inside. (the chair is serving a purpose right there too, its holding that tree from falling in the wind)
Here it is above on set of cabinets. I love this area. I am really happy with how my clearance items turned out this year And the other cabinets... pay no attention to the glowing pink rock. My dear hubby was cleaning out the cupboard right below and clearly forgot to put it away. And I just didn't feel like it. My MIL gave me most of these pieces, starting the year Steve and I got engaged.
Here is our main tree... notice anything different than the last time you all saw it?! huh huh?That's right, my dear hubby "fixed" them! And yes, by fix, I do mean found the string that had come and plugged and magically plugged it back in and wha-la! We had light! I know, he is pretty smart that man I married. ( we won't say what that says about me) Here is this year's solution for Christmas Card pictures. I love to have them out, but get tired of taping them to a door somewhere. I did have this great idea that I found in Family Fun magazine using a tomato cage, but it turns out, you just can't find tomato cages at the store in December. Huh. Who knew.
This is my other "big" tree, and my favorite.This one is only 7 1/2 feet tall compared to the nine footer in the living room. I love the ornaments because they are vintage looking with bells and handmade stockings. ( handmade of course is code for a factory in China somewhere)
The best decoration of all, despite the poor camera skills. I love to sit and stare at this at night and just imagine what it was like that night so long ago...
Ah, I had to include this little gem. It isn't much and its only 20" tall, but it was our first Christmas tree. Back when we were first married and living in a basement apartment, that's all we had room for, or could afford really. I still love it. It sits in the perfect cut out of a wall on our stairway landing.
So, I hope you enjoyed the little tour. You can go to the Nester and find several hundred more homes to check out! It's just for fun, and maybe its able to get you into the holiday spirit!
Merry Christmas and God Bless you!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

In the Interest of Full Disclosure...

We built our house 5 years ago. And yes, by "we" I mean my husband, not actually "me", but that's not the point. And approximately 3 years ago, it went on the market, because if you have a husband that builds houses, that's just what you do. Evidently its fun. (I am waiting for that moment). So, our house doesn't get shown that often, because well, its priced well above the median home prices in our area, and we don't care, because "we" really don't want to sell it and move away from our fabulous cul-de-sac neighborhood with neighbors that call to borrow sugar, or who I can call to borrow butter and don't forget to come over Friday night with a glass of wine so we can solve the world's problems while our children sleep. And yes, in that incredibly long run-on sentence "we" meant "me". So, we don't show it often, therefore, my house is not "staged" for sale. Anyway. The local realtor websites show our house looking nice and clean as you would of course expect. However, I would like that to be changed. Because when you are in the midst of baking 13 dozen cookies and candies for the school's annual cookie walk, and you are behind in the laundry (folding, not washing) and well, the house has been neglected because there are usually better things to be doing than cleaning and organizing and the phone rings to tell you that your house will be shown in 24 hours, you just may flip out a bit. If you cannot relate to this, please, just step away and don't even scroll down. I can't handle your judgement.
So, these are the new picture that I would like posted on the realtor sites. That way when the phone rings, if my house looks like this, well then, that's what the people are expecting because they have already seen that on the website! And if it happens to be clean at the time, or I have time to clean, then they will be extra impressed upon walking thru my front door! I know, I am a genius! Okay, here they are, now brace yourselves:
The living room, complete with half dead Christmas lights on the tree, cards intending to get mailed out, and while a quick fix at this point, could be better.
Ahh, the master bath. How relaxing, you can see the places where your laundry will naturally collect, because the hamper is clearly too much effort for some people.
The large master bedroom: Complete with area for dumping all clean laundry waiting you to take the time to fold and put it away. Also not shown, is ample storage for tossing anything that you would like to deal with later.
The laundry room. Lets face it, you already hate to be in here, this is designed so that you will get in and out as quickly as possible! *stinky hockey equipment not included*
I had another picture of the toy/craft/game room, it didn't turn out. Believe it or not, it was messier than any of these rooms. Now, pick your jaw up off the floor and stop judging me. The house is now sparkling clean, thanks to my husbands help. ( He gained lots of points this weekend!) Now, if only I could find a place to store the kids so it stays clean through the holidays....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fa. La. La. De. Da.

I typically LOVE getting ready for Christmas. And by "LOVE", I mean run around like a crazy person, barking at whoever is in my way, and stressing about how something doesn't look right. What's not to love? Really it isn't that bad, I just prefer to do the decorating when no one else is around. Then all is well.
This year, while it was taking me awhile, we had a busy weekend with family so I squeezed in decorating where I could, it was still going well. I had a new tree, so I figured I wouldn't have to worry about lights. HA! The tree went up on Saturday night, and this is what I woke up to on Monday morning:
(the poor photography skills are deliberate to enhance the lighting issue. yeah, yeah, that's it)
Imagine my sheer delight to wake up and see that 1/3 of the tree is already off. Now I can try to figure out what fuse is out and try to replace it. Or I can wait until Wednesday night when my hubby gets home and have him do it! (My guess is he'll get right on that...just in time for New Year's that is.)
Please keep in mind that this tree was supposed to simplify my life. We used to have this monster 12' thing taking up our entire living room. Steve and I came to a mutual decision to rid our lives of it, or we would probably not be living under the same roof. (yes, I realize we don't right now during the week anyways, but I mean that me and the tree would probably be living under a bridge somewhere curled up in the fetal position) It was a nightmare of a tree.
Here it is on its last glorious Christmas Eve. Say good-bye to the giant tree kids, its going to get hurled into the fire soon! (not that its easy to hurl a 350lb mass into a fire, but you get the idea)
That's all for Scrooge talk today. I am working to regain my sanity be the end of the week. All should be well. Then we'll talk about "Christmas Tree Addiction" You'll want to stay tuned... I just know it! ;)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Give Thanks

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
This is my favorite time of year! I love Thanksgiving, I love the get togethers the food, the decorations, and most of all the fact that I am called out, even when it is hard, to give thanks. It isn't easy to thank God for everything every day, but amazing things do happen when we say "Thank you" to God for things that we don't necessarily see as a blessing.
I did that just this morning in fact. Our Angel Tree Project has been weighing me down a bit (lets blame the lack of posts in the past week on that!) and honestly I was developing a bad attitude towards it. So, this morning as I sat doing my devotions and I focused on this verse, I realized I do have to thank Him for all of the aspects of Angel Tree. And I started to cry. No matter how stressed I get, or how frustrated I am with circumstances, it is what He wants. It isn't about me. Its a beautiful program and if I can give it over to Him, He will do awesome things with it. He has already blessed families, and prisoners, and me with this opportunity.

Here are some other things I am thankful for this week:

  • Health!! ( a huge one as I had two very sick children to start the week, lots of laundry!)
  • A husband - I had to take care of them myself this one time, and I am so grateful that I am not always doing this alone. My heart goes out to single parents!
  • Snuggles - kids are so snuggly when they are sick, can't get enough of that. Even if there is a bucket between us. :(
  • A shower- yes, it was a huge blessing to be granted time to shower after not being able to leave my baby's side for more than a minute!
  • Food- so much food is being prepared for tomorrow, we are blessed beyond measure
  • Family and Friends- we get to host a large group and I couldn't be happier! You can never have too many people at the holidays! (unless you don't like any of them of course, and well, then I am sorry for you!)
  • Church - I can't wait for tomorrow's service. The Thanksgiving service at Immanuel is always a favorite.

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, and if you have no one to share the day with, come on over! We'll have plenty of food!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What if....

My mind is still reeling from all that I heard this morning.
I am leading Beth Moore's Esther study at our church, and while every week is great, this one has really led me to conviction and I believe has the power to be life altering. Pretty big words for a chicken like me!
The whole lesson was on fear. And courage. Can you imagine a life without fear? I know I can't, its totally incomprehensible to me. And yet, that is the command given to us the most out of any other command in the Bible "Do not be afraid" "fear not" "take courage" are all repeated more than any other command.
Esther 4:16 says "...if I perish, then I perish." In our work books the sentence structure looked like this: "what if ___________ then_______." We were to think of our worst fear. Honestly, I left it blank... only one?! As a parent, the thought of a child dying, as a wife, the fear of losing my husband.What if we are never chosen as a forever family. What if my children end up in prison. and so on and so on. Yes, fear has a grip on me. But the point, what if "it" happens. Will I be devastated? Yes. Will I be angry? Pretty good chance. Then what? Then, God, my Father, will pick me up and He. Will. Still. Be. He will hold me, He will lead me through it. Our faith isn't enough if all we can say is "well, I believe God will take care of me, therefore the worst I can imagine will never come to be" We hear it over and over again, that if He leads us to it, He will lead us through it. Its true. God doesn't promise that we won't hurt, and that all will be easy. He does promise that He will take care of us. To fill in the blank we need to say "What if "it" then GOD."
I could go on and on and on. But I won't (deep sigh of relief from all 3 people reading this) There is more to the lesson. But this is the most important. And as someone who often lets the devil get a hold on me because he thinks I would be devastated and never pick up the pieces if the unimaginable happened, I need to get a grip on reality. And give up Satan's stronghold.
Even if, then God.
God is Good, All the Time!

Monday, November 16, 2009


Today I am gathering papers, filling out paperwork, and cleaning the house. Tomorrow we meet with our licensing worker to renew our foster license and renew our homestudy apps. All I can say is, Really? It brings out my deepest frustration to know that we have been waiting for almost a year already. I think we all assumed that we would have a different family make up by now. Yes, I realize we did have opportunity and that WE chose to end that, but I still know that it wouldn't have been right for us to go any other way. It was and still is the best choice for us, and the girls to have gone the route we did. So, here we are. Last year we were excited and eager (almost) to do our weekly homework and meet every Monday night with a group of people who started as strangers that we now share a deeper bond with. We thought that surely by next Christmas, our picture would be fuller, our letter a little longer. I am struggling with Christmas pictures this year. Not because my family isn't precious enough to me or that I don't appreciate my two beautiful children. Its just frustrating when we had such HOPE of it looking different by now. I have hoped for several years that it would be different. First praying for another baby to be born to us, and when that dream was extinguished 3 years later, that God would place more children in our home to STAY.
This journey of Fostering to Adopt is not an easy one. It is even harder in our area as the demand is not that high. Again, I am sure I have said this before, but it is an emotional roller coaster when you realize that you are actually praying for a family to be broken so that you can grow yours. Of course that isn't what we are praying, but going this route, definitely makes it feel that way some days.
I know that God knows what He is doing. I know that there are many people with far bigger hurts than my own today. But that doesn't change the fact that today, I am frustrated.
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:11 NIV
God is Good, All the time!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

You Punched my Tooth out!

Says my daughter in the cereal aisle at the grocery store. Ummm. yeah. I did. I "punched" her tooth out. And before you all go crazy and call CPS on me... let me tell assure you while it was my finger that plucked the tooth out... it didn't go down quite like she said. It had been extremely loose for several weeks and she would. freak. out. anytime anyone even suggested that she should pull it out. The nerve of us to even say it! Really. So yes, my finger got in there, maybe as I tickled (not tackled as she will tell you) to the ground (in our living room) and plucked it out (not punched). This tooth has been loose for over a month and was looking nasty, so yes, I am glad it came out. I just wish she would use different words in the grocery store ...
Here's the girl now who's trying to perfect the song "All I want for Christmas..."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bringing Thanksgiving to Christmas

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!" ( the Grinch)
Okay, I know, its only November and we haven't even had Thanksgiving yet. But I wanted to put a bug in everyone's ear now. Many have already started their Christmas shopping or at least making lists... or mental lists. So, I received a World Vision catalog in the mail this week and it really made me stop and look at everyone's Christmas "Wish" lists. We all have stuff we would like, but really, none of here are in NEED. And if you asked, my list of Thanks is far greater than my Wish list. What if this Christmas, we look deep into our hearts, and do something with that money, that will HELP those really in NEED. Here are some great ways to help, and even get a little something for yourself. But, I have a feeling the cause will be far better for our hearts than another sweater would be.

  • If that isn't for you, fine... here are some other great ideas...
  • Have coffee drinkers on your list? Buy them some coffee from Ethiopia and support an adoption! Here is the story of Jim and Adrienne who after 2, count that 2! disrupted US adoptions, are now adopting from South Korea. They need to raise money for that... she describes how you can help, simply by purchasing company from this awesome place!
  • There is also, Aaron and Nicole Baarts personal organization, One Body, One Hope which is selling calendars, t-shirts and homemade goats milk soap, for a steal I might add!
  • And one more way, I think is a great way to teach your children about helping others is purchasing gifts for organizations such as Angel Tree, Salvation Army, or whatever local charities you may have. If possible, check into delivering these gifts as a family. I know it has made a huge impact in my own children's lives. It helps them to appreciate what they do receive each year, and it reminds them to take time to pray for those who aren't as blessed as they are.
If you are still reading, thanks! I know I put a lot of stuff out there! But, its something close to my heart. And I believe that no matter how rough our year has been, someone else's has been worse. And what better way to improve everyone's year, than by being a blessing to someone else.
God is Good, All the Time!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Kept Woman

I received this in an email and thought it was a great reminder, so I wanted to share it with you, lest you think I all dropped off the face of the earth!!
You see, there were a few times when I thought I would lose my mind, But GOD kept me sane. (Isa. 26:3)
There were times when I thought I could go no longer, But the LORD kept me moving. (Gen 28:15)
At times, I've wanted to lash out at those whom I felt had done me wrong, But the LORD kept my mouth shut.. (Psa. 13)
Sometimes, I think the money just isn't enough, But GOD has helped me to keep the lights on, the water on, the car paid, the house paid, etc.., (Matt. 6:25 -34)
When I thought I would fall, HE kept me up. When I thought I was weak, HE kept me strong! (I Pet. 5:7, Matt. 11:28-30)
I could go on and on and on, but I'm sure you hear me! I'm blessed to be 'kept ' Do you know a 'kept ' woman? If so pass it on to her to let her know she is 'Kept ' I'm "Kept" by the Love and Grace of God. Have a Blessed Week! Let's keep encouraging one another! "Commit your works to Me and your thoughts will be established." (PROVERBS 16:3)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I'm sure it was a typo...

...but it doesn't seem that way. I don't know if you know this, but I have been given an award. For what you may ask? Good question! Okay seriously now. I have had been granted this honor by Bina over at Bina's Pad. She won this award and had to pass it on to 3 more people, guess her choices were limited! ;) Okay, I know, I am horrible at receiving any sort of gift or praise with Grace. I am certain that when God lets me into those pearly gates I will say " oh, me? really? I don't deserve that! I yell at my kids, I called someone a name once in 2nd grade, I have spent too much time at church checking out hairstyles instead of focusing on the preacher! Surely someone else deserves it more than me. " Moving on. Here's my beautiful award: So, feeling of course undeserving, I decided to look up the actual definition of the word Humane. It is: Humane: (adj)marked by compassion, sympathy, or consideration for humans or animals. Well, I guess its true then. I do feel I am those things. (just not deserving an award for it! ;)) So, Bina, I accept your heartfelt award with many thanks.
  • The rules: 1) To accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his/her blog link. 2) Pass the award to other bloggers that you have recently discovered and think are great! Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
  • I am giving this to Mom with Many names Because if anyone fits that description, it is her!
  • And over at Full Circle, Melissa is also very deserving of this award.

Go ahead and check out those amazing women, and thanks for letting me air my insecurities to you all! ;)

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Family

Sunday showed me something again about our church family. We really are just that. A family. When one of our members is hurting, the whole family hurts, when one is sad, the whole family mourns also. When one needs to be lifted, the family joins hands together to lift that one up. Saturday evening another member of our beloved family went to be with her Heavenly Father. Again, too soon if you would ask those left behind. But that isn't up to us, or them, its up to Him. My sympathies to the friends and families of Karla. And while we hurt, mourn, and wonder why, God never failed to make Himself known. Passages, sermons, and worship songs were selected long before we would know what was about to happen the night before the family gathering at Immanuel. But God knew. And human minds could not have prepared a more fitting service with hope, encouragement and love, so perfectly displayed. God planned both services, there is no doubt. My many thanks to those who heard His call when they planned. For obeying and listening to His heed, and for allowing the Almighty to work through them. 1 Timothy 1: (the Message) 15-19Here's a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I'm proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever. Deep honor and bright glory to the King of All Time— One God, Immortal, Invisible, ever and always. Oh, yes!I'm passing this work on to you, my son Timothy. The prophetic word that was directed to you prepared us for this. All those prayers are coming together now so you will do this well, fearless in your struggle, keeping a firm grip on your faith and on yourself. After all, this is a fight we're in.

Happy Halloween... a bit late

It's hard to believe that we have gone from this, just a couple years ago...
Sulley and Boo from Monster's Inc....and the fireman and the princess, even before the monsters came out... these giants! A skateboarder and a snow princess. (we blame her for Friday's surprise snow shower!)
The local college had trick or treating in the dorms on Friday night, so we did that instead, hmmm. walk door to door in 35 degree weather with wind or go inside to the dorms and get more candy every 2 feet. Yup. Good choice!
So, Saturday night we were able to stay home and answer the door for trick or treaters. Maicy takes this job very seriously! Here she waits "patiently" for new goblins to come to the door.
And then she needs a break! That's right...we just keep adding to our dentist bill.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Good Intentions

Know what this is? Let me tell ya...
This morning was goin' fine. I was ready for work, the kids had a ride to school, I had time for breakfast. So, since Biggest Loser was on last night and my motivation was fresh, (has nothing to do with the 25 outfit changes this morning declaring over and over that each one made me look fat! oh wait.. never mind ) I went for the Weight Control Oatmeal... I love that stuff! Really, it is good, especially the banana bread flavor... sadly all I had in the house was Cinnamon, but it would do. And then, as I walked with my bowl to get a napkin God said to me, "girl you are going to be humbled today;" I'm gonna what? ... *sigh*
Do you know what oatmeal resembles when you are cleaning it off the cupboard and floor? Ewww! Broken bowl. No breakfast. Burned fingers from oatmeal. And now have to clean the kitchen. Nice. Happy Wednesday to me.
The redeeming thing? This cleaner. Anytime I use this stuff I love the smell it leaves behind. Its fresh and clean smelling, and it seems to actually clean too!
Hope you all have a better Wednesday!!