Category Archives: family

What a week!

Last week was a star studded, crazy, off the map, busy one! Monday morning we made the drive over to Kings Island, knowing that rain was in the forecast and extreme heat. That must have worked in our favor because we were able to pretty much walk onto all the rides, with very little waiting in lines. This was the first year for Matthew to ride the big coasters, and we kind of thought he would take some coaxing to get on one and then hate them. Boy were we WRONG!! The boy is a roller coaster fanatic and wore us out! I felt like the Beast was going to beat us to death, and he loved it. It seemed like Vortex was going to throw us off of the rails, and he screamed with delight.  By 2 0’clock I was done. DONE. But daddy said we could stay until the fireworks…

So we rode and rode, and I sat a few out, and we rode some more. We were on our way to do our last rides of Vortex and the Beast for the night and we saw lightening. Then we heard they were closing the rides due to the lightening. The sky started to get black, but it was 8:30, so we couldn’t tell if it was rain or not. The kids were all disappointed, but we explained to them what an awesome day we had had, ridden everything multiple times, and had not had to wait to do all of it. They were ok after that discussion, and we rode one more carnival type ride, then headed for the car. I had blisters on the balls of both feet, and it started raining on us. It was a good day!

Tuesday night we went to the fair and basically ate our way through it. I won’t go into details because it makes me green around the gills, but I will tell you that the watermelon whip was delightful! We also came home with 6 goldfish, and they are all still kicking.

Wednesday was a work day, and I had to leave early because Brooke and her friend were home with the dogs and one of them is pregnant. Apparently they gave her a treat and she started choking, so they called me in a panic that the dog was throwing up and would not come out from under the bed. I rushed home and discovered the dog was freaking out because the girls were freaking out. Once we figured out she was not choking, nor in labor, we had a girls night out to dinner at a little Mexican place I had never been to. It was so good that Brooke and I went there again for lunch on Saturday :)

Thursday Brooke was one of the Start girls for the USAC race at O’reilly Raceway Park. She left on the bus with dance team at 2:00pm and we went out there a little while later. It was still hot, and the girls had to wear green wigs, so I felt really sorry for them. They did a wonderful job starting the race, and then we watched some great racing. I don’t want to mention that my mother in law passed out on me because she will kill me, but I will tell you that she is fine.

Friday was our wedding anniversary. 16 years! That makes me feel old. Brian never updates his status on facebook, so when he posted a message to me about our anniversary, it saved him from the beating he was going to get for not getting me a card. It was sweet, and I love him. We of course spent the evening at the race track. I would like to say that we had a great night, but we had some crazy things, bad calls, and were sent to the tail in the heat and feature. I must be PMSing because an alter ego came over me and I stood on the bleachers and screamed my opinion of that. Yeah, not proud of that, but still pretty angry about the calls. Zach did great though, he raced his way back up to third.

Saturday Brian took the boys to ORP for the Nationwide race. It was still hotttt! Apparently Matthew got overheated and asked to go home right before the race started, then threw up in his mouth. He held it there until they walked down from the bleachers and got to a trash can. That happened a few times, then he felt better. Better enough that when they came home, he was carrying a quarter pounder to eat. They had fun and it didn’t rain on them, but they were all really tired.

All this leads me to Sunday, and Zach’s 12th birthday. He’s such a funny kid, or young man now. When I asked what he wanted for his birthday, he showed me a list he had made on his phone. I looked at it and asked if I could just get him a Gander Mountain gift card.  He really wanted a pair of boots, so we went and he picked out a pair of boots. We have a tradition that they can pick what restaraunt they want to eat at for their birthday, and he chose Stone Creek. We almost had the place to ourselves, which is good because Matthew was wild. The food was good, and they gave Zach a free brownie sundae that he shared with Brooke and Matthew. Then we went home and had his DQ ice cream cake.

It was crazy busy, but it was filled with family, and my family is wonderful. I am so blessed and thankful.

Summer Vacation

Alas, the time is here, and it has been much awaited for. Last year I was more excited, but after going back to work, I’m not so looking forward to it. I want to be able to lounge in bed with them while watching TV on rainy days, and play in the pool with them when it’s sunny. They’re growing up so fast that I can almost feel them slipping through  my fingers. I want to chericsh every smile, giggle, and hug. My kids are amazing!

How to know where Grace lives

The following excerpt is by Angela Thomas Guffey, from her book Tender Mercy for a Mother’s Soul.

  • All the neighborhood kids want to hang out at the house where grace lives.
  • There is always enough for one more where grace lives…one more for dinner…one more to sleep over…one more hug or kiss.
  • You can see people dancing where grace lives.
  • You can hear things like “please forgive me, I was wrong…  You are my treasure…”
  • The eyes of the children where grace lives shine with joy and anticipation.  They have not been wounded by impossible expectations.  They have not been distanced by rejection.  They have been embraced and accepted and loved.
  • The moms at the house where grace lives are just regular, everyday moms, but God lives inside them.  By His power, they are becoming holy and righteous and good.  They stumble but recover quickly.  They make mistakes but say, “I’m sorry.”  They get blown by the winds of heartache and adversity, but their hearts remain tender toward God. 

Winter Jam

On Friday, Brooke and I drove to Columbus Ohio.  We had a nice dinner at Applebee’s, then crashed out in our cheap motel.  Saturday brought a temperature of 24 with a wind chill of 13.  It was cold… and we stood outside the Schottenstein for 2 1/2 hours, waiting in line for good seats to see the Winter Jam artists.  It was a bonding experience as we were huddled together under a blanket, but it was soooo worth it!  We ended up with 10th row seats, so we had an awesome view.  We saw Stephanie Smith, Pure NRG, Francesca Battistelli, NewSong, Barlow Girls, Brandon Heath and TobyMac.  It was an amazing time, and over 2000 people dedicated their lives to Christ.  Brooke and I are sponsoring a little boy from Korea, through Holt International.  We were on our feet dancing the whole time, it was so much fun!! 

When it was over, we made our way around the concourse, and Brooke got Francesca and Stephanies’ autograph, and we even took a pic with Stephanie.  We also bought Francesca’s CD, and it plays continuously in the car now. 

We needed to be back by 3 am, as we had signed up for an hour of prayer at the church, so I took it slow coming home.  Brooke was able to sleep a little bit too.  We still got to church about an hour early, so we just went in and waited for our turn. 

It was our first time in the Prayer Room, and it was amazing.  There’s a large wooden cross on the end wall, and pillows on the floor in front of it.  There are chairs and benches too, but I sat on the floor, right in front of the cross.  Brooke sat in the corner to my left. 

The hour flew by.  It really seemed like it had been 10 minutes, but I could tell because my voice was hoarse from talking.  It was a wonderful experience, and it was just richer to share it with Brooke.  I can hardly wait to do it again.

A single tear

Zach sat alone in the chair Sunday morning with a single tear rolling down his cheek.  He wanted daddy to go to church with us.  I tried to explain to him that we can’t pressure him, and to just have faith.  So we went without him, and had an amazing time.  Zach decided that he wants to be baptized, sometime before he turns 11, which is in July.  This is such a blessing to me, something that I’ve been praying for! 

This is a new church that we started attending last month.  We really liked it, except for one thing.  They only serve communion once a month, and I’m used to taking it weekly.  Brooke actually came up with the idea that we could take our own communion at home together, on the weeks that church doesn’t serve it.  The congregation is younger, the music is more contemporary, and the praise band is rocking!  The pastor is so down to earth, and his knowledge of the Bible and scripture is really impressive.  His sermons always seem to hit right on target.  Brian attended once, but we know he’ll return again. 

Anyway, the church is having a marriage conference that I signed up for, and I also joined a Life Group.  I decided that I can no longer put my spiritual growth on the backburner while I wait for Brian.  I need to grow!

Brooke and I also signed up for an hour of prayer, at an unconventional time, 3 am Sunday morning.  We’ll actually be coming home from something BIG.  I am so excited for this hour!

A puppy story


We’ve been on baby (puppy) watch since the weekend, and Wednesday night it finally happened.  It started around 7pm, and she was done at 11:30.  Everything went very well for the first litter, especially since there are four puppies and the momma is such a small girl. 

At this point we think they’re all girls, and they are all adorable!  The first one was all white, the second one is a milk chocolate color, third one looks like momma with black spots and brown on her face, and the last one is the biggest, and she’s mostly black with some white on her face, tummy and tail.  They are named, in the above order, coco, munchi, rocky, and pebbles. 

As soon as Munchi came out, I said she was mine.  Her color is so different, and it turns out she’s the runt.  When all the other girls get in there to nurse, she gets knocked aside.  It’s so hard to watch, so I’ve been sleeping on the floor in Brooke’s room, making sure that munchi gets her share.  (Did I mention that they feed every 40 to 60 minutes?) Yeah, little tired here, but nothing’s gonna happen on my watch! 

I bought some puppy formula and have tried to feed her a couple of times, but she’s not interested, yet.  She is able to nurse on Momma when I help her though, so I’ll keep on helping. 



The other night I get a text from my friend Stacy.  “Call me if you can”.

So I immediately call.  She says she just wanted to tell me she loves me!  Her mother in law is getting ready to lose her best friend to cancer, and they were talking about their relationship.  Even though you don’t see each other often, each of you knows that you can count on the other to be there when you need it. 

I love you too Stacy!  You are my sister by choice, and I am blessed to have you in my life!

So bad at this…

The titles always get me down!  Ok, I really do have lots to say, so I’m just gonna jump in.  Saturday Brooke danced at a womens Christmas brunch for a church that is a few miles from here.  The women were all so nice that we decided to try the church out on Sunday.  We’ve been kind of thinking about finding a smaller church with a great kids ministry, and this seemed to drop in our laps.  More on that later…

After Brooke danced, she and I went Christmas shopping.  It was one of those awesome mom and daughter days.  We had Starbuck’s and then ate at Chili’s for lunch.  It was a great time, and we really did get lots accomplished. 

Sunday rolled around and Brian and Zach got up before dawn to go hunting, so Matthew, Brooke and I went to the new church.  We really, really liked everything about it except the fact that communion was not served.  At all.  Now, every church I’ve ever attended has served communion every Sunday, and it’s biblical.  I have heard of certain churches that serve it on one Sunday a month, and special occasions, but I’ve never attended one of those.  I was really bummed out about it, thinking that was a deal breaker for me, but wishing it wasn’t.  I called the church yesterday and asked about it, and the secretary told me they always serve it on the 4th Sunday of the month.  She said she didn’t know why, it’s just how it’s always been done.  She offered to have the pastor call me, so I’m waiting on that.  Someone told me maybe it’s a money thing, and I’d be glad to buy the stuff to do it weekly.  I personally need that. 

Monday rolled around and I had to take Brooke to an orthopedic surgeon.  The same one that did my last knee surgery.  She’s been having some knee pain, and with my history of knee surgeries, and my mom’s and grandma’s, I wanted to get on it quickly.  I had really hoped that with all her dancing that she would have developed strong quad muscles, but I guess not.  He diagnosed her with Osgood Schlatters disease, where the tendon is pulling on the growth plate because she is so active.  Also she has tendonitis, patello-femoral syndrome, and patello femoral dysfunction.  Which means that she has shallow knee caps like me, and her bones are not made correctly to hold the knee cap in place.  He prescribed no jumping, (great for dance 4 x/week and cheerleading!), and physical therapy to strengthen the muscles more to hold the knee cap in place, and a couple of braces. 

Last night was her first night of therapy, and it went well.  Her knee was swollen so they used the doppler with an anti-inflammatory cream to help reduce the swelling, then she rode a bike for a while.  After the bike, he took her back to the table and showed her the exercises he wanted her to work on at home.  The memories of my surgeries and therapy came back to me at that point, and I felt so guilty that I was responsible for my precious daughter being in the same position.  I started crying and had to walk away.  Once I regained composure, I was able to go back and joke around with her while she was hooked up to the TENS unit.  I now know how my mom felt, because I was standing in her shoes.  I know it wasn’t her fault, and it’s not mine either.  It’s just something we have to deal with.  Luckily, we’re learning what to do to prevent future issues, and in a christian company!  They had the Jesus fish on the door, a cross on the desk, and were playing the christian radio station too. 

Oh, and Moday afternoon I had to go back to the oral surgeon to have the packing removed from the left side.  It was really stuck.  I had feared that, because it has been an issue with me, so I had irrigated before I went.  The first girl couldn’t get it out, so she went and got someone else.  She couldn’t get it either, so she irrigated it and started pulling again.  Finally she said maybe they could try suction, so the first girl goes to get it.  While she’s gone, the second girl finally gets it out.  Man, does that ever hurt!  They wanted to repack, and I kindly said NO!  I would much rather suffer with the dry socket pain now, than have it packed and anticipate having the packing removed.

The Walton’s – Grandpa’s Christmas Wish

Grandpa’s Christmas Wish
Lyrics by Geer, Will – Grandpa Walton
Grandpa’s Christmas Message

What is Christmas? It is a time when some of your dreams come true. Every year it rolls around and takes you by surprise some of the time, especially when you’re as close to a 100 years old as I am. You think…it Can’t be time for another one, but there it is with all it’s hope and joy and the promise of the wishes granted. I bet you wonder what I wish for. What could an old man wish for? Maybe you think I would wish to be young again. I don’t want that. Being young is a painful thing. Being young and in love to boot, which most young people are, is even more agony. I’ll tell you what I wish. I’d wish for the power to return some of the love that’s been given me. I’d wish the time and place for all that giving could be commemorated like the heart I carved on the tree around your Grandmother’s and my initials. I wish too for more days to my life. Time…time to give to children some of the beauty of this Earth that has been revealed to me. A drop of water is a wondrous thing.

A spade full of earth is a kingdom in itself. A cloud is worth watching as it passes from one horizon to another. A bird building its nest is as wondrous as men building the Pyramid, and any green thing that grows is proof that God exists. It all comes into focus at Christmas. It is a tender time. We grow cautious because we open ourselves to love. We exchange gifts, but what those presents really say is “I love you.” It makes some folks uncomfortable to say or hear these words. Maybe it’s because they’ve never learned the secret of the given heart. There are more takers than givers in the world. People, communities even countries spending their time grubbing and rooting for the goods of this earth like pigs after acorns in the Fall of the year. This is a country with a giving heart and I pray it will always be so. It’s a good country and it’s part of our strength, something that we brought with us as pioneers that we can share with the fellow who is down on his luck, with those who suffered calamities: with the loss of their homes or land or their hope. This is a family with a giving heart. You children may squabble and bicker among yourselves but you’ve been taught to love and to give, and that’s the greatest present your Momma and Daddy could have given you. So take pleasure in the trappings of Christmas. Be merry like the songs say. Revel in the tinsel and the glitter and the sparkle and sing the old songs for all the joy that’s in them and the memories they bring back. But to touch the real Christmas, to feel the true spirit of the season, look to your own heart and find all the secret treasures that they’re there to give. There is one wish that I make every year. I never said it aloud before, but I’ll tell it to you now. I wish for all the seasons I have known, endlessly to come and go; the dogwood Spring, the watermelon Summer, the russet and gold of Autumn. I wish for Christmas to come again and for each of us to be here again next year at this time…together, safe, warm and loved as we are at this moment.

— Blue Ridge Publications

Thanksgiving Letters Part 1

Zach had a class assignment last week where he was supposed to write two people and let them know what he’s thankful for.  Here’s the one he wrote to me.

Dear Mom,

Thank you for everything you do for me.  You do a lot for me.  Thank you for helping me study for tests.  Like when you helped me study for my Social Studies test.  You also help me study for spelling tests.  Thank you for making a snack when I am hungry.  Like after school I am always hungry.  And just whenever I am hungry.  Thank you for washing my clothes so I will have something to wear.  You know I get mad when I have nothing to wear.  I am thankful for all of these things.