Of Busy May

Is it just me or is the month of May a wee bit crazy?  Never failing, there are too many things for me to do during this month. School events and school ending, Mother’s day, Graduations, weddings, reunions and on and on. I want to sleep for a week.

Warning: long picture post!

5-2016 (1)

I was on the way home one evening and noticed this sunset. As soon as I could, I stopped for a photo. From our place in the woods we aren’t able to see a sunrise or sunset, so if I am out and about, I watch the sky. I always wonder what it looks like from Heaven. If it’s this pretty here, it must be more then our eyes can imagine there.

~~~

Remember that picture I showed you of my horrendous looking flower bed?
To refresh your memory, you will find it here.
Now I am not a green thumb, not even a brown one, more along the lines of a black thumb. All I can grow are weeds. It seems like plants see me coming and take cover or they debate among themselves and say, “It’s your turn to go with her, one of our kind died last year at her hand!” I thought and wondered and whined about how to begin to plant this thing, not having a clue what kind of plants to buy.  So, I just didn’t do anything about it and let the weeds happily keep growing.

Now there are people in my family who thrive on gardening, flower beds and all things involving dirt. I think that picture must have given her goosebumps and she quivered a bit realizing that if it was that bad in a photo, how much worse it must be in real life! So one day Berneice stopped in and dropped some plants off and said she’s coming over to help work on the flower bed later! I heaved and breathed a sigh of relief. Or rather I forced Eric to at least till it up so she wouldn’t have so much work.

5-2016 (2)

She came and she brought even more plants! A friend of mine had sent her money to buy plants for my flower bed in memory of Tris. I may have felt like crying when I heard that. She looked around and started digging holes and in no time it looked beautiful!

5-2016 (3)

A few weeks and a lot of sore muscles later, we had the mulch down and now I need to go buy a few annuals to stick here and there. It feels so much better to go out and see this instead of my weed garden! Thanks Berneice and Karisa.

~~~

Many moons ago we moved in here and said to ourselves, “We’ll build a garage in just a few years!” And so it was that one thing led to the other and at last, 13 years later, we are building.

5-2016 (5) kids

Some people asked why we waited so long… I don’t really know, but it may be due to the fact that I have never had a garage my entire life, so I don’t know what I’m missing!

5-2016 (4)

5-2016 (5)

The Queen Bee took it all in with her curls and glasses!

~~~

5-2016 (6)

Mother’s day happened and was a hard day for me. Not due to my own children, but rather thinking about hard things. So many women out there who wish for children of their own, others were missing the children they do have, and too many were mourning the loss of a child. There were children missing their parents, wishing for one more Mother’s day together. So many hurting hearts.

5-2016 (7)

My flowers arrived that afternoon by the hand of my children’s father.
I loved them.

~~~

5-2016 (9)

Now somewhere around this time in life, this cookie dough eating child got up very early one morning, before her Mother wished her to. She crawled into bed beside her half dozing Mother and played with the Mother’s phone, unknown to the half dozing Mother. All at once she squeaked, “Mom, there are check marks on all your pictures.” The Mother shot upright and grabbed the phone and through her bleary eyes saw that it was too late. All her photos had been deleted by this small cookie dough eating child.

Take a lesson from a bear. Back your photos up.

5-2016 (10)

Combine all the rain we’ve been having with the construction around here,
and you have a happy little kid with pink gum boots!

5-2016 (11)

Since I knew this would happen whether I wanted it to or not,
I helped her put her boots on and went along.

~~~

5-2016 (13)

School ended with the usual water fight! Rain or shine, hot or cold, they stand in line for many, many minutes waiting for a little bit of water to throw on someone else. I watched Reagan and the three times she was able to fill her bucket, she completely missed the person she was aiming for and all her water landed on the grass! Somehow someone managed to completely soak her or she volunteered to be soaked.

5-2016 (14)

We took a trip to Africa one day. Long tiring day.

5-2016 (15)

It may have been to the local zoo with the school kids,
but my unconditioned legs felt like we walked to Africa and back.

~~~

5-2016 (16)

Saturday was cold, frigidly cold, rainy and ugly, but Eric had planned to set the trusses on the garage and men poured in to help! We feel very indebted to these guys for giving up a Saturday to help us do this.

Some asked how soon we expect the garage to be done … many years from now if it takes as long to finish as it took to get started.

~~~

church family

Since Sunday was our last service in this church house, we took a photo of our church family in front of it. It was home to many good times for many years.

The building is set for demolition this week and we’ll begin building a new one. An old building, not handicap accessible, plus many more reasons brought about plans for a new place for worship for this group.

5-2016 (18)

Mr D. graduated from Kindergarten Sun night.

~~~

5-2016 (19)
Monday was our first day of summer vacation and these 3 had a picnic in the garage.
It was not quite as cold as the Eskimo would have you to believe, almost though.

5-2016 (20)

While they partied the day away, my baker got busy doing her favorite thing!
She wishes she could do this every day, all summer. We would be rolling instead of walking, if that were the case.

Now we’re off to the races to finish off this month much like it started.

 

He is There

Life feels heavy, weighed down with sorrow and pain.
So much sadness, so many deaths, untimely in our minds.
Yet in the middle of the mess, there is Jesus,
ever present, holding us up, carrying us, crying with us.
Never forget this!

Cross

This writing, born in deep sorrow,
yet in the middle of the never ending pain,
there is the comforting knowledge
that I am not alone, ever,
because He is there.

~~~~~~~

He Is There

When the pain is excruciating,
you are ripped open,
left wounded, raw and bleeding.
When the ache goes deep,
down to the very core of the heart.
When every beat of your heart
pounds with the pain,
He is there.

Jesus is there, He stands beside us,
not simply as a sympathetic bystander
silently watching our suffering,
but He is also in pain,
feeling the rake over the wound.
He is not only a comforting, soothing spirit,
He is experiencing our agony
to the very core of his being,
taking our pain as His own.

When we lie in a heap, heart aching and torn,
Jesus lies there too, throbbing with pain.
When we cry into our pillow at night,
torrents of tears welling up like rain,
Jesus cries too, He feels our sorrow.
When we sit in the shadows and silently weep,
Jesus sits along side, weeping with us.
He is there.

The ache of death,
the cut of a word,
abuse of a child,
lonely, hungry,
cold, tired,
weary and worn.
Every time,
every place,
everywhere,
He is there,
experiencing the very pain
felt by man.
He is there.

His crucifixion stretches,
never ending through the years.
In every moment of pain and suffering
He feels the whip lash his back,
feels the scorn and abuse.
He cries a thousand tears on our behalf,
kneeling beside us in agony as we grieve.
He is there.

Someday there will be an end of suffering,
of death, of crying, of pain, of heartache,
a beautiful ending with a resurrection.
Resurrected with him,
made new,
just as He was.

Until then,
He is there.

Kids + Teepee

Everyone should have an Aunt Bethany.

Way back when, sometime before Christmas, Aunt Bethany asked Reagan, “So what would you like for Christmas?” Now anyone should know that is a dangerous question to ask a child. The wish list is usually long and daunting. Reagan didn’t need much time to think before she had an answer ready. I’m not sure how she worded it but I heard something to this effect, “i would really like a teepee but I know they cost too much!”

This must have started the wheels turning in Bethany’s mind because pretty soon word of teepee building started circulating among the moms in the family. The kids didn’t know anything was happening, except for the fact that no one was allowed to stop at Grandma’s the last few weeks before our Christmas.

Teepee Christmas

To say the least, Aunt Bethany was suddenly the favorite.

Ours took up residence in the basement. Reagan used it the most of course, imagination running wild while she played. Once it warmed up, I told them it needed to go outside.

Kids Teepee (1)

It only took the idea of having the teepee outside to get “Wild Child’s” brain working overtime. She soon had a ‘fire’ started and they were cooking up a meal. She left Little One to tend to things while she was out in the woods gathering roots and flowers.

Kids Teepee (2)

Chief Dakota was too lazy go hunt for their meat, he relaxed in the teepee playing with modern toys instead of smoking his pipe.

Kids Teepee (3)

Kids Teepee (5)

Kids Teepee (6)

Kids Teepee (7)

Tasting her food before she serves her people,
no sense in poisoning the whole tribe.

Kids Teepee (8)

He’s adding ‘fire’ to the wood.

Kids Teepee (9)

As you can see around her mouth, she really did taste some of her soup.

Kids Teepee (10)

Little One does her share of the work.

Kids Teepee (11)

A visitor, “Reads a Lot,” introduced the tribe to modern technology.
A tribal council was convened to decide whether this is acceptable.

Kids Teepee (12)

She also introduced them to a newfangled horse,
one that is loud and runs on wheels instead of legs.
The Council is unsure whether she is a good influence or not.

Kids Teepee (13)

As you can see, this modern stuff confused Wild One and she was left wondering why her feather quill does not work on this fancy bark that lights up.

Kids Teepee (4)

She decided the best of life is out in nature
and modern technology is better left in the house.

As I said before, everyone should have an Aunt Bethany!

Lisa’s Wedding

If you know Kennedy well at all, you know without a doubt that she is not a friendly child. She has never been outgoing, talking to someone or even smiling at them is a struggle for her. There are a lot of people who talk to her and try to get a word or even a smile out of her, but she gives up nothing.

Some people say, “Just make her do it.” Well be my guest to come and try, trust me when I say I have talked, begged, pleaded, bribed, tried. Other people say, “Just let her be herself.” and so I have. I finally gave up trying, in hopes that she’ll grow out it one of these day and be friendly. I have seen some improvement in the last few months so (whispers) … maybe we’re getting somewhere.

There are a select few special people that she dearly loves. I have come to realize that she is an “all or nothing” kind of girl. When she likes you she will let you know, until then, keep trying in hopes of some day.

There is one person in particular that falls in place in her love-line, directly after her family. I’m not sure when this friendship began, possibly a few weeks after Kennedy was born,  maybe it was a few months later on a bus trip to AR, but whenever it happened, I do believe it’s lifelong. This special Lisa got married on Sat and Kennedy was her flower girl!

Was she ever thrilled!!

She got up early that morning, came over and stood beside my bed and I heard her whisper, “We’re getting married today!”

Lisa Wedding (1)

Lisa had talked her up, telling her about her flowers and all kinds of good stuff. She couldn’t wait to get there Sat morning and see her bouquet. Of all mornings, it was in the 40’s and windy! I was completely ready for her to be uncooperative like she was at Melissa’s wedding, but she smiled like a champ, even with goosebumps.

Lisa Wedding (2)

She claimed the day as “her wedding” too, never mind the fact there was a groom involved. He is a good guy, but he’s not on her list yet, try as he might. When she talked about the wedding, it was all about her and Lisa, as if Derek was not involved. We tried to change her mind and bring Derek into the picture when we discussed the wedding at home, but to no avail.

Lisa Wedding (3)

She couldn’t wait to see Lisa “because we have matching dresses!”

Lisa Wedding (5)

Pretty as a princess in her dress and sparkly shoes!

Lisa Wedding (4)

In her mind, there is just nothing as good as an afternoon spent with Lisa. Those dates are long talked about before and after the fact.

Lisa Wedding (6)

This is the look most people get from her.

Lisa Wedding (8)

After her photos, she said she was hungry so we ran through the drive through and carefully ate without dripping ketchup on anything. I would have wanted to take the dress off while she ate, but when I tried it on the very first time, the zipper busted at the waist so it got super glued and sewn shut, making the dress a chore to get on and off.

Lisa Wedding (7)

The wedding decor was fabulous!

Lisa Wedding (9)

Too many people were trying to talk to her before the wedding and I could tell things were getting worse instead of better in her mind. I knew there was a nursery upstairs so I took her up and put her in there for some peace and quiet. She loved it away from the people and only had one suitor come visit while she played.

Lisa Wedding (10)

At the last second she just couldn’t take that step forward and go down the aisle by herself, so Marita took her hand and they went together. When she came to sit with me after prayer, I asked her what happened. “I just couldn’t walk by myself!” she said.

Lisa Wedding (12)

Lisa Wedding (11)

It’s a blurry cell phone photo, but she has Lisa by the chin telling her something!

Lisa Wedding (13)

We all enjoyed this spot at the reception thanks to Lisa’s love of coffee.

Lisa Wedding (14)

She brought her little bouquet home and put it in a vase with water. She tells me every day, “Lisa said be careful because it will break, so Dakota can’t touch it!”

Lisa Wedding (15)

Sunday Morning when we got to church she ran over to Lisa’s Mom, whom she calls Grandma Sara, and said, “I want to go to the wedding again!” I don’t think Grandma Sara shared her sentiments.

Lisa Wedding (16)

This was her reward for walking up the aisle.

Yesterday I looked at her and said, “Do you think Lisa is having fun on her honeymoon?
She thought for a bit and said, “Yeah… but what about me going too?

Livin’ Life

In an effort to avoid mopping my kitchen floor, this post is was started. Procrastination is not my middle name for naught. True to my middle name, I quit working on it a few sentences in, to go do something else. So now, as a reward for finally cleaning my house, I’ll tap this out. It’s a random assortment of nothings so fasten your seat belt.

~~~

life 4-15-16 (9)

When I was a kid, going to Grandpa’s was a highlight. There were little games stored in all kinds of cabinets, corners and drawers. Marbles was a favorite. I wonder how many hours we spent on the game with cousins, aunts and uncles. We always thought we had the other guy beat until he managed to empty his side in one smooth move and we were left sitting with a whole roll of marbles.

I’m not sure where I found this game, but I taught my kids the old version I learned at Grandma’s house and now I watch them play. The noise level, the amount of yelling and rolling around on the floor tells me that I have some sore loosers too.

life 4-15-16 (3)

Speaking of sore loosers, she very clearly falls into that category. The blur of motion in the right hand corner would be the brother laughing in excessive celebration!

~~~

life 4-15-16 (7)

I would like to tell you that we remodeled and this is our new kitchen, but it’s not. We were just wandering around Keim Lumber the other Sat and being quite envious.

After strolling through the kitchens, we were looking at the gi-ro-normous showers that revel the size of our entire bathroom and Mr D comments loudly, “Wow, this one would be big enough for our whole family to shower at the same time.”
Umm, no thanks son, although the shower itself would be nice, I politely decline the invitation to make it a family affair.
Instead of showering together they decided to park a small car in it instead.

life 4-15-16 (8)

The history buffs discuss a chunk of tree and all the dates in its time.
I am of no help in this conversation.

~~~

life 4-15-16 (2)

Reagan has been perfecting her “cake in a cup” for an afternoon snack. She’s gotten pretty good at it, but don’t ask me for the recipe, I think it changes every time.

life 4-15-16 (5)

Speaking of food, Madison baked these the other night and I told the kids that the mom always needs to check a corner to make sure it’s fit to eat. Things may have gotten out of hand with the checking.

Marshmallow Crunch Bars

Marshmallow Crunch Bars
Bake a pan of brownies. When there are 2 minutes of baking time left, dump a bag of mini marshmallows on top and return to the oven for the remaining time. While they cool melt 1/3 C butter, 1 C peanut butter and 1.5 cups of chocolate chips together. Add 2 C rice Krispies and pour on top of marshmallows and pull your self control out of your back pocket. You will need it.

~~~

life 4-15-16 (4)

Kindergarten is still in progress so we are enjoying weekly grocery dates.

~~~

life 4-15-16 (11)

Early this morning I heard roaring and squealing outside and whipped the door open to find this! I couldn’t believe he pulled this off on his own, thankfully I saw his Dad waving from the shop! She was quite happy with her chariot.

~~~

life 4-15-16 (10)

I am blessed with many things inherited from my Mother but one things I missed was her green thumb. Oh my lands, there is nothing green about my thumb. In this photo, my friends, is suppose to be a flower bed we started last fall. If you can find it, let me know. Hopefully by tonight it will look different, but I am dreading the process.
Just keepin’ it real folks!

~~~

On a side note, if you aren’t friends with my on Facebook but would like to follow along with the blog there, I have created a page for it. Find it along the right side and click follow.

~~~

Life keeps moving, whether we want it to or not. People keep changing, events keep happening, we keep living one day after the next, but are we appreciating our days? We are blessed to have them, to live life with the ones we love. Do we appreciate it enough? I, of all people, should have learned this lesson, yet here I sit, grappling with life and feeling like I’m stuck in a rut of grouchiness and unappreciation.

life 4-15-16 (1)

These flowers kept speaking to me as I drove in and out of our lane the last few weeks. It was warm, it was cold, it frosted, it snowed, and then warmed up again, yet all the while they kept lifting their heads and blooming. In the morning they would be drooping, heads hanging low, but by afternoon, they were up and smiling again. What about me? Have I let the cold, the snow, the changing seasons of life get me down?
Did I give up or do I lift my head to bloom again even when things are difficult?

Six Months Later

Dear Tris,

Six months after you’re gone
finds us missing you still.
If possible, even more
than we did the day you left.

Six months later we have moments
when we smile and enjoy life again,
but no sooner then we laugh,
we remember our heartache.
You are always in the back of our minds,
never far from our thoughts
the ache of missing you clings close.

In our finite mind we wish
for just a few more moments with you.
However, knowing where you are,
could we really wish you back
to this sin cursed, cold and dark earth
filled with pain and sadness?

Your day has only begun,
the glories are immeasurable around you.
Forever springtime, flowers blooming
and gentle breezes blowing through the trees.
Green grass, fields of wheat, infinite beauty,
a feast for the eyes in every direction you look.

Heavenly sky

A stroll by the river of life brings a smile.
So many people to greet, to watch, to talk with,
you are enjoying every minute.
Martyrs and saints of old,
stories come alive in their presence.
You listen, you ask questions and finally,
you have answers so long wondered over.

A child’s hand tucks in yours as you stroll,
you look down and smile knowing
exactly whose hand you are holding.

As you walk along the street of gold,
your legs don’t ache, you don’t get tired,
for perfect health is yours as you stroll for miles.
You swoop the child into your arms
as you continue your journey.

Far in the distance is the sound of singing.
You hum along and whistle a few bars as you walk
and the closer you get, the clearer the melody.
Praises to Jesus, beautiful, glorious music,
a new song unlike anything you have ever heard.
You join the group, standing straight and tall
and with your head held high,
you sway back and forth as you belt it out,
acclamation to Jesus with the choir as one voice.

You move through the throngs,
anxious to see the one whom you adore.
As the choir lifts it’s voice in hallelujahs
your eyes behold the King in all His glory.
His nail pierced hands outstretched to you,
welcoming you into his embrace.
As the light of the Son surrounds you with glory,
you kneel at His feet in worship and know,
you are HOME.

Sunset

Save a place for me, I’ll be there soon.

To my Unknown Friend

Friday when I went to pick up the girls at school,
I checked the mailbox before leaving.
I was already a few minutes late,
but could’t the girls wait just a tiny bit more
so I can see what came in the mail today?

On a normal day there is the usual junk mail,
a bill or three and sometimes a card with my name,
which I quickly snatch up and rip open.

Today there was a box.
Just that little box and not another thing in the mailbox.
I should have taken a picture of it sitting in there looking back at me.
It had my name and address, but the return address said Kristin Schmucker.
Well, I didn’t know who that was so I was instantly curious.

Here comes the not so good part that I shouldn’t even write
because my mother (and husband) read my blog.
Just read this next part in a whisper so it doesn’t sound so bad.
I proceeded to opened the box while I drove to school.
A pin worked to split the tape and inside was…
just a whole lot of bubble wrap!

A card was on top and after reading it,
I knew a little more about Kristin Schmucker.
Although she may have packaged and shipped the box
from her lovely store, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know me.
So the mystery remained, who sent the gift?

Inside all the bubble wrap…

be still mug (1)

…was a beautiful mug.

If you remember a few weeks ago I wrote a post on this very thing, Be Still.
After reading that, someone, somewhere out there took the time to find and send me this mug. For now it’s sitting here where I see it all the time, reminding me to Be Still. I’m working up the nerve to sip some coffee from it, almost afraid I’ll ruin it if I do.

be still mug (2)

You know who you are and I would very much like to know too.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for thinking of me.
I appreciate it more then I can say because it came at just the right time!
Thank you for listening to Jesus nudge you to do this.

spring

And if you ever feel so inclined,
just let me know who you are so I can thank you properly.
(and because not knowing things like this drives me nuts):)