Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas warmth

♪♫ It's Christmas time in the country ♪ ♫

It is seven o'clock Christmas evening. What a nice day! I love being home for Christmas!
My 18 year old and 11 year old...the only ones home... slept downstairs last night. Both of them were excited for the morning. They looked all cozy underneath their blankets by the Christmas tree. One of those moments you wish could freeze for a while. Life is so much about change, and sometimes I just want to hit pause and stay for a while.
We celebrated Christmas with the boys and their sweeties last weekend, but saved most of our own gifts for today. It was fun. Tom got a new sleeping bag, which he has been in, off and on all day. He's funny. Mostly we just hung out, which was nice and relaxing.....well not so for Steve who plowed the driveway and yard a good part of the day. We have a lot of snow, and it has been snowing for the last couple of days. It is a really wet snow right now which makes it hard to move.
Hallie Ann and I went out to brush the snow off the trampoline mid afternoon and decided we should be building an igloo...well we recruited the guys and for the next couple of hours made a really nice igloo! By the time it was done, it was dark, but we had a light, so we were good to go.
We have made a lot of igloos over the years. Seems like if we have enough snow and we get a day that it packs well, that is what we end up doing. Last year I think we made more of a fort, dug out from a big pile of snow. I like the igloos better. We were all soaked by the time we came back inside....and now I am so tired. Our roast beef dinner was a little past medium rare, which is what I would have preferred, but everyone else probably liked it better that way.
I love quiet Christmas days
I love the feeling of family and unity and love.
I had a lot of this kind of days on Christmas growing up.
We didn't build igloos, but we were together as a family
it always felt so good.
My mom was better at keeping the traditions than I am,
but despite myself
there are traditions that happened just because.
Christmas gatherings change
but Christmas itself doesn't
It is different now that the big boys are grown
and have other places to go
but it is still GOOD
I have the reputation of being a bit of a scrooge,
because I really don't like the world's treatment of Christmas,
but I'll take a hundred more like today
God felt near.
God was near.
He always is, afterall.
Merry Christmas!
God with us!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

oh what God can do

Nov. 25, 2009

Thanksgiving is tomorrow
We are leaving this afternoon for Grantsburg...

an interesting family time
Steve went down yesterday to help get things ready,

but mostly so the siblings could have a chance to meet
and try to figure out what needs to be done for his mom.
She has been really struggling the last few months. 
Dealing with an elderly parent is proving to be
a very heart wrenching thing.
I know that people have been dealing with this forever,
but this is the first time for us, with her,
so it is unique to us...
yet the same types of struggles families all over have.
We all love her so much.
I pray that through the next few days,
we will all have patience and understanding,
but also resolve and unity.  
I think of all the times God has had to deal with me
being unreasonable, stubborn and even beligerent.
Just as steadfast in insisting on 'my way' with God
as our older parents...or children...can be with us.  T
he big difference is that I know that I am fighting against
one who is perfect and always has my best in mind. 
When we are trying to be the reasonable ones...
the truth is that we are imperfect
and only hope we have the best in mind.
I hope that we can be even a fraction
as understanding and patient as God is with us.
Oh, let us have the mind of Christ in all of this.
To put ourselves aside and truly seek His wisdom and guidance.
He knows what is best,
He will lead us there if we are willing..
to ask,
to listen
to follow.
He is not trying to keep His best a secret from us.
 He does not want her to be confused and alone.
 He is not a God of chaos or confusion.
 I pray that He will be a part of
every conversation,
every decision.
I pray we will be able to look back and see
that we sought Him and found Him and say with thankfulness..
'look what He has done!'

Saturday, November 21, 2009

all who are weary...come

Nov. 21, 2009

It is quiet in my house......
except for the sound of my typing
and the computer's motor humming
It is the middle of the night and I can't sleep
there are kids sleeping in the livingroom on the floor
there are a couple of grown 'kids' sleeping upstairs
Steve is sleeping in the next room....
but I am awake, resting in the quiet.
In a few hours it will be different
Steve and Mark will be up before dawn to don their blaze orange
and head for the woods...opening deer season
Soon after, Tommy and John (his buddy) and Megan (John's sister) will stir and begin the never-ending noise of kids at play
Hallie Ann will probably head up to join Steph,
trying to catch a couple more winks
Morning will be here - quiet will be gone
but for now, the quiet is all mine
Sometimes the night hours can seem so long
I get frustrated with the inability to sleep
but tonight I feel restful anyway.
probably because the day was hectic
the peace and quiet are comforting right now.
I need to remember that in the noise and the busyness of the day
there is always a quiet peace waiting for me in the arms of God
He is my rest
He is my peace
He is my quiet
but I have to seek that, to put myself there with Him, In His peace
"Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest" - Jesus

Saturday, November 14, 2009

the faithful hand of God

Nov. 14, 2009

It is so good to look back and see God's hand in our lives. To remember His faithfulness. To acknowledge His workings.
Twenty three and a half years ago, I held my first baby in my arms and was in such awe of him, and that he was mine. I never wanted to let him go, I wanted him mine forever. Even then I wondered how I could ever 'give him' to someone else. But that seemed so far off anyway.
Over the years we prayed for who would be his wife - someday. I tried to imagine who she was and what she was doing at different times over the years. It was strange to think that somewhere out there was a little girl growing up who would someday be part of our family and more importantly would be the wife of my then little boy.
Well, here we are and she turned out to be Steph, and now they are nearing their first anniversary and she is more than I ever could have imagined...the perfect match for my now grown 'boy'.
Today is Steph's birthday. Now, November 14 is a precious day to us. It is the day that we celebrate this wonderful woman who has taken the heart of our son.
Now, to look back and remember the prayers and the wonderings, it is so neat to see it all come full circle. God was in it all. Our prayers were for her all along.
It is encouraging to remember. It gives me peace as I continue to pray for the future spouses of my other kids....For Rachel, Ryan's fiance' .... and for the young man out there somewhere who will offer his heart to my girl and for the young girl out there somewhere who will melt my little guys resolve to 'never date or marry anyone' girls are strange and to be avoided....ha ha.
I am so glad that God in His mercy and grace loves me and my kids and that I can trust Him with the details.
Steph is one beacon of light that helps me remember that every day.
Happy Birthday!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

a kind of longing

Oct. 27, 2009

Lots of things seem kind of up in the air and unsettled lately. There are still things to do to be ready for winter, and the weather is not being a help at all. Dreary fall weather came on us so suddenly a month ago and October has been as gloomy as September was beautiful.
Hallie Ann is struggling so much with her anatomy class - not from lack of studying or from great study habits, but from a class set up so differently than any she has ever had and not very student friendly. I don't say that to defend her struggle, but I know what a good student she is and how hard she works. She has always been at the top of her class and science has been one of her strong suits. This college internet class has been a boulder in her road....but God will use it, that I know. It is hard to see her spend so much time studying and applying herself, and then doing poorly on the test. I guess it happens to all of us sometime(s) on our journey.
The end of summer and the start of a school year is always an adjustment. Guess I am just not real settled at the moment. I feel a kind of longing. Longing for peace and for the fog to lift. The kind of longing that we as Christians always have surrounding our faith and our sojourn. We are fine here, sometimes struggling, sometimes not - but we long for our real home. Where we will have a real place. Where all that is a mystery will be revealed...all of our questions will be answered. The place where we really fit will be right where we are. Our real home will be our reality, not a dream and a hope. A place where God, who knows the answers to all of our wonderings, will share it all with us. That is the place I long for. Maybe one of the biggest reasons for my unsettledness is the uncertainty of where the hearts are of those around me. I want those I love to be there. It seems like it just won't be the same if they aren't there. How do I make them understand that there is a place for them. I want them there. God wants them there.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

climbing back up

Sep. 18, 2009

it has been one of those days. a sort of discouraged apathy sets in, i'm not sure why. sometimes everything i do just seems so pointless and daily. like nothing really gets accomplished, nothing that matters anyway. does the daily-ness mean anything at all? it was a quiet uneventful school day. fridays aren't our biggest push of the week. tom had a friend over for the day, they did some work, played, worked more...i felt like he should be doing something, but in the end i don't know if there was any real point. they probably would have gotten as much out of just exploring and playing all day. who ever made all the rules of schooling anyway?

i've been trying so hard to eat more healthy for the last several weeks. it has gone fine, but the last couple of days thats kind of gone too. i don't want to let it go, so i have to get back on that wagon..

ok, maybe this all has to do with turning 50....yes 50 this week. i don't even like to say it. i can't even pretend to be one of the young moms anymore. yet that is still how i feel. now some of the moms of the young kids were not even born when i had my first baby, and lots of them weren't born when i got married... that is just weird. i look in the mirror and don't even know who i am sometimes.

i remember when i turned 30, i loved it. i was finally really an adult...

when i turned 40 i hated it. that was really hard. i just wanted to be in my 30's all my life. somehow that seems to be the age that is taken seriously...

so how will i really take being 50? i guess we'll have to see.

so for now i am wallowing a a funk, but i'll get out.

the icing on this bitter pie is that tom broke another window today.. the 4th window broken by someone this year and the umpteenth in the past many years. we keep the glass store in business.

for the record i can't stand to replace glass.. but i suppose i am sort of good at it now.

now there is a skill i could live without

well, here's to a happy tomorrow, hopefully i'll sleep this one off :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

where others have trod

Jul. 28, 2009

I was just doing laundry. To get to the laundry room in my house, you have to go out the front door into the enclosed porch and then down into the basement. In the summer, no big deal; in the winter it is freezing...we live in northern WI. Today it's warm, so its fine. The house is about 100 years old, an old farm house out in the country. The basement steps are concrete. Each step is a little different, some wider, some taller, nothing is uniform. Who knows why, maybe the original builder liked variety. The thing that interests me is that each step is pretty worn. Lots of people have been up and down those steps. People who never dreamed of me going down them too. So many memories locked up in the walls and rooms and steps of this old house. Sometimes when we are visiting others, I am awed by their laundry rooms, right on the living levels of the homes, decorated and convenient and clean and perky. I wonder what it would be like to do clothes there. Wow! But then I come home and make the trek to the basement; no decorations, no perkiness, but its so comfortable and familiar. A chore I share in spirit with who knows how many women over the years going up and down the stairs, freezing more than half the year. A chore that doesn't really need the decorations or perkiness. I like my laundry room. I like the stairs where others have trod. I like being a part of a long tradition, even if none of us 'laundry doers' will ever know each other. That's ok. The job gets done. The worn places on the stairs keep getting a bit deeper. Life goes on.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Jun. 24, 2009

I went for a walk this morning. Steve dropped me off 2 miles from home on his way into town. From the drop off, it is 80% uphill, most of it a steep hill, all rising up from the shores of Lake Superior. I couldn't help but think about the amazing priviledge it is to live out in the country on a quiet road that I can walk along in the early morning and hear nothing significant except for the birds and critters and my footsteps. Now and then a car might drive by, or when I am near the neighbors dairy operation there are various farm sounds, but mostly it is just quiet. It is a kind of hard walk uphill, but it feels good to get the exercise. As the road levels off a bit nearing our home, it feels so good to get the relief.

Tommy asked me yesterday what it would be like if nothing bad ever happened. I asked him what he thought. He said it wouldn't be good because then we wouldn't know it was good. I thought about that on my walk. I wouldn't appreciate the level if it weren't for the hill. Tommy comes up with some pretty good insight sometimes.

You know, for the most part life IS uphill. Sometimes its not so steep, but others it seems too steep to make it...but then you do. The level parts, or the downhill or even the not so steep parts are so welcome and so good because the uphill was hard.

God never promised easy, but He did promise to be with us. There are some uphills in my life right is so good to know that God is there with me through it all and that we don't have to scale the hillside alone. I know too that there is a meadow coming. A place of rest and respite. But I know that it will be followed by another hill. and another. But He's with me all the way.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Jun. 21, 2009

The longer I live, the more I realize that life, among other things, is a long line of goodbyes. Blessedly there are at least as many hellos, but that doesn't really ease the goodbyes altogether.

We said goodbye to our exchange student this past week. Our beloved Slovakian 'daughter'. She was only with us less than 5 months, but oh what an impact she has had. My heart just aches as I miss her smiling face and joyful presence in our home. In January she came; frightened and sad and discouraged. She was making a move that she was completely unsure of, into a home she knew nothing of. She had had a less than wonderful experience, and had hoped to go somewhere more familiar, but we were her only option. Somewhere between January and June she became a part of us. She grew to trust and love us as we did her. I will be forever grateful to God for trusting our family with her care. But now we had to say goodbye. I look forward now to skyping with her and writing to her, but will really miss the playful chatter and companionship as will we all.

I look forward to that day, somewhere in the future, when we no longer have any goodbyes to say. That day when we are all ushered into an eternity of companionship and fellowship, all centered around the love of our savior. What a day that will be. Until then, I will find such comfort in knowing that all of it is God's plan playing out and I am just a part of it all. I am so thankful.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

sunday musings

May. 31, 2009

I was just thinking that after all of the busyness of the past its all done. Water under the bridge. For better or worse, Tommy is done with 5th grade. It is interesting how different school at home is with just him here. Sometimes I have felt bad for him not to have the constant interaction with his siblings that they had when they were at home...sometimes I have felt bad for the others to not have had so much one-on-one attention through the day. I am pretty much 'his' all day.

This year was good. It seems like after so much struggle, Tom is finally understanding reading. It isn't easy for him, but its coming. Writng too is coming along. Science and Math were never a problem and still aren't. It has been interesting teaching such a big time kinesthitic learner. I wonder where that characteristic will take him. I wonder what God has in mind.

Mark has always been at home on a computer. Very mathematical and technical....and now he is a computer engineer. Ryan has been drawing, and drawing precisely, since he was preschool aged and now he is almost done with his college studies in construction and architecture. Hallie has always been compassionate and level headed...easily able to assess a situation and figure out what needs to be done. Now she is beginning her journey toward where will my hands-on, animal loving go-getter go? Amazing to me that they are who they are from the very start.

So now I have a summer in front of me. It will go too fast, but so does time in general. Hard to believe, really, that another school year is over. Thank you God for seeing us through!