Sunday, November 30, 2008

Decorating the Tree

Tonight was tree decorating night. Love this night and God blessed us with gorgeous snow for the occaision. Love how it's coming down white and heavy and beautiful.

Well, this night is quite different now that we have all teenagers. Grant and his girlfriend lounged on the couch nearby, reluctantly. Had to drag them in and get them to hang. Grant had Ally put his things on the tree. Ashley was popping in and out, mostly on the computer and then hollaring at me about putting her picture on the internet. Blake was still into it but not near as much as last year. 13 is an odd age. Sometimes acting young, others acting like a full blown teen. Today he's been more young, cuddling me while we watched the Santa Clause and still wanting to decorate. Love that and cherish that, this is my last one! sad, so bittersweet.

Now the four of them are all cuddled up in the living room, next to the lighted tree, and watching Home Alone. I close listening to their laughter....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

So much to be thankful for I don't even know where to start.

My faith, my family, my friends....God has surely blessed me and I never feel worthy enough for all of it. But I thank Him just the same. We're all healthy, we have jobs to support us and that we both enjoy, my eighteen year old is doing awesome in college and work and coming around out of his pain in the butt status - love him! My thirteen year old is doing so much better in school this year (homeschooling) and working hard at his first job. My daughter is so beautiful and doing awesome in school (except for French 3 right ash?? LOL She says two years should have been enough) and graduating this year. We have a great home over our heads, cars to drive (well, two solid ones and one that loves to keep us guessing - but that's the fun of living right? A little gamble! LOL) We've got family galore (every other day we're with family - or they're spending the night, or we're playing cards, or we're out to dinner) to support us, friends who love to hang with us (card parties in the winter, bonfires in the fall and summer, hunting groups, coffee meet ups) - what more could we ask for?

Thank you Lord for all of it. None of it is becuase of me, all of it is because of You!

I leave you with a pic I took yesterday of three of my blessings....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

On Leadership

Today we talked about leadership at church. Thought I throw down a couple of interesting points about it.

Leadership starts with a servants heart. A good leader will actually serve those around him. This hit me. I mean, think of the kind of people who have been leaders to you: teachers, parents, pastors, bosses - which ones did you like the most? Probalby those who didn't just expect you to do for them but the ones who did things for you stand out to you don't they? I had a 6th grade teacher who was amazing. She stands out to me. I thought about the reason she stands out and it's because she cared about me and did things to help me out when my parents were going through a divorce and I had changed schools several times. She had a servants heart and becuase of this I was more likely to follow her.

Well, as always I apply this to my parenting and wonder how the kids see me. Does my servants heart show through to them? I hope so. I hope they know how much I care about them and want to do things for them. And I hope it makes me a better leader/parent to them.

Thank you Lord for the wonderful Sunday with my family.

Raising Teenagers is like Nailing Jello to a Tree

Teenagers, such a bitter sweet experience raising them, let me tell you people. And Brent and I are in uncharted territory as far as our friends and family go. We're the first to have them and the first to go through what you go through with them. (As we've been with every stage in having children since everyone else waited and we jumped right in LOL). But we're learning all the time what it takes, learning on the job. But isn't that the definition of parenting? Learning on the job?? Do the best you can do, love them, teach them, and pray for them to make it through the teenage years.

The Sweet: Those big kid hugs that are so rare seem so much more precious now when you get them. As babies they "need" the loving like food and water and you just get thier cuddles and kisses all day long. When they are teenagers, even though they actually still need it, they wouldn't admit that if their life depended on. So when you get the hugs, or a hand hold, you know they are doing it becuase they want to. Exactly how I think God feels when you come to him for no other reason than you want to. Not becuase you need anything. Getting that loving from a teenager is special. It is much further and farther between but when you get a little, you know they are doing it for other reasons; for you (maybe realizing a mom needs a hug or loving) or becuase they just want to hug you.

The Bitter Sweet: Today we were all in the car together, as a family. What's the big deal you ask? Well, this doesn't happen much any more now that Grant is graduated and has his own car. And since Ashley got more of her own life going on. Even Sunday's, Grant has met us at church. Today we were all in the same car for the first time in months and I cherished it. I looked around the car at my family and thought, I wonder how long before this happens again?? Or will it ever again? Call me crazy sentimental, I know. I'm the same crazy person that thought about that last time you put your child down and NEVER pick them up again. Here, let me explain. You know how you are always picking up your baby, your toddler, you little kid, shoot, i'm still picking up Blake so 13 isn't unheard of. But....there will come a day when you pick up that big kid, hug him, set his/her feet on the ground and you NEVER pick them up in your arms again, ever. This is such a sad thought to me, especially since it's practically impossible to know when that last time is. On thinking about this today I think I haven't picked up Blake now in a bit and I'll bet I can't any more. He jsut grew like 5 inches and two shoe sizes in the last month. Now, of course, I'll have to try but I'll bet it's over. A month or two ago I picked him up, hugged him, and set him down to never hold my baby in my arms like that again.

Well, teenagers are an interesting species. We are doing our best and praying every day but in the end, this walk of life we each have, it's between ourselves and our God and no one else. Brent and I can be there to guide them and love them and help them, but they have to make the decisions themselves on how they walk the walk. And something I had to learn early on so I wouldn't go crazy, it's not personal to the parents. If you did your best, if you will be proud to stand before God and go over your parenting style with him, then it is not personal if your child turns out to be the black sheep of them family. That is personal between the child and God.

Parenting is personal too....this is what I tell people who want to give me advice, and Brent tells them this too, if you havne't been through what we've been through, and been through it successfully, then do NOT give us advice. We only take advice from parents who have successfully been through the stage that we are at now. Now, I love comparing issues with parents who are IN the same issues we are in. But if you don't have teenagers, don't try to give people advice about their teenagers. You have NO clue what it's like raising and loving one of these interesting creatures.

So yeah, it is like nailing jello to a tree trying to raise these guys, but knowing that I have God, and that I've been raising my children the way God tells me to raise them since day one, then I know I just have to keep trying to nail that Jello up to that tree and hope it starts sticking one day.

Missing My Trip

I have been so bummed for the past two days. Ashley and I were supposed to go to my sister's for our annual visit during hunting week and the weather made us cancel. Living in Michigan can totally suck some times. You just never know what the weather is going to do.

Well, years past we have had a lot of fun. When the kids were all young and I was a stay at home, homeschooling mom, we made an entire week out of it! Each year we took turns at each other's houses. You'd find us going on field trips together, schooling the kids on a project together, doing art/crafts (one year we made duct tape purses, flip flops, and bikini's!), or bible studies. It was always a lot of fun! Those years have gone now and it has shrunk to a weekend and as of last year shrunk to the girls only. Oh well, times are always changing and there's nothing you can do about it . : ( Just wish we could have gone this year.

So, instead of that, my husband said he'd take me out all weekend and make sure I had some fun. Last night we did dinner and a movie. The movie by the way, was extremely dramatic and I left wanting to cry. People behind me were actually crying. It was called "The Boy in the Striped Pajama's" and it was about a concentration camp. The ending was unexpected and definitely not happy. Just awful. A well done movie but the topic just is never going to be anything to smile about obviously. Then this morning he made me breakfast and we got on a long over due honey due list and house cleaning. The kids all pitched in and we got a lot done! Tonight he made us a turkey dinner with the fixings ( I have NO IDEA why he did this so close to our thanksgiving dinners but I didn't push it, LOL) and then we went to hang with Spencer and Caroline (Brent's brother and his wife) to relax and visit (Lonier's came too so the gang was just about all there).

Tomorrow is church and then I'm not sure what yet but I have to do something so I dont' think about missing my sister and our visit.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Verse for This Snowy Sunday

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:6

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Opening Day 2008

What a cool day in history, Freed history that is. This is definitely one for the record books.

Well, Brent and Spencer have been hunting on Spencer new land in Clinton county (just down the road from us). Today, opening day of gun, they were there again and planned to stay all day. They actually gave up a 25 year tradition of being in the UP on this day. (side note - this is the first time in 25 years I've seen Brent on November 15th - weird!) Anyway, about noon Brent calls to me and whispers (which I don't really get???) that Spencer got a nine point so he had to stay out to get one instead of coming in and warming up. I whisper back "Well, have fun babe, I'm going shopping".

Two hours later I get another phone call. I open my cell phone to more whispering "I got one, I got one!" Now, if he got it, why are we whispering??? So he's all excited and tells me he'll call me back to tell me what he got. I was so happy for him. Love seeing him so geeked.

Anyway, I head over there to take pics for the guys and it turns out Brent's is a 10 point! So, Brent and Spencer both got big bucks today, two hours apart, from the same stand, using the same gun! What are the odds of brothers doing that on opening day? I'm so happy for these guys. Well, enough of the girl version of the story, here are the pics. If you want the guy version of the story I'm sure Brent or Spencer will tell you all about it even if you don't ask! LOL

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Kids

Here is Blake thinking he's way too cool ....I just found this picture on my camera. Don't know when he took it but I just bought him that jacket last week. LOL
This is Grant and his girlfriend Ally. Ashley gave me this picture off her MySpace. I thought it was sooooo cute! He probably doesn't even know I have it!

And my one and only girl....this is Ashley's pic from her camera but I just thought it was too cute. Love her happy smile....and don't knwo what is up with two of my kids taking pics of themselves in the mirror.

Just thought I'd throw in some current pics of my kiddos, snapshots. I rarely do the snapshot thing but I know I should more. Brent actually gets after me for always having posed/professional shots. Sheesh, what a problem! Anyway...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Verse for Today

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. - Romans 13:1 (NIV)


Well, all I can say about this election is I'm glad God is in charge. He must have a reason to allow someone like Barrak Obama to come to presidency. Someone who could not even get FBI clearance becuase of all his questionable connections. Someone who believes in allowing people to kill babies. Someone who thinks it's okay to sit on your backside all day long and collect money from the hard working people of America. Someone who's own pastor damn's America. Someone who had Cuban flags in several of his campaign offices (probably becuase of money he recieved from them and had to display them). Someone who is more comfortable running America in a communistic way. The attitude of "we deserve it" is rampant in America. You DON'T deserve free hand out's people. You have to WORK for the American dream and the rich people who did just that deserve it. If you want the "American Dream" but don't work for it you DON'T deserve anything extra. And someone who says gays have everyone is okay that in the future your children and grandchildren will be exposed to gay behavorior right in the streets instead of allowing those people to keep their sin between them and God? Scary. Sinning should not be made legal. I am not judging sinners. I'm a sinner just like everyone else. But I don't flaunt my sin. I'm ashamed of my sin and ask God's forgiveness every day. But some how a lot of America is okay with these things and that scares me for our future unless I think how God is in charge and this is in His grand plan. Thank you Lord.

Well, sorry for getting heated. I'm just bothered, extremely. My children have to grow up in this world, unless God comes back before then and honestly, I think He is coming soon. This place is getting out of hand and He isn't going to tolerate it much longer.

Dear Lord - your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. You are in charge God.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


We've had Quincy over for the weekend and I took the opportunity to take some new pictures of her. Here are some of them:

We've just been hanging out and then tonight Brent and I took her and Blake to dinner at Relli's in Dewitt. The last picture above was Quincy's idea. She made me drag that chair outside and then she posed all on her own. Do you think she's grown up with a photographer for an aunt??

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fireproof - Wow!

Went on a date night tonight with my hubby to see Fireproof. Wow guys, go see this movie! It was awesome. And make sure and take your spouse along. I left that theatre feeling so good and inspired. The movie does start a little slow but give it time becuase it gets great! This movie got me thinking too, just like Sunday night at church. But I don't want to give the movie away and talk about much of it. Just go see it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Jack Van Impe

Wow, just got back from seeing Jack Van Impe tonight at church. Wow. What a wonderful speaker and his message tonight on the end times was incredible. I could never tell you everything about it so if you're interested in God or the end times or salvation, or anything, his site is great. . Or you could talk to me too. Anyway, I took my whole family tonight, even my mom and Grant's girlfriend. I sure hope they all took it in.

And just for myself, thinking about what I heard tonight, makes me want to get more on fire for God and do more to spread his word and his love. I know my main mission field is my children and I've been doing that since the day they were born. And I loved doing the Young Christian Leaders Group I started with a friend at my old school. But I'm not there any more and I want to do something more like that again. I'll be praying that God gives me some more things to do. I actually am going to stay a little involved with the Young Christian Leaders from my old school. The guy I started it with called me last week and asked if I could at least go to the activities and help with the devotions at the activities. I jumped at the chance for sure. I miss those guys. Well, I'm doing a lot of thinking tonight for sure.

God is awesome! And in case anyone reading this doesn't know, God does love you, just like a mother or father loves their children (and all of us with children know how much that love encompasses us). And this is how I've been feeling since i've had teenagers. We are teenagers to God's parenting....acting out, sinning, partying, and then trying to be good, trying to be respectful, you know, bouncing around like teenagers do, all the drama. The same way I feel about my teenagers I know God feels for me, for all of us. He just keeps loving even when we mess up. And he waits patiently for us to come back if we run off on a crazy time.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

More of the Senior Shoot

Here are a couple more pics of Ashley's shoot with me the day we went driving around. The goofy girl of mine just changed right in the car without a care in the world! I would never have done that when I was her age. But I love this color on her. I have to remember that and buy her more stuff this shade. I can't believce what it does for her. This is two different spots but the one with the woods in the background was so gorgeous. the wind was blowing leaves down while we were shooting and it was very peaceful. I coul dhave sat there all day. Anyway, as always I ask, isn't my daughter just so pretty???


Tonight I was sitting here with Blake and Brooks when we all heard what sounded like cupboard doors being opened and closed several times upstairs. We were all downstairs including the dog so what could the noise have been?? Well, needless to say we all jumped up and ran out of the house, got in the truck and pulled out the driveway and watched. Even grabbed the dog! Luckily I had my cell phone on me and I called Brent and the cops. See, Ashley had left earlier in the evening and left the front door unlocked. We got home late and I didn't like seeing that the door was unlocked but settled in for the evening any way. An hour later we heard the noise and there's no way it was a mistake, or something falling. Well, the cops checked the house and found nothing but they took about 15 minutes to get here and we were parked across the street. There was plenty of time for someone to run off. That's the only reason they could have been making the noise. I figured we trapped someone in here and they were wanting out so they made the noise to freak us out so they could get out. Well, now we're all freaked out, an hour later and cops gone. Grrrrrr....hate this feeling. And Brent's not home yet either. I also have two boys who do not want to stay here tonight. Well, that's my story. Guess we just have to get past it and go to bed. Hate stuff like this....

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Why are hugs so great?? All I know is a hug feels so good and it feels even more extra special when you get it from you 18 year old son who thinks he's a grown up. Those hugs are few and far between and when I get one, it melts me inside. I snuggle in and smell my baby's neck and wonder how he's bigger than me. He squeezes me tight, for a second, maybe two, and then is off but wow, I could live off a hug like that for days. If you dont' have teenagers, you probably can not even close to understand this but things change dramatically as your kids get to this age. It's bitter sweet. Of course they have to pull away and go and be themselves out there in the big world but it hurts just the same becuase to me, with the weird way time folds on itself, he's still my baby. I swear his neck still smells exactly the same. So, I'm just thankful to God tonight for the moments he still gives me, however small they are. That boy of mine can be a pain, but I love him so first born. My dreams of motherhood came true the day he was born.

I Don't Know...

Made my girl laugh ..... she's been wanting this guy to pick her up and take her to school every morning. Well, I don't know him and that' s a rule about hanging out with friends...if I don't know them, then the answer is no. She just keeps bugging me like crazy the last few days and I started quoting "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" - a show we both love....the dad says when he learns about the new guy " is he a nice boy? I don't know. does he come from a nice family? I don't know. Do they go to church? I DON'T KNOW" She figured out what I was doing and started lauhging and calling me crazy. Well, bottom line, he has to come over and hang out a few times if she wants to ride with him. Yeah, I'm a mean mom and I'm proud of it!! But you know what I do know? I love my daughter with every part of my being and I will always love her no matter what.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

21 years - and it's like yesterday

What a cool night. I met with a friend after 21 years! We both took the same mission trip to Africa in 1987...whoa, 1987...and just ran into each other on Facebook and then realized our kids go to the same homeschool group and she lives about eight miles down the road! How crazy is that? So we met for coffee tonight and talk about the old days and the old friends and caught up. Made the years melt away on the one hand but made me feel old on the other when we talked about it being 21 years ago. Wow!

It was sure fun though, catching up with an old friend, someone who knew you "when"... you were young, skinny, carefree, and full of dreams....those were the days.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Just thinking tonight how glad I am I started using facebook. I've found so many of my old friends and have been keeping in better touch with family. My sister and I had not been able to have as many phone calls as we used to either and now we're keeping in better touch. I'm loving it. I found friends from my two Teen Missions teams from back in the 80's. How cool is that? Makes me feel young and old at the same time. We're all sharing photos and memories. Good times for this old soul of mine, almost that dreaded 40 here in a very short few weeks. Where did the years go?

Monday, October 20, 2008

random thoughts on a monday

why are teenagers Well, my mom's says so it doens't hurt so bad when they leave. Hmmmm, she just might be right.

Rainy fall days are awesome, seriously, call me crazy but I love them! cuddle up with a book by the fire awesome.

Ashley is not happy tonight - we took the land line phone all the way down to basic so she can't use it anymore except for quick calls. She is so in love with her daddy now! NOT! We just figure it's dumb paying for it when we all (except Ash) have cell phones. I'm only keeping it so the house has a phone - meaning Ashley - for emergencies.

Spent a while teaching Blake tonigth about the French and Indian War. Love history - I get so into it and he's like "yeah, mom, got it, can we move on??" Then we did his math and he got 100%. His math is now an overall A and last year he was so NOT an A, if you get my meaning. Brent and I are so proud of him.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Two Thoughts For Sunday

"take the world up out of me, put the fruit back on the tree"

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you so that your daily life may win respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody." 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

These two thoughts really caught me today. The first one in a song - I hear this song all the time and this sentence always catches me. The second one caught my eye when I was looking for something else in my Bible.

How do they make me feel?? Convicted. Everyday I let the world take over my mind and many times I'll get to bed and begin my good night prayer to the Lord and realize I spent no time with him today other than a few quick prayers. This makes me sad and I think of how I'd feel if my children were too busy for me all day, several days in a row. So Lord, I ask you to help me take the world out and put You in. On the verse, whoa, yeah, minding my own business to me could encompass gossiping or talking about what is going on in other peoples' lives. Where do you draw the line? I guess if you're talking about uplifting things it's not gossip but anything that's not uplifting would be gossip. Lord, help me mind my own business!

Time with my Daughter

Went off this afternoon with my daughter to take pictures for her senior shoot. We are totally spreading it out and she's able to do her hair differently each time. We had fun driving around the back roads looking for spots. We stopped at one place and off in the distance there were cows. Ashley said "hey mom, lets get a picture with a cow!" What a doof! Then, and this is how you will know she is bipolar, i turn around and see some of those cool rolled hay bails, you know, the ones that are taller than you are?? I ask her to pose with that and she says "what do you think I am? a country girl??" She bounces around so much like that! Let me tell you. Well, here is an example of what we got today.

This one was taken toward the setting sun so a very different look. Isn't my girl beautiful?


how blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
who walks in His ways.
when you shall eat of the fruit of your hands,
you will be happy and it will be well with you.
your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
within your house.
your children like olive plants
around your table.
behold, for thus shall the man be blessed
who fears the Lord
Psalm 128:1-4

My Girl - Senior Photo Time

And my second sernior in as many years....Ashley. Here are a couple teasers. If you'd like to see the rest you have to go to .
But isn't she beautiful??? I still can't believe she's my girl even after 16 years. I know I don't deserve her. And when people stop the both of us and say how much we look alike, I say no way. She is a million times more beautiful!

sunday morning

Sunday mornings we get a taste of what it WILL be like. Brent and I don't sleep in much and are usually up hours before the kids. All those years we begged THEM to sleep in while we were younger and could sleep in, they wouldn't do it. Now, Brent and I can't sleep in and the kids could sleep till lunch. What is that about??? So, Sunday mornings, becuase no one has to be anywhere, Brent and I bump around the house for a couple of hours before the kids have to get up and get ready. We have a quiet breakfast (this morning eggs and pancakes), watch TV, Brent likes the Waltons that he records, and I start laundry or do the dishes up. And it's so quiet!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cousin Photo Shoot

We did our every other year cousin shoot the other day. This is one of the ones we got. Yeah, look at those teenaged boys of mine. They are having sooo much fun they can hardly stand it. This is how they looked in every one of them! But the rest of them are cute. However, I think little W is in training to join his older boy cousins. Either way, to continue the theme of this blog, this very probably is the last picture when they are all children and unmarried. We do it every two years so who knows where Grant will be in two years. I'm glad he's still here each morning let alone two years from now. So, like I'm treasuring everything else, I'm treasuring this picture already thinking, yeah, this could be it. I might not be able to get him to the next shoot, who knows??? Plus Ashley will be all graduated by then too and off to college. It will be tough to do this again.

and the beginning is more like the end that is a beginning

confused? yeah, i usually am too. I'm beginning this new blog (and abandoning my old one) when it's practically the end of this season in my life. The season of my motherhood (the motherhood that you are mothering 24/7). But, that end will also bring a beginning. The beginning of my life with my hubby and I being together with no underage children we are responsible for. We are truely at a point where we're looking forward to this.

But I'm going to quickly. Even though that new beginning is close, it's not here yet and don't get me wrong, i don't want to rush these last few years. I'm cherishing every moment. Eating up every hug and cuddle (however few they are getting to be - Grant). Living the most of every family moment, family game, family car ride, family vacation. Becuase I know how quickly it goes. I blinked the other day and my daughter was driving the car. Then I blinked again and Blake had a date!! What? Next thing I know I'll blink and Brent and I will be alone in the house, in the quiet, in the privateness.....

So, I decided to abandon my old blog and start one where I'm concentrating on these last few precious years of "being freed" here at our home. I know i'm making it sound more dramatic that it is. I mean, they aren't disappearing off the face of the earth. But things are going to be different. They will have their own lives that center around themselves. Brent, and I, and our home will be on the outside orbiting, waiting for them to slow down so we can work in family time. Family time won't just happen. Family time will have to be worked on and planned.