Monday, December 15, 2008

A tender moment

Oh, how I have longed to blog! I do miss it! Life is soooooo full right now I can hardly keep everything straight. Yes, married life is WONDERFUL!!!!! We have each other's quirks that we are adjusting to, but we just smile at each other and stand in awe that God has placed us together. I have so much to tell everyone, I promise to make a new year's resolution to blog more.

But I just have to share this story with all of you. Bryce is my four year old. Bryce is adorably cute and everyone just loves him. We can go to a restaurant and at least one person will say how cute he is and ask to take him home! I find myself being very protective of Bryce. I almost lost him during labor and he has struggled with speech difficulties. He has been teased a few times about how he says certain words, and wow, do the mother claws come out! He is doing well, but he still struggles with getting his feeling out.

We have all been sick this past week. Horrible colds and coughs. Bryce stayed home from school on Thurs. so his teacher sent his papers home with his older brother. The ice storm hit as well as my work schedule, so I did not get around to checking the school bags until Sat. night. In with the school papers Bryce's teacher wrote him a note. It said they all hoped he would get better soon and they missed his beautiful smile. Bryce was very quite and had his head down very low. Then I realized his face was getting red, so I gently pulled his face up to look at mine. That is when I noticed he had tears streaming down his face. I asked him what was wrong, and he held up his hands as if to say "I have no idea what is happening right now!" but he just said in his sweet voice, "I just like it so much. They like my beau-ful mile." I promptly dissolved into tears and wrapped him in my arms. A few minutes later he came back to me holding his note. Again his eyes were full of tears and he asked me if we could hang it by his bed.

To see such raw emotion from your child is so precious. My baby is growing up.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Great link

Hat tip to my friend Cindy for posting some great thoughts about the election. She gave a great link to someone I have never heard of, but this woman gave a very different point of view on the election. I do not agree with her on some points, but most she is right on!

Excerpt from Still His Girl :

I cried with joy and gratitude to see our country move beyond insane racial prejudice and recognize that all men are created equal.

I cried with sadness to see that our country has not yet moved beyond insane belief that all babies are not created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights-like the right to life.

I rejoiced that little black children FINALLY see someone who resembles them become President and know that it can happen for them as well.

I mourned that little children of all different colors will continue to be aborted, can never dream of being President, and that our future President, good man that he is, will not protect them.

I winced that a woman who raised a pioneering man did not live to see him make history.

I winced that a woman who raised a brave man did not get to see him elected.

I marveled that our country transfers power so easily and peacefully.

I marveled that ANYONE would want the job of President.

I admired a gracious concession speech by a true hero.

This laugh brought to you by Tyler

I have to write these down before I forget and they are just too precious to keep to myself!

Monday night Kristen plopped down on our bed complaining about the bathroom being in use (there seems to always be a line for the bathroom these days!!) Paul joked with her to "take a number." Tyler pipes up ever so innocently, "Can I please have a number too?" We laughed so hard as Paul tried to explain what the phrase "take a number" really means!!

But that is not even the best part!!!

Our family devotions that night was about Noah and the building of the ark. Our habit for putting the kids to bed is for Paul and I to pray with each kid as we tuck them in. Sometimes they want to pray as well, and we let them. Tyler wanted to pray. (Have I mentioned that Tyler wants to be a preacher when he grows up)?

The prayer that ensued was much more of a sermon. Complete with voice getting forceful and everything. He was preaching away about the bad people that Noah had to be with and how they did not love God. I was literally biting my shirt to control the laughs, but after about five minutes I had to stop him. He could have gone on all night!! Again, Paul found himself trying to explain things to Tyler. He just looked at us blankly when Paul said that prayer is thanking God for things and asking His help for needs!

Oh, how I love Tyler's heart for the Lord!! It is my prayer he will never loose his zeal-- watch out 15 or so years from now!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A new day has dawned.....

Here is a beautiful slide show of pictures from our wedding. My friend, Stacy, took all the pics and set them to music. I could not have asked for a better day. The weeks leading up to the wedding were full of challenges and learning experiences that I will blog about later, but for now, sit back and enjoy the show!! The song is "If you could see what I see" by Geoff Moore. This song has become very special to us as Paul has helped me so much to overcome my insecurities with the past and begin to see myself the way others see me.



We honeymooned until Wed. in the mountains of northern New Hampshire at a beautiful bed and breakfast called the Snowflake Inn. We could not have asked for a better start to our new life. I must echo the words of the apostle Paul in Eph. "Exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think..." The last 19 months (and much longer, really) have been so hard. But my God is faithful and has carried me and my precious little ones through. I truly did not understand what I was missing all these years!
video

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Excitement and tragedy

Engagement is supposed to be such a happy time. And it is-- in one respect. Paul and I are so happy and we had several days of pure blissful enjoyment. And then tragedy struck. Thank you all for your prayers. This has probably been the toughest week of my dear Paul's life. We got a call last Mon. night that Paul's father had passed away. Over the next day, the details of things became painfully real to us. His dad actually died sometime on Thurs. but was not discovered until Mon. evening. The medical examiner assured us his passing was quick. He suffered a massive rupture of an ulcer. I will spare any more detail than that other than to say that Paul has images burned into his memory that will haunt him for a long time to come. He so lovingly tried to shield me from seeing the worst of things, and bore that burden for me. He tells me I was so strong for him. I just did what I could! I wrapped my arms around him and allowed the grief to happen. I prayed with him for us to have an opportunity for growth from this horrible thing. I quietly stood by his side during the visitation and funeral. I greeted so many of my soon to be family, just wishing we could have met under better circumstances. I made the 45 min. drive up north to his father's house countless times with Paul last week. I watched him grieve some more. I watched him give to others so selflessly. I thanked God for bringing this man into my life.

There is much to do with settling the estate and everything, (not to mention planning a wedding, work, parenting...) so your continued prayers are appreciated.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

An urgent prayer request

It is with much sadness that I sit down to write this morning. I ask all of you to lift up my beloved, Paul. His father passed away very suddenly from a massive hemorrhage sometime over the weekend. He was found last night by a friend. Paul's dad was a professing Christian, but did not have much of a walk. Please pray for Paul as the burden of making all the arrangements and taking care of his affairs falls largely on Paul's shoulders. Also, pray especially for his sister, Dory. Dory was very close to their dad and took the news very hard. She is just a bit over three weeks away from having her first child. It has been a very high risk pregnancy, so please pray for her safety as well as that of her baby. Pray that she may be able to somehow get here for the funeral as she lives in SC. News like this is never easy and always seems to come at the worst time. Pray for us to have witnessing opportunities though it all.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The long awaited announcement

So, I haven't blogged all summer, and now you hear from me three times in a week!!!


Much to say... so little time to blog....


Ok, enough dragging on the suspense! Yes, all my friends, the night has ended for me. Paul proposed last night in a beautiful simple way that is exactly us. The date has been set for Oct. 18. We even had our first pre-marital counseling session with our pastor yesterday.


But as for the good stuff that all girls love to know: I think I have mentioned our fire pit in the back yard. Having fires after the kids are in bed had become quite common for us and very special. We bought a swing a month or so ago, so the fire time is quite cozy.


It has been quite cool the last few nights here, so we made a fire and were sipping some great flavored tea and I was eating some of my favorite Dove chocolates. We talked of some of the stuff we had just discussed in counseling with Pastor and yes, of the challenges that lay ahead of us with blending the kids together. Paul so sweetly reassured me of his love for the Lord, me, and the kids. He said many other sweet things that I will save for just us, but before I really even realized what was happening, he was before me on one knee, the fire behind him, asking me to be his bride. The setting was perfect as the fire light reflected off the diamonds. Naturally, the tears began to flow, and the only word that I could find was "yes."


A year and a half ago it seemed my world had ended. I was alone with four small children to raise. I felt no one could possible want someone with four kids and was some one else's reject. It is still hard for me to see myself the way others see me. My pastor called me a "precious gem" that Paul must love more than his own life. I do believe he does!


I do plan to write more in the coming days on my process to marriage. School starts on Mon.-- maybe then I will have some free time to write!! Yeah, right!


Here's some pics that I have taken today of my new ring! He picked perfectly-- set in white gold, it has three stones in the middle and then three small stones on each side for a total of nine diamonds!!


A new addition

We have a new addition to the house this week: her name is Mittens- our new kitten. She is about six months old, and is the hit of the week with everyone. I must admit, I am not really a cat lover, but she has grown on me quite a bit in the three days that she has been with us. And the best part is (so far anyway!) no real allergy issues with any of us!! Hope it stays that way- I think the kids would be heart broken to get rid of her!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Summer fun

I know, I know!! It has been about forever since I have given any kind of updates of things around here!! The summer is just days away from being over and my, has it flown by! When I look back, it is hard to say what consumed so much of the summer since we only did a few big things. We went to our town lake several times (I learned a first hand the importance of re-applying sun lotion- earned a whole weekend of sick time from the second degree sunburn--serious pain!) The boys went with Paul to the men's church camp out in June and then we all went to the family camp out last week. We spent the Fourth of July in Maine meeting much of Paul's family. VBS was a great highlight the first week of Aug. as well as a trip to the ocean that week with many of the church friends.

Busy, busy, never ending... We have had much rain here this summer, so we had to be creative with finding stuff to keep us busy and not drive each other crazy!!

So here are some pictures of the happenings of this summer
Bryce and Judson playing ball at the church family camp out last week. Judson and I while camping last week.

Tyler being silly. Kristen and her friend all made up for a sleepover!




Judson LOVES his blanket! This is a very common way for him to fall asleep in the van. Kristen takes a swim on the Fourth of July.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Knight's Tale

WARNING!!! If you do not want to hear a mushy love story, then please do not continue reading. But I know many of you are dying to find out the details of my new life, so here goes...

This story begins last Aug. at our church's family camp out. Everyone knows the horrors of what life was for me last year. By late Aug. the shock of everything was beginning to wear off and a spark of life beyond divorce began to emerge. I have known Paul for years and have watched him grow in the Lord. I had taught his son for a couple of years in my Sunday School class. I knew he was a nice man, good looking, kind-- and single. But it was at this family camping trip that I first noticed Paul as good husband material. He awakened the part of me that I thought had died when the divorce happened. I briefly talked with my pastor, and he strongly cautioned me against anything because my healing was only just beginning.

Fast forward several months through all the horrors of the fall-- and all the healing that occurred through those great trials... Paul was a constant in my life through it all. A very small crew of us meet every Sunday before Sunday School for prayer. I stumbled upon the group by "accident" one morning as I was seeking a quiet place to regroup after a busy night at work. They invited me to pray with them and I found exactly what my soul needed. Paul has a very soothing voice, and week after week, his prayers were a healing balm for my heart. Through it all there was a certain attraction that both of us felt, but neither of us had any idea that anything was possible...

As I mentioned in earlier posts, with the coming of the new year and my healing process well under way, the loneliness and over-whelming desire for my children to have a father really kicked in. Paul was still in the back of my mind, but I really did not think anything was really there. By the end of Jan. Paul had somehow moved to the front of my mind!! So I again cornered my pastor and to my complete shock, he gave me a cautious green light!

So how does a shy girl go about letting a man know she is interested in him for more than just being prayer partners? A big "thank you" to whomever sent me one of those "getting to know your friends better" fill in the blank lists!! I filled it out and sent it on to many of you girls and sandwiched his email in the middle! Paul took the bait and filled in his answers. I was grinning from ear to ear when I saw his email on my screen. There was also my kids' birthday party to which I asked him to pick up pizzas on his way over to save me a trip. (He lives right down the street from the pizza place.)

This brings us to the church family winter retreat. A bunch of us were caravanning. My time schedule was a bit off from the big group's, so I sheepishly asked Paul if he would lead the way for me since I did not know where we were going. So he became my personal escort for the weekend. The retreat was a dream and we spent much time talking and playing games- with and without others. Sat. morning stands out as the real beginning of "us." I was up with Judson very early downstairs in the common area. Paul came down in search of coffee. No one else was up yet, and we had some great quiet time just talking and watching Judson play. It is a very special memory for both of us.

It is now just a few days short of four months since that time. Yes, I will just lay it out there. I am hopelessly in love. No, we are not engaged yet, but wedding bells are definitely in the not-too-distant future. With all that I have come through, I still pinch myself that it is possible to be so happy again. Before things happened, I would have never said that I had a bad marriage. I had no idea what I was missing all these years!!! Paul is so selfless, I do not know how to react sometimes. He is continually putting my needs before his own- something I have never had before.

I entitled this post "A Knight's Tale" for a special reason. (Paul, I hope you are not too embarrassed that I am sharing this with everyone-- love you!!) I think just about every couple has pet names for each other. In trying to come up with ones for us, I started calling him "my Knight." If you know me at all, you know that my favorite movie of all time is "Ever After." The Cinderella story is timeless and I love that whole Medieval time period. Paul has rescued me from so much and makes me feel so special. Then one day I got this incredible email. He tells all about the life of a knight and what he lives for. And how there is only one thing that is more powerful than a knight's love for his country... his love for his "Lady." My heart melts every time I am called "my Lady." There is so much respect and reverence that comes along with it. And Paul treats me like a lady in every way-- and tells me regularly that it will still be like this 50 years from now!! Yes, I think we both know that some of the fury heart fluttering will fade with time. But God has blessed me with a fiercely loyal person, thus putting many of my insecurities to rest.

We have had to be very creative in finding time to be with each other. Do we "go out" much? No, we are parents!! But that does not mean that we do not find the time to build our relationship. We are very glad for warm weather. The building of the fire pit has been sooooo great!! We sit for hours talking by the fire- after the kids are safely tucked in bed, of course!

It is true, we have had issues to overcome, and I am sure there are still more to be discovered. But just like an onion, he has pealed so many layers of protection off my heart and now hold the real thing in his hands! And we are so thankful that God has seen fit to give us a second chance at having a Godly home. The kids adore him, and we are fielding more and more questions about when we are getting married. We grit our teeth and say "when God's timing is right."

Oh, how God is developing patience!! It is so hard to wait!! Our pastor has some pretty strong rules for us in our dating relationship. They seemed so easy in the beginning, but as time goes on... arggggg! But we both know that it will be so worth it in the end! And all this restraint definitely adds to the respect factor. I know that Paul respects me and his position as the leader of our home so much that he is willing to put his own desires at bay for the time.

So, the tale of this "Lady" is just beginning to unfold. There will be much more to come and thank you all for sharing with me!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

You know you grew up in the '80s...

I am spending WAY too much time on the computer today, but I just had to link this recent post from my friend Cindy's blog. since I have no idea how to link you to the actual post, so click on cindy and have some fun.

Instant summer... and other stuff

Summer has hit NH with a vengeance! We had several days where the lows at night were the highs of just a couple of weeks ago!! But the welcome cold front came through last night and today is balmy, beautiful, and sunny. School is officially out this week and I have quite the feeling it is going to be a busy but oh, so fun summer ahead. We moms are noticing something different this year. As the kids are getting older, they are starting to make plans for things amongst themselves and we are just the taxi service that accomplishes their desires!!! I can not tell you how many sleep-overs are planned for the next few months!

I thought I might include a few pics from recent days. Paul and his son, Gage, continue to become more and more a part of our lives, and what used to be that Paul and I only saw each other at church and on Tues. has now become just about every day with each other in some way. We are enjoying many grill-outs and have even planted a garden this year- a big step for this city girl!! I am so excited to report that everything we have planted is sprouting!! I can't wait to see what kind of produce we get from it!!


Here is a self portrait Paul and Gage.
Paul with Judson. The kids are bonding well with him, and routinely snuggle up with him.
My baby is growing up so fast!!! This pic captures him so well! Judson is one stubborn kid, but when he is having fun- watch out! Here, he is playing in a laundry basket with some books.


Tyler graduated from kindergarten this past Fri. I am so proud of him as he is an excellent student. He has recently been very forceful in the fact that he wants to be a preacher when he grows up. What a joy to this mom!! We encourage him to follow that dream and tell him a preacher must always love and keep God first in everything.
A proud mom and her oldest boy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Just too good to keep to myself

Every once in a while I get forwarded something that is just too good to keep to myself. I was sent a You Tube clip on my facebook funwall that positively moved me to tears. I could not figure out how to transfer the post from facebook to my blog, so I searched You Tube. I could not find the exact clip, but was so amazed at how this man has touched so many. There were seven pages of clip about him and in many different languages! Enjoy this clip that is close to what I was sent!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Updates

Hey, everyone!! Just thought I would send out some updates on the happenings of my life! Things are a whirlwind of activity and never a dull moment.



First, let me update you on Kristen. Her ear surgery seems to be a success, but the recovery time has been much harder and longer than we expected. She still has some pain and the packing is not yet dissolved fully. She is very sensitive to anyone getting remotely close to her ear, which presented quite a problem last week when it was time for the stitches to come out. She ended up kicking and hitting the Dr. (He was NOT impressed!) This led to her being scheduled the next day for another surgery to remove the stitches. What should have been an in-and-out thing turned into an all morning thing. They gave her some meds. to relax her before they used the face mask anesthesia. It ended up knocking her out cold for several hours! My suspicion is the nurse made an error and gave her the adult form of it. She was fine, though, and we had some good laughs when she finally started to wake up. At one point she looked at me very seriously and said, "Mommy, you have two heads. Really." She found her finger very interesting and tried to count the legs on the picture of the rocking horse on the wall. She didn't remember me dressing her and looked in shock when she realized she was no longer in her gown! The skin graft area has healed nicely, and now we are just waiting out the rest of the ear.

Summer is almost here and what fun we have planned this year! The kids still have another month of school left, but we are already thinking ahead. I will be trying my hand at a garden for the first time this year. I hope to get the kids involved and not attract too many critters!

Things with Paul are still going-- and going well I will add! He is such a joy to my life and we are so amazed at how God has brought us together. The healing process still continues and I am so thankful at how patient Paul is with me. He has shown me so much love and respect that I have not known for a long time. Some of the things we have enjoyed in recent times include: a very cold but beautiful trip to the ocean, walks to the dam down the road from my house, grilling out in the yard, and most recently- the building of a fire pit in my backyard. I think there will be much use from this in the coming months! We are just starting to involve the kids in our relationship and plan to spend a lot of the summer building the families together. Paul was there for all of Kristen's surgery stuff and has really begun to develop a bond with her. All of them are starving for a father's love. Through a string of events, I found myself without a babysitter for last Fri. night's work. He came to the rescue, and the kids stayed with him. They loved it and keep asking when he will do it again! We know that it will not always be a bed of roses, but are so thankful things are falling together so nicely.

I recently heard a radio speaker talking about why God allows you to have a dream fulfilled only to see it die. I thought instantly of how all I ever wanted was a Godly home and marriage. The speaker told how sometimes God will give us our dream but then take it away just to see if we love Him more than the dream. Then, sometimes he will give the dream back. I can see this in my life!!! I am so excited for the future-- and enjoying the present!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Kristen

I know, it has been almost a month since my last post!! Thanks everyone, for you kind comments and prayers for my new relationship. Things continue to be wonderful and our love for each other continues to grow each day. We recently had a rare half day of no kids, so we took the opportunity to spend the afternoon at the ocean. We didn't even touch the water- it is WAY too cold for that still!! But what a beautiful day it was to have a picnic lunch and read with each other!

On to my real reason for this post. On Tues. of this week Kristen had reconstructive ear surgery in her left ear. She had a really bad ear infection about two years ago that blew a hole in her eardrum. They did one surgery shortly after it happened, but it was unsuccessful. So we have had to wait until she was done growing in there and for her to go a full year without any ear infections.

On Tues. the ear specialists took a skin graft from the side of her head and created a new eardrum for her. The surgery took two hours and the recovery has been brutal. Her pain the first day and a half was really bad. I could only give her pain meds every four hours, but she would start complaining of pain after about three! It was so difficult to watch my little girl go through so much! Today was much better and I think she will go to school tomorrow. I will send her pain meds with though, as she still can barely go the four hours without complaining of pain.

Please continue to pray for Kristen in the coming weeks. She will not be able to have physical activity for two weeks. Tell that to a very active eight-year-old!! She will also have to be VERY careful over the next two months to not get any water in her ear and to not "pop" her ears at all.

She has been very brave through all of this and really is one tough kid! This should end all her ear struggles and return her to perfect hearing. I praise God for keeping her safe through this horrible thing! At one point she cried to me "mom, haven't I suffered enough?" Talk about breaking a mom's heart!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

April 9th... a look back and a look ahead

One year ago yesterday my life forever changed. It was a horrible day that burned a huge hole in my heart. As the saying goes, "hindsight is always 20/20." Yes, looking back, I can clearly see signs of things and that the downward spiral really began about five years ago.

But through this last year, God has proven himself so faithful to me and the kids! I have seen Him provide a job for me that allows me to still be a mom all during the week. All of our needs have always been met. Never once through the year have I ever been late paying a bill. God has been so faithful in giving just the strength needed at the moments of great darkness for both me and the kids. I can remember how the three oldest kids banded together. For about four months, they all slept in Kristen's bed. Kristen and Bryce shared the top and Tyler slept between them with his head at the foot. Then there would be nights that everyone would end up with me!

And who could forget the darkness of the fall. This was by far my lowest point, but I am so thankful I went through that time! It made me fully depend on my Lord: my only real source of strength. Then the holidays were upon us and the generosity of God's people poured on us! With each passing day, more healing occurred.

When the new year dawned, I found my thoughts turning more toward the future. I was very discouraged at being a single mom. There just didn't seem to be enough of me to go around. It was hard to imagine that there could ever be someone out there willing to take on four small kids and a woman so "damaged" (as I saw myself.) I began to earnestly pray about it and even "looked" a bit but found no worthy prospects. I had no idea what was just over the horizon...




INTRODUCING......




I would like to take this time to let everyone in on why I have been absent from the blogging world so much lately! Right about the end of Jan. I began to really take notice of a man in my church. I have known him for about three years and would have never dreamed that he could find me to be anything he would want to be a part of. Paul has a seven year old son, so they were invited to Kristen and Tyler's combined birthday party. This was the beginning of the spark. Things did not really begin to take off for another month when we all attended our church's family winter retreat. We spent a great deal of time talking and playing games with others. That was six weeks ago, and what a joy the last weeks have been! Our schedules at this point do not allow for us to be together much outside of church, so we spend most evenings (after kids are tucked into bed) talking on the phone. Sending emails has also become very special to us. We do have a couple of hours on Tues. evenings as our official date night. I'm afraid Starbucks might get sick of us- good thing that the weather is finaly getting warmer!

I really do not wish to bad mouth my former spouse, so I will leave details in the past. However, I have come to realize through the past year that much of my marriage was very unhealthy. What a refreshment Paul has been! There is so much care flowing from him. He has watched my children grow and they know him well. Although we have just barely introduced the kids to "us," we all get along well as a crew. (Can you imagine the scene of us taking all five kids to a restaurant? We did it! And outside of the boys deciding to wrestle and Bryce's three trips to the bathroom, it went pretty well)!

For all of you who may have concerns: as I have mentions several times before, I have a very watchful and caring Pastor. While we have his "blessing," he has made some very clear boundaries for us. Marriage is a long way off and will only happen when our pastor feels we are both really ready and prepared for what lies ahead. We know that blending two families is very tough and we have many challenges ahead. But Paul is a very Godly man who truly loves the Lord with his whole heart. The Lord has brought both of us through a lot, and each circumstance has shaped us to be the people that we now are: a good fit for each other!

All I have ever wanted was to have a Godly home. I now believe that the Lord has spared me from so much and given me my heart's desire. God knew what choices the former spouse would make and how they would affect our family. I have taken much comfort through the last year from the life of Job. God tested Job's faith greatly. And at the end of it, the part of his life after the trials was far more blessed than time before it. I do not know what the future holds for me and the kids (ok, I have a suspicion!) but I do know that the Light of Christ will lead us through!






Monday, March 31, 2008

I do still exist!!!

Yes, I am alive and well!! I know I have been absent from the blog world this month, but life is soooo busy with four little ones! (Ok, something else pretty big has also been happening that has consumed much of my evening hours, but I will reveal that later!) This winter just seems to not want to end here in New England, but slowly, we are beginning to see signs of spring approaching. Easter was beautiful (complete with indoor egg hunts)!! Our church has just about finished the new building and our very first service in it got to be on Easter!! What a glorious day of celebration it was!

The kids are all doing well but keeping me forever on my toes. Judson is walking pretty securely now and is into EVERYTHING!! I spend much time in prayer for this boy (and me) as he seems to have a very strong will.

I decided to post today because my friend Stacy and I had some fun last week with her camera. She is an aspiring photographer and I needed some newer pics of me. She took almost a hundred different shots, but here are just a few of my most favorites!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Totally funny (and true) mom video

I found this "you tube" link on my friend Cindy's blog. All you moms can certainly identify, and for those that are not moms, I am sure you have heard your own mother say most all of these!!!


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Excerpts from Elisabeth Elliot

I was just reading Elisabeth Elliot's blog and thought I would share some great nuggets from today's devoetional.


Thirty years ago I was standing beside a shortwave radio in a house on the Atun Yacu, one of the principal headwaters of the Amazon, when I learned that my husband, Jim Elliot, was one of the five missionaries missing. They had gone into the territory of the Auca Indians, a people who had never heard even the name of Jesus Christ. What did I do? I suppose I said out loud, "O Lord!"
And he answered me. Not with an audible voice (I've never heard him speak that way in my life). But God brought to mind an ancient promise from the Book of Isaiah: "I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned....For I am the Lord your God" (Isaiah 43:1, 2).
l am the Lord your God. Think of it! The One who engineered this incredible universe with such exquisite precision that astronomers can predict exactly where and when Halley's comet will appear--this God is my Lord.
Evelyn Underhill said, "If God were small enough to be understood, He would not be big enough to be worshiped."


Does God love us? Karl Barth, the great theologian, was once asked if he could condense all the theology he had ever written into one simple sentence.
"Yes," he said. "I can. 'Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.'"


Whatever dark tunnel we may be called upon to travel through, God has been there. Whatever deep waters seem about to drown us, he has traversed. Faith is not merely "feeling good about God" but a conscious choice, even in the utter absence of feelings or external encouragements, to obey his Word when he says, "Trust Me." This choice has nothing to do with mood but is a deliberate act of laying hold on the character of God whom circumstances never change.

Does he love us? No, no, no is what our circumstances seem to say. We cannot deduce the fact of his unchanging love from the evidence we see around us. Things are a mess. Yet to turn our eyes back to the Cross of Calvary is to see the irrefutable proof that has stood all the tests of the ages: "It is by this that we know what love is: that Christ laid down his life for us" (John 3:16 NEB).


I hope that this is as much of a blessing to you as it was to me!

Another thing conquered

I can check off yet another thing that I have conquered since being on my own. I used the big snow blower all by myself today!!!! New England is digging out of yet another snowstorm (my ruler measured 9 inches in the driveway.) We are also on winter break this week, so many people are gone- including much of my help for the winter. I had to get out of the drive for a couple of appts. so I had no option but to face the big beast and overcome it! An hour later and some very tired arms, I am proud to say I have conquered!!!! I did only just enough to get out, but praise God, I CAN DO IT! I will certainly still be relying on others for help as that took just about all my physical strength, but I now know that I am not powerless. Of course, I could be out shoveling.... I would still be out there!!

We are going away tomorrow morning to northern Maine. Our church is having a family retreat and we are all so excited to go. The kids are calling it the "winter camp out." I will have to post pics next week. I am especially excited because I have paid vacation from work this weekend. So, even though we will be back from the retreat Sat. afternoon, I still do not have to work Sat. or Sun.!!! It will be a much needed rest!!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Smarter... answers

Hats off to the Schoonover family!!! You are smarter than me, for sure!! The answer to "when is it ok to fly the flag upside down" is when you are in distress. You also raise the flag quickly and lower it slowly. Well done if you knew the answers, and hey, I did not know them.... Kristen has had much fun over the last few days asking all the adults she sees these questions. Most did not know them!! She took great pride that she is soooo smart!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Are you smarter than a second grader?

While quizzing Kristen tonight on her history homework, I was struck with the horrible realization- I did not know some of the answers! Do you? I will post the answers Monday.

"When should our flag be flown upside down?"

"We raise the flag at what speed and lower it at what speed?"

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Glorious passing

I just spoke with my sister, and she shared with me the news that our beloved piano teacher from many years ago, Mrs. Dorothy Kemp, passed away over the weekend. I looked up her obit. and it is so beautiful I had to share it with all of you. I only hope if I reach the age of 86 or beyond, I will have done so much for my Lord!
http://www.legacy.com/rrstar/Obituaries.asp?Page=Lifestory&PersonId=103717760

Refiner's Fire

I had not really planned to write today because I have been challenged of late by several little "this is just for free" blurps that our pastor has thrown into his messages. He challenged us about how much time we spend emailing, blogging, on Facebook, etc. as opposed to how much time we spend in the Word. Ouch. Big conviction. So, as a very busy mom, I have resolved to waste less time "plugged in" to the electronic world and more time "soaking" up God's precious words!

But as I was doing a quick check on my favorite blogs today, my friend Ann-Marie had some very honest and challenging words. She got me to thinking about the Refiner's Fire. My baby turned a year old this weekend, and the other big "one year mark" is just a few weeks away. It has been quite a year. I had a friend call on Valentine's Day to see how I was doing. I am so happy to say it didn't even phase me that it was a day to celebrate love. That is the beauty of the Refiner's Fire. God has so wonderfully melted all the anger and hurt away and left peace in its place!!! I can honestly say I am a better person because of this life-changing trial I have been through. God has a reason for every trial that we go through. He has a purpose for our lives. The fire hurts so much, but the beauty that comes forth is so worth it!

Job 23:10
But He knows the way that I take, when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.

I also wanted to pass on a link to a daily devotional site that I have found on Tina's blog. It is from Elizabeth Elliot. I can honestly say I did not realize this woman was still alive. Her blog is light but also very thought-provoaking.

I will apologize for any misspellings. For some reason my spell checker is not working.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Even Mitt Romney agrees...

I have not had the greatest of days dealing with New Hampshire being hit by yet another snowfall overnight. (Remember how I said I have to depend so much on others?) The snow and ice keep piling up and when my neighbor's big plow takes care of the bottom of the drive, it does not quite ever get all the way down to pavement. This is normal and many are having trouble. A week ago, we got a storm that gave us more rain and ice than snow. That created an "ice hole" at the bottom of my drive. I know where it is and have just been avoiding it. After quite a long ordeal of getting the kids off to school this morning, I arrived at my home to find two city plows blocking my drive. I stopped on the street and asked if I could help them. They proceeded to tell me quite groughly that I have a large ice hole that they got stuck in and that I need to do something about the hole. Now, mind you, I have already been crying all the way home. Choking back more tears, I simply said, "I am a single mom and this is my first winter on my own. I don't know how to fix the hole." The guy just said, "Yeah, well, just get the hole fixed." They got the truck out by submerging a cement block in it- yeah, it is that deep! If a city plow can get stuck in it, imagine what it would do to my van!! So, I went inside and had another long cry. These are the days when it hurts so much to be alone. I called trusty Grandpa and he told me to fill it with sand and place a five gal. bucket in the hole to at least mark where it is. So, for now, the hole is not fixed, but marked!

My title mentions Mitt Romney. Ironic that I would come across his consession speech today while looking for a weather update. He was speaking to a conservatives convention and the beginning of his speech was aimed for that. I tuned in just in time to hear him say (I am paraphrasing) how births to unwed parents are at an all time high. He gave several stats but for whites that rate is 25% of births are to single moms. The next statement made my hairs stand up. "A nation founded upon the principles that our forefathers set up can not continue to stand when fathers are not present in the home."

You may be a Mormon, Mitt, but you are right on. And people wonder why I want to be married again... :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

On D and R, part 2

I stated that divorce and remarriage are hot topics among Baptists, and I am realizing that I have inadvertantly created a firestorm! I continue to be amazed at how my story has reached so many. I have received numerous emails in recent days, thus prompting this "part 2."

I must first clarify a gross misunderstanding. I will copy the part and then comment on it.

"Beyond this, think with me logically for a minute. We have all been taught that God is merciful and full of love. He told me point blank that he left me because he no longer wanted to live the Christian life and I did. What does it do to the idea that God is loving and merciful if He would condemn me to a life of singleness and my children to being fatherless when the only thing I did wrong was be Godly and serve Him??!!! Seriously, oh Conservative Baptists, does that really make any sense?"

I was a bit surprised that this was taken wrong, but upon re-reading, maybe I used the pronoun "he" too much. What I have been told multiple times is that because I am divorced, I do not have the right to remarry-ever- unless Rodney has died. This is a direct misuse of Matt. 19:9. And I did not mean that God condemns single people of if you lost your spouse in death, or that you should HAVE to remarry. I think this was taken the exact opposite of what I meant. You never hear someone who has lost their spouse to death told it would be best if they stayed single, just us divorced people. My thoughts are that if God is loving and merciful, then why would he punish me to never living a happily married life again for a sin that my then husband committed? I think this was taken exactly the opposite of how I meant it. It just doesn't add up. I hope that this makes a bit more sense, and I appologize for the misunderstanding.

The next big question that I have been asked multiple times is "why not just stay single"? That answer has many levels. I was greatly challenged by the comments left by "Saul or Paul" in the comments section. I know there is great debate on whether Paul was married. I studied I Cor. 7 intently, and I now understand why my Pastor tells us so often to "interpret Scripture with Scripture!!" If you read I Cor. 7 alone, it would seem that Paul would have that no one be married or that the only reason to be married is to avoid inappropriateness. I certainly am no scholar on this issue, so I will not even attempt to expound on it. But the teaching of Paul sums up "it is good not to marry, but if you do, you are not sinning." (You all understand that I am implying the premise that I have a Biblical right to remarry. )

I have a deep desire that my children have a father. I vowed long ago that my children would never know the pain that I went through growing up. But here we are, with them the kids of divorce. I know that while I did have Godly male influences in my life, I still craved and sought out fatherly love. That came in the form of some very poor dating choices in my high school years. The statistics are horrifying about kids-especially girls- who grow up without a father in the home. Yes, I know that God can protect them and send them good men to help fill in, but nothing can replace the day-to-day influence a man has on his children. That is MY belief and passion. Yes, I know all the verses about how God is our father, but that is a tough thing to tell a kid who is supposed to were her daddy's pajamas to a slumber party and she doesn't have any to use. God doesn't wear pajamas, does he?

Another reason that I do not feel "called" to stay single is my constant need to depend on others. I am a girl of very small stature and weight. It is phyically impossible for me to do many things needed to take care of a house, snow removal, etc. Again, I realize the church is commanded to care for the widows and husbandless- and you all know how much my church does this!! However, is it not by God's design for us to have a "help meet"? There are many more reasons why I desire to be married again, but I think I have made the point.

I would also like to address one thing that I left out of my last post. I have had many comments on the importance of forgiveness and not becoming bitter. I couldn't agree more. Not allowing bitterness to take root has been the key to my recovery through this process. It is why so many look at me and say "she is so strong." I have mentioned several times the "Quieting a Noisy Soul" series by Jim Berg. It has been a lifeline. Lesson 15 covers dealing with the "other side" and lessons 20-23 are about overcoming your anger, bitterness, despair, and discouragement. I have listened to these four lessons countless times. One point that he makes is that forgiveness does not always equal reconciliation. If one commits a murder and then gets saved and is truely sorry for his sin, is he not forgiven? But can he bring that person back to life? Will he still have to pay the earthly consequences of killing someone? This same is true for me. Are there some who take their spouse back after unfaithfulness? Of course. But the only thing Biblically that I am required to do is forgive and keep my heart free of bitterness. Sometimes one must pay tough consequences for sin. If Rodney does ever repent of his sin and come back to Christ, that is great! I do pray for this regularly. But it does not mean that I am under an obligation by God to remarry him or to forever put my life on hold waiting for a possible repentance.

The final thing I would like to address is the topic of "God's Will." Way back in my senoir year of high school, my pastor gave me a book by Jay Adams called "My Sufficiency in Christ." It gave an illistration that I have never forgotten. So many people think that God's will is like some "celestial crane" that will pick you up and plop you down right where God would have you to be. Sometimes, that does happen. But sometimes, you have to seek councel about a topic, pray, but then take action!! All the while, praying for God's direction. If you are truly seeking the will of God, then He will shut down what you are doing if it is not in His plan! Could God "plop" a man in front of me with a neon sign proclaiming "marry this one"? Yes, he could- but will he? Probably not. That is why I have Godly people I go to for advice.

My current pastor also has recently pointed out to me the story of Ruth. For those of you who think it is wrong for a woman to "pursue" after a spouse, I challenge you to read the Ruth 3. Ruth very boldly put herself at Boaz' feet seeking him for a mate, and ultimately, the line of Christ came from them!! Please realize again, that I am not saying this is a free-for-all for a girl to go flaunt herself!! Balance is the key to life.

Thank you for bearing with me through yet another lengthy and weighty post!! Please just all know, that I am in no rush to find a man. I am very much seeking GOD's direction in this. I have MANY solid influences that I am going to for advice. And, really, when you have been through the trauma that I have over the last year, do you really think I would want to make the same mistake again?!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

On Divorce and Remarriage

I have wanted to do a post on this subject for a while now, but it is in my nature not to offend people. I do apologize if this steps on people's toes, but these thoughts come from the many comments I have been given throughout the last year. Please note that if I mention something that one of you might have said to me that I do not hold any grudges against anyone. Period. I fully get that when anyone says something to me it comes from a heart of love and a desire to help. I try to always take people's comments and look at them from their standpoint. It really helps to not take offense!!

Divorce and remarriage are topics that have long been taboo in the fundamental Baptist circles. I have found that it is right up there with the versions issue and the definition of "Godly" music. But in a culture where the divorce rate is over 50% (New Hampshire's at 60%), the church is being forced to deal with divorce.

There is no question that God hates divorce and that it is far too easy in America to get divorced. What I would like to address is specifically my situation where unfaithfulness has occurred. I have been told that I should not have "kicked him out." If he was willing to stay with me, then I should have done that. This is based on I Cor. 7:13 that states you must not divorce an unbelieving spouse if they are willing to stay with you. My response to that is verse 15: "If the unbeliever leaves, let him do so." I did not kick Rodney out. When he confessed to the affairs, he told me he wanted to "stay together" for the sake of the kids, but he wanted to be free to do whatever and be with whomever he wanted. He would come and go as he pleased. Is that kind of life really being married? I could not even imagine what it would be like, so my response was that he had to make a choice. His family or his new life- he could not have it both ways.

So the next progression comes to remarriage. With the new year upon me, I turned a huge corner. I have found that I am done grieving the loss of my marriage. God has brought me through so much over the last year and I am so much stronger for it. I can picture myself with someone else. Of course, that man does not yet have a face!! But I am ready to begin that process of finding someone. I have had one "pep talk" about how it is wrong to remarry. This woman so sincerely told me that I needed to devote the rest of my life to praying for him to repent, and when that prayer was answered, then I should welcome him back with open arms. The woman knew nothing of the turmoil of verbal abuse that I was taking from him at that time. I could not imagine ever being with him again, so I took it to my pastor. He so lovingly corrected this wrong advice by telling me that when the divorce was final, it was also final with the Lord. I was not married to him anymore, thus releasing me from any scripture relating to staying with him.

Matthew 19:9 states very clearly that God gives exception for unfaithfulness. Beyond this, think with me logically for a minute. We have all been taught that God is merciful and full of love. He told me point blank that he left me because he no longer wanted to live the Christian life and I did. What does it do to the idea that God is loving and merciful if He would condemn me to a life of singleness and my children to being fatherless when the only thing I did wrong was be Godly and serve Him??!!! Seriously, oh Conservative Baptists, does that really make any sense?

The final thing I want to address is that of how to find a spouse. Back in college days, the book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" came out. I will preface it by saying I never read the book, so I may be off on it's teachings. But many people jumped on its bandwagon and renounced dating as we know it. Many of my friends said they were going to let their parents pick out their mate. This is the heart of why I never read the book. That's all fine and great if you have good Christian parents. I did not then nor do I now. I must rely on Godly council and my own set of standards that I have prayerfully set up. I did all this the first time, and I really thought things were ok. However, no one can control a person's heart. He was well loved and respected by several pastors through the years. He deeply hurt our current pastor as he was considered a strong alli in the ministry.

So, how does one who is now 30 and has four children find a good spouse? Do you do nothing and pray for "the one" to magically appear before you? Is it ok to look around? Where does the stuff about not being the leader come into play? New England is a cold place spiritually. Just look at the states that allow same sex marriage- all New England states (except New Jersey)!! Good men are hard to find, and Christian men are even less. Churches are full of single moms. Mine has at least five. I will not go into all details, but I have taken some flack from a couple of people for some of my "unconventional" thoughts on how I might find Christian men. I should not be so bold. It is not safe. I need to just let God bring me someone. When you stop searching is when it will happen. All of that is ideal advice but is it real for today?

I have no desire to divulge how I am going about my "dating" life so publicly. But if I happen to send one of you a personal email asking your opinion on someone or something, please do your best to give an honest response. And please know that I have a series of checks and balances set up. My pastor is one of the wisest men I have ever met. He will be the only one that will preform my next wedding, so if a man does not pass his "test" then it is a dead issue!!

I know the task ahead is daunting. It will take someone very special to take on four children. I struggle with this daily. I battle the feelings of being "damaged goods " as I am now someone else's castoff. But I know that I am special to the Lord. He promises to give the desires of our hearts if we trust in him. I know that He has a plan for my life and it is far better than I can imagine. Jer. 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Thanks for staying with me on this long post!!! And if you are still reading my blog after this, then I know you are a real friend!!!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Here am I- Casting Crowns

Thanks to Dave, I am kind of getting this posting videos thing figured out!! I still can't quite get the actual video to show up yet, but here is a link. Please go to this video link. I promise you it is worth it. This is one of my favorite songs and the techno stuff is unreal!! Note to Dave: I left another question in the comment section of the "help" post.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Help

I found the most awesome You tube video on a friend's blog and I want to post it on mine. I have no idea how to link or post videos. Help, anyone?!!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

One God

Just had to share this tidbit from Bryce. Out of the mouths of babes...

As I was tucking in Bryce for bed last night, instead of his usual "Ma, pray for me." He said, "Ma, pray for God." I smiled and said, "You mean, pray to God?" He ever so seriously replied with a curled brow, "No, one God!" It took me a spit second to get that he misunderstood my use of the word "to," but right on in the doctrine side!!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

on Frost Heaves and heaving

The week before Christmas the kids got round two of the puking bug, but I escaped it!! (Until yesterday.) I was feeling pretty crummy through the day, then last night....

About this time every year bright orange signs with the words "frost heaves" printed on them begin to appear on many roads across New England. Being the mid-western girl that I am, it took me a couple of winters here to finally get what that really meant. For all you mid-westerners who are probably scratching your heads, here is a definition in a nutshell: the ground freezes so deep and hard that the road is pushed up forming huge bumps. Because I have been hugely pregnant three times during the dead of winter, I have come to hate these bright orange signs. Seeing them always meant pain for me!

But the term "frost heave" has always puzzled me. Why not just say "bump" or "dip"? Why use a word that sounds so disgusting? Then I took the kids to school this morning. I was already choking back the nausea, and add in the beloved frost heaves.... it was like being on a roller coaster without leaving the ground! It was all I could do to keep down the piece of dry toast I had eaten before leaving.

So I take comfort in knowing this is a quick moving bug and that the worst is over. I also have a new appreciation for the person who aptly termed the "frost HEAVE."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Year in review questionaire

I found this on Cindy's blog and thought I might answer them as well! Feel free to answer some in the comments or let me know if you post on your own blog!!


1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before? Oh, many things... put the crib together all by myself, did the grilling on the gas grill, fixed a constantly running toilet, went to Boston to see Riverdance!
2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I never have really gotten into that!
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? ME! Also my friends Maura and Heidi
4. Did anyone close to you die? working in a nursing home, people die around me all the time, but fortunately, I was not extremely close to any of them.
5. What countries did you visit? Other than going to Boston, I never even left the state of NH!
6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007? A clear focus for the future
7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Feb. 16--Judson's birth, Apr. 9-- the day my perfect little world crumbled, Jul. 18--divorce finalized
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? running a household!
9. What was your biggest failure? why dwell on that?
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? You all remember my fainting and hospital stints this fall!!
11. What was the best thing you bought? that first Starbucks latte- got me hooked!
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? all my wonderful friends and family
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? do I really need to say his name?!!
14. Where did most of your money go? bills of everyday life
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? going camping with the kids
16. What song will always remind you of 2007? Speak, O Lord by the Gettys
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:happier or sadder? Happier, but in a much different way/
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? laugh
19. What do you wish you'd done less of? cry
21. What was your favorite TV program? hands down, I am a "Lost" junkie
22. What was the best book you read" Sadly, I do not read much these days. I did read a great novel I borrowed from a friend this summer about three generation of women and how all their choices impacted each other.
24. What was your favorite film of this year? Since I only saw two-- The Borne Ultimatum and National Treasure, I can't choose between them!!
25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007? changed. I became much more tailored and fashionable. I LOVE low rise jeans-- not the ones that show stuff, but they make the buns and hip area look so much better!
26. What kept you sane? bubble baths, Starbucks iced lattes, Ben and Jerry's Pfish food
27. What political issue stirred you the most? the now legal gay unions in NH

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Looking back... and ahead

I have soooo much that I should have been doing tonight, but instead, I was blog-surfing!! I ended back up on my own, and decided to revisit the year. It really was a year, huh?!! Although it feels like it has been forever, this all has happened in a relatively short time. Again, I stand amazed at how wonderful my God is. He has really taken care of me and placed so many people in my path.

And so, at the close of the first day of the new year, I look forward in anticipation at what lies ahead. I am sure there will be many struggles and days when I want to just throw in the towel, but if I can make it through the horrors of last year, I can do anything!!!!