Monday, November 30, 2009


Nothin' says "I love you" like a heart drawn in manure.
I mean really, how many girls can say that they've had an expression of love like that?

Dennis was out all night, until about 4:00 this morning,
hauling manure.
Near the end, (you can see how the "top" of the field is dark--that's what's covered in poo)
he decided to be a little creative and drive in such a way as to
leave a heart shape.

Just for me.

Who says farmers aren't romantic?

Sunday, November 22, 2009


After reading Bonnie's post last week, I got to thinking about an old newspaper clipping that I recently came across.

This picture was taken in 1994 when I was a sophomore.
I am the in the back row on the far left with the ultra-cool Reba McEntire t-shirt on.

Our small town had a pageant called
Queen of the Lakes
and these other girls and I were all participating.

You know what?
I thought I was ugly.
Not as pretty as all the other girls
in my very small, rural school.

You know what else?
I thought I was fat.
WAY bigger and heavier than all the other girls
in my very small, rural school.

I don't know.
Because I look at this picture and I think
I'd LOVE to look like that NOW!!

Why do girls have such a poor self-image?
Why does it matter to us what everyone else
thinks of our clothes, our size, our hair, our makeup?

I wish I could have known then that
I was fine.
I lost too much time wishing I looked like so and so,
or wanting to be as thin as so and so.

Why couldn't I have been satisfied with

Oh, and in case you were wondering,
I was chosen as 1994 Queen of the Lakes...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The PHONE...

If you call me,
chances are you won't get me.

I rarely, if ever, answer the phone around here.

I am usually, if not always,
up to my elbows in something--usually dishwater, bathwater, laundry, or school
when the phone rings.

I wasn't always this way.
I would run for the phone.
I would interrupt conversations with
my kids in order to answer the phone.

I would say, "I'll just answer this quick,
and then I'll help you."
And of course, the phone conversation ends up taking longer
than I thought, and by the time I come back
the child has given up on me and is gone from the table.

I don't hear very well on the phone
so I need to go into another room just to
hear what the other person is saying,
usually it's my bedroom.

I have to lock myself away from my kids
just to answer the phone.
And I don't really like that.

So I let the machine take it.
And I don't feel guilty about it.

The truth is, I can't always talk.
It doesn't make sense to me to answer the phone
only to say, "I can't talk right now."
Not answering the phone
should be evidence enough that
I can't talk right now.

I'm not saying "don't call me."
Not at all!
I'm just saying
don't be surprised if you don't reach me.

But do leave me a message and I'll call you back!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Flashback Friday

This picture was taken on Mother's Day, 2009.
Little did we know that just about two weeks later
Grandma Marjie would discover she had pancreatic cancer.
She passed away in August, 2 1/2 months after diagnosis.
I am so glad I have lots of pictures of her and my kids.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Miss Ruby in the Cupboard

Miss Ruby's new favorite place to play:
in the cupboard
as toddlers have been doing for ages...
(and smiling her cheeseball smile)

Oh, and don't worry.
Since this picture, I have trimmed her bangs.
I know you were all beginning to fret about that...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Of Dogs and Vans

We got our 15 passenger van bus from a church called "Good Shepherd".
Hence, those words are still painted on the side of our 15 passenger van bus .

If we're not going somewhere all together, we (the kids and I) still fit in our tired, old caravan.

One day as we were backing out the driveway in our tired, old caravan, Christopher (4) said to me, "See those words on the bus, Mom? They say 'German Shepherd'."

Close, honey.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Elijah Turned 3!!

Good morning, Three-Year-Old!
For now, it takes two hands to do "three", but he'll get the hang of it soon!

Trying to make sure Bipper doesn't blow out Elijah's candles...

Bipper decided to quit teasing and let 'Lijah do it.

"I'M THREE!!!!!!!"


How can one little dead mouse in the storage room smell SO BAD???

Here's hoping he was indeed a he, and a homeless (nestless?), single, vagrant.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

I made my own granola bars yesterday.

Sometimes my domestic prowess amazes even me.

Rest assured, it is entirely balanced out by my complete ineptitude in so many other areas.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Applesauce Cake

Fall is a plentiful time for apples.

Need something to do with all that homemade applesauce?

I tried this cake this week and it is really good!

2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. stick butter
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (which I didn't have, so I put in some cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg)
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
2 large eggs

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 13x9 pan; lightly flour.
2. Beat all ingredients in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan.
3. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool.

To make it a banana cake, which I also tried and loved, substitute 1 1/2 c. mashed ripe bananas for the applesauce, and buttermilk for the water. Omit pumpkin pie spice and increase baking powder to 1 tsp.
(To make your own buttermilk, just add a tsp. of vinegar or lemon juice per 1 cup of milk.)

Friday, November 6, 2009

My New Diaper Pail

After a late-summer hiatus from cloth diapering, I knew when fall began that I needed to get back in the game I have decided to play.

I was frustrated with my diaper pail arrangement, however.
I had been using a rubbermaid tub to store the dirty diapers in, which worked ok for the first year.

But I had found myself waiting to make the trek from upstairs (where all the diaper changing takes place) to downstairs (where all the laundry takes place) until I had a few at a time. 'Cause lets face it, I change a lot of diapers. And--I'll face it--I don't always feel like running up and down the stairs to put them in the soaking tub.

And that meant I had stinky, wet, dirty diapers sitting on the end of the changing table for too long during the day.

I needed a different way or place to store those dirty dipes.

I began to search the internet for "diaper pails", but all I came up with were either really expensive ones or the diaper genie-type ones which are not for cloth.

Then I had a duh moment when I hit upon an article about cloth diapering where the family just uses a cheap-o, small flip-lid garbage can.
They use a diaper pail liner, but they also said you could just use a garbage bag.
So, I spent $8 on a garbage can and I line it with a garbage bag for now, but a liner is on my "wish list".

Wow! So much easier! Toss the dirty diaper in the "garbage" just like a disposable. When it's time to wash (about every other day) I gather up the bag of dirties and head to the washer. If I had a diaper liner, I'd just toss that in with the diapers.
No need to wash out the pail each time, either.

People think that by the time you're expecting baby #8 you probably have got it all down.
I learn something new about mothering ALL THE TIME!!
And recently, this was it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

IF You Know What I Mean

Daily, I write the date and the "menu" on our little combination marker board/bulletin board.
It looked like this on Monday:

Monday, November 2nd

dinner: quiche
snack: brownies
supper: spaghetti

(The reason I do this type of thing is to avoid the endless times I was being asked "What are we having??")

the reason I am posting this particular bit of news is that Dennis got so excited when he saw what was "on the menu" for noon.
He misread "quiche" thinking instead of the "h" I had written a "k" and that I had inadvertently left out an "i" before the "e".

IF you know what I mean...

Monday, November 2, 2009

from "Stuff Christians Like": Is it True?

I didn't write this, but found it from another blog and LOVED it. Let me know your thoughts.

This is going to come as a shock for many of you, but I wasn’t popular in high school.

I know, I know, given the unibrow, constant braces, and tap dancing lessons, you would think that I would have been homecoming king. But that wasn’t the case. I was a bit of a loser. And by “bit” I mean “big” and by “big” I mean “wicked big.”

I just wasn’t popular and although I’ve committed to raising my own kids as dorks, I was taken aback when my daughter confessed something the other night at dinner.

L.E. is in kindergarten. After three years at a small local church preschool program, she’s started her journey through the public education system. And last week at dinner she told us, “Mary told Janice that I was a big, fat loser.”

She just threw that sentence out on the kitchen table in between forced bites of vegetables. And it sat there for a second, with my wife and I not knowing quite what to do. With big blue eyes, L.E. looked back and forth at as, silently asking a loud question …

“Is it true?”

She didn’t use those words, but that was at the heart of her confession. Someone had called her a big fat loser so she asked the people who have known her the longest, “Is it true?”

Am I big?

Am I fat?

Am I a loser?

Although my wife and I tried our best to talk through the situation with her and assure her it was not true, 10 minutes after we had conversationally left the subject, L.E. burst into tears at the table. She wouldn’t talk about it. When we asked her what was wrong she laughed it off and hid her face in her milk glass, desperate to hold it all together, but the question “Is it true?” kept pushing tears out.

That’s a tough question and I wish it was one that we all left in childhood.

But it’s not, is it?

If I’m being honest, I ask myself “Is it true?” sometimes when I get a negative comment on this site or a hateful email. Someone tells me I’m a horrible writer or a horrible Christian or a horrible anything, and I start to wonder, “Is it true?”

Have you ever asked yourself that question?

Has someone ever told you that you were fat? Or untalented? Or unqualified? Or hopeless? Did a divorce try to tell you that you were broken, a job loss tell you that you were worthless or a parent that you were less than the child they hoped for?

Have you ever found yourself asking the question, “Is it true?”

We all do at some point and the challenge is that we often try to find the answer to that question in the wrong place.

When I feel wounded or hurt, I often feel tempted to ask Google Analytics, a web traffic tool, if I’m any good. I want to open up my statistics and look at all the pageviews and say, “See, that’s not true. I’m not worthless, look at all the countries that have read this site.”

And maybe if you don’t have a blog, you go somewhere else for the answer to the question, “Is it true?”

Maybe you go to a memory, and try to relive a time in your life when you felt popular or loved.

Maybe you ask a new car or a new pair of shoes or a new anything your question.

Am I old? Is that true sports car?

Am I ugly? Is that true new outfit?

Am I dumb? Is that true new laptop?

And we ask and ask and ask, but regardless of the answer, regardless of if our loved ones provide a temporary salve to a question that hinges on our true identity, something gnaws at us.

The only thing I think we can do in that moment is ask the only one who really knows the answer to the question, “Is it true?” And that’s God.

He, unlike your friend, unlike your boss, unlike that shiny new toy you purchased to try to beat back the feelings of inadequacy, He knit you in the womb. He knows you like no other and He loves answering questions like, “Is it true?” and “Who am I?”

The Bible is riddled with verses where God gives us glimpses of who we are, but one has stuck out to me over the years. I’ve written about it before and I’ll write about it again because I heart this verse. It’s Isaiah 30:18. The first half of the verse says,

“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.”

I love that idea, because it loudly answers, “Is it true that I am unloved” by saying, “No, God rises to show you compassion. He longs to be gracious. He gets up in the morning with compassion in His big God heart for small feeling you.”

I don’t know what in your life might have caused you to ask the question, “Is it true?” but I hope today, that you’ll think about a new way to answer it.

Regardless of why you’re asking that question, the answer might be:

“No, it’s not true. You are not that word, that thing, that label someone or even yourself is asking you to wear. Showing you compassion is the reason God gets up in the morning. That is what’s true.”

What have you been asking “Is it true?” about lately?

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