Monday, March 18, 2019

Encouragement For The Week

Perfect happiness is a beautiful sunset, 
the giggle of a grandchild, the first snowfall. 
It's the little things that make happy moments, 
not the grand events. 

Joy comes in sips, not gulps.
Sharon Draper

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Ordinary Days

I turned 50 on Saturday.  The much feared 50 is heaven for me.  I will gladly kiss my late 40's goodbye. 

I was describing it (in tears) to someone as crisis after crisis.  I felt like God would push me under the water to endure another trial, bring me up to catch my breath and let me relax just a tiny bit, and then say NOPE, back down you go.  Like a pool bully-you know the one. 

He wanted something for me I imagine-to morph me into someone new, but heck is that very very painful and honestly it almost killed me.  I have mourned for my old life in many ways, where the biggest problem seemed to be what I was having for dinner, or that the garage door wouldn't work, or other trivial, or not so trivial but not so huge things that we could recover quickly from.  I miss that girl.  But I also know that I life is about changing and growing and breaking open and healing and blooming again.  My faith is SO much stronger than it has ever been and the love for my family-for my husband, my children, and my parents, along with extended family is deeper than ever.  And friendships were forged during my late 40's that I will forever ever treasure dearly.

Jeff threw me a huge surprise party and pampered me all week.  I loved all the gifts and celebrations and the kids being all in town.  And the cake!  Look at this thing!  Friends and family helped to make it extra special.

I am LUCKY to turn 50.  Some do not get the gift of another year.  I am lucky to be here today.  I am lucky to have the deep authentic love my husband and I share and to have all my children here and healthy.  I am incredibly lucky to have a warm and cozy home, and money to afford so many things.  I am grateful to have my health-to have eyes and ears and to taste and smell, and to be able to take walks and not spend so many hours in doctor's offices. I am so lucky that my chemo worked.  I am lucky to have my family here with me and to have quiet evenings of closeness and laughter and yes, homework arguments and bedtime arguments and meal clean-up and laundry and boys riding scooters in the house and everything else that makes a home a home.

I love my life-with all the mountains and I also love the valleys of beautiful wildflowers and easy terrain (God did you hear that?). 

I am incredibly grateful to have the upbringing I have had. I have said to my parents many times this year "Thank you for making me haul in firewood in the winter" and I mean it.   And thank you for making me clean out the awful chicken coop, and thank you for raising me so simply without many material things so I know what is important in life.  Thank you for cultivating a love of books and knowledge.  Thank you for working so so hard for me so that I had the example of what sacrifice really is.  Thank you for letting me see you persevere during your own crisis in life so that I know it is possible to come down the other side.  Thank for so much for passing on your faith and cementing in me at a young age that there is more to life, something much much bigger, than "me".  Perseverance, reverence, resilience, gratefulness, simplicity....the gifts I was blessed with as a child and adult go on and on from the upbringing they provided me.

So here is to 50!  I am grateful and excited.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Encouragement For The Week

"I used to feel guilty about idle moments.  Time spent splayed out in the lawn chair, staring at the sky, was time "wasted". A walk in the woods with a friend and her dog meant that I wouldn't get my aerobic workout for the day.  When Henry, at three, wanted to hear the same story every day for a month and have the same conversation about it every time, I could not help thinking about the stack of unread library books that was gathering dust in the meantime.

But I have come to believe that all of these activities are essential.  They are what is meant by "nurturing".  

Our children do not need any more possessions to be happy; they need only to feel sure that they possess our hearts, our attention, our acceptance of who they are."

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

I'm So Excited

My brother is once more "famous" :). 

His beautiful pieces of art are now in Anthropology and they go quickly so get them while they are hot.  I LOVE THIS LINE!!!  It makes me think of spring!

When Andy was little he was "my" baby (he is the youngest of five, I am the second oldest) and he was so sweet and chubby and took life at his own pace and ALWAYS has, which makes me admire him even more.  He noticed all the little beauties of nature and felt no need to rush and my dear mother and father honored that about him.  (Remember that, moms of kids who move at their own pace-these kids are the smart Godly contemplative ones after all, who live in a crazy world of stress but refuse to take part.)

After college he moved to be with the love of his life, Rose Marie, in Kilkenny County Ireland, where Rose has a pottery shop in a castle yard.  Their work complements each other in so many ways-work at home and work in the shop.  They have two lovely children who we all adore-even when they say naughty things (which I never think they do) they say it with an Irish accent which makes us all think it's the cutest thing in the world and we can't help laughing which might or might not annoy their parents. 

His work has been featured in Architectural Digest and so many other publications I can't keep up.  His pieces have been sought after far and wide.  He is a testament to following a dream, and being true to your inner soul. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019


"Set your eyes on things that are above, 
not on things that are on earth." 
Colossians 3:2

I am all set to go.  This is the daily reflection book I have chosen.  From what I have skimmed through so far it is wonderful and has me excited for Ash Wednesday.  Peace, trust, prayer, reflection, adoration-that is my Lenten resolution.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Encouragement For The Week

We must not drift away from the
humble works, because these are
the works nobody will do.  They are
never too small.  We are so small
we look at things in a small way.
Even if we do a small thing for
somebody, God, being almighty,
sees everything as great.
For there are many people who can 
do big things.  But there
are very few people who
will do the small things.

Mother Theresa

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Ordinary Days

I love praying in our church when it is empty and quiet.  It is gorgeous.  They don't make churches like this anymore-I'm not sure why.  Every little bit of it is a work of art.

Matt who is now in college-I love looking back at these photos and sending them on to the kids.  Remember who you are in that new crazy world you are living in!!!

These guys went on a ski trip with Dad and had a blast.  Next year Janey will be ready to learn and we will join them instead of miss them.  It was nice getting little photos and videos.

Abbey was a good big sister and taught them all how to snowboard (she is actually really good which is why this is funny).

I have been subbing in art class and LOVE it.  It's so much fun but I do come home exhausted.  The kids are so so cute and most want to learn-just have a thirst for knowledge.  It's so fun to watch.

Teachers are amazing and we should all be worshipping at their feet.  I have SO much to say about that but that is going to be a whole other post.  Basically-throw out all the tech and teach your kids to be calm and concentrate and be respectful.  But throw out the tech.  Really do it, hurl it into the attic forever.  It is hurting and damaging children's brains immensely and there is a marked obvious difference in the kids who play video games and spend time on screens and the kids who don't.  If there are any non-believers in that statement spend some days with kids at school.  Or just try it-try it for 6 months.  Take it out of the house and just say no, it's gone, no more.  ALL OF IT.  

A great friend I met a long time ago through my blog has an AWESOME instagram account full of the coolest art projects-she's been teaching for 20 something years. Some simple and not complicated to do at home.  

I bought a few new but basic art supplies for Janey and Patrick to keep then busy-I know the northern kids across the continent are going stir-crazy.
All-Media Art Paint Set by Artist s Loft (126391) 
Really nice art supplies in a sturdy box.  It comes with directions for all the different types of paints, crayons and pencils.

Coolest Paint Markers-we love these!  If you aren't in the mood for paint clean-up or have littles ones that make it too difficult these are the answer.

This playdoh is the best, and fun for the kids to make.  Smells so good!  Janey loves choosing the flavors at the grocery store.

Can you believe it?  My fourth child I get to teach to drive.  Actually my husband gets to teach to drive-I just can't do it. 
 I remember trying with Abbey-I think I was pregnant, but after about 10 minutes I felt so so car sick with the starts and stops.  I can laugh about it now but I think I was pretty impatient.  We all have our strengths and that's just not one of mine, although I can honestly say I've chilled immensely as the years go on.  The gift of aging I guess, along with wrinkles. :)

Saturday, February 23, 2019

How Lucky I Am

Kathleen Mary "Kate" Kelly
Thank your for your prayers-my beautiful, holy, Saint-like friend Kate went to heaven (straight there I know it) on February 12 after a short battle with ovarian cancer.  Kate was the kind of person everyone walked away feeling like they just met someone special.  I met her years ago at a soccer game and we reconnected when we were both diagnosed with cancer and she supported me through all of chemo.  She was the first person I hugged after my last treatment, which was a cry-fest for me.  I could call her and say "I need you" and she would be anywhere I was in a minute.  She was going through her own chemo at the time, and we cried together but she was a never-ending well of hope and strength to me.  She is the one who shaved my head, she is the one who gave me the strength to take off my itchy hat and be bald in public.  (She could pull it off, she was strikingly beautiful.)  She has raised or was in the process of raising (she has 8, with far apart ages like me, that's how we connected) incredible children along with her husband-just one of those amazing families, that humbly set a beautiful example of a Christian family.  I will miss her but I feel her presence always.  I know she is joyful,  I know she sees the plan in it's entirety and is at peace with it all.  The feeling that I 'know' this is so strong I never doubt it.   I think of the quote from one of my favorite people who passed last year- "How lucky we are to feel this way."  How lucky, blessed, filled with gratitude I am that Kate has touched my life for all of our eternity.  I am sure every single person who knew her is saying the same and her life will serve as an inspiration to us all.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Thinking, Playing, Reading

Gorgeous Florida beach.

Frozen Mid-West landscape.
We've been enjoying quiet winter days and a really relaxed (of course still busy) season of life with just three at home.  I've been to Florida twice over the last two months, and feel so lucky to soak up the sun.  The memories are fading from the horrific last winter thankfully.

I am asking for massive prayers for two close friends (Kate and Ann) who are suffering from cancer, and in the middle of chemo and its side effects.  Mothers just like all of us, trying to stay faithful and boy is that difficult when it seems like there are setbacks.  I think I say "thank you" hundreds of times a day in my head, and have learned to say it much more to those around me, as I am incredibly lucky to be finished with that awful experience, but it is bittersweet when I know that there are still battles being fought.


We've been enjoying some fun Christmas gifts-lots of art and Legos.
These sticker-by-number books are so relaxing and fun.

Steaming out clogged sinuses-the goggles were her addition.  All healthy now knock on wood, because boy did we battle colds in December.

Valentine's Dance!  Thought this was cute without being crazy as is the trend it seems.

Dress like your favorite teacher day.

Lots of snow=hot chocolate.

We've been reading so much around here.  Janey and I decided to go through her whole shelf of books this winter, reading every story.  We are making headway!  She is just on the verge of reading herself, but that little "click" I know happens, hasn't happened yet.

Patrick and I are reading Island of the Blue Dolphins.  

I have read and LOVED:

So much good history and a gripping novel-we read this for our book club.

Had to read her other novel next and maybe loved it even more?  I think I read this in one day on vacation.  Loved it.

Our newest book club novel and oh boy, so much to talk about.  Very emotional read-picks up about 1/3 of the way through-wasn't sure I liked it till then and of course, by the end, I was crying and didn't want it to end.  Really incredibly well-written first novel.

Another history lesson, quick read, makes you glad you were plopped onto the earth now, in the age of easy living.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Merry Christmas


I am going to check out for a little while with everyone home.
Thank you for all your kind and supportive comments and emails this year.  

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season with your families.   
Hug those little ones because they will be taller than you before you know it, and enjoy the older ones for the wonderful friends they will be to you as they become adults.
Life is precious and none of us know if we have tomorrow.
It always bugged me, and still does-the quote that says "Live this day like it's your last."  That's impossible for mothers who spend their lives planning-for meals, for education, for the next day and week, for Christmas.
But over the last year I've learned for me it's just important to be aware of the preciousness of each day, because many aren't so lucky to have a glimmer of certainty that there might be a next day, or week or year.  Let all the material things go and say "oh well" about the things that aren't important, and much of it is not.  Bask in the work of the day, even if it's difficult.
Live each day with gratitude, and be kind to yourself-be able to lay down at night and say "I gave it my best, even if I messed up, I did what mattered in God's eyes for my beautiful precious family." 

Photos by Katie Croci