Encouragement For The Week

Peace is the beauty of life.
It is sunshine. 

It is the smile of a child, the love of a mother, 
the joy of a father, the togetherness of a family. 

It is the advancement of man, 
the victory of a just cause, 
the triumph of truth.
Menacham Begin


Thinking, Playing, Reading

Of how blessed I have been in so many ways, and still continue to be.  I have spent the last couple weeks spring cleaning, making my house smell good, freshening up rooms, and having fun evenings at home together as a family.  AND...March Madness...a big part of our life here for sure.  We have our brackets (mine soley chosen on how much farther south each team is because of SUNSHINE, with the exception of MI of course, who wins it all.  Janey and I made ours cute with gel pens and sunshines, and flowers.  Dad and the boys think we are crazy (not about MI about how we choose) but we might just get lucky.

It's a mud pit outside but that doesn't stop the kids from wanting to go out.  Patrick has a Lenten basketball shooting practice resolution he must keep.  Andrew has track practice every evening.  Fresh air and exercise!

I'm on a roll!  Went on a WWII kick except for one light read.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Novel by [Morris, Heather]

Incredible true story-easier to read prose, heartbreaking as all books about the Holocaust would be, but filled with hope also.

About a young girl surviving in a Siberian work camp-an incredible story-we are SO lucky to live in a peaceful country!
If you don't want to read the book HERE is the movie.

New York Times notable book
An international bestseller
A Carnegie Medal nominee
A William C. Morris Award finalist
A Golden Kite Award winner

This one is my favorite out of them all.  Set in a concentration camp-another love and survival story-a wife is forced to serve in the camp brothel, and is saved by a relationship with the enemy, while still holding out hope for reunification with her husband.

And for a light read:

Written in a unique way (reminds me a little of Bridget Jones).  Really really funny but well written also.


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


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.


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."


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. 



"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.


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