Tuesday, December 27, 2011


8 years ago at 8:08 in the evening I gave birth to an 8lb8oz baby boy.  The first few weeks with him were a little intense...okay, actually all 8 years have been a little intense because he is an intense kind of kid!  On the other hand he is the sweetest little boy with no teeth that I could ask for.  The following are 8 things I love about my 8 year old boy.

1.  He has the most generous spirit - he loves giving gifts just like his daddy.
2.  I love his sweet face - he is just so cute with those big blue eyes and white blonde hair, he's hard to resist.
3.  He is a great leader.
4.  He is a wonderful encourager (he is always the first one to say, "Mommy you're so beautiful" or some other such thing when I get dressed up or get my hair done.
5.  He is a very funny guy, always has been - with his funny face and goofy antics.
6.  Your smile is always just around the corner.
7.  He is super creative - loves building with lego and bionicles!
8.  He is a thankful kind of guy - expressing his gratitude regularly.

I love you Sasha Price Kellan, you are such a gift to us!

Using dad's welding helmet to be a Star Wars dude!  (He is a total Star Wars nut)

On other days he might be a cowboy!  Good thing that horse can't get away!

Happy Birthday 3 year old boy!  Always sharing birthday parties with Christmas events!

4 years old!

There's that translucent hair!

Having fun at Grandma's house!

At graduation with the new glasses!

From birthday #6, when we went to Colorado!  Nice face buddy!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day 2011 (1247)

It's Christmas day in the evening.  Yesterday I was feeling pretty stressed.  Our #2 boy was really down in the dumps and that made everyone a little testy.  I finally figured out why though.  The day before yesterday (the 23rd) was the day we brought him home for good 11 years ago.  We celebrated really big (thanks to some generous folks in our congregation) and told him the story of how he came to be with us.  It's not that he hasn't heard it before but that day he picked up on something that he hadn't noticed before.  His birthmom has visitation privileges... and she's never exercised them - this is a bitter pill for him.

He has been very concerned for his birth-parents spiritual welfare lately and now he finds out that she could see him and hasn't - he's mad.  All those little rejection buttons got pushed in a brand new way and he's struggling.

I'm not sure why I'm writing about this tonite, we've had a most wonderful day.  For a change everyone was very satisfied and thankful for the gifts given them.  No one was jealous and comparing with one another.  My husband showered me with wonderful gifts.  We got to visit with family and give gifts to Jesus at the nursing home today....so many wonderful pieces of today...

(1231 - 1247)
knock, knock jokes
looking through the snow to help find lost gifts that fell
no fighting all day
thankful children
beautiful sunset
precious elderly ones who smile as we sing
singing with my husband's family (they're really good at harmony)
giving gifts that are received joyfully
a wonderful brunch made together with my mom and kids
letting our son drive us for the first time
older brother saying, "let's go play" to his little brother
big sister painting little sister's toes
christmas carols
the generosity of my husband
children excited to give

Friday, December 02, 2011

He Comes Anyway

This morning I woke up to the chaos of yesterday's shopping trip in the kitchen along with the baskets of laundry I was going to fold the day before and the remains of breakfast also from the day before that wasn't cleaned up by the people who remained behind after I left in the morning.

I went to light our advent candle and move Mary one more spot along the way to manger when I saw it.  Christ comes despite our mess.  He comes despite our fears.  He comes even when we forget to light the way for Him.  He comes anyway.

As I deal with the mess in my house and in my heart I am thankful that He comes anyway.

Come Lord Jesus
Come Let Us Adore Him

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

thankful - (1230)

My but I'm tired and uninspired today.  I've had a lot of trouble sleeping lately.  Yesterday I spent most of the day at the computer doing something I loathe.  Combine the two and I've got a headache!  But today I get to go get my hair done and I'm pretty excited about that, it's in great need of some TLC.  Maybe I am, too.  These last two and half months have been quite a ride.  Going here and there and packing and unpacking.  Pretty hard to keep up with the whole thing I must say.

However, I am thankful for many things and I would be remiss not to mention them, because God is good and in Him there is no darkness...

Everything God created is good, and to be received with thanks...God's Word and our prayers make every item in creation holy.  (1 Timothy 4:4-5 The Msg)

1201.  Reading an assignment of my son's and remembering how hard it used to be for him to put a sentence together.
1202.  Grandpa and Grandma, in duplicate, near by.
1203.  good ideas
1204.  weekends full of sewing and creativity
1205.  surprises that turn out well
1206.  enjoying the concert
1207.  my personal massage therapist
1208.  quiet mornings
1209.  hair appointments
1210.  little revelations
1211.   a great find on kijiji that will make life so much easier for my husband
1212.  a game that I can enjoy playing with my kids
1213.  fabric, how I love to create with it
1214.  forts in the living room
1215.  a good night of sleep after not having them for a long while
1216.  our new mattress topper and pillows, what a difference they make to this weary back
1217.  sun shining on the countertops in the morning
1218.  clean dishes in the sink
1219.  empty garbage cans
1220.  beauty
1221.  encouragement
1222.  getting started on a big project, that first step is so hard to take
1223.  my little dog, Mr. Chubbs, I like him
1224.  advice from a master quilter
1225.  learning new tricks of the trade
1226.  coming home
1227.  knowing I don't need to leave soon
1228.  exercise - especially my new workout video
1229.  the fact that the kids aren't watching movies and don't seem to care
1230.  peace in my spirit - I am in a non-anxious state!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Getting over grumpy (1200)

I have to sit and be thankful for something because right now I'm a little down and overwhelmed once again with the tidal wave of mess that is my house.  I was humbled by reading anothers' blog who has been touched by Ann and her 1000 Gifts.  I had to be reminded, apparently, that we are not the one to judge whether a circumstance is good or bad because we don't see the end result just now.
What is the result of my giving up a day to help a neighbour butcher chickens?  I don't know, because right now I'm overwhelmed by the mess that didn't get cleaned up today.  I can look back and see the good that came of the unpleasant, case in point - hitting a cow resulted in a newer van and a trip to a place I've always wanted to go, time alone with my husband and fun excursions and adventures, the kids are thrilled to death with the newer, more comfortable vehicle and it didn't break the bank. (7 gifts right there 1171 - 1178)
My son accused me of being grumpy this evening and I have to admit I am, but I wasn't going to confess that to him at the time. (there is a large spider making it's way toward me at this moment, to kill or not to kill? I killed)
I hate feeling grumpy so I'm asking the Lord to help me change my attitude...look for something that is a gift...
1179. the only sound I hear is the spinning of the dryer
1180.  the dryer is running because my son did his own laundry
1181.  real moments of conversation on my bed with my daughter
1181.  watching our relationship shift in the balance of parent/child/friend/mentor
1182.  friends who pray when the Lord lays me on their heart
1183.  my pretty bible cover
1182.  a night out with my girlfriends
1183.  toys for my children to play with
1184.  food for them to eat
1185.  dishes for them to eat off of
1186.  clothes for them to wear
1187.  that they are all well and healthy
1188.  Kelly is safely in a motel and not stranded on the road
1189.  the John Deere guy who stopped to help him
1190.  the SaskCan guy who stayed late to unload him
1191.  texting information so you don't have to write it down
1192.  skipping the rummage sale this year
1193.  playing with my new toy
1194.  pictures that remind me of great moments that were shared
1195.  striking colors of salsa before it's cooked
1196.  reality that someday I will actually miss all this chaos
1197.  absence of headache
1198.  comradrie of friends in a task, even if it's yucky
1199.  ideas leaking out of my head
1200.  horizontal comfort
Aren't those colors just stunning?  That's before it's cooked...

and there it is after....yummers!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Amish Country - Lancaster County

I loved being in Lancaster County.  I've read alot of Beverly Lewis books and hoped to do a few things while we were there.  Mostly, I just wanted to drink it all in.  Stopping at a roadside stand for homemade rootbeer was high on my list of things to do and that's what we did on our first morning there!  It was so good.  We brought some home with us but it didn't taste as good as it did in Lancaster County.

All the farms are very neat, tidy and small!  Everyone seems to have cows, horses, chickens and goats.  The barns and houses keep company with the road which felt a little unusual to me.  Land prices are VERY high there so the average farm is only 50-60 acres.  We met one Mennonite family with 400 acres and they were pretty big - they just about fell over when we told them how big our farms are here!

Of course I had to look at a lot of quilts and was so amazed at their workmanship.  So well done!  Kelly fell in love with the first quilt he saw and bought it.  I didn't want to be quite so quick but in the end I did end up getting the wall quilt that I first saw and loved!

It was harvest time so Kelly took quite a few pictures of harvest being done with horses hitched up to all types of machinery.  We didn't feel quite right taking pictures of the people themselves since we knew that posing for pictures is something that goes against their code of conduct (the Ordnung).  We took a tour of an old mill and house, poked around antique shops, drove through the countryside and just looked!  We had a hard time figuring out exactly where we were at times since the towns sort of run together.  As near as we can figure we did get through Bird-in-Hand, Strasbourg and the famous town of Intercourse.

The B and B we stayed in (Stumptown Manor) was run by a wonderful Mennonite couple that we just fell in love with.  When we left it was like saying good-bye to family.  We went to church with them on Sunday morning and relatives of theirs invited us over for lunch.  The night before we had supper with an Amish family in their home.  Can't imagine no electricity, they run most things by propane.

I loved the stars that everyone had on their walls so I managed to bring a few home with me!  The whole countryside was so lovely and picturesque it is hard to describe.  I'll post a few pictures here, hopefully it will give you a feel for the place.  I'd go back in a heartbeat.  Next stop, Holmes County, Ohio.
A pretty typical site here, lots of old homes, I loved that.  So much history here.

Got to drive through a covered bridge! :)

A team of horses plowing a field.

I've never seen a field of pumpkins except in Charlie Brown, they probably thought we were daft for taking pictures of it!

Our wonderful hostess Sharon.

Kelly in front of Stumptown Manor.

18 things I like about my sister

Today is my sister's birthday.  I am in the process of making her salsa...which is going to be really hot!  I like my sister she is a wonderful woman.  Sometimes she drives me nuts, as sisters sometimes do, but on the whole she is one amazing woman.  I'd like to tell you some of the things that make her so special to me.

1.  She's a great big sister.
2.  She's only a little bossy.
3.  She is a great organizer.
4.  She is a super mom. (5 kids)
5.  She is very generous.
6.  She is funny.
7.  She is creative.
8.  She's a great cook.
9.  She makes the most amazing things with rice krispie cake!
10.  She tells good stories.
11. She's an excellent actress.
12.  She picked a good husband.
13.  She's smart.
14.  She has a smile that lights up the room.
15.  She likes to have fun.
16.  She loves to laugh.
17.  She can kick some serious butt when she needs, too.
18.  She's easy to be around.

18 things for the 18th of October, the day my big sister came into the world.  I love you Donna!
My sister with the birthday cake she made me!  She rocks!

Friday, October 07, 2011

The First Leg of the Trip

I am only hours away from Lancaster County!!!!!!!!  Can't begin to describe how excited I am to be going there.  This has been a dream of mine for ever so long.  Probably since I picked up my first Beverly Lewis book over a decade ago!  I'm going to drink rootbeer from a stand and go to quilt shops and enjoy the view.  I CAN HARDLY STAND IT!!

In the meantime we are going to pick up our new van.  We are praying that all goes well with this endeavour since it hasn't been an easy road to get here.  If you read this blog regularly (Hi Michelle, missed you at Eddie Bauer the other day but did find some great shirts in the clearance rack!) you will have noticed that our September was not the best month on record.  It was a month of loss and hard things.  However, if you haven't changed your calendar yet, we are free to say good-bye September!!

October has been shaping up quite nicely.  We started out with our church thanksgiving service and potluck which was thoroughly enjoyable.  My mom and dad moved into our house to look after our kids and we headed off to the annual MB Conference Pastor's Retreat.  It is almost always a delightful event and this year's was not disapointing.  We had such a lovely time worshipping with the other pastors and their spouses and enjoying great relationships.

From there we headed to Saskatoon to do some shopping and reconnecting with friends.  I found a pair of amazing boots and a jacket that matched them...just need a little dip in the temperatures and I'll be strapping those babies on!  Sweetness!  So much more fun shopping without children...and when you know your bottomline is waaaaaaaayyy better than you had thought it was going to be.  Kelly took in the movie Courageous with his guy crowd and I went to The Help with my girlfriend.  Both of us enjoyed those movies very much.

Next day we got to meet another girlfriend's fiance...very exciting, we've been praying with her for over a decade for that guy to show up and and now here he is.  God is so good and perfect in His timing.  And then yesterday was spent flying down here to Virginia.  We spent an hour or so driving around downtown Washington DC seeing all manner of historical buildings like Capitol Hill, the Washington Monument, The Library of Congress, Daughter of the Republic building, got a glimpse of the White House - you can't get that close! and the Pentagon!  So much history in a few square miles it's mind-boggling to think about.  So many huge stone buildings.  We missed our tour that we booked but managed to get to see what we wanted to anyways.

And today.................Amish Country....tell you more once we're there!

Rest in Grace

Monday, September 26, 2011

Graces for September

September has been hard on us.  Two rounds of hail, two fires, the destruction of our main vehicle, a return of the inner destruction and the return of school schedules and driving ...it's been hard.  Hard to find the thanksgiving, hard to find the blessing, hard to live the Job's wife experience that I preached about for a week this summer.  Hard to let myself feel the grief of the losses when I'm trying to live the truth of grace and giving thanks.

I did finally have my words with God and let Him know how upsetting all of this was, finally let go of the hurt and grief.  He's still providing for us, there is still food in my cupboards, there will be money in the bank again one day.  Yesterday we heard the truth that we all worship something..what was I worshipping?  Not the saviour, the anticipation of extra cash, the possibilities of what could happen with that extra money...something like that, but it wasn't Jesus, Jehovah Jireh.  I was worshipping the provision and not the provider.  I needed to repent.

To often in my day I am putting the mundane work tasks above the relationships that are so precious to me, worshipping the tasks rather than the task-giver.  I forget to be thankful and I get impatient with the kids and with myself.  I feel sorry for myself instead of seeking the Comforter, who know how weary my spirit is, who knows how crushing this September has been.

Today I feel like I turned the corner, surrounded by my kids and their cousins and hanging out the wash and the smells of yet another batch of salsa.  This is the life I want, surrounded by relationships with people I love and who love me even after I mess up.

Today I can choose the Eucharisteo, savor the hard things and the good things all together.
  Gifts of grace, joy and thanksgiving.

And the weight is suddenly not so heavy.

1160.  4 boys digging carrots
1161.  funny five-fingered carrots found
1162.  singing with my girl as we chop vegetables for salsa, "Got a couple dents in my fender, got a couple rips in my jeans..."
1163.  Francesca Battestelli
1164.  Steven Curtis Chapman's, "Do Everything" Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you, 'cause He made You...
1165.  pretty fabric that I forgot I had that will be just perfect for the pillow covers I need to make!
1166.  a friend dropping in
1167.  selling some jars of salsa - always surprised when someone likes what
I make enough to pay for it
1168.  anticipating our trip to Virginia - get to see Amish country up close and personal!!!!!!!
1169.  the new Turtle Top van
1170.  Pastor's Retreat coming up!

Thursday, September 08, 2011


Things have not at all been what I expected over the last two weeks.
#1 - All my little chick-lets off to school.  Expecting to be overjoyed with all the time to myself.

What really happened - I walked up the hill and fell asleep on the couch exhausted on day 1, day 2 of no kids home, I went out with some girlfriends to do some card-making, very fun.  Day 3 of no kids, I got a bunch of stuff done but was un-nerved by the quiet house.  Day 4 of no kids (today), I am blue and missing them horribly and surprised that this is how I feel - missing them horribly was not expected.  When those who weren't playing volleyball arrived home yesterday my motivation flooded back and I had a lovely companionable time with my eldest daughter cutting corn, we read books in the evening and cuddled on the couch and I reveled in the return of my children, that, too, was not expected.

#2 - A bumper crop in the fields that was going to pull our financial sorry-selves back into the black.

What really happened - a killer hail-storm destroyed and/or damaged all that lovely bumper crop in a matter of six minutes.  What was going to be a 30+ bushel/acre lentil crop was a scanty 6 bu/ac crop.  We're working on the canola and it is less than half of what it would have been.  Very disheartening all the way around.  Fortunately the second-wave hailstorm, yes, we got hit by another one a few days later didn't do as much damage since the crops were already wet from rain.  I learned that I was relying a little too heavily on the canola crop to save me rather than the Lord.  Yes, we are in need of some house repairs but perhaps he has another was of supplying those needs that I can't see right now.

In the end it is hard to remember what I preached this summer...thanksgiving is the key to turning ashes into beauty.  The ash is strong in our mouth right now and I am trying to keep my list of gifts handy to remember to give thanks in all circumstances.  I read an excellent post from an unexpected source this morning that reminded me that whatever we feed is what will grow.  If I continue to feed a negative, non-thankful, lazy spirit I will continue to reap and pessimistic, dour, overweight outlook on my life.  If I feed a positive, thankful, good choices sort of spirit I will have a lighter spirit all the way around.

Yes my expectations of harvest have been dashed and my coveted hours haven't been quiet so sweet as I thought they might be, but God is still in charge of me and I will submit myself to His plan for today...

In His Grip

Saturday, September 03, 2011

1132-1159 gifts

1132.  an abundance of apples
1133.  a great cup of chai tea
1134.  laughing and telling jokes with a couple of girls who dropped in for supper
1135.  finding a great day planner
1136.  an amazing group of young people whom I love that I have the privilege of ministering to and with
1137  dear friends who gathered with me to celebrate
1138.  making cards, I love paper and ribbons and buttons and stuff
1139.  getting back into a groove
1140.  my tomato press that works just as well for apples
1141.  my husband, he's so much more than a gift
1142.  a beautiful wedding to remember
1143.  little girls who love to go to school
1144.  the perfect 'schoolgirl' skirt, that was a fun find
1145.  lovely shoes for only $4
1146.  cleaning a room and finishing
1147.  a balanced breakfast
1148.  a good movie discovery that has no killing, blowing things up, weird robots, 
or things that shouldn't be talking
1149.  cooler weather
1150.  grace in the midst of loss

Needed to write down a few gifts to keep from getting discouraged by the hailstorms that have plagued us this week.  It's been a hard gift to accept but one we recognize is from His hand, 'the rains fall on the righteous and the unrighteous'.

1151.  the oats were already wet when the second hail storm came so not as much damage
1152 - 1159.  I still have a roof over my head and a husband who loves me and healthy children, friends and family near by, the love of my Father and the promise of heaven...do I really need anything more?

Friday, September 02, 2011

Resting Easy

How I am enjoying the peace of this day.  Listening to David Nevue's piano music at the moment.  It fills my soul with light as I listen.  I'm getting lunch ready for just the three of us (it's not a kindergarten day).  My kitchen is getting cleaner, the laundry piles are diminishing and apples are sending a happy smell through my house.  My heart is feeling lighter about our crop disaster after sitting with my farmer/shepherd and looking to the Lord about what we can learn from this.
1.  We can become too dependent on our 'abilities' to grow a good crop. (Like we really had anything to do with it, besides putting the seed in the ground).
2.  We can pin our hopes on the prospect of the profit rather than the prophet who gave us the prospect in the first place.
3.  This loss reminds us to be humble and keeps us on our knees.
4.  We can't be tempted to use that money for something frivolous because it isn't there.
5.  Just a really good reminder that God is our provider and He is in control.
6.  It was good to be obedient and buy the hail insurance that He prompted us to get.
7.  The crop isn't really the important thing.

So as I reflect on the quiet of my day and the peace reigning in my heart I am thankful and feeling full and blessed in spite of the crop damage and the overwhelming load of work to be done.  Today I am resting easy on the bosom of my Lord.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Wedding! (not royal, but close :)

Today marks the start of a new regime for me.  This morning I put all six of my children on the bus to head to public school.  I mosied over and greeted my new cows and goat and then headed inside to my very quiet house.  It was a little weird, the happy dance was somewhat constrained because I pulled something in my abdomen and it hurts to twist and shout!  I love my children and I love having them around me, however, this is the first time in 15 years that I've had hours to call my own on a regular basis...crazy!

I immediately began my hours of freedom with a nap!  I spent the last week at my sister's preparing for her daughter's wedding.  It was a tremendous success and they did get married in the end!  Seriously, it was a lot of work and it was worth every minute of it.  Posting some pictures of the big day a little further down...

So now it is time to figure out what all needs to get done and start doing it....beginning with reclaiming my house.  Not just cleaning up from the huge load we dumped in the kitchen and laundry room from the camper, but going through stuff, organizing, sorting and throwing things away...this is my plan for this fall.  Before I can do too much of that the corn, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, apples and carrots need to be dealt with.  My head is starting to hurt so I'll skip right to the pictures...
She was stunning in that dress riding in with her daddy on the horses, Chief and Digger.

Tami-Lynn could not stop grinning!

Steven was slightly more subdued but there was a lot of giggling up there.  He's a fine young man.

Making it official with the same pen that Tami-Lynn's mom and dad used 30 years ago.

Husband and wife!

Another of my lovely nieces, Tonja.

Lizzy was one of the flowergirls, at this point, her cousin was crying so hard I didn't think I should take a picture of her.

My nephew, Terrell, with the ring-cows.

It's official!

Such a stunning bouquet

The bridesmaids' flowers.

I was decorator in chief for the event so I'll try to get some more pictures of those later.  Gotta go finish cleaning up the kitchen.  Back to real life, well, at least MY real life.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Dress Project - part 3 (final)

All my sewing for the wedding is officially done as far as I know.  The dress turned out better than I hoped it would and looks great, I think.  So here are some pictures of the projects!
Abby's skirt that we decided to make yesterday!  She loves it, which is the real accomplishment, I hope she actually wears it!

It's all in the details.  Since the fabric is matte, it needed a little pizazz.  And another heart-attack at the end of the process as I discovered I'd caught the hem in the serger, no holes!! thank the Lord for small mercies.  I also love my new serger that helped give this little number such a nice finish both inside and on the waistband with a coverstitch.

Sam's shirt.  My first go at making a shirt for my boys.

My well-dressed bunch!

Lizzy's flowergirl dress, also made by me.

Here it is!  my new dress, it fits perfectly.  What do you think?

Lizzy wanted to take a picture, too!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Dress Project - part 2

Don't have a picture yet but today was certainly productive on the dress front...and back...and sides..hee hee.  The boys' shirts are finished and they look great although my plaids did not match and I managed to pick up very dark green buttons rather than black ones, but they went on anyways because I don't think anyone will be looking quite that closely!

Then after I made the lovely black and white plaid shirt for my honey-blonde, brown skinned boy I was doing some research on color/season stuff and realized it is not a great combo for him at all, he would have been much better in a brown/green plaid like the one I made for his flaxen-haired brother!  Oh well, he's going to wear it anyway and he loves it.

I almost sidetracked myself and started a skirt for Abby, actually I did cut it out and began sewing it this evening but I think my needle was too dull and ended up with some trouble, so I decided to stop and go to bed before I did irreparable damage!  Things were going along quite nicely there as I was having her serge seams while I was hemming the ruffles.

The Dress...
It actually went together pretty easily for so many pieces, it was pretty straight forward and I didn't run into any huge problems or seam ripping.  I almost had a heart-attack when I was serging a sideseam for the underskirt and caught fabric in the seam - that would have been a major gaff, but fortunately it didn't create a whole just a little seam-ripping.  PHEW!!!

Because everything was going so well I even attempted french seams on the sheer overlay fabric, a nice finish I must say.  I was inspired by a class I'm taking at Craftsy.com (Sewing Studio with Dianne Rupp).  You might even want to check some of their courses out, I'm hooked.  A professional teacher I can go back to again and again anytime I want.  Their prices are reasonable but I actually got mine for free on a great promotion.  The kids are enjoying the class, too.  I'd like to spend more time on it, perhaps after school starts, I really want to learn how to do invisible zippers.

Everything is done but the hand-sewing.  I just have to tack down all the lining and she is complete!  Then I will show you pictures and hopefully I will love it and it will look fabulous.  I'm a little concerned that in the end it will look like it should be worn by a 19 year old instead of a 42 year old woman.  The kids have been watching my DVDs of "What Not To Wear" and they are very big on being 'age-appropriate' in your wardrobe.  I've been sensitized, I hope that I haven't gone to alot of trouble for nothing.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Dress Project - part 1

I'm going to attempt to sew this dress for myself for my niece's wedding.  I have not done anything quite this 'fancy' ever, so we'll see how it goes.  I've also never documented a project from start to finish, so I thought I might have some fun with this.  I don't know if you can really see the color very well but it is olive green and I love it.  I got an excellent deal on it.  It was buy one metre and get 3 free, so I got 4 m for $10!!  The overlay chiffon got pulled off the discount wall for about $3/m.  So even if it's an epic fail I haven't put alot of cash into this project.  Time, however, we'll see how expensive it is in time.

Several hours later all my pieces are cut....that was a LOT of cutting.  Besides the quilts I've made which take hundreds of pieces I don't think I've ever had to cut that many for one project!  Some pieces had to be cut out of three different things...crazy! 

Okay, first I'm going to finish off Sam's shirt.  My first attempt at doing something in a plaid, I failed at getting the plaids to match in front but otherwise it fits him and looks sharp.  Need to hem and do buttons/buttonholes - hopefully that won't be too painful!  Oh yes, and the same for Sasha's shirt, mom sewed it, but I need to do the buttons/buttonholes.

First, first...make some lunch......then on with the show!  I have high hopes for this dress, if it doesn't work out, I'll have to pull an old dress out of the closet, not the end of the world, but close! :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Reasons I Love My Bosch

1.  bread dough
2.  cookie dough
3.  cupcake
4.  pizza dough
5.  meatballs
6.  chopping and grating stuff for pizza
7.  french fries
8.  hamburgers
9.  buns
10.  muffins
11.  loaves
12.  smoothies

Yes, I love my Bosch, not sure how I would live and cook without it!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Letter to my Son on His Birthday (1131)

Dear Christopher,

Today you turn 13 years old, leaving childhood behind and entering the uncertain years of hormones and high school.  So much will be changing for you in the next while as you grow and develop.  Your life hasn't been an easy one.  My prayer for you is that your difficulties will not define you but rather the moments of break-through and success.
You did not enter our family through biological means but through God's grace.  He chose you for us and saved you from a life of poverty, loss and pain.  While we have faced those same issues as a family you haven't had to do it alone, you've been in the warmth and safety of our love.  We've walked some very difficult streets with you and will continue to do so as you struggle to learn how to develop self-control and dependance on the Lord.
I pray that you will continually submit yourself to His glorious grace and mercy and that you will use all of the strength in you to reach for Him.  You have it you know, strength, determination and courage.  You've come so far and learned so much and yet there is a long way to go.
When we moved here you could only read about 5 words and now you can read well.  You're figuring out ways to overcome that learning disability and find out the things you want to know.
You are good at sports, even though you expect more from yourself than anyone else does.
You are funny and dramatic and have a quick wit.
You have the most endearing smile and a beautiful generous spirit.  Do you remember when we walked over to Pastor Terry's late at night because you felt so strongly that you needed to give the fifty-two cents you had in your pocket.  He told us later that your actions were a huge encouragement to him in a very difficult time.  God worked through you.
I pray that you will continue to let Him work through you.  That you will continue to develop a heart and mind to hear him and obey.
You are more compassionate than you let on.  When Abby fainted you almost lost it, it showed me how much you really love your sister.  I love that.
You've got a great sense of style, you love to look good and it shows in how you dress.  My prayer is that you wouldn't let concern for how you appear on the outside over-rule what needs to be dressed on the inside.  Be a Godly man Chris - pursue Jesus with all your heart, then, no matter what you wear, you will be well-dressed.
You're an excellent athlete.  Sometimes you let your competitive side get the better of you, let it guide you into becoming better at those skills.  Don't give up when someone else wins, let it stoke the fire to practice and get better so that next time you might be the winner, but don't let winning be the goal, let being the best you can be be the guide.
I can't express in words how much I love you and how proud I am to be your mom.  I know I'm not perfect and neither are you and I apologize for all the times where I've expected you to be.  You are an amazing creation of God.  Today on your birthday I want the world to know!

I love you,

1099.  for the doctor that watched your mom carefully during her pregnancy
1100.  for the surgeon who delivered you with careful hands so that no blood passed between you and her
1101.  for the aunties who decided someone else needed to love you and raise you
1102. grandpa and grandma saying yes to you
1103.  when our hearts said yes to you, I'd rather be your mom than your sister :)
1104.  the wrenching day we had to give you away
1105.  the glorious day we received you back, knowing beyond a doubt that God had destined you for us
1106.  all the holes and broken windows that have driven us to our knees on your behalf
1107.  Otto D., for holding you in the foyer countless hours when you couldn't sit through church
1108.  our church family who has prayed for you all these years
1109.  our families for extending their hearts to you
1110.  God sparing your life
1111.  your heart-stopping smile
1112.  silky black hair
1113.  chocolate eyes
1114.  the dusting of freckles on your nose
1115.  the way you sing when you're feeling safe and loved
1116.  your friendship with E.J., I love how you 'get' each other and always have
1117.  your love of cooking
1118.  the way you work with the animals
1119.  the way you are with your little cousins
1120.  your boundless energy
1121.  all the reports I get from school about how hard you work
1122.  the brilliant way you fooled your grade 1 teacher into believing you could read
1123.  your skill on the ball diamond
1124.  watching you run 
1125.  your accuracy when you throw, even with one bad eye
1126.  generosity
1127.  the way you love your blankets that grandma and I have made for you
1128.  your Huckleberry Finn skills
1130.  you still cuddle with me and hold my hand
1131.  you, I'm thankful for you and the tremendous gift you are

Sunday, August 14, 2011

catching up

I must apologize to anyone who actually checks here regularly.  I've been away for the last few weeks doing various things and this has been rather low on the priority list!  I have lots of things to be thankful for even though I am battling a nasty head cold...in August...that sucks!

1080.  We started harvest this week.
1081.  There is the potential for one very amazing canola crop
1082.  My friend took my favorite shoes to a repairman to get them fixed after they broke on me last week and now they'll be good as new!
1083.  I cooked at the Bible camp where my kids attend this last week with a few girlfriends and my daughter, we had a blast.  I never thought cooking could actually be fun!
1084.  We have pigs on our farm.
1085.  I spoke at our Ladies Time Out (actually I took on the responsibility of planning the event this year) and it all went really well
1086.  I love Job's wife...she became the inspiration for a monologue that was really powerful and she just might become a book....
1087.  I got my school supply shopping done
1088.  My kids got to take swimming lessons from a family friend and it was good.
1089.  I'm anticipating this next year with excitement.  I'm taking a sabbatical from home-schooling and have all six kids in school (Lizzy is in Kindergarten so she'll be home every other day).  I have some plans that might actually come to fruition...I've never had this level of time to myself since my son was born 15 years ago.  I'm afraid I'm just a little giddy.
1090.  Driving home after being away is such a gift!
1091.  Learning a new game was pretty fun this last week.
1092.  All the counselors and staff at camp are so amazing to give up their summers to care and minister to our kids - what a blessing they all are.
1093.  Just got an early birthday present from my MIL a Creative Memories Border System.  I can't wait to try it!
1094.  Watching my kids enjoy camp.
1095.  Seeing the rest of my family after being away for a week!
1096.  Daily hugs from my boys at camp.
1097.  Cooking for 8 instead of 140! :)
1098.  I love it that I get to celebrate my birthday in a week or so...I love having a birthday.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Beauty and the Pig

I had to repost this because it seemed like a good thing to do! 
Beauty and the Pig
copyright 2006, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original

While my kids are playing with frogs in the back yard and the baby is sleeping I will quickly write!! My dear friend and fellow mommy of many, Krista, brought over the most delightful book in response to my last flower. The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig. It is a farcical take off of the original Three Little Pigs. It is very funny, we had a good guffaw or two over that bad boy I must say.

The story begins much like the pigs except the wolves are out building themselves houses out of brick, concrete and armor plating. The big bad pig whips out his sledgehammer, pneumatic drill and a wee bit o' dynamite in order to take care of their dwelling places when huffing and puffing prove ineffective. As the little wolves run with teapot in hand from the antics of the pig they realize that they need to review their use of building materials. So they take an out-there approach and build a house of flowers! (yes I particularly liked that bit - though my allergies would never let me live in such a dwelling it sounded beautiful). When the pig comes along and takes his big huffy breath he catches the scent and his hard heart is melted by the beauty he takes in. He is so enthralled he begins to sing and dance the tarentella - his heart is truly transformed, transformed to the point that the pig and the wolves take up residency together and live happily ever after.

I'm only going to point out the obvious. The big bad pig's heart was changed by an encounter with beauty. I have also been reading the book, Captivating by John and Stasi Eldridge. This book looks at the secrets of a woman's soul, her inherent, unveiling beauty that captures the heart of those who see it and are profoundly changed.

One of the paths that God has led me on in the last 10 years is this pursuit and understanding of beauty. I love to bring beauty into my home, to gaze on it, to surround myself in it whenever I can. I love holding my new baby girl and see the beauty that rests in her, I love seeing my older daughter's delightful smile that lights up her eyes and sets them to sparkling. I gaze into my husband's heart and see the beauty of the Father's love overflow into everything he does. To listen to my little boys pray and thank the Father for what he is about to do brings joy to my heart. To watch my older boys have compassion on little frogs with broken legs. To bring fabrics together and see patterns emerge through the blending of things that may seem incongruous to the casual observer. To clean out the flower bed so that the plants can be seen and breathe on their own and then plan for pansies to add their little faces to the mix....ahh the things of beauty.

Beauty can soften the hardest of hearts. Why do you think God created flowers, birds, music, cats, and colors. I read somewhere that beauty exists to fill in the trenches created by pain.

Today I encourage you to enjoy beauty, create beauty, bring home something that has no other value than to simply be a feast for your senses. I think I will put on some classical music as I work this morning and stop once again to look at my baby girl. I will go and run my hands over that heavy silk/rayon Chinese bit of cloth I bought the other day - it has embroidered butterflies on a blood red background, I took some of that extravagant cloth and made it into a pincushion of all things - completely decadent! I may throw some shimmering purple organza onto the walls of my bedroom. Maybe I'll finish sewing my pretty pajamas that I started the other day or read something particularly delightful. I want my heart to stay soft and perhaps one day the beauty that God is creating in me and through me will soften some big bad pig's heart.

have a beauty-filled day

Lani, the flowerlady

ps I would love to hear about what beautiful thing you did or came across, it would greatly encourage me

Friday, July 15, 2011


If you haven't read the previous post stop and do so now.

Thank you.

Yesterday was the antithesis of Wednesday.  Wednesday was all shrouded in glory and grace and I came home with a heart so full and managed the little mini-meltdown that occurred when the rejection button got hit and I went to bed joy-filled and content.

Thursday couldn't have been more different.  The good news is that perhaps the severe attack means that we're on the right track and took a little ground on Wednesday that the enemy wanted back on Thursday.  My son, who was sweet and co-operative and enjoying the company of his brother on Wednesday decided it was time to torment, bully and beat his brother on Thursday.  By noon there had been no younger sibling that hadn't been bullied or hurt.  It was time for a break and so off he went to hang with grandma and let me put the shattered emotions back together.

This is the part of the thankful life that I really don't know how to do.  It says to give thanks in ALL circumstances but I honestly don't know how to be thankful for a kid running through the house with scissors with a maniacal grin on his face.  I don't know how to be thankful for a little boy crying because his mouth is bleeding where he got hit with a flying toy.

I can be thankful for the grace to NOT lose it in the midst of the fight.  I can be thankful that grandma was available to keep him for awhile.  I can be thankful that Kelly wasn't too far from home and could intervene quickly.  I can be thankful that the damage was minimal this time.  I can be thankful that he went without a fight this time.  and I can be thankful that he wanted to come home in the end even though we didn't let him.

I can be thankful for those things but that isn't the circumstance.  Is there a difference between being thankful IN the circumstance versus being thankful FOR the circumstance?  The bread of the now was so sweet and fresh on Wednesday, it was stale and moldy on Thursday and yet I must eat the bread and drink the cup that was bitter because this is the journey and the Word says it will ALL work together for good because I am His and I am called to THIS.  This mess, this glory, this circumstance for today.

I remember a friend writing me words of encouragement who knows a similar journey and she said, who knew that taking up that cross would hurt so much.  We expect only beauty and only easy and yet the Word says, "In this world you WILL have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world."  and "WHEN you encounter trouble...it will produce character."  Character is being birthed in me, I pray it is good and godly, that my responses and reactions are ones that please the character creator.  I obviously need a lot of work on character *grin*. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Being the Blessing is the Blessing

It is late, my eyelids droop, my rear is tired from driving for the last few days...but I must write because of the day it has been all glory and joy and blessings.

I got to be the blessing today and it felt amazing.  Allowing a little of the blanket to drop away and allow Him to walk and talk through me...so refreshing, mesmerizing even.  Watching myself speak words of life to this beautiful girl in the lovely store 'The Paper Umbrella'.  She so full of questions and listening to answers and as we leave she tells us how we have blessed her this day.  I answered her questions, fully engaged in being right where I was, purchasing little notebooks to go with Ann's book to give away as the Lord leads me to give them.  As we left the store we reveled in pretty teapots and went in to the next store and delighted in the pretty pots and lovely teas.  We laughed with the storekeeper there, too.  As we walked back to where we began I felt the nudge to go back and give Teresa my Ann book, which I had along, nudge her to the cross, to the real source of answers and faith and how to bring up boys.  And we did!  I wrote a little note and tucked my card inside and we snuck back into the store later that day and gave it to her.  What joy to give!  What joy to start someone else on a road to thanksgiving.

My cell phone rings, my concerned husband tells me to take the long way home, the storm will hit the ferry at the same time I want to cross.  So we take the long way and I tour the boys around my old college stomping grounds and take them for a special drink at the same restaurant where I sipped tea and ate cinnamon buns as a student in another time.  Helen starts to chat with me.  She tells me how the struggle to adjust to our country from her beloved UK has been difficult, I see the loneliness there.  She talks to me of parenting her teenage boy and we connect hearts over the mixing of a chai latte.  I feel that nudge again, give her your card, let yourself be known, invite her in, you know the pain of being uprooted, of changing your whole life, be a friend if she'll have you.  And I do, I give her the card my husband made up for me for this reason, to let people know me...

As we drive through our familiar hills we see them shrouded in mist and I direct the boys to attention, to see the beauty around it, they gasp at the wonder and the toys fall from their fingers as they are mesmerized by cloud lying on land.  We drive through with a whoosh and watch the clouds, all beauty.  We talk about how lovely our day was and I hear the gentle contentment in his voice, this one who always says no and that nothing is good, at peace with himself for the moment.  What bliss to hear that, such a rare and precious gift that shatters the moment we get home.  Because I am so full of Him I can speak gently and we restore the peace, he steals one of the little notebooks and I tell him he can have it, there is no need to steal and he begins a list of 1000 things, he wants to fill up the first page and we sit on the floor and I help him spell the words that he wants to write, this almost boy who doesn't want to grow up but does so just a little as I watch.  And the other boy that was along today who helped give the gift takes his little notebook and begins, too, to say thanks for the gifts of grace today.  All is at peace in my home and I am so full it spills out in words and salty trails.

This has been a day of letting myself speak to strangers, of being interested in people, of stepping out among the people and letting them see me rather than passing by and not stopping.  A day of really choosing to see and hear and being all there.  Perhaps the winter is finally passing...when you do it to the least of these, you do it to me...give and it will be given to you, pressed down and running over...


how pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity...

(1080 - 1095)
-the two who fight most, choosing to love each other today
-hills shrouded in mist
- passing by the storm rather than through it
- Helen at Caronport
- Teresa at the paper umbrella
-Teresa at the Caring Place
- little notebooks with the beginning of 1000 gifts begun
- sitting on the floor counting gifts
- watching repentance and forgiveness truly happen
- hearing him say he had a good day
- pretty tea pots
- new teas to try
- oldest and youngest brothers carrying out the plan they've had all week, inside rather than out, but together...and happy
- the middle two jealous at first, then forming their own plan to be together
- young man stopping to say hi in the mall, just because

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday evening thankfulness (1059-1079)

Today I took my oldest daughter and her friend to camp.  It was a very quiet ride as they read books most of the way.  A lovely time to be alone with my thoughts.  After I got them squared away I took off by myself for awhile to read, write and pray, stopped to take some pictures on the way home and refreshed my spirit.

Thankful for:
(1059 - 1079)
a camp director who blesses tired moms with prayer and a nice parking spot at the top of the hill
the camp administrator that got the friends into the right cabin after a mix up
my daughter committing to help her friends get to camp
quiet parks
words on pages
Beth Moore books
mosquito repellent
supper out with good friends - 12 kids at home between us, so sweet to go out

my wonderful husband, he had fun test-driving trucks and golfing, such a sweet gift for a hard-working guy

fun at the pool with the kids

my sweet miss, picking flowers for her mama

she's so happy to have finished this project, she did a good job, a sweet gift to share the love of sewing and fabric with my kids

the flowers little miss picked ended up in this little vase on my bedside table

girls settling into camp, such a gift for children everywhere

a quiet house, speaking volumes

the Mr. looking out over his domain

red barns

perfect reflections

stooked bales, don't see these very often anymore, speaks to me of simpler days

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