Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day blessings...

 It was Memorial Day weekend! 

We spent the weekend at one of our very favorite places...Fort Faith Camp!  My brother-in-law and his family direct the camp, and my wonderful second parents live and help out there, and we just get the biggest blessings out of being there, enjoying God, His creation, and being with the greatest gift of all--our family.

The Saturday before Memorial Day is always work day up there.  People come and help clean, fix, paint, plant, rake, and anything else that needs to be done.  Some of us planted flowers...

And some of us helped make this boardwalk through some swampy trails!  (The boys helped Daddy and Uncle Greg.  They worked hard.)

We caught snakes!  (Well, Josh did.  He is fearless, that boy...)

And some caught frogs!

And we thanked God for simple gifts...and for those who served and gave their lives for our freedom.

We enjoyed precious time with Grandma and Grandpa,

each other...

and cousins.

We praised God for Sarah's good health.  She is a treasure!

We rowed boats,


hunted for critters,

and played in the water.

We praised God...for He is good...

The cousins slept on the porch!

We laughed...

and we loved.

We had a wonderful time.  We are so very blessed. 

Last year, Memorial Day weekend was the very last time we enjoyed together before Sarah's diagnosis of cancer.  She was in so much pain and we had no idea why.  What a difference a year makes!  Join me tomorrow night as we remember the day that changed our lives, and celebrate His goodness.

Have a blessed day, friends.  Enjoy your family and be thankful for them, even the little things that might drive you crazy.  Life is an adventure, and every day is a gift.  

And most of all, remember to thank the One who is worthy to be praised!   

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Smoking causes cancer.

I feel like sharing my heart with you tonight. 

As you know if you have been following this blog a while, or if you know me in "real life," our precious Sarah had cancer, and she does not have it anymore.  (Praise the Lord!)    Well, you may or may not know that the type of cancer Sarah had is a genetic type that has a chance of returning while she is still a child up to age 5...and then if it does not, there is a chance that it will return as another form of cancer when she is an adult.  There is also a good chance that it will not return at all, but the doctor told me that we should help her to make wise decisions about her health.  For example, the doctor said,  Tell her that she shouldn't smoke.

REALLY?  Smoking causes cancer?  Oh yeah...I knew that. 

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Well, here is my burden.  I honestly try to live without carrying many burdens.  Truly, Christ has made it so very clear that we do not need to.  He has much stronger shoulders than we do, and He has offered to carry those burdens for us.  Normally I find I can give Him whatever is weighing me down (although I won't lie, sometimes it takes a while for me to finally let Him pry it out of my tightly clenched fingers,)  but eventually I get to that place where I can let go and stop worrying about whatever it is.  And it is such a fantastic feeling.  Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus!  It's so good to rest in Him.

However, my problem is, smoking is not the only thing that causes cancer these days. 

There are pesticides on our fruits and vegetables,
growth hormones and whatever else in our meat,
pollution in our air,
hormones in our milk,
artificial junk in our food,
plastic chemicals leaching into our water,
chemicals in our lotions and soaps and shampoos...

and pretty much, if you search long and hard enough, you can find a study to prove that pretty much EVERYTHING causes cancer in some way, shape or form.  I did a search using the words eggs and cancer because Sarah loves them.  Guess what?  Someone did a study and found that even they are linked to cancer. 

I try to prepare healthy meals and snacks for my family.  But we are not one of these families who only eats organic/vegan/etc.  Maybe someone who reads this will tell me we really should be, and I often think we probably should, but I honestly don't know if I could do all that preparation.  And more importantly, we simply don't have the budget to buy all organic and free range.

And so, this is my burden.  As much as I try to give this area of our lives over to God, it is really difficult--  because I feel like my daughter's future health in part depends on me, and I have to act within the boundaries of this physical world.  For example, I can say, Oh, it doesn't matter what I feed her because God will take care of her...but then again, I couldn't jump off a tall building and say, Oh, it doesn't matter if I do this because God will take care of me.  Understand what I'm trying to say?  Pretty much everything I give her to eat, I wonder for a minute if it's going to be bad for her.  I wonder if I will ever be able to stop worrying about it.

I know that God  ultimately is in control.  But I also know that He will allow us to experience the consequences of our actions.  I just pray that my actions in taking care of my Sarah will be good enough to spare her from cancer again--if it even depends on that at all. 

And I will also never stop  praying that God will continue to have mercy on our precious girl.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

I love little boys. 

I have three of them, and I have cherished every minute of being a mom to them.  I loved the years when my Jacob was obsessed with construction equipment, and knew the names of every machine by the time he was two.  I loved how he called the cement mixer a "mixger" and a bulldozer something like "bu-dizzer."  I love it how Josh's favorite things have always been tools and "man" things like brief cases and clipboards.  One  year his very favorite Christmas gift was a box of wood, some grown up tools, and some how-to-build-things books.  I loved Ben's toddler obsession with balls--any kind of ball--and his love of "having adventures."  I loved the superhero years, tying blankets around little necks and watching them zoom around the house.  I love our home full of ruckus and silliness and daring feats of all kinds.  I love the toy cars and trains and transformers and legos-- everywhere.  I love it that all kinds of sound effects can be heard coming from little boy lips at all hours of the day....  shooting sounds, vehicle sounds, crashing sounds, and space ship sounds.   

I just love being a mom to little boys! (and girls...but that's a different post.)

And now I find myself cherishing these days of having three "little" boys more than ever.  Because my Jacob is twelve years old.... and I know what will be coming soon.  Jacob has some childhood friends who recently became about a foot taller than him.  Some of their voices are changing.  I recently ran into an old friend of mine I hadn't seen in a long time, and I barely recognized her 13 year old son.  He practically looked like a MAN!  It cannot be avoided that in a relatively short time, the sands of time will be marching through our  home and taking my little boy with them, leaving a teenager in his place.  A teenager who will be taller than me, and who will look different and sound different, and eventually will not be interested in the same things anymore that he always has been.  And I know it will be fine, and I will love him just as much, and I believe I will cherish those years the same as I have the little boy stage of his life.    But it will be different.  

Today the boys played "Survival" most of the day.  They put up a small tent in the backyard, took backpacks out there full of necessary supplies, wrote about their adventures about meeting wild animals and an Indian girl (Sarah) in a journal, and enjoyed the day, wishing they could sleep out there tonight.  This evening we went to the park, and the boys played a game about Ninja warrior training, scaling the monkey bars and bounding up the slides. 

And I listened and watched and did school in the tent with them, soaking in every minute I possibly can of these loud, happy, and crazy days with my three "little" boys. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Whatcha been doing? I'll tell you!

Hi everybody!  I hope you've been doing well lately.  I have been rejoicing because it is SPRING!!  Okay.  It was 85 degrees a few days ago, and less than 50 today.  Not kidding.  But still, it is spring. Everything is green, I love listening to the rain on rainy days and feeling the warmth on sunny days...the kids play outside, we walk and spend time at the park...  I love, love, love spring.   And everything is so amazingly green!  The grass looks like sprawling green carpets on people's lawns, and the trees are all filling up with rustling leaves.  Is there anything better than spring?  I'm not sure.  Everything I see just makes me think about how truly wonderful God is.  He is so good to us.

I just thought I would share a bit of our springtime so far with you...

We've been jumping on the trampoline.

 Or shine. 

 We've been doing school.  Here is the boys' rendition of Julius Caesar crossing over the Rubicon into Rome with his men.  Yeah, so I let them take a few creative liberties with the script...

 We've been enjoying each other's company.  (And just so you know, they are not always this angelic, but I don't take pictures of that.)

 Josh made this sweet picture for Sarah.  He copied the professionally done one in China on the right, and made it larger on the left.  I think he did a great job!

 We've--I mean THEY'VE--been having airsoft wars.  Lots of airsoft wars. 

 Check out the injured Josh in the background. ; )

 We've been playing at the park!  Sarah's very, very favorite thing to do!

 We've been doing yardwork.  Okay, Daddy and the kids have been doing yardwork.  Sarah loved helping pick up sticks.  Jacob took these cute pictures of her helping.

 The boys have been whittling.  Ben is especially happy since at our house, seven years old is deemed old enough to get a knife to whittle with.  (Don't worry.  They are seriously not very sharp!)

And we have been garage sale-ing!  It's the most wonderful time of the year, you know.  (Or is that Christmas?)  Anyway, Ben really loves this little treasure we found at a garage sale for 25 cents. 

I am ready for another week of springtime!  Enjoy your week, everyone!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sarah's eyes these days...

I speak English.  So do you!  ; )  Don't you wish there were MORE WORDS in the English language to express the range of emotions we human beings feel?  (And especially we human beings of the female variety...) 

I am speaking in particular today about the way I felt this morning when I took Sarah to her exam with Dr. Aaberg, and heard once again that there are STILL NO TUMORS growing in those beautiful eyes of hers.  Not one. 

Every few months she goes to get an exam, and every time I see Dr. Aaberg's smiling face and thumbs up sign coming toward me as I sit with my coffee in the waiting room, I feel exactly the same way.  Totally ELATED!  Today happened to be a perfect, sunny day as it was, and I couldn't help but sing praises to God all the way to the car..and all the way home.  I do sing quietly though, as to avoid being carried off to the looney bin...

Keep soaring, sweet girl!

On a more serious note, every time we get in the car to go for an exam, I think about what God has done for us, and praise Him for every single day we have had with our precious girl.  And then I prepare my heart for the exam, and commit her to him again.  Today as I was praying on the way to the appointment, telling Him that once again I trust Him, no matter the outcome of the exam, I felt that familiar peace wash over me.  He is always good, friends.  Today we rejoice again for the blessing of Sarah's good health.  But no matter what God brings into our lives, we can be sure that He loves us, and we just have to rest in Him, knowing that He always, always does or allows what is good for us.  

Squeeze your kids a little tighter today, and thank God for them!  They are such precious gifts to us!

Praise ye the LORD.  Oh give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good:  for His mercy endureth forever!!!  Psalm 106:1

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Today is Mother's Day!  Happy Mother's Day to me! (and you...)  I am so thankful that God granted me the privilege of having children.  I hope you enjoyed the day if you are a mom.  If you are a dad, daughter or son, I hope you spoiled that mom in your life.

But I'm not going to talk about moms today.  I'm going to talk about sons.  One son, actually.  My sweet little guy, Benjamin, who is really not so little anymore.  He just turned seven last week, and I just want to tell you about him.

By the way, this is a ball pit cake.  The balls are dippin' dots, and there is a little lego guy with Ben's face on it in there, and there is a mesh net around those wooden dowels.  It was a great cake, created by my talented hubby!

Ben was our youngest for 5 years, so he had to put up with lots of extra hugs and kisses from me for a long time.  I tried not to baby him, or smother him with smooches, but the kid is CUTE, kissable and huggable.  And I am a sucker for a cute little boy, especially when that little boy happens to be my own kid.  Well, he did get tired of being the baby around the house, and he was more than happy to give up the title when Sarah came to join us.  However, as much as he says he doesn't like hugs and kisses, he is not shy to hand them over himself when he is in the mood. : )

One of my favorite things about Ben is that his little mind is always going, and the things it comes up with are...unique, let's just say.  Who wouldn't love a kid who says things like this: 

"Texas is a lot different than it used to be.  It used to have all not good houses, and mostly all beer stores.  Now, the houses are much nicer and painted, and they don't sell so much beer and cigarettes.  And it used to be all dusty...now it's more like Florida."  : ) 

Ben is very friendly!  He is shy around adults when he first meets them, but when we go anywhere where there will be kids, the first thing he says is, "I hope I meet a friend!"  And most likely he will. And he's a talker.  He carries his end of a conversation with adults he knows like he's 17 instead of 7. 

Ben is Funny!  He loves to be goofy and silly, and has a great sense of humor.  He has always kept us laughing.  

He is fearless!  Yesterday he was telling me how he wished he had a parachute.  Not to bounce balls on and hide under with other kids, but to actually jump down from the clubhouse with.  Yeah...  When he was about 4 years old, we were at open gym time at the gymnastics place near our house, and he was the only one out of all of my boys to do front flips into the big, squishy foam blocks pit.  He is in a gymnastics class now, and the teacher is amazed at how he will try anything.  His dream is to do a back handspring, and he is almost there.  Here he is doing back flips on our trampoline...

and jumping into the pond (or ocean...)

and doing stunts like the big kids...

And he loves a great "adventure in the woods," as he tells me.  He loves spending time up at the camp his uncle runs, catching frogs in the creek and helping his brothers and cousins build forts.

Here he is at camp, coming back from one of his adventures...with a stick, of course.

Let's see...and I can't do a post about Ben without mentioning his dream of someday moving out to the "prairie, in Texas" with a couple of horses.  He always used to say they would be named Prairie and Texas.  But then he said he would have one horse named Saturn.  Anyway, to the prairie he will go.  Whether I like it or not, I guess.

And so, here he is practicing for that day...

Ben is a delight to my heart.  He is all boy, through and through, and you will doubtless find him at any time playing with toy vehicles of some kind or other and making sound effects as they shoot and crash and whatever else goes on in that imagination of his.  Or he will be building with legos or riding his bike, or having Nerf wars

or doing flips and more flips--on the trampoline, the couch, or wherever he possibly can.  Or he might be playing baseball with his team...

I am so in love with that little boy.  I am so thankful that God chose me to be his mom.

And his daddy feels the same way...

We love you, Ben.  We might have to move out to Texas too, if that's where you're going.  But I think I might name my horse Daisy...   Have a wonderful year being 7, sweet boy!