One Word for 2014

Choosing just one word to focus on for the new year has been challenging.
I have been using the word “fake” a lot lately, much to Kyle’s displeasure. As in, “This or that is fake,” “I don’t want to be fake.” I have mostly used it in a negative context, and didn’t think I needed to concentrate on that baggage all year, though I did rip it from the cover of an IEEE (engineering) magazine and pin it to my new bulletin board. ๐Ÿ˜‰
My poor family…

Moving right along.The word for the year is:


Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

All for the Lord, time in prayer, in His Word ( through personal reading, family reading, reading with Kyle and participating in Good Morning Girls), in serving, and especially trusting.

All for Kyle, being loving, trustworthy in what I have to do for the family–organization, meal planning and homeschooling, and being an interesting, fun sidekick and navigator on life’s adventures, both in real life at home and on the road.

All for my children, Isaac, John, Paul, Luke, Rachel and Adam–leading by patient example, being loving and fun, listening to their needs, training and teaching.

All for my parents, finishing photo projects, visiting more, serving, writing more notes.

All for my neighbors, we have some great ones, some we don’t know and some new ones.

All for my friends, the old, the newer and hopefully the new.

All for me, exercise, writing, reading, creative pursuits.

New Year’s Eve with my lovies and the Legos Kyle’s boss gave him at December’s meet-up. Thank you, Mr. Satish!!


Me and them again, in July, on our way from Glen Allen to Virginia Beach.

Me and all of my favorites on July 4.

Five Minute Friday: Belong

Five Minute Friday


These people. These seven interesting, loud, creative, not-so-compliant, mostly strong-willed gifts are mine. They are mine. I belong.
I struggle with friendships. I like people. I really do, but they tire me quickly and I tire them quickly, when I end up blathering on about this or that in my odd introvertedness and haven’t been able to find a core group that “everyone” says you must have.
I have these people. God gave them to me and they are mine forever. Because, you know, I do know where they live ๐Ÿ™‚
My husband thinks I’m a nut, he is waiting for me and started playing “Isn’t She Lovely” with his free trial of Spotify.
So, I’ll finish with this: I belong, they belong, we all belong. (That sounds like some preschool song!) We belong to God, to each other.


Squinting on the Jamestown Scotland Ferry last week after visiting Williamsburg.

Psalm 27:1 (NKJV)

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?

Five Minute Friday: Present

Writing with the Five Minute Friday group today.
Here are the rules:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my blogโ€™s footer}.
3. Go and tell the person who linked up before you what their words meant to you. Every writer longs to feel heard.


Being present, enjoying these people God has given me. That’s what I need to concentrate on, not getting stuck in the “I wish things were different or better” doldrums.
We’re not perfect. We’ll never be perfect. I can live in the present and enjoy my blessings or wish for the future and miss out.
The temper tantrums in the car the past two days, by one boy in particular, have worn everyone’s nerves a little thin. That boy needs an extra dose of tlc from his Mama, not threats to miss out on treats. Two days in the nation’s capital, then two more long days on the road.
Prayers in the present. Patience in the present. Persevering in the present. What a gift those would be to my family.


On the way to Virginia Beach on Wednesday.

1 Chronicles 23:30 (ESV)
And they were to stand every morning, thanking and praising the Lord, and likewise at evening

Five Minute Friday: Beautiful

Writing with the Five Minute Friday group tonight.
Here are the rules:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my blogโ€™s footer}.
3. Go and tell the person who linked up before you what their words meant to you. Every writer longs to feel heard.



The day started off not-so-beautiful. The house needed some tlc and I was feeling really martryish about it. After a beautiful shower, I was feeling much better and my wonderful spouse had tackled yesterday’s leftover dishes and most of the children had pitched in in one way or another to tidy up a bit for Grandma and Grandpa’s visit.
Mom and Dad arrived around 10 and we visited, grilled burgers, visited more, the children swam and had an good time. They left at 2:00 and the eight of us listened to Daddy read aloud, swam some more, snacked, rested, packed, watched the rain, grilled again, watched a movie and snacked again.
It was a day filled with an unusually high amount of unity–yea!! Lots of downtime and some good productivity too.
Here’s to more beautiful.


(16 seconds early, for once!!)


Independence Day lunch.

Ecclesiastes 3:11-13 (ESV)
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toilโ€”this is God’s gift to man.

Independence Day 2013

A few shots of the morning and afternoon:

Yummy decaf mocha with homemade whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings made by my favorite daughter and her daddy.


The favorite daughter putting the finishing touches on our red, white and blue dessert.

Grandpa doing a cool “How do you tell if gold is real?”experiment with the boys–Scratching his wedding ring, then iron pyrite on a concrete block!

Grandma getting Isaac.

Independence Day lunch. Simple and enjoyed.

The group photograph photographer was photographed by his father.

Paul and John concentrating on something in the pool.

Me and my Buddy. She turned 12 last month and we adopted her 12 years ago next month. She’s still miffed at me for making her get a bath last week ๐Ÿ˜‰

Paul’s pineapple pop!

Psalm 107:1 NIV, 1984

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

Sunday Smiles and Scripture: Three weeks, three churches, three states


Home tonight after being blessed by churches in Albuquerque, Kanab and Dodge City during the course of our southwestern vacation adventure.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another,
and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Twas the Night Before Mother’s Day

No, I’m not really going to write this poetry style, it’s too late for that. I did begin this post 30 minutes before Mother’s Day though and Kyle is the only one stirring in the house. ๐Ÿ™‚

For Mother’s Day, (that artificial, fake, made up day that can make you feel good and sad, even at the same time) I am going to attempt to give my children the gift of an somewhat organized mother. Not a Mary Poppins-type over night, because again, she was fake and she wasn’t a mother.
But, better.
Because they deserve it. Because it would glorify God. Because it would bless my husband. Because it would be a good witness to my poor neighbors who showed up, one at the front door and one at the back this week. I decided I needed a good dose of humility and invited them in. Yikes! Those poor shell-shocked people. They deserve better.
Rambling, I am, but that’s o.k.

So, in honor or Mother’s Day, which officially begins in 22 minutes, here is my top list of priorities (not exactly, but mostly, in order) for the rest of May:
1) Pray without ceasing.
2) Continue with my Bible Gateway reading plan and enjoy it, not just read to check it off the app.
3) Finish the last week of the Good Morning Girls Bible Study of Luke.
4) Participate in the Christ in the Chaos book club on Preschoolers and Peace. (Yes, I know, such an appropriate title for this post.)Trust me, it’s a good one so far.
5) Preschool and LOTS of play time with Paul.
6) Reading time with Isaac. Only 15 days until his birthday- I know he can be reading better by then. Help him with a woodworking project. Use the cool red paint from last year’s birthday.
7) Writing with John and chatting and origami. Maybe Legos too.
8) More talks with Rachel about growing up. Crafty times and
9) Listening to Luke. Getting to know that boy better. Enjoying him.
10) Talking with Adam. Figuring out a plan for the rest of this year and next.
11) Making my relationship with Kyle a priority and really mean it.
12) Be a good neighbor–invite someone over for dinner.
13) Be a good church friend– ditto.
14) Help the children budget their mission money and write letters to our World Vision children.
15) Write a note–thank you, encouragement, birthday, etc. every day.
16) Pick a paint color and paint my room.
17) Remove wallpaper and paint upstairs bathroom.
18) Donate or pitch two books every day.
19) Donate or pitch two articles of clothing each day.
20) Clear out and scrub the laundry room.
21) Write something every day.
22) Blog at least three times a week.
23) Exercise daily.
24) Spend 15 minutes each day organizing the school room.
25) Simple, organized meal plan. That would bless my man!
26) Love, love, love my family.
27) Finish my dad’s birthday project from last year. As in June. His 70th. Lame daughter.
28) Think of a super-de-duper birthday project for my mom’s birthday. This June. Very soon.
29) Get up earlier in the morning. My goal is 6 a.m. daily. Not telling what it has been lately.
30) Go to bed by 10 each night. So, it might be 12:15 a.m. while I am editing this.

I’ll try to add links to a few of the above on Monday. For my droves of readers ๐Ÿ˜‰


My wonderful mother, being a wonderful grandmother…aka making play dough with Paul.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)
16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Five Minute Friday: Here


We are here. Grandpa and Grandma’s. My mom and dad’s. What was planned to be a day trip for tomorrow to do yard work for Grandpa after his carpal tunnel surgery, became an overnight trip when the pressure valve thingys on our well pump gave up and quiet cooperating.
We are always welcome. My daughter teased that we should just show up on their doorstep in case Grandpa said no. He got a laugh out of that. When does Grandpa ever say no? Well, unless it is critical ๐Ÿ™‚
Here. Where we are always welcome, where it feels like home even though this was never my home. They left my childhood home after 27 years, when I was 30, with two little boys. Those little boys don’t remember my home and yet this is home.
My parents are aging, aren’t we all? Sometimes that is hard, but I am so, so grateful for home.



My dad reading to my youngest boys at Christmastime.

Philippians 4:4 (KJV)
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”

Five Minute Friday