Monday, November 24, 2008


Please visit the website for the Reclamation Ranch (homes for troubled boys & girls) and read what happened this past weekend. Please be in fervent prayer for the staff, kids, and families involved - that charges will be dropped and the boys will be able to get out of foster care and back into the care of the Ranch or with their own families.

"Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Birthday Party

We had Seth's 5 year old birthday party here on Friday night. How is it that I can vividly remember his birth - the pain, the room, the walking around the halls, the rush to the bed for the quick delivery, his little blue face as the midwife tried to get him to breathe for the first minute of his life - and, yet, the birthday still sneaks up on me?

I love birthdays. I love celebrating each of my children's births. But, we only give them a big birthday party (friends included) at ages 1, 5, 10, (someday) 13, and 16. This is because we are lacking in rich relatives with more time on their hands than they know what to do with. We love our family and would like for them not to have to mortgage their homes in order to attend birthday parties for all 7 of our children plus their 6 cousins every year. Even with this schedule, we average at least one birthday party annually.

Oh, why are we stopping at 16? Because after that, they have to throw their own party!

Michael's 5th birthday party was planned for 4 years. As soon as his first party was over the wheels began to turn. It was in the farm's pumpkin patch area, with wagon rides, hot dogs, hamburgs, the works.

Seth is child number 5. I thought about his for about...2 weeks. I bought the stuff the day before. I ordered pizza when the guests arrived.

Low maintenance. Huge fun. Really. The boys had a blast playing in the snow and just hanging out. With each of my girls, I planned party games, etc. Boys are not into that. Let them make their own fun. This was the first birthday party we didn't have a wagon ride or a horseback ride. It was just too cold. You know what? They lived. They still had fun!

I love birthday parties. I love birthday parties that don't stress me out. However, I won't say that Friday was a completely stress-free night. But, I didn't feel the stress until all the boys went home.

What caused the stress? The realization about an hour later that in two years, we have a child turning 5, one turning 13, and one turning 10 - in three months time!

Party on!

The birthday table

Seth's favorite train created by Grandma!

Seth's 9 year old sister made the place cards:)

Seth & his best friend Joey

Opening presents

The guys!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why I Haven't Blogged in Quite Some Time

My husband is a farmer who spent 5 weeks harvesting corn. This entails him working all day and then being up every two hours each night in order to dry the corn and empty the trucks needed for the next day.

I have had and continue to have several birthday parties, bridal showers, and overall fun activities jammed on my calendar.

I was sick for a week.

I keep thinking about the pies I need to make for Thanksgiving and the presents I need to buy for Christmas.

In short, I'm a mother.

I will blog again - soon, I hope.

Right now, I have to feed my kids dinner, brush hair, go to church, pack lunches for tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Two Years Ago...

His last visit here.

Together with family at my father's favorite place...Daytona Beach.
(You can click on each of the above photos to enlarge)

He is Gone
by David Harkins

You can shed tears that he is gone,
Or you can smile because he lived,
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see him,
Or you can be full of the love that you shared,
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he is gone,
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on,
You can cry and close your mind, be empty, and turn your back,
Or you can do what he would want: smile open your eyes,
I love you, Dad!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Beautiful Moms - Prepare for Winter

My mind is full of something the Lord laid on my heart this morning concerning thankfulness and offering the sacrifice of praise - however, I am not quite able to tie it in with my Beautiful Moms theme. So, be sure to check back tomorrow for "We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise."

In looking through Proverbs 31 for an appropriate topic for today, the Lord smote me with verse twenty-one: "She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all the household are clothed in scarlet."

I live in upstate New York. In case you haven't heard, we get feet upon feet of snow almost every year. Worse than that - it gets COLD here. For those of you who live in Texas, Florida, etc., COLD does not mean 45 degrees. Come up for a visit mid-January, and good ole New York will introduce you to numbers you never knew existed - such as the BELOW ZERO range.

This means heavy coats, boots, mittens, and hats for each family member. Let's see - there are nine of us. That's 9 coats, 18 boots, 18 mittens, 9 hats, 9 scarves, 7 snowsuits (for the kids), and, often, 7 more coats just for church, etc. That's a lot of paraphenelia.

Oh, the joys of stepping over wet boots in the mud room. More joyous still are the sounds of "That's MY hat!!!" lilting through the house as 7 little people get ready to play outside. How my heart soars when one comes to me and tearfully says they cannot find one of their mittens (which one? Oh, they are kind enough to take their turns).

For all of the above reasons, I have put off the winter clothes shopping this year. I'm almost positive that gloves will be lost before the first real snow fall if I get them while the leaves are still on the trees. Kind of like my daughters winter boots were worn out after being worn all summer.

Don't ask.

However, it is now November. I've lived in NY all of my life and I don't know if there has been a year when it didn't get REALLY cold in November. We've voted in the snow a few times. We've driven to Thanksgiving dinners in snowstorms. Time is running out. I HAVE to get my family prepared.

Not only have I waited so long that my children may not enjoy the first real snow for lack of things to keep them warm, but I'm going to have to pay full price for most of the necessities. This is a year when 6 of my children need new boots. The hand-me-d0wns have been worn beyond recognition and each child seems to have that pesky problem of growing feet. A wise woman would have looked for sales last year (though, in my defense, it is very hard to gage the rate of growth for young children) or set aside some cash for these purchases throughout the summer months instead of breaking the bank all at once!

This verse slapped me across the face. Waiting to the last minute is NOT what a wise woman will do. I go to church with a woman who is constantly on the look-out for clothes to use throughout the year. All of her children are grown and now she blesses our family with her great finds. However, I don't believe she ever feared the snow while her children were home, because she was prepared. This is a wise woman and she truly is a Beautiful Mom. I could glean so much from her example.

Lord, forgive me for being so foolish; for being more like the sluggard than a virtuous woman who honors you by taking care of her family. Help me to learn from this experience - this fall -and be more prepared for the next cold spell.

How about you? A mom's mirror is often her family. Are they ready for winter or are they shivering? If they're getting frostbite on their fingers, like mine are, we moms still have more grooming to do. If your children are ready for winter and have the uniforms to prove it - congratulations on being a Beautiful Mom!!!