Wednesday, May 19, 2010

All in a Week

The girls said "good-bye" to a special friend the other day.  They gave him a better home.

He was the first kitten my daughter successfully rescued.

Got new windows.

Took my daughter's picture for her final scrapbooking class.

Went to a party at a friend's farm on Sunday.

Same photo, different effects.

Such a lack of manners.  You'd think that goat was raised in a barn!

There were trucks, too...

...and a hammock...

...and a cute guy I know.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Heritage

I guess the next set of pictures could be viewed as morbid, but I took them mainly for the sake of my heritage.  My great-grandmother died at a young age as did my grandfather and, therefore, I never met them. 

My grandmother passed away when I was two years old.  I am grateful for the one memory I have of her.  She was in the hospital after having her leg amputated due to complications from diabetes.  I clearly remember a peaceful smile on her face as she told me that Jesus was with her.

My one and only memory and it's a legacy to hold on to.

Note - I am posting straight-from-the-camera shots and then the edited version (if any). I have my reasons.:)

 My grandfather died of leukemia when my mom was 12 years old.

My grandmother's grave is in the background.  She shares a stone with my step-grandfather.  However, my mother's parents were very much in love from the beginning until death parted them.

Ok, so this isn't the original.  Honest, the only thing I did was add the white matte around the edges.  

My great-grandmother died from appendicitis when my grandmother was just 18 or 20 years old.  My mother is named after her.

As I drove to the cemetery and walked around, I couldn't help but imagine my mother at 12 years old burying her father.  I believe she said it rained that day.  Many of the graves I see now were here then.  Did she stop to look at her great-grandmother's grave?  Did this sweet little lamb with it's inscription catch my young mother's eye?  This baby had died just 3 years before.  Did she wonder about him and his family?  Did she understand more than most children the keen sense of heartache they were probably still feeling?  Today I wonder what this child's story was.  The few times I've been to the cemetery, there have always been flowers at this little grave.  

You've never had a name, but you've never been forgotten.

The next few I didn't bother touching up as, frankly, I didn't think they needed it.:)

My favorite.

Thank you for walking with me as I contemplate my heritage.  How about you - what is your family story?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Not in Vain

Today, a tragedy hit out church community along with many churches and people literally worldwide.  Please read the story here.

Carissa, it is said, is from the Ukraine.  Interestingly, Carissa was born in Rochester, NY and raised here for the first several years of her childhood.  Her parents then moved to Ukraine to try to win many of those dear souls for Christ.  It is appropriate that, in Carissa's death, she was reported to be from Ukraine, as that is where she considered her home to be.  It was where her family was.  It was where many of her friends were.  It was where her burden was.  It was where her heart resided.

Carissa's mother, Robin, is one of the most godly women I know.  She comes from a dysfunctional family (don't we all?), but is living proof that we don't have to dwell in the past, become bitter, and blame the past for our current failures.  She was saved as a teenager and followed the Lord from that time on.  He truly lifted her out of the miry clay and set her upon a rock.

Robin flew into the US last November to say a final good-bye to her mother.  How I understand it, the funeral was the first time in many years Robin's brothers and sisters had come together.  The plan of salvation was clearly given, though I'm not sure of any decisions that were made that day.

Though the loss of a parent is an extremely sad time, it is often expected.  The grace Robin had could have been interpreted by her lost family members as accepting a part of life.  However, Carissa was just 20.  She had just finished her second year of college, full of life, and loved her family.  Her seemingly untimely death is a shock.  The grace Robin and her husband along with Carissa's siblings at this time will be undeniable. 

Now is the time when Christ is truly going to shine through the Ireland family.  Their many unsaved relatives, neighbors, etc., are going to see their grief, but they're going to see hope in that grief.  They're going to see supernatural strength.  They're going to see the absence of bitterness.  They're going to see God.  They are going to come face to face with a very real decision - accept the God of Mike, Robin, Carissa, and the other children...or reject that blessed hope.  Think of the many Ukrainians the Irelands have a relationship with.  Think of how many may be saved or grow in their new walk because of this!

I do not intend to diminish the grief the family is feeling.  People can have great faith and still weep uncontrollably.  Yet, their faith will still be seen through their tears.  

Now is the time to pray.  We need to pray harder now than we did when the Coast Guard was searching for Carissa & Irena.  Now, there are many souls searching for answers.  We know where Carissa is.  Let's pray that many will find Christ and meet with her one day in eternity as a result of her tragic death.

It's what Carissa would have wanted.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Some Recent Pictures

Who knew Heaven on Earth was in Orleans County?  I have a friend who lives there.  This cottage is on her property.  In my mind, I've dubbed it, "Rose Cottage."  Unique, I know.  That's just who I am.
Flowers picked from Heaven on Earth. 

Apple blossoms.  Not from Heaven on Earth.  From my house...Paradise on Earth.  Depending on my mood.  Otherwise, it could be H--- on Earth.  Kidding.  Really.  *cough*
We have them in color, too.

Of course, have to have some of the kids.  So, guess where his tooth is.  If you have a guess, let me know.  Cause we have no idea.

I don't know what I'm going to do without a 2 year old in the house anymore.  I definitely won't laugh as often.

Laying around in tractor tires makes for a great photo op, but it is not recommended as a routine activity.

Never fails...something large & loud flies overhead and the A.D.D takes over.

Really, I have six other kids.

Every homeschooling mom's dream - to see her children deep in thought.  Ok, so it was Jenga.  I'll take what I can get.

The kittens you'll find here at Paradise on Earth.  Or, maybe it was the other place this particular day.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Tonight, as a dear one lays her head on her pillow,
instead of falling asleep, she weeps.
Staring at the vacant pillow beside her
her heart aches with loneliness for her sweetheart
who has recently gone to God.
She prays for strength, for wisdom, for understanding.
And as exhaustion gives way to sleep, she weeps.

Tonight, as I lay my head upon my pillow,
before I fall asleep, I weep.
Staring at the pillow beside me
I see my sweetheart - strong and alive.
I express gratitude to God for this blessing,
while my heart mourns for the dear one who's aching.
As I fall asleep, I weep.

I weep with her that weeps.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Story About PIng

And what a story it is.

My kids love this book.  Ever read it?  Well, get it from the library.  That's what we did - quite a few times.  Several months ago, we decided to check out the book/tape set from our favorite lender of books and brought it home so the kids could listen to it as they went to sleep. (Dreaming about ducks getting lost in the Yangtze River is always a fun thing.) 

As there were tape players (yes, they still make them) in both the younger boys' room and the girls' room, the tape made a few trips back and forth between the two.  I should have foreseen the inevitable.

The set was due back at the library.  The book was located but the tape was missing.  What a shock.  Of course, no one knew where the tape was.  How is it that every kid in the house had it last, but no one has it now?

Good ole "No One."  He's a large part of every family.

So, we renewed the set.  Two times.  Finally, I had to face The Librarian.  Is it just me or is The Librarian one of the most feared authority figures in the known world?  Seriously, I'm thinking I'd rather face Fidel Castro than tell the local librarian that I lost one of the materials from her library.  The Librarian can look all sweet and fun when reading a story to 2 year olds, but as soon as you mention "lost [insert media type here]" or she informs you of the dreaded "fine," she instantly turns into the scornful schoolmarm that makes you bow your head in deep humiliation as you mumble some sort of lame excuse.

"I have the book, but the tape has seemed to just...disappear," I mumbled back in November.  As this particular copy of "The Story About Ping" is apparently no earthly good without its tape partner, I was required to purchase the book.  $8.00 plus any fine I had incurred due to my tardiness in informing The Librarian.  

Then I did what any practical, frugal, homeschool mom would have done.  I wrapped up the book and my 6 year old was delighted on Christmas morning.

The Librarian didn't send me to the dungeon and my son got a "new" book.  All's well that ends well.

Except for that nagging question:  Where in the world did that tape go?

Fast forward to earlier this week.  There I am, spring cleaning my son's room.  And, what do I find in his dresser drawer?  Yep.  The tape.  Now we have the complete set.

The ironic thing is...the tape player no longer works.

Gotta love a good story.