Monday, June 30, 2008


Yesterday Craig was tackling the Mt. Everest of Laurel Hedges, armed with various cutleries (some with motors, some with nothing more than human muscle needed to operate) and stumbled upon a nest with two freshly hatched birds tucked carefully inside. Sadly, we had destroyed their protective covering and severely disrupted their safe retreat. We himmed and hawed over our options. To attempt to raise them ourselves would require feedings every 1/2 hr, a schedule made impossible by my own offspring. There was no 'home' to return them to and even though I gave it a shot, our parakeet wanted nothing to do with them. I tucked them back into a bush that was nothing like their home, put a heated pad underneath their nest and prayed. Foolish though it may seem, their little open beaks pleading for food haunted me all night long and was the first thought on my mind when my own little nursling roused this morning. My heart felt sick, honestly, at the thought of these wee orphaned birds quietly dying in their little human-fashioned nest, a mother without her young. In the wee hours of this day as I snuggled with my sleepy baby, the word compassion reverberated in my head. What I felt for these nestlings was compassion, a deep and some may say, foolish, compassion. In that quiet moment, God reminded me that I was made in His image and that the compassion I felt was an attribute passed on to me by my Father. The deep-seated compassion that consumed my night time thoughts was similar in nature to the compassion the Lord has for me! I was astounded!!!

Ps. 86:15 "But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth"

Ps. 111:4 "He hath made his wonderful works (that would be US!!!) to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion"

Ps. 112:4 "Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious and full of compassion, and righteousness"

Ps. 145:8 "The Lord is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy"

How much more a loving, perfect God towards His beloved creation than a sinful, imperfect woman towards some orphaned birds. I am profoundly astonished, truly in awe...

(Sorry, didn't mean to 'leave you hanging', as my friend Leanne, noted. The birds, as one might guess, did not survive without their mother to tend to them. Another stark reminder in nature of how desperately we need our heavenly Father...)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Would You Pray for Baby Joe?

Would you be willing to pray for Baby Joe and his family? He is a very, very sick 7 week old baby. Will you join me in praying for a miracle? Thank you!

My Free Couch Revisited

Nice Couch- Free
Handsome Boy- Priceless

Rocks in my Dryer Part 1

So I've got some rocks knockin' around in my dryer. I doubt I will have time to settle them all right now as the kiddos are about to begin their day so this may have to be Part 1 of who knows how many parts. I've had some of these thoughts knockin' around in my head before but a recent James Dobson radio broadcast really got them going. I rarely catch Dr. Dobson's broadcast but this week he happened to accommodate my dish washing time (wasn't that nice of him?) and I got to hear a large portion of his broadcast with Dr. Archibald Hart entitled "Recapturing the Joy Part 1". You can listen to it here, (just click on "Listen to radio broadcast" and find "Recapturing the Joy"). Dr. Hart, from what I was gathering, was talking in part about how our society's drive for satisfaction and happiness and stimulation is literally killing us. He, of course, mentioned the grave dangers for our youth but what really caught my attention and spoke profoundly to my heart is the importance I put on being happy. I know I am not alone in my struggle (I don't know if I say that to validate you, the reader, or me, the vulnerable writer!), but how many times do I put off what I SHOULD be doing to do what makes me happy? How many times, in my daily life as wife, mother and homemaker, do I turn from my responsibilities because I simply don't FEEL like folding laundry or weeding the garden or washing the dishes, etc, etc? And is this assumed entitlement to happiness (sometimes at all costs) unique to my generation or has it been a temptation through the ages? What would have happened when my grandmother's mother decided she simply didn't feel like scrubbing out the clothes or washing up the dinner dishes? She had a family of 10 or 11 (Mom, correct me if I'm wrong) to care for. I would surmise that if she decided to take the afternoon off, the household would nearly fall apart. It seems that ladies of that generation were much more driven by responsibilities rather than happiness. They seemed to simply do what needed to be done without giving much thought to whether or not it made them happy. Am I wrong in this stereotype? What has made the difference between that generation and mine? Do you see where I'm going with all of this?
Yes, this will definitely have to be Part 1. Half of the Fabulous Four have risen from their slumber, hungry bellies and pajama-d bodies calling for me. More to come and if you have a minute to listen to that broadcast, please do so and then will you share your thoughts? I'd love to hear!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Vacation Bible School

This day brought for us the end of vacation bible school for the year. I had a couple of tired and sad boys! They enjoyed it so much (it was a science theme) and came home singing all the great songs they learned and reminiscing about the different things they got to do. I don't know why but the grand finale of VBS always chokes me up!!! All those kidlets singing and smiling, excited about the things they learned, some of them having asked Jesus to be their boss for the first time in their lives!!! It just reduces me to the bawling mother in the back row trying to croak out the songs with the rest of them! Sheesh!!!!!!

And it all leads me to ask, already....WHERE IS THIS SUMMER GOING????????

Soon swim lessons will begin, summer birthdays will fly past and the cool of autumn will be here before I can swat at a bee. As Hannah used to say, "Holy My Cow"!!!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


An afternoon of Sun's shine on your back and woodsy scent in your lungs, of guns in your little boy arms and racing heart in your chest (for didn't YOUR heart race the first time you perched on your daddy's lap, big steering wheel held by hands deep in childhood?).....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Paisley Tot Etsy Store ***Free Shipping***

I am offering free shipping for all items in my Etsy Store, Paisley Tot, now through July 4th! I currently have some hooded towels, perfect for bathing and beach trips, and a couple of summery smocks. Come by and check it out!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Bargain

A few years ago we purchased a couch from Ikea. It served us well. However, with four kiddos and two dogs it was getting tired and, in places, a bit cranky. I have been on a quest for it's replacement. I asked Craig how much we could budget for a new couch and he said to just try to find the nicest couch for as cheap as possible. Ooooooh, how I love a good challenge, especially when it involves searching out a bargain! His stipulations were no plaid, no blues, and no flowers. My stipulations were that it be a sleeper sofa, as both sets of parents live out of town, that it be cozy, and that it be CHEAP!!! So I began making craigslist my new bestfriend! And lo and behold, I did it!!!! Well.....almost. I scored a lovely Bassett sleeper sofa with very minimal wear and tear for....are you ready for this?........for FREE!!!!! It has beautiful shades of tans, dark greens and rusty reds. The only hitch is that it does happen to have flowers. But they're manly flowers; really!!!! I so love a good deal! Just makes me smile! I will have to include a picture another time as our camera is in the truck and I'm much too lazy tonight to retrieve it. You'll just have to trust me!
And by the way, it had not been in our home more than a few hours before Craig openly admitted that it was growing on him! Flowers have a way of doing that, I suppose!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Apron Book

The Apron Book, by EllyAnne Geisel, was quite an enjoyable book. My dear momma gave it to me for Mother's Day and I scarfed it right up. It was very entertaining to read about the history of the apron and oh, how I loved perusing the pages of vintage fabrics and styles. You know, there is even an apron in this book that mothers used for scooping their babies out of their baths with? Clever, indeed! Included are a few patterns for making your own aprons. A fun read for the apron lover! I now have my eye on the author's other book: Apronisms: Pocket Wisdom for Everyday .

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fun Was Had by All

We had a lovely visit with my parents as well as my brother, his wife and their two sweet kiddos. We also got to enjoy a visit with some dear friends, and their precious little girl, from high school over the last couple of days. So, once again, I have foregone blogging for several days to live out the bloggable events in life!!!

Mom and the kids and I got to share a picnic lunch at Red Ridge Farms, one of my all-time favorite places to be! If you live in the Pacific Northwest, this is worth the drive. The lady who owns it could not be any nicer and the view is breath-taking!!! Here are a few pictures from our visit there:

Only HALF of the beautiful lavender field...

My pretty little Hannah-Girl...

My silly Kaleb-boy...

And my munchin' munchkin...

Three-fourths of the Fabulous Four...

Here is proof that the recent passion for mohawks has gone a little too far in my house (Sarah's stylist: Kaleb!):

Just a few more tidbits:
I was able to snag a copy of the book Nancy Campbell quotes in her study, "The Power of Motherhood", called "Quiet Talks on Home Ideals" off of Alibris. Copyright 1909, a terrific book thus far. Many thoughts from this book have caught my attention but this one, in particular: in regards to the secret of beauty, "The face always bears the impress of the spirit that reigns within". My children are subject to seeing my face more than anyone else, even more than Craig. What do they see there? If you would like to know of the spirit that REIGNS within me, you may ask my children, for they will be able to tell you better than any others. Is it anger, impatience, discontentment, selfishness, and pride? Or is it love and joy, peace, longsuffering and gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Galatians 5:22 & 23)? What am I shouting to the world, and more importantly to my dear little ones, about children and motherhood and serving God .... simply by the look on my face? Certainly something to think about.

I'm always on the look out for various inspiring sources regarding sewing, crafting, gardening and the such. I stumbled upon this blog, Homespun Living, and I'm really enjoying it. Just thought I'd share!

Have a blessed day and may the fruits of the Spirit reign in YOUR hearts so that your faces are truly a display of His beauty!!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I'm Off

The kids and I are off to enjoy some time with my parents for a few days! Yippee!!!!!! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Atmosphere of Our Homes

I continue to enjoy Nancy Campbell's study called The Power of Motherhood so very much. This morning, I read this quote that she found in an old book called "Quiet Talks on Home Ideals" by S.D. Gordon:

"The atmosphere of the home is breathed in by the child, and exerts an influence in his training more, by far, than all other things put together. The child receives more by unconscious absortption than in any other way. He is all ears and eyes and open pores. He is open at every angle and point and direction, and all between. He is an absorbing surface; he takes in constantly; he takes in what is there; and what he takes in makes him..."

As mothers (or fathers, if there are any such readers!), what a responsibility we carry for we are the sole creators of the atmospheres of our homes. Praise be to God that "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me". May He aid me, and you, today in creating an atmosphere in our homes worth absorbing!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Our Weekend in Pictures

Saturday announced our last day of 'formal' school for the year! To celebrate, we went out for ice cream. I don't know what was more exciting for the boys: the ice cream or taking turns riding with Daddy!!

All three kids chose bub
blegum ice cream in waffle dishes that they made right in front of us! Yummy!!!! I am a faithful and loyal Tillamook Choco
late Peanut butter fan but I may have to change teams!!! The Alpenrose Chocolate Peanut butter that I had was out of this world!!!!!!!

Sunday offered Craig a chance to go sturgeon fishing with our friend/neighbor. His wife and I took our kiddos to the Olympia Farmers' Market to pass the time while the daddies were away!

Us ladies found the perfect compliment to the sturgeon the guys contributed to dinner that evening: fresh steamer clams!!! I brought them home but Craig took over from there with this yummy recipe for steamer clams that actually involves putting them, ALIVE, in my microwave! Steamer clams happens to be one of Noah's all-time favorite foods!!! His mountain of empty shells was astonishing!!!!!

We made the most of the stormy weather today! First off, a haircut for Kaleb. For anyone who knows Kaleb, it will not come as a surprise to hear that Kaleb has been wanting a mohawk. And for anyone who knows me, it will not come as a surprise that I refused. However, we found a reasonable compromise in what they are calling the "faux hawk". The cut is normal, its the touch of gel and the styling that gives it the mohawk look. Personally, I think it's the absolute cutest faux hawk I've ever seen.

We then loaded up in Penny (our faithful, old, beloved Volkswagen van) and took a drive. It was a perfect activity for a rainy Pacific Northwest day!!! We stopped for lunch and Sarah took a turn "driving":

On our way home from adventuring, we got to see these coming down the river, headed out to sea. I'm quite certain God was anticipating with joy all day long this little surprise He had arranged for us. The boys were thrilled to pieces to get to see these ships so close!

We ended our day with fried sturgeon and homemade french fries. We then tucked the little girls in bed and joined the boys in our pop-up camper for a rousting game of Life. Crazy place to play a board game but there's something so very exciting to them about that camper!!!! They were just tickled pink to be out there! It was quite cozy, actually! The rain was pattering down on the roof, the wind hammering against the canvas, their giggles and silliness filling the inside with joy and happiness. Noah's car was filled with children, Kaleb was sad that he remained childless, and I won by only about $80.00.

Oh, and yes, I did get to go out for dinner with my wonderful husband. We enjoyed fondue, a yummy salad and crab and grilled artichoke ravioli! It was delicious and refreshing and I came home, eager to attend to my teething sweetheart (who was a perfect angel, I might add, while I was gone)! It really was JUST what I needed! Thanks for asking, friends! And Mom, I'm most certain I made you wish for earplugs a time or two!!!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ear plugs, anyone?

I do believe Sarah Grace is teething today and having a rough go of it.
I reported in with Craig this morning with the following message:
"I need earplugs and a date with you very soon!"
He reported back telling me that the earplugs were in the garage and directed me to arrange for someone to hang out with the kids so we could go to dinner tonight. I love that man and the sweet little teething screamer we are blessed to call our daughter! (Don't worry, Mom, I resisted the urge to actually USE the earplugs:)!!!)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Jokes by Hannah, age 2

Hannah: Knock knock

Mom: Who's there?

Hannah: Daddy!

Mom: Daddy who?

Hannah: THAT Daddy!!!!! which she responds with peals of laughter because SHE thinks she is so very funny!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Summer-ly Intentions

Oh, doesn't this porch beckon you? In the midst of dreary June days here in the Pacific Northwest, I've been carefully considering our summer ahead, pondering the activities that I would like to fill our days. We will be taking a break from formal school work. However, children don't ever stop learning nor do mothers ever stop teaching. I'm excited to do some of the things my children REALLY enjoy but perhaps we aren't able to squeeze into the school schedule as much as we would all like. Here are a few things on the agenda:

1. My mom found for me a book that I fondly remember from my own growing up years. Its called How to Make a Rainbow and is full of lots of fun arts and crafts. My kids, like almost every child I've ever met, love to create things! They really do! I am very excited to pull out the craft supplies and work through as many of the pages as we can. My children will be thrilled!!!!

2. We have Lake Sacajawea in the middle of our town. Its a beautiful lake, as you can see from this picture, with three playgrounds, a wonderful walking/biking path, and lots of banks to explore. It is home to a variety of critters as well as a summer concert series. I have every intention of spending as much time here as possible, exploring, listening, and watching with hopes of Nature Notebooks being created from our time spent there.

3. Science experiments!!!! What 8 and 6 year old boys don't love science experiments? And we just don't take the time during the school year to do as many as we would like. Well, I'm on the look out for all sorts so if you have some good ones to pass along, please don't hesitate!

4. Library, oh Library... How lovely are your shelves!!! I will be instituting a mandatory reading time each morning when baby sister takes her nap. We are going to soak in as many good books as we want to. We do quite a bit of reading during the school year, too, and this is something we simply cannot take a break from!!! I foresee lots of snuggling up on the couch or perhaps outside underneath the big maple tree with stacks of good books. Oh, I can't wait!!!!

And then there's VBS and swim lessons, camping trips and afternoons down at the river's edge... and the list goes on and on! I have a feeling our summer simply won't be long enough!!!

What are your plans for the summer? What things are you most looking forward to doing? What were some of your favorite summertime memories from your childhood? Please do share!

Sunday, June 1, 2008


I am very much enjoying the bible study, "The Power of Motherhood" by Nancy Campbell. However, I did NOT enjoy yesterday morning's reading! It was about mothers as servants and it brought about great conviction. You know, the kind that down-right hurts, that puts a knot in the pit of your stomach and leaves you feeling so very dependent on the only One who could possible transform you into the person you long to be? Surely, you know what I'm talking about.

We all know that serving our families is the high calling of the Christian mother. And so we put on our apron, if not literally than at least figuratively, and we 'got to work', so to speak. Sounds lovely, doesn't it? Ah, but this is where I stumble: "Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with JOYFULNESS, and with GLADNESS OF HEART, for the abundance of all things...(Deut. 28:47)". Ouch!

If you read the entire chapter of Deut. 28, God is firmly announcing the blessings of obedience and the curses of disobedience. That's fine but why, oh why, did He have to throw in verse 47? I know I am to serve the Lord, but with JOYFULNESS? With GLADNESS OF HEART? Does He give no exception for grumpy, frumpy days, for grouchy children, for harried schedules? Not even for PMS, for cryin' out loud??????

No. No, He doesn't. Jesus served with JOYFULNESS, with GLADNESS OF HEART even when drops of sweat were dripping from His brow, even when those He served HATED Him, even to the point of taking His last painful, agonizing breath. He never once allowed resentment or fatigue or impatience or anger or hormones or anything else to distract Him from the road of JOYFUL SERVANTHOOD. Not once...

Hmmm. I sit on it, I chew on it, I let the words, the thoughts wrap around my mind. Fast-forward a few hours. It's time to leave, to gather the children together, put shoes on, brush teeth, pack lunches, correct a bad attitude, comb heads of hair, wipe breakfast remnants off of little faces, break up a tiff, put shoes on again, search for keys, change a diaper, nurse a baby, kiss an owie, put shoes on again and head out the door for a visit with friends. With each step of preparation, each delay, each interaction, my countenance changes, my impatience grows larger, my fuse grows shorter!

"Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with JOYFULNESS...". I can tell my children all day long that "Children are a gift from the Lord", that being a mother/father is truly one of the very highest callings....I can tell my children all day long to do their chores/schoolwork with a good attitude, to think of others before themselves, to serve Jesus in all they do......But truly, being a JOYFUL wife and mother will speak volumes above the blabbing that comes out of my mouth. I can preach a glorious, magnificent sermon to them until I'm blue in the face, but the look they see on my face when I'm putting on their shoes and the edge they hear in my voice when I'm ushering them into the car tells the real story, to them and to the One I say I serve.

And so, once again, I sit at the Potter's wheel, being the unsightly lump of clay that I am. We both see it, the imperfection, the flaw, the unsightly blemish. Neither of us likes it. I yield to His strong, powerful hands. He is my only hope. His ability and willingness to transform and renew is my only chance. "Create in me a clean heart, O God..." Help Me, Servant of all, to serve You with JOYFULNESS.