Monday, December 27, 2010

Blah hum bug

Christmas is over. But my house is still decorated. Santa has come and it looks like Toys R Us threw up all over our house. There is crap everywhere and its making me one grumpy mama! Part of me wants to take care of it all right now. But the rational part of me realizes that this will be much better suited for a day when Daddy is home. Jeff is off Thursday-Sunday of this week so I must wait until then to accomplish my goals!
I am weary of 2010. I really want 2011 to come. Not that 2010 was bad. It was fine. But I am excited for what 2011 will bring our family. Will it bring me to Western to get my MSW? Will it bring Jeff a new job? What blessings will God grant us this year? I hope in 2011 to see God daily and to be grateful to him, daily. To seek Him before I do anything. To start and end my day with Him in my mind. I think if I actually accomplish this goal I will be able to pretty much accomplish anything. I stink at it though. Again and again I set this as a goal and again and again I fail.
I joined a new gym and so far, a week in, I am motivated. I am still down 110 pounds from my all time high weight from 3 years ago when I had gastric bypass. I am celebrating that. Instead of dwelling on the 25 pounds I have gained since being pregnant with Ellie. 110 pounds is still pretty damn good. Now I want to be in awesome shape. I want to push my body harder than its ever been pushed before. Ok, I also wouldn't mind looking great in a pair of size 10 jeans. I don't think I have worn size ten since...lets just say a long, long time!
I want to enjoy my kids more in 2011. Be annoyed less. I want to spend time with people who add something positive to my life. I have had it with people who you can't count on and with the "Debbie Downers" of the world. Life is too short to be like that. Thankfully,I am blessed with lots of positive, inspiring people.
I love the start of something new. There is so much possiblility in it. 2011 can be anything I want it to be in my mind.I just hope my body follows through!
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

John 3:16

That verse is the header of this year's Simpson Christmas card. I looked through several different photo cards, on several different sites, before deciding on this one. Why? Because I am celebrating and rejoicing in the birth of our Lord and Savior. I am not celebrating Kwanza, Hanukah,the Holidays or anything else. I do not believe in them. I believe in Christ. I believe that GOD so loved the WORLD that he gave his ONLY SON that whoever believes in HIM shall NOT PERISH but have ETERNAL life!
Go ahead, disagree. Through my study of Isaiah this year in BSF, one thing I have learned is to be BOLD in my faith. We only have one life to get this right. I have many things to change and do to become more steadfast in my faith. But I am beginning it with my Christmas card. I would love it if everyone who opens it thinks, "Wow, the Simpsons went really religious this year. " I would love it even more if they thought, " Wow, Christ came for me! God gave me HIS only SON!"
I am not nieve to think that a card alone will do it for most people. I think probably its more likely that if they see Christ living in me, they will maybe wonder what the difference is in my life. If I step out of my comfort zone daily and do things like share my faith, invite others to church, speak thoughtfully, live purposefully that it will say more than a Christmas card ever could.
Studying Isaiah has taught me, so far, that we are held to a very high standard as Christians. That God expects much of His people. That we fall horridly short. But, that through the grace and the glorious gift of HIS SON, we all can be redeemed and indeed live eternally with Him. His gift is ours for the taking..
Merry CHRISTmas!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Following through..

I suck at it. I am the queen of starting things and then giving up or giving in or just forgetting it. I am working on changing this but you know what they say, "Can't teach an old dog new tricks." It seems to be deeply imbedded in me. One thing in which I have been successful is blogging. This month marks the 6th anniversary of my blog. I feel like I am one of the few left to continue to blog. I still enjoy it. I love looking back and reading about where we have been and how God has brought us through and especially reading back on the kids. Its amazing how quickly one can forget things that at the time seem like they are so unforgettable!
I haven't had comments in a long time, so part of me wonders if anyone even checks out blogs anymore? Perhaps not. It seems like in the age of Facebook people are content with simply knowing someones status update alone. Not me, I miss knowing more about people. More about their struggles. More about what I can pray for and more about the generalities of life. Oh well. Can't make people blog can you!
So what is new around here? Caroline continues to struggle with her asthma and is now on breathing treatments twice a day...yuck! We had a nice Thanksgiving and are in full swing of all things Christmas. The kids are at a great age for enjoying and getting the meaning of Christmas. Jeff found out last week that he will NOT be losing his job..a great praise. So, our plan for moving may be temporarily on hold. The new plan is for me to get my MSW from Western Michigan and then move on. Here is where the not following through could really be a negative. Not following through doesn't lead to 1( getting into grad school or 2) being successful in it! I am in the midst of applying so we will see.
I have been really feeling scattered lately. Missing meetings, forgetting things at home, serious absentmindness. I was telling Jaime this and she said that at BSF lecture this week our leader spoke specifically about this. That how when we don't pray for God's will to be done and for Him to lead us each day He does this to get our attentions to seek HIM! So, for the past few days I have done this and its going much better.
One question...Do you out there still read? If so, let me know..

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Turkey Day Top Ten

So here it Top Ten things I am thankful for this year. Some weird, some funny, some serious, some sad and of course some random or it wouldn't be me!

10. Frivilous t.v. shows like "The Big C", "Dexter","Modern Family".
9. Ice from Sam's Club or better yet from "Sonic" small and that word? and almost chewy..delish! Don't tell but I may have paid 16 cents for a cup of said ice before!
8. Ellie's little walking waddle. Its almost the last babysish thing left of our last babe and I love it.
7. Caroline's infectious laugh..
6. Praying for miracles like Kate McCrae's MRI to go well and for Sam's heart cath to go good and presto..its done.
5. Bible Study Fellowship. Sure, studying Isaiah is scaring the crap out of me but isn't that the point?
4. Matthew always saying loud as can be when he gets out of the van at drop of "I love you momma" those days are nearly over I fear.
3. After twelve years together and almost eight years of marriage, I still love my husband deeply and feel like I was granted a wish by marrying him.
2. That we all have our health. I have realized more this past year that it is a great blesssing and fleeting.
1. Of course, Christ. Because if this list ceased to exist..HE wouldn't
Have a Blessed Thanksgiving. Eat turkey, watch football, shop, decorate but take many, many moments to PRAISE the biggest blessing of all!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sweet Sam

Just a quick post to ask any of you who read this and pray to pray for our dear,sweet little neighbor and buddy Samuel Ekkens. He was born with hypoplastic heart 18months ago. He has already endured two open heart surgeries. Due to some complications from a narrowing in his aorta, Sam will be having a heart cath tomorrow and possibly his third, and final open heart surgery tomorrow. This came out of no where so his poor family is just overwhelmed. His mom Jaime, was suppose to have surgery herself tomorrow. Now, she finds herself preparing yet again for a surgery for Sam. We all know how serious this is. But we also know that our God is more than capable of sustaining Sam through this. He has so blessed Sam with "good results" in the last 18 months. We're just pleading for more for him.
I was able to watch him for about an hour today and am still amazed at how good he looks. That kid has so much spunk and determination. Full of personality. I love him dearly. I have often told Jaime that God definetly knew what he was doing when he put together his personality. He needs to have fight in him!
Praying that I get to chase him around again soon!!
Join me...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One big ball of a mess..

I have been talking to a therapist a few times of month since early Spring. I initally went b/c basically motherhood and its demands were flippin getting the best of me. I felt like I wasn't handling things well, I was edgy, moody, snappy, basically a joy to be around:) Just ask Jeff! Anyways, we worked on those issues initially and now have moved on to other topics. No worries, I won't delve into them here. By the way, for those readers who were able to catch my REDEMPTION post, you will see its been deleted. In case you were wondering what happened, I basically decided that for the most part this blog is journal of my mothering years. Not to say that I don't include antedotes about other stuff but I generally keep it to kids info. I guess the subject matter that was included in that post, I want to decide when to share it with Matthew, Caroline and Ellie. I plan to make this blog a book when I decide to stop so I guess I just edited some content!
Anywhoo..I was talking with the therapist about how its so interesting to me what we start to talk about and what we ended up talking about by the end. Talk about a cluster of ideas..good gravy. I have never stuck therapy out this long. All I have to say about it is that its not easy! I made the analogy that its like a ball of yarn you have that is a big, tangled mess and it just seems like your never going to untangle it. But, as she pointed out, if you don't it just get bigger and tighter and then your really stuck..literally. I think its helping me become a better me and in turn a better mommy and wife and friend, sister, etc. But sometimes I just want to throw my hands up and say " I quit! Deal with it people!" Nice, real nice..
Unrelated to me, the kids are good. Matthew had his tonsills out..hellish nightmare that was! I am so glad its behind us. Ellie got hand,foot and mouth..hellish as well. Caroline has been struggling with asthma issues..wait, didn't I day we were fine?:) In the grand scheme of things..we are. We have no serious issues plaguing us. A new friend of mine recently lost her 12 day old baby to Trisonmy 18. I went to her memorial service and it was both the sweetest and saddest things I have been to. Once again, I was reminded how really when you lose what you hold dearest all you have is your Faith to cling to. And again I was amazed and bless to see grieving, hurting people not only clinging to God but also taking the opportunity to draw those that don't know Christ to Him through the power of the testimony of their journey with sweet Baby Josie.
Jeff and I are getting away this weekend to a bed and breakfast in Union Pier. We can't wait. To just have time to be together and do whatever we want, knowing the kids are having fun with the grandparents. Ellie is sick again right now so were praying she gets better! Poor little gal has had a rough month!
Lastly, due to some childcare issues, I am only working weekends at the Retirement home now. I will miss the oldies but goodies but am glad to be home with my little ones more.I now work every other Sat and Sun from 6am-3pm. For now. We're still praying and figuring out what the heck is in store for the Simpsons!
I think that is all for now. I plan of doing another Thanksgiving list next week...stay tuned..:)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Caroline is 4!

Lots of Birthday blogging going on.Caroline turned four last Tuesday with a family party at home. She celebrated with about nine friends, mostly neighbors, at the beginning of the month. Being four, she was all into getting presents and was given lots of Little Pet Shop stuff, princess stuff, Barbie, and of course Dora. She hasn't outgrown her love of Dora just yet. Considering her peanut and egg allergy, we made her friends "dirt" cupcakes complete with gummy worms.
Sometimes I can hardly believe its been four years since Sweet Caroline blessed our lives. She has really blossomed this summer. Transitioning from a toddler to a preschooler/little girl. She has become one of the gang with the neighbor kids and spent nearly every hour possible outside this summer keeping up with her big brother! Caroline is a wonderful big sister to Ellie. She loves her(sometimes too much) and is helpful at fetching things for me. Caroline goes to BSF with me on Tuesday and loves to learn about Jesus there. You will often catch Caroline singing little verses to various Bible songs. She is attending preschool for the first time and is having fun there as well. Caroline is trying out karate and its just about the most adorable thing you've ever seen!
Still wearing her glasses for her farsightedness and lazy eyes you can't miss Caroline with her cropped brown hair and baby browns in her glasses! She still receives speech once a week but has made great strides this summer.
Caroline knows what she likes and what she DOESN'T like which can make things interesting. She can throw a whopper of a tantrum but her desire to perservere serves her and b/c of this she is very determined. She can already color in the lines and picks up things very quickly. She has been dressing herself for a long while now.
Full of spunk and full of life. Caroline has taught me more about myself and my shortcomings more than any other person. Caroline is not easily won over or influenced. She knows, even at the tender age of 4, who she is. I pray that trait doesn't leave her and serves her well! I love my sweet little Caroline...Happy fourth birthday darling girl!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Ellie is one..

Well, technically she is thirteen months old now! I wanted to give a quick update about her since that is the reason I love read back about the kids later! Ellie turned one last month with a family party at home. Staying true to her little personality, she quietly enjoyed her cake..never once digging in. It was if she knew this was good stuff and she wasn't about to waste it!
What a year its been with our last little one. Ellie continues to be sweet, loving and easy going. She started walking shortly after her birthday and looks so tiny toddling around. Considering she is a good five pounds behind where Matthew and Caroline were at this age, she seems too tiny and dainty to walk but walk she does. She is interacting more and more with the kids and adores her brother and sister. Its hilarious to watch her wrestle with them! Ellie is a great eater and we haven't found much she won't munch on. Especially meat sticks! Ellie loves her some meat sticks:) She is starting to get a little apprehensive with strangers and sometimes will cry if seperated from those she loves best! One of those people is Grandma Barb, with whom Ellie has a special little bond with. Chalk it up to last grandchild syndrome. Ellie loves books and will sit in a pile, quietly going through them for quite awhile. Finally, after three tries, we have a little one who DOESN'T ransack everything. She is quite content just to look and it isn't in her nature, at least yet, to destroy things:)
We have continously realized throughout this year, with the addition of Ellie, how sometimes in life, things aren't planned but that sometimes those surprises add so much to your life that you can't possibly imagine life without them!!
We love you Elizabeth Jane, Ellie Bellie, Belle, Ellie belly full of Jelly! This kid has alot of nicknames!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The life you never knew you always wanted..

I just got back from visting my dear, sweet niece Jessica at GVSU. Caroline and I day tripped it up there to see where she lived and to do some shopping. Plus, Caroline and Jessica love each other and have a special little bond thing going so I thought it would be nice. I am trying to do something special with Matthew and Caroline every now and again. Today was squeaky's turn..
While there I saw all sorts of things. Typical campus life. Kids, yes, kids..when did college people turn into kids..I swear I looked older when I was twentyish but those students looked downright infantile!:) We passed by some houses that you knew just wreaked of stale beer and puke and then we passed lots of spiffy housing that defintely did NOT remind me of any of the nasty places I was proud to call home in my tenure at CMU and MSU. I thought of my times spent at college. Many of which were spent drinking to excess and doing things I am sure my mother hopes never to know of. Then I thought of Jessica and how boldly Christian she is living her life. She is very involved in Campus Ministries. She leads a small group, which if you know Jessica, you know that group speaking isn't exactly in her comfort zone. But she is just another example of how we can do ALL things through Christ!! She has continued to make good, solid, Christian friends who inspire and grow her! I admit it..I was jealous. What time I wasted. What could I have accomplished if I had traveled that road instead of the one paved with parties and drinking and all sorts of other sinfulness?! I will never know the impact I COULD have had for the KINGDOM of GOD.
I guess you live and learn. I can't have a DO over but I can DO more in the present. In the time I have now. I can do my very best to raise children who SEEK Christ and all the great things living a life for HIM has to offer. I can live an UNASHAMED, PASSIONATE, CRAZY kind of love way for this GOD of mine. The God who knows every last horrid thing I have ever done or thought or said and still waits for me to come back to Him again and again. Thank goodness for a GOD like that..

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Get ready, get set..and....WAIT!

I blogged about potentially moving a few months ago. Since then nothing much has happened. Wait, that isn't totally true. Some changes have taken place. I am organzing and cleaning and goodwilling the crap out of our house. I have been so motivated these past few weeks, you'd think I was nesting. NO!!! I am not nesting in the knocked up sense:) But, I do have that same excitement and anxiousness that one feels when they are expecting a baby. Actually, the way you feel when your pregnant with your first baby and you have NO idea what to expect. That is pretty much how I feel.
People keep asking us, "Why?" "When?" "What will you do if your house sells and you don't know where you will go?" Usually I just shrug and basically avoid the answers. The truth is this, We feel led to do this. We are confident that if this is blessed by Christ, all these questions will eventually have answers. The only plan I have right this very minute is to earnestly pray and to get my house ready to list. If it sells quickly, quite frankly, in this market I would consider this a huge blessing and mighty answer to prayer. I am confident in Jeff and his abilities and have no worries about him getting a new job. We're still not sure what this will all mean a year or two from now. But we figure if there is no better place for our lives and our families future to be but right in God's!
As I read over this I don't want to seem like I am always super confident in all of this. Nope. It can be quite unsettleling to be unsettled. But its very settling to be in God's will for my life. That much I know to be true..

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Out of the zone

What zone? My comfort zone. I have mentioned that our church recently got a new pastor. I can't tell you how much I am enjoying the changes he is bringing to our church. He is stretching us in ways we haven't seen!! One of the ways he did this most recently was with an excercise in forgiveness. He asked us if we could think of someone who we were feeling anger, frustration, rage against. Then explained how when we do this we carry that and the pain they've caused around with us. At the end of the service we had time to pray to release the pain and forgive the person. This could not have hit home more closely! I have had some disagreements with a women in my MOPS group in the recent weeks. I have really had it with her leadership style and was definetly harbouring some pretty intense dislike for her. After I prayed to forgive her for the way I have been being treated by her, I felt so much better..immediately. Do I still have to deal with her and the situation? Yes, but not with an angry heart.
Pastor Mark preached about Acts and living authentically. He spoke about how so often when we ask or are asked how we are we just respond in a non authentic way. But God wants us to be known and real. At the close of the service he asked us to break into small group of four or five and share a prayer request. Let me tell you that I thought Jeff was going to run for the not him!! But, we did it and it was awesome. We were with two couples in their late forties. They are in different seasons of their lives obviously, but we were connecting and being real and most importaingly..being KNOWN. I left church that day feeling better than I have in years.
Thank you God for bringing Pastor Swank to us and stretching us..can't wait for more!

Monday, August 09, 2010

I heart Jeff..

I wish I knew how to make the actual heart..but since I am horrid at anything to do with computers its just not happening. Something happened this morning that reminded me how much I love my husband. Prepare yourselves its random.
I worked both Saturday and Sunday from 6:30 to 3pm. I wasn't planning on the Sunday shift so needless to say, I was grouchy. Upon returning home Sunday afternoon,tired and grouchy, I saw Jeff's helmet in the driveway. Two thoughts went through my head. 1) Get out of the car and move it.
2) Drive over it and hope its clears.
No need to spend lots of time guessing, of course I picked option two. Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that it DIDN'T clear it. In fact, I broke the heck out of it. But, being the grouchy, entitled person that I was, I justified it by thinking," Well, it should have been there in the first place. " Oh by the way, it was still lodge under Jeff's car. I just shrugged it off and went inside. Fast forward to this morning. Jeff leaves for work and about ten minutes later he calls me. He is MAD! Wondering how his helmet got wedged under his car and broken. He asks me how I didn't see it. I try crafting a spur of the moment reason, ok a lie. But since I am a horrid liar, he quickly catches me and starts laughing. He basically calls me out on my laziness. We both start laughing because I realize, once again,that he knows me like the back of my hand and therefore I can't get anything past him. After I hung up I thought, " I love him!" I love that he knows me and still likes me:) He has seen the good the bad and the ugly and still he loves me. I am so grateful for Jeff and all he brings to my life. So often I comment on how great he is as a father, which he is. But, being a good husband and a good dad aren't the same thing. Its important to be both. To not settle in our relationship but to continue to strive to know each other and love each other. Even when we're grouchy and lazy!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Metaphors from the dune...

This past week we, Jeff, Matthew,Caroline and I(Ellie camped out with my parents in Chi town) went to Silver Lake for a week long vacation. I have to say, with serious enthusiasm that it was one of the best weeks I have had in a long time. Without the constraints that a baby can have on your schedule, life with our five and nearly four year old was nearly bliss. We spent the week lounging by the pool,swimming,jumping, reading books, playing with cousins, eating way too many marshmellows and chips and just generally enjoying life and each other.
I rediscovered both my children in ways I haven't either let myself or allowed myself to. I had such fun just being with those little monkeys. Whether it was racing around the racetrack at Craig's Cruisers with Caroline next to me screaming with such joy in her husky little voice, "Mommy, this is really super fun!" or just cuddling with my early risers on the couch in the morning. Having the time to observe how Matthew is really becoming a little man and how he's matured during this summer. Watching him master his swimming and diving skills.
But, perhaps,the greatest lesson I learned this week, happened one night when our whole family hit the dunes.We all climbed some big ones and if you want to see your children's personalities personified and highlighted..hit the dunes. There was Matthew, who runs into life head on, if he's into it and doesn't look back. Then there is Caroline, who with sheer bull headed determination gets to the top of that damn dune b/c by God she's got to!! I was so proud of her b/c I know it was hard for her but she just kept plugging away at sandy step at a time. I just looked on and thought, "Atta girl!!"I discovered,and I am sad to admit this, just how much I love them both this week.
Sure, they drive me bonkers lots of times, but they bring me so much more joy than really one girl deserves. Watching them this week and really being able to have quality family time was such a blessing to both Jeff and I. Yes, we missed little Ellie, but knowing that she was fine with Grandma and Papa, we were able to really engage and connect with Matthew and Caroline.
I will cherish the memories we made this week, tear up I am sure when looking over the photos at what fun it was and long for everyday to be that special.
Hopefully, I will process it all, remember that just like when I was climbing the dune, its one step at a time. Sometimes we get tired and want to just stay on the lower part of the dune..but if we keep plugging away..the view from the top is amazing and well worth every sandy, sweaty step!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Children go where I send thee..

Well how shall I send thee? Remember that song? For some reason those two lines have been stuck in my mind in relation to what the future holds for us Simpsons. There are alot of things up in the air right now. We're thinking about making some changes but are fortunate enough that we don't have to make any big decisions right away. Jeff is wondering about his job security and when considering his possibilites it seems that Michigan may not be our forever home. As anyone who lives here knows, its a tough time to be living or trying to make a living I should say!
So we're seeking God, praying, not being hasty. Cleaning out things, painting things, preparing our home for sale if need be. Praying some more, sharpening resumes, getting advice and wondering where would we like to be next? Then asking God,"Where do you want us God?", freaking out( me, not Jeff) and then praying the anxiousness away.
We love living in Kalamazoo and it would be lovely to stay. But, we realize that as children and servants of God, this may not be where God wants us. We also know that if we seek and follow his will all be ok and he will work out every little detail.
So, if your so inclined, join us in praying for God to reveal His plans for the Simpsons in the coming months.
In other news, our church FINALLY has a new pastor! Super, duper excited about this. Its been awhile and I am excited to see what the Pastor Swank and his family will bring to LCC.
Getting ready to head up to Silver Lake in a few days. I may blog from there, as I will have access to a laptop!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


Couldn't really think of a better title so I went with "Ahhh". That is how I am feeling these days. Waay less stressed and more content. The kids are enjoying the summer and the lack of schedules to keep. Matthew and Caroline have both had swim lessons. In a few weeks were making our trek up to Silver Lake for our annual family vacation with Jeff's side of the family. We're leaving little Ellie Bellie with my mom this year. She still naps twice a day and honestly there isn't much room for her. Does that sound terrible:) We are confident all of us will have more fun..including little Belle. I think I will miss her terribly. A whole week without her! After we return Matthew goes to the Nature Center for a camp for a week and then Camp Grandma in August. All of our weekends are jammed packed practically between activities, pool parties, and my working every other weekend.
Speaking of working, I submitted another resume for a juvenile probation officer job for the county. I worked on my resume and am hopeful and prayerful that I at least get an interview. We will see!
We found out that Matthew will be going to Young Fives in the morning in the fall. At first I was bummed about this but am now embracing it. One of the issues we had last year was on his preschool days he would get going with his day and hated stopping to go to dreaded school. This way, with him going in the am, he will have it first thing and hopefully that will mean less arguments. Plus, with Caroline going T/TH pm, it will give us some alone time!
What else?? Not alot! On a unrelated note..keep Sam and his blood pressure in your prayers. He has been struggling with chronic hypertension and its stressing his parents and all of us who love him out. Its not a typical issue for Hypoplastic babies so the doctors are kind of stumped! We know our God can conquer anything so we just continue to ask and plead on his behalf!
Hope your enjoying you summer as much as us!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Heaven Stands...

I was listening to a new song I have fallen in love with recently and thinking to myself, "These words really remind me of someone who needs to cling to God through an awful time." I know I should never think like that, for it never fails to come true. Literally five minutes after thinking this I found an email in my inbox from Matthew's preschool teacher with the horrible news that his classmate from this past year's class,had drowned on Saturday.
Words can't even begin to describe the horrid pit of sadness that is so very deep within me these past few days. John was a dear,little soul. He was quiet, unassuming, as far as my contact with him went. He was one of six children and his mother had his littlest sibling, a sister, Christina only a day before Ellie was born. We almost always came into school at the same time, almost always running late, smiling at each other with that knowing mother glance of "Yep..late again!"
One day in particular as John was putting his coat in his locker,he stuck his foot, with what was obvious to be a new pair of shoes on it and he had this huge smile. I asked them if they were new and he just shook his yet with unspeakable joy on his face. The couple of times that I helped in Matthew's class, I would observe how nicely John played by himself, he seemed to have an amazing imagination and would kind of tune out the other kids. I joked with the teacher that he proabably liked the peace of being at school and playing whatever he wanted with lots of siblings at home.
I know John is in heaven. I know this. But my mother's heart knows that no matter how great we KNOW heaven WILL be..its not where we are and its so fundamentally against everything in our HUMAN nature to bury our dear, sweet lovely children.
Its times like this that make me ache for Christ to come back. I can't fathom what his parents must be enduring. So again, I do the only thing I cry out to God to pour His grace,compassion and love on them. To thank him for what he did for all of us so that we know that ONE DAY HE WILL SET ALL THINGS RIGHT.
When you walked upon the Earth, you healed the broken, lost and hurt
I know you hate to see me cry
When my world is shaking, heaven stands
When my heart is breaking, I never leave your hands
Your hands that shaped the world, are holding me, are holding me still...strong>
These are some of the lyrcis to JJ Heller's Heaven Stands. If your heart is heavy..go,listen...and hopefully find the same peace I am in knowing that YOU NEVER have to leave His hands...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Girls Weekend

Today at noon I am leaving for a whole weekend with some great girlfriends in South Haven. We have been doing this every summer for about ten years now!! We all met through our husbands and I have to say I can't imagine my life without these women or this group. Since the "guys" originally met in highschool at Portage Northern, somehow the nickname "Portage Posse" started. We often refer to ourselves as the posse or posse wives or whatever applies on that particular day. There are over a dozen couples and almost thirty kids between us now.
Although I am so excited for some rest and relaxation, my heart is heavy. One of our good friends from this group's dad is dying of cancer. The doctors have just given him weeks to live, so two of the girl's (his daughter and daughter in law) obviously won't be coming and for what they are all enduring we are all so sorry. Their dad, Dick, has also been a huge party of our "posse". Coming to our parties, tailgates, weddings, etc. He has been a father figure to Jeff and several of the other guys who didn't have dads growing up. I pray his journey from this world to the next is as pain free as possible and for peace for all of them.
Its seems again, as of late, that there is just a lot of yucko news out there. Instead of getting bogged down in it all,I am trying to just pray through it all and learn and grow through it all.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Five,three and nine months

Today is Ellie's nine month time flies! It certainly didn't feel like her gestation went by that fast:) In honor of this, I have decided to do a kid update. I haven't done one in awhile and I love looking back at my posts about what the kids are up to. Right now Caroline is saying in her husky little voice, "Stop doing that momma!" meaning me we will see how far I get:)
We will start with the oldest, Matthew, recently turned five and getting older and wiser with every passing day. Sometimes this makes me happy, as he is a great big brother and help to me. But other days it makes me miss the days when he was just a little guy. His maturity also helps remind me that kids do grow out of phases and that the things that drive you crazy beyond belief pass away. He loves playing outside and hates eveything to do with school..good thing its summer. He has become our night owl. He still loves a good snuggle with his mommy. He adores his cousin Derek and cherishes time spent with him. He can be very passionate and impulsive. Determined when he puts his mind to something. I love him dearly.
Caroline is three and a half. Still a challenge but still holds a special place right in the middle of my heart. Thanks to speech therapy, her speech skills have greatly improved in the last six months. Especially her language skills. She is a repeater which can get Jeff and I into trouble:( While she does have an attitude lots of times, her great determination serves her well in accomplishing her goals. Caroline is the master of many skills Matthew still could care less to do, like dressing herself, putting on her shoes, getting herself food, riding a tricycle and peddling it. We are still working on channeling her passion for good but I think we will all make it!!
Elizabeth or Ellie, is still a dear little soul. Laid back, with crazy curly hair and mesmerizing blue eyes she continues to be my sunshine. A little delayed in the gross motor dept, she went to physical therapy dept and has made great strides in the last month. She can now roll and sit and really wants to crawl. She seems to be following her brother and sister's lead with all or nothing. She adores her siblings and kicks ferociously when she sees anyone she loves. She sleeps, she eats,she plays.
ALthough I have written before that my kids tend to drive me to the brink of insanity, as I read over this post I am humbled and greatful. I have spent several minutes reading Caringbridge pages about kids who have cancer, have suffered strokes due to open hear surgery and of course baby Sam. I thank God for the health of my children and for the mundaneness of the little irriation that every child brings b/c so many mothers and fathers would do anything for that.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Old People Rock..

I have been working at a retirement home for about seven months now. I work Monday and Friday afternoons from 3:30-7:30 and every other weekend. Is it the most fun I have ever had? No. Am I utilizing my college degree? No. Do I feel like God has placed me exactly where he wants me to be? Yes. I love, love, love the men and women who reside at Park Village Pines. Some of them are losing it, but for the most part they are really together, wise people who love to chat it up. They are geniunely interested in my life. One women in particular, Fran has become particularly close to my heart. I pass her room as I am going back and forth to the dining room and I stop and chat with her. I have been doing this regularly now for about three months. Last week she told me that the past weekend was tough b/c it was the anniversary of her husband's death. They had been married for over 65 years! 65 YEARS PEOPLE!! Its hard for me to even wrap my head around that. I am in such awe of such devotion. I asked her the secret to a happy and long marriage and she said, "Have a sense of humor and forgive and forget!" AMEN to that!! She also told me that she had three sons, but one died when he was 22 hiking on the Appalachian trail. The way she spoke of her son's death and what it did to her and her marriage really moved me. I am blessed to know Fran and to hear and learn from her 88 years on this Earth. I feel honored that God has chosen me to be in these people's lives, even if its to serve them dinner. To make time,even just five minutes to stop in and chat, makes their endless days a little less dreary(her words not mine:)
Who knows how long I will be at this job..but I am grateful for God's blessings through it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

losing my mind

That is how I been feeling lately. I have been in really dark,dark place with parenting and especially with dealing with Caroline. Caroline is sweet and loving but she is perhaps the most strong willed child I have ever known, and I have known some doosies! IN dealing with her I have seen myself become completly unglued, unnerved, frazzled and plain insane. It all came to a head last week when a combination of factors led me to have a mini breakdown. I joke about it but it was very scary and I literally wanted to get in the car and drive away. Not a nice feeling to have.
So, instead of just giving up and living with this constant feeling of dread of having to mother for another minute, I decided to do something. To call a therapist, for myself and for Caroline. To be determined to do some serious soul searching and seriously commit to being a better person for myself and in turn my children. I am sure there will be moments again where I want to throw in the towel but where would that get any of us?
I share this not for pity's sake but for any of you out there who also stuggle with the grind and wear of parenting, especially a more difficult child...I feel your pain. Just wanted someone to know how it feels from this side of the keyboard..

Monday, March 22, 2010

35 and still a big ,fat baby!!

I love coming up with posting titles!! So, this Thursday, March 25th, I will officially be 35! Yikes..too close to 40 for me thank you very much. When I was younger and probably until I was 25 my birthdays were always filled with fun, presents, cake and presents, oops, did I mention the presents already. I have been thinking alot about my love language. Is it possible to speak them all? I like gifts of service, I like gifts, I really like words of affirmation and I don't mind a snuggle from my favorite guy, who just happens to be Jeff. So, really know one can win on my special day. Here is what the perfect day would look like for me

Wake up on the 25th of March to a giant bouquet of flowers with a BIG card full of LOTS of WORDS of why I am SO LOVED!! Then, the card would go on to say that I was getting a day at the spa, a balls out day at the spa, complete with massage, facial, pedicure. Then I would meet a bunch of friends at my favorite resturant. Ok, I realize I live in Kalamazoo, so I will take the Olive Garden. Then, a night a hotel, ALL BY MYSELF, Jeff stops by for a booty call(hee hee) and then I get to sleep in and do whatever I WANT FOR THE whole NEXT Day!! Am I asking for too much?? Ok, maybe!
Am I grateful for my home, kids, husband, health and loads of other things..OF COURSE! But, its a birthday wish so bug off!!
I know in reality, March 25th will most likely look like this,
1. Wake up at 6 am by Caroline saying, " Hi Mama, I get out of bed" and then be showered by a million "Happy Birthday Mommy" Wishes from Matthew and Caroline..
2. Make my own cake
3. ASk Jeff if he is really NOT getting me anything because the purse I bought in early Feb counts as a gift..:(
4. Make my own cake, which I allow Matthew to pick and its white, which I don't really like. Stay as calm as I can, as egg shells go flying into the batter.
5. Realize that my life is truly charmed and that I am a big,fat baby!!:)))
In reality, it will be mostly the second list...I am going to Lansing to hang out with some great friends who I haven't seen in ages for a Lia Sophia party and some girl time. Jeff is going to a Sweet Sixteen party on Sat and so I will have a whole night to myself to watch whatever I want and have the house be super clean..what more could a birthday girl ask for???

Saturday, March 13, 2010

No more babies..

On Monday,Jeff's long awaited snip snip will occur:) Its been delayed THREE times since we first tried to schedule it in November!! A variety of reasons caused the delays. One of the biggest being our annoying, CATHOLIC faith based health insurance. Since Jeff works for a Catholic hospital, they do not cover ANY form of birth control. Don't even get me started!! This coupled with the fact that last May he had a procedure "down there":) and so the normal in office vasectomy is no longer an option for him. Instead of it costing around $800, its now costing us nearly $3000!! Again, can I say, so annoying!! Anyways, I find myself with mixed emotions about this. I mean, I know we are done having kids. But, with as much as I am so totally in love with my last baby and all she entails, I am sad that she is it. But, Jeff likes to remind me that she will soon no longer be a baby, she will grow up to be a THREE YEAR OLD, which as you all know from following this blog, seeing my FB status's or seeing me completly unglued in person..I don't deal with nearly as well as with a sweet, easy going six month old. I am so grateful for the blessing that God gaves us in Elizabeth Jane. She is the sunshine on the darkest days of my life. I can't imagine my life without her, or any of my kids!! I am so grateful that I was blessed with the ability to get pregnant easily and with relatively easy pregnancies. Our cup has runneth over in this area of our lives.
It will also be nice not to freal out every month that I am pregnant and be able to just do it!! TMI but, whatever, this is me. I am so sick of having my sex life being dictated by what day of the month it is. However, I can understand Jeff's freakish obsession with not takling chances since two of our three children were conceived at times that techinically it wasn't possible to conceieve. Like I always tell Jeff, "With GOd, all things are possible!!"
That has been the biggest blessing of Ellie's arrival. That Jeff has really learned that God does know best and how blessed you become when you let God's plan become your plan. I know some may argue that a vasectomy isn't God's plan but we're confident that this what God desires for us and our marriage.
We're hoping things go well on Monday, with no complications from the previous surgery. Also for a quick recovery!!
On a totally unrelated note, in regards to my previous post about Mckmama and being increasingly leary about her motives...I TAKE IT BACK!! After her recent missions trip to Kenya and with reading the slanderous lies on other blogas about her, I no longer doubt her motives. I have come to realize that its between her and God and I think she does have good and decent as well as moral intentions with her blog and work related to that! Random, but really on my mind this past week. I may do a post on it if I have time next week!
Hoping that Spring is arriving wherever you may find yourself!!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

If only I could bubble tape my life...

Interesting title...
Last Monday started out ordinary. I woke up, made coffee, piddled around,Matthew had a snow day. Then, I went to work and thirty minutes into my shift ordinary life came screeching to a halt when my boss came in to tell us that our co worker Ashley was killed only hours earlier in a car crash. Each time in my life that I received news like this I remember the feelings of hearing that initial news. Now, with Ashley it was more disbelief. I mean I have only worked at Park Village Pines for about four months. In all honesty, Ashley and I weren't super close. But, she was 18, she was loved by many people and ..she was 18!! Too young to leave this world.
I excused myself to the bathroom and wept for her and her family, especially her mother. As a mother myself now, I really was stuck with thinking about the horror that she was going through. All week at work it was sad and eery being there.
Today before my shift, I went to the funeral home and saw a young, innocent, girl who would have turned 19 the day before, laying in a casket. There is nothing right about that. I thought of my own precious daughters and didn't even want to think about how it would feel to see one of them in this situation. I thought about how it would be nice to put a "bubble tape" of sorts around everyone and everything you hold dear. Then I thought of my amazing faith. Because of what Christ did for me and you on the cross..I don't need bubble tape. I have the ultimate protection of Christ making it all "ok" one day. But, that doesn't mean that I don't completly freak out when I hear about young girls dying in car crashes or sweet six year olds with brain tumors and it goes on and on. I started this post last night and before I sat down to finish it this morning I checked on Kate McRae's caringbridge. Usually when I read it I am moved but this morning, probably because of this past week, I am sobbing. I so want this world not to be broken. I don't want to hear about any more suffering or dying or pain. I want to be in a world where there are not children dying or earthquakes or any of it. Thank God I can set my eyes upon what is ahead during dark times like these. I really can't imagine living a life where this was it. How horridly depressing would that be?!
Well, I guess since I can't bubble tape my life, I should go do my Bible study..the best bubble tape around:)
Happy March blogging peeps!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Blogs for sale

Lately I have been becoming increasingly irritated with the blog by the name "MCKMAMA" I don't really feel like going into the whole back story about what this blog is about. If your so inclined go to There, you will find lots of information about Jennifer and her family of six, soon to be seven. There are two things I have noticed about this phenonenon of blogs having been "sold out" by which I mean, what was once a blog like mine starts to draw more and more readers. This draws the attention of advertisers. This leads to advertisments and lots and lots of posting. And, in my opinion the honesty and rawness of the blog starts to become compromised. For example with MckMama..I feel like its getting more and more contrived. Like she has a three posts a day minimium. One of her commenters made a statement about how when your reading other people's blogs with whom you don't actually "know" its easy to think you really do know them. This statement really resonates with me. I have said before that I have struggled with blog stalking. But, I have never pretended that I have real relationships with those people. Real, in the sense that I have seen them face to face and really know what they are like, not just what they type they are like. I will say, that I have some friends that I would never have had if it hadn't been for this blogging world and I do consider them friends even though we never met. They, however don't subsitiute the friends I have that I can touch:) Although JoEllen and Kelley..if your reading, you just might get touched by me someday because I would love the chance to "meet":)
I guess what I am saying, in my normal drawn out,long winded fashion is everything in moderation. The computer and this world of blogging, FBing, Tweeting, etc has the ability to bring us away from real fellowship.I want to keepconnected and keep praying for those in need. I want updates about stuff that is going on out there. I like being able to look at a picture of a guy I use to have a crush on in high school and think.."Yep...glad he passed on me!!" But, I would always choose to have the realness of crying and praying with a friend in her living room b/c her son's heart isn't fully developed. I will always choose the dinner with a girlfriend whose marriage is in shambles. The thirty minutes a day I spend looking blogging stuff up could never replace the years of real life living I have done with my friends.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Can't I have my cake and eat it too??

I started going back to Bible study Fellowship again in January. This year they are studying John. It is probably my fifth time being in BSF. I have been in several Bible studies and I have to say BSF is my favorite. I have learned the most about the Bible through my BSF studies. One of the things I love most about being a Christian is when you seek Christ, through His word, how he SO delivers. It amazes me how no matter where I am in life, HIS word IS relevant! So where in the part of John where Jesus raises Lazarus and then Mary annoints Jesus with washing his feet in the expensive oil and Judas freaks and then betrays Jesus. Our teaching leader spoke this week about Mary's sacrifice and how pleasing that was to the Lord. How its not always about how much things cost but what it COSTS us! In debating the whole Christian ed thing, this really struck a chord with me. I am definetly the kind of person who likes to think I can sacrifice but really in the end, most of the times, I bail on it when it gets uncomfortable for me. I was talking to Jaime about this yesterday and said,"Geez, Abraham was going to sacrifice his son and I don't even want to give up my coffee maker!" I was kinda of joking but in all honesty, not really. I am sure this comes from not being in close communion with God. But, as I have been spending more time in prayer about this, I do hear God's voice more and more clearly regarding sacrifice and how it can glorify the Lord. I often think if I am not suffering in an obvious way that I am not really serving God. But I think one of things God is trying to show me is that when we are obedient to what he desires for our lives, it can impact others just as much as a more obvious sacrifice does.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Crazy in love?

Our small group just finished reading the book "Crazy Love" and if you haven't read it...go buy it...NOW!! It was such a good book and it sparked such wonderful conversations among us. It also got Jeff thinking in a way I have never seen before which is super exciting for me. Although he is often a man of few words, when he does have something to say, it always seems to be really profound! That's not just the thought of a doting wife, others have said it before too. :)
The whole premise of Crazy Love is to be obsessed in your love for Jesus. To toss your cares for things of this world, like our cars, houses..stuff aside and live with abandon for our God. One of the ways in which this has struck me has been with our house. Before we moved here, we weren't really living in God's will. We believed in Him, but we were more inclined to go for things like the bigger house, fancier car..etc. Now, not so much. One thing that has become a priority for us is figuring out a way to provide our children with Christian schooling. Matthew attends Kalamazoo Christian for preschool and Caroline will attend next Fall. To be honest, it never even crossed my mind as an option before. But, now, after seeing what it has to offer..I feel very convicted that this is what the Lord wants for our children. Furthermore, I very strongly feel like the sacrifices that would be needed on our part is what God is calling us to. There are alot of uncertainties right now in our lives as far as careers and where we will be in the next three years go. But, one thing I am absolutlely sure of is I want GOD in the center of this decision. I want to seek HIS will for our lives. I want to look back five years from now and breath easy knowing..whatever came our way that we sought the Lord through it all! Defintely five years from now..heck, five days from now I want to be able to say I am crazier in love with God than ever!! How about you?? Are you CRAZY!!???

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Marriage preservation

So lately I have been surrounded by people getting divorced. It started with two of my parents friends, who after 40 some years of marriage called it quits. Now it has trickled down to the demographic of which I am in (married about ten years, small kids, etc.) Yesterday my sister told me about a couple, for whom I nannied for and actually lived with for four months were calling it quits. My mom later asked me if I was shocked and I answered No..sadly, people giving up on their marriages seems to be happening all too frequently. Then, I started considering my own marriage. I mean, I lived with that couple, hung out with them alot and they seemed pretty happy, in fact, their marriage has a lot of similiarities to my own. It was seven years ago that all this occured and obviously alot could have gone on in those years. This lead me to seriously consider how much I potentially take my marriage and its well being for granted. I think that I do. I just assume that Jeff will always be there, always love me, always take care of us, always put up with me and whatever mood I decided he gets that day. I have joked before that I sometimes talk to Jeff like Kate Gosselin talked to Jon. Really, this isn't funny. I should be more honoring and respectful of him..always, not just when the mood strikes.
I blogged about making time for intimacy, and I don't want to be TMI here, but that is one area that we struggle in. But, I think this is defintely one area that people over look but can truly have detrimental consequences to the survival of a marriage. If you lose that part, what are you other than roomates and if your a roomie with your spouse it becomes way easier to "break your lease" so to speak.
I am saddened by all the people I know who are struggling in their marriages and especially for those who have deemed theirs unrepairable. My heart aches for the innocent victims, the children of these unions. I have been lifting these people in prayer because I truly believe our Lord is capable of restoring anything and no situation is ever hopeless. But, I also am determined to learn lessons from other people's mistakes and to remain proactive in my attempts to preserve my marriage.