Friday, August 28, 2009

Think Quotes, It's Friday

A friend reaches for your hand and touches your heart.

(Think Quotes, It's Friday - weekly fun sponsored by Lori Poppinga at Life, Love, and Laughter in a Large Family.)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Important Life Lesson

One of my all-time favorite excerpts:
"Someone has imagined God first fashioning man, and one of the host of heaven, watching, exclaiming in alarm, but you are giving this creature freedom! He will never be wise enough or strong enough to handle it. He will think himself a god. He will boast in his own self-sufficiency. How can you gamble that he will ever return to you?

And God replies, I have left him unfinished within. I have left in him deep needs that only I can satisfy, that out of his desire, his homesickness of soul, he will remember to turn to me." (From The Salty Tang by F.B. Speakman)

Only God can fill the hole in my heart. Marriage, motherhood, and ministry are all good things, but I will never be completely at peace until I stand on bedrock.

Everyone at some point will let me down. I will let them down. Our bodies wear out, things don’t go as planned, stuff happens—only Jesus is constant.

And good.

All the time.

--From the ends of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint, Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.--Psalms 61:2

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Blog Hop - Time to Laugh

Drats. All the swimming locker room stalls were full. We were already running late and I couldn’t wait. I reluctantly turned my back to the open room and tried to undress as quickly as possible.

Amy stared as I peeled off my wet suit. Poor child, I know it’s not a pleasant sight. "Mama, your tummy looks like bread dough."

Out of the mouth of babes. Yes, I could be the before picture for the flat belly diet. "Please get dressed. We’ll be late to pick up Daddy."

"What are those white lines?"

I sighed. "Stretch marks. From having babies." I was sorry she had to find out about the harsh realities of life this way.

"And your legs, they poof out at the top." She meant no harm, but really, this had to stop.

"Gravity, gluttony, genetics. You’ll understand someday." I heard a snicker from one of the stalls. How could I save face? Should I bother? I zipped my pants, tugged on a shirt, and tied my shoes in record time. Obviously, no ice cream for me tonight.

I’m waiting for a stall next time, no matter how long it takes.

Blog Hop is sponsored by Brent Riggs and his MckLinky Blog

MckLinky Blog Hop

Saturday, August 22, 2009

When I grow up I want to be...Just like my siblings...

By Erica

The crazy thing about families is that you don't realize how much you're influenced in little ways by the people you grow up with. One thing I've realized this year is how much my older siblings have shaped my life.

I grew up resenting the teasing and the endless jokes played on me by my two older sisters and brother, but as much as I was fed up with their torment I was ridiculously jealous of the privileges they received and I couldn't wait to grow up to be one of the top dogs.

When I grew up I was going to be completely different then my older brother and sisters, I was going to be so much cooler than them, obviously! But as Christina, Andrew and Kiah all moved out and started their own lives I began to realize how funnily similar my habits were compared to my siblings.

Such as

We call Christina the Second Mother for a reason-- she is bossy! But as I looked past that ( hard as it is) I realized we're pretty similiar. We both stay up into the late hours of the night, we're both so stubborn it leads to many territorial battles, we both have a love for photography and I hear we're both slightly messy.

I've learned alot from Tina. She's an avid traveler, leaving us in a couple weeks to live in Spain for a year. I like seeing her drive after something and making things happen. Tina has shown me an example of seeing something and working hard for it.

Out of all my siblings Andrew has been my greatest influence. When I was younger he convinced me to leave Barbies behind and play endless games of football in the front yard. He also played everlasting games of Imagination with us. Imagination was a game where we drew sketches of huge castle-like houses and imagined living in them as orphans, rich cowboys and everything else you can imagine!

He also shaped my interests in music, anything Andrew listens to I'll listen to too. I've been drawn into soft rock, indie, alternative but I do draw the line at Country!

Another thing I've appreciated about Andrew is watching him in his relationship with his girlfriend and seeing the respect and love he has for her. Its given me a new resolve to wait till I find the right person who will treat me with respect and love me, even if it takes awhile.

Kiah is the little voice in my head whenever I go clothes shopping-Make sure it fits. Will you wear it in 6 months? Do you have anything that matches it?

Kiah and I have had a pretty Italian-like relationship, we love and hate each other! And again my mom says that we both might be a little messy. As far as personality traits go we are pretty much polar opposites (except for our love of Starbucks, although hers might be more of an obsession)

But Kiah is also a big influence in my life. I grew up wanting to be just like Kiah. I love how she works hard to keep things balanced in her life. I enjoy her talking to me and giving me advice. This summer at Camp it was fun to hang out and talk to her about Christianity,and to see her maternal side come out with the little campers. I really wish I could cook like her! can't live with them (but you're forced too) and you sure can't live without them (but you have too).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Little Girl is Growing Up

So if you were hiking in a state park in Northern Wisconsin today and wondered why anyone would hike in a pretty white dress, we were taking senior pictures.

If you wonder why the photographer and subject were arguing, it's because they're sisters.

These are our favorites so far. Please tell us what you think.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not Me Monday - Bread Machine Blues

I have not been frequenting garage sales this summer.

That was not me you saw buying the van console Keith said was ugly. It goes in my van, not his pregnant roller skate Geo Metro. I looked beyond the ugliness and saw a trash can, coin sorter, and four cup holders. I do not get excited over cupholders just because whoever designed our eleven seater van only put in one cupholder. We don't mind sharing one cupholder. My kids love to share

I did not buy a bread machine at a garage sale for $5. Since I already have a Bosch Universal Machine that mixes dough for six loaves at one time, and six people live in our house, buying a machine that only makes one bread loaf at a time isn't practical.

I did not see a wonderful machine that facilitates virtually mess-free bread making. No greasing bread pans, no forming loaves, no heating up the house. We could enjoy homemade bread without gaining weight because with one loaf, no one could pig out.

I was not bothered that it came without an instruction manual. You can find anything on the internet, right? So I couldn't find the exact manual. Close enough works for me.

I was not fazed when the first loaf was too big. Experimenting is how you learn. Less flour and yeast next time.

So after two weeks of trial and error and getting the hang of it, I did not feel confident enough to try the time bake option. I did listen when Keith suggested I not try something like that overnight just in case something went wrong. Wise man.

I did not add leftover oatmeal from breakfast to the dough like I would with regular bread.

I did not get alarmed when the girls noticed smoke coming out of the bread machine. Or when I looked in the machine and saw the dough had risen way too high and had fallen down outside the pan on the heating coils and made a royal stinky smoking mess. The dough had already started cooking so I couldn't take it out to finish cooking in the oven. There was cooked and uncooked dough everywhere so I couldn't get the pan out of the machine.

I did not plug the machine in on the back deck and let it finish cooking and smoking outside without stinking up the house.

Maybe it was the oatmeal?

Being frugal, optimistic, and hard-nosed, I did not cut off the burned parts and make the girls eat it anyway. So the texture was a little strange.

Keith did not shake his head and say, "You're something else."

Click over to My Charming Kids to read what MckMama and other bloggers have not been doing this week.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Psalm 61
Running in circles,
Ever, always seeking,
Finding no rest or contentment
Until realizing that only in
God is my rest and peace
Eternally, everlasting, now and forevermore.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Think Quotes, It's Friday

I am 25 minutes late posting this on Friday but that's what happens when you go garage saling (sp?), swimming at the beach, out for ice cream, watch a movie, and let your daughter use the computer to post pictures on Facebook.

I like to participate in Think Quote It's Friday hosted by Lori Poppinga at Life, Love, and Laughter in a Large Family

This is Erica making her Mama nervous on top of the King Rock at Palisades, our favorite South Dakota state park.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Collective Mother

I pick up my daughter from a friend's house and three extra kids. I pick up another daughter from another friend's house and leave with four more extra kids who don't mind double-belting so we all can fit.

We arrive at the local community swimming pool and a long line of kids pop out of our van, eager to be about their business.

I join two friends who had gotten away earlier. I stake out a spot and settle in. Gradually the mothers of the kids I brought to the pool trickle in and we form the collective mother. We sit in a row of plastic lounge chairs - sister-in-law Karen to the right, friends Lori, Laurel, and Shauna to the left.

We are busy Moms with many children. Our days are always full. Our nights are always short. We love our children and go to great lengths to meet their needs and make them happy. We carve time out of our busy days for the pool. The kids play, and we sit and rest and talk and laugh.

A child approaches with a need and one of us, doesn't matter if it's our child or not, will meet it. We dispense hugs, sunscreen, pool toys, snacks, and band-aids indiscriminately.

A tangle of kids play keepaway in the pool. Brothers, sisters, friends, cousins. Friendships formed from years of shared meals, sleepovers, camping trips, bike rides, Hot Dog roasts, broken arms, birthday parties, and watching movies, parades and fireworks.

Off to the side, Karen's granddaughter plays with Shauna's preschooler. Lori's daughter entertains Shauna's baby. My 24-year-old daughter plays with Laurel's two-year-old daughter they recently adopted from Ethiopia. Shauna's daughter takes Lori's youngest to the bathroom.

I'm only on vacation and appreciate this much more than my friends who come here all the time. This is worth driving eight hours for. The wonderful serving of friendship tastes so good and fills me up inside. I want to hold on to the moment and savor the sweetness of bright sun, splashing water, happy kids, and dear friends.

Two hours later it's time to go. We sort out kids, toys, and towels. We check and double-check for things left behind. We help get each other's kids into vans. The collective mother has dissolved for today.

They'll be back next week. I'll be back next year. But the blessing of fun times with good friends stays with me. I'm thankful and sad and wish this particular pool of water and friends wasn't so far away.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Blog Hop - Week #7 - Favorite Photo

This week's Blog Hop Assignment is a favorite picture, which is like asking a mother with 15 children to choose her favorite child. They're all my favorite, how can I pick just one?

So if I have to choose, this is my current favorite photo...

I grew up in Northern California but married a Midwest corn-fed boy. Oh the things we do for love. I followed the aforementioned where he leads and we have lived everywhere but California. Occasionally I miss what my husband irreverently calls, "The land of fruits and nuts."

Years ago my friend and I took a couple road trips. She had grown up in Nebraska and had never seen the ocean or Redwoods. On Spring Break my sophomore year in college, we traveled from Colorado to Sebastopol, California, where my family lived at the time.

28 years later, my same friend and her husband took their kids who live in Nebraska and had never seen the ocean or Redwoods (do you notice a pattern here?) on a cross country road trip to California and Oregon, where they took this picture for me.

Can you imagine their kid's comments.
"You want me to do what?"
"Why exactly are we doing this?"
"People will see us!!!"
"I'm so embarrassed." (Notice the 13-year-old is standing, but not pointing.)

I feel so honored that they took time out of their busy vacation to think of me.

P.S. - Not sure about the nuclear reference. We weren't a nuclear free zone back in the day. Which does cause one to wonder about all the other towns in America.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tricky, Tricky

This week I'm in Iowa on vacation/picking up kids from camp and college so have neglected the blog a bit. Thought this might be a good time to show some pictures my daughters took at church. (I got their parent's permission to post this.)

Guess my girls are easily entertained, but they had a lot of fun with this.