Browsing the blog archives for April, 2012.

We Picnic-ed


Our good friends, Gerald and Janell, invited us on a picnic Friday night.  The location was lovely, the food delish, and the company quite enjoyable.

The magical picnic area they chose.  I’m really in love with the lovely trees of spring.

The sunset cast lovely shades and colors on the clouds creating an even more magical feel.

The setting sun made our “Lord of the Rings” Gates even more middle-earth-ish.

No pictures to share of the picnic-ers or the lovely food, unfortunately.  Next time we’ll be more intentional.

May your week be filled with life-giving encounters.

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I come from (in my opinion) a medium sized-on-the-verge-of-large family – 6 kids.  I’ve thought that small families are better because I value close relationships and feared that large families equals more distant relationships.  After all, you can only be close to so many people.

So I married into a large (in my opinion) family – nine kids.  And four and a half years ago when I first met the family, 9 felt extra large.  And there was the confusion of fitting in with the sister-in-laws who were, at the least, 10 years my senior, or the nieces, who were 7 years younger.

Over the next few years, I found a very comfortable nitch with my sister-in-laws.  We get together and talk about cooking, and house work, and mature stuff.  We talk about good stuff, too, like dreams and hurts and loss and plans and desires.

I found a delightful nitch with the neices as well.  We get together and do crafts and talk about clothe and fashion and boys and  teen/twenty somethings mature stuff.  We talk about good stuff too, like dreams and hurts and loss and plans and desires.

This big family idea kinda started growing on me.  From the beginning, the big family get-togethers were enjoyable, really.  And, yes, sometimes the gatherings are chaotic and loud and everyones screaming for attention and no one is paying attention.  But I kinda, sorta like the chaos.

And then there’s the nephews.  We get together and talk about cars and computers and . . .  Just kidding.  They talk about that and I pretend I know what they’re talking about.

But about those nephews. . .  Three of them were here this past week and it was such a fun week.  I feel so priviledged to have these guys in my family.  And so blessed to have them come visit.

And I think. . .  What an honor that I got to marry Duane and meet all these amazing people in this large dynamic family and be included in this family.

The jury’s still out on what size family we will have.  Actually, there is no jury.  It’s us and God figuring that out -mostly God.  But I think I might kinda be voting for at least a medium sized-on-the-verge-of-large.

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Important Things


Something I’ve been processing a bit lately is priorities.  And the fact that priorities need to be ranked because sometimes something important gets trumped by something more important.

Something important to me is having a warm welcoming comfortable home.  I realize that that has a lot to do with my and Duane’s attitudes and how we invite people in.  But it also has a bit to do with our surroundings as well.  Which is why I have goals of very intentionally decorating our house.  Yes, we have lived here over a year and my walls are mostly bare.

The reason at first was because decorating does not come as brainlessly for me as it does for some people.  I was going to use the word “naturally” but I think brainlessly fits better.  I believe I do have a natural ability to decorate.  It’s just a little slower and takes more brains and time then it does for some people I know.  (or maybe it’s that I’m too hard to please.)  And when we first moved, I needed a break.  After that year of working on the house and making house decisions, I was quite content with empty walls, missing closet doors, sheets instead of curtains, etc.

But gradually, the desire for curtains and to make my house more “us” has become big.  And the need for a break has long since been gone.  So desire was there.  I just needed the inspiration.  Inspiration slowly began to come last fall as I spent time with my sister-in-law and dear friend, Jolynn.  Something about being around her creativeness stirred all kinds of ideas in my head.

And gradually, things are taking shape.

The curtains (we prefer them to doors) in the bedroom closet.

The spring wreath that this non-creative person constructed.

I’m discovering that I do have a bit of an artistic side.  I think I always shied away from being creative because I simply thought, I wasn’t, because my way of being creative was different from so many people I knew.  I’m slowly learning to “create” my way.

One wall arraingement in my living room.    It’s missing something.  Some word art maybe?  I was on the lookout for  a clock whenever I’d go shopping.  Kinda wanted something larger due to my large walls (11′ ceilings), but then I “found” this one stashed in a corner of Duane’s office.  Forgot we had it and thought I could probably handle the smaller sized clock since it didn’t involve spending money.

The curtains that I got someone else to make for me.  Yes, I’m discovering a love of creating, but sewing is still not one of my first loves, so I thought it best to hire this project out.  We had lived for some time with no curtains in the kitchen windows.  I had gotten pretty much use to it, but it was time to end our fish-bowl existence.  The night we hung them up, my husband and I both felt rather closed in.  We’ve gotten use to that feeling, though and we prefer the feeling of a smaller room vs. the fish-bowl feeling.

The curtain for the new bathroom that I sewed together myself.  Not quite as complicated as the kitchen ones and a little forgiving due to the gathered nature of them.

I recently made some curtains for the upstairs bathroom window and closet.  They’re hanging, but not complete.  I want to add some ruffles or flowers or something, but somethings more important are presently trumping my desire to have a nicely finished house.

Things like:
-working to save up lots of money for some important goals
-cooking so we eat and survive
-making time for important relationships

So I squeeze in “house” moments whenever I can, because right now finishing my house is about number seven on my list of priorities, which means it really isnt’ a priority.

Maybe in a couple weeks, I can make it number three for a whole week.  I’ll have to see what I can do about that.




They catch me unawares, the moments a memory pops up.

Like the moment at the store the other night, standing in the isle looking at water filter pitchers.  My comment to Duane was, “your mom keeps hers on the counter.”  As soon as I said it, I realized it had come out present tense.  I left it that way.  I didnt’ bother to correct myself.  It felt ok to say it that way.  Cause in some ways her presence is still very “here” on earth.  No, not literally, but the way some things are still the same in her kitchen, like the pitcher on the counter.

I dug out my sudoku book the other night.  Duane says, “that’s the one I bought for you when dad bought one for mom.”  We shared that love, her and I.

The first birthday without that card from a mother in a far away land.  But the husbands 1st birthday without the card – that was harder still.  And the wife getting, or not getting, a card for him couldn’t make it better, or worse.  Cause nothing can replace it – this getting a card from mom.

And the pictures. . .  pictures of a little boy.  She is the only one who could share with me that perspective – the perspective of mom to the little boy.  There’s pieces of Duane that I won’t know, because I can no longer hear from mom.

And these moments – they invite me to value the present moments.  And as hard as those moments can be sometimes, I want them.  I need them.  Because they keep me aware of the importance of living fully – this life I’m living right now.

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The Yearly Tradition


At least I think it’s a tradition.  We’ve done it for 3 or four years now -traveling to the hills of PA with my family Easter weekend, that is.  This was our home for the weekend.  And yes, we were surrounded by those beautiful pink/purple trees.  I really couldn’t get enough of them.

And we had pleasant blue skies most the weekend, as well.

We took our “yearly” hike up a mountain along with numerous other family members.  My dad was able to climb this year.  Yay!

The kids all pleased with their “found” Easter eggs.

They’re youngest borns.  Nuff said.

Yep.  Them too.

We gathered for many good times in this circle of chairs.

We had close, good fellowship.

It was such a relaxing wonderful weekend.  No stress, just a chance to take it easy a bit.   We kind of like weekends like that.

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