Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas #1

Our children are completely and totally aware of the true meaning of Christmas and Jesus birth is truly always the center of our activities and celebration. However, we do have some fun with the whole "santa" aspect of Christmas (see past posts of former Christmas's). One of our local friends dresses up as santa and goes around Christmas Eve to different families spreading some cheer. This is the 3rd year for him to come visit our kids. He brings each of the kids 1 small gift and they are so tickled.

Christmas scrapbook

Byron teaching Kent and Vince how to change the oil on the tractor.

Christmas Caroling

One of my favorite Christmas activities is caroling. My kids singing to Mr. & Mrs. Conley. They had sang to quite a few others before this picture was taken and you can tell they are tired. They were missing their Sunday afternoon naps.

Singing to Mrs. Marie McAdoo. Without her, our church would not be in existance. There was a point in our church's history where there was a group of people in authority trying to close down the church. Sr. McAdoo and 2 other godly women in the church stepped up and fought hard to keep the doors open.

Our church ladies make our Christmas treats each year and this year they totally hit the ball out of the park. The chocolates were AWESOME!!! We had so much fun making it together and then at a later date we all packed it together. Here are the pictures of some of the church ladies as we packed the boxes.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Time With Daddy

This past week Byron scheduled into his schedule some time to just sit and read to the kids. Of course they loved it and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them together. I took lots of pics for when they are older.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

He Really Wants Us to Make It!

For whatever reason, I grew up with the idea that God was in His Heaven with His arms crossed over His chest not just waiting for me to goof up and commit some sin but even expecting me to do just that. I've always known that He could and would forgive me of my sins and that His perfect plan is for all of us to make it to Heaven someday but I never really "got it" until recently.

This summer, our kids participated in the pedal pull at our local fair. Alyssa is 4 and this was her first year to participate. Her father was so intent and determined that she would make a "full pull" - make it to the finish line. Check out this picture:

Look at her daddy. He is wildly waving her towards himself - the finish line. His whole body is into the effort. It doesn't take much to see that if he could win the pull for her himself, he would do it. Yet, he couldn't do it for her. She had to win the race herself. But that didn't stop him for cheering her on and shouting encouraging words to her. Oh, how I wish you could have heard him!

This is a perfect picture of our Heavenly Father. We're sitting on this silly ole tractor called life. We'll trying our dead level best to win this race. But it's hard. The weights keeping getting piled on. The load keeps getting heavier and heavier. And He keeps cheering us on. We want to stop. Yet He keeps cheering. We grumble, "the load is too heavy! I can't carry this much!" Yet He keeps frantically motioning us toward Himself.

If we could see Him, I can guarantee the picture would look very much like the above picture of Daddy Byron and his little girl. With every once of his being, Byron wanted Alyssa to win that race. How much more so must our Heavenly Father want us to cross the finish line victorious and into His waiting arms.

No, He's not up there expecting us to fail and waiting to chastise us when we do. He's leaning towards and gesturing frantically, "You can do it!! Keep pulling!! Don't stop!!! Don't look back!!! Keep your eyes on me!!!"

Keep pulling. Don't stop! We CAN make it!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Does this remind anyone of Barley Green, JuicePlus, etc?

Vinegar for flu, cold, etc....

Barley Green.....



Read this article...(click on this link)

Experts: Placebo power behind many natural cures

Monday, November 9, 2009

Those Were the Good Ole Days

When my dad was a little boy his grandfather Wallace would take him to this old cider mill. We stopped to look at it while we were visiting last week. It is in very run down condition but all the equipment was still inside and intact.

The Annual trip to the pumpkin Patch

My dad is friends with a man who owns a pumpkin farm. Each year he allows dad's grandkids to come to his pumpkin fields and pick whatever pumpkin they want. These pumpkins are ENORMOUS!!!

Happy Birthday x4!

A couple weeks ago we went to my parents to celebrate Kendra's 6th birthday. While we had her party we also celebrated both of my grandfather's birthdays and my grandmothers birthday since all 4 have birthday's within days of each other. Here's pics of the event. You can see the age of each person on the cake.

Grandpa Wallace

Grandma Wallace

Papa Blair


Grandpa & Grandma Blair with their great grandkids

Grandpa & Grandma Wallace with their great grandkids

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Two nights ago I had a dream. That is not unusual for me. I tend to dream frequently. Typically I can't remember the dream the next day. However, this dream was very intense and I woke up crying. The dream went like this....

I was very elderly and in a nursing home. In the dream I was laying feebly in a bed and Kendra - in adult form was sitting beside me crying and holding my hand. I asked her what was troubling her and she said, "Oh Mom, don't you worry about me and my problems. There is nothing you can do to solve my problems so I don't want to burden you with them." Even in my dream, my heart was broken. I'm a mom. Even in my advanced age and diminished strength, I was still, through and through, a mom and my nature was, even then to solve my children's problems. However, my adult child was not giving me that chance. The dream then moved on to Kendra getting up and kissing me tenderly then leaving the room. However, as she left the room her adult form changed back to her present day form of a 6 yr old child looking over her shoulder at me.

As I laid there in my bed, I could feel - almost taste my own longing to go back to her childhood. To when I not only COULD solve most if not all of my children's problems but alas, was expected to solve them. I ached to hold each of them and rock them and carress their small heads as they laid against my chest. To tuck them into bed and be the center of their universe. But, instead, I was helpless and alone. Alone with my memories.

I woke up sobbing. I was heavy hearted the next day. Partially because I am well aware that the day is coming, truly RACING toward me where that scenerio will not be a dream but my reality. It is the natural course of life and nothing will reverse the aging cycle other than death.

However, the haunting fear that I awoke with was this.....When my time comes to reside in such a facility, what exactly WILL my memories be? Will they be memories of what COULD have been or what was and can never be again. In my mind I heard a little voice from just earlier that morning - "Mommy, can you come play Candyland with me?" My response? - "Oh, Alyssa, Mommy is so busy getting lunch ready. I really can't right now. How about later this afternoon?" I remembered then that "later" never happened. Another scenerio flashed past my eyes..... "Mommy! I can't make my bed! The sheets are all off, please come help me fix it!" My response? "Kendra, Mommy can't come right now. I am too busy. You can do it yourself cause you're a big girl." Shame on me!

These are just a few examples of scenerios that I am going to strive URGENTLY to avoid ever again. I do not want to have regrets when that day comes.

Next to God and Byron my children are my top most priority and will always be. I just want to go on record. I may not agree with every choice they make (when that time comes) but they will always and forever be mine to mother and I will make sure they never ever question my love, my loyalty to them and my pride in them.

This has definately been a "strange" post but I felt like I needed to post it. I had decided not to but I just felt that I was to post it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

This is a "Must Read" about Priorities

A friend of mine pointed me to this and I'm so thankful to her. This is possibly one of the most encouraging articles I've run across in a very very long time. This was written by a blogger mommy who also homeschools. Her blog is Her name is An Voskamp. Here is the somewhat lengthy but outstanding article:

He comes to the back door, Opa Voskamp, like they all do. Never up the cobblestone walk to the front door, there off the porch, with its wreath and welcome mat, but to the back door off the garage, the one which purposely has no walkway at all from the laneway to the doorknob, and walk into the tossed shoes, the dropped bats and balls and shovels and gloves, in through the mudroom. In through my laundry, my piles, my underwear and crusted socks.

I try to smile. He tries not to look.

His own wife smelled of bleach their fifty one years of marriage. She met her sons at the back door with fresh clothes and a hamper, ready to take clothes smelling of sweat, cows, straw directly to the washing machine. You could bounce quarters off the stacks of linens in her closet. she didn’t home educate their nine children. I do, our six. I always seem to forget this minor detail. Does he?

I try to smile. It’s weak. I catch him looking at wrinkled jeans waiting the folding.

We hug long and I love this man, hunched frame, and I just close my eyes to the trail of papers and books across the counters, and he pats my back, takes a chair, mine, and I move to the other end of the table, serve the bowl of salad, pass the bread, the pork chops, and the children chatter, the men talk.

“You got that grain dryer wired this week, did you?” Opa asks between the mouthfuls, over children laughter.

“Yes, that’s finished up,” Farmer Husband pours water into his stainless steel cup, his Dad’s too. “And we got that aeration floor laid out in the grain bin at the other farm too.”

“You get a lot done in a week, don’t you?” Father smiles at Son, glints my way, and I warm with the gratitude, and Son shrugs his shoulders, smiles in thanks for the affirmation of a Father. “Well I guess we just try everyday.”

Try everyday. I do. Really, I do. I laugh, shake my head. Who would know it, looking around here most days?

I get up to fill the pitcher at the tap, sapling child needing rewatering. Test the temperature with the fingers, then fill. Who can see the spelling lessons? The breakfast made this morning? The next chapter of The Yearling read, the last child rocked early in the morning, the prayers whispered middle of the morning? I try in a week and a lot may get done, but the right things? Like water through fingers…

I water this grove of children. The water pours and think how I want a crumbless, smudgeless, spotless house, a house with empty laundry baskets, empty sinks, empty garbage cans, with floors like mirrors and mirrors like water, and a pantry lined neat like books in the study and pies lining the counter like sweet children all in a row. I want the (seeming) perfection all day that only happens at night when the whirl slows to a still and the six children sleep, their books and their legos, their papers and their creations, all finding their resting places too. I want a father-in-law who walks in mid-spin and sees what I have done with a day, with a week, and smiles his satisfaction.

I want things seen.

These can be idols.

Again, again I return to the story of Abba Paul, that desert monk who wove baskets and prayers.

While other monks lived close enough to cities to sell their handiwork in the markets, Abba Paul lived such a distance that the cost of transportation would exceed any profits from selling the baskets. Nonetheless, each day he collected palm fronds and worked as faithfully as if basket making were his primary means of support.And come the end of the year, when his cave overflowed with long months of toil, he took torch to the work of his hands and the flames devoured and rose higher and cackled long into the night. Then, come morning, the heat died away, satiated. And Abba Paul stood in the long quiet and the wind blew away the ashes of all his work.

Abba Paul had nothing to show for the work. Product made papery ash.

Too often, mostly, sadly, I want product, others to see product, so yes, they can see: I have worth. Stinking idols. This, I think this is why I struggle to stop to pray at fixed times throughout the run of a day. If I stop doing, will I have merit? Will I still exist if I stop the producing?

How do I forget that I actually exist more, fully, wholly, when I do that which I was made for? Worship. Communion. Prayer, hidden and intangible, it is the day’s true product, it’s ultimate purpose.

So Abba Paul knew. The product is secondary…. Perhaps even pointless. It’s the prayers, the relationship, the love while doing the work, that hold the meaning, the merit.

The process of prayer is the real product.

That process may not be seen when walking in the back door.

Only the eyes of a stilled, seeking heart can observe things not visible.

“Are there any more potatoes?” A young son grins, lifts his empty plate, hopeful. I pile his happiness high, scoop out the last of the mashed spuds. Morning’s work complete and gladly gone.

The bowl’s empty.

I stack the dirty plates and children joke and I catch Tall Girl’s eyes and she smiles and nods.

Again, today, I must: Slay the idol of the seen.

Today, a thousand times again today, I will: preach the truth to this soul prone to wander. I will seek the affirming smile of Father.

“Unseen. Things Unseen. Invest in Things Unseen.”

The dishes pile on the counter and we sit, read Scripture, take the hand beside us, and we pray.

....pray to your Father,who is unseen. ~Mt. 6:6

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~ 2 Cor. 4:18

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thankful Monday

Today, I choose to be thankful. My humanness wants to complain and whine but I am consciously choosing to be thankful and to push away the worrisome, negative thoughts that are just pounding in my head.

- Today, I choose to be thankful for my wonderful husband who took a chance on me 15 yrs ago - a geeky, immature high school girl. This man puts up with me, loves me and takes care of me. Yes, I am one of those women whose man takes care of her. I am not out to prove anything and I just happen to believe that part of mans role is to care for his wife and I am quite content and happy to let Byron fulfill that role in our relationship. And yes, I also know that if anything were to happen to him, I will be in big trouble. We'll cross that bridge if/when we get to it.

- Today, I choose to be thankful for my healthy, fun, ornery, obnoxious, lovable children. Through them I have gained a far clearer picture of my heavenly Father. Through them I see how total, unreserved acceptance works. Through them I have learned how to love without reservation and with eyes closed to imperfections and faults. Through them I have learned to prioritize and to practice patience in all things, at all times.

- Today, I choose to be thankful for my house. Yes, even that. :-) I could be in a cardboard box underneath a bridge. I am thankful that God is using this housing situation to make me a better person. Not sure how all that will work out just yet but I'm confident He has a purpose so I'm just sitting it out waiting to see what He has in store!!!

- Today, I choose to be thankful for my mother in law and father in law. I don't think anyone else is willing to crawl under our trailer and make necessary repairs. They've rescued us from more disasters than I can count. We've borrowed pretty much everything they own at least once (ok,that may be a slight exaggeration) and they've babysat our kids so much they are thinking of building on an addition just for them. Ok, that is definitely not just an exaggeration but it sounded good. The "in law" jokes are indeed always very funny and I enjoy them as much as the next person but truly, my in laws are far better to me than I deserve.

- Today, I choose to be thankful for my girlfriends because truly, I have the best friends in the entire world, hands down. I am the type of person who is a loner. I am not one to spend hours talking on the phone (to anyone) and I have a difficult carrying on lengthy conversations but God has sent into my life a handful of awesome, to the grave, friends. I may not have 100's of them but the ones I have are the best. What I lack in quantity (when it comes to number of friends) I make up for in the quality of them. Most of my friends know pretty much all their is to know about me yet they love me anyway. Girls, you know who you are. Please know that you are loved very very much.

- Today, I choose to be thankful for my church family. God called us here 6 yrs ago, with an undeniable, clear call. I am so thankful for that call and I am determined to never move ANYWHERE again without an equally clear and certain call. There is much I could say about our church family but through them I have learned that God works in mysterious ways - ways that are always, undoubtedly higher than our ways.

- Today, I choose to be thankful to be alive. God is good . Always. In the good times. In the bad times. In the "I don't know" times.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Perfectly Imperfect

Warning: This clip involves a funeral and is a bit emotional.

I posted this on Facebook as well so some of my loyal readership probably saw this there but this too good not to post here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Girls Day Out - Niagara Falls Trip

We Gurnee girls were so excited to find out that the Mayhle Girls were coming for a visit! We headed to Niagara Falls for a short vacation. Here's some pics of our outing.