Friday, December 22, 2006

Jingle all the way~

No doubt that's what we will be listening to on the way to SE Missouri. We are heading out in just a bit but I wanted to give a shout out! I just got word that my SLPP practicum has been finalized as of this morning! Whoop! Whoop! God comes through just on time. I'll serve approximately 16 weeks at ECHO school/early childhood center in South Holland! Yeah~ Now if I could only get that Auntie Jeannette to move a bit closer to love on the Gracie girl one more day~~~ Wishful thinking...

Hey - Have a very Merry Christmas, making many memories with Christ at the center. Love & hugs! See ya next year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Hey- Thanks for praying for my lil Gracie girl. She's much, much better...on her way to 100%. We enjoyed a visiting last night with my brother. They wrestled around & around...Grace was delighted! She loves rough & tumble play nearly as much as she loves tea parties & dressup. :o)

Wow! Travel time is upon us again. We're headed to Missouri to celebrate the season with family & catch up with treasured friends. Speaking of friends, we had a wonderful time this week sharing Christmas with some of our closest friends. Bob, Randy & Auntie Em came over Sunday evening & was worth all the preparation 10X over as we enjoyed fellowship, food & fun. It was quite teary as we expressed our gratitude to each other for walking through/standing together in one of the most difficult years. God holds us; often through the embrace & support of others. Very nice to be with these God-gift friends! Look at these gorgeous cookies made by Shortycake Cookies: Comfort in a Cookie~for every occasion! Cutie Patooty & scrumptious as well.

Thennnnnn, we celebrated with more God-gift friends Nate , Steph and baby Emily. What fun & what delight to have this family in my circle of friends. I'm thankful...

So, Merry Christmas to each of you as your embrace this Most Wonderful of the Year! Thanks again for your thoughts & prayers...really, thank you! See ya next year~

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Prayer: yours plus mine

Grace is sick - fever & other yucky stuff that comes with being baby sick. This is the hardest part of being a single parent...just me alone to pray for her healing in the deep of night. When 2 or 3 agree...there I will be. Though the fever will break by morning (by faith), I would really appreciate it if you would help me pray for her healing & health. Thanks so much - for praying for her...for praying for me the past few days. God holds us tight... this I know.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

My prayer

It's 4 AM & I'm still preparing for tomorrow. These silent moments when it's just me, my thoughts & God-- sometimes they are hard manage without tears dripping into the dishwater. For some reason, this is when hurts seem to surface & I replay slights from others or my own failures over & over as if on repeat. I think I'm just tired; not from lack of sleep, though that may be a factor-- but just tired of life as it is. This is the song rolling around in my head & heart; this is my prayer~

My Prayer (Use Me) Lyrics
Written by George Rowe2003 Careers-BMG Music Publishing, Inc./Rowe House Music (BMI)

Verse 1:
If my heart's been torn by hatred
Mend it with Your love
If I am wounded by my brother
Answer him with a healing touch
When dark moments lead me to doubt
Light my path back to faith
And when hope is crushed by despair
Complete my joy.
Rebuild my strength

Lord use me
I surrender to Your will
Lord use me
May Your peace move me to be still
So You can use me
Show me your ways
Please use me
I desire to do Your will

Verse 2:
Let me hear and not be heard
Let me see and not be seen
Not to be honored, but to glorify
Not to be loved, but to love

Lord use me
I surrender to Your will
Lord use me
May Your peace move me to be still
So You can use me
Show me your ways
Please use me
I desire to do Your will

In giving myself, I know that I will receive
Teach me to forgive by forgiving me
Not to be known, but to know You

Lord use me
I surrender to Your will
Lord use me
May Your peace move me to be still
So You can use me
Show me your ways
Please use me
I desire to do Your will


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Just about over~

Hey there~ the Christmas production is over...what a weekend extravaganza: four performances, 23 song/dance/instrumental numbers with many, many cast/crew involved, 1000+ delighted guests, folks giving their heart to Christ and one tired little girl/mother. I've got all my assignments in; one final down & one to go by midnight tonight. Let the Christmas parties begin, the shopping finish & wrapping commence.

We got our 1st hair cut & still have curls. :o) Christmas portraits are complete & ready to be tucked in the yet to be addressed greeting cards. I've been doing a bit of backup babysitting this week (& next) for my friends. Makes me appreciate those moms toting toddler plus baby. :o) I started a new part time job & interviewed with a university down town for another part time job. Mind you, I already work part time & I don't need anymore jobs. I like to keep my options open.

BUSY~ Needless to say I haven't been the ideal blogger the last couple of weeks. Thanks for checking in on me & I promise to catch up soon.

Amidst the hustle & bustle of the past couple of weeks my nephew, Haddon, turned a BIG 3 years old. Happy, happy birthday, buddy! He's sporting his new cowboy boots & hat in this picture. :o) Cute, ain't he?

Must run but for now, let me leave you with this bit O'Grace from Tuesday night:

We race to the bedroom. Grace won, of course. "I win! I win!", shouts Grace as she jumped up & down on the bed. "Hey", I said...about to tickle the girl silly. "Hay is for the horsies, mommy", quipped my little smarty. This she knows from experience because she rode on the tractor with papa at Thanksgiving putting out hay for the horses to eat. :o)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Back home again~

Well, we're back from a great visit down home for the holiday. We thoroughly enjoyed family & friends, reliving old memories & making new ones. Gracie enjoyed lots of play with cousins & her papas, riding horses AND taking a tractor ride to get some hay. :o) Needless to say, I kicked some Rumicub behind this weekend! Whoo hooo~

The 1st annual Cookie Swap with the college roommates & their kids was a great SUCCESS! It feels so good to be in that loving circle & supercool to see our kids developing friendships among themselves. Gracie is the baby of the group so she is coddled, cuddled & carried around almost more than she can handle. :o) Pics to come soon~ Right, Val?? Soon????

Good to be back home for now. We are busy, BUSY with our annual Christmas Production. Grace & I are both in the program. Working diligently on "Most Wonderful Time of the Year" - I could sing it in my sleep. I problably am singing it in my sleep. That's a good thing. We're doing the Point of Grace version with very tight harmony. We recently had our 1st rehearsal in the living/singing Christmas tree tonight - what a hoot! :o) It's 21ft high- wheee~ This pic is from another church - ours isn't quite this big. Dress rehearsals begin this weekend & it's nearly nonstop until performances Dec 8-10. Looks like the production is sold out according to the website. WOW!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


In this season of thanksgiving, I wish to offer thanks & gratitude for bountious blessings bestowed on my family. Even in loss, there lingers a fragrant peace, assurance of God's presence & hope for the future. Blessings to you & yours~

One of my blogging friends had a thoughtful post a few days back about gratitude. She included some quotes definitely worth sharing. I found a few more to share as well. Thanks & credit to write at home

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Melodie Beattie

Gratitude is born in hearts that take time to count up past mercies.
Charles E. Jefferson(1860 - 1937)

Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.
Jacques Maritain, Reflections on America, 1958 French diplomat & philosopher (1882 - 1973)

Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
G.K. Chesterton

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.
Albert Schweitzer

Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality.
Alfred Painter

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving. H. U. Westermayer

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Little hands to comfort

I was preparing for company yesterday when I got this wild hair to rearrange my bedroom. No clue why it struck me so urgent as I was already under the weather with a cold. Nonetheless, I got the sleigh bed repositioned, putting the mattesses back on the frame, when I kindof got a little lazy & let the top mattress "fall" just a bit onto the box spring. Just a bit...maybe 8-12 inches. However, it hit the frame just so, busting my lovely sleigh bed. I couldn't believe it! A careless blunder made such irreparable damage. My face in my hands, I was distraught. Not crying, just the "I can't believe I just did that" kind of rant.

Gracie, hearing the commotion, came in to see me on the floor assessing the damage with my moaning commentary. Then I feel her little hand rubbing my shoulder. "It'll be ok, mom. It'll be alright.
It's ok. Let me wipe your tears", as she dabs my eyes with a baby wipe. So sweet. "I broke the bed!" I told her. "It's not your fault. It'll be ok." She just continued to comfort me. So sweet. Just what I needed.

A little later, Gracie was putting screws in the plastic container for the 4th time when I heard her say, "Help me, God. Help me, please." She was listening as I implored God for help trying to get the bed propped up. The bed is stablized up for now thanks to the letter S encyclopedia & some wood scraps. Perhaps I can sweeten the neighbor with some chocolate chip cookies to fix this lovely bed. Broken bed or not, I treasure these tender moments with my little comforter. Little hands comfort so sweetly.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Elastic love

Heard a great message this weekend. Something new embedded in the familiar message we've heard before about the Mary & Martha methods of service/worship.

As ardent worshippers, there are time when we find ourselves a bit further from the flame than we would like to be. The chill of even slight separation from Christ is unecessary given God's faithfulness to forgive should we when we sin & repent; repentance being an about face from sin. The fresh nugget comes in here. Why are we reluctant to repent? Or even after repentence, still what hinders us from entering into worship before the king? Could it be that we frame forgiveness in the context of our earthly relationships?

Say, for instance, I have this disagreement or huff with a friend. We resolve it quickly because God said to put all anger, malice, wrath, etc. away from us. He also said not to let the sun go down on our anger. We resolve it quickly in the ideal situation. Even so, depending on the extent of the wound (& some would say the spiritual maturity level of the parties involved), it may take some time to heal; time to rebuild trust & open up again. This is natural but not necessarily healthy.

So we often reserve our affection in unconscious fear or hesitation because God might not be so ready to take us back or regard our gifts of worship as sincere. Afterall, we just fell on our face with our words, attitudes, sin, etc. God doesn't need time. Can you imagine God putting up His hands "Uh, not so fast. I'm gonna need a little time here." Rather, He is waiting for our turning; He is longing for our heart to race to His embrace.

Believe me, I've reminded myself quite a bit the past few years that God is not caught off guard by my failings or fraility. He is not surprised when we fall short; nor is He put off or roll His eyes the 1st or the 100th time we repent. He doesn't , He simply extends His hand in love, forgiveness & restoration. We simply must return the reach.

Oh, that we would have the same elastic love for ourselves, our loved ones & even those unloved.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

American Accent~

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Hmmm - just like I thought! What about you?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Someone To Watch Over Me

Yesterday was the last day for one of my most difficult cases EVER. Bittersweet- I've seen this set of twins for over two years. They turn three next week. Thank God transition is in place for services beyond Early Intervention. They will do great in a 5 day program. Perhaps they will get breakfast & lunch at school. For sure they will have adequate supervision for several hours a day with someone keeping them safe.

This week, one of the boys had a nasty gash/bite in his forehead/between his eyes where the other twin bit him. Mom was napping. While she napped, the also unsupervised 5 year old sister emptied an entire bottle of dishwashing soap onto the carpet. At least that spot will be clean & these bubbles were not poured in my bag. :o)

When I evaluated these kiddos at 12 months, they were both spending 80% of their waking hours in a portacrib (together). They couldn't sit up or crawl given such limited opportunities to build gross motor skills and they had very limited language development beyond open mouth vowel sounds. That was before mom was on her meds. Before she could remember to feed them or change their diaper. Instead of providing developmental therapy as in most cases, I was supporting this mom to provide the bare basics for her kids; they need to be held, talked to, fed, clothed, bathed & loved on. We set up charts & visuals as well as phone call reminders that the twins must eat & drink. Mom was never hungry - except for the cake, cookies, soda, etc - stashed away for midnight consumption - but in her lack of hunger, she more often than not forgot to feed the babies. Both parents have some degree of mental impairment or learning disability. Therein lies the problem.

Selfishly speaking, I won't have to wade through mess to get to the kids. Food, trash, clothes. Mom collected cups - like from 7-11 big gulp or any other large plastic cup from gas stations & such. She didn't want to collect something common that everyone else did like barbie dolls or shot glasses. She collected disposable plastic cups - hundreds of them, stacked everywhere.

I don't have to worry so much about staining my clothes from the spills on the carpet anymore. I don't have worry about unexplained bruises, bumps, cuts or scrapes that I see with no explanation. "I don't know what happened." I won't have to worry about the kids eating week old food off the floor because they are hungry. I won't be nauseous the first two hours of my day because of the stench in that little apartment. I won't have to worry about getting there, finding mom looking in the neighbor's yard because the twins are missing again. She let them play in the backyard by themselves. I won't field calls like "Carmen, I hear the twins screaming upstairs. I don't know if they are ok or not. When are you coming?" I won't be the one to decide if the situation merits another call to DCFS to no avail.

So, it's over. Just me & the social worker that has stuck it out with this family out of a number of other therapists who would rather quit or worse yet, discharge them from services because the conditions were horrid. I took a birthday cake, candle, plates & gifts to celebrate their birthday; celebrating the progress the've made & celebrate this load off my mind & heart. They have made good progress despite the conditions. They sing songs & love books, play appropriately. Mom has made progress & real changes in the way she interacts with her kids. She speaks to them, sings to them rather than yelling. She hold them close rather than pushing them away. She wants good things for them. I know she does. Here's to the twins~ here's to the teachers who will worry about them now.

Someone To Watch Over Me: the after party

Yesterday met with way more happiness AND sadness than I expected. The twins were ecstatic with their little cake & gifts. The 5 & 7 year old siblings were even MORE excited, clamoring to help the twins blow out the candles! The kids (all 4) and I read books as much as we could before lunch. Cuddling in a cozy lap with a book is their favorite thing to do. Daddy does read with them. Yeah!!! A love for books is the foundation to success in reading, which in turn leads to school success & we all know where that leads. YEAH!!!

I was certain to praise the kids as much as I could - the older ones especially. It's part of modeling appropriate interaction but also so they could hear a few more times that they are good: good helpers, good listeners, good looking at book readers, good cleaner upers, good eaters, good singers and good candle blower outers. You can't even imagine the smile that spreads over their entire face when they hear they are good. The 7 year old made me cry when he said over chocolate cake (chocolate cake all OVER us), "I sure wish we had something for you to remember us by. Don't forget us." Awwwwww.... "You've given me the best gift to remember you. We will remember eating this cake together, singing, laughing & being happy together. I will not forget you."

Mom joined us only to light the candle & take a picture (that was really nice). She did not enjoy the cake moment with her children. I KNOW this woman loves cake. She did not say goodbye, staying busy digging for socks without looking at me as I praised her boys' progress, her progress . I choose to believe that the goodbye was hard for her as well, instead of any other reason why she would not acknowledge me. I don't need a thank you to do my job.

I prayed over each twin before leaving; praying for health, growth, good success & safety. Prayed for a very real embracing from the one who knows how to hold us & love us. On my way out the door, little M. called me back to kiss the owie on his finger. I cried all the way to my next appointment.

Later in the day, I wept more while reading Motherless Mothers (Edelman). There was a poignant piece related to the loss I feel for these kids in the absence of protective parenting.

Most parenting experts agree that a moderate amount of anxiety is a normal and important element of parenting. Parents need to have some degree of concern for their children's wellbeing: that's what ensures their offspring's survival. They need to be responsive to signals that aren't evident to others around them, the unique signs that their child is in distress. Daniel Stern calls these a parent's 'vigilant responses'. They're similar to the type of actions a lioness might take when her cub is in danger, although human threats today are morelike staircases and swimming pools than predators in the wild.

Tell me where's the shepherd for this lost lamb
There's a somebody I'm longing to see
I hope that she turns out to be
Someone who'll watch over me

I'm a little lamb who's lost in a wood
I know I could always be good
To one who'll watch over me

Someone to watch over me

Friday, November 03, 2006

Just like Jesus

Through me let there be kind words, a warm smile & a caring heart. Through me let there be willingness to listen & a readiness to understand. Through me let there be dependability, steadfastness, trust & loyalty. Through me let there be compassion, forgiveness, mercy & love. Through me let there be every quality I find, O Lord, in Thee.

-Roy Lessin

I've come to realize recently that I've been so consumed with just surviving the past couple of years, trying to emerge from the ashes, that I've forgotten my pursuit to be like Him. I want to be a reflection of Him; His character, grace, compassion & passion for the harvest-- both inside & out. Change me, O God.

Sometimes the character traits or quirks in others that drive us silly or push our buttons - whatever you want to call it, they are often a reflection of something in us that we need to change. This is a lesson learned the past few weeks. What I see as ugly in another, be it brother or other, it's often ugly in me; revealed that I might seek change in myself.

Create in me a clean (new) heart, O God, & renew a right spirit within me. You would not be pleased with sacrifices or I would bring them. If I brought you a burnt offering, you would not accept it. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Ps 51:10, 16-17

There is a fountain full of grace and it flows from Emmanuel’s veins
It came and it healed me
It came and refreshed me
And it came and washed my sins away
from David & Nicole Binion's live @ straightgate (prerelease)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Trick or Treat Sweeties

Grace & neighbor Emily went trick or treating together. Our very own pumpkin patch. What fun! I don't think Stephanie could beam any brighter as Emily gets her first trick or treat candy.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Texas Time Pics

As promised, Texas Time pics: Blogspot gives me a headache when it comes to posting photos here. So if you are craving more photos, please visit my non-headache giving GraceFulldays Xanga-style. :o)

1st try - no pics at all. Let's try again!
2nd try- no pics.
3rd try - still no go. I'm finished :o(

UPDATE: Now I'm permitted to upload! It's only the next day. Thanks for stopping by Xanga~ this will be old news to some of you. :o) I've added a couple of new ones.

Gracie play with the Mambo doggie

Dallas Zoo children's stream

Big Tex

Up, up & AWAY~~

All things fried
This one's for HOLLY

Friday, October 20, 2006

Deep Fried Texas: the scoop

Howdie folks. Texas sure knows how to put on a fair! We had a BLAST! The children's rides were the most creative I've seen. Picture my fringed Gracie floating in a canoe along a river among the tall grasses & down the rapids. It was a Poncahontas picture if I ever saw one. :o) Can't wait to share my pics with ya'll!

So...the crispy results are in. Deep fried coke gets my vote! Other samplings included deep fried peanut butter & jelly & banana sandwich. TAST-YY! I looked for that praline & cosmopolitan but couldn't find them. Probably a good thing, I'd say. :o)

That's all for now!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Deep Fried Texas

We are off to the fair in just a bit! So "cited" as Gracie would say. She's all decked out in her faux suede fringed vest & skirt with cowboy boots/hat in tow. Here we goooooo!

This is in honor of neighbor Nate:

The State Fair of Texas holds a competition called the Big Tex Choice Awards given to vendors for creative food ideas. Looking at the list it would seem that one person's creative food idea might also show up on some else's Most Unsavory Foods list.

Deep Fried Cosmopolitan----A fried pastry filled with cheesecake and topped with a sweet cherry and tangy cranberry glaze and a lime wedge. Served on a stick.

Donkey Tails---Large all-beef franks, slit on one sice and generously stuffed with sharp cheddar cheese, wrapped in a large flour tortilla and fried til golden brown. Served with mustard chili sauce or Ruth's salsa.

Fernie's Fried Choco-rito---A flour tortilla stuffed with marshmallows, coconut, candy bar pieces, caramel morsels and cinnamon then dipped in pancake batter and deep-fried to a crispy, crunchy outside and sweet, gooey inside. Drizzled with honey and topped with whipped cream.

Fernie's Fried Mac-n-Cheese---Texas-sized bites of macaroni and cheese, covered with a layer of garlic and herb-flavored bread crumbs and deep fried until crispy outside and hot and cheesy inside. Served on a stick with a side of dipping sauces.

Fried Coke---Smooth spheres of Coca-Cola flavored batter that are deep-fried, drizzled with pure Coke fountain syrup, topped with whipped cream, cinnamon sugar and a cherry. Served in souvenir contoured glasses.Fried Praline Perfection (the winner)---Plump coconut and pecan pralines, battered and fried to a rich golden crust. Served warm with powdered sugar.

SOURCE: 2006 State Fair of Texas

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Texas Time

I'm here in sunny Texas. Well, now it's sunny after several days of rain. Grace & I enjoyed the Dallas zoo yesterday & a bit a pool time since it was in the 80's. Yes, it is WARM. Yeah! The girl has been playing herself silly with M & M's puppy, Mambo. We're looking forward to the Texas State Fair with the Derby pair in a couple of days.

Just to recap the latest:
Grace & I made our way down to St Louis to celebrate my sister's bday. We delightfully enjoyed that delish cake & equally enjoyed pampering while getting our fingers & toes prettied up. Ok, maybe the cake was a bit more tasty! Later, we went to the St Louis Zoo for the Pumpkin Prowl with a Pumpkin latte on the way home was worth it all. :o) It was really nice to enjoy the weekend with Tracy. She is indeed worth celebrating!

Sunday, we headed out for Texas. Grace did GREAT on her 1st non-baby flight! Of course, the girl has logged more flight miles than some accumulate in their lifetime but this was the first flight she was tall enough to see out the window or kick the seat in front of her. ;o) Actually, there was no kicking. We enjoyed tasty snacks; some American Airline, but mostly mom packed snacks. We doodle bugged, read books & drew some cool pictures. Fun!

We've played lots with the puppy & a bit in the pool, ventured to the zoo, picked up some pink cowboy boots & await the fair excursion with M & M. We'll be back home before you know it so bring on the sunshine!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Happy Birthday, little Sister!

Happy Birthday to my little sister~

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the one who falls and has no one to help him up! Eclessiastes 4:9-10

There's no one else I'd rather be stuck with in that snow bank than you~
Love & hugs to you today, Sis! It's a day to celebrate...there's no doubt about it!
PS: did you say yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting??

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

In Loving Memory~

In loving memory~
Nellie R. O'Neal
April 12, 1939-October 10, 2005
Always in my heart, mom, always~

Death is nothing at all

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I and you are you,
Whatever we were to each other,
that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Pray, smile, think of me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effort;
without the trace of a shadow in it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you somewhere very near.
Henry Scott Holland 1847-1918
Canon of St Paul's Cathedral

Thanks to my bestest friend, Renee, for helping me remember even in your own pain & loss.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Turtle Playground

On our way out of St Louis yesterday, we stopped for a bit of fun at Turtle Playground in Forest Park. What a great time! The weather was gorgeous, actually quite hot, so we took advantage of the warm sun on our faces before heading back to chilly Chicago. :o) It was so warm that Grace played in the sprinklers servicing the grassy knoll nearby. What fun! I only had my cell phone- bubble free & nearly healed - with me, thus the not so clear pic of Gracie up top & stock photos below. Oh well, we captured the moment regardless.

Seven concrete turtles from seven to 40 feet long each represent a different species found in Missouri. Among them are a red-eared slider, a soft-shelled turtle, a snapping turtle, a box turtle, a Mississippi map turtle and "stinkpot" turtle.
Two of the adult turtles -- one with its head uplifted and another with its mouth open -- rise out of the ground and are big enough for kids to climb and slide on. Four smaller turtles toddle nearby, and near a serpentine bench, baby turtles are shown breaking out of their shells.

Currently Listening Redeemer: The Best of Nicole C. Mullen By Nicole C. Mullen

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who mourn~

Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down.
Romans 12:15
The Message

We're back this week after a short weekend in St Louis attending a memorial service for my best friend's mom. Renee was determined to memorialize her mom the way she lived; immersed in the humor of everyday life, seeing the best in every situation. With amazing strenth, Renee indeed captured her mom's spirit & zest for life.

We truly celebrate Elaine Stroud; the life she lived, the love she gave & the laughter she shared.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Human Clock photos~

I've been interested lately in Human Clock photos~ The following pics have been accepted & displayed as part of the human clock. Fun! Of course, you must be viewing the clock at the precise time & possibly have to rotate through the pics to see them.

Straw sipping: 8:58 AM

Train Spotting: 8:55 AM

Doggie Relay: 3:30 PM
Those who know me well must be quite surprised that I'm snapping pics of dogs~ I know! We were watching this doggie relay at the Great Forest Park Balloon Race. The kids were watching, I was waiting for it to be over in fact. The pic was perfect for submission, thanks to the help of Aunt Helen to cue for timing. Those dogs were fast~

Duplo play: 10:01 AM

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Waiting for the train~

Grace & I were waiting for the train in Joliet. Frame-able I believe. :o) I love this girl~

Five rules for eternal misery

Found this on kingofsting03. How apropos~ Perhaps today I am engaged in #5. God has so many ways of driving the message home.

Five rules for eternal misery:
  1. Always try to exhort others to look upon you favorably.
  2. Make lots of assumptions about situations and be sure to treat these assumptions as though they are reality.
  3. Then treat each new situation as though it's a crisis.
  4. Live in the past and future only (become obsessed with how much better things might have been or how much worse things might become).
  5. Occasionally stomp on yourself for being so obtuse (stupid) as to follow the first four rules

Friday, September 22, 2006

Happy Birthday to me~

Yep, it's my birthday today. Picked up some e-cards already this morning. I love Hoops & Yoyo! Got cards in the mail yesterday. I love snail mail cards. In just a bit, I'm driving waaaayyy up on the north side to Flourish Bakery Cafe.
Gonna buy a scrumptious double chocolate cake w/buttercream frosting to share with friends today. Then later, enjoy dinner with more friends...the ones that AREN'T out of town this great day!

We have several September birthdays in my family, thus we celebrated last weekend in St Louis. My sister made a delicious Black Magic chocolate cake that took us right back into grandma's kitchen. I made the yummy divinity frosting to top it off. It's one of those family recipes we enjoyed for years.

So about all those birthday phone took a bubble bath yesterday while working with the J twins. Big sister got into the toy bag, which is fine...but she didn't quite get the bubble lid tightened AND then she put it in my briefcase/tote thing INSTEAD of the toy bag. Thus, my phone was soaking in an inch of bubbles along with my money, passport, Paris photos for a scrapbook project...Don't you know I left that house happy! Ever heard of the kid's book Alexander & the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? That's another post, I suppose.

ANYWAY all those birthday song messages may be heard via voicemail. So if you call, be sure to sing a message! :o)

Birthday kisses to everyone~

Currently Listening Happy Birthday By Gidon Kremer, Kremerata Baltica
see related Just kidding! I'm really listening to Gracie sing Happy Birthday but she's not in Amazon yet :o) She does a much sweeter version~

PS - my picture thingy isn't working today~

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Great Forest Park Balloon Race

9/06 Forest Park Balloon Race
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Great weekend in St Louis at the Great Forest Park Balloon Race. Plenty of sunshine...much enjoyed after cooler temperatures in Chi-town. Grace & I took the train up for the festivities! Ok travel~ I got study time...Grace made some new friends & a nap without a crook in her neck. :o)

Tons of activities at the Balloon festival for the kids. Grace & Haddon made goo at the Science Center booth, rode ponies, watched dog relay races at the Purina Farms and took a ride on the barrel train. Great time!

A bit of park play before the St Louis trip~
OH, before I word my duplo photo has been accepted for the Human Clock It will have it's place at 10:01 AM. Check it out if you have serious time to waste. :o) I plan to submit this one of Gracie at the train station. :o)

Here's a shot of my geraniums before they succumb to the cold. The river is considerably high after significant rains last week.

More later~~ I have got to take this test before the sunshine girl wakes up! Have a good one

Currently Listening Bless the Broken Road: The Duets AlbumBy Selah

6:03 AM - 2 eprops - 1 comment - email it

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Baby Faith

I've been sick as a dog this past week. SICK! Typical change of season cold that's set up camp deep in the caverns of my chest. In the violent coughing, I think I've dislodged some organ in my abdomen. Now there's that pain on top of the coughing pain. UGH!

And while I'm talking classes are off to a ouchy start. Remember the Nazi professor? She's got a sister teaching anatomy & physiology. :o) I was called on the carpet today for my improper use of the dash - that's right a lesson in punctuation. One more semester after this one - yippee skippee!

Song of praise...Sunday afternoon, a sharp pain - imagine ice pick(?!) pierced my inner ear. Yeow! I don't think I was crying but it was evident to Grace that I was in pain. You know how those tender two year olds can comfort - she squeezed my cheeks in between her little hands, looking all concerned "You hurting, Mama?" "Yes, baby, will you pray for me?" I'm a firm believer in the faith of a child & so we prayed together, declaring God is our healer & thanking Him for hearing us when we pray. Gracie usually thanks God for the food even in our prayer for the sick. It's all good! I'm telling you...within 30 seconds, the pain was absolutely GONE without return and it's now Tuesday! He is faithful to hear us when we pray. So...this coughing has GOT to go!

Have you ever said, aloud or to yourself "When I have kids, I'll never.....?" Well, I've said it - not using the word never but with all intents and purposes, it's what I meant inside. Today, Grace ate Fruit Loops for breakfast. Yes, that "full of sugar no way it's good for you" cereal. I bought it yesterday thinking "good travel snack" for our upcoming road trip this weekend. Always looking for tricks to get a little more driving in between the pit stops. What was I thinking when I offered it as a breakfast choice right along with the non-sugar cereal that she has been totally happy with?? Of course, she's choosing the brightly colored fun fruity one. I realized my error as she contemplated the decision, looking from the Cheerios to the Fruit Loops..back & forth. I temporarily forgot that I was not going to introduce sugared, sweetened cereal before she was old enough to drive to the store & buy them herself.

So, we've crossed over & I've dropped another "When I have kids, I won't...." Oh, well..she'll survive or maybe better yet, she'll forget. :o) Along the same line, she still loves her books best, builds with blocks & bakes in her kitchen even though she's seen Cinderella & Monsters, INC a dozen times. Sometimes I just need a moment or two...:o)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Wish I had known & good to know~

I borrowed this wise piece from a Xanga blogger. Wisdom worth sharing~

The baby stage
  • Recovery from childbirth is forty million times more painful - emotionally and physically - than giving birth.
  • All the postpartum advice ("get some sleep", "take time for yourself every day", "eat regular meals") is absolutely correct, but entirely impractical.
  • Help and resources are obvious to everyone except a new mom.

The growing-up stage

  • All parents have endless stories about how cute and smart their kid is, long before the child can walk or talk.
  • All parents are terribly proud of their child.

The toddler stage

  • Rebellion comes in phases. It seems to last forever, but it always passes.
  • You can't take parenting personally. Your child isn't mad at you or disobeying because they don't like you - they are learning, and they have their own set of limitations, emotions, and frustrations they're dealing with.
  • There is a bottomless list of things you can't make your child do. You have to feed them, change them, and love them anyway.
  • Who you really are and how you really feel, these things will come through to your child, no matter how hard you try to cover them up.

The little kid stage

  • Usually the best approach to parenting requires you to hold in your negative responses. Swallow your anger and disapproval and hug your kid. Always be as gentle as you can. There is no good place for negative emotions.
  • Even when you're at the end of your rope, your child still needs your love - probably even more so when you're frazzled.
  • Children learn far more from praise than criticism. You have to be a parent, of course - you have to parent, but we tend to heap constant criticism on our kids. Try for 200% more praise than criticism. The world will make up the difference - they need to hear from you that they're okay.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Those who are planted in the house of the Lord will flourish in the courts of our God. Ps. 92:13

My roses in Amberg...a sweet fragrance, indeed. Lovely~

Interesting to note: when I moved in this bush was about as tall as the 2nd step.

Thank you, Lord - for reminding me that our praise is a lovely fragrance before your throne. Thank you that, despite our shortcomings, you bring loveliness & growth to our lives when we are planted in your house.

Sarah reminded me this was her favorite view in Amberg. Awwwww.....

Currently Reading
Motherless Mothers: How Mother Loss Shapes the Parents We Become
By Hope Edelman

8:25 AM - 20 eprops - 14 comments - email it

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


It's Monday~ I feel stuck - in a rut today - not everyday but today, this morning. Exploring my "rut" situation, I flip my little page a day calendar & read:

God knows what He's about. If He has you sidelined, out of the action for a while, He knows what He's doing. You just stay faithful-- stay flexible--stay available--stay humble.

Growing Strong in the Seasons of LIfe, p. 531
Commit they way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:5 KJV

I guess I'm not so stuck afterall or at least not permanently. :o) I've mulled this flexible message over many times past. I'm reminded of such when I see a Willow tree with its bendy branches; needfully... gracefully yielding to the adversive pressure yet without breaking. The photograph above was taken not even a block from my lil village home in Amberg Germany.
So I'm on working on being flexible...available...humble. Yes~

We've showered, had breakfast & lunch is on & now finished by the time I'm posting this entry. We've played dressup nearly all day with few puzzles scattered in the mix- she's still in her princess dress; the girl that dresses in her best to cook. "Would ya like tea and samich maybe?" she asks, clasping her lil hands together, eyes twinkling. She's delighted to serve. I hope & pray that is a lifelong delight & attitude: delighted to serve :o)

She still has angel dust (glitter) in her freshly washed curls from our CLC famly picnic. She got her face & arm painted- covered with pink & purple flowers by Dotsie T.Clown. What fun! We took princess cookies with lots of pink frosting & sprinkles; always better shared. :o)

Currently Reading: