Monday, April 28, 2008

Here we are

Enjoying ourselves for sure...sadly counting the days until we come home. More when we return...miss you all!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

On our way

Here we goooooooooooooooo!

for sure here~

and maybe here~

And nearly every day~

See you in May~

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Princess Preparation

It's been a busy time around here...despite my frequent posts. It's therapeutic. Things are certainly getting checked of the TO DO list. Final exam prep is coming along.....ok, I guess, kinda sorta? Big thanks to Deb for having Gracie over to play so I could subject myself to irritation at the Beecher Public Library. "No, we don't have a trash can. Everyone must take their own trash home." Alrighty then~

"I know you are the only one in the library, but you may not talk on your cell phone. A rule is a rule. Gee, seems like I only have corrections to give you today." Hmmmm - ya think? Never mind you were on the phone 40 minutes before I even began my 45 sec conversation. Hmmmm....oh, well. I am thankful for 3.5 hours of good study time!

Taxes are finished. I know...I know.

What's happening today?

  • German kindergarten - let's talk about immersion next week. :o)
  • Sleepy Beauty chldren's theatre with fellow princessin Emily, Presley & Kayla - cutie pics to come for sure - they will all be decked out in their Sleeping Beauty gowns, tiaras & magic wands, loving compliments of Grandma Marcia - which reminds me... I've got something I need to do.

EDIT: My list was much longer - but...change of plans~ No South Bend for us this weekend. Edit to ice cream after the performance & then study, sleep & more sleep Much as I wanted to serve; study & sleep prevailed...and managing a nasty headache.

Sleeping Beauty was delightful & clever. A little twist on the Disney tale, but we were happy. Prior to our arrival at the theatre, Grace declared all she needed was yellow hair & she would look just like the princess. Yellow hair without curls. It was rainy day so we had more spiral locks than usual. Too cute as the girl tried to shake the curl right out of her hair. Princess Lilly had brown locks just like Gracie. Lovely indeed~

This was quite a memory maker & treasure for me. One of my favorite early memories with my mom & sister was going to see Sleepy Beauty at Keil Auditorium in St Louis. I couldn't have been more than 3 years old. We were sittiing really high & I was simply enchanted by the fairy godmothersd flying through the auditorium, then hovering over that sweet baby bassinette. Enchanted~

Though some details differed in the story, Grace was a happy girl as she siddled up to the prince & princess after the play. She later recounted her favorite scence one in which the princes was chasing the less than pleasant spell casting fairy. The 3 sweet fairies were chasing after the prince to remind him to kiss the girl~ That was her favorite part. A few tears when we had to leave...she spied a pottery making/painting worshop & thought that would just top it all off. Another time~

Happy Birthday, Mama~ Miss you & wish you were here to enjoy this day with us. What treasured memories to share~

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Easter Fun in photos~

Click to play Easter 2008
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Developmental Assets for our children

As a mother, the greatest responsiblity I own is to teach Grace to love God, herself and others. It's tough in today's world for sure. I know I can't do it alone. If you've been reading my blog for any time at all, you've heard me talk about "deposits" others have made into my Gracie. I'm thankful for a core of friends and family that regularly interact with Grace by loving, affirming, encouraging, praying for, playing with and even correcting when necessary. These are critical pieces to not just my child's development, but all children need to have these supports...even from outside their immediate family to grow & feel a part of their community - both natural & spirital.

While checking out a new resource for working with young families and children, I came across Search Institute and found great stuff to help me as well as help me help famlies with whom I work. It's worth sharing~ Be an asset to a young person. Learn more about the building blocks of healthy development that help young people grow up positive, caring and responsible.

The following is a just a portion of the 40 assets that all children and young people need to succeed. They provide a strong foundation for growing up confident, competent and capable. Share what you learn with a young person in your life today.

External Assets

1. Family support—Parent(s) and/or primary caregiver(s) provide the child with high levels of consistent and predictable love, physical care, and positive attention in ways that are responsive to the child’s individuality.

2. Positive family communication—Parent(s) and/or primary caregiver(s) express themselves positively and respectfully, engaging young children in conversations that invite their input.

3. Other adult relationships—With the family’s support, the child experiences consistent, caring relationships with adults outside the family.

4. Caring neighbors—The child’s network of relationships includes neighbors who provide emotional support and a sense of belonging.

5. Caring climate in child-care and educational settings—Caregivers and teachers create environments that are nurturing, accepting, encouraging, and secure.

6. Parent involvement in child care and education—Parent(s), caregivers, and teachers together create a consistent and supportive approach to fostering the child’s successful growth.

7. Community cherishes and values young children—Children are welcomed and included throughout community life.

8. Children seen as resources—The community demonstrates that children are valuable resources by investing in a child-rearing system of family support and high-quality activities and resources to meet children’s physical, social, and emotional needs.

9. Service to others—The child has opportunities to perform simple but meaningful and caring actions for others.

10. Safety—Parent(s), caregivers, teachers, neighbors, and the community take action to ensure children’s health and safety.

Boundaries & Expectations
11. Family boundaries—The family provides consistent supervision for the child and maintains reasonable guidelines for behavior that the child can understand and achieve.

12. Boundaries in child-care and educational settings—Caregivers and educators use positive approaches to discipline and natural consequences to encourage self-regulation and acceptable behaviors.

13. Neighborhood boundaries—Neighbors encourage the child in positive, acceptable behavior, as well as intervene in negative behavior, in a supportive, nonthreatening way.

14. Adult role models—Parent(s), caregivers, and other adults model self-control, social skills, engagement in learning, and healthy lifestyles.

15. Positive peer relationships—Parent(s) and caregivers seek to provide opportunities for the child to interact positively with other children.

16. Positive expectations—Parent(s), caregivers, and teachers encourage and support the child in behaving appropriately, undertaking challenging tasks, and performing activities to the best of her or his abilities.

Constructive Use of Time
17. Play and creative activities—The child has daily opportunities to play in ways that allow self-expression, physical activity, and interaction with others.

18. Out-of-home and community programs—The child experiences well-designed programs led by competent, caring adults in well maintained settings.

19. Religious community—The child participates in age-appropriate religious activities and caring relationships that nurture her or his spiritual development.

20. Time at home—The child spends most of her or his time at home participating in family activities and playing constructively, with parent(s) guiding TV and electronic game use.

40 Developmental Assets for early childhood (ages 3-5)
40 Elementos Fundamentales del Desarrollo para niños pre-escolares (edades de 3 a 5) PDF

40 Developmental Assets for middle childhood (grades 4-6)
40 Elementos Fundamentales del Desarrollo para la pre-adolescencia (edades de 8 a 12) PDF

The 40 Developmental Assets for adolescents
Elementos fundamentales del desarrollo html / PDF

Other languages:
Alcholi (PDF)
Arabic (PDF)
Armenian (PDF)
Bulgarian (PDF)
Chinese (PDF)
Farsi (PDF)
Hmong (PDF)
Japanese (PDF)
Khmer (PDF)
Nuer (PDF)
Russian (Word Document)
Somali (PDF)
Vietnamese (PDF)

Since 1989, Search Institute has measured Developmental Assets in more than 2 million 6th- to 12th-graders in communities across the United States, using the survey Search Institute Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors. The survey is based on the Developmental Asset framework that synthesized relevant research literature and identified the forty developmental nutrients all youth need to be healthy, caring, and responsible. The institute also developed appropriate sets of assets for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary-age children.

Visit for more information.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A little fun just before things get too serious

Finals are coming! Finals are coming!

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

You have a sunny disposition and are normally one of the first to show up for the party. You don't need too much attention from the host once you get there as you are more than capable of making yourself seen and heard.


Bize sized truth - but truth for sure

Hey, while perusing Your First Day, I found this again. Worth sharing AGAIN~

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument.Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone.It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others'.You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood.But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.Don't save it for a special occasion.Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words:"In five years, will this matter?"

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone, everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.

31.. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick.Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

36 Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Don't audit life.Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don't ask, you don't get.

49. Yield..

50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Monday, April 07, 2008


Congratulations, Randy & Emily, on your recent engagement! We are thrilled for you both~

Visit Randy to see the proposal...for real!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Happy Birthday Uncle Bob and Happy 200th Post to me!

Happy Birthday to our dear Uncle Bob~ Spent the day in Milwaukee with the Contino clan. Grace certainly delights in visiting Nick, Ben & Nat'lie. AND we finally met the newest youngin, Millie - of the canine kind. As if it couldn't get any better, we visited with the next door puppies - Niko & Rocko. How fun - if you're a puppy loving soul...well, even if you're not, you can't help but giggle over those little dogs chasing their tales & giving the Gracie girl a smoochy poochy kissey bath. :o) Oh, what a day! Thanks for having us & making us feel the most welcome! I want to be like you, Krissy, when I grow up~ :o) We love you AND we love all that comes with you! Oh & the reason to celebrate - Bobby celebrates 29 again! You Wild MAN!

High Ups

A couple of weeks ago, Gracie declared, " When I get big I want to wear some high ups." My mind raced to recall high ups - are those a like a high top shoe worn by a classmate? "Hmmm, what are high ups?", I relented. "You know, mom. Those shoes that make you high up when you wear them." Hee hee in high heels!

Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?

Grace asked me this week if I knew how to bake a cherry pie. She'd really like one just for us. So, we baked a cherry pie - pretty simple but an added ingredient that make it oh so tasty! Yum & then some~ We played almost all day outside at home & at the park. We enjoyed our first picnic of the season. Yeah for Spring! Grace keeps declaring it's time for swimming now that it's Spring. Not quite that warm, but we hit 70 today. Heat wave~

At the end of the day & 10 rounds of Simon Says, tag & frisbee...Grace invited everyone for pie. :o) What's a good pie if it's not worth sharing, eh? That's the spirit, Grace. Happy day indee!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Culinary scents

Grace sat down last night to simple dinner of spinach pasta, green beans, sweet potatoes & crescent rolls with a cheesy surprise inside. She leaned in close to her fairy princess plate, sniffed her pasta and asked, "Is that garlic in there?" :o) Indeed! Gracie knows yum when she smells it! "You fixed such a good dinner, Mom." I love it! She had not even tasted the cinnamon rolls yet~ :o) I sure love that girl!

Thursday, April 03, 2008


I'm waiting for more Easter pictures before making a Smilebox. In the meantime, here's little Ms. Grace showing off her lovely Easter eggs. We had a delightful time with Caitlyn & Elizabeth dyeing eggs and just playing around! Tried out a new marbeling technique with the eggs - oh what fun~ Notice spring growing right here in our home & hearts? One lovely tulip thus far, with a couple more about to bloom. The hyacinths had a good run but are fading now. It even smelled like spring inside! Happy day to you & yours~

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Another round of random facts

Ok, I've been tagged again by Fruitful Vine & someone else I can't find now. Only in this procrastination mode would I find time to do the 7 random fact post, but I said I would. The buck stops here - no tags from me. :o)

So the little known facts - little known unless you know me or have read my blog for some time:

1. With a passion for the harvest, I have served with missions teams in 11 nations around the globe including China, Senegal, Turkey, Guatemala, Bulgaria, the UK, Puerto Rico/Bahamas and then some. Those were my BG days...before Grace. :o) Ya'll know what I mean! My mission field is a bit closer to home these days, but I believe I'm cultivating a heart for the harvest in my little Grace. Most recently, I've been sowing into our newest church campus, CLC South Bend, as part of the worship team. What a privilege to serve~

2. While working on my undergraduate degree, I was a licensed forklift operator. Now, it didn't take long for the folks at this 10,000+ acre warehouse & distribution center fo find something more suitable for me to do rather than drive a fork truck around taking out this & denting that. Actually, the damage was when I tried to drive the stand up fork truck:

"Wes, your truck is blocking the aisle. Will you move your truck please?"
"Move it yourself, girlie"
"Ok, how does this thing work?"

Wes gives a few basic instructions...

"This is easy & a bit fun.....Ok, how do I
stop...HOW DO I STOP?!!

"Well, running into the racks is one way to do it"

Hee, hee....yeah, not so funny then.

3. At 19, I was on record as the youngest person employed as an official staff member in the history of SouthEast Missouri State University. Intially part of the work study program, I worked for the University Police department, assistant to the Transportation Coordinator. When my boss resigned, I got the real job..meaning I coordinated all the official travel for the University, managing a fleet of cars, vans, buses & coaches for faculty, sports teams, etc. I picked Tina Turner & her band up at the airport prior to her concert at the Show ME Center. It was quite the event as she got her heel caught in the platform coming off the plane. I think she was a bit toooo relaxed. :o)

4. While serving as the Transportation Coordinator, I was assigned to the Transportation Unit of the SECRET SERVICE to assist and facilitate transportation during President RONALD REAGAN's visit to SEMO Sept 1988. I belonged to the Secret Service logistical team for two weeks prior to the Presidential visit. Of course, the highlight was seeing/hearing this great President in person. However, the letter that came from the White House personally thanking me for my assistant was also pretty sweet as the youngest staff member in the history of the University. :o)

5. Between my job as a developmental therapist working with infants & toddlers with special needs AND my priviledge as MOM to 3 yr old Grace....rarely a day goes by that I don't make animal sounds...with a quack, quack here & a quack, quack there~

6. I love the orange-chocolate combination...from a kid, I'd add orange juice to my chocolate ice cream, making a tasty shake. How wonderful find as a grown up there are lots of choc-orange indulgences. :o) My favorite...Swenson's Swiss Orange Chip Ice Cream. Sadly, the last time I ever enjoyed this tastry treat was in San Fransico trapsing up Nob/Russian Hill. Now, that was a refreshing pit stop. :o)

7. Aside from the Six Flags/Cedar Point cheesy recording studio stuff, I am recorded on 4 CD productions including 2 live performances (plus a ton of studio work) with our worship team from CLC. I recorded with the IBC chorale/choir in Indianopolis. AND finally, while living in Germany I did some vocals for a German recording artist as well as co-wrote 2 songs for his newest production.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


I am undone here in Your presence. Every tear suddenly wiped away. Here in your presence. I am undone, Lord~ Help me elevate my heart above my head. Make yourself at home in my brokeness. I am undone.

Here in Your Presence
Heaven is trembling in awe of your wonder
Kings and their kingdoms are standing amazed

Here in your presence, we are undone
Here in your presence, heaven and earth become one
Here in your presence, all things are new
Here in your presence, everything bows before You

Wonderful! Beautiful! Glorious! Matchless in every way!
Wonderful! Beautiful! Glorious! Matchless in every way!
Wonderful! Beautiful! Glorious! Matchless in every way!
Wonderful! Beautiful! Glorious! Matchless in every way!