Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Monday, August 31, 2009

Kitchen Is Open

When Vaughan was about 6 we lived on a farm in New Hampshire.
One day while he was exploring our barn he came up from around back near the old stone knee wall with a bottle in hand.
It was an old Seagram's 7 bottle.
We cleaned it up and found it to be a great bottle to display. We crammed a string of Christmas lights into the bottle, tied a bow around the neck and have displayed it in our kitchen window ever since.
Now that I am back to working full time from home I use it as a "Kitchen is open" sign. When I am in kitchen mode I plug it in and am reminded of the tasks at hand. When I am done the bottle shines so pretty on my sill that I almost hate to unplug it.
But I do.
Cause when you work from home it can be hard to recognize when a deal has been closed!
Happy kitchening!

8th Grade

*updated from pre-school post.
We survived! We had a blast!
We took some pre-tests for reading comprehension, started into Algebra 1, began our new writing curriculum, dove right into some Greek and Latin root words and started on Science and our first unity study of botany.
We wrapped up our first day of home schooling not too long ago, it was at that time I realized I had no pictures!!!
We ran outside and....
Here is Justin in his first day of school photo!

Since I always get shots of Vaughan walking into school on his first day we thought we'd do the same with Justin. Here he is after he rode his bike 10 feet from the van to the house!!
Here he is posing with his 8th grade teacher -- me!!

Here is what I wrote this morning before we began....

Today is the first day of our home school.
8th grade for Justin.
Last year of middle school.
My last year of full-time home school. please hear the mild panic in my voice

Wish I could say it started off early but it didn't. We had a late night and then I was up when Steve got up at 3:30am and was awake until close to wake time at 6:00am and then,
yep, you know it,
slept through my alarm.

So, Steve got Vaughan off to school and now I am gearing up for school with Justin.

Good thing about teenagers, morning time lasts all day so a 9am wake time, not too shabby!

Happy day!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Go Listen to This, Please

If you have known me for any amount of time, you know I am super close with my cousins. We grew up close and have pretty much stayed that way our entire adult lives. Oceans and continents separate us but we don't let that get in our way. I love that!

We also grew up around many other cousins. Our grandfather was the youngest of 11 so that meant our last name ran rampid in our small Maine town.

Those distant cousins were just that, distant. I mean I knew them but besides run-ins at school and at seeing them at one of those cousins family donut shop, I mainly knew their names. They had cool names too! Trixy, April, Spring, Michelle (yes two of us with the same name and until I became an adult I didn't think this name was cool).

When Facebook came into my life I decided to find them, or maybe they found me, I actually don't remember.

Anyway, long way to say my cousin Spring is very musically talented. The Lord has blessed her with a heart for Him and a desire to use her gifts and talents to glorify His name.

So, I would love for you to go and listen to Spring's music on her website.
Then, buy a CD *smile*-- I just did!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why You Should Blog

My blogging friend Heather had a good post on why you should blog.
It was simple.
Going back over our days and months through my blog is fun! It's like a scrapbook.
It's a reminder of the good times I have all too quickly forgotten.

August 2009 has been me quitting my job, Vaughan going back to school and of course the ending of a summer that consisted of 2 dog deaths for us.
August of 2008 was Vaughan's first year in school plus we were dealing with Tropical Storm Fay and the fun she brought.
August of 2007 we were having our second annual Lord of the Rings Fest and knee deep in football. It was also my first year working and home schooling. I was also still referring to my kids by their nicknames because someone had put the fear of God in me over using their real names on my blog.
August 2006 was when I started back to blogging. I had started early in 2006 and then same person who freaked me about the name deal with my kids freaked me enough to delete my blog entries. I then went back and forth blogging here and on myspace.

So how about you, what were you doing over the last 3 years?
Even if you didn't blog, think back, I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day of School 2009 Edition

Ok, so our second first day of public school is here.
I woke up early and got breakfast on the table for Vaughan, which is easy cause he like a bowl of cereal for breakfast each morning.
Then, with less production as last year, we stepped out front for pictures, hopped in the van and drove to school.
Wow! They have grown so much. Branden is starting 11th grade and Vaughan 10th.

After a 10 minute wait in the car pool line they were gone. I was threatened that if I took pics they'd take my camera away.
So I did what any good mother of teenagers would do, I turned off my flash as took pictures anyway; no matter how big they get, I'm still the boss!
I drove away and began to cry.
Does the crying after the first day ever end?
If I had to guess I'd say for me, no.
Each step they take is one step closer to being gone, I just don't know it I will ever get over that.
So 10th and 11th grade are underway.
sigh - deep breath
It's gonna be a good year!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. Genesis 19:26

I thought about Lot's wife the other day and her choice to look where she was told not to look.
It stone cold killed her.
Made me think.
What do I look at that is killing me.
What movies, magazines or people do I look at that I shouldn't?
Some things are outright not right and other things may be not right in my heart.
Only I know that.
And God.
Joseph made the wise choice to flee from what he shouldn't look at, or participate in for that matter, it didn't turn out right away the way he would have liked, but it turned out so much better. So it can be done. We can choose to turn from not so good images.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How We Roll

This is how school shopping goes in our house.
I don't necessarily think it's because I have boys, because I know boys who are much pickier about their clothes than this.
My friend Lori would say it's because our kids are raised by free-spirited hippies who belong on a gypsy cart traveling about.
I say, she could be right
maybe not?

Here's our day yesterday:
Vaughan goes through all his clothes and pulls out either what doesn't fit him, which the older they get the less this is, and what he doesn't wear.
These items go in a pile on the dining room table, if anyone knows a better spot for a pile of clothes let me know.

Next Justin goes through he pile and picks out what he wants.

Then I simply ask them: what do you need for school.

This year Vaughan replied, 1 shirt and 2 shorts, a backpack and new sneakers.
Justin, who actually got nothing from Vaughan's pile this year, says 2 pair jeans, a backpack and new sneakers.

Now today we will shop.
Due to budgeting reasons we'll shop for Vaughan this week and Justin next.
It'll take about an hour and a half.
That's it.
In and out.

Why buy what you don't need.
Why buy what they don't ask for.

So how about you, what is school shopping like at your house?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Quiet in a Box

thinking on this today:
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:32-34

Tomorrow is my official last day of work.
I like to work Fridays cause it's the quietest day at the office.
My cardboard box is sitting near my desk ready to carry my things as I head out of work tomorrow.

Wow! I am so excited just thinking about it.
Be assured I'll take a picture of myself, cause you see no one else will be in the office.
I say that will a smile on my face *smile*
It only seems natural that quiet is how I should leave.
Quiet I came, quiet I left.

Actually speaking of quiet, I did have the habit of sneaking into work and quietly working at my desk for hours before anyone, besides the secretary, knew I was there.

Although one day I did text Kev some stuff as if he wasn't in the office and then found out he was, we were sitting like 25 feet apart and didn't even know it!
Sorry, thinking back over the job already.

Right now I need to go and do ALL my dishes, wash, dry and put away.
A clean kitchen sink makes me happy.
Vaughan is at Turn or Burn,
Justin has a friend over and Steve came home for lunch so we go to visit!

Time to do dishes
and praying my morning motivation returns soon =)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Quit My Job

...there you go, that's my BIG news!
Although I don't like to think of it as quitting but more as moving into a new season in life.

I actually gave my notice two Mondays ago and my last day is this Friday! I was waiting for an e-mail to be sent out to our adult leaders, our Lifeguards, and that went out today.
Now I can share with the rest of the people in my life!!

Here is a piece of what I said in that letter:

"Please know I am not leaving because of any ‘relational’ or ‘political’ reasons;
this decision comes with much prayer and as Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, "There
is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven". Just as
the Lord opened the door for me to prayerfully step into this job and season 2
years ago, He has shown me that this season of employment has now come to an
end; my time and efforts need to be focused back on our home, Justin's last full
year of home schooling and being Steve's helpmate in his business.”

My heart is still with student ministries. I will still lead a small group on Wednesday and be part of Fuel the student leadership team.

I am excited to step into this new season.
My heart has always been in my home.
I may not be the greatest at housekeeping, cooking and laundry but I do love to do all things home.

I already have projects lined up.
Sewing, baking, cleaning...

Next week Vaughan goes back to school and I will take the whole week off!
I am thrilled!!
The the following week TreeHouse SchoolHouse will start back and I will also officially start as Steve's bookkeeper.

So, that's the big news.
No baby.
No moving.
Just me moving out of one job and into another.

Gotta say I'm wicked excited!

Green Chili

When we were first married I was an Air Force wife.
Most of our time was spent in Altus, OK.
While living there we had the opportunity to meet some really neat people who have stayed with us over the years. Some I still talk t, others have stayed part of our family through pictures and recipes.

The Goodpeed's were one of the first families we became friends with. They were from Wyoming and Tracy's mother would come to visit and cook! She was, and I'm sure still is, an incredible cook; and she loved to do it! She shared this easy, yummy recipe with me all those years ago.

I made green chili not too long ago and the kids all loved it! I think I fed 6 that night? Anyway I'm making it again and I thought I'd share the recipe with you.

Green Chili

1 lb. cubed pork- 1/2" to 1" cubes
1 can diced green chili
3 04 4 diced potatoes
garlic salt and pepper to taste
chicken broth - about 48 oz.
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
veg. or canola oil

Cover pork cubes in flour and brown in enough oil to cover the bottom of a 10" skillet or dutch oven. Turn to med low and add green chili, potatoes, broth and seasonings. Simmer about 40 minutes.
Before serving, take off stove and thicken with flour and water. (make paste of 3/4 c. flour and 1/2 c. cold water) Add to soup, return to stove and cook 10 more minutes.

Serve with flour tortillas.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Global Generation

I have some BIG news I am dying to share with you all only, I can't because it involves someone else and I am waiting for their OK. Errr...

In the meantime I wanted to share with you a little about teenagers of the 2000's.

Technology plays such a major role in their lives; but then again I think it does in ours too!
My space, Facebook, Twitter, blogs.
Our lives are often lived online. As long as face-to-face times gets thrown into the adgenda I'm cool with it.

So, both the boys have a friend over right now, they are sitting in the living room, Justin is in charge of th music, currently Crazy Train while the other three play Xbox Live.

For those of you who do not know what XBox Live is, let me explain:
First of all XBox is a gaming system.
You know like Atari, Nintendo, Playstation, Wii.

XBox Live is the online community that the boys can log into and play their XBox with other gamers online.

OK, so the neat thing that just made it into our house is the headset for this XBox. Using this headset Vaughan can talk to the other players in the game he is playing.
Please notice Scott in the background, playing the game and texting.

insert teenage hint: a teenager looking down at their lap is texting!

We can also hear on our end the voices of the other gamers. Most of the time it's friends of the boys so they are all in seperate houses playing against or with each other while they talk via the game as well as call and text each other.

And as if this was not enough they are usually texting people who are not involved in the gaming arena at all.

4 sit in theliving room
6 voices I hear
9-10 are communictaing with each other.
Technology never ceases to amaze me!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Go! Dog Go!

As of last night at about 8pm we became owners of cats only for the second time in exactly 9 weeks. Here's the short of it.

This is Fluff. We got Fluff 6 years ago at the Humane Society when we moved into our house. She was the best dog ever. Not only was she great with the kids but she was always with me in the garden and if I gave her a clump of weeds she'd pull them out! On June 13th of this year I had a crazy busy day and week and upcoming week. In all the running around I left Fluff in our van for 5.5 hours.
In Florida.
In June.
When I found her she was barely hanging on and by the time we reached the ER Vet clinic she was gone. She is buried in our back yard and a patch of wildflowers will cover her grave.
I don't take full responsibility for her death, it is what it is; she was meant to go at that time.
I still feel bad, my heart still aches at times.

This is Bella. We got Bella on August 8th at the Humane Society. 3 days later she began limping, a "deep bruise" was what the vet said. We brought her home, medication and all. She got better, she got worse. One week after we picked her up and 9 weeks after Fluff died we headed back to the ER Vet clinic. After a series of bloodwork and further investigation on her "fast growing open wound" we made the decision to have her put down. Basically her issues were extensive and with a grave outlook. Her skin was peeling away and rotting, neurologial issues, surgery and maybe more.

So here we are dogless, again.
Add in the cripple cat, see her story here, and we've had an "exciting" summer of pet emotions.

I am spent. After sitting in the ER for 3 hours I was over it. On the way home I began to melt down, all the questions and frustrations.
Why this dog?
Why so costly to have it end like this? we dropped 600 bucks on this dog in a week
Why us and 2 dog deaths in a summer?

I don't know about you but I hate it when my thought life goes down that path. It leads to no where good. No where good I tell you.

It is what it is.
If the Lord wants good things for me and has good plans for me, than this must be for the good.
Must be.
If all my days were layed out before I was even born, than this was in that plan.
I rest assured that for today, for now, we are dogless.
I find peace in that.

I have learned a few things along the way; and been reminded of some lessons learned years ago.
Enjoy every day. Every moment.
Make memories in the moment you're in.
Don't wait or wish for tomorrow, it may never come.

Take life and all it throws or rolls your way with a perspective beyond yourself.
We only see a short part of the whole picture.
We see the today part, the me part; we don't see the ripple in the pond, the road that lies ahead.

Accept things that you can't change and make a positive effort to change the things you can.

And then above all, as I say to the kids all the time: LOVE.
Simply love those in your path right now.
If it's the crying, fit-pitching toddler: love, you pitched fits before and they will grow up and out one day.
The puking, peeing dog: love, they would go outside if they could.
The husband who shows up late and doesn't call: love, sometimes things take him longer than he expects.
The teenager who is kind to you this morning and is speaking in "umphs" and groans later this morning: love, they are closer than ever to life outside your home.
The guy who cuts you off on the way to work: love, you'll get there in time.
The girl who doesn't speak to you or call when you want: love, who knows what she's going through right now.

So that's it. That's the story of our two dogs.

But if I were you, I'd come back to this here blog on Monday,
cause I have more life changing news.

Have a great Sunday,

Saturday, August 15, 2009

This Dog!

SO Bella has been causing us issues since last Monday night.

Actually it was Tuesday at 1am that the boys woke me because she just wasn't herself.
I came to the conclusion that she would need to go to the vet the next day and I stayed up with her just to keep an eye on her.

She started off limping and crying when she was touched or had to move too much. At first she was going to the bathroom and eating just fine, now, not so much.

An all day trip to the vet on Tuesday warranted 2 x-rays and the conclusion that she has a large, deep bruise. We could pinpoint an accident she had with one of the extra kids around here that would have lead to this bruise. They sent us home with meds and said it would be a long healing process.

She seemed to be getting better. Her left shoulder is where the bruise is and her left foot swelled up but today it's not looking all that bad.

Thursday morning she woke up with a swollen lip and chin.
I thought it was part of her bruise swelling and maybe she had eaten something outside not so great for her. It was also on Thursday that blood started to appear on her shoulder. Not much but it was there.

Well, you know me and my wait, wait, wait until I call a dr. or vet in this matter. By the time I did on Friday they were all out until Monday. I made a Monday appointment.

Now today, Saturday. She is getting worse. She now has a large open sore on her shoulder that I first noticed yesterday and a new one appeared this morning.

So we are headed to the emergency vet in Daytona so they can take a peak at her.
I don't have much more money to put into this dog. We've only had her a week and she is costing us, costing us!!! If you read this please pray.

Just another day around here-

Parenting Teenagers Tip #2

Allow you teenage child to think they know everything.

For instance, when they say French Hugueots did not exsist, keep your mouth shut.
I mean tell them they did and then allow the teeanger to argue with you until they tire of arguing with someone who doesn't argue back.

Not particiapting in silly disagreements help the parent/teenager relationship. After all one day they will grow up, become adults, realize how little they actually know and then have teeangers of their own!

1 More Week of Summer

Lining this annual event up for next week.

Friday, August 14, 2009

16 Years!

Love you baby, Happy Anniversary!
Wow, who knew?!
God blessed my socks off with you and with all we've been through the praise can only go to Him!

I look forward to many more days, nights, weekends, laughs, cries and much more with you.

I don't know what tomorrow holds, or even this afternoon, but I do know this: I look forward to it all because just like yesterday, last month and the last 16 years, thus far the Lord has helped us! I'm setting up a new rock pile!

There are so many memories I want to share here but I just can't. Some are too long to type, others too personal and then of course there are the inappropriate ones and the ones that are for you and me baby!

Love you Shtevey Steve, or as I call you Stephan!

Your Wife,

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Jess and I, Neiman Marcus.
A little taste of heaven on the escalator.

Today I made a trip to the mall.
This may not seem like a big deal to most of you but for me it's HUGE!

First of all, over the past 8 years I have visited the mall an average of 1.25 times a year.
Again, perhaps there's a small group of you who could care less about the mall at all.
Well I was raised a mall rat.
My mom hit the Maine Mall as often as she could.
Add in yearly shopping trips to Boston, New York and North Conway; I learned my way under all the racks in all the stores on the eastern seaboard; not to mention the rating system I had for department stores. Jordan Marsh, great bathroom, Macy's, run free, Tiffany's, wake up and pay attention- it all sparkles!

In high school the nearest mall was an hour away and yet I still seemed to make a weekly trip. I wasn't really a shopper, it was a social event for me.

Then I got married young, had two babies shortly after and began to live a lifestyle that didn't allow for mall trips. I didn't and don't mind this change in my old routine, I really like being "unmalled", but sometimes I miss it!

Anyway this was a long winded way to say I got in some mall time, to the tune of 6 hours, in the Mall of Millenia!

One of my youth group girls and I headed over for some school shopping, browsing, dreaming, coffee and talking!

We hit all the fun stores,
top on our list were:
Tiffany & Co. - we share a very special bond over this store
Juicy Couture - this was new for me
Coach - new to my fav list
Anthropologie - could live there
Chanel - because Every girl alive should wear Chanel No. 5
and of course, Neiman Marcus - no cookies though

Thrilled that I got to have a little bit of useless fun today!
This girl is my NYC shopping buddy, I see it one day!!

PS: I found this couch and love it!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


One of the aspects of working in student ministries is the "hang out" factor. If there is anything students like to do more than hang out with their friends than I haven't discovered it!

Since ministry is about relationships, I get to do lots of hanging out!!

Last week I got back to back hang out days!

The first was an 18th birthday party!
When she called to tell me it was a skating party, I was thrilled!! I hadn't roller skated in 11 years! Ohhhh the glory of it! They even played some old school Michael Jackson, I kept saying "we'll leave after this song"...

Birthday girl on the right and her best friend.

My Justin jumped in on the fun. He hadn't been on skates since he was 2-years-old and he had a broken arm at the time; and to think we put him on skates??

The whole gang of us! I didn't want to leave, it was a bunch of fun!

The other hang out activity has been our Turn or Burn beach tour. After our mission trip we organized a weekly "beach tour"; we picked 4 beaches, 1 local and 3 at least an hour away, set a time and day and whoever shows- goes!
Since I am not a "go to the beach with a tone of people" person I decided to only go to the local date. We made a great castle and dug a huge hole!

There you have it, a peak into the world of "hanging out".
Beach out!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Billy Bad Behind

Boys crack me up.
I am sitting in the back office while 5 of them "game" in the living room and 2 of them "game" in the Legoroom.
Actually 1 just left so the count in down to 6.

We all have different characters in our XBox and Steve's guy is called "Billy Bad Behind".
(I wouldn't allow him to write the other word so you can thank us both for the humor.)

Anyway, I keep hearing the boys talk about Billy Bad Behind;
"Watch out for Billy Bad Behind!"
"Here comes Billy Bad Behind!"
"Don't mess with Billy Bad Behind!"

Too funny!
Well I am wrapping up my at-home work.
First 5.5 hours in the office and then 2.5 hours at home.
I'm ready for a break.


Saturday, August 08, 2009

Meet Bella

We got her today at the Humane Society. 6 months old, already named Bella, and full of it!
So far she fits in with our fam perfect! Stay tuned, I'm sure you'll hear more!

Parenting Teenagers Tip #1

When driving in the car with your teenage child, if possible, sit in the very back of the car.
It helps.
I also suggest looking out the side window or if you're going 70mph on the interstate continually look down at your cell phone or other distracting material; this will keep your eyes off the road.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

New Shoes

Life is a journey.
It's amazing how God reinforces this in my life, and encourages me as the path on this journey bends and turns.
A recent bend in my path has given this ol' girl a hope for the upcoming turn ahead.

Some bends in the road require new shoes.
I'm lacing them up!
More to come,
Stay tuned...

Peace, Love and Rock on!


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