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, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve

Happy eve of the day of our Savior's birth.
As today comes to a close I look around,
all the presents are wrapped and under the tree.
The little ones are settled into their beds and I take a minute to think on the night Jesus was born.
In a manger.
Cold, perhaps.
A smelly place to be born
but what beauty must have shone in that place.

A beauty that came as a babe,
a beauty that already was.
A beauty, a baby, to grow into a man;
a man who knows my messed up self.
Knows my imperfections, my flaws, my shortcomings
and yet
chose me.
Loves me.
Loves you.

Tomorrow we'll wake to presents and paper,
pancakes and playing; 
I wonder, 
will I really remember Him.
Will I make tomorrow about Him?
Will my words, my actions, my heart be a reflection of Him?
That baby who grew into a man,
to live,
to die,              for mankind.
For me.

Holy Spirit, fill me, lead me, change me. -m

Aubs and I at Cheraw State Park, SC

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Just wanted to check in.
All is well here.
We've survived birthdays and family visits, crafts days and now we sit in the midst of college finals with high school finals next week.

Aubry has been having weekly visits with her birth mom and I have done more Christmas sewing than I would have expected.

I've been commissioned to plan a friends wedding, which thrills me, and in the meantime and getting things together for a small campfire gathering to celebrate Steve's birthday this weekend.

It's also that time of year that I begin to look into what our family vacation will look like in the summer of 2013.
With Vaughan and Sarah expecting a new little one early June I'm not sure if we'll take one this year. Also as Vaughan's family grows and our family dynamics change I wonder if Steve, Justin and I will head off on our own adventure. Praying, investigating and pondering a mission trip for the 3 of us. Unsure of where or what that would look like: Belize, Peru, Kenya... I could list a million places but it's what God would have.

I am also excited and nervous to be beginning to teach Hugh School Sunday School this week and also excited about a Parent Open House I have the privilege of helping coordinate for our youth group parents this January. With over 350 or 400 students coming on Wednesday nights I am pumped to be part of reaching their parents, coming along side them and helping to empower and equip them in living, loving and parenting their students. So if you're a local parent of a middle or high schooler keep Jan 30th on your radar.

Well for nor that's it, I'm off to paint my chalkboards.
Shalom friends

Sunday, December 02, 2012

6 Things For "Type B" Personalties

I am an A-/B+ personality
I can be very organized in small ways and mostly a cluttery butterfly in the rest.
Organization for me right now is 2 cutely decorated spiral notebooks, one keeping track of my personal life and the other for my current party planning job, now if only I knew where they were... just kidding

Some days I freak out at my clutter,
most days I don't.
One morning years ago while watching the Today Show some organizer said that if you could find something in under 3 minutes you were good. I'm sure she said it more eloquently but that is the gist of it and a theory I stick to.

So, since I can find anything in 3 minutes, I'm good.

But being a stay-at-home home for the past 19 years I thought I'd put together a small list of things that have helped me survive my days.

How To Survive as a "Type B" Stay-at-Home-Mom

1. Make your bed as soon as you get out of it, if not you'll probably go right back into it

2. Start 1 load of laundry every morning, since your a type B personality combining whites/darks and towels makes no difference, then every time you eat "push it through"

3. Think about dinner within the first 30 minutes of your day, that way you can get your meat thawing or int he crockpot before everyone is starving at 5pm

4. Be at peace with creating something over cleaning something

5. About 30 minutes before your man walks through the door freshen yourself up, you may not have showered in a few days and that's OK, do your hair, at least comb it or redo the pony, dust up your make-up or blush or lips and put on something cute- for me it's always jeans and a shirt

6. Know what household chore "settles" you the most and make it a priority; for me it's the floors. I do best when the main areas are vacuumed daily, especially the entryway and kitchen, when they're clean it seems to make all the other stuff not seem so bad

Especially with the holidays in full swing these 6 tips really help me. What top tips help you keep the house in working order?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Happy Birthday to Him

He's pretty much why I started blogging. 
I didn't want to forget what he did, said or where he went. 
Now he's all grown up and turned 19 today.
He's an incredible dad and husband.
He walks a path that many don't dare step onto.
I can be hard on him sometimes.
Expect too much, maybe?
But, I love him.
He has a piece of my heart, ok it's more like a chunk of it.

He got me hooked on Superheros, comic books, video games and we share a love for an indoor cat.
I love him more than he knows.
Happy Birthday Vaughan.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


I am going to be a grandmother again!! Congratulations to Vaughan and Sarah and big sister Illana!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Little Ones Now and Then

Having a little one again reminds me of some things.

It reminds me that sometimes it's more important to sit and play than to do the dishes.
It reminds me that hugs and kisses outweighs a clean shirt.
Showers are overrated,
drooling is best wiped away with a hand and a pair of jeans.
Speaking of jeans, they are a staple in every mom's wardrobe.

Having a little one reminds me that sometimes bedtimes need to be thrown out for the sake of loving and giggling or friends visiting.
A little one reminds me that a baby on the hip, watching your every move is precious; tiring but precious.
A little one reminds me that walks are worth taking
and talking to ones self is freeing.

Laughing at oneself is even better.

Little ones remind me of the simple things in life. No fancy toy needed.
Little ones remind me that books are good and when you have a good one it's worth reading over and over.
Little ones remind me that eating often keeps the fussiness away,
and that sharing is an important rule.

I also have the privilege of being a mom of little ones over a 20 year period of time.
Being a mom of a little one today versus 20 years ago is pretty different.
20 years ago we didn't hang cute banners at birthday parties, nor did we have elaborate themes with printables from the internet.
We couldn't share pictures on Facebook because not only did it not exist but the internet was not common, we didn't even get dial-up until 1996!
20 years ago a pony tail was just that, who knew about all these cute easy "mom pony tails" existed.
20 years ago there was only ONE simple Exersaucer,
this is not even the original, the original had nothing on the tray
and to think there is an even more crowded exersaucer than this one

High chairs were still simple and wooden.
5-point harnesses on a stroller was unheard of
and car seats had a "tray" that lifted up over the child's head.
20 years ago there was no Netflix and PBS was the way to go for children's programing, glad that's still around.
There was no Dora or Curious George TV, no Veggie Tales.
McDonald's still had ballpits- and BIG ones at that.

A lot has changed in the arena of parenting.
And I am blessed to be experiencing it all.

Thank you to the little ones in my world.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Aubry's First B-Day

Aubry turned one on Sunday. We had a small party with her closest friends :)
That would be her family and her babysitters.
We opted to skip out on church since she had been sick all week and had been up for a nice 3 hour party in the middle of the night anyway.
When she did wake up I dressed her in her pre-party outfit.
A cute little outfit that Illana let her borrow with a brand new hair piece I got her off of Etsy.
 Aubry and I spent a chunk of time playing outside with the cats.
 Here she is following one under the chair.
Oh! She caught one. Toby is our biggest cat and when he is ready for some lovin' he is willing to let her hug and tug on him.
Inside was a different story. I made two banners for her the week and day of the party. One read "Hugs & Kisses" and the other "b-day wishes"
 She wore an ice cream dress and we made cupcakes in ice cream cones. She had both a golden butter cream cupcake and a chocolate one.

 Here's the best shot I got of her in her special birthday dress.

It was a good time. Her bio-mom showed up and I thought it went well. 
Only because of God's grace could I deal with the situation like I did.
A few of the guests, several actually, had a hard time seeing bio-mom with Aubry. They hurt for mom and the fact that she hadn't been a part of this precious ones life. 
I felt indifferent. 
Sometimes I wonder if something is wrong with me in that I think "it is what it is".
Life is what is happening and I find it best to just do the next thing. To accept the here, the way things are and move on. God has a perfect Kingdom calendar, a perfect plan for my life and when things happen out of my control I find it best to just accept it and step forward.

Now don't get me wrong, sometimes I freak and scream and pitch a fit, but never did I wake up and think my life would take the turns it has taken. 

So when it came to the birthday party I did my best to include Aubry's bio-mom. For now the goal is reunification and I must do what I can on my part to cautiously make that transition the best for Aubry that it can be.
I love this little girl and I really don't want to let her go. She has a piece of my heart.
Who knows?
Who knows what tomorrow holds?
What is it for me to even speculate,
after all I'm ready for my Lord's return tonight.

Tomorrow may never come and when it does, 
when tomorrow comes and I am gone,
I will be forgotten, 
my life is like a flower in the field, the wind blows over it and it's place remembers it no more.

I do believe my Jesus footprint, however small, will carry on His love.
That's why I loved bio-mom yesterday.
That's why I do the next thing.
Hopefully it's the Jesus thing.

Following my Rabi,

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Today I'm Painting a Dresser and Typing This

Today at Bible study we heard about the relationship between joy and anguish.
I won't get into all the technical stuff but I will say that it made me think of the times in my life when I was in anguish.
When my heart couldn't handle it, my mind could barely stand it and my body felt as though it couldn't bare up under it.
Looking back at those times I see the joy that resulted.
The joy in the lesson,
in the result,
in the growing pains of life.

While I really don't feel as though I am in any sort of anguish right now, I also don't feel as though I am living in great joy.

My mind can allow myself to see anguish as a possibility,
and my heart desires joy.

My source of anguish has morphed into joy
but only through my Savior is that possible.


On a separate note there's a good chance, OK so there is the fact,
that I will be leaving Wednesday night youth service for Sunday morning youth service.
The difference, besides the day and time, is the switch from a small group leader to a D-Teams teacher.
*deep breath*
yeah, I'm pretty much an idiot
but for some reason God is calling this idiot to teach in a more formal setting about Him.
Nervous? yes.
Stepping out in faith. yes
Just wanting to post this of my boys
For whatever reason I have never felt so unequipped and least qualified for this.
I'm scared.
Not much scares me in the physical world but this does.
And it's not fear of speaking, or the kids. Not sure what it's root is.
So I could use some prayer.

May you have a happy day~

Monday, October 29, 2012

He Is the Balm for My Heart

I just love this picture of her.
Classic Aubry.
Standing on something
and you know that something is not high enough in her eyes.
I love her in this chair because it's our chair.
Really, it's every body's chair because we all spend a lot of time sitting in it.
Personally I sit in it most often with her.
Aubry saw her mom last Thursday for the first time in over 7 months. I drove to the visitation cautiously, somewhat nervous, a little shakey but with a peace.

We had prayed for no separation anxiety on Aubry's part and our prayers were answered. She went to her mom with a little hesitation but looking at me she knew it was alright. 
I knew it was alright.
That was it, a few instructions and I walked away.
I drove around the corner crying. Not really because I was sad but because an end may very well be in sight. 
And I don't like that.
I mean it's what we've always expected, a healed mother is what we've prayed for; it's just I hurt thinking of letting go of this precious wonder.
We'll ease into the visits, wise council has offered wise advice.
Visits will be nothing like I would have wanted. No, why would they, how could this time of trust be simple?

I will drive her. I will drop her. I will pick her up.
I will face the hard truth.
The truth that my time, our time with Aubry living under our roof may very well have a closer ending date than I would like.

God knows best.
I trust her in His hands.
I trust her future, 
her influences, 
where she'll lay her head,
eat her meals,
and learn to live.
I trust the words spoken to her little ears and the things seen by her little eyes,
I trust it all to God. 

I hear from friends of similar situations. Babies raised and quickly gone.
Some to only come back again, others not.
Some with good stories,
others with bad.

I trust
but trusting doesn't mean easy,
it doesn't mean things will go as I wish,
or go with no pain.

I pray.
I trust.
I rest.

I cry out... He hears me in my agony.
I fall down... He sees me in my hurt.
I weep... He wipes away my tears.
I ache... He is the balm for my heart.

He is my Healer.
My Sanctifier.
My Redeemer.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus...


Monday, October 22, 2012

Sorry, but it's More Yosemite- No, not sorry...

So I wanted to take a moment and post some pictures from our Yosemite trip. We really love the high meadows, honestly I am not even sure if I have posted some of these before but I don't care, I love them. Below is a picture of me by the Tuolumne River. It's just so peaceful, quiet and free. 

 Above is a picture of the backside of Half Dome with Cloud's Rest to it's left. From the first time I saw Half Dome in person I wanted to hike it. Conquer it. After this past trip I decided Half Dome was only part of what i wanted to hike, Cloud's Rest is now on that list. Around the time I turn 40, Lord willing, I want to venture out from Tuolumne Meadows, to Cloud's Rest, stay the night to watch the sunrise and then hike Half Dome before descending back into the valley. if I could then stay the night at the Ahwahnee that's be great, but in reality Housekeeping Camp would do.

Speaking of Housekeeping Camp, above is the picture of the "tents" at Housekeeping. Three cement walls and a cement floor with a canvas wall and door. A small picnic table completes the "room".

This trip we hiked Taft Point and then Sentinel Dome.
Back in 2007 or 2008 Steve and I made our way to the  top of Mt Washington in New Hampshire and took our first Geological Survey picture, ever since we've been hooked.
This one is for Sentinel Dome:

OK so my pictures are in a mismatched order, before Sentinel Dome this was Taft Point, gotta say I was nervous with the 1,000 to 4,000 foot drops. 

This is me by the Ansel Adams tree that has now died, I love this picture because I have a little friend standing on the tree with me

Speaking of Sentinel Dome, it was quite the hike. Easy but not. If you look hard enough I have created a heart around the dome in this picture below. Don't let it fool you though, it look somewhat minor from the ground...

 But here it is from the approach.

Back in the Valley we strolled through the Yosemite Cemetery, yes I would like to be buried there.

 And of course what would a visit to the Valley be without a stop at and a stroll around the Ahwahnee Hotel, and they sell decent chocolate there in the sweet shop!

Well that's that. My favorite place.
Trees, trees and more trees.
I just love it.
This east coast girl fell hard in love with the west coast earth of Yosemite National Park.

So who's in on my 40th hiking trip?
You can hike with me or stay and meet me in the Valley.
You have 2 years to decide.

Love to you all,
peace out and remember that person you wanna punch square in the face-
extend them love and grace.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Court and Other News- updated

Seems as though visitation will not be as I had originally hoped, I will not share the details here, a little too public of a forum I think, but know that today Aubry's mom was released and already requesting a visit. Good, I guess, I mean for a mom to want to see her daughter after not for 7 months is a good thing. It's just a knot settled into my heart, the rollercoaster for what lies ahead haunts me. Is Aubry's best interest going to be considered over these coming months, or will a selfish love toy with this little girl. Oh so many things run through my mind.

But when I think on the future I lack faith. I lack the trust in my Heavenly Father and His hand in His timeline, His Kingdom calendar. 
Today, I claim today.
A gift.
A present.
Today, I claim His peace, His joy, His providence.
Today is the first day of the rest of my life- I will live it in faith.
Tomorrow may never come and if it does- it's already written.
~enjoying the thrill ride of life
Shalom friends

I am a mulling over kind of person.
When I hear something I have to think about it, marinate on it for awhile.
It's just how I am, when life happens some days it's a good 24 hours before I actually process what it was that just happened.

Last week was court.
A judicial review; so Aubry and I had to be there.
They, being DCF and CPC, always want me in the courtroom; I want to be in the backroom with the kids.

Basically "kid court" works a little different than regular court. In kid court the children involved are hidden from the court proceedings, so while they are there, present in the courthouse, to protect them from the words being said or the sight of their parents in jail jumpsuits the children go to a back playroom.

I wondered if Aubry would be able to stay in the court since she is small enough to not understand the meaning of "court" words and since clothes are clothes to her. Part of me wished she could be out there where her parents could lay eyes on her. Her father has never seen her in the flesh and it's been almost 7 months since mom has seen her.

It didn't work that way though.
DCF came and took her into the back room before her parents were marched in front of us all, a process that must be humbling, or maybe even humiliating. How i wished I would have mouth "I love you" or better yet "Jesus loves you". Before the case was even called I was called to the back Aubry didn't want to be separated from me so I got to sit in the back room and I didn't have to hear the words said in court last Thursday.

In the end, nothing has changed for us.
We will remain Aubry's legal guardians, for now.

He mother will be released this Wednesday, I think, and life will be a little different with weekly visitations starting back up again. This time around I will not do any of the drop offs or pick ups, too much emotional stress tied to that. I love Aubry's mom, I really do, but the mental and emotional bond makes visitation all the more complicated and to be frank I don't have the energy to put into her right now.

My energy is going into raising little Miss Aubsy-tobsy.

So that makes my heart break, now a "transporter" will come and pick her up and drop her off- that's gonna be fun, a stranger coming to take this precious one and drive her away.

Again I am reminded that God is in control, that He knows, that He has best in store.
And that Aubry belongs to Him.

So for now life is as it has been but in a week I know I will face some new challenges, my mind will process the changes and day by day we will walk in faith, trusting for the hand of God to be all over this situation as well as the lives of my boys.

On another note I officially started as Steve's book keeper this week, purchasing new software and getting this section of our lives on track as his company grows.

Speaking of blessings, my granddaughter is a huge one.
I am so blessed and thankful for God's grace in my life; I certainly do not deserve the man I married and the life we have together. My heart is wicked and selfish but covered in the blood of Christ I am free, clean, worthy and the funnest part of it all is that I am a bonafied princess, a daughter of the Most High King.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

No Boat Being Rocked, as least not planning on it...

Tomorrow marks 11 months.
11 months since my Boat was Rocked.

11 months ago I was happily working at a job I surprisingly loved and was having a great day.
11 months ago tomorrow was November 11, 2011- or 11/11/11.

A BIG day for weddings
an even BIGGER day for me and my family.

Tomorrow I will be up bright and early, I will pack up baby girl and we will head to court.
Nothing will change, at least I don't expect it to; but the judge just wants to see her;
know she is actually a living, breathing person and not just a case number.

I wonder if mom will be there,
or even dad?

Both are still finishing out their time in jail.
Mom gets out later this month and dad in the spring.

I try not to look ahead,
my planning mind has learned to not plan too much.
Not to set my heart on any one thing as times change.
With a phone call life paths can switch.
A decision seasons change.

Reunification is still the goal.
How it tears my heart to even say that, but that is what it is.
We want our loved ones sober, personally I've always wanted it for Aubry's moms sobriety,
and I still do;
but I'd be lying to say that somewhere,
deep down,
somewhere in my head, in my heart
 I don't want it, not now.

Oh Lord forgive me for my wretched self.

We are loving with an open hand,
holding this precious 11 month old knowing in reality she does not belong to us, or her parents but to her Creator God.
He knows what's best for her,
He knows what's best for her,
let me say it once again,

And with that I wake up tomorrow,
travel to court and on paper agree to reunification but in my heart oh so selfishly wanting to hold her tight for the next 17 years.

So tomorrow no boat will be rocked,
if anything I'll get a good cup of coffee and browse through a bookstore near the court.
I'll get lots of hugs and kisses from a precious little one who gives them to me freely when in the company of strangers.
I'll get tons of "she is so cute" and "wow she is getting big".

No, tomorrow my life won't change but it will hit home again that this life is fleeting.
That days are like grass, flourishing like the flowers in the field, the wind blows over it and it is gone and it's place remembers it no more. Psalm 103:15-16

11 months has come and gone.
Quickly and filled with massive changes, but it's gone.
The wind blew it away
much of it I don't remember.

Tomorrow will be the same,
here and then whoosh... gone.

I just hope I live it peacefully, lovingly.

Shalom friends,

Monday, October 01, 2012

California- Northbound

After leaving Dani and southern California behind we headed back north to do some hiking in Yosemite. Last year we took the 5 to Fresno and into the park from the west, this year we opted on the eastern route on the 395. (please notice my California way of referring to interstates and highways by just their #)
It was pretty much a long straight road that looked like this:

I did most of the driving this day... Steve could get some work done, and while I'm not 100% sure, I think he did a little Tiny Zoo playing.

Out first stop was at the base of the southern end of the Sierra Nevadas. 
Oh it makes my heart sing! I just love the mountains.

We stopped by a grocery store to replenish our cooler in a cute little town of Bishop, CA. Love it! We decided we could move there, plus the town has a Ben Franklin!!

Our destination that night was a little town called Lee Vining, before reaching our motel we stopped at Mono Lake, home of the tufas. You may have see the inside album cover of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here, or the White Snake video- both with the tufas as their backdrop.

I have to say they were pretty cool.

In Lee Vining we stayed at a cute little place called the El Mono Motel. We chose a room with a queen size bed and the bathroom down the hall; what a great coffee house for our morning coffee and chat with new friends. 

The view from the small side lawn wasn't too shabby either.
We stayed one night and then leisurely made out way the next morning into Yosemite National Park through the Tioga Pass. Beautiful and at 9,945 feet is was a great way to begin to acclimate our bodies to higher elevation before we did some hiking.

Since I have spent most of my summer inside and Steve most of his outside, our thoughts on a relaxing vacation vary; with this in mind I promised our first full day in Yosemite would be still. Tuolume Meadows are beautiful.
We grabbed our blanket and laid it out under the trees, near the river for a good part of the morning and afternoon. Steve worked on some writing he needed to do and I read, napped, planned a few hikes and explored the river bank.

The granite landscape is sharp among a place that softens my soul. I wish I could explain it but when I am in the mountains of Yosemite I feel at home, as if nothing else matters but that very second.
My eyes see the beauty,
my lungs feel it.
My heart never wants to leave it.
Perhaps its the fact that I have no worries, no responsibilities, no noise, no demands, just me, Steve and a road that leads to wherever we choose.

I stand in awe of the amazingness of my God. The artful design in the mountain tops as they rise and fall in musical beauty against a perfect sky. 

We arrived at Housekeeping Camp that afternoon, made up our bed and loaded our food into our bear box; we jumped onto the Valley Shuttle and visited the Yosemite Cemetery and grabbed some pizza at the pizza loft.

That night we snuggled down under our electric blanket to the quiet of the valley and the peace we enjoy in just being there.

Stay tuned for pictures of our hikes and our time in San Francisco and Sonoma Valley, until then life beckons...
Shalom to you all,


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