Saturday, March 30, 2013

Spring Break '13

For the first time in my life, I'm excited for Monday.

Don't get me wrong, we've had a great week. 

But too much of a good thing often becomes no longer a good thing.

This past week was the kiddos Easter Break from school. 

We rarely do anything fun, so I was determined to do a few fun things with them.

This is kinda a rambly post...just a fair warning.  Mostly for me to remember.  

(Of course Spring Break starts the minute they exit the school...even though technically it starts Monday morning)
The week before Riley went ice skating for the first time and LOVED it.  I thought it sounded like a great way to burn some energy. 
We met some friends there.  I rented skates as well so that if one of the kids fell, I could easily get to them.!?! I've never ice skated before.  So as I was skating around the edge, and Reagan falls down in the center of the ring, I just stood there thinking to myself "Good luck buddy, because there is NO way I am skating where I am out of reach of something." 

The kids did great and caught on rather quickly.  I think I would've done better had the thought of "NO health insurance" wasn't rolling around in my head.

Later in the week, Reagan told me he couldn't wait until his birthday so I could buy him ice skates.  And he couldn't wait until we moved to CT so he could skate more.  A boy after my own heart.

Busy day.  Laundry, cleaning, and such. Had a rousing game of backyard kickball.  Rhianna had a birthday party to go to and Reagan had a friend over. 


Miss Maddie's 8th birthday party :-)  Fun times.  Can't believe she's 8!

I worked in the morning and then sadly I have no idea what we did the rest of the day. :-( 

I worked and then in the afternoon the kids had friends over.  We tie dyed shirts (Yes, I'm crazy.  There were NINE kids in my tiny apartment).  After the shirts we played a lively game of kickball that became fairly intense (just Riley and myself...everyone else just acted like normal people). 
Then we dyed eggs and then had a quick egg hunt. 
Exhausted, I drove everyone home and came back and took a quick nap.

Woke up with a massive headache expecting the day to be exceedingly awful. (I'm not a big fan of March 27th)  and headed into work only to find out we weren't working :-)  Went home and hit the bed until I was called back into work to cover someones lunch.

That afternoon/evening the kids and I met my friend Tami at my aunts to make up plates of cookies to pass out to the residences at our church's Nursing Home apartments.

Before I left, the phone rang and it was a florist with flowers for me.  I told her to meet me at my aunts.  The bouquet was beautiful with a lovely note saying "From a Friend who cares."  Whoever you are, thank you.  It truly made my day.

The kids had a blast passing out the plates of goodies.  We made it home fairly late that evening (7:30ish) and I realized I hadn't fed my kids.  Riley said "Mom, I'm stuffed."  He then confessed that every place he stopped either gave him a cookie, candy, or a tip.  I just had to shake my head and grin.  He is rather handsome.

At 8pm some friends came over (same friends as ice skating friends) for a late night egg hunt.  I had this brilliant idea to paint the eggs with glow in the dark paint.  The idea was only great in theory.  The paint did not glow. whatsoever.
So we had a egg hunt in the dark and I must say there was no bumped heads (to my delight and surprise).

After the egg hunt we had Hot Chocolate Sundaes and angel food cake.  It was freezing out.  (HCS are simply ice cream in hot chocolate :) 

The three boys played dodge ball downstairs while Anna and I sat up and visited.  Rhianna (the only girl) played in her room.  We talked for quite some time, encouraging each other in our quest to beat the odds and succeed as single moms. 

The day ended up being not quite as horrific as I had expected.  I had a good long cry, missing my dad and then was just thankful I had the dad that I had for the time I had him.

Thursdays are my cleaning days so Rhianna came along and helped out a bit.  It was fun to have one on one time with my girlie. 
Thursday afternoon we spent the day cleaning up before the boys headed off to some of their friends to spend the night.  Rhianna was going to spend the night with Laurie and Maddie. 

Which means: I was child-free for the night!!!

Diane and I went to Fairlawn and ran a few errands before having dinner at Applebees.  We left around 9:30 not wanting to go home to face reality, so we headed to WalMart to pick up a few things I had forgotten.
We were almost home when she said "I'm still not ready to go home, lets go get a coffee."  So we ran to Starbucks and sat until almost 11 sipping coffees.
It was a much needed break for both of us and I can tell you we laughed. A lot.  Maybe even too much.  Oh, yea. And one of the best parts?  The whole night was paid for by gift cards.  :) :) Made it guilt free.

Worked in the morning. 

Got kids around noon.

Dealt with crabby, fussy, bickering kids until time for church.

Spent the evening listening and being reminded of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His love for us.  (And I had my sweetie nephew the whole night). 

Brought home a friend to spend the night.

Baking lemon cheesecakes to deliver in the morning.


Deliver cakes
Set up dessert table at Aunt Kate's birthday party/singing
Rhianna goes to Maddie's birthday party
Easter Egg hunt
Aunt Kate's Birthday Singing/Reception

I think there's something else, but I can't remember.


Church: I get to substitute in Sunday School and teach a great group of 5/6 year olds.   Of course, Easter Dinner.  We have some surprises for the nieces (nephew too little for candy :)  and other fun projects planned for Sunday night.

Phew.  What a week.

That's why I'm ready for Monday.
Back to routine.  Back to a schedule. 

We had a wonderful week and even though it was simple, I hope the kids enjoyed themselves and can look back with good memories.

But I'm tired.

I need a Spring Break to recoup from their Spring Break.  :-)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

10. 11. 12.

I feel like I should write. 

I always feel better when I do.

I wanted to write about how he was my hero.

How he was so incredibly talented.

I didn't want to write about how I miss him.

I only wanted to remind others how good he was.

And not focus on his mistakes.

I want to prove him wrong.

Last year I thought I was doing good. 

The 26th hit and I fell apart.

I crept through the 27th.

I didn't want to be surprised again.

I didn't want to be caught off guard.

March 1st came around.

And I braced myself.

I've anticipated the darkness.

Of course, it came.

Like oil.  Slowly seeping in

to every crevice of my being.

Deep pain from that knife to my heart 12 years ago.

I think to myself.

How could I have lived 12 years without him?

The years are stacking up.

Too neatly, like blocks.  One on top of another.

The first 10 years he lived where I lived.

The next 11 years I saw him only a few days a week.

The last 12 years he's been gone.

10. 11. 12.

The numbers add up.

Soon the years will be equal. 

Years that I had him and the years he was gone.

Soon will come the year he was gone for more than I knew him.

I can't stop the years from adding up.

I can't add to the years I had.

I must soon tell my oldest.

He must hear from me.

He shouldn't hear from someone else.

I cannot leave the risk hanging open.

I'm terrified to tell him.

But I know the time is coming

that he must know the truth

why March is his mama's sad time.

Why his name is so precious.

As much as I want to forget.

The aches in my bones remind me of the pains in my heart.

Someone told me

"Just get through March.  April is right around the corner."

So that is what I do.

New reader?  Read more  here and here

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How Queen Lucy had a second chance and what that has to do with me

Every night, at bedtime, I read the children a chapter out of a book in a series.  We started Chronicles of Narnia a little before Christmas.  If you have not read this series run, not, walk to get them!  My children have of course enjoyed it, but I have grown spiritually in leaps and bounds from reading this series.

There are so many 'aha' moments that I simply cannot write about them all. 

But this one, I must.

Most of my readers know of my journey to move to Connecticut.  Someday I will share the journey of how I came to feel led, but that I am still pondering in my heart in amazement how God has continued to show me everytime I have asked Him to show me.

I digress.

Brief overview is that when I was 20 I felt God telling me to move.  Obviously, I didn't listen.  In my head I said "I will later, when I'm done having fun with my friends here." 

Well.  That didn't work out so well for me.

Thankfully, God is giving me another chance.  Although because of my disobedience to follow Him the first time, this journey east is a bit harder, more mountains to climb, and rocks to stumble over.  What looked like too hard a journey to take 13 years ago, would have been much simpler.

Where does Queen Lucy come into all of this? 

In Price Caspian, the four Kings and Queens of Narnia were trying to figure how to get to Aslan's How and the Stone Table.  Queen Lucy saw in the far distance a lion.  It was Aslan, the lion.  But she didn't have the confidence to follow him without the other 3 coming as well.  They decided to take what appeared to be the easier course, talking Lucy into following them.  This was, of course, was the wrong way and harder in the end.

Soon into their journey they realized they were lost.  Fighting for their lives, they soon knew there was no way out.  After some time, Aslan reveals himself to Lucy again and she is determined to follow him, even when the other three cannot see him.  She convinces the others to follow her with Aslan.  They finally relent.

The journey is hard.  Extremely hard.  But this is because they are so far off course.  Aslan must lead them through rough terrain to get them back to where they belong.  Even though the journey is painful, Aslan is guiding them safely through.

There is so much adventure that I am not going to divulge.  You need to read it for yourself, and let God speak to you through this wonderful allegorical book.

But I am going to share with you an excerpt that screamed to me to keep on my journey and not give up, no matter how difficult the climb (and how awesome is it that the moon is mentioned?  Anyone who knows me, knows I love the moon!) :

Prince Caspian (Book 4, Chronicles of Narnia) C.S. Lewis  Chapter 11, pg 160-161

Presently they came to another steep path, up the face of the farther precipices. These were far higher than the ones they had just descended, and the journey up them was a long and tedious zig-zag.  Fortunately the Moon shone right above the gorge so that neither side was in shadow. 

Lucy was nearly blown when the tail and hind legs of Aslan disappeared over the top: but with one last effort she scrambled after him and came out, rather shaky-legged and breathless, on the hill they had been trying to reach ever since they left Glasswater.  The long gentle slope stretched up to where it vanished in a glimmer of trees about half a mile away.  She knew it.  It was the hill of the Stone Table.

Where am I in this journey?  I don't know.  I could be further back than what I realize.  I could only be halfway. It feels like its almost over, I hope its almost over. But in reality I'm not sure how far this journey is, I only know how far I've come. 

I am sure that Jesus is leading me.  I can't see what is over the next cliff.  I don't know if its yet another struggle another cliff, or if this is my final one.  Maybe I soon will scramble over, come out rather shaky legged and breathless, to find that the final door will be opened and I can go. 

One thing I know for sure, is that I can praise Him in allowing me another chance and I can also praise Him in the wonderful lessons I learned on this journey.

Thanks for coming alongside me and cheering me on, praying that I can continue to climb through this. 

And seriously, go get the series!!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

The things my brother does with my kids that I don't know about

Yesterday we drove past a skydiving place.

Riley's friend said she would like to try it sometime.

I told them about how my brother went when he was 18. 

I continued the story by telling Rhianna it was on the Sunday afternoon of her first day at church.

We chatted about it a little bit and then Reagan piped up and says:

"Uncle Jared took me skydiving."

I said "No Reagan, when Uncle Jared went, you weren't even born yet."

Reagan replies, with a very serious, "Not then Mom.  He took me last week." 


I get home and text my brother and ask him why he would take Reagan skydiving without me knowing?

The reply that came back?

"I didn't take just Reagan.  I've taken them all.  You never know what I'll do with your kids."

Haha.  Love my kids' imaginations and love my brother for going along with it.

Search me, O God, and know my heart

'Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.' Psalm 139 23-24

Have you ever prayed this prayer? 

I have always been too afraid.

I mean, seriously. 

It is asking God to openly reveal all our weaknesses and  things about us that need fixing up.

And that's scary.

I remember a friend telling me that she deeply prayed this to God, she wanted to make sure that she was truly in line with His Word and had complete faith and confidence in Him.

Soon some struggles came and forced her to prove her faith out.

When she told me that I remember thinking "Well. I'll never pray that prayer!  I have so many weaknesses that surely I would fail if I asked God to try my heart."

Wasn't that seriously pathetic and terrible to even think that???

Fast forward years later to this past month.

All my readers know that things are kinda tough around here.

I felt led to pray about moving over 3 years ago.

2.5 years ago, after much praying and seeking, I decided to pursue moving.

I seriously thought I would have been living in Connecticut for almost 2 years by now.

But God has had other plans.

Going through the waiting?  It was rough.

I'm still waiting.

But looking back over the past 3 years I have nothing but praise and thanksgiving to give to God.

When I look back I see a tornado of things that happened.  Tremendous growth: spiritually and emotionally.

In those years I have been able to forgive Randy and find peace with the situation.  I have been able to forgive the 21 year old girl that I was who made some pretty bad decisions, I have found closure with a few relationships that needed closure, I have established relationships and they have grown into a deep trust that I couldn't have imagined having 3 years ago but depend on deeply now. 

Many wonderful things have happened. And through that I am so thankful for God's timing, provisions, and Him not answering my pleading prayers to just let me move every time I stomped my foot.

This past month has been different.

The new birth certificates came in the mail.  I was able to get the new Social Security cards. 

Things feel like they are wrapping up. 

I don't know the future.

So maybe things aren't wrapping up.  They just feel like they are.

I could have another 3 years of things to work through before I move. 

But I know one thing.

The prayer of 'Search me, O God, and know my heart' has been literally rolling in my head.

Like one of those songs you can't get rid of...just going round and round and round..and the only way to get rid of them is to sing it, really loud.

While I work, I pray "Search me, O, God.  Show me. What else needs to be done.  Is my heart clean or is there more wickedness that needs cleared out".

When I kneel by my bed, I pray "Search me, O, God. Show me." 

I used to be terrified to pray this prayer.

Now I can pray it in peace.  I have a deep desire for God to search my heart and to show me.  To reveal to me what I need to do to make me more like Him. 

Of course, as expected, things appear.

Thoughts appear, things that could discourage me. 

But I am going to continue to pray that God will truly show anything in my heart that needs cleansing and purifying.  And then help me do the cleansing. 

I'm no longer afraid to pray that prayer. 

It is relieving to pray that prayer.

God is good.

ALL the time. 

And for that I am thankful.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

By Reagan

Reagan handed me a little slip of paper.  He said he wrote a story.  It was so darling, I had to share it with you!

By Reagan
One Sumy morning I wowck up.  I got drest In a blue shart and red pans.  I got on my tenusews.  I whent to rES. and it was a Sater day!  I forgot adout saterday.  So I went home and wotched Lego Star wors.  I ate batered popcorn.  I went to bed and slep untl Sunday! I had a alsum Day!


I was going to make an index here and thought 'nah.  Let 'em guess.'  The only thing I'm going to decipher is the rES.  That's RES-Rittman Elementary School :-) 

I'd love it if you left a comment and guessed what these words are:



He's rather darling, isn't he?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


I have found one way to survive just about anything. 


Even laughing at the most ridiculous things can make the most horrible things go away for just a moment.

The worse the situation, the more ridiculous the thing needs to be you're laughing at.

Trust me.  I've been there.


I need to laugh.

So I went to Pinterest and found some funny things. 

Most are pretty ridiculous.

But feel free to laugh anyhow.

It certainly can't hurt.


Monday, March 11, 2013

I'm not the only one who has had to wait

As of late I've had more and more people ask when I'm going to be (finally) moving.  Most have encouraging words to say.  But as with all things, there are the pessimists, the critics, and the ones who must put in their two-cents. 

In trying to not let those few negatives make me discouraged. Why is it that one negative remark can erase ten positives?  I saw a saying online tonight that I'm going to say to myself when someone approaches me with an unwarranted negative comment.  First to help me laugh and second to help me stay focused.  "Its not your circus. Its not your monkeys."  Basically..not your worries and not your anxieties.

In this, I decided to make a list ~ for myself~ of others, who have waited on God and went through the fire while they waited.  I decided to share it.  To encourage others who are going through a storm that they are not the only ones who had to wait...and to show how the waiting proved to be wonderful.

I'm sure there are so many that I'm missing, so to get me through this storm of discouragement, would you leave a comment of a Biblical story where waiting proved to lead into a blessing?  Or even a Godly person in history? Or even yourself and your situation, where waiting for God proved to bring you the most joy.

I need a pick-me-up.

And I'm going to assume that others need a pick me up too.


Here's my list. 
  • Joseph: Was in prison at least 2 years. Innocently
  • David: Ran from King Saul 8 years. Waiting for the promise of being King
  • Abraham: Waited for God's promise of descendants. Even though he had no son in his old age
  • Hezekiah: Waited for God's promised rescue from Assyria. Even though Jerusalem were surrounded by a massive army
  • Job: Waited for God to redeem. Even though his friends were assuming, critical, and negative.
  • Rahab: Waited in the walls of Jericho to be rescued. Even though she was a harlot.
  • Joash: Was hid, and waited, to grow up to sit on his rightful throne. Even though his life was threatened and throne had been stolen.
  • Noah: Built an ark Even though people called him crazy. Waited for the water to recede. Even though the animals were probably smelly :-) 
  • Jacob: Waited (and worked) 14 years for Rachel. Even after the first 7 years and being tricked.
  • Mary & Martha: Waited for Jesus to come heal Lazurus. Even after they thought it was too late.
  • Israelites: Wandered and waited 40 years in the desert. Even though it seemed impossibly hard.

After thinking about this list (and I know there is so many more), it made me realize that I too, can keep waiting.  Keep working through it.  Keep asking God what work needs to be done while I'm still here.  Keep praying while seeking and finding peace and contentment. 

I know I'm not the only one waiting for something. 

Some are waiting on healing, some are waiting on a diagnosis or prognosis, some are waiting on an adoptive child to come home, some are waiting to get through school, all are waiting through other kinds of storms.  We are all waiting...waiting on something...waiting to go home.

I hope that sharing this small list gives you hope and courage; that God is sitting with you in the waiting room of life.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


This whole job hunt thing is for the birds.

I've been down in the dumps lately. 

Its hard getting rejection emails day in and day out.

Last week ended rather rough.

But I pulled myself up and was determined to not let anything or anyone get me down.

Today God brought back a memory of something that happened years ago.

It encouraged me.

I want to share it with you.

I want to write it here so when I'm feeling lost and alone I can remember and know.


Remember that verse where it talks about God knowing every sparrow that falls? And how much more important are we?

Well that verse came to life in front of me.

I was standing in the kitchen of the old farmhouse we were renting.  I was listening to the CD recording of my dad's funeral for the first time.  It was approximately five years after he had died and I had never been able to listen to that service.  It was too hard.

But for some reason that afternoon I pulled it out.  I remember listening to it and just weeping and remembering. 

I felt very alone. In a black murky pit.  Somedays I still feel very alone.  In that black murky pit.

Life was extremely hard for me at this point.

Three little children, very close in age.  The baby with tummy problems who screamed constantly.

A husband who was never around and when he was home he was violently mean.

Life was hard.  And all I could see was blackness.

I needed something to show me I would someday be okay.

As the final hymns were being sung on the CD, I stood looking out the window and saw the little bird in the yard.

This bird had been in the yard for a few days by this point.  Something had injured the leg and the bird couldn't get the start it needed to get it off the ground.

We didn't have the heart to kill it...just hoped it would get quickly eaten by the dog or something.

As I looked out at that little bird, I knew how it felt.

Crippled from so much pain.  Not being able to get off the ground.

Right then I asked God to show me He was there with us.  Show me that someday He would heal my heart. 

I asked God  to show me if He loved me more than the little bird. 

To heal the bird and allow it to fly.

As soon as the words slipped past my lips, the bird took off, swooping through the air and circling the yard before taking off into the skies.

The tears came harder than they were before and turned into sobs.

I wasn't sure when God would rescue me.

Today I remembered that day.  I remembered the little bird taking flight as those words crossed my lips. 

Today I remembered that I am important and known to God.

That when the time is right, I too will be released and can take my flight.