Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Two Baby Girls!!

Two days ago we found out we are having two baby girls. We were not supposed to have another sonogram until next week. However, I have not been feeling quite right the last few days. I can only stand up for short periods of time without giving out of breath. Also, there was a lot of cramping and discomfort.

Anyway, I called the Dr. and the nurse told me to go straight to the ER. The first nurse that took care of me started talking about how the babies would die if I was in labor. I just resolved to block out those voices. And you would not believe some of the comments and looks we got when we told them we were expecting twins and that they are our 12th and 13th children. A couple of women turned their noses up when they found out I was 44. Wow, the world can be so cruel.

After being at the hospital for 5 hours the doctor discharged me. I was told that I had been diagnosed with a threatened miscarriage. This was really confusing and frightening as all my tests came back great and the babies looked wonderful. The nurse was very vague and the ER doctor never came back in to explain what he meant by "threatened miscarriage." My only orders were to take it easy and call my regular OB the following day.

So I did just that. I called the doctor's office and they told me to come on in. The only doctor there was Dr. Goodman whom I had not met before. I am amazed how God sets things up by orchestrating this immediate appointment to see a humerus, gracious, laid back physician named Dr. Goodman! Get it? "GOOD MAN"!!

This elderly doctor came into the room, examined me, plopped down and just started visiting with us. I mean we had a good ole fashion visit. You know. Like in the old days when most doctors were more personal and treated you like you were a human being instead of one of the cows in the herd? He told us that he is a father of six children and that he himself was the oldest of eight siblings. We could not help but chuckle when he told us that when he was a teenager he did not appreciate all his mom went through carrying all those babies. He said he would cringe at the thought that his mother and father "did things like that." Wow we had some good laughs with Dr. Goodman!

Dr.Goodman also put to rest a lot of the fears I picked up in the emergency room on Monday. He said that the diagnosis of a threatened miscarriage was way off. He just told me I needed to stay off my feet, eat more beef, and get in a swimming pool if I can find one. Well, I can do the first two at least! He had a good time picking at me about my southern accent!

And as I rest, I can think about those two little girls playing together in my womb. They looked so sweet flipping around. They even looked like two little girls playing together as they bounced off of one another every couple of minutes as I watch them on the ultrasound! And what to name those little dolls? We have no idea!

So the journey continues as my belly is the size of a woman who is 28 weeks pregnant instead of 20. Just this morning I was asking this:Does the Lord give me more than "I" can handle? Of course He does! That way I can declare with confidence,

1. His grace is sufficient!
2. His joy is my strength!
3. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength!
4. In His presence there is fullness of joy!
5. He shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory!

And the list goes on!

Have a great day and have a good belly rolling laugh!!!!


Monday, July 27, 2009

How Good It is to Remember Continued

Well it is only 15 days away from the big Silver Wedding Anniversary. Like I said earlier, I have been visiting the past and recalling some special yet simple memories of John and me. I would say we had a very humble beginning. However, as I recollect treasures from 25 years ago, I would have to say that John and I became very good friends in our courtship. There were no cell phones for texting or computers for emailing. And since long distance phone calls were not free in 1984 those were far and few in between the times we actually saw each other.

So letter writing was our way of connecting. I miss this personal and intimate art in which our culture and time has lost. There was something special about going to my mailbox once or twice a week to find a letter from John. And the excitement of running back to my dorm room to read the letter for the second time was exhilarating since I had already read it once on the walk back. I had cute little stationary pads in my room fresh and crisp awaiting the attention of my pen. And as I look back through some of the letters now, I realize that we really encouraged each other a lot during the times we were apart. John was a junior at Clemson University. His class load was the heaviest ever and he struggled that year.Many times he became discouraged and overwhelmed.

I am so grateful we became such good friends that year before we married. And we remain great friends 25 years later. Have there been times when I felt like he was my worst enemy? Oh yes! But he really wasn't. However, we have stuck with it, supported each other, given up for one another, and kept pushing through the times when we wondered if we really would make it.

In the photo above, you will see John standing in front of a waterfall. This is White Water Falls near Clemson. S.C. John took me there on several dates. It was the first waterfall I had ever seen. We loved to go there and sit on the rocks, eat KFC and drink champagne. We would walk, walk, walk, and talk, talk, talk. Even after we were married we still enjoyed finding wooded places to take long strolls. Sometimes we would not even talk.

Another one of my favorite memories was the time John brought me to his Dad's house to cook dinner for me. He made homemade pizzas. I was impressed as he tossed the dough up into the air like a pro. After dinner, we sat in front of the fire in the living room and named the two children we thought we might have one day! We actually used those two names. Needless to say we had to come up with 7 others over the years and are getting ready to name two more babies!! Wow, I cannot help but smile so big right now! Isn't it amazing how life usually never turns out the way we plan? In God's plan, it usually is better than what we dream.

So there you have it. A few memories. Just a small peek into a love story that started 26 years ago and continues to unfold. It is so good to remember!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Heather Rose!

Today we are celebrating Heather Rose and her 5th Birthday. I wanted to write a little a post about it because there is something about all of our children's birthdays that is a reminder of the Lord's goodness and kindness through the years. It is as if their very lives represent milestones or markers through seasons which symbolize great things God has done.

All of our children were born at the most "inconvenient" times! Either we did not feel prepared monetarily or we were going through some very trying times financially. We even had one child born in the midst of marital turmoil where we doubted things would work out in our relationship. Unknowingly, we named this baby Thomas. I have to giggle a little when I think of how God has pulled us through many storms and the names of our kids actually tell the story! I could write a book about them all.

Anyway, Heather is five today. Her older sister Sara had her prayer answered for baby sister 4 years and 3 little brothers later!Sara was the only girl of 6 brothers at the time. And she was right in the middle. Now I understand why she is such a strong young lady! I will never forget sitting outside in the grass when Joshua our youngest then was still a baby. Sara was 6. She looked at Joshua and asked in her "whiney" little voice, "Joshua, why couldn't you have been a girl? Just why this time you couldn't you have just been a girl?" Little Josh had no idea what his big sister was saying. He just sat in the grass pulling green blades up to his little drool moistened lips.

Less than a year later, Heather Rose was born. It was a scary time. Halfway through the pregnancy the doctors found a blockage in her intestine. I was going every week to two weeks to have it checked out via ultrasound. The doctors wanted to watch to see if the mass would dissolve. Every time I went for the sonogram, the blockage was unchanged. Every blood test under the sun was taken. We were even told that she may have to be delivered around 26 weeks. It felt like I was listening to this long list of all the things that could be wrong with her but yet there were no definite answers.All the doctors kept saying, "We'll just have to wait and see."

In looking back I remember days that were more difficult than others. Sonogram days were the most trying as I would come home from the specialist's office with the same disheartening report, "The blockage is still there. It has not changed." I would come home in tears. However, I recall little messages that kept coming to me that she was going to be okay. One afternoon, I had arrived home from the doctor's appointment in tears. The kids and I ate lunch and we continued with our daily routine. A little later, there was a knock on the door. It was the UPS delivery man. He had delivered at least 6 boxes of baby clothes ranging from sizes newborn to 12 months!

The kids and I had a blast as we sorted through all the darling little girl outfits and shoes. And most of it was actually name brand clothes! Of course big sister Sara had the best time admiring the clothes for her soon to arrive baby sister! There was another time I had come home from another disappointing doctor's visit. Again the UPS deliverer had dropped off another 7 or 8 boxes of little girl clothing ranging from sizes 18 months to 4 toddler. The clothes were coming from some old friends who live in Indiana. They had kindly offered to give us the clothing. However, they always arrived on the most difficult days.It seemed like someone was setting up a childhood wardrobe for a little girl who was not yet born! Hmmmmm, could Someone be trying to tell me something?

During the pregnancy I even had several dreams about a little girl with a big smile. And I even had a dream of a young woman in her 20's with that same big smile. Needless to say, I could not help but look up and say, "God, you gotta be trying to tell us something here!" There are many other similar events that's happened all through the nine months of pregnancy of a God who speaks and comforts in times of fear and the unknown. By the time of Heather's arrival, I was assured that no matter the outcome, that God was in control.

Heather Rose was born healthy, pink,and whole. There was no disease or abnormality. She is a strong healthy little girl with the same smile I saw in my dreams. Now how can anyone say there is no God? How can we think that the Creator of this universe does not care and is not involved in every detail of our lives? Today, we celebrate little Heather and all the precious hugs and kisses she offers each day.But most of all, we celebrate a God who is real, powerful and loving! I can hardly write without mentioning Him. He is genuine and He loves to show up in times of trouble.

We have experienced our share loss in our lives, so we have not always had happy endings. However, I can say with confidence that when I look to the hills, there is a Helper and He is God. When we call upon Him, he comes running to shelter us in the storms of life. The message was in a little girl's wardrobe!






Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What Cha Been Up to?

It seems like when I call someone or write to someone I have not seen in a while, I ask this question, "What cha been up to?" I truly am interested in the details of other's lives. There are those people who like to have a one sided conversation where it is all about them. Sometimes this can be annoying. However, I try to steer away from being self focused in my relationships as well as my conversations and to be reminded that it is a lot more fulfilling to find out what others have been up to rather than ramble about myself and my life.

However, today I am going to list a few things I have been up to. If you are reading this, would you please take time to share a few things with me that you have been up to? I do not intend to get real personal here. However, I want to just share a few things that go on in the day of a life of a mom of many. Here goes.

1.Mothering. Of course this is a given. In all things and on all days I mother. Lately, I am stepping up on the delegation process as we have two babies on the way and a couple of the younger children are going to be promoted in the "chore" department. In the next few weeks, my 8 and 9 year old sons will learn the art of loading and unloading the dishwasher.

We have also been doing a lot of snuggling lately as it is monsoon season here. We are having heavy storms with intense lightening, thundering, and winds. So I have been cuddling little ones when they become timid. What a joy to snuggle these sweeties!

2. Brainstorming.I had to start a brainstorming notebook. There are always so many ideas going through my head. Some I may follow through with and actually do at some point. Some may fly right out the window. But it helps to jot these things down so my head will not be so jumbled.

3.School stuff. We home school some of our children, so I am gathering books, workbooks, chapter books, and school supplies. Lesson plans are in the works.

4. Christmas shopping. Starting early is a must. So I have made a list and doing online research for best prices. Also, I have started buying some of the gifts.

5. Writing. I write on my blogs and also on a site called Stage of Life.

6.. Art. I have been sketching. The latest sketches are templates for Christmas card collages. Hopefully I will complete some of these and have cards made from them.

7. Reading. Reading is one of my favorite pass times. Right now I am reading a fiction novel that is set in a little remote villa in Italy. I feel like I am almost there as the story is so descriptive of the landscapes, the vineyards, the culture and food. Wow, what a dream come true it would be to visit Italy!

Well, I am going to stop here. The list could go on. But I just wrote a few things that popped in my head. As you can tell everything mentioned is being done indoors! It is too hot here to go outside.

So until next time I ask, "So, what cha been up to?"

Take Care!


Friday, July 17, 2009

How Good it is to Remember

We are on the countdown. In 25 days John and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. I cannot believe it. Last night we went out to dinner together and I could not help but notice his eyes...the same ones belonging to the man I grew to love over 25 years ago. It is good to remember and I am doing this now.

Life gets messy at times.
Life gets busy.
Life gets distorted
by rain clouds and thundering skies
and at times we grow weary.
But it is good to remember,
The way it was then.
For your eyes and heart are the same,
yet better.....
And your smile remains.
Could I ever thank the Lord enough
for blessing me this way?
For you have been a constant gift
And I my love for you
Stands strong today.
It is good to remember
So good to remember.

I will never forget the kindness of this man I met over 25 years ago. And his kindness and goodness has remained over the years. The photos above were taken in 1984 about 10 months after we met. I was in the May Court that year at college and he had come to watch and then escort me to the May Dance. I will always remember our first date. We shared a lasagna dinner for two and were so nervous we could not eat it all. Now we cannot share food...especially dessert. We fight over it. I like to take little bites and he takes big ones. So I get mad when he gets more than me.We laugh about it everytime we decide to order dessert to share.

Also on our first date, I remember when he came to my house to pick me up. We took a walk outside to the shore of the lake and he shared with me that his mother had died just 3 years ago when he was a Senior in High School. She died in her sleep. John and his Dad tried to wake her up the following morning but to no avail. I remember how I instantly bonded with his sweet and vulnerable spirit because of his willingness to share something so painful with me on our first date.

Wow, it really is good to remember. We both have changed in so many ways over the years. But this wonderful man is still a gentle and kind soul. I will be sharing more here over the coming days. I hope you will join me as I recall the past...the good and the bad and how God has continually showered our marriage with matter the season.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Sometimes life is just hard...and the day to day just hurts. I am grateful for so much. I really do believe I have a grateful heart. But sometimes I just get weary and wonder if anyone cares rather than just the role I mom, cook, cleaner,wife,as one who will give, friend who will there with a listening ear. And it is usually a joy to be all these things. Sometimes I feel like no one cares about my heart. Cry me a river. Well today I am.

Sometimes you just fall into having pity parties and it is that kind of day for me. Stress is thick. Emotions are wild. Would anyone dare to admit such weakness and imperfection? Well, today I tell you that I admit it. Never will I pretend I am something I am not.

Now I go to my room to lay on my bed. Hopefully a nice little nap will help and things will look brighter when I awake...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Enjoy Yourself

This past Thursday I decided to splurge just a little. No new clothes, no jewelry, or a visit to the spa. But artist candy!!! Yes. To me it is like chocolate to the artist's palate. This is one of my favorite magazines. The Artful Blogger. There are lovely photos and artwork with only a minimum amount of wording. I love to look at it for inspiration. Kind of makes my little girl side emerge.
This is another great publication I picked up. It is full of color and unique ideas using mixed media such as paper, paint, glue, fabric, and any other thing you might have laying around.
So I am learning to enjoy myself more and more. I heard someone say that not only does God love the world but He loves us individually. So since He loves me like that, then He must enjoy me too. So why not enjoy my own company doing something fun and relaxing? For you,it might be a nap, a cup of tea with your favorite cookie, a great novel, or a long walk in the woods.
And sketching is something that I discovered I can do only a few months ago. Since I often get wrapped up in deep thinking, this is a great way I can rest my mind and just simply enjoy my own company. And it is okay to do just that....even if I do have a busy life with many dust bunnies and active kiddies. I like myself more and more....and so should you!! Enjoy yourself!

How do spend time enjoying yourself...just yourself alone? I would love to read about how you treat yourself!

Oh and I forgot to mention. Many of you know that I love to write. You can check out some of my articles on (link on right) Just click on the stages titled, Raising a Family,Having a Baby, Highschool, and Grandparents to read the recent essays. Also, you can join the site for free of charge. They have great discounts and coupons of various sorts. The Target coupon is a good one. Furthermore, you can post some of your own ideas and thoughts as well as ask a question for any stage of life you are in . Enjoy!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Love Revolution Needed! Part 1

He Loves Me. He Loves Me Not. He Loves Me. He Loves Me Not. Over and Over. On and On it goes. He loves me, He told me so. Do I really believe it? I do not know!

If someone asked me, "Does Jesus love you?" I would not hesitate to reply with a seemingly confident yes. After all, the first song I ever learned to sing about Jesus proves it. "Jesus loves me. This I know. For the Bible tells me so." Yes, the Bible tells me so, but that does not mean I really am confident in that love. Here's why. Take this little evaluation and be honest with yourself.

1.Do I fear the unknown?
2.Do I fear being unknown?
3.Do I fear not having enough?
4.Do I fear getting caught?
5.Do I fear I will never find the right person to marry?
6 Do I fear debilitating or life-threatening diseases?
7.Do I fear for my children's safety?
8.Do I fear what other people think of me?
9.Do I fear they won't think of me at all?
10.Do I fear crime?
11.Do I fear losing a loved one?
12.Do I fear authority?
13.Do I fear I won't get the things I desire most?
14.Do I fear what others might do to me?
15.Do I fear rejection?
16.Do I fear failure?
17.Do I fear being taken advantage of?
18.Do I fear being alone?
19.Do I fear losing my job?
20. Do I fear people finding out that I am not all I claim to be?
21.Do I fear something bad might happen to me?
22.Do I fear not fitting in?
23 Do I fear death?
(Questions are taken from "He Loves Me" by Wayne Jacobsen)

If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, then there is more to learn of the true meaning of God's love. And honestly, I believe every human being always has more to grasp,more to learn and more growing to do.

When I was a little girl, I talked to God a lot. I had not been instructed in the lessons of salvation. I had not walked any church isle to the song of "Just as I Am" to make a public declaration. But I did recognize His presence in simple and subtle ways such as in the wind, on my bike rides, sitting by the lake as I watched sail boats pass...the list is endless.And I think He liked it that way!

However, when I was 29 years old and was pregnant with my 3rd child, I began to doubt that I knew Him. I was afraid that my salvation was not secured and that if I did not stand before a church and confess this in some way, I would go to hell. Thus, the fears I had were compounded. I fell into the hidden terror of meeting God's expectations of what He wanted me to do with my life. Consequently, the pattern of my actions led to more about the "doing" rather than the "being".

I feel that many of us live life this way. We want to please God, so we make these mental lists of "I ought to". Then we realize at some point we really do not have the energy to meet up to all these expectations and we end up disappointed in ourselves. And we think, "Well, if I am disappointed in me, then God is too."

Needless to say, I am at another marking point in my life where I am seeing that I have been so off and so wrong about God in many ways. I have misinterpreted His love for me. So I am on a quest with Him to discovering new depths of His love. There is always a deeper place to go with Him. I have so much to share about this. However, I am mostly adamant about a Love Revolution in my own heart.

We hear about the modern religious revolutions and the church revolution and the "this and that" revolutions. But there is no true and lasting revolution without it taking place within the internal landscape of my own being. If I do not truly and deeply know that God loves me. If I am on edge wondering if every bad thing that happens to me is because I am being punished by God, then I am in fear and my love is bound up. I find that I am tied up in a religion more than a relationship and I am limited in the amount of love I can give to God and others.

Yes, God is calling for a love revolution. However, we have to have a true grasp of what that really means. I have to ask myself, " Am I truly living and walking in the affection of God? Is my fear keeping me from the very thing God is after?" He does not care about my religion and my set of rules, He cares about setting me free so that I fully experience just how much He delights in me.

There will be more on this idea of a Love Revolution. For now, I leave you with this simple sonnet from my heart.

I love the wind.
A little girl in my simple yard by the river,
Cross-legged upon the grass on billowy days.

Drawn, inspired, beckoned to by something...No. Someone,
Orchestrating the wind, directing the gusts as rustling melodies.
The breezes kissed my cheeks,
Styled my hair, And I knew!

He was touching me, loving me,delighting in me.
It's just something a kid knows which goes beyond knowledge,
Uncomplicated, honest, pure and authentic.

Over and Over I find He is taking me back
To the childhood place of simple grace, where I recognize His face.
And I rediscover the depths of Love in the wind,
And again!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Freedom Thoughts-Grateful Yet Mindful


Here we are. The Fourth of July has arrived once again and we have made our plans to celebrate. Happy Birthday America! We have much to give thanks for in our nation, our communities and individual lives. Last night I was reflecting on all the blessings contained in the day. It was a combination of a bunch of little things that just made the day wonderful. And I realize that it is because of the freedoms we have been granted that I was able to enjoy that kind of day. In the closing of a simple and peaceful day, I fell asleep talking to the Lord, listing out all the little gifts He bestowed, and thanking Him for all He did for me.

On the other hand, I awoke this morning with not only an attitude of gratefulness, but also a heavy heart of mindfulness. It is so easy to make special occasions about us and ours. And there is nothing wrong about it. However, when I saw in the news this morning that there are over 25,000 homeless school age children in the state of Arizona, I reminded that I cannot contain myself to me and mine. This tragedy is an 18% increase since just last year.

On the day that our country celebrates freedom, I am mindful that there are many who are having trouble celebrating the meaning of freedom day. The poverty stricken may not feel overly free, but bound up in the present circumstances.

Now I am not trying to rain on any one's parade. However, I personally cannot help this day to think of those who are hurting and suffering. The unemployment rate in the Phoenix area has continued to rise. Charity funds have dropped, therefore people are being turned away. And even churches are having a hard time assisting the needy because many of them are having trouble meeting their own overhead.

Yes, I am thankful and I will celebrate this day the freedom that I have been given. However, I will also lift those who live around me and contemplate the lives of others who may find it difficult to celebrate. Freedom was not granted in order to hoard. It was given that we may pay it forward. How can we share our freedom today that others who are downtrodden my have it too? It may just be a simple word of encouragement. Sit down and write a letter to a friend or loved one who is going through a tough time. Buy a gift for someone "just because". Invite someone you may not know very well into your home for a meal. Spend a few minutes with your family in prayer today for our President, his family and other governmental leaders. Share the gifts God has given you in creative ways. You never gesture of kindness may break a thick chain and set someone free. May Freedom ring and may it ring though us!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

This sketch is on my art blog but I decided to put it here too. It is so profound to me and holds a message.

Sometimes when life gets really intense, I find that not only is God doing something great in those around me in spite of the hardship, but He is mostly doing something special in me. I think of the winds of life and the debris of the storm that can come at us unexpectedly. And the force of the wind can seemingly blow off all my covering to where I am vulnerable and exposed. But I know that I am hidden in Christ and that he hugs me tight in the pain. Sometimes He squeezes so hard that He brings to birth beautiful things. So, I think today, when the little ones are resting I will go to a quiet place and find out what He might squeeze out of me today. And....I look forward to creating something meaningful with my Heavenly DAD!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

15 Weeks with Twins!

Some of you have not seen me since we have moved. And some of you have been wondering, "How big is she getting?"

Well here ya go curious people. I am 15 weeks today! I feel and look like I am 5 months! But that is normal. I am happy, happy, happy and blessed, blessed, blessed!!