Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Annual Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family!

 2013 was a year of mind-boggling adjustments as we became licensed foster parents in January.  We have experienced such an emotional roller-coaster as a family in this position.  We are not permitted to write on the world wide web about these children specifically or post any pictures; hence blog-writing has come to a halt. Summing up our thoughts on our family involved in foster care is this:  Though heart-breaking it is, we would not trade the moments of opportunity we had/have to pour out our and the Father's love on these little ones. Being able to teach an eight year old to ride a bike and swim and learning how to style a three year old's afro have been priceless. (picture me standing in Target in the ethnic hair aisle feeling very overwhelmed)

 Our children (code names Mickey and Minnie) have grown in so many areas as they have served in the foster care role.  We had only a few days notice for a newborn to arrive in our home and Mickey and Minnie have loved learning all about taking care of a teensy baby!  We have been so thankful for the love of family and friends who generously help out with our new family additions.

Highlights of this year:

~Taking our kiddos skiing for the first time!  They LOVED it!

~ Visiting the Ringger family in Detroit, going to the Science Museum. My favorite was being able to hold a real human brain!

~ Travelling to Omaha, Nebraska for a home school conference, staying with the Hunts (friend from high school days) and getting to go to the Art museum and zoo

~  a relaxing family vacation at Lake Michigan where we did nothing but play on the beach and eat ice cream.

~  celebrated Great Grandma Zaugg's birthday in West Bend with lots of family

~ welcomed a new niece Wren!

~  Lake Michigan weekend with our Fort Wayne couple friends

~ Bed and Breakfast weekend with the Hubby's side of the family celebrating Christmas

~ Hubby had the opportunity to travel to S. Korea and China for business.

Hubby is still at Federal Mogul, I am still home-educating.  Minnie is in Pre-K and Mickey is in 2nd grade.  We are so grateful for our health and have joy in our salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord!

May you and your family have a blessed year and draw closer to our Creator!








Sunday, February 3, 2013

It's TIME!!!!!

Recently I did a book review for this book below on this blog.  Let's just say, I am a believer and cannot wait for mom's around the globe to be able to get their hands on this! I truly think Jill's words will transform many lives with the power of God's Truths! 


 I am promoting this book so wildly because I signed up to be on the launch team for this book because I  BELIEVE in the principles of this book and see the quest for perfection destroying the joy that God has intended for us! 

 Go to Amazon.com and read the reviews~  


Then add about 30 to your cart and give them for gift to every mom you see!  (heehee)

click on the picture below to see how to get AMAZING resources after purchasing this book!!!





Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Lord's Prayer

Minnie set out to memorize the Lord's Prayer:

"Our fathers who aren't in heaven".....

So precious is her little voice and I just had to giggle at her sweet way.  I mean who can really expect a four year old to think that "art" would go in that sentence!?





Sunday, January 13, 2013

No More Perfect Moms

Click here to sign up!!!



I was very intimidated to become a mother.  

This comes as a surprise to most people as I had been a nanny for four years prior to marrying Hubby.  Hubby tried to convince me that I would be a wonderful mom. 

 I tried to convince him that I would not.  

It is not that I did not want children.  It is just that I did not want to fail and I was certain failure was impending.  

I tried to convince my husband "Being a nanny was a breeze! My only responsibility was to keep the little boy  safe and have fun with him plus I got nights and weekends off (not to mention a paycheck!) !  Being a mom means running a household, PTA bakesales, and making  real meals!  I will never excel at any of that, you know me! I can never be like Jenny, Deb, Jane!"  (three moms in our church that I really admire)

Hubby spoke words to me that have stuck with me for a decade now.  "oh Honey"  You are not them!  But you are taking the very best of their gifts and comparing yourself to Jenny's creativity, Deb's cooking and Jane's organization!  You can never be the best at everything.  God gave them each gifts and he gave YOU incredible gifts as well!  Embrace who God made you!"

Now just stop right there.  

Lest you think that I married a man who walks around speaking words of affirmation to me left and right.. you are quite wrong.  But his wise words did pierce my heart and begin to change how I viewed myself.  I knew that I needed to see myself through God's eyes and not in the shadow of the people around me.  After all He created me, He clearly had a plan and purpose for me!

So you can IMAGINE how thrilled I was to become part of Jill Savage's launch team for her new book entitled No More Perfect Moms!   I have been devouring the  book and cannot wait for its release in a few weeks because I want to be able to share it with the world!!!  I LOVE the notion that we all stop putting on a facade and accept each other as imperfect mothers!


“We need courage to be honest with ourselves that perfection is impossible. We need to cut ourselves some slack. See ourselves through eyes of grace. Love ourselves… Imperfections included.” –Jill Savage, NO MORE PERFECT MOMS 

One of the best bible study nights took place last Spring.  There was a snowstorm so it was only a few moms that could come--a much smaller group than normal.  

And it got real.  

One mom just dropped her mask and laid out her heart, " It is so hard getting all the kids ready in the morning.  I get to work and I realize that I have been rushing, and yelling at my children and that is all they see of me anymore... an angry stressed- out mom .. I am so ashamed.  "

And then it was beautiful.

The masks all dropped off and all the moms were sharing about their failures, and comforting each other.  


Several times I heard the other moms say, "I had no idea other moms felt the same way I did.  I thought I was the only one. I had so much guilt"  

That evening could have turned out VERY differently.

Suppose someone with a critical spirit would have condemned her.  

We have all been that person at one point or another... whether in our hearts or verbally and have haughtily made someone feel lower.

Jill addresses how to combat our natural judgement inclination  and throughout her book, she has loads of applicable and practical insight that help in areas that we are struggling.  

In closing, I would like to share two things with you in the spirit of being real!

Many months ago, I was frantically getting my house company ready.  I needed to spend my time with the big things.. like food prep and general housecleaning. I could not be bothered with the little bits of things that had morphed into piles.  So took a shoebox around the house and scooted those little things into the box and put it in my closet.  

The next week I cleaned out my car and filled another little box full of things that needed dealt with but did not have the time.  This clearly became an addictive way of speed cleaning for me and I acquired several little storage boxes of "things that need to be dealt with".  

I have NOW put them all in one box and in SIGHT in my bedroom so I will be forced to deal with these annoying things.  It turns out that it was quite an amount once I put all those little stashes together.  

So here it is. 



Sigh.

Yes, I am organizationally challenged.  

But I have come to learn that even organizational wizards have their shortcomings as well! One of my closest friends is a neat freak and anytime I feel intimidated by her.. I remind myself that she forgot to brush her children's teeth for an entire summer!!! 

Anyone out there want to join me in tearing down the walls of shame in Motherhood?   Click Here for the link to find out info about this amazing book entitled No More Perfect Moms by Jill Savage. 

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All!

I love this time of year when cards and family pictures flood my mailbox.  Sweet memories of each family flood my heart and I am so thankful for the presence of all of you in my life!  Our children are at the age where they are so curious about the families that send pictures and they are aghast when they do not know most of them!  "Who are these people and HOW do you know them!"

That always makes Hubby and I giggle as our kiddos cannot comprehend that we had a life before they entered our world.

Here are some of the 2012 Highlights:


~ Our family entered a new phase with my niece Lauren getting married to Elliott Laughlin this fall!  Mickey and Minnie were part of the wedding as ring-bearer and flower-girl.



~We spent a few nights at Lake Michigan enjoying God's beautiful creation prior to the wedding...

~We celebrated Hubby's parents' 40th anniversary all together for a fun time at Mark Twain Landing.

~ We welcomed TWO baby nieces on Hubby's side of the family!  This was very exciting for Minnie as she was formerly the lone little-girl cousin.

~ Mickey is dual-enrolled for first grade.  Home-educated for most subjects, but attends school for music, art, PE and recess.  Minnie enjoys preschool, especially her beloved teachers.  

~ Hubby accepted a job at Federal Mogul in Burlington and is quite happy to have a much shorter commute. (although he admits he misses the extended quiet times that he used to have in the car!)

~I (Mouseymom) love being Mickey's teacher! In the summer, we spent most days at the pool surrounded by our  wonderful community full of friends!  I have made the decision to close my little cottage business "Frills and Flowers".  After three years of having a fabulous creative outlet (and a massive mess of tulle, flowers and bling in our guestroom), I need to have more time allotted to my other responsibilities.

~ Hubby and I have completed Foster Care classes and will become licensed in the next few weeks.  We are looking forward to see what God has in store for our family!





We are grateful for God's Blessings!  He has solved our biggest dilemma~ providing a payment for our sin so we can have eternal life!  We are joyful and desire to honor God with our gifts He has given us.

Happy New Year!!




Monday, December 10, 2012

Online Homeschool Curriculum Review

I had received an email asking if I would like to preview an online homeschool curriculum for free for one month in exchange for an honest review on my blog.  Well, I like free, and I like honest, so I took the bait and delved in.

I loved it!  The kids loved it!  It was a blast!  Mickey tried out the first grade curriculum and Minnie tried out the preschool curriculum.  Let's just say that I was wishing I had two computers as they both would beg to do their "schooling"!  So guess what?  I figured out that it was even EASIER on the Kindle Fire with a touch screen! Now both kids can learn at the same time!!!

I had thought that online schooling would erase "mom" from the equation. Turns out,  Mouseymom LOVED cuddling up to her kids with a steamy cup of coffee as we learned together! Every lesson is like a game, with a goal.  The Mousekins were very entertained with the graphics.  The great thing is that learning took place within all the fun.. making learning a blast. That is a goal of mine--to instill the love of learning within my children.  I feel that doing this curriculum freed me up to have more time to read out loud to my mousekins, play games, and spiritual teaching.  So would I recommend http://www.time4learning.com/?  A resounding yes!

Pricing?  There is a low monthly fee (prices vary) but very reasonable.  For those wanting to try it out, you Time4Learning does give an initial two week money back guarantee..

This review is written by me, Mouseymom.  I was given compensation in the form of one free month trial of www.time4learning.com.  The views expressed in this review are my honest opinion!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

For a Free Trial... SURE!

I've been invited to try Time4Learning's online education program in exchange for an honest review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so come back and read about my experience! For more information, try their lesson demos or find out how to write your own curriculum review.

Monday, November 5, 2012

I Am INNOCENT! I PROMISE!


This morning the both kiddos woke up super early to see their daddy off to work.  Minnie was so dazed and not quite awake.  She was sitting on my lap in a chair wrapped in her favorite blanket. When Hubby left for work, I said to her, "Want to go snuggle back in my bed?"

She eyed me suspiciously and said in a slow uncertain voice, "Who is Buck?"

It took me a second to realize that she thought I had asked, "Want to go snuggle Buck in my bed?"

I assured her there was no one named Buck in my bedroom, but she was still a little nervous to go back there with me!

I have been so amused all morning by this!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dino-Style!



This is Minnie and her friend Zack!  They are friends by default. Their older brothers are really good friends, so Minnie and Zack end up spending lots of time together.  They love to play house and generally have a good marriage.

I think everytime they are together.. they end up in dinosaur costumes.  It has become a ritual.

This time when they came up to show off their costumes to their mamas, we got a good laugh!  Minnie had placed a royal PINK crown atop her fierce dinosaur head (albeit a bit lopsided by the time I grabbed my camera). And this is SOOO Minnie--she likes to be rough and tumble with a bit of glam! 

Also--this dinosaur costume that Minnie is wearing is for a 12 month old.  That never stops her or Zack from squeeeeeazing into it!

I was hoping  you wouldn't notice, but I would be amiss to not mention the unfortunate baby doll tethered and hanging  upside-down precariously.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Buddies!



If you want to be Mickey's best buddy....

Lose yourself in a bin of Legos.

Or better yet,  offer to be the finder as he voraciously builds and creates! 

Papa is Mickey's buddy! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Just a Glimpse into a Day...

I never write letters anymore.  It is sad.  I miss receiving letters in the mail. I jot quick emails and post bitty messages on Facebook walls, but I don't write to people.  It is truly a loss in this modern age.  However, I have a friend that lives very far away in the jungle, dedicating her life to translating the Scripture into the Akolet  language so that the new believers can have His Word!  Did I mention they have a new baby?  Anyway,  I received an update from them.. whilst they are dealing with Malaria and translating hunks of scripture every day (feeling like my major accomplishment of folding a few baskets of laundry is a bit pithy now)  and I know it is important as supporters to not only pray for them, but to include them in our lives. I have learned from missionary friends that feeling isolated is a tool that Satan uses to discourage them.

I had no breaking news to share, so I just started writing about the random events of life here. And since I had it written, I decided to include an excerpt in my blog as these stories get printed off into a book each year and capture a small slice of our life....

Keep in mind that this letter is written to a close friend.. I knew she would be amused by the mishaps.  Nothing makes the stress of Malaria lessen like laughing at your own friends misfortunes!  That is the goal!


I had a bottle of Elephantastic Pink that I had been
unable to use due to the lid being stuck on tightly. So I tapped it on my
bathroom counter to loosen the paint in the lid. Although I have done this
hundreds of times, this particular time I shatted the bottle and
Elephantastic Pink sprayed all over our bathroom.
This did not deter me. I really wanted this color on my toes. So after I
cleaned up the mess, I dipped the brush in the bottom shard of the bottle
and proceeded to paint. and yes, my toes look stunning. thank you for
asking
to continue on with mess-making stories.. let me tell you about a recent one
as well!
scenario: tricia frantically packing for a trip to see sister and fam. the
goal was to be all packed before Nick got home from work so we could all
jump in the van and go. I was doing good on time.. I had the kiddos folding
clothes when, BAM--chaos ensues.. Screaming, Running, Blood.
My eyes dart from one kid to the other. Solomon looked suspicous as he had
donned a brown satin shirt of mine over his clothes, and Maylen had blood
gushing from her nose. The explanation? Solomon was folding my shirt when
he decided that it looked like something a Ninja would wear. So he put it
on and modeled it for Maylen. She was so impressed and told him that he
looked like a Karate master. That inspired Solomon and he apparently
whisked his foot high in the air to try out the roundhouse kick. Apparently
Maylen's nose got in the way.
Once I ascertained that Maylen was not permanently maimed, I began dealing
with the real issue... bright red blood on ivory carpet. Then I followed
the trail of blood down the hall, through the kitchen where I saw that blood
was splattered all over our new (sob sob) carpet in the living room and all
over the massive heap of clean laundry. It looked like a crime scene.

All is well now, and no, I was not ready when Nick got home.. but he was
quite understanding when i relayed the story to him. His comment was this,
"NO! NOT THE NEW CARPET!" that's the problem with new things.. it's so
devastating when they get wrecked.


Yes, these are the little daily events that make up life!  

And so I challenge you!  

Go to your refrigerator (or wherever you keep the pictures of the missionaries you support), and pick out a missionary that would love a little insight into the daily fun in your life!  Or maybe your grandma, or an aunt!  Wouldn't it be fun to send an old fashioned letter for NO Reason!! 

How delightful! 

I know there is a lot of people in my life who have no idea how much I value their presence in my life as I don't think about expressing it.  

I hope to change that!  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Mousekins



Love this from our recent photography session with Studio K in Mount Pleasant.  It captures the essence of our kiddos.  The big brother that lords over his little sister, and the little sis that has plenty of sass to stand up to him. 

The Best of Friends
The Worst of Enemies

Oh how I adore our never-a-dull-moment Mousekins!
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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Wish I Had A Picture!




After bathtime tonight, Minnie (just turned 4) had her towel 

wrapped around her like a toga and was running around the 

house declaring:


"I am a Roman Numeral!" 



Crack me up!




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Worth The Sunburn!

Having a Lemonade stand has been the Mousekins' dream for many months!  Today that dream came to fruition.  We have been waiting for my two nieces from Illinois and Michigan to be a part of this, and today was the day!

 
Making the sign with Mickey was delightful! He loves art so this was right up his alley!  He loves being creative.  If you look close you can see that he turned the "e" into a lemon!  clever, eh?

We made delicious lemonade- no powdered stuff from our stand--uh-uh!
Lemon Juice
Sugar
Water
Ice
Garnished with Lemon slices and Fresh Picked Mint.


Our WONDERFUL friends, neighbors, relatives and passerbys were so supportive and made it so fun!  The lemonade was free but we were taking donations for Lifesong for Orphans.  Our money jar filled up quickly.
 
 

Mickey was so excited that his buddy came over!  They sat beside eachother in Kindergarten and became fast friends!  They were ecstatic to learn that they lived within walking distance!  Note Mickeys lemon shirt that he decorated for the occasion! 

It was a great learning experience.  I have a lot more teaching to do about enthusiasm in selling!  We had many wasted cups of lemonade as Minnie liked sipping out of the cups as she walked them to the patron.    Counting the money was super fun and Mickey realized that he had $15 more in his bike basket as one customer came after we had taken in the money jar.  We ended up with $149.  We went to Lifesong for Orphans website and we found that we were able to sponsor an Ethiopian boy named Abraham to provide schooling, two meals/day, and the opportunity to learn about Hope in Christ! With the money from a few hours at a Lemonade Stand--we are able to sponsor Abraham for EIGHT months! 

Minnie picked out Abraham as his picture looked so sad.  "I want to give him a reason to smile!" 

The mousekins had not been that generous all along.  As the money jar started filling up they asked, "Do we have to give all the money to orphans?  Can't we keep some for ourselves?"  But after we looked through many pictures of orphans and learned a little about their lives.... the Mousekins were eager to pour all of our money into the orphans and wished we had more to give!  Now that is the best learning experience of all! 

Silly me forgot to wear sunscreen and now I have a very awkward Farmer's Tan, and my skin is uncomfortable.  It is so worth it!  My prayer is that all these little moments of instilling missional living in our children will result in lives lived out compassionately for the Glory of God!
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey


On every side of me, I have been hearing of ladies being encouraged and even pressured to read the bestselling book "Fifty Shades of Grey".  Enticing, Thrilling, Scintilating.  For fear of being labled a prude, for fear of being "out of the loop", for fear of not being part of the latest craze, fear of missing out on "something" has prompted many a woman to pick up this bestseller and devour its content.  


I have been following the debates online and on blogs and in conversation.  What interests me is that people who have read the book say that those of us who do not want to read this book in light of honoring God are judgemental and close-minded.  The judgment applied to us by our peers makes us shy away from taking a stand as we seek to honor God.  But the fact is...  righteousness will never be applauded.  Not in this world.


Whose acceptance are we seeking? 


Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.  Phil. 4:8}


As followers of Christ we are called to protect our minds and bodies to glorify God.  


Satan seeks to devour, trick and deceive.


He uses our lust for entertainment to lure us away from God's showers of blessings.  He uses our natural curiosity to blind us from wholly surrendering.  He uses our desire for acceptance  to capture us in a web of deceit.  



 I have to remind myself that it is not the world's standard that I am seeking, though I constantly fight that.  I am thankful for beacons of light that put themselves on the chopping block for the sake of being a Sister in Christ to us flimsy sort and strengthening our desire to glorify God out of our gratitude for His love and great sacrifice for us.  Sorry for the run-on sentence.  As it turns out.. I speak in run-on and fragmented sentences.  :)


Dannah Gresh--author and speaker has written a blog post regarding this topic:



I’m Not Reading Fifty Shades of Grey

I’m not reading Fifty Shades of Grey.
I wasn’t planning to announce this, but I can’t help myself. I told my husband, Bob, that I didn’t really want to get involved. But then, I found out my girlfriend’s 70-year-old mom has her name on a long wait list at the library to borrow Fifty Shades of Grey. And then my mom told me that a relative I love and respect for her strong faith had already devoured the book. She regretfully “can’t get the images out of her head.” So, here I am. In an  attempt to keep the images out of yours, I’d like to explain to you why I’m not reading Fifty Shades of Grey.
Reason #1: Let’s start with the facts. Fifty Shades of Grey is classified as erotic fiction. According to one online dictionary, this genre of literature is defined as that which has “no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate sexual desire.” I’ve been studying what God says about sexuality for fifteen years. According to Him, there is only one who should stimulate sexual desire in me: my husband. Since that’s God’s plan for my sexual desire, anything other than my husband creating arousal in me would be missing the mark of God’s intention. (Translation: it is sin.) Jesus said it this way: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” The same is true of a woman looking at or reading about a man. Reason #1? I believe reading erotica is sinful.
I guess I could stop there, but it won’t be enough for some of you. So let’s go to reason number two.
Reason #2: The Bible has said for thousands of years that lust is hurtful and harmful. Guess what? Biopsychologists and others are studying the effects of lust, pornography, and erotica on the brain and the body. They are finding that the Bible was, in fact, right. Over time your body becomes conditioned to self-stimulation and gratification. It’s not just a preference. It’s physiological. The lust cuts a literal pathway in your brain tissue that’s kinda like a rut. A rut you better be prepared to get stuck in. While at first a little bit of erotica might give you a taste for your spouse, overtime that rut reminds you how great you are at self-stimulation and how powerful your imagination can be. You’ll become less interested in real sex with your husband. (Both SELF magazine and The New  Yorker ran articles on this phenomenon in recent years. They both suggested that if you want to have a great sex life, you better push pause on porn!) The fact is, erotica robs you of real sex. It’s not good for your marriage or future marriage.
Reason #3: OK, we’re girls. And, sadly, a few of our guys have looked at porn. How’d that work for ya? How’d it make you feel? Did it cross your mind that you could never compare to the perfection created by lights, camera, and Photoshop? Well, he can’t compare to a plasticized, vanilla interpretation of manhood either.
Reason #4: Do you know what BDSM is? Bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism. If you don’t know what those words mean, be glad. If you do know, you should understand that the most damaging part of Fifty Shades of Grey is that God created sex to be a partnership that’s fueled by love and self-giving, not pain and humiliation. It’s not just that this book misuses sex, it redefines it into something evil and transgressive as the lead character dominates in a hurtful manner. How woman can enjoy that, I can’t understand! But I do have a theory. It seems to me that in our emasculating culture there is a hunger so great for strong men that women will stoop to Bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism for just a taste. Do yourself a favor, don’t!
You might be wondering if I’ve read the book. I haven’t. I don’t need to. There are many things in this world I need not partake in to discern that they are going to be harmful to me. God has given me more than fifty shades of truth in His Word and when just one of them is in conflict with my entertainment choices, I choose to pass! To be clear: I wouldn’t drive my Envoy into the front of an oncoming semi-truck any more than I would open the pages of Fifty Shades of Grey. I love my marriage, my God, and myself too much.
If your heart resonates with mine, please take a moment today to post these words on Facebook or twitter: “I’m not reading Fifty Shades of Grey.” If you have friends who need help understanding why, send them to this blog. I’d be happy to explain!

link to her blog:purefreedom.org




http://www.purefreedom.org/blog/?p=320

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Eleven Years Ago..

Hubby and I had been married just over a year.  We had moved out of the trailer park and into our first home.  We were actively involved volunteering at the Crisis Pregnancy Center in Fort Wayne and loving our church family.  Hubby and I were getting ready to go to Wed. night church when the phone rang and my sister on the other end told me that my Grandma had been killed in a car accident.  It is like all other traumatic events.  You remember right where you are.  And you are not sure what to do next.

My dad was devastated as he had always been so close to his mom and none of us were around to comfort him as even my mom was in Michigan staying with my sister's family.    My heart was so, so sad for him!

Hubby and I left for NW Iowa--11 hours from our house to bury my Grandma.  It was a weird shift for me.  For the first time in my life, I comforted my own dad.  I felt suddenly older.  It felt strange that the rest of the world seemed to go on unchanged as my world felt distinctly different.  Grandma lived alone as grandpa was in the nursing home.  As I walked into her house, knowing it would be the last time I was in that house--I tried to drink in and memorize all of the nooks and crannies.  There were bills on her desk with the checkbook and pen sitting open, beautiful squares of fabric waiting to be transformed into a quilt, hanger after hanger of dresses  that smelled so fresh and grandma-like.  I opened her bedside drawer and looked at all her "special to her things".  The only thing I recall is a napkin that had my parents name and wedding date on it.  She had kept that napkin in that drawer for 30 some years!

My grandma had mothered eleven children.  I cannot even tell you how many first cousins I have on that side of the family, but family get-togethers were always a blast!  It is so hard to believe that I have gone at least a decade without seeing many of them as we are scattered all over the U.S.

Now that I am a mom, I often wish I could call Grandma and ask her all sorts of things about how she did things with eleven children and lacking the modern conveniences I have!  She seemed to "do it all"  but somehow kept relationships as her priority.  None of us can EVER remember a time when she spoke ill of anyone.  Or complained.  She loved to serve and she did it with joy.

I write this post not with sadness, but with fondness.  A sweet sweet spot in my heart that feels so blessed to have possessed such a heritage of love.

Just this winter I tossed Minnie's pajamas in the dryer for 10 minutes before she dressed for bed as I remember Grandma doing that for me when I would spend the night.  I have quilts made by her donning my beds that she gave to me.  But my favorite thing she gave me was a little sewing kit when I graduated High School.  She made them and gave them to all of her granddaughters when they graduated.  I toted it to college with me and this special sewing box has had a priority place in each home in the six times I have moved since college.  I always know where to get just what I need from it.  She filled it with thread, scissors, measuring tape, needles, pins, buttons and so on.  If I need to fix something, I just need to get my little box from Grandma.


At the graveside, all of us grandchildren sang a hymn together and I remember seeing all the brilliant yellow  daffodils bringing such beauty to the scene.... the first glimpse of Spring.  Now, when the first daffodil heralds the arrival of Spring~ warm, sweet thoughts of my grandma flood my heart.

Just yesterday, another of her great-grandbabies was born.

Eleven years ago, and time goes marching on.  My two Mousekins came five and seven years after Grandma died in that car accident.  We still travel to NW Iowa as my husband's parents live there.  We drive past the house that holds beautiful vibrant memories of cousin-filled times and I point it out to my Mousekins--wistful that they cannot grasp her specialness.

Thank you God, that I can look back and thank you for your Greatness.  I am so thankful that Grandma did not have to grow "old" and suffer.  Thank you that she was a model of Your sacrificial love. I miss Grandma Alice and am so grateful that time takes away the sting of death.   I am so blessed to have a heritage of Faith in Jesus Christ--the Redeemer of our Sins. I am looking forward to heaven where there will be no more tears and no more good-byes, HALLELUJAH!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

To Laugh or Cry...

I seriously don't know whether to laugh or cry. Today Minnie (age 3.5) brought home a paper entitled, "'All About My Mom".  Her preschool teacher had asked the kids questions about their moms and wrote down their responses.

It is not good.  

Really hoping that DCS does not come remove our children from our home.

1.  What is your favorite thing to do with your mom?   To drop me off with Grandma and Grandpa


2.  What is something your mom always says to you?  "Clean up your room"


3.  What makes your mom happy?  When I unload the dishwasher


4.  What does your mom do for her job?  Loads the dishwasher for me


5.  What is your mom's favorite food? Salad  (ha!)


6.  What is your mom really good at doing?  Dropping me off!


7.  How do you know that your mom really loves you?  Because Daddy spanks me all the time and she says, "No!, No!, No!, Daddy!"  


After you stop laughing, can I get a HUGE "Harrumph!"?   Really?  Her favorite thing to do with me is getting dropped off at Grandma and Grandpas!!! It makes it sound like she only tolerates me long enough to get to where she really wants to go!  She loves me for my license! Sadness!!!!!!!


 I was feeling very unloved until I got to the last question and she makes her beloved Daddy sound like a child abuser!  Then I laughed.. and at least felt a bit better :) 


Here is how I envisioned her answering the questions:

1.  What is your favorite thing to do with your mom?   reading books together!


2.  What is something your mom always says to you?  "Minnie, I love you so much, I am so glad you are my daughter"


3.  What makes your mom happy?  When I am loving to my brother


4.  What does your mom do for her job? Tirelessly serves our family with a joyful heart! :)


5.  What is your mom's favorite food? All  


6.  What is your mom really good at doing?  Loving us!


7.  How do you know that your mom really loves you?  Because she helps me and is patient and kind and teaches me about the love of Jesus. AND she and my daddy LOVINGLY discipline me when I deserve consequences.


Well, apparently the mom in my mind and the mom in real life are not always matching up!  



Talk about feeling deflated!  How will I ever face the preschool teacher next week!!!?!  How embarrassing!  "Really, we have a very loving family and we get along very well!  My husband totally does not continually spank our children, and I DO fun things with my children and do not just 'drop them off'!"


 Mickey (age 6) was horrified with her answers and said, "Oh, boy, I hope they don't print that in the newspaper!"   (our small town news often interviews the younger grades)  At least if we get dragged to court, Mickey can be our lead witness to the fact that we are indeed decent parents!  Thank Goodness for that!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day Brightener!

Three year olds are endless entertainment!  Bright and early this morning, before my cup of coffee was even poured, I heard Minnie exclaim, "Hey! My bottom just burped!"   :)


And last night, Minnie offered to run and get a Kleenex for Mickey who was in great need of one.  Just as she was about to hand it to him, she said, "I got one for you, but first I need to pick my nose with it."  She stuck the Kleenex up her nose, drilled out some gold and sweetly handed the soiled Kleenex to her brother, "Here you go, here is your Kleenex that I got for you!"  Older brother Mickey was not so grateful.  


The deeper into the three's we go, Minnie's little storms are lessening and her joyfulness abounds.  Hip Hip Hooray! I am cherishing my days with her as we have quite a good time!  Oh, and one last story to amuse you...


I host Bible Study at my house on Mondays and my Mousekins LOVE to greet the ladies at the door. 


 My friend Alicia was the first to show up and Minnie cheerfully welcomed her in.  Alicia responded with, "Oh look how cute you are in your jammies with your little belly popping out!" (surely I am not the only mom who lets her kids wear way-too- small jammies that are practically half shirts). 


 Minnie looked down at her tummy and proclaimed, "Oh yes, and my boobies are growing too! Look!"  And she whipped up her pajama shirt to prove it to the very stunned house guest! 


Yes, full of entertainment is the life of living with a three year old!  


Little Minnie's hair is slowly growing back after all of it fell out last summer.  It has been a slow process and it is hard to tell if it will ever really grow out as the perimeter has not grown one bit.  People are always curious if I cut her hair so short and why! 


 It is sometimes tricky to answer people without making Minnie feel self-conscious... which she is JUST starting to. " I want to have long hair like Lauren and Hema"--which both have loads and loads of thick lustrous hair!  It has led to good discussions about how God made us and how she is very beautiful long or short hair and that the Bible says that true beauty come from the heart.... a lesson her mama needed a refresher course on as well!  


A few hours after this post was written, she just cracked me up again so I decided to add it to the post!  Minnie picked up my Mint Chapstick and announced, "the color is Booger Green!"  Hmm, I wonder if the cosmetic company would like that suggestion!



Saturday, January 28, 2012

So Sobering

My fingers have been resting on my keyboard, trying to process what I have just read.   A blog I follow of a family I know has received a devastating diagnosis.  A few months, perhaps a few years... three kiddos, one on the way.


My stomach feels sick trying to imagine the emotional pain  Derek and his family are experiencing.  Here is their blog, http://lrsauder.blogspot.com/2012/01/treatment-plan.html

Please add them to your prayers!

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Dread...

I dread the day that I fall off of  Mickey's pedestal.

 It will be a hard fall.

 I know it is coming.. which sometimes steals the joy of basking in his adoration.

He has no idea that I am not at my ideal weight.

He has no idea that I have glaring character flaws.

He only knows that I am his mother and he feels infinitely loved by me.

When I was heading out on a date with hubby a few months back, Mickey stopped in his tracks and gazed at me with admiration, "MOM!  You are the most beautiful lady wherever you go!  I have tucked those sweet words in the pocket of my heart!

This morning as I was preparing breakfast for the Mousekins and singing-- (it's a family trait--we randomly break out into song--drives Hubby crazy)  Mickey broke in, "OH MOM, You MUST go on American IDOL!  You have the most beautiful voice!"

Others see me as an ordinary housewife/mom in a small midwestern town, but in the eyes of my six year old son, I am a Rock Star Beauty Queen!

And while I am on this pedestal, I know this is my optimal time to have my actions, my words, and my thoughts point to Jesus so that when I take my rightful place in Mickey's heart, he will realize that it was Jesus on the Pedestal all along!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Letter 2011

We are in a beautiful time of life.  Our blessings are overflowing and we wish we could make time stand still!  We cherish these moments that our children are loving to be around us and love to snuggle in our arms to read books!

For those of you visiting our blog for the first time, welcome!  We don't use our real names on our blog for security reasons. If you get confused, refer to the picture at the top of the blog for a name reference guide :)

Here is our official Christmas Picture!  



We have been celebrating for ONE WHOLE year now that Mickey's milk allergy is non-existent!  Wow, what a huge change this has been for our family!  Eating in restaurants, and going out for ice-cream is still a novelty for us and we give thanks to God for healing Mickey and allowing us to experience such joys!  He is still  allergic to bananas and sensitive to latex products but those allergies do not inhibit our lives much and we are SO GRATEFUL! 

Mickey started Kindergarten in the fall and loves it!  It took his mama longer to adjust than it took him.  Minnie (age 3) gleefully started preschool two afternoons a week.  This leaves Mouseymom (me) with six  hours a week to myself.  I get asked often what occupies those precious 6 hours and I am not always sure.   Sometimes I sit down with a cup of tea, sometimes I rush out to do some errands or clean the house without interruptions, sometimes I disappear in to my Frills and Flowers room happily creating, and sometimes I set my timer and enjoy an afternoon siesta!  

Hubby is enjoying his job at Foam Fabricators. He loved attending  Father Daughter Dances with Minnie and spends many hours lego-building with Mickey  He also had the opportunity to visit  Bangladesh in December with my father.  

The community pool was our home for the summer and it was a sad day when it closed for the season.  Both of the kiddos love to swim.  Minnie is part-mermaid and liked to show off by diving off of the high dive.  Minnie won a bike through the library summer program and now the whole family can ride around our little town together.  The autumn provided us with lots of hiking days.  One of our favorite new hiking spots is Wild  Cat Den State Park just outside of Muscatine.  

We said goodbye to my wonderful Grandpa Joe just before Thanksgiving.  He was an inspiration of love and compassion to us and we hope to continue his legacy.  We know that because he placed his faith in Jesus , he is whole and alive with Jesus in heaven and that our goodbye is only temporary. 


We give thanks that we have such wonderful blessings of clean water to drink, food to sustain us, shelter over our heads, the love of family and friends and a God who is the Rock through all of the ups and downs.  

Celebrating the birth of our Savior has been an incredible blessing this Christmas season as our children grow in their understanding of the plan of salvation for all.  

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  






Friday, December 16, 2011

Motherhood: sometimes lonely and isolating...


The topic today for the Hearts at Home Blog Hop is:  When did you realize that you were not alone on this journey called Motherhood?

Today's topic pulls at my heart strings and takes my mind soaring through the emotions that accompanied this journey.  It is wonderful to look back at a vulnerable time in my life and to see how God has been so faithful.

After 16 hours of Labor, eight of them excruciating, eight of them blissful (grateful shout-out to the inventor of epidurals), my mid-wife informed me that the baby was simply not going to come out so we had to do a C-section.

I was not open to this option.


"I don't have time to have a C-section! I am moving in eight weeks!!!!," I insisted.

And this was not a simple move for me.  It was a heart-wrenching move from my ultra-coddling church family in Indiana, to the great unknown in South Carolina.  Leaving my girlfriends and Bible Study Ladies felt like I  was being torn from all my support. I did not want to move and I was having troubles trusting my husband that he had our best interests at heart.  All of this would have been hard for me all on it's own, but mix that in with becoming a first-time mama and I was a real mess.

Well, the C-section happened in spite of my protests.  And eight weeks later I found myself feeling very alone in a new house, with a new baby, in a new town.  Actually it turns out that the South is a whole new culture.

I can still remember that feeling six years ago of strolling my baby around my new neighborhood with a deep sense of grief washing over me... missing my "old life", longing for the familiar and resenting all the "new".

Starting over was hard.

My next door neighbors were so sweet and welcomed me with such grace.  But I did not know them, I could not depend on them, they knew nothing about me.

The struggles of becoming a new mom overwhelmed me, esp. when my son broke out in hives on his face when a milk-based formula dripped on him.  I was scared, and alone.

I went to my first MOPS-like moms group at a local church and the speaker talked all about how moms need support.  He encouraged us to lean on our families and depend on our friends.  I choked back tears as my mind screamed, "but what should I do when I have no one here!!!!"  My family is a plane ride away, and everyone here is so foreign to me!  I felt hopeless. I knew that friendships took a long time to form and that I needed help NOW!  I felt so needy and I despised that feeling.

I attended another MOPS group at another local church and I clicked immediately with all the other moms at my table... who were all first time moms with new babies!  I was not about to let on how needy I was, but one of the girls confided to the group that she felt all alone and had no one.  One by one, all the other mom's at my table expressed the same thing.  I felt like I could let my shell down a bit and admit how alone I was as well. God had put me in a group of amazing ladies that not only I needed, but that needed me!

My neighbor friends also continued to win me over with their love.  They showed me that even though we had not been life-long friends, that I could trust them and that they were there for me.  And they were.  In just a few short months, I felt surrounded by love and support.

 I remember distinctly the time when I realized "wow, I am not alone in this motherhood thing"... it was when I had taken my son to the doctor for something and when I got home there were two messages on my answering machine.  Both of the messages were my neighbors calling to see how my son was doing and wanting to know what the doctor had said. 

 It was at that moment that I realized that I had friends who truly cared and were with me on this journey.  They were with me in the daily stuff... brightening my days when I would go out and get my mail and end up talking for hours at the mailbox, sharing food and discussing all the details of mothering...like which diapers held in blow-outs and when it was time to take the bumper off the crib.

It was different this time.  These new friends had never met my parents, did not know my sisters' names and had no understanding of my past... but it was okay and I was grateful.  I knew God had provided for me and showed his great love for me even when I doubted.

I lived in South Carolina for only 1.5 years.

We moved to Iowa where I live only a few miles from my parents and have cousins galore in a 15 mile radius.      Surprisingly, I was sad to move from South Carolina where these wonderful women had made a glorious impact on my life in such a short time.  I was a bridesmaid in my neighbor's wedding in South Carolina, two years after I moved away.

Lessons learned:  God is good!  God is faithful!  Friends are a gift.  Friends don't have to know every detail of your life to be a true friend.  I still have my life-long friends that I have known all my life and I am so blessed by them.  I have learned to open my heart to different "levels' of friends along the way.  
I also have a heart for the mom who is feeling alone and needing "connected".  A great way to integrate that mom is through MOPS and/or invite her to the Hearts at Home Conference.  
A lot of bonding happens in that car ride and hotel stay!  I have invited moms that I BARELY know and it has been a huge blessing for them and me!  One mom that came with me two years ago is now one of my closest friends and a huge support to me.  Reaching out is a two-way blessing!  

Check out other Hearts at Home Bloggers below writing sharing their thoughts on this topic!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Unforgettable


My beloved Grandpa is so close to taking his final breaths here on earth.  Every time my phone rings, a mixture of emotions confuses me.

 I want so badly for my Grandpa to be set free from his body that does not work, to be set free from confusion from his deteriorated mind that time has stolen.

He is trapped in a weak and failing body, but I know his soul well.  Grandpa Joe is a free spirit and soon to be in the arms of Jesus,  Free at last.  But the human part of me is a little scared to let the earthly shell of him go, fearful to depend only on memories.

Last night I laid in bed thinking of all the things I wanted to write about my grandpa, but it seems overwhelming to use mere words to describe the incredible influence Grandpa Joe had on my life.  So in the mean time I want to share a tribute that my sister's husband wrote about our grandpa Joe on Facebook this morning:

Grandpa Joe

As he awaits his moment to go to his eternal home I thought I would take a moment to public tribute a man that many call, and many that would love to call, Grandpa. Joe Wiegand has written memoirs of a fascinating life, truly a documentation of the greatest generation. We know his story well, one of loving his wife and children, war hero, inventor, spirituality, hard work and charity.



 A life worth studying, a life worth honoring, and a life that I am confident will be rewarded with “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”


 I feel especially close to Joe as I believe my wife Gayla, his grand-daughter (I think his favorite – inside joke to all Wiegands), inherited so much of him in her charity, love for the underdog, compassion and willingness to love and help. 


No respecter of person and no job to low – that is what Joe passed to my family. Joe has an innate desire to believe in people and to sympathize with failures, never standing in judgment. Quick to humor and a flashing good looking smile, never a stranger in his life. A goal to make every person in the supermarket lines an instant friend, bringing 10 seconds of joy to them. Joe always would error to the side of over forgiveness, blind love, and compassion. 


He knew that he was often taken advantage of, subject of judgment, however, he leaves us with a great impression, respect, love, admiration, and frankly I can’t even remember the people that might have abused his love, but Joe we will never forget. Yes, he passed these traits to his family, but fortunately not the trait of drinking the cereal milk left out from all the little kids. I look forward to being reunited someday with Joe. 


He is the man that you wish you could call buddy when you were young, hoped you could call a mentor as you went thru life, and if lucky you called him grandpa, father, or husband. To those that know Joe, he will always be the visual and definer of the term, “A life well lived.” Joe Wiegand - Farmer


~written by Jason Stoecker on  Nov. 18, 2011~











Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Well THAT Explains It!

Minnie at age three and a half has hit new heights of wretchedness.  The kind that at the end of the day, Hubby and I collapse on the couch with blank stares in our eyes, stripped of all energy...hoping to find a netflix show to numb our minds.

Now it is not all bad. Minnie has many hours a day where she is pure joy:
announcing her deep deep love and thankfulness for us,
slathering us with kisses and hugs and nestled up in our arms reading books.

She melodiously makes up songs of praise to her great and wonderful Savior Jesus Christ and prays with a fervent heart, with hands raised in the air.  (If she did not look so much like me, I would think we had a hospital mix-up with a Pentecostal baby)

And then there is the......other side.

The dark side of Minnie.

Where tantrums are paramount and no reasoning can be applied.

She destroys all in her path.. especially her big brother Mickey takes quite a beating from this tiny but mighty storm.

The storm leaves us all listless and drained.

Tonight we had a BIG STORM.  A tsunami.  So this is all very fresh as I write.

I was doing laundry and was listening to Hubby talk to Minnie after the storm had settled.

Hubby:  "Minnie, It is important that you obey your mommy and daddy.  It is not okay to hurt your brother.  It is not okay to throw a big fit when you are angry.  Jesus is in your heart and He can help you to choose rightly."  

Minnie:  (matter of factly) Jesus flew out my ear.  


I was glad that I was out of sight and did not have suppress a smile!  That is quite the explanation for the reason behind her volatile behavior!



And in the morning she will pad out to the kitchen with wild bed head and her darling footed pink fuzzy pajamas and hug me.  And a fresh day will begin.  How someone so absolutely adorable can be so vicious is mind-boggling.  Yet every day I thank God  that I get to be part of these complex, amazing and beautiful children's lives.  My heart never ceases to adore them and I count them as my most precious blessings.