Monday, October 31, 2011

Giveaway Winner and I'm slow (so what else is new)

I'm slow to pick a winner for my first giveaway. Sorry, but I'm not going to bother to explain the why's (okay, part of it is that I'm simply a slacker/procrastinator--but that's all I'll say).

Anywhoo--the winner is...

Cozy. Cozy has an adorable blog, so click on her name and head on over there.

Congratulations Cozy, the book is on it's way!

(Turns out I don't need to put my email address on the blog yet because I already have her address--hadn't thought of that before, but I have the addresses of most of my followers--love you guys!). 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Grandma's Bragging Book

This is a Grandma post, 
purely for the pleasure of showing off that face
that makes me melt.
(All pictures are huge if you click on them)

In the tub
  First lasagna experience
Love that it's on her foot.
Her other grandma made this adorable outfit

With Daddy in the viking hat's I made from the pattern I bought here

That's all
(I restrained myself and didn't put in thousands
of pictures, but believe me, I could have!)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I'm Back and my first ever Giveaway!

There's simply no way to catch up a blog that's been neglected for months, so I'm jumping in right where I am.

This summer I bought a Kindle version of the book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, by Ann Voskamp a Christian blogger whom I adore.

This book has a hold on me that won't let go and I hope it never does. She's a non-denominational Christian and yet, from the first pages, she had me smack dab in the temple. I saw myself in her brutal honesty and as I read I determined that I'll no longer live my life an amateur.

So I bought a hard copy to read again with colored pencil in hand. And I bought a journal to write down my own one thousand gifts and I'm haltingly filling it up. It's all starts and stops and forward three steps and back two, but there's so much beauty and joy in this journey.

I'm giving away a copy of this beautiful book, my very first giveaway. Only one entry per person. No facebook liking, following me on twitter or posting on your own blog on this one. To enter, just leave a comment listing three things you're thankful for--gifts from God. They don't need to be profound or astounding. For example, here are the first three gifts Ann Voskamp wrote down (pg 45):
1. Morning shadows across the old floors
2. Jam piled high on the toast
3. Cry of blue jay from high in the spruce

Your list can be simple things, like Ann's, or bigger things. Whatever, it's your list.

That's it. The winner will be announced one week from today (unless I forget and take a day or two longer). If I can figure out how to work one of those random online things, I'll do it that way. If not, I'll write your names on paper and have my seven-year-old draw a name out of a hat.

So leave your comments and let the giveaway begin.

Wow, it feels good to blog again!! (Thanks for the gentle push, Amanda!)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Joplin Two Months Later

Last month, a dear friend arranged through United Way to take her kids to Joplin and volunteer for a couple of days. She invited me and my kids along. I was tickled to watch my kids work so hard in the sweltering heat.

It was an experience.So many people with nothing, people who lost both homes and jobs. Although they need help, they won't take a bit more than absolutely necessary as they do all they can to get back on their feet. Many of them are spending part of their time volunteering, finding a way to make sense of it all as they serve and lift others.

Two short vignettes:

A family with two young sons, were sitting in the emergency room for dad's broken rib when it hit. Rented home? Gone. Mom's and Dad's jobs? Gone. Just paid off truck? Found totaled two blocks away in a tree with a car in the back. Husband had a stroke during the tornado and for a while, they thought he was dead. The things they saw and walked over as they left the hospital will never fully leave them. The boys are in counseling to deal with it, but the family is intact, with smiles on their faces as you talk to them. Grateful for life and more days together, regardless of what they've lost.

A man who's lived a hard life, you can see it on his face, was in Chicago when it hit and came to help his sister whose home was damaged. He lost everything in Katrina and could never remember feeling more desolate and alone. But people came from everywhere and lifted him back up and he vowed if anything like this ever happened again, he'd get there and volunteer and so there he was working and giving hope.

I could tell more, but suffice to say, we met amazing people who were undaunted in the face of devastation.

Here are some pics (click to see the larger version).

Notice the steps lead to the nowhere now that the house is gone, but the rubble has been cleared away ready to rebuild and the family is living in a trailer with a new shed.

Can you see the three pieces of metal wrapped around what is left of this tree?

Most of the rubble has been pushed to the streets to be taken away and the construction business is booming!

Signs of hope are everywhere.

Whoda thunk that you could safely ride out a tornado in the McDonald's playplace?

I loved the flags on display, this one from a tree... the middle of the rubble. a rebuilding sight.

It will take years, but the Joplin's spirit isn't broken. They'll be back. I loved this sign on a bank.

Vinyl banners were everywhere on businesses. This one says:

I had to take a picture of the Chick-Fil-A because our family adores that place.

Yes, the Home Depot that you saw on the news has reopened from this massive tent and it's a busy place.

There are still stickers on the new windows, but Walgreens is open.

Every church I saw had tents like this outside, collecting and distributing needed items.

I'll never forget the devastation, but what a beautiful thing to see people of all faiths come together to help our brothers and sisters in need.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

As One

Sitting in sacrament meeting today, amongst those that we've worshipped with for more than a decade, I was struck beyond the ordinary with the power of that gathering publicy showing their desires to always remember Him. Just run-of-the-mill people who mess up, but remember and seek and try again. In thousands of congregations world-wide that sacred ritual was performed today, and grace was sought and found and hearts were filled. It's enough to give one hope beyond measure in this troubled world and it's a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Why I Love Him.

This man of mine--he's my fav.

Saturday, he dumped the Lincoln Logs onto the kitchen table and told the kids to build something using every single piece. Then he sat down with them and this is what they came up with.

The best Lincoln Log fort EVER!

Here's an arial view.

Just one of the many reasons I adore that guy.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Made Me Smile

I came home the other day to find this on our family message board.

I have the BEST family!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I haven't yet posted about our wedding and we've been home for a couple of weeks now (where does the time go?)

The northwest was beautiful. Soooo green and with mountains
 (we don't have those where I live).
It made me happy!

We got up VERY early on Thursday morning.
It was the first time the kids remember flying so it was an adventure.

When we finally landed we went with Stephen and Amanda to Multnoma Falls, a very beautiful place! It was the only touristy thing we did there. The rest was all family--all the time!!! (Yippie!)

The wedding was, of course, beautiful. Stephen had this smile on his face all day long! (note: all of these pictures are huge, so feel free to click and see them close up)

And the dress was simply stunning.

And the flowers were lovely.

And the setting was perfect.

And it was romantic.

And Amanda's parents were just so nice (if I lived nearby, Shelley and I would go to lunch on a regular basis, I'm sure!)

Here's the whole crew. Notice all of the babies!

And the grandbaby was there!

And grandparents were there (thanks Mom and Dad and Mom H, for making the long drive!)

And it was the very first time in four long years
since our whole family was together. 
And we got it on film!

Here are our kids (minus two--they seemed to be otherwise occupied at the moment)

Some of my mostedest favorite people on the planet!

When it was time for pics of Stephen with his siblings, we suddenly saw this.

And then, this.

I just love my kids--they're so much fun!

Did I mention that the grandbaby was there?

Here's the happy couple with all of the brothers.

This is my favorite picture of Emily that day.

The reception was just so nice.

The decorations were beautiful.

And the food was yummy.

And the whole fam was still together!

And there was cake.

And dancing.

And decorating of cars (this was Abbie's favorite part. She thought it was the coolest thing ever).

Here they are coming out of the church.

They hugged us goodbye.

And drove off to start their new life together!

Aren't they an adorable couple?