Friday, October 31, 2008

Ghostly Boo's of old...

OK – I went “outside of my box” and dressed up this year. My bud and dearest friend Dawn joined me as she does most years – helping with the kiddos outfits and make up. Dawn and I lunch weekly (we work in different towns so this takes coordination) and plan our outfits for the guys yearly. She has a Theatre degree and that comes in handy with wigs, makeup, etc.

So – Anthony my Caveman (not the Geico one!) and Tobias is the Salty Sea Captain. Sophia and I took the Royalty route.

Every year the Fireman’s Ball is held at the grade school. They judge costumes, give kids hot dogs / pop and when the kiddos leave they get a large candy bar. It is a safe, clean, warm environment that allows the boys to see their friends – ooh and ahh over creativity. We’ve been in the top three with the boys for a few years running – so the standard has been set. This year Anthony placed 1st in his age division and Tobias won first too! Sophie won 2nd for her 2nd year as well. Dawn and I – well – we had fun! We might be a little bit competitive – but we love it!

Afterwards we rush home to hand out large candy bars (Steve’s idea as of last year. He told me: “remember when you were a kid and you’d go to the house that gave out a large candy bar & how cool that was? Let’s be that cool house!) to about 132 kids this year– we shut the lights off and are done for another year. Phew – what fun though and I know some people think Halloween is evil and stuff – like anything, it can be what you make it and for us it is clean family fun – with just a tad too much sugar! So until next year ……..BOO and good night!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nurture over Nature

I'm told "Nurture over Nature." I believe this. I need to believe this. Keeping things in focus and perspective.....the reward is huge.

Progress is happening as we move closer to a special day!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dark Day

Why do things sound worse when read than spoken?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Older sibs

I’ve older siblings – they used to pester me quite meanly when growing up – through the teen years and before. I’d have bruises for weeks from them and one time when I was trying to be a peace maker to stop them from fighting – they turned on me and punched me right in the nose – breaking my glasses which I then had to wear with white band aid tape holding them together.
So one thing I’m fairly proud of with my kiddos is they don’t “physically” hurt each other in mean ways. Oh, they argue and have their spats – but in comparison to children around them they have “non-violent” ways of getting at each other that secretly make me smile and laugh. For example, they are usually kind and the first one getting their toothbrush ready will get the others’ ready – they’ve also accused each other of putting soap on the toothbrushes! I thought that was a clever funny one – reminds me of the salt in the sugar bowl days. So when I watch them with their little sister – I marvel at their patience and tolerance they show with her……she is definitely in their space at times…..they are sooo good with her! It warms my heart that they love her, respect her, cherish her and treat her with kindness. The age gap is larger – but despite that I’m grateful for the helpers they are with her. Sometimes I’ll ask them to play with her while I try to get something done around the house– inevitable she’ll be long gone and they are sitting there playing with her baby toys – cracks me up, makes me smile. Children are marvels God gives us to remind us of so many things when we slow down to look at them….lessons everywhere.

Yorkie Bjorkie

This is our Yorkie – Ella! She is 12 years old human years, which I believe is like 84 dog years. She is a smart little girl that we love dearly as our family pet. She rings chimes on the patio doors when she wants to “go out for her thing.” As she only barks if someone comes to the door. We tell her “cage up” and she’ll go into her pet taxi that is her haven during the day when we are all gone. Her struggles are cataracts growing in the eyes, failing liver function, severe allergies and scratchy itches. We’ve had growing health issues and fear we’ll have to make a choice one of these days – but until then the vet knows us well. She just finished a round of antibiotics and got her rabies shots and heart tests. She hovers under Sophia’s high chair looking for fallen cheerios and other delights that she shouldn’t be eating! She sleeps on the bed with my hubby and I – usually burrows under the covers and snores now to compete with Steve! She has a pet pig that is her “baby” and when we tell her to get her baby she chomps it and growls deeply. Sophia likes to take the pig and hold it out to her now and she’ll take it from her. That amazes us as she isn’t the greatest type of dogs for kiddos and we watch her closely around little Sophia. Sophia has, since little on, always liked Ella and Ella can make her giggle and smile, which warms our hearts too. I don’t know if Noah had Yorkies on the ark – but they are fun loving smart little dogs. We adopted her too in 2000. The boys - especially AJ love her as well. When we vacation, a very special Aunt Janet and Aunt Theresa babydogsit her for us – giving her more TLC then we even give her. Thank you God for our pet and the joy she gives us!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Aahhh - the cooler weather has come. Hallelujah from my Canadian soul! The boys have been asking since August to wear their footie PJ’s and I’ve held them off until this week when the weather turned colder and we finally kicked on the furnace. The boys LOVE their footie PJ’s and I don’t know what I’ll do if I can’t find them any when they are 18 and 19 years old! They make me smile to realize what a tradition they’ve made out of something like footie PJ’s. There is just something about when our toes are warm – so is the rest of us. So even this little tradition we have – whether it is handed down or not – is a reminder to me of the many traditions our family, church and faith have. We wish to pass those down to our children too. Especially as we enter the upcoming holiday season, I want to strive to show them the meaning in our traditions. So that they may see that through them, we can show our Christian principles that guide us day to day. That we cherish and retain certain traditions as a reflection of our spiritual values as we teach these to our children in hopes of them teaching generations to come.
Paul’s wise words: 1 Corinthians 11:1 ~ I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.
~Good night and I'll leave you with a beautiful Kansas sunset from our deck!~

Friday, October 24, 2008

Two Left Feet

A friend of mine was telling me about how she found this new pair of black boots in a trash dumpster and couldn’t believe someone would just throw them away instead of giving them to Goodwill, Salvation Army or a thrift store. She couldn’t believe someone was so wasteful to throw away new boots! So, she pulled them out of the trash and took them home – they weren’t her size so she thought she’d pass them on to someone else when she discovered they were both for the left foot – there wasn’t a boot for the right foot! Maybe this person bought them unknowing of this and didn’t have a receipt to return them, or it was a final sale deal or was too far for the cost to return them – whatever the case, it made me think how quickly we can judge a situation and that there is always another side to the story. I wonder how many times have I judged others or have others judged me incorrectly and unfairly? Lord help me to see clearly and be seen clearly. Amen

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Maintenance Required

Recently my “Maintenance Required” light on my car came on and I realized I let the miles roll without scheduling my oil change as I do so faithfully thanks to the reminder sticker they put on my car that I see when I’m driving. It surprised me as I’m known for my organizational skills – but made me realize too that sometimes we chew off more than we can handle and the very essence of our humanity shows. So the light became a reminder for me as I await my now scheduled appointment – that sometimes we need to slow it down and do the maintenance in our lives before we can push on again. This year started off with my doctor finding a tumor and scheduling a hysterectomy for me as quickly as possible. Thankfully it was contained and we got it all and I’m good to go again – but that time served to me as a time my “body” like my “car”, needed some maintenance in order to keep going. God showed me during that time that I needed to regain my healthy sense of self that is so easily lost in our world’ clamor and activity. My brother with cancer knows this now too and I pray I don’t forget this lesson as he now teaches me new ways of understanding through his struggle as well. Romans 8:26-27 ~ “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

Saturday, October 18, 2008



It is soooooo hard to take away those last bottles from our little girl. I couldn’t breast feed – and I’ve cherished that bottle feeding time when I hold her in my arms, we snuggle and look in each others eyes. The rhythm of touch and nurturing that takes place is very precious to me as I’ve watched her grow over the last year plus. We are both hanging on to what we consider our special time…Steve too has had such bonding moments with her (when she reaches up and touches his beard saying “this is my daddy!”) and that plastic formula/milk filled bottle. Life cycle….while I mourn this loss of special time, I celebrate her new independence bittersweet and think of a friend who has seen her children go to college and know that pain of many forms is in my future as well – hold and release. This is just the beginning of a journey…..God will give me the strength and wisdom I need – He always does. Psalm 131 Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother; my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and for ever.

Hubby Dear

Hubby Dear

After 25 years of marriage I know my husband very well – or at least I like to think I do. There are those “aaahhh” times that I don’t think he is even aware of how much he makes me smile – here is an example. I don’t know why this moves my like it does – instead of simply tossing them aside, he neatly put together some of the pieces of the 6 part bottle apparatus then proceeded to stack them precisely. Just catches me short when I think of the many little things he does “precisely” that makes our marriage and family so complete. He is a wonderful faithful caring man that I consider my soul mate – my best friend. Oh, we argue and don’t always get along, so don’t think I live in a perfect world – but those give and take times are needed to keep the growth of our relationship going. When we couldn’t conceive children (those 16 years of life we now refer to as the “retirement” years) I know I thanked God many times for blessing me with Steve as some people go their whole lives never able to have what God gave me – my hubby. So dear, if you are reading this – I love you more with every passing day and praise God for blessing my life with you!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fridge Clutter

Fridge Clutter

In 2004 we built a new house and when we moved many of my things that fit so well in our 1938 house just didn’t “fit’ in our new house. I have many “sentimental” things I love….old school desk, Oma’s aprons, 40 Jadeite mugs, collections, etc and I just didn’t have “room” for it all. “Stuff” is still in storage but we also purged a lot! One thing I remember when I got all new appliances (an exciting first in my life!) was that I was going to keep that fridge door clear of “stuff” and looking white and clean! Sooo…all my old magnets, pictures didn’t get put “back” on the fridge. Well… started and we needed the lunch menu – so I started to put some things on the short side that was next to the counter – not as visible. Then that filled up – and we needed to display our foster license, emergency number and house floor plan/exits for the State….so on the fridge they went. Along came some pictures of loved ones – have to see them! Then Anthony got an “A” in spelling – had to display that. Tobias made me a wonderful art magnet and Sophie needed her toys on the fridge to keep her from crawling into the dishwasher – so here is my fridge now. Not the clean wonderful plain white it was when we moved. I’m OK with my fridge clutter – sometimes we need some clutter in our lives and the fridge reminds me that I can’t live in a totally clutter free world – it isn’t me and isn’t what my home is about. My house is a home first – not something waiting for House Beautiful to come take pictures of! We live here and “stuff” happens here – whether on the fridge or elsewhere. I remember my friends wanting to photograph my house B.C. (Before Children) and A.C. (After Children)…..yes, it is quite different. So….when my fridge is all white and my house is very clean – you’ll know I’m lonely for the joy of life children have brought to me! I take joy in the scriptures today with Proverbs 15: 13-33 A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hedge Apples

Hedge Apples

Do you know what these are? I didn’t until I moved here. One time when my Oma Driedger came to visit she told me I should pick those and make a pie for Steve because what a waste that they were just falling to the ground and no one picked them up! I told her to go ahead and pick some. They stopped by the road side and picked some up – marveling at their weirdness. My Mom still laughs at that in memory of my Oma and the good times we had over the hedge apples talk.

The Osage-Orange tree makes the hedge apples as they are called in our region. They are not edible and sometimes they say cows eat them. Myths about them say if you put them in your basement, they keep away spiders and crickets.

I think they are gnarly and interesting. At break today I queried my co-workers about hedge apples – hoping to get some scoop on them. Someone said they know cattle have died trying to eat them because they got “stuck” and they suffocated on them. Texas calls them “horse apples” but we don’t know why – maybe horses try to eat them too! One person was convinced they keep away insects – another said they tried it and it didn’t work. One said they used them when hunting if they couldn’t find anything to hunt they’d throw them up in the air for targets. They don’t seem to be a very well respected tree anymore here and one person knew of someone selling seeds for $1 a piece in Alaska – given the market he was thinking that would be his retirement plan to go to AK and sell Osage-Orange trees!

The Osage-Orange tree has male / female systems in that not all trees produce the fruit. The wood from an Osage-Orange tree is very hard – orangish in color and good for wood crafts – my Uncle Jake Daum used to make nativity sets out of them and my Uncle Bill Stucky has made hedge vases and small bowls – see pics – they are beautiful!
We see them in Kansas in tree rows – known as hedgrows. In the 30’s they were planted during the dustbowl depression years. I learned too that in 1948, Kansas alone still had about 96,000 miles of Osage-Orange hedgerows. The hedgerows provide superior cover and protection for many birds, small mammals, and insects as they are dense in nature and I believe thorny too.
So there you have it – post a comment if you have any hedge apple info!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fall in Kansas

Fall Season 2008

I love the fall colors, the cooler air, pumpkins, sweat shirts, the smell of burning fields, fall thundershowers and all the memories of seasons past that flood me this time of year. I miss the vibrant colors Canada gave me when I was growing up there, so I try to look harder for the beauty in Kansas and try to ignore the leaves that just shrivel in pathetic pain from the hot summer past So the beauty I do find is in the smoke of fields burning against a blue Kansas sky, or the burning bush that gives a little red to the Kansas color scheme, the bright green of the winter wheat popping up already in fields planted that God watered and the mums people place on their porches to give more color to our fall! I’ve heard people say Kansas is ugly, has no hills (not true) is flat and boring. A Kansas fall is my reminder that there is always beauty around us but it takes opening our eyes and being able to see it and recognize it. Just like people – what we see on the outside isn’t always a reflection of what is inside. I am encouraged by this scripture:
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6: 37,38

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Friends and Friendship

Friendship and Friends

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I’m not a good friend. Then again, sometimes I’m a great friend. Friends aren’t perfect, I know I’m not. In my life I’ve had and do have a lot of friends. Some are more acquaintances while others are more like sisters. Some just get me completely. I’ve seen friends come and go. Some I’ve been waving Good- bye to while others I mourn the loss of whatever we had and ponder how it went wrong. I’ve been "used" and maybe I’ve "used" too. Some are close in proximity, others are long distance. Some are long time friends, some are new friends. What makes a good friend? The Bible says: A friend loveth at all times. (Proverbs 17:17) That being said, I’ve failed as a friend. I’ve also succeeded as a friend. With my friends, I’ve cried in happiness, sorrow and grief, laughed ever so joyfully, rejoiced in the good things of life, sighed in understanding, accepted and given advice that was or wasn’t needed. They were there when I married the man of my dreams, they were there when I grieved a barren womb, they were there when we adopted our wonderful children, they are there near and far, they were there when they I had surgery, they were there when I needed them, they were there when I didn’t need them, more importantly, they are still here today. So my friends that are reading this, I love you. Thank you for being my friend!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Flagfootin-Zoobalicious Day!

Ah the joy of a Saturday filled with joyous carefree events. From Flag Football to the Zoo it was a gorgeous windy Kansas day filled with family, fun and food. Thank you God.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Spit Up In My Life

I went to work the other day – it was a wonderful morning riding on a JD Gator with a client on a clear Kansas day – refreshing coolness of the morning - the experience made me smile all the way into the office on my commute. Later when I arrived at my office, I noticed “spit up” on my jean jacket which no doubt came from my beloved daughter! It made me smile but also made me think of some of the “spit up” in my life lately and how it burdens me. Sometimes there are things in us that we don’t see – it takes others to point out the “spit up” within us. We aren’t happy with that “spit up” but it might be a part of who we are and I am encouraged when I know I can wash it off – just like my jacket can be washed, Jesus washes me when I ask for forgiveness. “Lord, please forgive me for when I’ve hurt others through random words unaware of how they may hurt. Tame my tongue and teach me to be aware of the different people in my life – adjusting for them so as not to cause any pain, even unintentionally. Amen”
~Oh be careful little tongue what you say, Oh be careful little tongue what you say. For the Father up above is watching down in love Oh be careful little tongue what you say. ~

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