In the Eyes of the Beholder

Kyra runs to me as I'm weeding the garden. "Look Mommy, I brought you a bouquet of flowers!" She brought me a bouquet of dandelions. I view our large yard that seems to look like a sea of dandelions. "Thank you babe, they are beautiful," I say, trying to disguise my disappointment with the state of our yard.

Funny how, we try our hardest to get rid of these yellow weeds that seem to plague our grass in the spring. We spray them with chemicals, pull them out of the ground, or mow them over (even if it only lasts a couple of days). We view them as ugly, and envy the neighbors who seem to have a blanket of thick green grass. Yet, here is this child that thinks those dandelions are as beautiful as a rose bush. She breathes in their faint fragrance. She finds their beauty.

I think we often tend to think of ourselves as weeds. We try and mask ourselves with makeup, hide behind the safe walls of our home when we are having a bad day, or cut ourselves down with derogatory remarks. Yet, God sees our beauty. Even when we are feeling pretty positive and outgoing, there is usually just a tinge of doubt or jealousy. We wish we could be skinny, run, be creative, like so many we know. But God sees us as beautiful, just the way we are. We are not weeds to him, but beautiful flowers.

3 Things Meme

Jennifer tagged me for this meme and it looked so fun and easy I thought I'd post it today (plus I haven't written anything in awhile and don't have anything better to write)!

3 places I go all the time: Meijer (I'm notorious for forgetting ingredients-plus it's less than a mile away), the park as of right now (after all it's nice to get some of that preschool energy out, we even went yesterday during our 50 degree day!), and Hobby Lobby or Michael's (that's just as of late, as I am trying to find things to hang on our living room walls).

3 people who email me: Actually I don't get that much email anymore since I started blogging (after all that's what comments are for), plus I prefer talking on the phone. However, if email is necessary then, my Mom, sister in-law, and friend Annie (when her email is not recognized as junk mail from my carrier :) will write.

3 favorite places to eat: I had trouble limiting this to 3 too, because we like to go out to eat, however I guess it would go...Panera Bread Company, Olive Garden, and Cabana Tres Amigos.
Of course then there's the fast food category, coffee cafe category, the list could go on...

3 places I would rather be right now: Shopping all by myself without children tugging on me or having to worry that they are going to break something, having a pedicure (man if you haven't had one of those, you are missing OUT), or honestly playing at the park with my children as long as it was a WARMER day (at least not on the brink of freezing)!

3 Projects I'd like to get started: planting flowers (but of course have to wait until there is no danger in frost), begin a photo album for my girls (I of course don't have a single picture in a photo album. I'm afraid my girls are going to have to view their pictures from a shoe box!), begin sewing a valance for my living room window (hopefully this week!!)

3 people who will do this: Maybe...Sarah (at VB Window), Rebo, or Christy. No pressure, just something light to do mid week, girls!

3 TV shows I could watch over and over: The Office, Friends, and Quantum Leap (I know that hasn't aired in a long time but I used to watch those reruns all the time). I typically don't watch reruns, unless I'm desperate for some time to veg out. There are very few movies I could watch over and over either. It has to be something that is either extremely good, or in need of watching again just to catch parts that flew over my head the first time.

Spring Cleaning

Spring has finally arrived! The weather is finally warm, the flowers are blooming, the breeze is refreshing! You would think I would be spending every possible moment outside, after being inside for almost an entire season....but I'm not.

I should be going for a walk, enjoying the nature outdoors, but instead I'm furiously spraying cracks and crevices for carpenter ants (trying to get the nature outside of my home).

I should be weeding my garden in preparation for the flowers I'd like to plant, but instead I'm going through drawers of clothes...trying to find anything that might fit this growing weed of a daughter.

I should be playing tag with my kids in the fresh new blades of grass, but instead I am shopping for fabric for valances so I can hurry up and get it done before the summer comes full throttle.

I find myself pining to be outside, so I can enjoy the gift of renewal that God gave us, but am overwhelmed at how much there is to accomplish before you can actually enjoy the season. There is spring cleaning to be done. Suddenly the rays of sunshine reveal all the cobwebs, dust, and rain spots on windows that have been hiding in my home. There is dog po*op littered throughout the yard, that was once so conveniently covered by snow. There are growing kids that need new clothes before they can race around outside. And there are weeds, still covered in matted leaves that need to be pulled before new growth can shine through.

Perhaps this "spring cleaning" is a little like finding our way back to peace in God. We've felt the peace before, but somewhere along the lines have lost it, and want so badly to find our way back. But before we can feel that peace again, we have to clean. We have to clean our hearts, clean out the sin, the cobwebs, in order to find rest in Him. We have to clean out the anger, jealousy, hatred, and comparison in order to find room for Him to live in our heart. It can be a grueling process, but in order to find that peace, we need to clean.

One of my favorite songs illustrates this sentiment so well.... "Remember Surrender" by Sara Groves

Remember surrender
Remember the rest
Remember that weight lifting off of your chest
And realizing that it's not up to you and it never was
Remember surrender
Remember relief
Remember how tears rolled down both of your cheeks
As the warmth of a heavenly father came closing in
I want to do that again
Why can't I live there
And make my home
In sweet surrender
I want to do so much more than remember
Remember surrender
Remember the peace
Remember how soundly you fell fast asleep
In the face of your troubles your future still shone like the morning sun
Remember surrender
Remember that sound
Of all of those voices inside dying down
But one who speaks clearly of helping and healing you deep within
So go clean, and prepare for the rejuvenation of spring!

Tiny Talk Tuesday

The Girls are chattin away this week, here are some of the cute things Kyra said:

While at the dinner table:
Kyra: What day is it?
Dad: Tuesday.
Kyra: But is it today?
Dad: Yes.
Kyra: When is it tomorrow?
Dad: (knowing that she gets time confused, he went into detail of past and present and tried to explain to her what each day meant).
Kyra: When will we meet Jesus?
Dad: We don't know.
Kyra: Maybe Mom knows.
Dad: No, Mom doesn't know either. No one knows when they will meet Jesus. (there is a pause, and we think she has accepted this answer for the time being.)
Kyra: (in a quiet voice) I bet Josh and Ellie know. (her cousins, do they have some profound knowledge?)

A few minutes later:
Kyra: Is God in our hearts?
Mom: Well, his spirit is in our hearts. Remember when we talked about that? The Holy Spirit lives in our heart.
Kyra: I want to live in someone. That would be cool.
(I'm exhausted in the question asking. Let's just eat dinner. We did however, go into more detail.)

While in the car:
Kyra: (mom leaves the car and enters the store, as dad stays in the car with the girls) Where is Mom going?
Dad: To go get some bug spray.
Kyra: What is the bug spray for?
Dad: To get rid of the ants in our house.
Kyra: Are they going to die?
Dad: Yes, Kyra they are probably going to die.
Kyra: Well, at least they will go to meet Jesus today!
(as if explaining death isn't hard enough, now we have to try and explain that ants don't go to heaven!)

If you want to read more Tiny Talk, visit Mary's.

Spring Cleaning

March bustles in on windy feet
And sweeps my doorstep and my street.
She washes and cleans with pounding rains,
Scrubbing the earth of winter stains.
She shakes the grime from carpet green
Till naught but fresh new blades are seen.
Then, house in order, all neat as a pin,
She ushers gentle springtime in.

-Susan Reiner

Lost and Found

On Friday last week, I decided to take the girls to the mall for a little playing time at the Treehouse. We had a good time, got some wiggles out, and then left to make a quick deposit at the bank and head on home for naps. Unfortunately when I arrived at the drive through, I pulled open my purse only to notice my wallet missing! Oh the panic that sets in when you lose something so important. I immediately had a knot in my stomach. Where did I leave it? What if someone took it? What would the hubby say?

Needless to say, we headed back to the mall in an attempt to search for the wallet. I had all these thoughts racing through my head, as I tried to mentally retrace my steps. I went to customer service, they hadn't seen it. I went to the bathroom, it wasn't there. I turned the mini van upside down. It wasn't there. Meanwhile I had one girl getting cranky from her lack of nap and another asking tons of questions as to why we were going back to the mall. I had to calm myself down, so I wouldn't snap at them with their hundred questions. My only remaining thought was that I had left it on top of the car as I had unbuckled one of the girls (not a smooth move, but all together possible). I searched the sidelines of the road as I headed home...but nothing.

We came home and I felt complete despair. My heart continued to race, and all I could do was give myself little pep talks to keep it together. I put Katie to bed, stuck a video in for Kyra, and began to call all the companies of the credit cards I recalled having in my wallet. I just finished the last one, when my brother in-law called wondering what I was doing on the phone for so long. I felt like shouting, "I'm trying to avoid a situation of identity theft, so get off the phone!" But he quickly added..."You can get off the phone now, because someone found your wallet!" Really? It seems someone drove by, found a wallet in a ditch, and picked it up. He had been trying to contact me for the last 1/2 hour, but I was on the phone, so he contacted another person in the phone book with the same last name (my brother in-law!). Oh, what a relief!!

I picked up my wallet later on that evening from this gentleman's house. I offered him some money, but he refused. He said he lost his wallet once and had much of the same feeling. He saw it out of the corner of his eye as he was driving, and picked it up. He didn't want someone else to have the same feeling he did. He simply said to pay if forward someday.

I thought later on that evening of his kindness. In the world we live in today, we think the worst of people. We think someone would immediately max out the credit cards, ruin our credit, steal our money. And if we continue to think the worst of people, dwell on the evil of this world, we will become hopeless. Thank goodness, God is so much bigger than the sins and evils of this world. He gives us hope, even if it for a lost wallet!

Tiny Talk Tuesday

The little ones are chattin away this week. Here are some of the cute thing they said that made us laugh:

While singing a song:
Kyra: I may never march in the infantry, ride in the calories, shoot the artillary, but I'm in the Lord's army!
(although, she messed up Calvary and made me snicker, I was quite impressed that she got pretty much the rest of the song correct)

While singing books of the bible from praise songs we have in the car:
Kyra: 1st and 2nd corindians, galatians, and pheesians. Flipians, galachans, 1st and 2nd Nickalodeon, 1st and 2nd Timady, Titus, and Believit!
(I just love listening to her version. Especially the Nickalodeon for Thessalonians!)

While playing in the yard:
Kyra: Mom, can I go exploring in the trees? I need to look for rabbits.
Mom: Sure, just make sure I can always see where you are (I say while pruning some perrenials).
Kyra: (some time passes by) Look what I found mom!! It's a dinasaur bone!! I'm an explorer, just think of the things that I can find. I bet this was a great big white dinasaur. I didn't find any rabbits though. I'm going back to find more dinasaur bones! See ya later.
(Do I have the heart to tell her that what she found is probably a thrown away deer bone? No. She is having fun being an explorer. The newfound joy of going outside and exploring is such a joy.)

For more tiny talk, visit Mary's.


Everyone who has ever had an older brother, knows that they live to torture their younger sisters. They live to play pranks, and love to see the reaction they get from concocting their little ploys. I was no exception. My brother dared me to swing on a rope hanging from a tree that dangled over a lake (knowing full well, that I didn't have the strength to hold on, and would plummet into the water), melted my barbie's hands and feet, and scared my sister and I with a werewolf mask. And unless I stayed on his good side, and planned and schemed with him to torture my sister instead of myself, I was the target of his jokes. I guess it simply goes with the territory of having siblings. Needless to say, one of the things he did that stuck out in my memory was that of the monchhichi incident. Looking back now, it is really quite silly, but I remember being quite traumatized at the time. I had one of those cute little monchhichi's when I was about 4 or 5. It was something I carried around almost everywhere (a security blanket of sorts). Well, the monchhichi's hair came unglued, and when taken off, it looked like a terribly ugly monchhichi. It must of frightened me something fierce because I screamed every time it's hair came off (maybe it looked like an alien or something from the "Night of the Living Dead"). Anyway, my brother must of found that was one of my Achilles heels, and took it off one day while we were traveling in the car. All I remember is him not putting the hair back on, and not being able to calm down (I'm sure my mother was rolling her eyes and wishing for new kids at that moment).

That memory came back full circle today. I was quietly washing the dishes from a nice leisurely breakfast of pancakes and sausage, when Kyra came running in the room all in a fret. I asked her what was wrong and she just stomped her foot and told me in a huffy voice to come see what happened in her bedroom. Now fortunately, she wasn't crying or screaming, but I could tell she was quite distraut. I walked into her bedroom to find this:

Yes, her polly pockets had been mutilated. Only, there was no BIG brother to blame it on, only a small lanky girl with her head cocked to the side, while smiling and batting her beautiful blue eyes. Yes, I can see we have a long road ahead of us.

Tiny Talk Tuesday

The little ones are chattin away this week. Here are some of the cute things they said:

While coloring at the kitchen table:
Kyra: Mom, when I turn 4, I'm going to be funny.
(That's a great ambition kiddo. I think you are already there though.)

Upon entering another furniture store (we've been shopping a lot for new couches):
Kyra: Mom, is this another funeral store?
(No, we haven't been shopping for caskets Kyra, just couches.)

During breakfast:
Kyra: What are we going to do today?
Mom: (feeling bad that all we've been doing is furniture shopping, I thought I'd take her to the local butterfly exhibit) I think we are going to do something special today!
Kyra: What kind of seats does it have?
( know your child has had furniture store overload, when she starts classifying where she's going by the seats she sits on.)

While reading a bed time story:
Mom: And what is this animal Katie?
Katie: (moments pass and still a blank stare)
Mom: That's a duck. (I try to hide my frustration, as my 2 year old still blanks out, or chooses not to say so many easy words.) Okay, let's go on to the next page. Ohh, look at some of these pretty birds!
Katie: (getting excited, and pointing) Kookaburra!
(Oh, I get it. Maybe the duck isn't challenging enough. She goes for the tough ones first!

If you want to read more tiny talk, just visit Mary's.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

To get to the other side of course! Rather, our side of the road. Yes, yesterday we came home from church to find a chicken in our backyard. This wouldn't have been so unusual several years back, because we used to have seven chickens that roamed our property. I never fed them, they just lived off the land and crowed ever so early in the morning. They were here when I moved in with my husband. I guess it was kind of a package deal. However, me not being a country bumpkin, I really didn't want anything to do with them, and was slightly annoyed with the constant crowing. Oddly enough, I must have grown more attached to them then I thought, because when the last one died over 4 years ago I kind of missed their familiar sound and the brightly colored feathers adorning our yard (of course the droppings I didn't miss).

So, it was kind of fun to find this brightly colored chicken pecking around our pine trees. My husband called my brother in-law, who lives across the road (actually he lives across the M-6 highway) to see if it was one of his. He counted the chickens in his yard, and said sure enough it was one of his chickens. He had to have flown across the highway!! We must have some pretty attractive piece of property. The hubs assured him, we would return it as soon as we caught it. I thought this would be a challenge, but the chicken made it a little easier than we thought.

When we went outside to track it down, our dog escaped immediately. We have a pointer dog, Rudy, but Rudy is scared of a mouse, so about the most damage he would do is point at the bird that we can already visually see for ourselves. Nevertheless, he scared the poor bird all in a tizy. The girls were having fun joining Rudy in the chase and laughing at the squawking bird, as it tried to take cover just about anywhere and simply ran in circles most of the time (I wonder why he didn't just fly back over the highway). Unfortunately this poor pee brained animal ran right up the stairs of our deck, where it was cornered. I kept shouting at Rudy to back off, but his prowling instincts were not going to let this chicken off the hook. He moved in ever so slowly until... BAMM! The chicken tried flying through the slats of the boards on the deck. Nevermind trying to fly OVER the deck, he tried flying through the deck. We about all fell to the ground in laughter. Rudy looked puzzled, as if to say "well that wasn't much of a chase." My hubby just shook his head, and then went to the rescue of the chicken. Once in the arms of my husband, he was calm and collected. The girls got to pet the chicken and then it was back down the road for him. I tell you, it's never a dull moment around here. I only wish I had a picture of the chicken stuck in the slats of the deck. It was truly a sight to see.

When I Open My Eyes....

When I open my eyes I see two geese huddled together as if trying to stay warm from the lingering winter. They ruffle their feathers and nuzzle their beaks. I wonder if they are able to sense when spring will make it's grand entrance. I see the silhouette of a tree bending it's branches down into the frigid pond for a drink. It uses all it's strength to root itself in the soil that has been slowly slipping away from the continuous thaw and frost we have had over this past winter. I see the blades of grass covered in a silvery frost, and if I lean in close can almost hear the crackle as it tries to break free of it's grip. I see over 30 pine trees stand majestically around our house, as if they were soldiers guarding our dwelling from the dangers that lie beyond them. I see rows upon rows of fractured corn stalks, just waiting to be tilled, so as the soil can begin producing new growth. I hear the humming of cars and semis, as people begin their morning commute to work. About once every five minutes someone wanders off to the rumble strip. I imagine that they haven't had their morning coffee yet, and are sleepy eyed and worn as the week comes to an end. It makes me grin as I cradle my warm cup of coffee and smell the aroma it brings. It makes me grin that I am fortunate enough to take in this beautiful view, look out my window and watch as the morning unfolds. I am thankful that I can stay in my pj's, lean my head toward the window as the sun begins to pour it's rays through a tiny corner of our home, all while the kids are still tucked soundly in their bed. Yes, I am sure this will be a beautiful day. Nature seems to whisper it's radiance, as I quietly stand in the warmth of our home.

When I open my eyes, really open my eyes, I can embrace the beauty that God puts before me. And this all before 7:30 A.M and in my back yard! Just imagine if I had my eyes open all day!

Cold Tangerines

A month ago Sarah at ShortStop invited her readers to read a book that seemed to parallel quite with her life. But it didn't stop there, she (along with Zondervan) proceeded to GIVEAWAY the book to nearly 30 people! I was a fortunate recipient of the book Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist.

Cold Tangerines is a collection of stories about Shauna's life, thoughts, and reflections. It is uniquely put together in a series of random chapters. They are short, compelling, thought provoking, and easy to read. I really enjoyed reading this book because it was so easy to read. These days I am usually too tired to read anything beyond a magazine, but because she writes her thoughts in 2-3 pages, it was easy to either put down to attend to a child, or continue reading because of it's captivation.

I identified with many of Shauna's excerpts and found myself thinking, "I've been there," or "I've felt that way many times." She writes about many feelings I would love to write about but am too ambivalent to share with the entire world. She is honest, vulnerable, and ready to "wear her heart on her sleeve." She makes you feel like you are not alone in your thoughts. Shauna must also be a very visual person, because she has a gift in describing her thoughts through analogy or word pictures.

One of the chapters I best identified with was "old house." She describes coveting a friend's house and finding the imperfections in her own house, and how we are often like that house. That disease of comparison, jealousy, and coveting linger so deep through my veins as much as I hate to admit it. And it shows me how much I need God to reiterate that I am a child of God and uniquely His. It shows me, that I'm not alone. And it shows me I need to look for the positive things in life that God did give me. Shauna helps point out those positive things. She shows you that life is not hopeless, and that there are little everyday things that are beautiful and worth looking for.

I highly recommend this book. Now if you excuse me, I need to look out the window, feel the sunshine, and think of the wonders God has blessed me with.


After coming home from Georgia, I had to quickly get my brain focused on party mode. My father in-law had recently turned 70, and we were throwing him a surprise birthday! Over a month ago we had sent out the invitations and were now closely approaching the date of the party, when my grandpa passed away. Fortunately, there are two other siblings who were helping with the planning, so when I came back there was very little for me to do. We rented out my father in-law's church (which is brand new), and had much of the food catered. I had only to assemble the photo board, print out some trivia about Bob, and get him to the church on time (that of course was the tricky part)! We had called him earlier that week to ask him if he'd like to go out to dinner. Fortunately, he said he had no plans, so we were all a go for 6:30 pm. He had asked the other two siblings if they'd like to join us for dinner, but they made up excuses for not coming. Of course I didn't think we were off the hook quite yet, because Bob is notoriously early. Sure enough, he arrived at our house an hour early. My clever hubby thought he might show up early though, so he hopped in the shower as soon as he entered our house. I told Bob that the hubs was outside all day, and needed a quick shower (of course he made sure to take a long hot shower). You'd think that everything would go smoothly after that, but if any of you have a 3 year old, you know that they can never keep a secret. We had coached Kyra about not talking about the party or anything birthday wise. We even did a little role playing and pretended to be "grandpa." We asked her what she was going to say to grandpa, in which she said "nothing." Okay, we were as ready as were going to be. Wouldn't you know, as soon as he came in the door, she asked, "Grandpa, is it your birthday?" I tried to look nonchalant, and took her into the bathroom while I did my makeup as to avoid any other mishaps. Kyra, however was not happy that she couldn't be in the living room with Grandpa, and said she wouldn't mess up again. I decided not to chance it.

So, we all were ready to go, and hopped in the car when we told Bob, Kyra wanted to take him somewhere special and he and his wife had to be blindfolded. I wasn't sure if he would go for this, but with the coaxing of his wife (who was not going to keep the blindfold on), he agreed. My hubby took lots of wrong turns as to confuse him to where we were going. We had just about baffled him by the time we arrived at the church, when Kyra blurted: "Grandpa, this is your church!" Ahh, yes....the secret was foiled again. The best we could do was continue to play along. The hubs guided him in, took off the blindfold, and everyone yelled "surprise"!

It was a great party with the room full of people that were dear to him (close to 50). And oh, so much food. We had to give so many "doggy bags," just to get the food to a manageable level. I guess, better too much, than too little though. All in all, he may have not been completely surprised, but I think he was overwhelmed with how many people had come. It was a good time had by all. I'm sure he would agree.