Monday, August 10, 2009


While perusing a couple of CTMH blogs, I came across this blog that had some really fun artwork. As I was reading there was a widget on the side that said "praying for stellan", so, of course I went to it to see what was wrong with this precious little baby pictured in the widget. Her latest entry was talking about finding 4 leaf clovers...and then she said this. I have heard it said in so many different ways, and even thought it myself, but I love the way she stated it and thought I would share it with you...

"Perhaps having a good life, one that we are satisfied or joyful in, is not measured by how much subjective good there actually is in our lives, but simply in if we look for satisfaction and joy.

For example, when I am full of a spirit of restoration and love, I can choose to look at my husband and see the good in him. I can focus my attention on the things I love about my husband and put blinders up to the small, irritating things that might otherwise irk me.

The converse is true, too. When I am feeling self-righteous and negative, I can look at that same husband and choose to see only his flaws. When I let his flaws fester in my mind, they seem to grow bigger and more irritating. The good that is in my husband is shoved to the side as I am first unwilling and, later, in fact unable to see it in him.

Nothing about my husband himself changed in these two scenarios. The difference was just in my outlook, in what I searched for."

Well SAID!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The more things change...

the more I think David may actually be right...maybe I really DO have some grey hair? Naw...not yet. But things certainly are changing! We went home to Ohio for a much needed break. Well... it started out a little that way. The first full day there we went to my sisters house in Doylestown where we had a great day with all the Ohio cousins playing baseball/softball (depending on gender)...just imagine, 11 kids ranging from 17 to 4 playing a game of pick-up ball... No tantrums, no fighting, just a fun, relaxing afternoon in the cool 60 degree weather playing an all american just doesn't get any better than that! Then we went back to my sisters house to have BBQ ribs and cheesy potatoes and brownies...YUM! Perfect! Then outside to collect fireflies and play in the dark...oh I remember being the little one! The next day was the 4th and we went to Blossom Music Center to watch the Cleveland Orchestra play their salute to America and the fireworks afterward. I LOVE outdoor arenas and Blossom brings back so many memories! I haven't been there in years and it was a great way to relax and celebrate the 4th...picnics, family and much fun! We celebrated Bethany's 11th Birthday the following Monday...can you believe I have an 11 year old? I can't!

Anyway, next day we went back to Doylestown to see my nieces play the last softball game of their travel season! What a great way for my girls to see how the big girls play! Not only did we have fun watching the game, but we had a great time playing with cousins and enjoying the brisk cool NE Ohio air! My kids have never seen so many fireflies (or giant attack mosquitoes) as they did in Doylestown. In Tennessee, we're lucky to catch maybe 3 or 4, but in Ohio they caught so many that they started speading the "light" parts on their faces like war paint to glow in the dark...poor little bugs. I wonder what their lifespan is anyway? With my kids, it is about 5 seconds!

Next, we visited the McKinley Museum and explored with the dinosaurs, learned about rock layers and fossils, discovered native animals of Ohio and even a little about space! Went on a museum scavenger hunt (in my opinion, all museums should have this wonderful learning tool! They equip the kids with pencils and clipboards and have them fill in age appropriate information about different exhibits...matching for the little ones, fill in the blanks for the big ones) and then went upstairs to learn about a distant relative of ours, William McKinley the 25th president. Of course, my 16 year old niece had to play the part of the blond and ask, "who is that" as the talking mannequin began his speech about his life in the white house and how he got there. I just had to look at her and let in sink in a little before she realized WHERE we were and put 2 and 2 together. Yes, it was the blond leading the blond, but I think I'm actually more brunette now! Pretty funny though. Then we climbed the stairs to look at the Memorial and slide back down the "rails". (Actually, I walked, they slid)

Unfortunately, things took a turn with my dear mother-in-law and I thankfully went up to Geneva to take care of her and give my sisters-in-law a little break. I am so grateful for those 3 days! I learned so much about my mother-in-law. She lived an amazing life, endured with such grace and strength and loved so can only emulate her. I enjoyed the time, realizing all too well that it was more and more limited. After those few days, David's sister return to care for her and David was on his way in two days to see her because her condition had become grave. We all were there on Friday for the weekend and on Monday, July 20, my mother-in-law was escorted to heaven by my father-in-law. She said he was with her and she peacefully went away with him. It all happened so quickly that none of us were/are prepared for it. 9 days after her discharge from the hospital she was gone. We all had some beautiful moments, some very funny moments and of course, some very sorrowful moments. Once again I'm reminded how precious life is and how quickly things change...

I took this picture when most of David's siblings were gathered around her reading a poem she loved. She was starting to relax after being restless and the moment was too beautiful not to capture. This period in time was not a time to carry the camera around, but while watching this moment, I couldn't resist taking this shot...pretty amazing!

Later that week, David's family had calling hours and a beautiful funeral. It was amazing to see their family's strength and weakness all at the same time, but it was more amazing to see my children during the process. Even Nicholas understood what had happened and I really had a hard time keeping my composure after he completely broke down at the funeral. We have some pretty terrific, very loving and very sensitive kids to truly know and understand this life changing situation. I can not imagine having to suffer the loss of my grandparents at such a young age and to know what it means. They understood completely and displayed such love, loss and grace.

Before we returned to Clarksville, we went down to Amish country to show the kids an amazingly different kind of life. While driving down there we passed this tree...

We had to stop and look at it. The owner of the house happened to be standing outside and I asked him about the tree. He said it was getting too overgrown and he knew he needed to cut it down, but he wanted to do something special with it. He was the former principal of the high school located right behind this house and knew one of the teachers at the school loved to carve wood. So he asked him what he could do with it and the teacher simply replied, "we could have a lot of fun". He cut the tree down to this point and the teacher started on a Wednesday afternoon and finished on the following Saturday afternoon. It is truly a work of art.

these are just a few of the images of the tree. It was pretty amazing!

Beautiful Ohio!

Speaking of things changing, we are moving...again. This time to Ft. Belvoir, VA for who knows how long. NO, our house has not sold, so some extra prayers for us in that area would be GREAT! We figured it would be better for us to be together and paying two rents, than being apart and paying two rents. So... if you know anyone who wants to buy or rent a house in Clarksville, I highly recommend ours! We have an awesome neighborhood and great friends here...(yes, shameless plug!)

Well, that's our last month or so...busy, full and never a dull moment.


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