Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I'm such a slow learner....

So I wrote that post yesterday about the beautiful way in which I was treated by a friend. This morning, you would have never known I actually BELIEVE and try to LIVE OUT those words. I'm so grateful for a God who knows my heart and hears my words and chooses to extend grace anyway. Can anyone out there relate? (Come on, don't leave me hanging...)

And for the one I wasn't so graceful toward...he knows who he is...thank you for loving me anyway.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Gracious Friend

I won't go into all the details here, but I had to share an experience I had with a friend of mine. I felt that it was "blogworthy" and a good reminder for us all.

After several days of talking, praying, and contemplating, I had to make a decision which ultimately resulted in a phone call to a good friend. I had to back out of a commitment I had made to her. I was dreading the call, because, while I hoped that she would be understanding, I knew that there was a chance she might be upset.

I prayed before I called her...."Lord, please help her to hear my heart and to know that I am not doing this vindictively. Help her to understand my reasons. Give me the words to say and may they be said with truthfulness and gentleness, no matter what the outcome..."

As I dialed, my heart was beating (I am a slightly anxious person....okay, that's an understatement...I'm a very anxious person).

When I heard her voice, we made small talk. After a few minutes, I began telling her what was on my heart. I waited anxiously for her speak.

Let's just say I was so humbled by her response. She was incredibly understanding. She wasn't angry or upset. She understood my reasons and she said she had actually been thinking about what the commitment would mean for not only me, but our family. Bottom line: She was gracious.

As I thought about it this morning, I was reminded afresh that Christ calls us to live in this way. We are to be "a friend that loves at all times." Christ has shown us love, grace, and mercy time and time again. Who are we to withold that from one another? Let us always be friends, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, husbands and wives who live out Christ's love. And to my gracious friend, who may or may not be reading, thank you.

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
~Colossians 3:12-14

"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."
~Colossians 4:6

Saturday, February 24, 2007

That's one way to beat the winter blues....

It's cold outside, so we've been watching a lot of the Food Network. I've suddenly become addicted to cooking shows (don't ask me why). Today, my eldest transformed before my very eyes into Chef Cody. He told me he wanted to have a cooking show, so our living room quickly became a gourmet kitchen. He made "Cody Surprise" which included ingredients such as cornmeal, twisty noodles, salt, pepper, italian seasoning, garbanzo beans, radish, red potato, celery, water, raisins, dried onion rings, and "cilantro" (which was actually sliced almonds!). Oh yes, and we topped it all off with some sliced bread which had been marinating in Italian seasoning. Yum!

He stirred, mixed, poured, and measured. He was just as good, if not better, than Emeril. We had a delightful time, in our living...ahem, I

And here is the finished product (and mmmm....doesn't it look good??!!)

I highly recommend this kind of play for your budding chef(s). It was definitely a fun diversion and a great way to mix away the winter blahs. We also eliminated some old ingredients that had been crowding our cupboard space with their somewhat aged dates.

On a different note, please welcome our friends, the Strathman family, to blogosphere. They have just begun their blogging journey, and we're so glad!
Happy Cooking, everyone!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Everything seems so trite...

I've been trying to think of something profound to write about, and everything I think about saying seems so silly in light of the things going on around me. Even today, I found out my good friend's daughter is going to have serious surgery in the next thirty days or so, and there are serious risks. She's very scared, but she's also trusting the Lord, knowing that these children we've been given are truly on loan from Him. Many of you know some of the other challenges that those we are close to are facing, and in light of those things, anything I might say here, on this blog, just seems so trite.

So, I am going to share something that has brought me comfort. Nothing else seems to come close to expressing what's on my heart. I find myself anxious these days...not always understanding what God is up to, but being challenged to trust Him anyway. I am counting my many blessings, especially my relationship with Christ and the three amazing men (big and little) living in my house. I praise Him for my family (immediate and extended), for my friends, church, and love. I praise Him for His provision, His good gifts, His grace. I praise Him for my salvation and for the life I have in Him. He is always good, always merciful, always loving and always kind.

All that being said...I share the following with you:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-- put it into practice.
And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:4-9

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


"Mom? Who made the trees and the bushes?"
"Mom? What if we were so little nobody could even see us?"
"Mom? Remember when I was in your tummy? Remember?"
"Mom? Do you know where my Hotwheels Batman car is?
"Mom? Will you come play a game with me?"
"Mom? Can you turn this piece of paper into a Superman shield?"
"Mom? Can I play on the computer now?"
"Mom? Would you please fix me something else to eat?"
"Momma? Just so you know, I put the scissors outside the baby gate so that the baby couldn't grab them, and I laid the paper on the floor, but it kinda made a big mess. Is that okay?" (He is saying this even as I type.)
"Mommy? Who made that house over there? Was it God?"
"Mommy? Did you know that I can turn my Lightning McQueen car into a rocket booster?"

The questions. They are endless. And I love them. I hope I can always answer them in a way that honors the Lord and ultimately points him to the One who holds all the answers in His hands. Until then, I'll enjoy every one of them, and hopefully remember enough of them to record in his baby book.

Monday, February 19, 2007

My Mom

Steph, over at Adventures in Babywearing, is hosting a photo tag about our moms. I love this picture because it represents the different stages of our lives. My sister, Kari, on the left, is very pregnant with her second little girl, now two years old. I was the mommy of one boy, not two. And my mom (in the middle) had just gotten married the month before. She and her sweet hubby hosted all of us and we had a "day at the beach" at Lake Michigan on a warm July day. Look at my mom. You'd never guess her age. She's beautiful, slender, and spunky. She loves the Lord, her family, and dancing. (You should see her dance...she can really tear up a floor, and so can her hubby!)
Mom, if you're reading this, I love you!

Friday, February 16, 2007

On the heels of finding out about my friend Julie's son, Joshua, (please keep praying for him, my friends and prayer warriors), I found out today that a dear friend and fellow Christ-follower is battling stage 3 breast cancer...for the third time. This is "the end of the road" for her, as she told me today. There will be no more chemo treatments after this round. She is three weeks in to her six week treatment program. Please add my friend Brenda to your prayers.
I have been reminded afresh this week that I am NOT in control. And HE is STILL sovereign.


I borrowed this picture from my friend Jaime's blog because they are cheerful and a great reminder that spring is right around the corner. And now...onto my post.

I noticed several of my blogging friends are lamenting about the cold and the snow. I have to admit I am right there with them. I am so tired of this unbearable cold. I need to go to the grocery store, but I can't bear the thought of bundling up the kids, navigating the snow and ice, dragging them to the store, listening to the shrieking "I-hate-my-carseat-and-my-coat-and-no-I-will-not-wear-my-mittens" pre-toddler. The poor dog is lucky if he gets outside midday. I can't stand walking him because it's so miserable out there.

So we will exist for a little while longer without any milk. I'm not going out there. And I need peanut butter. I had to throw out my jar. Clearly, a trip to the store is inevitable. Just not today.

Here is the good news. When I brought my precious baby home from the hospital close to a year ago, that early March day was warm and balmy. A mother never forgets what the air felt like when she carried her baby out of the hospital for the first time. Warm. Balmy. What a glorious thought!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Roses are a great way to say "I'm Sorry"

You probably know where this is going. I need to preface this by saying that my husband is the greatest on earth (I know some of you may argue this...YOUR husband is the greatest!), but sometimes, he does have his moments (I will admit I have MORE). When these moments come, they are short-lived. We have a don't-go-to-bed-until-all-is-well rule, and it's worked for us. We say sorry often and forgive quickly. We don't hold grudges. We love being married to each other, and we wouldn't have it any other way. But we're not perfect.

Yesterday, Valentine's Day, began with our usual card exchange. I always give cards to everyone and this year, I made up little bags for the boys (all three of them). Nothing huge, just little things that say, "I love you and you're special to me." My husband had given me a very sweet card...the kind of card that says it all. A good start to the day.

As the day wore on, I decided that since we have little ones (one being a nursing baby) and limited resources, I would make a special dinner for he and I. I have always said that I hate the idea that there has to be this huge amount of pressure for one day when I can honestly say that it is Valentine's Day most days with us. We're always doing things to let the other know how much they are loved. But in honor of the day, I went shopping, excited at the prospect of making us a special meal, even if we had to eat it with an almost one-year-old crawling around the floor and trying to pull up on everything within reach and practicing the new shrieking sounds he's recently acquired. Even if our five year-old talked our ear off the entire time. Even if it meant we couldn't have a quiet, romantic meal in peace (eating at 9 p.m. was just NOT an option). I would still light candles, pour a couple glasses of wine, and make a nice meal (on the menu: steaks, baked potatoes, steamed asparagus with bernaise sauce, salad with home-made balsalmic vinegarette, and dessert). I wanted him to know how much I appreciated him and that I wouldn't let Valentine's Day go by without making sure he knew that.

I picked out the steaks at the market (I was ecstatic, they were on sale!!!), came home, and began cooking up a storm. Normally he's home by five, so at 2, when baby went down for his nap, I started preparing. I got the boys fed by 5 so that he and I could have our own time together. Right around the time I was feeding them, the phone rang. Hubby. He has a meeting he forgot about. But, he insisted, it will be a short one. Deep breath. Okay.

Still preparing, but beginning to slow down the process (I'm a bit of a perfectionist and wanted to make sure everything was still edible by the time he came home). 5:30. Phone call. He'll be home in twenty minutes. Perfect. Still time to finish cooking, have everything perfect for his arrival. 5:50. Still not home. Wife starting to fume a bit. 6:10. Really getting angry. Food overcooked. Kids getting on my nerves. 6:20. Wife calls, hubby not answering cell phone. Wife too mad to leave a message. 6:30. He sees I called, says he's just a few minutes away. Wife answers in one word sentences. Hangs up and is still fuming. 6:35. Hubby enters. I hear whispers. The pitter patter of little five-year-old feet. The words as he enters the room, "Mommy, these are from daddy. He's REALLY sorry for being late and he loves you very much." I turn around and see a dozen goregous long-stemmed roses staring me in the face, beautifully packaged (he didn't just go and pick out a pre-made arrangement...he had the florist custom make a special bouquet just for me, one reason why he was so late).

Hubby forgiven.

The meal, albeit a little cold and overdone, was still a really nice way to share a moment together (five year-old did talk our ears off, baby fussed off and on...after all, it was bedtime...), but one thing's for sure. We both knew how much we were loved by the other.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Happy Valentine's Day!

Snowed In!

Hello from snowy Chicagoland. It's cold, windy, drifty, and a perfect day to stay IN. I just went out to shovel (figured I had better before it's impossible for hubby to get into the driveway). ***Side note: An hour later, I'm finally sitting down to finish this post, and it's like I NEVER even shoveled. I think I shoveled at least six inches and it's STILL coming down!!!*** I was going to make a soup tonight, but instead I have frozen pizzas in the oven. I'm too tired to cook! But in honor of today's SNOW DAY, here's a favorite recipe to tide you over until next time. Enjoy!

Crock Pot Potato Soup
6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 cups chicken broth
2 cups diced onions
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/4 cup butter (I never said this was low-fat!)
2 tsp. salt (optional)
1/4 tsp. pepper
12 oz. can evaporated milk
3 Tbsp. fresh or dried parsley
8 oz. cheddar or colby cheese, shredded
crumbled bacon (if desired)
Combine all ingredients except milk, parsely, and cheese in slow cooker.
Cover. Cook on high 7-8 hours, or until veggies are tender.
Stir in milk and parsley
Stir in cheese until it melts, and add bacon as a garnish.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Please Pray

Dear friends and prayer warriors,

Our family was at a get-together last evening in celebration of my mother-in-law's 60th birthday, and I learned that some friends of ours from our previous church (Andrew, Julie, and their family) are in need of your prayers.

We just learned that their son, Joshua, has stage 3 "Wilms' Tumor." He is 2 1/2 years old. His symptoms came on fast and occurred just four short days before he ended up in the hospital having tests run. The tests concluded that he had a large tumor on one of his kidneys and it was bad enough that the entire kidney had to be removed. They learned shortly after about the cancer. There is a 95 % cure rate, which of course, is very encouraging.

They also have two other children, one 6 and the other a month old. As you can imagine, this is an intense time for their family, and I know they would covet your prayers. Julie sent me an email this morning and with her permission, I will share some specific prayer requests:

  • Please pray for Joshua, as the next step will be enduring 24 weeks of intense radiation and chemotherapy.
  • Pray for Andrew and Julie as they continue to care for their other two children (as I mentioned above, one is a month old). She shared in her email that the logistics of traveling to two hospitals for treatment and caring for two other children will be very difficult to coordinate.
  • Pray that the side effects of Joshua's therapy won't be drastic. The information they received from the hospital yesterday was overwhelming.
  • Pray for sleep and rest for this precious family and for strength to endure the weeks and months ahead.
  • Pray for their peace and trust in a sovereign God who holds them in His hands.
  • Pray for big sister Emma as she walks through this process with her little brother and parents. Pray for baby Rebecca to continue to nurse well and to help her mom get some much needed sleep.
  • Pray for Joshua as the Lord leads...

I will continue to update here as I receive more information. Please pray. We all know there is power in prayer.

"And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive."

~Matthew 21:22

Friday, February 09, 2007

More Caffeine, Anyone?

I have turned over the floor to my husband. He had something to say...

Hello everyone- Happi's husband Jerry here.

Hap said I could make the entry for today, so, here goes.

Question: Does this country really need more caffeine-laced food products?

I saw a news article recently about caffeinated donuts that will soon be available. Some people are going to love this idea. We'll hear comments like, "Who needs a four dollar cup of Starbucks when I can eat a few long johns instead?", and "Thanks to Dunkin Donuts new caffeinated donuts, I've been up for 72 hours straight! I can't close my eyes, but I sure got alot of laundry done!".
Don't get me wrong, I love coffee. Anyone who knows me is familiar with my deep love and need for "liquid gold". I crave coffee almost all the time, but I know when to say when. (It's usually when I start shaking, or I can feel my heart beating just a bit too fast. You know the feeling...) But the thought of people adding more caffeine to their system, which is already ramped-up enough from double espresso's and venti caramel mocha triple-ccino's with room for soy milk, is a bit scary.

And, what about the children? Will these donuts come with a parental advisory? "Caution: These donuts should not be consumed by children under the age of 12. Side effects may include: dizziness, hyper-activity, numb lips, excitability, sudden bursts of energy, lack of sleep, rapid speech followed by loud outbursts, irritability, fingernail sensitivity, acid reflux, and sudden need for sleep."

Apparently the scientist who developed these tasty treats has pitched them to several major coffee chains, including Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme. Maybe Dunkin' Donuts should simply stuff coffee beans into an apple fritter and call it a day. Or perhaps Starbucks can develop a new espresso mayonnaise to go with their new line of fresh sandwiches. The possibilities are endless....

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Remembering Poppop

Today would have been my grandpa's birthday, and it's the first one since he passed away in May of 2006. Grief comes in waves for me...sometimes for no reason at all, sometimes because it's a milestone, like today.
At times I feel a little guilty for being sad since I know he's in heaven where there's no more pain or suffering, and he's free from the restrictions of an aging body. He was a wonderful dancer, and I picture him up in heaven twirling with Nanny, rejoicing that he's finally home.
It's the human part of me, I suppose...I just miss him. I am thankful to the Lord for the gift of his life and for the many, many years he was with us. What a gift. That's a great thing to celebrate on this day, February 8th.

Poppop...we miss you. Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Happy Baby!

Tuesday's Top Three

Three things I LOVE to do when it's cold:

1. Go NOwhere.
2. Make/Eat warm, delicious soups (I will post some favorite recipes soon)
3. Cuddle up (with any one of my boys) under my home-made fleece blanket

What do YOU love to do when it's cold outside?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Faith of Two Coaches

The Superbowl is upon us and we finally get to watch two great teams come together in this awesome game of football.

The best part for me in these weeks leading up to today has been to listen to and read about the faith of Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy.

If you want to find out why both of these men are already winners, regardless of the outcome of today's game, visit and read about the two coaches, some of the players, and their faith in Jesus. You will be blessed.

That being said, I am still pulling for DA BEARS! It should be an awesome game. Enjoy, everyone!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Teach Your Children Well

For those of you that don't know, my husband is an elementary music teacher, grades kindergarten through fifth grade. He is well-liked at the school, and many teachers, parents, and students know that he is a Believer. This often presents a conflict of interests being that he is a public school teacher...but he's done a great job of living the Christian life and allowing his light to shine while still respecting the law and being aware what he can and CAN'T say out loud.

Yesterday, he was teaching a class of 1st graders about patriotic songs. One of the songs represented was "Battlehymn of the Republic" ("Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord..."). They were singing the part of the song that says, "Glory, glory hallelujah..." and my husband asked the children if they could think of a place where they might hear those words. One little girl raised her hand and she said she thought of church. He then reminded the class that many patriotic songs were based upon the foundations of faith that our early leaders had. He told them that the words for the "Battlehymn of the Republic" come directly from the text of the bible.

One little girl raised her hand and asked, "What's a bible?"

My husband tried to explain, as politically correct as possible, of course, what a bible is.

When he came home and told me about this little girl, my heart broke. I couldn't believe she had no idea what a bible is. Nobody had ever talked with her about it or shared the contents of this amazing, historical, and inspired-by-God book.

It was yet another reminder to me that God has charged us parents with the responsibility of sharing with them what lies within the pages of that amazing book, and even if we don't feel we have the tools to do so, we must make sure they have a place to go where they can learn about it.

Let our children never ask the question, "What is a bible?" Let them be the children who can quote scripture directly from its pages.

Let's always remember to teach our children well.

"Listen, my son, to your father's instruction
and do not forsake your mother's teaching.
They will be a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck."
~Proverbs 1:8-9

Friday, February 02, 2007

"Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel..."
~1 Corinthians 1:17
A word from Oswald Chambers
(excerpts taken from "My Utmost For His Highest")
"...We are not commissioned to preach salvation or sanctification - we are commissioned to lift up Jesus Christ. It is an injustice to say that Jesus Christ labored in redemption to make me a saint. Jesus Christ labored in redemption to redeem the whole world and to place it perfectly whole and restored before the throne of God. The fact that we can experience redemption illustrates the power of its reality, but that experience is a byproduct and not a goal of redemption.
If God were human, how sick and tired He would be of the constant requests we make for our salvation and our sanctification. We would be a burden from morning till night asking for things for ourselves from which WE want to be delivered.
....When we finally touch the underlying foundation of the reality of the gospel of God, we will never bother Him anymore with little personal complaints.
The one passion of Paul's life was to proclaim the gospel of God. He welcomed heartbreak, disillusionment, and tribulation for only one reason - these things kept him unmovable in his devotion to the gospel of God."