Friday, August 31, 2007


Joshua and Julie

Some of you may remember me posting a few times about our friends who have a little boy that has been fighting Wilm's Tumor. His name is Joshua, and he's three years old.

His mom Julie just posted on her blog today that he was tested yesterday to see how he's doing(he had an echocardiogram and CT scan) and the results show....



We rejoice with their family at what God has done. Praise Him! Thanks to all of you who have prayed for and supported Joshua. I just talked to Julie and she thanks each and every one of you who have lifted up their family to the One who Heals.
Have a fantastic Labor Day, everyone!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

It's Been a Very Big Week For Me

And for Cody too. But mostly for me. It takes so much energy wondering what he's up to all day!

Today he came home and said "B" had another tough time at lunch (and yes, only half his napkin was present and accounted for again). I saw his mom tonight at the Open House and she said he's having a tough time but seemed better after school today. Another answer to prayer...we've been praying for him! Now, we will pray that his mom joins our Moms in Touch group!

Warning: This next paragraph is very earthly and reveals my love of shopping and being one of the "ladies who lunch". Proceed with caution.

I spent my day with Caden and a friend (who has twin boys who just started kindergarten too)walking the outdoor mall and having lunch. It was a welcome distraction and we both enjoyed the time out. I spent too much money at the Children's Place and Gymboree even though everything I bought was on clearance AND I had a coupon! The shopping was, dare I say, therapeutic. C'mon girls. You KNOW what I'm talking about!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Answers to Prayer

Well, despite the fact that it has been an incredibly emotional day, I am happy to report that the Lord has already proven Himself faithful and answered a couple of my prayers.

We walked to the bus stop just before 8 a.m. this morning, and Cody was so excited to ride the bus with his friends for the first time. He met a little girl there who lives in our neighborhood but we have (sadly) never met. She had Cody's teacher last year. He walked up to her and boldly stuck out his little hand and said, "Hello. I'm Cody. What's your name?" After they exchanged introductions, he said, "It's so nice to meet you!" and he then walked over to the grass, picked her a flower (weed) and handed it to her. If that wasn't enough to push me over the edge, he then picked another flower, walked over to me, and handed it to me with a hug. And then did it to everyone that was standing at that bus stop. My heart overfloweth. And so did my eyes.

With all that was in me, I held onto the tears until that bus was out of view (after he excitedly turned, waved, said "bye-bye mommy and I love you"), and I turned to my husband and sobbed. And I didn't care who saw me.

I need to interject here that as a family, in our devotion time, we have been studying Colossians 3, specifically verses 12-14 about clothing ourselves with compassion and kindness and putting on love. We've been praying that we, as a family, would demonstrate the love of Christ, and while there are days we fail miserably, it is still our constant prayer.

So when Cody got off that bus (I arrived fifteen minutes early even though it's a block from my house...I was just a wee bit excited to see my guy!), I got down on my knee with arms outstretched and grabbed that little boy and gave him a HUGE hug. He had so much to tell me on the walk home, and when I watched him devour his lunch, yes, lunch that he hadn't eaten today (I think he was too busy socializing, from what I can gather), he began to tell me more about his day. He has this buddy, we'll call him "B", and B was on Cody's t-ball team this summer. Apparently B had a really rough day today. The conversation went as follows:

"B cried a lot today."
"How come?"
"He said that he missed his mommy lots."
"Awww, when did he cry?"
"Well, in the morning, at recess, and at lunch."
"So he missed his mom, huh?"
"Yeah. And I did too, but I didn't need to cry."
"Well, that's good."
"Yeah, and at lunch he cried a lot."
"Poor guy."
"Yeah. So, I took my napkin you sent with me today and I tore it in half. I helped him wipe away his tears."
Yes. Thank you Jesus, that you gave my little boy an opportunity to put Colossians 3 to work. And thank you that you used a kindergartener to teach me a little something about compassion today.
"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble." ~1 Peter 3:8

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

This Will Be A Very Wordy Wednesday Post

Well, I must share about today, Tuesday, Cody's first "unofficial" day of Kindergarten. I say unofficial because tomorrow is the real deal. I will walk my first-born to the bus-stop, watch him board it, see him find his seat next to his neighborhood friends and wave good-bye. Both of his friends who will ride with him are 3rd grade girls, and they're already fighting over who will sit next to him on the way there and who will sit with him on the way back. Please tell me this boy-girl stuff isn't starting yet, because seriously people. I can only handle one milestone at a time!

Anyway, back to today.

Jerry and I were both able to go to school with him, where we were greeted by his teacher at the door, and handed extensive instructions on what to do upon entering. We got to take a tour of his classroom, color a fish, help him sign his name (about five times), meet the classroom animals, Sheldon the hermit crab and a rabbit whose name escapes me...

We had fun, and Cody didn't want to leave. I mean, if you could dress like this in your classroom, would you want to go? I didn't think so.

I have to share one thing. Okay two. Maybe three. It's been a big day for me. The first is that we met the superintendent today, and I suspect she's a Believer. She walked in, welcomed us, and first addressed the returning parents. She then began speaking to us new parents, the ones who were sending our children to school for the first time. She basically addressed everything that was and has been on my heart...the fact that our children are the most precious things to us and that she realized that they, as a school and staff, would need to earn our trust as we release our children into their care. I so appreciated her words (I can't remember them all as I was a bit overwhelmed today) and I immediately felt some relief and peace come over me. If this superintendent is any kind of a reflection of the rest of the staff, I think we are good to go!
There was one mom there who I know is a Christian (something I'd been praying for) and I am going to see if she might be interested in starting a Moms In Touch group with me. I am willing to lead one, as there is not one currently in our school district. I think, after talking with a few people today, we may have four moms interested already! Praise the Lord! I am praying God will use me and our family in this community and that we would be a blessing to others. Please join me in praying for this, as the Lord leads. It is our constant prayer that we would have an eternal impact right here, where God has placed us.
Finally, just a little while ago, I sat down to do something I felt led to do all evening. I wrote Cody a letter. Who knows when he'll read it. High school graduation? Only God knows. But I wanted to commemorate this occasion with a letter for him on this day, his first day of kindergarten. I will place it in the big plastic bin I've started of all his artwork and childhood memorabilia thus far, and pray for God to allow him to read it when the time is right. I thought I'd share just the last part of it, for it reveals what I am feeling tonight.
"You are amazing, Cody. I am so unbelievably proud of you....for the boy you are at five years old and the man that you will be someday. There is no doubt in my mind that you are going to do wonderful things for God's kingdom, and I can't WAIT to see what lies ahead for you. Happy First Day of Kindergarten my son. Be blessed. Be a blessing.
I love you. Love, Mom"

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Time is Close at Hand

I know this is a biblical phrase, of sorts, but it seemed fitting for my post and what I wanted to say today. (And a warning, if you're already skiddish about your kids being in school or you're approaching that first day, you may not want to read this. I'm downright emotional today!)

In just two days, my first-born will be starting full-day kindergarten. Many of you know that I have wrestled with this decision for about a year, and we came to the conclusion, as a family, that we would be sending him to public school. It has been an incredibly difficult decision, but one I still think is the right one for now.

I am prefacing what I'm about to say with these statements (thus freeing myself to emote and journal my thoughts hereafter): I know we made the right decision. I know he'll be great. I know this is going to be really good for him. And I realize I may sound irrational when I say the following things.


I am worried. Worried that he won't do well. Worried that he won't fit in. Worried that he won't be treated with love and compassion. Worried that his love for God will be hindered. Worried that nobody will respond to him when he needs something. And worried that he'll be negatively influenced by the kids in his class that don't share our values.

To only name a few.

And as I sit here in my home while he and daddy are at church (we have a feverish toddler today), I remember that God commands us NOT to worry. I could list at least ten verses that come to mind.

My favorite is this: "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." --Isaiah 26:3

When Cody was a baby (and even through toddlerhood), I used to always rock him and sing him a song from my all-time favorite Twila Paris lullabye CD that repeated the above verse. It brought me such comfort as his mama, and those quiet moments while he had his little head on my chest are some of the most precious memories and ones I will cherish for as long as God allows me to live on this earth.

Today my sweet Lord reminded me that I must focus on a God who has my little boy in the palm of His hand, who will never leave or forsake him, and who will watch over and keep him in perfect peace. All of His promises are STILL true, regardless of our schooling choice. The year ahead will reveal whether or not we made the right decision.

The pastor of our previous church put it this way: "When your children are born, they are literally tied to you with a cord. That initial cord is cut, but as newborns, toddlers, and pre-schoolers, a new cord is tied between the two of you. That cord has very little slack at first, and you keep those little ones very close to you. As they get a little older, you begin to loosen the slack a bit and give them a little more space between the two of you. You give them opportunitites to learn about the world. You continue to teach them and raise them with Godly values, but you give them some space to make their own decisions. Your hope and prayer should be that as you continue loosening that slack, and that cord gets a little longer between you, your children will have learned how to remain in the world but not be OF it."

I think that picture of the cord between Cody and I lengthening is what makes this so hard. He's my first-born. I love him with a love I couldn't have imagined before I became a parent. We've had an awesome five years together and the thought of him being gone all day, five days a week, is so hard to imagine. People keep telling me it's going to be okay, that he's going to be wonderful and that he'll love school. They also remind me that this will free up precious time with Caden, to lay a good foundation for him, just like I was able to do for Cody. And they tell me that this is only kindergarten, and we can change our mind at anytime. I am sure they are right. But today, from this emotional heart, it's hard to choose trust over worry, joy over sadness, and confidence over apprehension. But I know that with God's help, I can.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
~Philippians 4:6-7

Friday, August 24, 2007

Well, Apparently I've Had My Head In The Sand

But unfortunately I haven't been helping my neighbors BAG it.

I feel so ignorant. I've been hearing about the Chicago suburbs here and there in blurbs on the radio, but we've been without cable all day and I haven't heard the latest. I rarely have the news on because of the kids (it's so sad that we live in a society where the daily/nightly news is dangerous to our children's mental well-being and an attack on their innocence). Anyways...

I go out tonight for a walk and I see the river in my neighbors' yards. I can't believe this has been going on for a few days and I didn't even know. Yes, we've been gone, but I didn't even know until tonight how my own neighbors were being affected.

Everyone's been sand bagging and they've literally been on their knees at the smallest clap of thunder or bolt of lightning praying God's mercy upon their homes. I'm praying that it doesn't rain tonight like it's supposed to. Our poor little town needs a reprieve.

I know God promised He'd never flood the earth again, but I'm sure the people in my community are wishing they had an ark right about now.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wordless Thursday???

Cody and his friend Christopher were almost positive this was Zaboomafoo.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Back home again

This is a picture of the St. Louis arch from hubby's perspective. Isn't it cool? We all had a good time visiting the sites in the city, as it's a place I haven't been but once. We enjoyed our time with friends but are glad to be back home. (Thanks Marc and Jen for a great visit, and thanks to D and D too!)

As usual, laundry is piling up, the house needs a good cleaning, and I have several pressing things that need to be done before school starts next week, but all in all, things on our end are going just fine. Other than trying to wean the baby off the bottle and onto a sippy cup which he is fiercely fighting. Oh, and you might be interested to know that both boys had good check-ups at the dentist yesterday. Caden was mesmerized by Thomas choo-chooing on the DVD they had playing in his check-up room. What on earth did we do before pediatric dentists?

Jerry and I are planning a trip to Nebraska to see a Huskers football game in September and I am so psyched for that. I've been busy working out logistics. My grandfather would be so glad to know that the season tickets my mom purchased will not be going to waste. GO HUSKERS! I can't wait to make a big pot of football chili and veg out in front of the first televised game. School starting is not the beginning of fall for this girl. Oh no siree. The fall begins when the Huskers start their season.

I may post Wordless Wednesday tomorrow (I know, I'm such a rebel). And yes. You may see a couple more pics from the zoo. It seems the animals there have quite a sense of humor. Kinda reminds me of a little film entitled, Madagascar.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

We Speak Animal-ese, Or at Least We Think We Do!

Funny Things Overheard at the St. Louis Zoo on Saturday

"Yo, do you mind? I need my space! It's crowded enough with out y'all laying all over me!"

"HEY BUDDY, last time I checked, mating season was over."

"What do these people think I am? A DOG? I'm so sick of doing this trick!"

"Well, I suppose if they're going to keep this monkey trapped in a glass box all day, I might as well do it in style and comfort!"


Thursday, August 16, 2007

When I started this blog, I never dreamed that I would win any awards. This blog is so much about my family, my ramblings as a mom and wife, and everything in between. I really never thought I'd actually have anybody other than family reading it. And even then, I wasn't sure if anyone would read it at all. And I never, in a million years, thought anybody would give me an award! So I was surprised when my kind blogging friend, Sheryl, decided to pass this award onto me. Sheryl, I am honored and I thank you for thinking of me. My greatest hope, as I write on this blog, is to point people to Christ, honor my husband and boys, share life with my family and friends, and have a few laughs here and there. Thank you, to those of you who read it, and thank you to my friend Lori, who inspired me to get a blog of my own. Lori, you are my friend, a fellow mom and wife, and somebody I respect so much. Anybody who knows you can see what a heart you have for your Lord and family, and so I pass this award onto you. Your glass truly is "half full." Congrats!

To all of you, have a great weekend!

The Berger Boys Take Wrigley By "Storm" Or Something Like That

Ok- Happi's husband Jerry here. (I'm the one sporting the Cubs gear in the photo). Happi asked me to make the blog entry today, since it's about my Cubs game experience last night. My dad is a member of his local Chamber of Commerce, and they get a group of tickets each year, so he, my brother Bob and I made our way to the "friendly confines" for the game. Luckily, our tickets were in the terrace reserved area, so we were protected from the torrential downpour that fell on the field for the first hour. I was amazed that the die-hard fans in the bleachers did not get up and seek shelter, even though it was pouring rain with occasional lightening and thunder!

The game finally started at 8:35, and was finished at about 11:45 with the Cubs losing to the Cincinnati Reds 11-9. (By the way, I think the coolest job at the park has to be the guys who remove the tarp after the rain stops. These blue and khaki clad heroes are like rock stars when they come running onto the field! I've gotta do that sometime!) Needless to say, we left Wrigley field around ten and listened to the end of the game in the car on WGN radio.

One thing I appreciate about the park is that they don't allow smoking in the stands. People who choose to smoke need to move to the ramp areas, or up against the fences. I did, however, learn an important lesson last night as my brother and I walked up the ramp after getting some food at the lower level concession stand. Hopefully, this bit of wisdom will help all of you avoid the mistake I made. Ok... ready? Here it is: When walking up a smoke filled ramp at a ball park, do not take a big bite of a jumbo dog before you start! I was forced to breathe through my nose, which filled my lungs with second hand smoke and made me want to cough. Thankfully, I was able to fight the urge, because, let's face it- no one wants to see a half eaten hot dog projectile flying through the air! Needless to say, by the time I got to the top of the ramp, I was struggling for air, and was glad to finally swallow and breathe freely through my mouth again! Consider yourselves warned! (My brother also got some Jalapeno juice from his nachos up his nose, but, that's a different story...)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: He's Just a Lonesome Cowboy

Taken a couple weekends ago at Nanna's dance studio
Funny thing is, I wore this shirt when I was just a little older than him
He tried on just about all my old costumes
Gave us all a big laugh
And stirred up some great memories
I won't post all the pictures here
After all, his future wife might see them someday
And that could be a big embarassment.
I'll just get out the baby book instead!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

That's it! I'm only buying American!

When toys were recalled before this year, I never really thought much about where they were made. I honestly didn't. I knew people who had chosen to only buy American, banning anything that was made in China, and they had said it was incredibly difficult to find toys and things that AREN'T made in China. I really thought this was going overboard.

Until Thomas the Tank Engine toys were recently recalled. We have a HUGE collection of these fun-loving trains...ones that have been "mouthed" many times by both my boys. I was horrified to learn that we owned almost ALL the items that had been recalled.

And then I'm watching "Good Morning America" today and hear of yet another recall. And again, we own a few of these toys. I am so disturbed by the fact that we, as American people, trust these manufacturers to produce things that they know are going to be USED BY CHILDREN, and yet in some of these cases, paints with high levels of lead are being used to make them! I mean, how difficult is it to use child-friendly paint and materials for KIDS TOYS??????

And so, I now join the ranks of those who have decided to NOT buy products from China. And I encourage you to do the same.

Thank you for listening. For more information, go here.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

There are so many days I look at these two precious boys and wonder what on earth I did to merit such gifts from God. They are beautiful, loving, good-natured boys and I am so very grateful to the Lord for them.

Today, Jerry and I sang at another wedding, and when I came downstairs after getting dressed, my Cody said, "Oh mommy. You look SO pretty." Lord, please help him to continue to see the inner beauty in others, and bring him a godly wife that he can someday shower with love!

Caden spontaneously "kisses" us now, pooching his little lips out and coming up close to get smooches. He wraps his little arms around our necks and gives the best hugs. Lord, please help him to remain so loving and sweet, and help him to be an ambassador of God's love all his days.

Lord, remind us all to pray for our children every day. Give us wisdom, as their parents, as we teach, train, and set an example for them. Help our families to reflect you in all we do, say, and are. We can do no good thing apart from You, Lord Jesus, and we need You. Help us to be a beacon of light in our families, neighborhoods, jobs, and schools. We love You Lord and we thank You for entrusting these precious ones to us. We are so grateful. Amen.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Too Close For Comfort

Have you heard that song? Well, it's been ringing in my ears ever since our little brush with danger yesterday. Cody was playing with some friends, and the mom offered to watch him while we went grocery shopping. I am all about saving money on groceries and am willing to drive twenty minutes away to save 50-70% on food! So, the three of us took off toward the store. As we were driving, the sky turned dark and looked quite ominous, but we thought it was just a thunderstorm coming...nothing more than that.

As we turned into the parking lot of the store, I said, "Are you hearing what I'm hearing?" I rolled down my windows and heard sirens blaring. Not the squad car or ambulance type. The other kind. We stopped the van, looked at each other and both said, "What should we do?" My mind quickly pondered our options. A.) Drive home to be with Cody, trying to outwit Mother Nature, B.) go into warehouse store with baby and husband where there are no walls or a basement, C.) stay in the van (uh, I think not), or D.) try to find a place with a basement to seek shelter. We turned on the radio and heard that a funnel cloud had been spotted not far from where we were, but according to forcasters, we learned that this particular area was not yet in the "danger zone." Funny, because the sirens seemed to beg to differ.

My mother's instinct kicked in, and upon learning the storm was heading in our home's direction, we decided to try to beat the clock and get back to Cody.

As we drove, we listened intently to the radio (and kept rolling down the windows in the rain listening for sirens...just in case), and praise God, we were protected and no tornados ever touched down in our area. But it was one scary half hour.

Let me tell you...I still do not know if we did the right thing. It was one of those moments you think you're prepared for but then when it happens, you really find yourself at a loss. The thought of being separated from Cody far outweighed the danger we might have found ourselves in with the weather, and both of us felt it was best to get back to him.

I still don't have my groceries, but I do have my family all together, in tact, and looking at sunny skies today. Praise Him!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Monday, August 06, 2007

A Day at the Beach

We had a "family reunion" of sorts this past weekend with my mom, dad, sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces, and a whole lotta fun. It started on Friday with a trip to Lake Michigan, and I'll simply let these pictures speak for themselves. Everyone had a great time. I'll be posting more pictures throughout the week...I took 159 of them. Don't worry, I won't post them ALL!

And....a big thanks to everyone who shared what they are thankful for over the weekend. Sometimes it's really good to reflect upon the goodness of God, isn't it? After a weekend like we had, I'm so thankful for my family and for my kids getting to know and love their cousins.
Enjoy these pictures and your week!

Building castles in the sand...

Fun on the beach with Cody and his cousin "Cass"

And finally, a time for cuddles with Nanna.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow!

1. Our sweet courageous Joshua, who has been battling Wilm's Tumor, just completed his final chemo treatment! He came through all of it beautifully and the faith of his family has been an inspiration to us and to everyone around them!

2. My dear friend who has been through quite an ordeal with regard to her fertility over the last couple years is pregnant. For a while, things were very touch and go through this first trimester, but praise be to God the baby is doing great and the pregnancy is stable!

3. My friend Charity was in Minneapolis and missed the bridge collapsing by a mere one hour.

4. Our friends have a son who was initially called to the scene in Minneapolis and the Lord has been so faithful to protect he and his team. We continue to pray for the recovery of those still missing.

5. My friend Debbie who has fought and won her battle with breast cancer is still doing great and I get to see her, her hubby, and little boy this weekend!

6. Our dear neighbor and friend had open heart surgery about one month ago, and while the recovery has probably been slower than she'd prefer, the Lord has faithfully sustained her and will continue bringing her good health, I know!

7. My hubby has graduated and has the next couple weeks off to spend with us and just relax. Unless I find him a project or two to do around the house. Just kidding.

8. My boys are healthy, we have a roof over our head, fantastic neighbors, wonderful family and friends, a God that loves us, clothes to wear, food to eat, and so much more.

9. My step-brother has been a lost soul in an intense personal battle, and praise be to God he is getting well and beginning to open his heart to Christ. We continue to pray that he will ultimately give his life to Him and find full healing and restoration for his body AND his soul.

10. I could go on and on, but I want to hear from you. For what are you most grateful? Leave me a comment and I'll see you back here on Monday.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Dirty, Happy, Funny Baby