Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Season For Everything

I'm not sure right now whether I'm going to continue writing in my blog.  My lack of posts for much of this year is obviously a sign that I've lost my steam for blogging!  I just can't seem to find the interest that I once had.

There's a season for everything ... is my blogging season is over? Or maybe I just need a longer sabbatical? I enjoy reading a few blogs myself still, but not nearly as many as I used to.  Perhaps my blog's purpose has been served.

Regardless, if you're reading this, I thank you for reading! And I wish you a merry Christmas season. I'll see if the new year brings my bloggy groove back!

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hurray for September!

Well, hello there!  I'm beginning to miss you, my blog!

I love September - my birthday, my anniversary, back to school.  And the winding down of the hot, muggy weather (if you don't include today and tomorrow!)

Summer has treated me well this year.  No depression slump as I've had the past few years in late July through August - yay!  It's been a busy summer - a vacation in June, Friday morning bible study for me, Tuesdays in the park with our homeschool group, swimming in our neighbors' pool, visiting friends and having friends over, 3 VBS's for Aaron, a family celebration for my parents' 70th birthdays in July, several movies, a couple trips to the beach, and the list goes on with ordinary daily things that somehow get fit in.

I'm looking forward to getting back into our homeschool routine. Less running around, and more structure to our day. Although I also find myself sometimes day-dreaming about what it would be like to send my kids to school and be alone all day (can I do it just for a couple weeks?!), it's interesting how the boys become more content to be at home knowing that their friends are at school and can't play during the day.

I'll be back soon with a few pictures from summer, but for now I need to get things done for our last summer Hurrah! We go to a family camp with 3 other families we've known since college. We don't live close enough to see each other often, but our kids have known each other their whole lives with yearly get-togethers. It's such a special bond we have with those friends, and although it's a busy activity-filled weekend that leaves me needing to catch my breath, these weekend make memories to treasure.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Lately I've found that this blog is the last thing on my mind. It's been a long time since I've had thoughts of, "Oh, I should put that on my blog". I haven't even spent much time reading other blogs that I usually keep up with.

I've been feeling good the past two months and more busy I guess. I've been out and about more, so less time sitting at the computer. Also a little more time outside as the weather permits (so slowly and hesitantly Spring has arrived this year in Michigan!) Spring is my favorite season, followed by Fall. I want to enjoy it and soak it up!

I'm taking this as a cue to take a break from my blog for a time.  I'll be back when it feels right.

Enjoy Spring!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

It Is Finished!

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God!
He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" 

1 Corinthians 15:54-58  (NIV)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


After adding an additional medication for my depression, which had been acting up off and on since last fall, I've been feeling some renewed life in my mind and body for a few weeks now. As one who prefers not to take any medicine, I wasn't thrilled at first that I needed to add another one. But if the new combination improves the quality of my daily life, and therefore my family's, then gladly take it I will!

Signs of spring, highly anticipated, are slowly arriving! We saw our first robins a couple weeks ago and even more birds are showing up every day. Snow piles are finally gone. Longer hours of daylight. The trampoline is up and running. And the dog is tracking mud into the house if we don't catch him in time - not my favorite sign of spring!

We enjoyed a visit from Grandma and Grandpa (my parents) this past weekend. My mom and I sorted through and organized several boxes of their photos that they brought up. Especially fun was seeing some oldies but goodies from the 70's and 80's!  Always brings back memories and lots of "Oh, I remember that!". My muscles are still thanking me for a game of bowling on Saturday. Grandpa is a great bowler; the kids love to bowl with him. Isaac even beat Grandpa by one point on the first game with a score of 170! How's that for a 12 year old against a 40-year bowling veteran?

I've gotten into a much-needed whirl of scrapbooking since a cropping weekend away with three friends in February. I'm quite behind - I'm still working on 2006, but I'm making progress and am hoping to keep up my momentum on into 2007 and 2008. It feels good to be accomplishing something creative and productive!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chicken Corn Chowder

This is adapted slightly from a recipe my mom made often when I was growing up.  Then, it was just Corn Chowder, and we often ate it with grilled cheese sandwiches. It's a quick and easy recipe.

My sister first made it with chicken and that's how we prefer it now.  My kids love this; they wouldn't care if I made it once a week, any time of the year!

Chicken Corn Chowder

4 slices bacon, diced (optional)
1 med. onion, diced
2 – 3 med. or 4 small red potatoes, ½” cubed
¾ - 1 c. chicken broth/stock
1 (12oz) can evaporated milk
1 (15 oz) can cream-style corn
¾ c. frozen corn
1 – 1 ½ c. cooked chicken, cubed
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper

In large pot, cook bacon until crisp. Take out and set aside.

Saute diced onion in bacon grease until tender. (If omitting bacon, just use a couple tablespoons of your favorite oil. But be warned that you’ll miss some good flavor and, of course, the marvelous smell of bacon cooking!)

Add cubed potatoes and enough broth so the potatoes are just covered. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 12 – 15 minutes.

Add milk, corn, chicken, and spices. Simmer on low until heated through, about 10 minutes.  Stir bacon pieces in just before serving or sprinkle on top of each bowl.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

It IS coming, It IS coming ...

SPRING that is!

I do love winter, for a couple months anyway ...the quiet beauty of softly falling snow, a fresh white blanket of snow covering that makes everything look clean and calm, the beauty of bare trees branches reaching up into a clear blue winter sky ... But I'm officially over it now!

So yesterday I changed our computer background photo from a snowy picture to this, as a reminder that winter really will end.

(this photo was taken in Holland, MI at the end of April last year)

Come soon Spring!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

He Will Enable

Being a mom is hard.

Being a homeschooling mom is really hard.

Being a homeschooling mom with chronic health issues is extremely hard.

When my health is not so great, when I get discouraged with the ups and downs, I often wonder how in the world my kids ever learn anything!  But somehow, they do! I'm thankful that my older two work independently in most subjects now. But still, some things are skipped more often then I'd like. Sometimes it ends up taking two years to get through one year of history. But they are learning. And more importantly, they are gaining godly fruit and character, despite my limitations!

When my health is inconsistent, I also miss out on other activities and things I'd like to do. It's easy to start feeling sorry for myself when I can't do as much as "normal" people do in a day; or I can't commit to something as simple as a weekly Bible study. I don't make as many plans as I used to, because I never know if I'll be able to follow through.

But one thing God has shown me in more than one way the past couple months is this:

He enables me to do what He calls me to do.

What has God called me to do right now, at this point in my life? Be a wife, a mom, and homeschool my boys. That's all!  Those are my God-given priorities. That's where I need to pour my energy, little as it may be on some days.

All those other things don't matter. I can't be frustrated with God when He doesn't supply energy for all the activities I "wish" I could do. That's not what He has promised.

When I feel as though I'm failing at those three roles, if I stand back and re-focus my perspective, I realize that God really IS enabling me to do those things which He has called me to do.  Maybe not in my ideal way, but it's enough! I just need to keep my focus on Him and His promises, not on me and my limitations.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's the Future, Mom!

Driving in the car with Aaron (7) today, the low gas light came on with a beep, which Aaron recognizes. He said "Uh Oh! We need gas!"  I told him that Dad would get it later, because he has the gas gift card. I have a dislike for filling the van with gas, so I love that my husband usually does it for us.

I asked Aaron if he will get gas for his wife when he's married. He replied, "Yes, I will!  BUT, there might not be gas anymore! It will be the future!"  Cute.  Also cute, by the way, is how he likes to make faces of his letters:

In other news, we are expecting a foot or more of snow tonight and tomorrow. We're excited!  It's been a mild winter here in our part of MI, precipitation-wise. Several storms has stayed south of us. So we're ready and waiting for the Big Storm to actually materialize and give us some real Michigan winter weather!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Snow is Always Smoother . . .

 * This is a re-post from January 2009. I liked it then and it's still true now, so I thought I'd share it again! *

You know what they say -

"The snow is always smoother on the other side of the fence". (Don't they?)

Here's a picture I took today over the fence, of our next door neighbor's back yard:

And here's a picture of our backyard:

Our neighbors are in their early 60's and their children are grown and out of the house. Their backyard looks peaceful and serene. Our yard doesn't. Our yard has obviously seen lots of activity - trampled on over and over again by 3 boys and a dog. Some days I look over the fence and envy the calm.

I know, I know; some day our yard will look like our neighbor's, and I'll eventually find myself missing those footprints all over the back yard . . .

But still, for now, can't I sneak over the fence and live over there every once in a while?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dry Ranch Dressing Mix

My youngest loves Ranch dressing - on salads, with chicken nuggets, and for dipping carrots.  He wants "carrots and Ranch" almost every day. But I was not impressed with some of the ingredients in his Hidden Valley addiction.

Thus began a search for a homemade recipe that he would like.  I first tried 2 recipes from friends, but neither were quite right and Aaron didn't like them. Finally I found a recipe for a dry mix. After tweaking the amounts of the perishable ingredients, I found success! Here's my slight adaptation of the recipe, found at

Dry Ranch Dressing Mix

1/2 cup dry buttermilk powder
1 Tb dried parsley, crushed
1 tsp dried dill weed
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried minced onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper

* Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until well blended and powdery.

* Store in container in refrigerator.

To use mix
* Combine 1 Tb dry mix with 1/4 c milk and 1 c mayonnaise. Mix well and keep refrigerated.

The original recipe had more milk in it, and it came out very runny.  So you can adjust the amount of seasoning mix, milk, and mayo to your liking. The buttermilk powder made a big difference in taste compared to recipes without it. You can find it in the baking isle.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's a New Day!

Okay, I think I'm over my New Year's Bloggy Identity Crisis!

I have a problem where my mind is frequently over-active and dreams up way more ideas than I could ever follow through on. I have to be careful not to feel like I'm failing when I can't keep up with my ever-running, unrealistic idealism. Especially so when my health dictates my activity level.

I'm inspired by many blogs I read regularly. Some showcase amazing photos. Some share delicious recipes. Some are homeschoolers who have good ideas and seem to be way more accomplished than we are. Some are great writers. Some are incredibly creative and crafty. Some decorate their home just like I would if I had the money or the 2-story farmhouse I dream about. I'm encouraged and inspired by them in so many ways. However, enjoying them can easily lead to comparing or wishing that I could blog like "that". I have to reign myself in and remind myself that my blog is just that - MY blog. It should portray who I am and what I do and nothing else. No worried about what it isn't.

I really do enjoy blogging.  It's a good outlet for my wandering thoughts, a place to post photos, a way to connect with others, and a way to reach out of the somewhat small boundaries of this mom who is home a lot with her kids. I've met some kindred spirits in blog-land. Those are the reasons I began blogging, and the reasons I will continue. I guess I just needed to re-focus.

I also remembered this week something that my favorite Bible study author and teacher, Beth Moore, once said. She said that God wants us to turn our miseries into ministries.  That is one way He redeems our trials. With that in mind, I'd like to blog about my trials and what I've learned from them as I feel inspired, hopefully in a way that is encouraging to others and also honoring to God.

So here's to a new year of blogging and living and learning.  Thanks for coming along with me on my journey!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What To Do

Sorry it's been a little quiet around here ...

First there was a bad cold the week before Christmas that put me down for several days.

Next was a flurry of activity in preparation for a family Christmas in Tennessee.

And then it was five fun-filled days enjoying Christmas in TN.

After that (and actually, by the last two days of our vacation), my cold relapsed.

And then the New Year came, with me still blowing me nose and feeling sick.

Finally, I went to the doctor and got antibiotics for a sinus infection (no wonder I still wasn't feeling well!)

So now it's January 12th. My sinus infection and cold have finally cleared up. I had a couple good days, but now again, I'm still not feeling 100%, probably because illness can set off my chronic health symptoms.

When I don't write on my blog for a while, it calls to me, "Chris! You've been ignoring me!"  And I feel disappointed with myself because I'm "supposed" to be posting but I just don't feel like it or have the mind to.

Which has led to several days of thinking and praying about my blog.  Should I continue? Should I give it up, so I don't feel like I'm failing when I don't post very often? Should I just blog whenever I can, and not worry about it when I don't?

And also, what is my purpose in blogging?  I'd been a reader of blogs long before I started my own. Which is why I started mine, because I like how the blog-world connects people of like minds. I thought it would be fun to share some of my self and my world. However, I enjoy blogs have a more specific focus than "here's what happened this week"; so I'd like mine to go beyond that also.

I've tried not to focus too much on my health issues, because I didn't want to come across as complaining, or woe-is-me. I haven't posted much about homeschooling either because I don't feel like we do anything spectacular or out of the ordinary that would be of great interest or help to other homeschoolers.

Yet, homeschooling and my health are a huge part of my life; they are my life. Again, that leaves me wondering about my purpose in blogging. What might God desire of my blogging? If I post more about my health struggles and somehow managing to homeschool in spite of them, can I do it in a way that God could use to be encouraging to other moms in a similar boat?

Parenting and being a mom was also a big struggle for me for the first several years. Should I go back and sift through the lessons I learned along the way, and share those? Perhaps that could be helpful to younger moms? But then I doubt myself, that I don't really have anything "worthy" enough to say that hasn't already been heard. And there are much better writers out there anyway.

Any thoughts? Or feedback?  I guess I'm in limbo here, and need to continue seeking what God thinks about my blog. Because that's the real purpose.