in Christ alone



Last Friday, when Rich was away with his family, grieving the loss of his Grandmother, I took Jacob and Ethan (in the pouring rain) to the mall to get their hair cut.  I gave them each 20 dollars and sent them in alone so I could do a little shopping while they got started.  When I was done, I went in the hair place and sat down without saying anything to the boys.  They were each in a chair and Ethan in particular was quite chatty with his hair stylist.  I settled in to eavesdrop.  He told her where he was born, where he was from, where he went to school.  He told the lady he was homeschooled for a few years and then “mom sent us all to public school.”  Well, the stylist wanted to know, who “all” was and Ethan proceeded to tell her the names AND ages of his six siblings.  I was sitting in the chair giggling into my iphone and waiting for the lady’s reaction, which was:

“YOUR MOTHER IS NUTS!”  in a very “quite unbelievably nuts” tone of voice!

OH, it made me laugh and laugh all weekend to think about her honest reaction.

If she meant I was nuts because I had seven children SHE WAS WRONG.  I am incredibly content, grateful, and flat-out in awe of the fact, actually.

If she meant I was nuts *in general* I do believe she may have a point!

But the kids have nothing to do with it.  They just add to my already nutty personality, making a big nutty but perfectly satisfying life just full of everything imaginable.


This week we are preparing to go to NY for Grandma’s calling hours and funeral.  Thank you, dear friends, for the sympathetic notes, so thoughtful and kind.  Rich is grieving most especially, of course, and I can’t help but see the little boy in him who wants his Grandma back.  Naturally, the mature man in him also knows that she lived a long and fruitful life and after 95 years she sure deserves her everlasting rest.  But we miss her all the same.  She leaves an empty place.  Thankfully, Rich has so many great memories.  We were driving in the truck on Sunday when he all of a sudden had a laughing fit (NOT like him).  “What’s so funny!?” I asked.  “Oh, I was just remembering the time I went grocery shopping with Grandma.” (a devout Christian) “I was just a kid.  I snuck some beer into her cart and she never noticed until we were at the checkout!”  (loud laughter continues)  “What did she do?”  “She said, “WHO put this in here?  And she made me go and put it right back!” 


They found a journal that Grandma had been working on, it’s full of verses and thoughts to go along with them.  She signed them all “MOM” but they were meant for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. 


“In the multitudes of my anxieties within me, your comforts delight my soul”

“How often through my troubled years have I gone to bed with my heart and mind loaded with the cares and anxieties of the day past and the days to come; but as I bring them in prayer to my Heavenly Father, He gives me rest and comfort and strength for the next day.”  ~MOM


We are leaving tomorrow to go to NY and I had a bee in my bonnet about making healthy snacks for the road trip and the hotel.  I was out with Seth and Sarah this morning at the grocery store, before 8 a.m.  I bought bottled waters and some ingredients to do some baking.

All morning long, I made two loaves of rhubarb bread, a big pan of granola bars, and (not so healthy) 3 strawberry rhubarb PIES.





Yes, I admit, I’m nuts.  And now very tired.  I believe I expended all my energies for the day already……I’ll *just have to* snuggle on the couch with little children for the rest of the day, or go outside and sit while I watch them play. 

Which reminds me, this morning Seth was on the playset and when I asked him if he wanted to go to the chicken coop with me he said, “I’m not going with you right now.  I’m burning up my energy.” 



Our baby kitties are so cute and darling.  Here is Caleb with Sam (renamed, she used to be “Silkie”)


Seth (with those gorgeous eyes) holding Sherlock.


Silly Sherlock eating food, IN the dish.


Ethan and Jacob, sleeping with the kittens.


We picked wildflowers during one of our walks.




Seth played outside in the pouring rain in a pretend kitchen.


Rich brought home gifts for the children from Grandma Leslie (his step-mom). 



On Saturday we took the children to the bookstore and Ethan picked this book out.  He and David spent some time wandering around trying to find wild things to eat.


David got right down and ate wild clover blossoms.


I made vegetables and dip for snacking this weekend.


Fuzzy cotton stuff was flying off these bushes all day Saturday….at times it looked like it was snowing!


David got a black eye yesterday.  He cried, “OH no!  I’m going to look like a FOOL at school!”  But this morning he was a bit more cheerful about it.  This is what comes of sword fighting with sticks, it’s a mercy that his eye is okay.  (Thank you, Lord!)



Half my photos wouldn’t load today!  Perhaps I can share them at a different time.


I leave you with a video of Rich and I singing “In Christ Alone” at church on Sunday with five of the children:  Jacob, Ethan, Grace, David, and Caleb:::



In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.




PS.  Ethan just came home from school and he didn’t even look at me.  He only had eyes for the PIES!  heart


23 thoughts on “in Christ alone

  1. Beautiful children and beautiful sweet voices! I think God chooses the “nuttiest” moms to bless withthe most children…and i also think we have the MOST fun!

  2. Loved the video of all of you singing. Thanks for sharing. My prayers to all of you and the family as you celebrate Rich’s grandma’s life and her home going.

  3. We are all “nuts” for you over here! A great story Shanda. Love all your bits and pieces in this post. Give Rich our love especially, and to all of you in this time missing his dear grandmother. What a blessed treasure to find her notes and scriptures.Our David would like to be out there with your Ethan and David. He has a similar book. The “rainy kitchen” brought chuckles from Bob. Hoping to get in a post this week,and a letter soon.

  4. @ABAHM – thank you! I wish my boys and your David could do some outdoor searching, too! Tell Bob tha I’ve been watching old episodes of Julia child every evening with the kids. Last night we were watching her make veal fit for a king. David said, “mom? Haven’t you been watching this for a while now, because I haven’t had anything delicious yet?” Lol

  5. Good job on the singing! That was excellent!! So sorry about Grandma. It’s hard letting go of someone we love deeply. The beer story made me smile. Blessings to you and your family during this time…

  6. Loved this post! We had a combined family of eight (plus one deceased) and it was not so stressful as one might imagine…we homeschooled the two youngest thru all of school, and I must admit that I wonder now why I had not “risked” it with the others. (the laws were not so clear back then.)I just love that song. I had it played at my wife’s memorial service in 2010 -yes, I’m alone now, but Jesus is still with me and always will be.Before moving, we belonged to a church connected with Sovereign Grace Ministries. Is that what your church is involved with? I have a good church now, but a much smaller one in a small community.Thanks for a fun post!

  7. Totally forgot to say…love the singing so much! Inspiration is good. I am pretty sure you have a lot of years of cooking ahead with all those boys! I took out a big book from the library that had lovely photos of food and countryside from all over France. Just something to page through. Both Bob and David looked through it and got very hungry. David said, ” I want mushrooms and roasts and all kinds of food”. Bob went out and bought a big pork roast, and we made applesauce, mushrooms, yams, and squash. You would think it was Fall, but it was good to please David as he is still so skinny.

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