good for what ails ya

A bit under the weather today. I was up last night with a nauseous stomach and just felt super gross all night and allowed myself to sleep until 8. I decided not to go to Bible Study but then I started discouraging myself with self-condemnation since it was a BIBLE study I was going to skip— when every other day I wouldn’t hesitate to go out shopping or what have you even if feeling under the weather. The pros and cons were battling it out in my mind so I called my husband and explained it all to him: I didn’t know if I felt up to going to Bible Study, but I did know that I needed to go to Tractor Supply because I ran out of bird seed. What sort of good godly woman would skip Bible Study because she wasn’t feeling well and yet still go to the store is what I wanted to know.

“God’s birds need to be fed.” is what he cheerfully answered unto me. And that was what did it! A good laugh lightened me up and I remembered something. God allows me the freedom to make choices for myself, He loves me and never leaves me based on what I do or don’t do, or ever at all. I am free. The Bible Study I go to is very comfortable and I am just one of the participants, I’m not a leader or anything. It’s there to bless women in the community, not to take attendance or make demands.

In essence, NO ONE CARES. Lol

So, did I go?

Yep! After all that I still went. Out of duty? Out of the belief that it was the righteous thing to do? Nope!

The only reason why I went was because I wanted to. That was why. I wanted to go because chances were very high that someone might say something or read something that might change my day and my outlook. I wanted to go because I wanted to be around these women who show me what genuine and safe love and acceptance looks like. I wanted to go because I love those ladies too, and I need the fellowship, which is a beautiful word to describe the way humans can be together. I tend to isolate and I know I need people and experiences to add layers to my life. Anyway the Bible Study didn’t disappoint. I was “glad to go to the house of the Lord.”


As I drove away afterwards, I decided to treat myself to an iced matcha latte from Dunkin. Now, I had a bit on my mind from the study that I was thinking about and maybe that’s why I ordered a “venti” in the drive through, out of the habit of mostly getting matchas at Starbucks. WELL! They startled me into the present moment by correcting me, “WE only have small, medium, and large HERE!” — oh well my apologies I want a large.

I get up to the window and had to wait because the system was rebooting because of the wind. Fine. After waiting for several minutes I was finally able to pay and was handed a matcha which looked just like a Venti but not necessarily a Large. “Is this a large?” “No, You didn’t order a large”. “Yes I did —remember I asked for a venti and you all laughed and said what’s a venti and I said— it’s a large.” It was all good natured and fun banter but still, I needed my large because, hydration. Ohhhhhh yes he remembered and conceded the point. He was gonna correct the misunderstanding. I went to hand back the medium which hadn’t even made it all the way into my cup holder and he said with a wave of his hand “oh just keep it, and I’ll make you a large.”

Then I was thinking “how the heck am I going to drink a gallon of matcha”…but quickly realized “wait Shanda, you’re sort of under the weather today and feeling a bit weird and I bet this is what’s going to cure you. God knows a good matcha latte has a lot of health benefits that you can’t remember off hand but you KNOW you read an article online somewhere that affirmed your propensity for endless matcha lattes. They’re scientifically proven to be good for what ails ya. This, THIS, is why you’re out of the house today. You THOUGHT it was for Bible Study and birdseed, but it was for the medicinal properties of Matcha!!!!!”

The End ….. only it’s not.

Because I’m still drinking them.

thank you for the smile


This morning Sarah was having cereal for breakfast but she couldn’t remember if she liked cinnamon flavored Life.  So she took a few pieces out of the box to taste it and as she crunched she made a funny face.

“What’s the matter, don’t you like it?”  I asked.

“No, I do………… it’s just that I haven’t used my teeth for eleven hours.”  

little stories

This morning I said, “Seth, I’m putting your snack in your backpack,” and he turned and looked at me with the “oh-no- mom’s- going- to- see-what-I-have-hiding- in-there” expression on his face.  So I did a search and found two strange “squishies” that he had pilfered from his friends.  “I’m just borrowing them.” he quickly explained.  Squishies are all the rage with Seth and his friends and he doesn’t have one but I told him (like I tell all the children) DON’T BORROW YOUR FRIENDS TOYS OR LET THEM “GIVE” YOU THEIRS!!!!


The other day we were getting ready for football practice and I said, “Seth, don’t forget to put on your cup.”  “Oh, I don’t wear a cup to football anymore,” he said.  “You’ll get hit there sooner or later and then you will,” I replied, airily.  He was insulted.  “MOM.  I have GOOD REFLUXES.”


Yesterday we were in the car headed to football practice.  “Mom, why does that truck have chuffy cheeks?” Sarah wanted to know.


“Oh, this is so good, try this, E,” I said, handing Ethan my cup of iced matcha green tea latte to sip.
“It tastes like condensed grass.” he said.


We returned home from an outing an hour ago and I got the mail before coming into the house.  In a stack of junk and catalogues, I found a letter from the local meat market.  My name and address were written out by hand on the envelope.  “Why are they sending me personal mail?” I questioned out loud.  I opened it and read,  “If you shopped here in August, check your bank statement, we believe we owe you money.”  I was completely flummoxed.  I handed the note to Rich, and he in turn checked our online bank statement and found that they charged our credit card 461 dollars.  “Did you spend that much?” “No way, not on meat.” So, he called and spoke to the same lady whose name was signed to the letter and she excitedly told him how she had worked behind the scenes to find me and make the discrepancy correct.   It turned out that the true meat total was 46 and she charged me 461…… and I myself stood there in the store, signed my name, and let it happen.  “I don’t know how I made such a mistake,” I apologized to Rich.  “I wonder if I had kids with me or waiting in the car.”  “You were frazzled,” he agreed.


“has good refluxes.  doesn’t need a cup.”


“chuffy cheeks”


“condensed grass” …… beverage of choice


“I believe we owe you money.”



seth almost got to go swimming


Two evenings ago at around 6 pm I was upstairs peacefully making dinner when Seth ran up from the basement and reported, “There’s a leak downstairs.”

I threw aside everything I was doing and screamed because “leak” is one of those emergency words in the life of a parent.  I ran down the stairs as quickly as I could, with Seth running ahead of me.

In a flash I realized that the water pipe to the hose outside the basement wall had frozen and burst.  I could hear water gushing and see it seeping quickly onto the floor of our finished basement which contained not only a very full storage room and laundry room, but also beds, bookcases, desks, a sectional couch, toy boxes, dressers, a futon, end tables, chairs, throw rugs, a wrestling mat, and all of the children’s stuff that they threw on the floor instead of put away (clothes, shoes, books, garbage).

I called Rich and said, “Rich, Rich, quick tell me how to turn the water off in the house!”  He sputtered, “What?… H?… B?…  Why?…  What’s happening tell me what’s happening?”  I quickly told him and he helped me get the water turned off , said he would be home soon, and we hung up.

(I’ve learned in 22 years of marriage that his “home soon” meant “as soon as I get there” which was not the same thing as my “home soon” which meant, “10 minutes or less”.  In this instance, he did indeed get home in 10 minutes (he was at the school) and I almost fell over in surprise because I thought it would be more like…..whenever he was done with practice).

Thank goodness I was about 3 days behind in laundry and there were approximately 10 dirty bath towels in the laundry room ready to be used as a temporary wall to hold back a most giant alarming puddle from spreading further into the room.

It could have been so much worse.  In fact, I couldn’t help myself from continuing to say over and over and over, “This could have been a DISASTER an absolute DISASTER!  If you boys weren’t in the basement, if you hadn’t run upstairs so fast to tell me, if Dad hadn’t answered his phone, if we weren’t home at the time, the WHOLE BASEMENT WOULD HAVE FLOODED!”

Finally Seth interrupted me to ask in all seriousness, “Could we have gone swimming?”

seth was creative

I took these pictures of Seth at five o’clock yesterday evening.  The boys were getting ready for football practice and Seth was taking much longer than usual to get dressed.  When he appeared I took one look at him and noticed he had mysterious blue socks on….no one in the family has socks like this…..did he actually have the nerve to borrow someone’s socks?….no, wait….those aren’t socks….those are sleeves….did he cut the sleeves off his blue underarmour layering shirt???????????  He insisted that he had not.  I started using my “tell me right now I need to know what is going on” voice (similar to an excitedly squealing pig).  When it all became oh so clear, I took him outside to take photos.

“You better not post these anywhere,” he said.

“When you do something like this, it’s going to be on the blog,” I replied.

Taking his photo proved to be as difficult as IT ALWAYS IS with Seth.  He cannot stay still.

Although he has the looks to be one, he will never be a career fashion model.  As soon as I “see” the perfect photo through the viewfinder of my camera, but before I can push the button, he has moved.  I have to use high speed settings and much patience.  However, I persevered this time and got some good ones, all to show you his creativity.  Genius.

Notice the “SOCKS”:

DSC_1398 3






(and yes he went to practice that way)


yee haa

A delightful story came home in Sarah’s backpack on Monday.  Picture me reading this in the kitchen after baking two batches of two different kinds of homemade cookies, for my children.

It was a fascinating eye opener for me, as I tend to live in dreamland where children don’t care about video games as much as smiling parents with big hugs, warm cookies, friendly kitty cats, a big front yard outside in the country, lot of siblings, and clean bedrooms full of a magical assortment of good wholesome toys, puzzles, and books.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha! 


It’s the “evre day” that gets me.  If it said “sometimes” or “occasionally”…..sure.  But “evre day”?  really?

So, without Further Delay….

Evre Day Aftr Scwol, by Sarah, six years old, & perhaps a genius


I went don stars.  too play viteo gams.  I like to play viteo game.  I like playing mincraft.  Sarah said, “I like playing mincraft.”


I saw a Zombe it was abowt to esplod my howse.  Me and my dogs ar going to cil the Zombe.  Sarah said, “cil it dogs.”


I dfetid the Zombe.  And I was hape.  And my dogs wr hape to.  I went bac to my howse to feed my dogs.  Sarah said “I love my dogs.”


Aftr I dufetid the Zombe I went to my hose.  In my hose I gave my dog’s mett.  Sarah said, “I love my dog’s”.


Aftre I gave my dog’s mett I went to go hunting with my dog’s.  Sarah said, “yee haa”.


The End.



how long was the foot massage?

Saturday night, Rich and the boys stayed up late watching TV while the rest of us went to bed.  The lights were off with only the glow of the television, and the boys were enjoying some time together after their beloved Dad had been away all week for business.

As is frequent at our house, and because their Dad is a runner and often has aching feet, the boys were called upon to give their ol’ Dad a foot massage.  Seth, our seven year old, was happy to sit at his Dad’s feet and rub them.  Eventually, Rich, who is always exhausted by the end of the day, drifted off to never-never land.

Waking up hours later, he found the living room completely empty and a note on his chest.14642229_10154404895611343_4023043817698754794_n

a little bit of this a little bit of that


I made my way to the kitchen in order to make that first cup of coffee.  Sarah was on the couch in the living room and the boys were still asleep.

Our nineteen year old son Jacob had left in the wee hours of the morning to go on a road trip and as I poured Sarah’s drink of milk I was touched to see that he had left me a note.  It was on the other side of the counter so I had to reach across to pull it toward me, turning it right-side-up in order to read it.

What was it going to say?  Perhaps; “I’ll miss you, dearest mother”?, or, “Don’t worry, I will drive safely, God is with me.”? how about, “Give my siblings a hug and kiss for me when they wake up, I’ll miss them!” ?  or  “I did the laundry before I left” ?

I was so surprised when I read it that I just had to laugh!

What sort of 19 year old leaves notes of remorse about finishing up FOOD?

And that “I love you” tacked on the end.  Even his name made me smile!  “Jake” not Jacob, but “Jake”.  My little Jake, not so little…..but still as sweet as ever.

Does he not know, has he not heard?  Mothers want the children to eat ALL the ham salad! Mothers eat lots of ham salad only if they have a sneaking suspicion that the children don’t like it and it will go to waste!

His mother would gladly give him ALLLLLLLL the ham salad!!!!!!!!

The note should have said, “I’m sorry I left the empty ham salad container and little bits of it on the counter for YOU to clean up instead of throwing it away myself!”  Am I right?  No, maybe not.  I saw more of his priceless self and heart in his own quickly written, 3 o’clock in the morning, sincere, paper-towel written love letter than anything else he could have written.

(((my heart))) just never knows what God will give it each day…that little unexpected boost to brighten the moments.  So many each day that I lose track.  My heart gives grateful praise.  A ham salad note.  I can’t even……what next?  I can’t wait to see.


A song for Friday:


truths to make your heart sing:

“So, we’re not giving up.  How could we!  Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace.  These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us.  There’s far more here than meets the eye.  The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow.  But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”  2 Corinthians 4:16, The Message translation


Strength for today is mine all the way,
And all I need for tomorrow.
My Lord knows the way through the wilderness, 
All I have to do, is follow.
~Sidney E. Cox, 1950, (from the baptist hymnal)

**Have a very blessed Friday, you are loved!**

what excellent parents we are


Last night while Rich was in bed next to me falling asleep, he burst out laughing.  What’s so funny?” I demanded, as I tried to read my book.   “I was just thinking about Caleb….”and he shook the bed with laughter.  Then we argued about who’s fault it was.

Seth had a baseball game that afternoon.  Our family has been going back and forth to the little league park so many times over the years that, at this time of year, it almost feels like home away from home.  I pull into the parking lot at the field and everyone runs off to their perspective places.  There are three games going on at once and lots of parents and kids having fun.  There is a food shack with grilled foods and snacks and drinks.

Yesterday, I got there first with Caleb, Seth, and Sarah.  Rich came about 45 minutes later and we leaned against the fence talking and laughing as we watched Seth and his team play.  At one point, we talked to Caleb because he had come over to us to ask for money.  I gave him a five and he came back with a lollipop for Sarah.  Meanwhile, I told my husband every detail about my day and he in turn told me all the latest with work.  We cheered for our Seth as he batted, played shortstop, and did some pitching.  Seth was having a great game.  In fact, he ended up getting his third game ball of the season.

Sarah and I had already played with a caterpillar, sticks, stones, and leaves.  We had “made a castle” for the caterpillar.  I had forced her to drink a water bottle and played with her on my lap in the chair Rich had brought.  She did math on a piece of paper and kept asked me questions.  I informed her whenever she got a math problem wrong and she would say, “How do YOU know?” like she didn’t believe I had ever gone to school.  (she’s never seen me there.)  ‘Round about 7:45 we started getting bored and when she said she was getting cold I jumped right on it and said immediately to my husband, “I’m going home with Sarah, she’s cold.”  And I left.

Sarah had a snack and then I tucked her into bed.  The lawnmower man came to the door to be paid and I wrote him a check.  Grace called and needed to be picked up so I passed the message on to Rich so he could get her on the way home.   Forty five minutes after I got home they arrived and Grace came through the door full of energy and song and conversation.  Seth came in with his game ball and a treat from McDonalds.  Jacob and Emily were home, too, and soon the five of us, Rich, Grace, myself, Emily, and Jacob were warming up dinner, talking, teasing, and catching up with each other’s stories.  It was 9:00pm and there were about 3 conversations going on all at the same time and lots of action as we all used the fridge and microwave.  I made strawberry/banana/pineapple milkshakes for Rich and myself and we drank them out of tall mugs.  Grace sat cross legged on the kitchen island and talked about how she wished we could always live together, all of us in one big house.  I sent Seth off to go take a shower.

And then……..BOOM…… Caleb burst into the house.  “YOU GUYS DITCHED ME!” he exclaimed.  All conversation stopped and we all looked at him as tears began forming in his eyes.  I started screaming as I realized what had happened.  Come to find out, his Dad left him at the park because “I didn’t tell him that I was leaving without Caleb when I took Sarah home.”

After the games were over, people were leaving and Caleb left his friends and wandered all over the place looking for us until he found Noah, who is Seth’s best friend and the son of Seth’s baseball coach.  So Noah took Caleb to his Dad, who tried calling and texting us.  But we were busy partying in our kitchen and never got the messages.  Coach brought Caleb home.

Grace and I ran to our poor poor boy and gave him a long and comforting hug.  After all, it was a two hug problem.  He started saying, “It’s okay, I’m okay, I’m NOT CRYING!”  Emily told him not to feel bad, one time her aunt got left behind in Canada.

Rich was laughing later on that night instead of sleeping because he was wondering how long it would have taken us to notice that Caleb wasn’t home.  He had truly believed that I had brought him home with me and I had truly believed that Rich had brought him home with him.  I had assumed that Caleb was playing outside instead of coming in the side door with the others.  Looking back, I remembered that smart Seth had asked, “Where’s Caleb?”  but I had truthfully replied, “I don’t know” because, like I said, I thought he was somewhere around the house, I just hadn’t seen him yet.

I went on and on as much as I could to make Rich feel guilty about forgetting his own son but it didn’t work.  After laughing about it in bed, he confessed, “I did tell him I was sorry when I tucked him into bed.”  I reached over to rub his back and told him he was a good Dad.  “He told me it was okay”, he continued, “he knew it was your fault.”  Then the back rub turned into a smack as I told him he was a jerk, “Caleb would never say that!”

And thus ended another day.