be amazed!


First of all, it’s been a joy and a delight to watch kitty-kitty Walter (our new pet) get used to his new surroundings.  He is curious and “literally plays with everything”, says Dave.  You see in the photo that he is being tempted by Sherlock’s twitching tail.

Second of all, it’s 8:07 in the morning and I’m the only one awake!!  Seth NEVER sleeps past 7 and most of the time is up even earlier.  I just found him sleeping in the addition on the couch.  He spent the night in there because of the air conditioning.  So I wonder, is he still asleep because 1) he didn’t sleep well? or, 2) he COULD finally sleep peacefully out of his hot upstairs bedroom?  Whatever the reason, it’s nice to sit here and type………….


“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”  Psalm 16:11 (thank you, husband, for sending along the verse)

I was thinking this morning about the enjoyable fruits of the Holy Spirit, those only-from-above giftings of God to our souls.  In those oftentimes rare/unnoticed moments of deep spirituality when we find ourselves really able to love outside of ourselves in a mysterious way.  We have joy,  and it is unexplainable, gentleness toward every living creature, peace, beyond comprehension!  And, patience like our *big brother* Job.  These beautiful character qualities/fruits aren’t from us (we cannot muster them up, they cannot be faked) and are the Holy Spirit within us, given to us, and no reason for pride or boasting.

….the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22

For in him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:28

Alas, sometimes it’s just simply hard to breath “down here”.  And this is the reason we pour over the Scriptures as much as possible, and remember, and think of Him, and pray, we do these things to stay connected, to stay reminded.  To stay breathing.

“But, first, remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters.”  ~CS Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia


Home on Earth, real Home “in the sky”……….


We have had such hot days lately, it was pleasant to sit with my latest Newbury medal winner (I’m attempting to read them all) while the children swam in the pond……..


….and to have Jacob walk down the hill to show me a cool caterpillar.  Thanks, Jake, for grilling us all a nice lunch yesterday!!!

At my house yesterday there were all these people:  Rich, myself, Michael, Jacob, Ethan, Caleb T, Grace, Kylee, Brittnee, David, Caleb, Jack, Seth, and Sarah.  But not all at once.  Some came for a while and then left.  Some worked all day and then came home.  🙂


Yesterday afternoon on the couch, David helped me identify a bug using the internet.  It didn’t take us long, but seeing the different insects online filled me with the desire to go back outside to look for even more bugs with the magnifying lens attached to my camera.  It’s such fun to stand over the flowers and plants and search for insects with your eyes……….at first you see “nothing” but little by little you see 100’s of creatures……and much activity.



This was a small moth, about the size of a fifty-cent piece.  But with my lens I can get a nice close-up.  It’s amazing to see the details.  Observe.  Study.  Be amazed.


These pretty little white flowers grew in clusters along a thin vine-like stem.


Meanwhile, Dave was looking in the pond for a big snake but had to make do with a little frog (sitting on his leg next to his thumb for size comparison).  He sat nicely for his portrait.


This plant has been tearing the skin on my legs my entire life.  It’s just a tad thinner than spaghetti and grows plenteously by our stream.  One direction of the plant doesn’t scratch you, but the other direction, oh it sticks so tightly to your legs and scratches them terribly.  I’ve never identified it’s name, there is a small white flower that grows on it, maybe I can look it up in my flower identification book today.


a cluster of silvery eggs……so beautiful!


The band on his tail makes him special.  You can see Ambush bugs to the left of it.



The other day I saw one gripping a yellow jacket.  The yellow jacket was upside down and dead in its front claws.  It was a sight to see.  And these ambush bugs are all over the flowers right now (especially Joe-pie weed and goldenrod).  I beg you to read the link, you will be amazed.

In a nutshell, it sucks the bodily fluids out of its prey.

As my brother Dave says, “its horrifying”.

IMG_9401 2



It would take me a long time to identify all these insects but I sure would like to do it.  Each one has fascinating characteristics and wears the nicest bug-clothes.


Another ambush bug!


And this one!  I’ve never seen it before, it was so tiny I only noticed it because I was photographing another bug nearby and saw it waving around first one tissue-paper wing and then the other.


This bee posed so nicely, I felt as if it was just WAITING to be noticed.   Yes, you’re lovely.

DSC_0672 1

After I breathlessly captured this photo (I thought it would fly away before I could get close) I talked to my friend Lea Ann and then took the kids to music lessons and football practice.  I spent time walking around the cemetery next to the fields and then met my husband for a quick trip down town for strawberry sundaes, just the two of us, before practice was over.

When we got home, David made a chocolate cake from scratch …….


……and we had a rain storm.  I sat on the porch to watch it for a while before bedtime…..

If you watch carefully you will see the world light up in a quick flash of lightening.


And now it’s Wednesday.  Good morning!

You are loved.

what love can do

Our Lord especially prayed, that all believers might be as one body under one head, animated by one soul, by their union with Christ and the Father in him, through the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. The more they dispute about lesser things, the more they throw doubts upon Christianity. Let us endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, praying that all believers may be more and more united in one mind and one judgment. Thus shall we convince the world of the truth and excellence of our religion, and find more sweet communion with God and his saints.

Matthew Henry

Lesser Things:

playing sports on Sunday
denomination of your church
going to church at all
wearing certain clothes
listening to certain music
medication for mental health issues
church attendance
women working outside the home
what we spend our money on
school choices
family size
judging people based on how active they are in the local church (you don’t “do” enough)
and so on

I will write about unity now and then because I love Jesus and I do attend church….I have been a church member since I was a teenager, as a Baptist and now as more of a grace/baptist/reformed/new covenant congregant.

I have some active experience in legalism…not any longer…but yes for years I was part of a legalistic church and I’m thankful for that because now I am very likely able to spot that kind of abusive behavior at the drop of a hat.

Do not lay burdens on my brothers and sisters is the attitude I find washing over me.


Instead of laying a burden on someone about their child playing a sport on Sundays why don’t you GO TO A GAME AND CHEER????????  Or deliver donuts to them before going to church?  After football season is over they will be back to sitting with you in the pews!  They love God’s people, they love the preached word, but they have choices to make…they are parents, they are members of a community.  And they may not make the same choice as you….but you are still commanded to love them in an active way even if you do not agree.

I in them and You in Me–that they may be perfectly united, so that the world may know that You sent Me and have loved them just as You have loved Me.  ~Jesus’ prayer to God 

I’ve been reading and listening to Greg Boyle and his message is so right….that our “ministry”, our “service” does not end at that…it keeps going beyond service and ends at KINSHIP.  It ends in KNOWING THAT WE BELONG TO EACH OTHER.  I belong to my kids’ schools, I belong to my church, I belong to the people of my community, I belong to you, I belong to my country.  I will do my very very small parts in creating that kinship.

(I am in introvert so I am not very “active” but I do support things as much as I can….in the church, schools, and community.  My role is basically taking care of my family as THEY do what they love to do…which is be active.  I smile a lot, too.)

I can cook all the dinners, wash all the faces, but if my heart does not melt as the little boy tucks himself into me as he reads his homework to me, than it is all for nothing.

I can take my boys to practice, go to all the games, but if my heart doesn’t melt at the sight of the coach stopping everything to bend down and wipe tears from my little son’s face and make sure he’s okay because he just took a football to the EYE….than I am nothing.

I can go to church and read my Bible, but if my heart does not melt at the man who is working his butt off to support his family during all the hours of the night so that he has to miss church to sleep, I AM NOTHING.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.…  ~ the Bible

WHAT?  I have the faith but *not the love* and I am nothing????


So let’s be radical!  Let’s support each other!  but more than that….let’s BELONG TO EACH OTHER.  Let’s go further up and further in!

Because that is what love is.

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” Mother Teresa

thoughts about brother ass

DSC_1356 1

We are composite creatures, akin on one side to the angels, on the other to tom-cats.

It is a bad thing not to be able to take a joke.  Worse, not to be able to take a divine joke; made, I grant you, at our expense, but also (who doubts it?) for our endless benefit.

Man has held three views of his body.  First there is that of those ascetic Pagans who called it the prison or the “tomb” of the soul, and of the Christians like Fisher to whom it was “a sack of dung,” food for worms, filthy, shameful, a source of nothing but temptations to bad men and humiliation to good ones.  Then there are the Neo-Pagans (they seldom know Greek), the nudists and the sufferers from Dark Gods, to whom the body is glorious.  But thirdly we have the view which St. Francis expressed by calling his body “Brother Ass”.  All three may be–I am not sure–defensible; but give me St. Francis for my money.

Ass is exquisitely right because no one is his senses can either revere or hate a donkey.  It is a useful, sturdy, lazy, obstinate, patient, lovable and infuriating beast; deserving now the stick and now a carrot; both pathetically and absurdly beautiful.  

So the body.

There is no living with it till we recognize that one of its functions in our lives is to play the part of the buffoon.

The fact that we have bodies is the oldest joke there is.

CS Lewis, in The Four Loves

DSC_1359 1

Isn’t it a relief to have a proper view of oneself?  And to laugh at oneself?  It is akin to the times when the children and I are sitting around the living room, watching TV, and little Seth says, “Wait for it, wait for it….”  and before I am properly aware of what’s happening so I can stop it, out comes a giant toot from Seth’s bottom and loud laughter from his siblings.  I try to pretend to be affronted, but I too am laughing and have to admit that the laughter is good.

We have inner treasure (our souls) in an outer jar of clay (our body).  Our outward self is dying (our bodies), but our inward self (our soul) is being renewed day by day.  We are like both angels (our soul) and tom-cats (our body).

I have spent lots of time over-valuing my body; my appearance, my health.  These griefs are “common to man” and will never go away completely.  But reading Lewis’ thoughts released me from some of the pressure, pressure that I put on myself as an at times, vain woman.

With Lewis’s wisdom in mind, I have a choice; I can sometimes laugh.

(St. Francis himself took a much harsher view.  Although he referred to his body as Brother Ass, he treated it (his body) cruelly in an attempt to punish and/or “tame the beast”, so to speak.  He grieved the “ass”, and had a hard time tending his body with compassion, much less with actual laughter.)

WHO CARES about appearances and perfection?  Well, we all do to a certain extent.  But if we “go further up and further in”, we realize that yes indeed it is true; beauty is in the soul, and not in the body.  It may be that our body is beautiful for a time, but not if you hang around it for very long.  It will most certainly “toot”, produce strange smells, do strange things, & drive you crazy.

Doesn’t it feel good to laugh about it?

From now on I want to teasingly say to myself when I get caught in a depressing reminder that thing are going downhill bodily speaking despite my best feeding and nurturing, “Oh brother Ass, you donkey, you” and put it on a lower level of seriousness and higher level of comedic relief.

If I hear a loud sound coming from one of my children, I would like to say, “Brother Ass is in the room, I see.”  But alas, I am not comfortable saying “ass” as it is mainly used as a curse word these days.  I tried it with my oldest son Jacob the other day and he turned around and said in confusion, “What?”   Frankly, I don’t need little Seth running around saying “brother ass” at school …… so I guess I will use the other word, which is Donkey.

DSC_1361 1

DSC_1363 1

DSC_1364 1

DSC_1372 1

DSC_1379 1

DSC_1381 1

DSC_1388 1

DSC_1389 1

Take good care of your Donkey self today, with a healthy dose of laughter, and remember your soul, which is everlasting and renewed day by day by the grace of Jesus.

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.  2 Corinthians 4:16

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.  2 Corinthians 4:7



DSC_0836 1

It’s Tuesday morning.  I’m still in my pajamas.  The lights are on, the dishwasher and washing machine are running.  Six children are off to school, one is getting ready for college.  My husband is at work.

DSC_0837 1

I’ve been thinking about Target and the reactions of all different sorts of people in regards to the bathrooms.  I go from laughing because after having seven children, the bladder I have cares not which bathroom it uses, to sadness when I see people use religion to get all self-righteous about this issue, to tenderness as I read common sense and gracious words from all sorts of people, as well.  Grace upon grace flows down, flows down, from the precious blood of Christ.


Reading up on the story made me think about religion in general…….and namely, Pharisees.

Did you know Jesus had the harshest words toward the religious people of his day (the Pharisees)  He loved real people, he loved sincere, he loved the common, humble men and women who knew who they were—nothing and nobody–and needy.  People who knew they were hungry and thirsty –for HIM.  To them, He freely gave.

To the religious hypocrites of his day he had words like these:

“white washed tombs”
“clean on the outside, filthy on the inside”
“woe to you!”
Is there hope for a Pharisee?  Oh yes and yes.  Amazingly enough, Paul became first and foremost a lover of Christ (not rules and regulations) when the Light of the world blinded him for a time, on the road to Damascus….

However, as a very ordinary and quite common woman of this modern day, I am TERRIFIED of certain religious people who believe they are doing good but are actually spreading fear, misunderstanding, and chaos throughout the world.

And by religious I mean this:  a HYPOCRITICAL person who is fixated on rules and regulations regarding the outward man rather than the inward man.  Fixated to the point that they take it upon themselves to “teach” others and tell them just how to live and then look down on people if they don’t take their advice.  Or, a person who pretends to be godly, pretends to act for God, pretends to be a Christian, when what they are really doing is setting themselves on a pedestal and using it for prideful gain/power.

I love religion in its true form, which the Bible says is this: …If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

UH OH there is that pesky little phrase “keep oneself unstained by the world” what could that POSSIBLY MEAN????  Live in a clean, sterile little bubble of soap?  Oh I’ve seen what THAT does!  Did you know that living too clean can lead to even more troubles down the road?  Bigger sicknesses?  Not all the time….but even so, it is an unhealthy way to live both physically AND spiritually.  A fixation on “cleanliness” is QUITE a cancer to the soul.

This is how I personally keep myself unstained by the world:  I do not view pornography.  I do not get crazy drunk.  I do not participate in illegal activities or use illegal drugs like heroin, for instance.  I don’t dance around at strip clubs or plan my life according to my daily horoscope.  Um….what else?  I don’t spend time with friends planning a perfect murder or even committing adultery with the mailman.  I do not steal things or lie pathologically.  I mind my own business.

See? Easy.  That’s how you keep yourself unstained by the world.  You can still watch movies, you can still visit a theater even!  You can take prescription drugs as long as you don’t abuse them, and guess what ladies, you can wear pants! And shorts!  And a bathing suit!  You can hug a man!  You can read Harry Potter!  You can enjoy an alcoholic drink!  You can shop at Target!!!!!  Don’t try to put rules on yourself that God never intended.

(Yes I am very passionate about this topic–you might not be, and that’s okay)

However, if indeed you do want to put extra cautious standards in place in your life go right ahead but don’t talk about them up and down the street (internet?) like they are rules and standards from God Himself.   Maybe just don’t even talk about any of the “good things” you do.

“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”  Matthew 6:30

Oh Gosh, I hope I am making sense.  I mean, some people will read this and be like “??” but if that is the case than praise God you didn’t go through a time of legalism like I did in my mid 20’s.  If you are involved in a nurturing church family full of nice messy people than get down on your knees and thank the Lord, my friend!!!!  But if you’re in the midst of a church that has perfect leaders watching every move you make and using the pulpit as a “whipping post” in order to keep you “clean” than run far far away……..

DSC_0838 1

I have so much inside of me that I do not discuss because I hate the feeling I get when I’m stirred up and worked up.  But I want people to know my beliefs.  And know that I am a sinner, saved by grace.  I have ordinary pride issues, bitterness issues, selfishness issues, and so on…but I don’t even care at this point…no one is perfect and I don’t obsess, trying to be.  I only want to be secure in Jesus and I am already that.  I’m on my way HOME, to the only place of perfect belongingness, glory-land itself.  And He will welcome me and all of His precious children, with open arms, all the messy unperfect little sinners, saved by grace, that we are.  He loves us, loves us, loves us……

I happen to have a blog but that does not make me ANYTHING special whatsoever.  I am no authority on any subject.  I have no constant advice to give or devotionals to write.  I only have my own personal experience and the Bible to share.  I like music, poetry, photos, and quotes.



But I am no one special.


I was put on this earth to serve a certain number of people.  And if you are in my life, I am here for YOU.  To love and encourage.  To be real and messy. My children know all too well that their Mom is not perfect and guess what?  I still get lots and lots of snuggles and so do they even when they are being annoying.


I really don’t know why I blog.  It’s some sort of pull inside of me that makes me do it.  I hate being “out there”, it makes me afraid to share the deep things of my heart.  And yet, I still do it…..why…..why, God?


Last night I was watching Longmire with Rich and someone asked Walt, “Are you a religious person, Walt?” and he answered, “I’m a private person”.

I liked that.  That’s what I am, too.  But once in a while I will let it alllll out.



I really really loved the Harry Potter books. Did you know that there are some religious people who will not read them or let their children read them?  The church I used to attend was against them.  And at the time they were published I didn’t care much regardless because I frankly had no time to read……any time I did have time to read I was careful to read things that would be approved by my church leaders.  LOL (barf) I was such a goody goody.  NO MORE.  I will read what I want to read!  And who really cares????


Anyway, here is a quote I wrote down from the last book, yesterday, which just made me stop in awe of the spiritual lesson contained within:

“Harry kept quiet.  He did not want to express the doubts and uncertainties about Dumbledore that had riddled him for months now.  He had made his choice while he dug Dobby’s grave, he had decided to continue along the winding, dangerous path indicated for him by Albus Dumbledore, to accept that he had not been told everything he wanted to know, but simply to trust.  He had no desire to doubt again; he did not want to hear anything that would deflect him from his purpose.”

(She had decided to continue along the winding, dangerous path indicated for her by God, to accept that she had not been told everything she wanted to know, but simply to trust.)

Simply to trust.

WHY did Ethan hurt his knee just when he had to visit a college, invited by a wrestling coach that wants him on the team????
WHY do I suffer depression at times?
WHY does Sarah have to have a naughty kidney?
WHY this, why that?

I don’t know, but I trust….and I trust a God that HAS A PURPOSE that I may never know.

Satan, the dark side, wants to whisper doubts and make us falter…..and has many cunning ways of doing so…..however, in Christ we are more than conquerors.  Love wins every time.  Faltering isn’t so bad now and then.  Doubts are forgivable, too.  (He didn’t turn his back on Thomas, he gently took his hand and placed it in his side, dear blessed Thomas, loved so dearly by Him) Weakness is wonderful (he gives strength to the weak) He loves us through it all.






He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.


I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land.


ALL you that thirst, come to the waters: and you that have no money make haste, buy, and eat: come ye, buy wine and milk without money, and without any price.


On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.



“MOM, take a picture of this!  It looks like a castle!”




Another thing….this “older woman teaching the younger”….means all kinds of things.  For me, it means that I call up my mama and talk to her.  For me, it means that I am teaching my daughters by sharing life with them.  I’m not out looking for a mentor.  Although I do love and appreciate all the women, past and present that I have learned from, there is NO lack in anyone’s life in this regard of older women teaching the younger.  There needs to be no formalities here, there just needs to be living, and growing, in natural relationships.  Don’t feel as if you need to pass your daughters off to someone else to teach and nurture.  YOU are already doing it!!!  And God will put people in their lives, naturally, to learn from.  (friends, grandmas, aunts, etc)



I’m constantly giving out life advice to my children.  It’s great fun.  And they are constantly giving it to me as well.



Can you even believe this? ^^


Someone sits here and eats acorns.  So sweet!




Spending time with this one is a J O Y.  Oh how I love her.



dropped her flip flop and it started going down the stream, sooooo funny……


acorn – art


Does a hollow tree take us to Heaven?  Unfortunately not.


Interesting moss


adorable boys…catching toads


Susie Q Bunyan


just sharing my heart today……