Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Boys

This has been quite a week. The Dad is gone on business and I am here, trying to keep the home running smoothly. A birthday has come and gone. Try-outs for high school soccer are over. The outcome was not as we would have like it but we will "learn to live with it", as the birthday girl would say. But the best part of the week is that my boys have been there for me. That is the best!

Jason popped in early one morning to share some mourning with me over the loss of his grandpa, my dad. We spent time laughing and crying over that most eccentrically wonderful man and realized that we are so very much like him. He is so much a part of who we are and it is very good, indeed. No need to apologize for being so wild and crazy, just live life to the fullest. That is the mantra and we're sticking to it. It was cleansing for me to be able to share with dear son all the thoughts and feelings that I've been stewing over. It was also good to do a little grieving since I've been doing my best to keep it all so light and unemotional. Tears are good. Tears are cleansing. Tears unite us. What a gift it was for me to have that time to be together and to be real. Thanks, son, I needed that.

Today was one of those days. We were off to celebrate birthdays of Abby and her buddy from our homeschool group who has the same birthday as she has. It was a fun day for them both and the little friend who was invited as their guest. We saw a movie and had lunch and ice cream. Just perfect for 6 year olds. On the way I spoke with Noah about a family dinner and my plumbing crisis du jour. He was happy to offer advice and was ready to add our plans to his calendar. It is so good to be able to call on a son and have them ready to offer aid in whatever form.

When the practices were over and it was time for baths the reality of our plumbing crisis was beginning to grow larger than this mom could handle. So phone call goes out to the next son, Adam, who was on his way home and could drop by to help. It ended up being more than Walmart could handle and we are now on hurricance mode, which means we are turning water on and off outside our home so as not to run hot water down the drain for days on end with no way to turn that water off inside the home. It keeps you humble. It keeps you careful. It makes you very thankful for that water that you have to crawl under the house to turn on so you can get a drink or to wash your hands. This is a good lesson to learn in these days of re-evaluating out wants and needs. Water is a need and we are going to learn to be grateful for that precious, wet resource that we must conserve and work hard to use.

But the greatest thing I treasure from all of this is that God has blessed me with children, some all grown up now, who are there for me. That sounds kind of selfish but I point out their unselfishness in being willing to drop their plans to come to my rescue. They have willing hearts and hands that are ready to aid those in need. It does not have to be this family. They are there for others all the time. They are capable, willing, smart, sensitive, and I am so proud of them all.

The ones who are not mentioned in these few lines are right there behind them. The lawn was mowed by one very hard worker. Others have dreams and plans that amaze me and they are hard at work reaching for the stars. Others have been face to face with great disappointment and yet have found the silver lining in the dark cloud. Some are tender and patient. Some are full of laughter and mischief. In all these things I rejoice because no matter what happens, I am blessed beyond measure. And so I give thanks for these children, young and old, who are there, for me, and for others. Thanks be to God!

Friday, September 26, 2008


My uncle's front porch

Seattle in August is absolutely beautiful. The flowers are blooming everywhere and the air is so fresh and invigorating. I was able to spend a few days of rest and relaxation here after my Dad passed away.


Difficult to see, but it is a poster I made for the family day we had in his honor. The pictures are of some of his airplanes and cars. I especially love the black and white of him in his suit and tie. The little red plane was his racing plane, named "Miss Carol".

Dad lived a very full and adventurous life. No one could ever say he did not live life to it's fullest. He found much joy in the natural world that surrounded him and wrote often of his little critter friends that paid visits to his feeders. There are so many wonderful memories that I will cherish forever and I may post some later.

For now it is enough to say that he is missed terribly and I am forever grateful that he was my dad.

Beka is 19

A late post about some of the things that have been happening around here over the summer.
Kids went to camp, we celebrated birthdays, Sarah broke her leg playing soccer, and I flew out to Washington just in time to say farewell to my dear Dad.
So, here are a few pictures to go along with what has been happening in our lives.

The Broken Leg

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy 13th Birthday Susannah

Susannah was treated to a special lunch by the Westfall Grandparents on her birthday, September 1st. Tim, Abby, and I tagged along to celebrate.
The wait staff serenaded her and brought her a hot fudge sundae with candle aflame on top.
How hard it is to believe that she is 13 already!
Happy Birthday Susannah!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Grandma's Attic

Out of all the sights we saw in Tallahassee this was the kid's favorite. This was part of the Florida History Museum, which was a wonderful place to visit so we could tie up all of those Florida history loose ends we had dangling. This room was filled with antiques and vintage clothes to dress up in. Just the place to let off steam and have fun pretending to live back in the days of switchboards and wash boards.


The old capital building in front of the new capital building. It is hard to imagine that people had to protest the tearing down of this lovely old building as the "powers that be" had intended on making it a giant courtyard in front of that ugly tower in the background.
The kids called it the candy cane building because of the red and white striped awnings. So cheerful, clean, and welcoming.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wakulla Springs

Earlier this month we dropped Hannah off for S.E.E.K. at this picturesque lodge in Wakulla Springs State Park. It was built in the twenties and was filled with antiques and decorated with old pictures. The ceiling was carved wood with beautiful paintings on the panels. Hannah said each room was uniquely decorated and were very large. Not at all like bunking down in the dorms at the University of Florida last summer.

The middle kids and I spent 4 days exploring Tallahassee and studying Florida history together. We were blessed in so many ways by the lovely people we encountered. From the visitor center to the Mission San Luis, we were treated like royalty. The people took their time to teach us everything they could and were so patient with the less than enthusiastic one when they got no response to their inquiries. At the Museum of Florida History the director loaded us down with books, c.d.s, maps, and many educational items when he found out we were homeschoolers. I have never learned so much or met such lovely people on a field trip as we met during our visit.

We enjoyed driving around the city and learned our way around by getting lost numerous times. This is my way of finding all the treasured spots and it is a fun adventure, although it is a bit stressful at times. The old brick buildings and meticulous landscaping kept my head turning and my camera clicking. We walked until our feet hurt and then walked some more. One child begged to take elevators just to get a break from all the steps we walked up and down.

The simple candle inside a friar's cell at Mission San Luis.
Although this is a reproduction of what the Mission looked like, the people who worked here made history come alive. They were in character the whole time and we felt we were a part of the life they lived so long ago.
The bell would be rung for prayer. There was chanting in the church and many reproductions of religious art. An altar, crucifix, candles, and baptistery made you feel you were walking on holy ground. The fact that Florida had it's own Camino Real, just like California's, made me go back to my youth when I studied the missions. So many fond memories of the holy moments in my childhood.
I will post more when I've had a chance to go through the multitude of pictures.

Monday, June 16, 2008

This is our family page that will be included in our homeschool group's year book. One page is not near large enough for pictures of our family. So many of the "kids" did not get into the picture. Sigh....

Most of the photos were taken at Noah and Tiffany's wedding and the reception afterward.

One of the things I would love to do someday would be to publish our own yearbook and give out copies as Christmas gifts to our family. I should put the kids in charge of that one or it will never get done!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Horrible Kind of Scare

Our normal afternoon/evening: Tim and several children go to the soccer field for the various practices. Tonight he has a meeting so I go to pick up children and come home to feed them dinner. When I left Beka was taking Coal (dog) for a walk. Upon my return I find Coal resting on the porch, leash still attached to collar. Come in the house; "Beka!" No answer. She must be reading, showering, something. Give bath orders, go to make an online appointment, wait for the internet connection, then get that sickest kind of feeling in my gut. Where is Beka? Not in the house. Not in the shower. Not in her car. Phone is in her room. No way to get in touch with her. My worst nightmare is startiing to unfold. I jump into my car, not really knowing what to do or where to go, and head down the road in search of that lost child, totally panicked and imagining the worst! Around the corner, down the road, there is someone in the road, in the dark. It is Beka! "What are you doing? I have been worried sick, looking for you!" "I am looking for my earring from Germany!" She lost it while walking the dog. I won't go into anymore of the conversation but I was filled with both relief and anxiety. In todays world people disappear every day and are never found. That has always been one of my worst fears and my kids know it. Things could have been much different and I am so thankful that they were not but I will never shake that feeling of thinking my child has been kidnapped, or much worse. One's mind can run down all kinds of thorny paths when in a moment of crisis. I pray that we never have to do down that route again.

So I will say, "Thanks be to God for His mightly protection and His most gracious mercy towards us!"

Well, I am thankful for the safe return of the lost daughter and I pray that we will all be a little more careful when we are out on our walks!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dressing up

Abby is having fun with her play silk. Sister Sarah helped her put the look together.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


This is my first Lent as an "official" Catholic. What a powerful season we are in. I have learned so much about what it means to live the Gospel these past months. I had the privilege of attending a seminar on living out the gospel a month or so ago. We were admonished to look at our calendars and note where and when we "clothed the naked, gave drink to the thirsty, fed the hungry", etc. Talk about conviction. I could see that in my own home I am given multiple opportunities to carry our this mandate and how I so often miss the mark. It has been a humbling time for me, indeed!

I have also been invited to join a small group of women who study the Sunday readings each week. We pray, discuss the readings, and have the opportunity to share what is on our hearts. It is an easy group to be part of and they have been most welcoming. I continue to be amazed at how much I don't know about the call to discipleship and how much I have misunderstood in all my years of following Christ. It is wonderful to have others in my life who have llived the faith their entire lives.

A Lenten project I am doing with the younger children is giving up 5 items a day. It could be an old toy or clothing item. It could be stuff that is to go into the trash or good stuff to take to the thrift store. We can also give some change to the rice bowl project with CRS. We are not consistent but we are trying. I want us to see how little we really need to get by and how rich we have been blessed. Being a good steward is our theme and we all need to improve in that area. We have had some powerful discussions about the topic and I hope we will be changed as a result of this time of simplifying.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

While I love reading great blogs, I am very low-tech and so I feel quite out of my element in attempting to try my hand at this. Nonetheless, here I am in the 21st century and I have entered the blogesphere.

Our family has just entered the birthday marathon with the #1 Granddaughter having her 5th birthday. Her uncle is next, then her dad, and on from there, many more birthdays. The gift of life. What an honor to acknowledge these milestones in our lives. What a blessing to have so many lives connected with each other in these days of disconnectivity.

As my own birthday approaches I am feeling a sort of introspection. How many birthdays do we have in this life? What do we do with our days? Are we really making the most of the time that has been given to us? As a homeschooling mom I feel an overwhelming responsibility for the lives of my children in all areas- academics, spirituality, friendships, health, their future, etc. There is always a lot of second guessing in this life I have chosen but I plod on and do what I can with each day. Thankfully, God has been most merciful and has given us really outstanding kids to raise. They overcome our own weaknesses and they all shine out brightly in this world. I am so thankful for who they are and who they are becoming. So this birthday will bring me much to be thankful for. My life is so very full and I am blessed with family, precious friends, a comfortable home with all of our needs met, and most of all a dear husband who provides so well for us and who loves us with all of his heart. What a rich a complex life we have. Thanks be to God!