Friday, September 30, 2011


Marley has been in preschool for about six weeks.  Adjusting to being away from her Mama was a little difficult at first, for both of us.  She'd get anxious and ask me to "Stay just a yiddle while, pweese".  As she got more comfortable, she began to be much quicker with her goodbyes.  It was precious to me that she wanted to watch me leave through the window, but it nearly ripped my heart out those first few times to see her little brown face looking out at me, still not quite sure that this was a good idea. Eventually that frown turned into a smile and a wave, and now I miss seeing those big brown eyes peering out as I head to school.

I've had the opportunity a couple of times to go to school with her and help out in her classroom for a few hours.  I was so proud of her and the way she didn't cling to me or act out, as was sometimes my experience when parents come into a kindergarten classroom. 
She just went about her morning with the occassional look back at me and a big smile.

Putting her name next to a job for the day.

Sitting at Circle Time with her friends and loving it!
She tells me this is her favorite time of day, because there's singing, stories,
letters, and the Pledge of "Ayeejunce".

The art project that day was to paint butterflies,
since they were learning about the letter B.

Tracing her name with stickers~ fun!

Everyone has a job.
Today she was the snack helper.

The last thing they did before getting ready to go outside was to have Centers.
Look at that grin! 
Think maybe she really likes the tent?

She makes me so proud. 
What a blessing that God chose me to be her mom!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Choppin' Wood

When  I was a kid, every fall my family had a tradition (dreaded chore?) that we did together.  We chopped wood- lots of it.  Mom and Dad have always heated the house with wood.  I have lots of memories of Dad with his chainsaw in the woods, my brothers with axes, and us girls helping to carry and stack it.  Well, times have changed and we are older, with kids of our own.  Mom and Dad have put a furnace in the house, but only use it as a backup.  My brothers are old enough to wield chainsaws, and we have discovered the wonders and joy of a hydraulic wood splitter.  Whoever invented this magical machine is a wonderful, wonderful person!  Just sayin'.

Last weekend David, Cathy, and I headed down to Mom and Dad's with our families to help with the annual woodcutting.  We had a magical woodsplitter that we had borrowed from some friends from church, a couple of chainsaws, my big Dodge truck and the little Toyota, and five kids who wanted to help.  There was a big tree down the creek and around the corner as well as one that blew over in the field.  I was very excited to kick the Dodge into 4WD and drive about a quarter mile down the creek where Dad and David were cutting the tree into logs.
See the little Toyota in the background?  That was the first vehicle I bought with my own money.  I've graduated to a larger vehicle that's not a manual transmission and carries more than two people, but I love that little truck.  Dad drives it now and he might love it as much as I do.  But I digress...
Look at David hoisting those logs.  We figured the smaller ones weighed about 300 pounds, and they got bigger.  He loaded my truck four times, I think, about 5-7 logs each time.  I tell you this because I am still impressed with his stamina and strength. 
And I wish I were as young as he is again.
Brian was on the receiving end to help unload and saw a different tree.  I mostly drove, but I did help Mom and Cathy run the wood splitter some.

Then it was down to the field to where Mom, Cathy, Brian, and the kiddos were working.  Marley and Cathy's youngest helped as much as their three year old selves could, but Cathy's three oldest were little workhorses!  Amongst climing up the cliff by the creek and the huuuuuge root ball of the tree that blew over, they stacked and helped to load the truck so we could take it up to the house.  And each time my truck went up and down the creek, there were little ones climbing up in the back for a ride.  I got cracked up, because this is what I saw every time I looked in the rear view window...

This is the stuff good memories are made of!

Friday, September 16, 2011

I'm Gonna Love You Through It...

It feels like my mind is waking up after being in a fog in the past three + years.  Memories I'd buried get triggered by things that happen in everyday life.  They're good memories, and they're helping to make the hard ones easier to take.  One thing that I am so glad of and thankful to God for is that He gave me the strength not just to stand beside my husband, but to LOVE HIM THROUGH this whole battle he fought.  And another thing I am so thankful is the soft place that our families and friends provided for us to land. 
I heard this song on the radio today.  Yes, it made me cry.  It'll probably make you cry too.  But it's a good song.  The chorus tells so well how I felt toward Jim.  I only wish I'd been able to say it to him so eloquently.  And the verses tell how we both felt and I still feel about you... the ones who loved us through it while it was happening, and still love us even now.
Get your tissues ready.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


So, Marley started preschool last month.  And she LOVES it.  And I love that she LOVES it.  I'm gaining a whole new perspective on how my students' parents must have felt when their kiddos came home and told them all about what they did that day.  The cool thing is that I already know lots of the songs that Marley comes home singing.  Fun! 
I've been amazed by how her little brain is soaking up so many new things, and I am reassured that YES, putting her in preschool was the right decision to make.  I'm not gonna lie- I had a little bit of mommy guilt over putting her in school just so that I could go to school.  But she has adjusted beautifully and all is well in her little world.  She is in love with her teachers, and is making friends.

A few weeks ago the theme was "All About Me". 
So, here you have it- Marley's very first homework assignment...

I helped her a little, but she did all of the coloring and stickers and came up with her favorite things all by herself.  I got cracked up when she said her favorite place to go in our community was Krogers.  She loves it there because there's food- duh!- but there are also what she calls "cool carts".  They're carts with cars on the front of them and she loves to "drive" and beep the horn.  I love them because I can shop quickly.  She melted my heart when she said one of her other favorite places to go is church and her favorite book is the Bible.  In this sea of sometimes uncertainty that is called parenthood, it does my heart good to know that she loves learning about Jesus and reading His word.  And it reminds me that though I am doing ok as a mom, I need to do better, that I can always do better.
School is good. 
Very good.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011


We should never forget this day.

It's been ten years today.

Do you remember where you were when you heard the news?  I do, with absolute clarity.  I was at work, busy with a classroom of kindergarteners.  We'd had circle time~ calendar, weather, a story, some silly songs to get the wiggles out before settling into our math lesson.  I needed to make a copy of something or other, so I left the kiddos under the watch of my aide and headed to the ofice.  As soon as I got to the office, I knew something was wrong. 
I'll never forget the look on the faces of Denise and Michelle,
and the hushed tones...
"Two planes have crashed into the World Trade Center. 
It's really bad."
I think I just stood there.  I'm not sure.  The decision was made to not inform the children, to be extra watchful and careful of our surroundings and finish the day.  We didn't have TV or even high speed internet in our building at the time, so information was initially limited.  I remember heading out to my vehicle at lunchtime to turn on the radio just to get any information that I could.  It wasn't until then that I learned that it hadn't been two planes; it was four.  Instead of one location, it was three.  And the towers had fallen. 
Completely down. Gone.
It was becoming clear that it wasn't accident.  It was terrorism.
They were saying they didn't know how many people had died, but it could be thousands.
This is a collage of most of the people that died that day.  Ninety two photos are not present. 
Take a long, hard look. 
This was a really, really bad day.   

People in the Pentagon had no time to react
as their building was hit.

 Others called their loved ones from planes and upper floors in the towers to tell them they weren't coming home. 

Can you imagine how it must have felt
to make that phone call?

Some people faced the terrible choice of staying in those buildings and burning alive or jumping to their deaths.  Those are photos that we don't see much of, but it happened.  Lots.
Can you imagine having to make that choice?

Others figured out while sitting in their airplane seats that if they didn't act, even more people would die.  They stopped their hijackers from crashing into yet another building.  They stood up, sacrificed their own lives, and saved scores of others.
Can you imagine the courage it took
to overcome their fear and to act?

We heard stories of people who ran INTO the situation to help.
Many didn't escape.

That night I went home to the apartment that I rented in Michigan.
I sat in front of my TV, switching back and forth between the few channels I could get to come in on my rabbit-ear antenna.  For hours I watched in horror the scenes that had unfolded while I was at work.  I distinctly remember looking out at the sunny day and thinking, "How could this have happened on such a beautiful morning?".  I remember feeling very alone.  I remember feeling scared.  I remember feeling very vulnerable.  I remember calling my mom and dad, just to hear their voices and to pray with them.  I remember desperately wishing I could spend the evening at their house, instead of being 250 miles away, alone in my apartment. 
I couldn't sleep that night, thinking of and crying for all the husbands and wives who wouldn't ever see their spouse again, all of the parents whose children were now gone, all of the children whose mommies or daddies would never throw the front door open again at the end of the work day for a big hug.

We should never forget this day.

Take a moment to think of the innocent lives lost, the heroism of many, and all of those who were there in the aftermath, cleaning, searching, rebuilding.
Hug those you love, if you can reach them.
Call the ones you can't hug.
Because we never know which day is our last. 
Each one is precious.

Where were you that day? 
I'd love for you to share your memories and thoughts...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Beautiful Words from a Beautiful Friend

My friend Heather made this beautiful page in honor of Jim after he passed away. 
With her blessing, I'm sharing it with you.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Faithful God

This song really spoke to me when I was visiting
with Beth and Doug at their church. 
I hope the words encourage you too...

Zach Neese

If I call, will You come?
When I cry, do You hear?
I believe every tear
Is caught up by a faithful God.
So I will cry until You come,
Cast my cares into Your arms.
I can't see past this storm~
But I am counting on a faithful God

Faithful God,
You hold my life secure.
All my days are Yours.
I believe.
My God is like a fire defending me~

I believe You still heal
And demons still bow.
I am convinced there is power
In trusting in a faithful God.
So I will praise till You appear
And set Your foot upon this shore.
I declare that every foe
Is subject to my faithful God.

I know that You are mine
And I am Yours, I am Yours.
I know Your faithfulness
It will endure, it will endure.

© 2009 Zach Neese | Gateway Create Publishing/BMI (Admin. by Integrity’s Praise! Music)

If you're one who likes to listen rather than read, click HERE.