Category Archives: family

Wassup Wednesday 19 — a month in the making and posted on Thursday

The last month has been full of kids activities and work.  That’s it.  Nothing has been going on other than that . . . oh, a little sickness and a basketball trip to Nebraska were thrown in just for good measure.

Is life bad?  No.  We’re doing ok.  We’re once again at that time of year where we have to figure out what to do about school next year.  There are multiple variables in the mix.  We are mostly just waiting to see how things turn out . . . and praying.  We are used to living by faith around here, so we’re just trying to do that some more.

I have been at the new job for 3.5 months now.  I still like it.  It is challenging enough to not be boring, and I don’t have to take it home with me.  I have great co-workers, and it is expanding our circle of social contacts in St. Louis.  We are grateful that this job came along when it did.  It is a blessing to us.

On the home front, the girls got their first report cards from school since their return, and they are doing well.  The boys are busy with school work, sports, and drama/music classes.  Their drama group will present Tom Sawyer next month, and they are looking forward to that.  The laundry is in a manageable state, and last Saturday, I caught up on some housework.   I am feeling pretty good about where things are right now in the balancing act, but not every week, day, moment is like that . . . However, I’ll take it when I can get it!

Other Stuff

Do you remember last year about this time?  Maybe a month or so later in the year because Easter fell a bit later, and that is the marker I am using.  I posted an entry about my big walking goals with thoughts of running.  Oh how I hate posts like that!  If you know me, you know my big plans didn’t materialize.  I didn’t keep up the walking, and I didn’t reach any of my goals.  So from now on, I won’t post any lofty goals because I hate eating my words.

Tonight, I walked 23 minutes at the park while the girls were at Awana and the boys were in the library.  I am trying to walk again, but my goals are much more measurable.  There’s a walking program through the health insurance at my job in which employees can register to get a free pedometer, and then each day, you upload your steps onto their website.  By meeting certain criteria, employees can win awards.  So I got the pedometer last month, and I haven’t done any walking other than the daily getting around stuff.   I have seen how many steps I walk in a day on average, so I have set a goal of walking 7,000 steps a day for the next 10 days.  I hope to add more steps once I do the 7,000 steps for 10 days.  This seems doable to me.  I hope I am more successful with this attempt than my last one.

So that’s it for this now . . . life keeps moving forward.

Wassup Wednesday 18 — A few hours early, because, well, it’s Ground Hog Day

Each year, I am required to do a Ground Hog Day post.  I am obligated because of my family heritage.  Both my parents were born in Punxsutawney, home to Punxsutawney Phil.  Since life is even more hectic than usual, this will be just a cursory meeting of my obligation.

I was talking with Mom on the phone last night.  She said that there has been some controversy regarding the care of Phil in Punxsutawney.  Can you believe it, PETA has taken notice of Phil!?  Here’s a link to the bru-ha-ha.  For the record, Phil is in better living conditions than some children in the state of Pennsylvania.  PETA need not worry for his comfort.

Finally, here’s news of the prognosticator’s prediction.  Phil saw his shadow–6 more weeks of winter.  But think about it, the choices are: he sees his shadow, then there’s 6 more weeks of winter.  If he doesn’t see his shadow, then spring’s just around the corner.  There’s not too much difference between  6 weeks and “just around the corner” is there?

I leave you with photos of my children on our last pilgramage to Punxsutawney in  2007.  They have grown, but Punxsutawney is still the same little town about 20 minutes south of where I grew up.

Wassup Wednesday – 16 A Week Late

So Christmas has come and gone, and I missed posting last week.   This will be quick, but I felt a need to check in with the blogosphere before the year ends.

The new job continues to go well.  I have been “baptized by fire” in starting a job at a large church in the midst of the advent/Christmas season.  Then next week, I am heading to New Orleans for a conference with other staff members.  I will be there to serve as a helper in registration, etc., but I am sure it will be enjoyable in some ways.  I am not looking forward to airport security, though.  If at all possible, I might squeeze in a meal with my older sister Sandy who lives 90 minutes from NOLA.

Mark’s parents were here for the Christmas holiday.  They came a week before Christmas and left yesterday.  It was great to have them here even if I only saw them evenings and weekends. As usual, they were a help to us.  I sure did appreciate meals being made while I was on my way home from work, help with the laundry, some babysitting, and even the preparation of Christmas treats for my co-workers.  The children enjoyed having them here, and the boys have headed back to Dallas with them for an extended visit.  Below is a photo of the 3 younger children with their Granddaddy on his birthday which he was able to celebrate with us. (Calvin was off at basketball practice during the photo op.)

Just to keep life from getting boring, our new-to-us-for-8-months van died a sudden death over the weekend.  Mom and the girls and I were out the day after Christmas to fulfill the promise of Build-a-Bears that were under the tree, and the van just stopped in the middle of the road in an upscale St Louis neighborhood.  Because we were in the middle of the road, the police had to come.  The van was towed, and we awaited news of its diagnosis until Monday.  Late Monday morning we were told it would not be fixable as the time belt had broken and took some pistons and valves down with it.  So the drama of our life continues to unfold.  Perhaps photos of a replacement vehicle will appear sometime soon.  We’re praying for that to happen.

Bedtime has come, so I leave you with more pictures from Christmas.  Happy New Year!

Wassup Wednesday – 15 Pensive


New job is going well.  I am on a big learning curve, so it will take some time to get a routine going.  But it still feels like a good fit.  Mark is a trooper, and the kids and I are missing each other.  But so far we are managing, and we’ve been eating dinner together most nights.


So work, and family, and the details of my life are always on my mind, but the last few days my heart has been heavy for other people.  We have young friends who are going through a terrible trial, and I hurt so much for them.  I don’t know how to help, but I am praying.  My own extended family is also facing a trial.  My brothers were involved in a car accident last week.  One brother was driving, another was the passenger.  The driver of the car they hit died.  They are awaiting news of an investigation of the accident regarding fault.  In addition, they are also dealing with the guilt involved for the life of the other driver who is now gone and who left behind a wife and three children.  I am concerned for my mom and my brothers and the family of this man.

God is good, and God is faithful.  I have to trust He knows what is best, but sometimes it is hard.  This is the passage that is giving me comfort this week in regard to all that is on my heart and mind:

Romans 8: 18 -39

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
God’s Everlasting Love

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wassup Wednesday – 14 Advent, Activity, Affirmation

Here are a few things I am thinking about this week  . . .


We managed to get out the Christmas decorations before the Advent season began this year.  So for two whole days, Charis begged me to let her “do” the Advent calendar before the first day.  The first day to use the calendar came on Tuesday, which also happened to be the first day I started my new job.  I got up at 6:15 that morning, and I was relaxing and thinking about my day when Charis appeared in the living room at 7:15.  She said, “Do you know what day it is?  It’s Tuesday.  It’s the first day!”  I asked her if she wanted to “do” the advent calendar without the other children, and she did.  So she went over to the calendar, pulled out the scripture card and ornament for the day.  The scripture was Psalm 100, and the ornament was a trumpet.  We talked about what it means to make a joyful noise to the Lord, and how joyful we are that Jesus was born.  I didn’t think of it then, but the trumpet is often used to announce the arrival of royalty.  What a great way to start thinking about the coming of King Jesus!  It was also a great way to start my first day of work.


The new job obviously brings more activity to our household.  I am now gone for the whole day, and for the month of December, Mark has all 4 kids home for homeschooling.  Beginning after Christmas, we hope to send the girls back to the Christian school they attended last year, and the boys will both continue homeschooling.

In addition to the job, we have basketball for Calvin.  He had a game Monday evening, and their team played well and won.  I am so happy with the homeschool basketball program he is in.  It is so refreshingly different than youth league football.  The coaches are Christian men who really care about the team members.  I don’t worry about bad language or  vulgar conversation.  I don’t worry about the coach using inappropriate motivators to make the team work harder.  It is a good thing.

Evangeline’s choir has several performances with the orchestra for the Nutcracker this weekend at the fabulous Fox Theater in St Louis; Calvin has an away basketball game;  Nevin and Calvin have a choir concert, and we are throwing Nevin’s belated birthday party on Sunday afternoon.  I’ll be grateful to rest at work when Monday comes!


Now for talk about the new job.  Affirmation is the word that best describes how I feel in this new position.  Day 1 was full of information and new people.  My head was spinning with details.  But in all that spinning, I felt very welcomed and appreciated–affirmed over and over again of my skills and gifts.  I am not big into all the warm fuzzy talk, but I have to say I have been blown away by the consistent kindness of the people I am working with and the church members I am meeting this week.  Part of the pastoral staff’s philosophy of ministry is something called “radical hospitality,” and the way I have been treated this week makes me feel like they really know how to communicate it to the church’s membership.

Day 2 was much more calm as I had more time to absorb information and look at things on my own.   If I take things one day at a time, I think things will come together over time.

It is strange to not see the kids until late in the afternoon, but Mark is holding everything together well.  Thanks to all who have been praying for us.  It makes a difference.

One More Thing . . .

I wrote most of this post on Wednesday, but I didn’t get it up yesterday because I wanted to get the photo of the Advent calendar uploaded before hitting the “publish” button.   So, today is actually Thursday, and it is my wonderful husband’s birthday.  Happy Birthday, Mark.  I love you.

Wassup Wednesday – 13 Giving Thanks, etc.

Big News:  I accepted an offer for a full-time job.  It is an administrative position with a large church.  We are thankful for the opportunity.  If you think of it, pray for all the adjustments to our family life in the weeks and months ahead.

Kids: Girls will hopefully go back to their school of last year.  We’re working on the details.  The boys will both stay home with Mark and continue homeschooling.  As I said, adjustments . . .

Thanksgiving:  We are thankful for many things this year.  The new job is one, but we are also so grateful to God for the way he has consistently met our needs by providing Mark with writing projects these last 6 months.  We are praying for more of the same.

We are also thankful for family and friends who care for us.  So many times we call on people for help, and they come through.  God uses people graciously in our lives, and it is a blessing that can’t be overlooked.

A little less important, but on my mind–I am thankful for the delete button on my e-mail application.  If I couldn’t delete all these ads for Black Friday specials, I would have to cancel my e-mail account!

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Parental Encouragement

For oh, so many years, I have felt like an octopus in church–or at least like I needed to be a creature with 8 arms to keep my little people in some modicum of decent behavior as our family attempted to worship God.  For 6+ years, I was doing most of my pew gymnastics solo as Mark was preaching every week.  Many Sundays, I felt like it was not worth it.

Something happened in church yesterday that confirmed my efforts were not in vain.   Immediately after the worship service, our oldest son, now 13,  said, “Mom, did you or Dad call Pastor and tell him about everything I have done wrong this week?”

I laughed and said, “No, why?”

“Well, this is the third week in a row that it seems like he was talking about stuff that I did,” he replied.

“Maybe God called Pastor about you, ” I said.

I laughed because only a kid thinks the world revolves around him so much that the pastor of his church would direct his sermon to him.  But the emotion that overcame me the most was joy because this means for at least the last 3 weeks, my 13-year-old has been paying attention to the sermon.  I also must add that after years of unwelcomed prodding to participate fully in worship by singing vigorously and to become fully engaged while reading the liturgy, he, along with his younger brother, can both be heard clearly by their fellow parishioners.

With this experience fresh in my mind, today several friends on facebook linked this article by Pastor Doug Wilson that encouraged me further in my parental efforts in the pew.  I am nearing the end of my physical struggles to parent in the pew, but I still have a pretty rascally 6-year-old daughter who needs some gentle prodding regarding behavior during worship.  So this encouragement is still needed to get me through to the end.  But I also need it because while the physical struggles are ending, the emotional and spiritual struggles are really beginning to heat up.

I now see why people want to keep their kids little forever.  As I see mine starting on the visible path to adulthood, I get more and more driven to pray for them. It would be so much easier if I could just keep wrestling with them to keep them still and quiet during church.

Wassup Wednesday – 8 — A little late

Beginning with a Book:  I started reading Simply Christian by NT Wright over last weekend. Chapter 1, “Putting the World To Rights,” talks about our longing for justice in the world.  To me, it seems Wright is talking about the void we all feel that there has to be something–someone who can straighten out the mess we’re in.  Of course, as Christians, that person is Jesus.  Wright talks of our need to be passionate about justice as Christ is.

So far, I am finding it compelling, though there is an underlying current that is a little off-setting to me.  I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but the rest of the book might balance out that feeling.  More to come.

I am still reading HP3, but I really will finish it this week!

Food:  We’re still low-carbing in a sense, but not with as much gusto.  My lagging creativity coupled with the expense of eating more meat and veggies is causing us to rethink.  So now, we are trying to limit our carb intake to supper time to allow for some pasta or bread.  We are also trying to keep our portions in control and continuing to not snack.

I am also trying to bake some bread that is more healthy and even a bit less expensive than the store-bought kind.  Some friends here told me about a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  I haven’t actually seen the book yet, but I found some of the concepts at the Mother Earth News website, and I am trying it for the first time tonight.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.  It certainly sounds like a good idea!


Exercise: All of my efforts this year have been a failure on the exercise front.  So I started a much more reasonable walking program this week that I might actually stick to.  It is based on the program in this book: The Complete Guide to Walking.

Kids:  Regular season games of football end this weekend.  W00-hoo!  It sounds like the post-season will end within 2 weeks.  Can I hear an Amen!?

And, in honor of Nevin’s upcoming 12th birthday on Tuesday, I leave you with this photo:

Wassup Wednesday – 7

So here it is Wednesday again . . .

Pictures: From our church’s harvest party

News: Tonight, Mark and I surgically removed a red plastic peg from Charis’s ear.  It took bribery to get her to remain still enough to put the tweezers far enough into her ear to get a decent grip on the thing, but hurray, no trip to the ER was necessary!  The whole shenanigan happened just when I was about to head out the door to take Calvin to football practice, so we managed to get a night off from practice because at that point we weren’t sure whether we would be home or at the ER.  So the incident did have a silver lining. 🙂  The peg game was thrown away after the procedure was complete!

Kids: Football is over in 2 – 3 weeks (playoffs make the schedule a bit uncertain).  Calvin has started practice with a homeschool basketball team, so there will be some crossover.  We are committed to the idea of having him be playing a sport all the time to keep him occupied.  You know, idle hands are the devil’s workshop, right?  Nevin opted out of basketball because it would prevent him from playing indoor soccer that starts later in the year.  Charis also hopes to play indoor soccer this year.

Evangeline’s first concert with Kirkwood Children’s Chorale is the second Sunday in November.  Then her choir will perform with the Nutcracker at the Fabulous Fox Theater the first weekend in December and with the St Louis Brass at Catherdral Basilica the third week in December.  It is really exciting that she’ll have exposure to such great cultural events.

Inside Cathedral Basilica

Little ol’ Me:  I am on book 3 of the Harry Potter books.  I think I’ll finish soon.  I have also started reading Simply Christian by NT Wright.  I’ll let you know what I think as I read more.

I am mostly feeling torn or unfocused.  Homeschooling is going fine in the sense that the kids are learning what they need to know.  However, I need to be better at focusing on them and less focused on how I might solve all our family’s problems somehow through endless internet searches.  So if you are ever praying for me, pray that God would keep me on the task at hand with less worry about the future.  He is in control–thankfully, I’m am not responsible for everything.

We also have some house projects that must be completed.  I am not sure how this will happen, but we need to make some real plans and “get ‘er done.”

Day is Done: Hump Day is over.  Enjoy your Thursday and your weekend!

Wassup Wednesday – 6

News: I got a new-to-me ipod nano.  It arrived in today’s mail.  I have been playing around with it, but it will take me a while to figure it all out.  Already Nevin showed me how the volume control works.  I think of myself as technologically savvy, and here I am one of those parents who needs to have her kid show how something works.

Fun: Homeschool field trip to the Magic House this past Monday.  The Magic House is one of St Louis’s great family-friendly attractions, and it was a lot of fun to visit again.  We had enough homeschool families from our church present to divide the kids up into age groups, making it a manageable visit for everyone.  Here are couple shots of Evangeline enjoying her time there.  Her friend’s older sister took the pics.


 Books: Reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  It is as fun as the others, and I am anxioius to move on so I can finish the whole series.

I picked up a Barbara Kingsolver book, Prodigal Summer, at Goodwill, this time for 35 cents!  I am looking forward to reading it because I really liked her book The Poisonwood Bible.  I’ll let you know what I think of this one.

Something cool: My friend, Lindy, uses the Grocery Game website to save money on groceries.  I have never been a coupon person, but Lindy’s family eats for practically nothing!  I am not sure if I am going to be able to work this system or not, but I am going to give it some serious consideration.  I do think that St Louis grocery stores are not as prone to doubling coupons, so maybe coupons won’t be as effective here.  Plus, I usually shop at Aldi where the prices are low to begin with and they don’t take coupons.  But if I can save more by using coupons at the regular stores, I’ll give it a try.  Anyone else have thoughts re: pros and cons of couponing.

That’s all for now . . .