Sunday, December 31, 2006


You may have noticed that I’ve changed my profile picture once again. This newest picture is a portrait that Lily drew of me on a Magna-Doodle.
Notice how my hair is standing straight up and the slightly frazzled expression on my face. Except for the fact that I have no mid-section to speak of and my arms are growing out of my ears I think she captured my essence rather well.

Happy Birthday, Christen!

Today is my dear sister-in-law’s birthday. We didn’t get to be with Christen to celebrate her birthday today because of distance and my own fatigue, but we are still celebrating her birth even as we’re apart. Today I celebrate the birth of not just an “in-law,” but my friend.

When I met Joshua I had no idea that besides getting a wonderful husband I’d also be gaining two terrific sisters. That’s a bonus I didn’t foresee, but I’m so very grateful for it. I’ve become friends with both Christen and Jennifer, but for now I’ll just write about Christen (seeing as it’s her birthday and all). I have especially been appreciating having Christen as my sister-friend lately as we’ve been able to discuss and sympathize with each other through all the various ups and downs of motherhood. We can talk spit-up and poopy diapers, nursing, those wonderful cuddle times and the roller coaster emotions that go with all of that. It means so much to me to have someone my own age to talk to who listens and cares.

Christen, I had no idea when I first met you almost five years ago that we’d be friends like we are now. You are a blessing to me. I pray that God would give you His joy and hope and that He would bless you with His presence in this next year of your life.

Happy Birthday!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Glimpse of What I See

the girl with golden curls dances
her daddy smiles
and gently strums his guitar

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ooh, the Pretties!

Tonight we ate dinner at our dining room table for the first time in over a week. Why, you ask? You see, my talented husband has replaced our old, duct-taped dining room flooring with a very pretty handmade wood floor. Joshua cut out “tiles” from thin sheets of wood and then stained them, sanded them and coated them with Polyurethane. He scraped up the old vinyl tiles and then glued (and nailed in some places) the new wood tiles in place. He then coated the whole floor with three more coats of Polyurethane (a very stinky job for which the kids and I escaped the house.) He is still working on cutting and staining the molding for the edges of the floor but at least the room was finished enough so that we could enjoy a somewhat normal dinner instead of picnicking in the living room.

The beginning stages of cutting and measuring. Notice Joshua’s cute assistant.

He had quite the weights system going on to keep pressure on the tiles while the glue dried.

Now ain’t that a pretty sight? I’m so proud of our new floor. Malachi had graciously accepted the responsibility of breaking it in by throwing one of his larger trucks smack dab in the middle of the room and then spitting on it as well. (Boys!)

Next project: the kitchen floor (cue ominous music.) I’m so glad that I married such a handy man.

Happy Birthday, Gabrielle!

Today, December 27th, is my baby sister’s birthday. Even though I can hardly remember back to a time when I was actually taller than she was, Gaby will never cease to be my “baby sister.”

I wish I could wax eloquent and say wonderful sentimental things about how great Gaby is and how much she means to me, but to do that I would need many more brain cells than are currently functioning for me at this moment. So I will content myself with saying simply that I’m glad that I get to be Gaby’s sister and I’m ever grateful that I got to grow up along side her and be a part of the same family with her. I’m glad she is who she is and I’m glad that she had a part in making me who I am.

Thank you, Gaby for being my friend. I pray that Yahweh would bless you with a waterfall of His blessings and an ever increasing love for Him.
I love you, Baby Sister.

Happy Birthday!

Friday, December 22, 2006

My Baby Got Belly

I’m at that point in this pregnancy where I’m afraid to venture out into public for fear of offending people with my largeness. I can’t imagine why I’m feeling this way since everyone has been so kind in their comments to me:

“You’re looking very pregnant!” “Maybe you’re having twins.” “When are you due? You look ready!” “Are you sure you’re not having twins?”

I fully realize that I’m roughly the size of a well-built water buffalo, but I really think I could do without the constant reminders. Thankfully, my husband is enraptured with my growing belly and can’t tell me enough how cute he thinks I am. And I don’t mind remarks made by those women who are still in their childbearing years. I know they understand what it’s like to be at this stage where as the older folks seem to have forgotten what it feels like to grow a belly deserving of its own area code.

Well, I guess I’ll just have to get used to the various comments I’ll be receiving for the next month and a half or so because after this baby is born I’ll have to get used to hearing “What a big boy/girl you have! He/she must be such a good eater!”


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

More Mouse Head, Please

Recently Barb had written about how when she was growing up her family would sometimes have Pancakes for Dinner. We had one such dinner last night. Payday was two days away and I hadn’t a clue what to fix for dinner. I remembered that we had been given a Mickey Mouse waffle iron that we hadn’t used yet and I thought the kids would enjoy having mouse head-shaped waffles. And boy, did they! Both kids got such a kick out of eating “mouse heads” for dinner and they scarfed them right down. It was rather amusing to hear them say in their cute toddler voices, “More mouse head, please?”

And so another great memory was made, not because I planned some elaborate family-bonding scheme, but simply because it was the end of the pay period and I had to scramble to get something for dinner. Isn’t that just the way life goes?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Winners of the Name Game

For those of you who care, these are the names we have picked for our baby.

And the winners are...

If Baby Buddy is a boy then his name will be... Lucius Adoniram
Lucius means “light” and Adoniram means “my lord is exalted.”

If Baby Buddy is a girl then her name will be... Evangeline Felicity
Evangeline means “good news” and Felicity means “happiness.”

I’m getting very eager to meet our little one and find out which of these names he/she will bear. Only 53 days (or so) to go!

This One’s For You, Anonymous

Here’s how one of the portraits looks in a sepia tone. Thanks for the tip!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Pregnancy Portraits

Here are some pictures of Mommy and Baby Buddy. I call this series "The Big and the Beautiful."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Sabbath Thought

Today Joshua and I took the kids on a walk as we usually do on Sabbath afternoons and then we let them run around in the school parking lot behind our house. They were happily running and yelling when Lily came up to us and asked if we could pray for Great-Grandma. We were a little confused, but we certainly didn’t want to say “No” to such a request. So there we were, standing in a parking lot, holding hands and praying. Lily had no idea that her suggestion was a little out of the ordinary and socially strange and that we adults felt just a tiny bit odd doing it. She just knew that it’s good to pray all the time- no matter where you are.

Don’t you wish we could all be more childlike and not worry about what people think of us? How different the world would be if Christians would stop letting the fear of man control our actions!

Sometimes I need a three-year-old to remind me of that.

Oh, God, may we never be ashamed of Your Gospel. May we always be willing fools for You.

Friday, December 08, 2006

December 8th is National Brownie Day!

In honor of this special day I thought I’d share two of my favorite brownie recipes for your taste enjoyment (thanks to Barb for the Candy Bar Brownie recipe.)

Happy Brownie Day!

Deep Dish Brownies (Originally from

3/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
In a large bowl, blend melted butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Gradually blend into the egg mixture. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let brownies cool, then cut into squares.

Candy Bar Brownies

4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup cocoa
4 (2.07 oz size) Snickers Bars, coarsely chopped
3 (1.55 oz size) Hershey Bars, finely chopped

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well.
Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; stir in sugar mixture. Fold in chopped Snickers bars.
Spoon in to a greased and floured 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan; sprinkle with chopped milk chocolate bars. Bake at 350-degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack; cut in to squares.
Yield: 2-1/2 dozen

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Mind of a Three-Year-Old

Today Lily and I were looking at my expanding midriff and talking about how big Baby Buddy is getting. I asked Lily if she thought the baby would get even bigger. She looked upset and said adamantly, “The baby won’t get bigger- your belly will break!”

As the kids and I have been reading through Matthew during our morning Bible reading time I’ve been talking to them about Jesus' name Emmanuel and how it means “God with us.” I said that since Jesus came to be with us we don’t need to be afraid of sin or death anymore. Lily, always eager to add her two cents said, “And we don’t have to be afraid of cows anymore, too.”

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Public Opinion Poll

Here’s a question for you all: How many kids does it take to make a family “large?”

I don't consider a family big until there are at least five or six kids. Growing up in a family of five kids I never felt like there were that many of us, but I’m guessing that from a mother’s viewpoint five could seem like a lot to keep track of. (Honestly though, two seem like a lot at times!)

So what do you think?

Monday, December 04, 2006


It started out as a spontaneous thing: we were having our bi-monthly group dinner and at this particular dinner were celebrating Barb’s birthday. The dinner had a fiesta theme so we all had margaritas. After all the food was served I suddenly had the urge to toast my friend on this her birthday celebration. I stood and said my toast and we all raised our glasses in a salute to Barb. Since then it has become a tradition in our group to give a toast to whoever’s birthday we are celebrating.

Whenever I know there is a birthday coming up I always make sure that someone will be bringing some sort of special drink. We usually have something alcoholic (like wine) for those who can have fun and something non-alcoholic for the pregnant and under-aged in the group. I’ll then assign someone ahead of time to give the toast so that they have some time to come up with something appropriate to say. We‘ve had a wide range of toast styles, from Barb’s touching toast to Patty: “It’s been a joy to get to know you and watch you grow as a Christian...” to Dad’s humorous toast for Joshua: “May you never become better at golf than I am...” This tradition that started out as a spontaneous thing has turned into a really special time for our little group. It’s one more part of the glue that binds us together.

It’s a strange company of people that meet here to share a meal. We are made up of six separate households of all different ages and stages of life. To an outsider I imagine we look a little odd all bunched together as we are, but that’s what’s so beautiful about our group. The only thing that we all have in common is the same Grace saved us all and that’s what makes us a family. Every other Thursday night we get a glimpse into what eternity will be like- all sorts of people of different ages and races all coming together for the great Wedding Feast.

Maybe sometimes we seem a little weird together. Maybe some people would think it odd that a fifty-something year old pastor could joke with a twenty something young man about the different explosions that can be created using only household objects. Our dinners may sometimes look like a comedy scene straight from a sitcom, but we’re bound together in a wonderful way that I don’t really understand and really don‘t need to.

So whether we’re discussing explosions or honoring someone with a birthday toast, we are encouraging each other with the hope of enjoying this beautiful togetherness for all eternity when we will be toasting our Jesus with the finest wine perfection has to offer.

I’ll drink to that.

Friday, December 01, 2006


The Sky Cried Today

The sky cried today-
I wept at what it had to say.
It grieved for the pain it sees us bear,
For the children groaning with despair,
For the bleeding hearts that daily break
And our moaning from the throbbing ache.

The sun couldn’t bear to shine today
It hid its face and looked away
I tried to comfort the weeping skies,
But couldn’t- for the tears were in my own eyes.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Those Aren't My Kids...

They must take after their father.

Yep, definitely from the Gardner side.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Birthday Wish

Tomorrow is our dear friend Jeremy’s birthday.

Jeremy, may God bless you abundantly in this coming year. Thank you for being our friend.

Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My Daily Thanks #13

This will be my final Thanksgiving post seeing as tomorrow I will be too busy cooking, eating and being a wonderful hostess to want to write a blog post.

I am thankful that I am thankful. I am thankful that God the Father chose me, Jesus’ blood saved me and the Holy Spirit has worked in me and given me a heart of flesh to replace my heart of stone. A stony heart can never really be thankful, but my heart of flesh is and for that I am grateful. I am a thankful disciple of Jesus not because of anything I’ve ever done, but only because of what He did on the cross so many years ago. I have hope in this life and I’m headed for eternal bliss because God chose me- not because I chose Him. He has forgiven my sins and has made me sing and dance with joy. He has made me thankful.

Thank you, God, for my thankful heart.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Bring her into the wilderness
And speak kindly to her.
...And she shall sing there....”
Hosea 2:14-15

Have a joy-filled Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My Beautiful Family

My Daily Thanks #12

I am thankful for my life. When I was younger I had my dream life all planned out. I would marry a handsome Christian man, live in a nice house and have beautiful children. God has granted me exactly what I hoped for- and beyond. I can’t imagine a more Godly, loving (and good-looking) husband than Joshua, our home is gorgeous and displays our distinct style, and when it comes to children you won’t find cuter or more precious ones than ours.

When I think of all the mistakes and sins that I’ve done along the way I am amazed that God would grant such a life to someone who so fully doesn’t deserve it.

Thank you, God, for my beautiful life.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My Daily Thanks #11

I am thankful that I am pregnant. This pregnancy has not been easy for me- physically and emotionally- but I don’t want to fall into the trap of complaining about all the struggles when the reason for my struggles is something so good and beautiful. I love feeling Baby Buddy kicking and squirming inside of me. He must be so cozy, warm and contented in there. I like dreaming about the day that I’ll finally get to meet this little person. A couple of days ago, I was in the attic and I stumbled across a box of baby clothes and found a fuzzy, pink sleeper that Lily used to wear. I cuddled it, remembering how snuggly a newborn is. I’m looking forward to having a little snuggly baby soon.

I’m writing this post at a little before five in the morning because I woke up over an hour ago and couldn’t get back to sleep. Malachi just started crying because he woke up and couldn’t find Chewy. After finding the missing Chewy, I tucked him back in, gave him a kiss and he fell right back to sleep. That was just another reminder to me of how much I love being a mommy. I’m so very thankful that I get to be mommy to yet another baby.

Thank you, God, for this beautiful gift of pregnancy- backaches and all.

Thanksgiving Letter

Starting last year we have begun the tradition of sending out an annual Thanksgiving letter to various family members. I thought that I’d post the letter here for your viewing enjoyment.

“We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near.”
Psalm 75:1

How much we have to give thanks for! As Thanksgiving approaches, it is good to count up our many blessings and note the many gifts our God has given us this past year. As a family, we have been tremendously blessed and we would like to take a moment to share our thankfulness with you.

Joshua is still working at [his job] in Research and Development and, while it’s not a dream job, we are grateful that he has a job that provides enough money to support our growing family. Especially in these days of unemployment his having such a good job is a huge blessing to us.
And he still has time for play, too. On any given night, if someone were to stop by our house they would hear beautiful guitar music being played by Joshua’s skilled fingers. Most of what he plays is self-composed and he’s been experimenting with children’s music as he writes little songs for Lily and Malachi- much to their delight. Music is a big part of our life and the talent that God has given Joshua is something for which we are very grateful.

Homemaking and mothering continue to be Adiel’s main daily occupations. And even though the kids may drive her crazy some days, she loves being home with them. “School time” has become part of her daily routine as she teaches letters, numbers, colors, shapes and songs to two smart, but wiggly little kids.
Through her love of creative decorating she is continually filling the Gardner home with bright, cheerful colors which will be especially appreciated during the upcoming gray winter months.

Lily is an active, imaginative, clever, pretty little three-year-old. She is a doting big sister, though sometimes that shows as bossiness. She really loves her little brother, helps to take care of him and does her part to make sure he’s learning his letters and colors. She amazes us with the questions she asks: “Where is Heaven?” “Does God have hands?” “Did Jesus cry when He died?” We do our best to answer her questions wisely and praise God that He’s given her a hunger to know Him, even at her young age.

Everything Malachi knows he learned from his big sister which means he is picking up all her bad habits as well as the good ones! At two years of age he shows a great aptitude for memorization and is learning Bible verses, songs and the ABC’s almost as quickly as Lily is. He is currently obsessed with trucks, cars, motorcycles, trains and anything else that has a big engine and makes lots of noise. He and Daddy will often have wrestling matches and he often comes out as champion!

And, of course, a huge blessing- or should I say a “little” blessing- to our family is the baby that is even now growing inside of Adiel. After losing a baby a little over a year ago, we are all the more grateful for this new addition to our family. “Baby Buddy,” as we are calling him/her, is healthy, growing, wiggling and kicking.
While, right now, Malachi is more interested in trucks than in babies, Lily is almost as excited about Baby Buddy as Mommy and Daddy are. The February due date seems so far away, but hopefully the time will fly by and we’ll be holding our precious child soon. Please pray with us for a safe delivery and healthy baby.

As you can see, we Gardners have much to be thankful for. But as we are counting our blessings, let’s not forget the One who gave them to us. Yahweh, the creator and sustainer of the universe, is Lord of this family and it is to Him that we are thankful and give all our praise.

“Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? Who can declare all His praise?” Psalm 106: 1-2

Sunday, November 19, 2006

My Daily Thanks #10

I am thankful for my daughter’s generosity. On Friday Joshua had brought home a special brownie and when Lily saw it she asked if she could have it. Joshua said she and Malachi could share it. I jokingly said how that wasn’t fair and I thought Daddy brought the brownie home for Mommy. Joshua told Lily that Mommy would share it, too.

The next day during the kids’ nightly Snack Time I gave Lily and Malachi portions of the special brownie and then started cleaning up the dinner things. When I came back into the room I saw half of Lily’s brownie sitting at my place. That little girl had remembered that I wanted some brownie, too and made sure she shared it with me! I know how special Snack Time is to Lily and for her to share some of the precious brownie was an incredible act of self-giving for a three-year-old. I gave her brownie back to her and she got Mommy and Daddy’s praise for being so generous.

Thank you, God, for giving Lily a generous heart.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

My Daily Thanks #9

I am thankful that last night Joshua and I were able to go out on a real live, kid-free date. Barb graciously took time out of her busy schedule to come over and watch the kids so Joshua and I could go out to eat at Applebee's. We ate delicious food that I didn’t have to prepare and talked about baby names, psalm singing Dutchmen, the origin of Pentecost and Seinfeld. The best part is that we didn’t even have to pay for this grand experience since we were using an Applebee’s gift card that Joshua had received for his birthday.

We had a great time and I’m so very thankful that I have a husband who still loves to take me on dates.

Thank you, God, for our wonderful date night.

Friday, November 17, 2006

My Daily Thanks #8

Today I am thankful for something that happened yesterday. I was listening to the radio in the morning while the DJ was giving the weather report. “The sun certainly won’t shine today,” she said confidently. “Ha!” I thought, “That shows how much you know.” And sure enough, later that day after a heavy rain shower, the sun came out and was shining brilliantly.

It was so beautiful. There were water droplets clinging to the bush outside of our dining room window and when the sun shone its light through them they looked like millions of precious diamonds. How much more beautiful it was that the sun came out after the rain! If the sun had been shining all day then I wouldn’t have gotten to see the diamonds out my window. I think this was one more sign to me that my God really does know what He’s doing. He sends rain and stormy trials, but He also sends beauty and hope.

Thank you, God, for being in control.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

My Daily Thanks #7

Today I am thankful that the God I serve is also a man. It makes all the difference in the world to know that any emotion I could feel my Jesus has felt, too. He knows what it’s like to wake up and feel blah. He knows what it’s like to miss someone so much that it seems the world can’t hold all your grief. He knows how the sun feels when you tilt your face skyward. And He knows what rain tastes like.

I don’t know if I could worship a God who didn’t really know what it is like to live here on earth. But, praise Jehovah, He does! Jesus left all the glory of His heaven to come down here and be born next to some farm animals. He was raised by sinful parents and surrounded by sinful friends. He had head colds and stomach aches and bad days. And He did it all for me. How can I not be thankful for that?

Thank you, Jesus, for becoming just like me.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Name Game

In a few months, Lord willing, there will be another little Gardner living out in the world, breathing, crying, giggling and pooping. One of the most exciting parts of expecting a baby is choosing the perfect name for the little unborn person. It’s really amazing to consider that the name the Joshua and I choose for our baby is the name that he will carry for the rest of his life. It’s the name we will use to talk to him. It’s the name his spouse will one day call him by. And it’s the name that God will use when He speaks to His child. So this whole naming thing is a big deal.

We see often in the Bible that when God would name someone the name had a very specific meaning (Abraham, for example). So Joshua and I have tried choose names for our children that have specific meanings as well.

Lily got her name from Matthew 6:28-30 “...Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even King Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
When I was pregnant with her we were still newlyweds and we didn’t have a lot of money so we knew that things were going to be tight financially. But we knew that God would provide for us and so we trusted and hoped in Him. And so Lily Hope was born and we have never wanted for anything.

Malachi means “my messenger.” We are convinced that God has big plans for Malachi. Whether he grows up to be a pastor or a missionary or a janitor mopping floors at a hospital- he will bring the glorious news of the Gospel to the people around him.

So what are we going to name this next baby? Well, the possibilities will stay a secret for now, but we would really appreciate prayer so that we would have wisdom in choosing a good name for our precious baby. This child will be a warrior and child of God and we want him to have a name that reflects his awesome calling.

My Daily Thanks #6

I’m thankful for the wackiness of my kids. They sometimes make me want to pull my hair out, but then they go and do something really absurd and incredibly cute and I can’t help but love them. They make me laugh when I feel like crying and they force me to have fun when I’m being stodgy.

So, kids, go ahead and wear those goofy outfits, make your funny faces, tell me you’re a tiger and I’m an octopus, and ask me your silly questions. I love you, my silly ones.

Thank you, God, for my silly kids.

One of Those Moments

I’ve read books telling me how to be a good parent. I listen to other parents’ advice on child-raising. I pay special attention to Bible verses speaking to parents. I’ve been a parent for over three years now and I’m starting to get the hang of this thing. So why did I get stumped the other day when Lily asked me a very simple question?

There we were, at the kitchen counter making muffins. She was stirring the dry ingredients when suddenly she looked up at me and asked very seriously, “Mommy, do frogs have teeth?”
Was I so wrong to stare at her, confused, for a few seconds? And what’s worse is I wasn’t even sure of the answer at first!

Now, I ask you, what parenting book or Bible verse can prepare someone for a moment like that?

Monday, November 13, 2006

My Daily Thanks #5

I’m thankful for kisses. There are “I love you” kisses, “Good morning” kisses, mommy kisses, daddy kisses, brother and sister kisses, slobbery baby kisses, make-the-boo-boo-go-away kisses, and kisses that you can stick to the wall and save for later.
You don’t kiss just anyone- only the most special people. I love the people I kiss and I love kisses!

Thank you, God, for kisses.

Alyssa Again

I can’t take credit for this one since she’s not my own kid, but I have an aunt’s right to brag about her cuteness.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

My Daily Thanks #4

I’m thankful for the Sabbath day. Once every week I get to get out of the house to go worship the one, great God with others who love Him and are struggling to serve Him just like I am. I don’t have to worry about my chores and trying to keep up with the never ending housework. I have time to read, pray, think, discuss different issues with Joshua, and spend time with other Christians.

It’s a taste of Heaven and I’m so very grateful to God for demanding that we keep this day holy.

Thank you, God, for the Sabbath.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

My Daily Thanks #3

I’m thankful to be married to a man who loves being a daddy. Just by watching Joshua interact with Lily and Malachi it’s obvious to see that he loves them very much. Sometimes he’ll be watching Lily and Malachi play together and he'll feel a little left out so he’ll crawl on the floor with them and tackle Malachi and swing Lily around and let them climb all over him. He’s even excited about the kids before they’re born. He talks to our newest baby through my belly and likes it when the baby decides to kick his daddy.

There’s that saying, “Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a daddy.” Joshua is someone special and I’m so very blessed to be married to him.

Thank you, God, for my husband.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Umm, I'm Confused...

I was standing in line at the store yesterday loading my items onto the conveyer belt thingy and I couldn’t help but notice that the people in front of me were purchasing a rather large bag of cat food. I did a double take when I saw the item lying next to the cat food- a bag of mouse traps.

Does that make sense to anyone?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

My Daily Thanks #2

I’m thankful for the garbage truck. Not only does it weekly take away our refuse, but it is also the highlight of Lily and Malachi’s week. Every Thursday, as soon as we hear the garbage truck coming we stop whatever we are doing and run to a window to watch the rusted, green truck amble its way up the street. Malachi is in raptures as he sees the giant beast of a truck and squirms and jumps with excitement. Lily laughs and yells with Malachi, “Truck! Truck! It’s coming! Truck!”

Seeing the delight on my kids’ faces brightens up my day and I find that I look forward to Garbage Truck Day almost as much as they do.

Thank you, God, for the garbage truck.

My Daily Thanks

I love Thanksgiving. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved everything about it: great food in great quantities, family gathered all cozily inside talking, laughing, just being together and sharing our gratitude to God for all His good gifts. And all of this is surrounded by the glamorous colors of the falling leaves outside and the bright hues of pumpkins, gourds and mums. What’s not to like about it?

So, in honor of this favored time I will be writing a daily post each day leading up to Thanksgiving Day stating the various things for which I am grateful. Here’s one:

My home. I love my home despite the various old-house glitches that we come upon. I love my orange living room, my deep blue dining room and my red kitchen. I love the memories that are being created every day in my home. I love seeing my kids dance in the kitchen the way I used to when I was young. I love greeting my husband every day at the door that I painted yellow and cooking dinner in the kitchen that we fixed up together.

After living in an apartment for a few years I know how blessed we are to be able to own a home of our own.

Thank you, God, for my home.

Too Much Irony

It had been a rough day.

I was driving to the store to do some grocery shopping while feeling cranky and discouraged. The kids had been acting up and we’d been cooped up in the house because of bad weather. Even though now they were at home in bed and I was out for some time alone I still couldn’t shake the cloud hanging over my head.

Suddenly, from the trees by the side of the road, dozens of little birds appeared and majestically flew overhead. As I watched them fly I thought to myself, “How amazing! There still is a world out there where things soar and fly unhindered. What a good reminder for me.”

Feeling somewhat uplifted, I turned my eyes back to the road just in time to see something splatter on my windshield. One of those majestic, free birds had just pooped on me.

I sighed.

It had been a rough day.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

For the Lansberry Family

Since most of you who read this blog also frequent my siblings’/friends’ blogs you’ll know by now that Margary Rose Lansberry was born early Monday morning. Every baby’s birth is a special and amazing event, but Margary’s was especially wonderful. She is the direct result of a lot of people praying a lot.

I remember weeping over the loss of the Lansberry babies that never breathed in this world. And I prayed for God to be merciful and to grant life to the new baby that was alive inside of Theresa. And God said yes.

When I saw the birth announcement email and James’ jubilant blog post I felt an inexpressible joy bubbling up and I just had to thank our good God right then and there for the marvelous gift He’d given to my friends.

The Lansberry family fall into that category of people that I’ll probably never get to be very close to in this life, but we’ll have a ball praising God together in Heaven. So, for now I’ll watch Margary grow up from afar (as I watch the other Lansberry kids) and I’ll remember the miracle of her birth and someday when we’re all together in the new World then I’ll tell her how I prayed for her and then we’ll turn and together thank our gracious Father- to His face.

What do you say, Margary? Is it a date?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I See the Moon and the Moon Sees Me

Beautiful, slightly creepy- or both?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Just in Case You Were Interested

Here is a picture of the coffee cup mural in my kitchen. For those of you who know our kitchen, it's on the door that leads out to the back room.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Jumbled Thoughts

Since Jonathan- I mean Fritz- recently posted about missing our childhood, all sorts of thoughts and feelings in me have been bubbling to the surface so I thought I’d try to write them down. They may not be very coherent, but here they are.

I really miss my mom. So many times have I asked God why He took her away from me. Did He really have to take my mentor away? Did He really have to take away the one person who could understand how I was feeling usually better than I knew myself? Did He really have to take away my best friend?

Whenever I do something new with the house- maybe paint a mural of a giant coffee cup in my kitchen or a red-winged blackbird in the front hall- I always wonder what Mom would have thought about it. Most likely, she would have looked at my latest work of art and smiled hugely and said “Oh, how cool!” and she would have stared at it and gone on to say what exactly she liked about it and how great the colors looked. And then she would have talked to Joshua to make sure that he appreciated this work of art in his home as much as she did (and of course, he would have.) And then she would have asked me if I’d be willing to paint something in her house next. And I’d know that she meant every word of praise that she said because she’s the one who taught me to be creative in the first place.

My mom taught all of her kids to go against the grain of society and to be interesting, creative people. And since my style of creativity most resembled hers I always felt that she had a special appreciation for my art. She was the master artist and we kids were the apprentices. And now the master is gone and it’s up to us, her children, to share art and beauty and creativity with this gray world. Now I’m the master artist in my home and I am teaching my children to be artists. But sometimes I wish my master were back here. Sometimes I don’t want to be the master. Sometimes I wish I were still the apprentice.

There are many times when I’ll be struggling with a some issue and I’ll remember something mom said years ago and then I’ll know what do or how to respond in the situation. I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be and I hope that when the time comes for me to leave my grown children that they will be able to see some wisdom in my words and actions.

I’d hate for someone to think that just because I write about my mom that I don’t appreciate or admire my dad. It’s quite the contrary, I assure you. Rarely a day goes by in which I don’t talk to my dad and quite often both Joshua and I turn to him for advice and guidance. My dad is my pastor, my daddy and my friend. And even though he may deny this, he is very wise and I have been extremely blessed to have been raised by this man.

I think the greatest thing about my parents was the balance they created. Mom was artistic and emotional and Dad was logical and rational. My dad taught us to think. My mom taught us to feel. As parents they balanced each other out so that we kids were taught to have a proper amount of both art and logic.

But even though I still have my dad, I miss my mom. Moms are the ones who comfort us when we’re down. Moms are the ones who can sense when we’re under too much stress and then offer to babysit so that we can get out of the house for a bit. Moms are also the ones who can explain and sympathize with the funny quirks of pregnancy, parenting and marriage. Dads give wisdom and guidance. Moms give hugs and warm meals.

I keep telling myself that if God took my mom away that means that I don’t need her anymore. It’s hard to believe sometimes, but when I’m feeling the emptiness of the hole that my mom left I have to know that God has provided something else to fill it. My mom will never be replaced, of course, but somehow God has brought me to the point of not needing her anymore. He would never have taken away something that I needed.

At this point, I could say something schmaltzy like, “I know my mom is watching us from above and is here with us in our hearts.” But I won’t sport with your intelligence like that. I do know that my mom is a part of that great cloud of witnesses that the Bible tells us about and while I don’t understand how the saints in Heaven relate to us down here, I do know that we are connected by the same Love and the same blood that saved us all. I’ll see my mom again, of that I’m sure. I wonder what she’ll look like then. I wonder who I will be then. Can she see my art that I’ve created? Does it matter if she can?

There is so much that I don’t understand. You’d think that someone who has known so closely the bitterness of death would understand it a little better. But I’m content now to be confused. My God has given me all the knowledge I need for the tasks He’s given me. And that’s good enough for now.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Great Song Lyrics

You spoke my world into existence
Designed my mind and soul even knowing
That I would be the one to break your heart

But you sent Your only Son to be our Savior
You sent the living King to be our servant
And bought me with a price I can’t imagine
So I belong to you

---Building 429 "I belong to You

Friday, October 27, 2006

Things We Never Thought We Would Have To Say

"Stop jumping on the toilet."

"You can have a cookie, just put your pants on first."

"Don’t eat the floor."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My Son Has Found His Calling

Today Malachi had a really cute thing going. He was standing on a pillow, facing a chair while holding a book. He would open his book, look over the top of the chair and say, “Good morning. Please stand.”

It took me a minute to realize that my little boy was imitating his Grandpa B. by trying to lead a pretend worship service! The pillow was the “stage,” the chair was the pulpit and I’m guessing the book was supposed to be a Bible.

We gave Malachi his name (meaning “my messenger”) knowing that he would indeed be a messenger of God to this fallen world. And I’ll admit to having hopes that he would someday express an interest in becoming an ordained pastor. I just didn’t think it would be happening so soon...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Yes, This is My Life

Yesterday the kids and I were trying to get ready to go outside to play. I had succeeded in getting Malachi dressed earlier so now it was a matter of getting Lily to put on the clothes I told her to wear and getting myself dressed and presentable while keeping Malachi out of trouble. Here are the steps that we had to complete. This is pretty typical preparation for a trip to the great outdoors.

1.Tell Lily what clothes to wear for the umpteenth time
2. Trip to the potty for Lily
3. Pick out skirt for myself
4. Put said skirt on the hall floor while waiting for Lily to complete potty trip
5. Check email while still waiting for my turn at the potty
6. Hear Lily finish potty adventure and tell her again which clothes to wear
7. Hear splish-splashing sounds coming from potty room and catch Malachi playing in the toilet
8. Be thankful that Lily actually remembered to flush the toilet before Malachi got to it (this time)
9. Take my turn in the potty room and go back to the hall to get my skirt
10. Stare bewildered at the bare space of floor where my skirt lay a minute ago
11. Interrogate children about the whereabouts of the missing skirt
12. Receive all matter of unhelpful answers such as, “I don’t know.”
13. Follow Malachi to my bedroom where he is convinced the skirt is hidden
14. Try to follow his reasoning as he points to one of his daddy’s shirts saying, “Right there!”
15.Thank Malachi for his help and redouble efforts to locate skirt
16. See gas meter man out window and hope desperately that he won’t ring the doorbell and see me in my comfy, but unpresentable sweatpants
17. Finally discover the missing skirt tucked away in the dirty clothes hamper where it was placed by some well-meaning toddler
18. Don skirt, get coats and shoes on everyone and head outside
19. Play outside for approximately ten minutes before discovering that Lily has inadvertently been playing with wet tar
20. Start the next adventure of the day

More Cuteness and More and More...

I'm sure not getting tired of posting pictures of these cute tykes, but if you are getting tired of seeing them then, uh, stop visiting this blog, I guess. Anyway, they're just so cute I really feel it's my duty to mankind to share the adorableness with the less fortunate.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Look Behind My Mask

As you all have been reading this blog of late, you may or may not have picked up on the fact that these last several months have been really tough for me. In the early months of this pregnancy I struggled with a vicious bout of depression. Even though I knew that the reason I felt the way I did was simply because of my hormones and the crazy things they like to do, I still couldn’t get past the feelings of despair that plagued me daily. This has gotten better in recent weeks, but I still have “gray days” occasionally when I can feel a gray Curtain falling around me and I am utterly cut off from any signs of life and hope. I had trouble writing or talking about how I felt then, but I’d like to try to communicate now just how hard life was for me. One reason I want to write about my depression is so that someone else could know that they are not alone and that there are others- yes, even Christians- who have felt this same thing.

There is no way to gauge when it started or even how it all started, but one day I found myself in a blackness that felt impenetrable. I couldn’t feel the way I knew I should feel. I couldn’t love the way I wanted to. I couldn’t bear to wake up in the morning and I hated going to bed because I knew that morning was coming and I did not want to live another hopeless day.

I remember many times when I could not even form a coherent prayer and all my heart could utter was, “Father, please help me just to be alive right now.” I remember feeling so ashamed of the different thoughts that would run through my head. Thoughts telling me that I was a terrible mother and that my children and husband would be better off if I were dead. Thoughts that said there was no way I could handle having this next baby and wondering if it would be better if I miscarried. These thoughts were always the worst during the day when the kids were acting up and dirty dishes were still sitting in the sink from breakfast and Joshua wouldn’t be home from work for another five hours. Those were dark days. There were many times I didn’t think I would ever make it through. There was no light at the end of the tunnel for me. And I was so alone in that darkness. I did know enough to never act on my feelings. Even on my darkest days I knew that I would never even attempt to harm myself or my children in any way. God granted me grace enough to keep my sanity. And for that I am grateful.

Through this time I tried to not let most people know how I was struggling. If someone asked how I was feeling, I’d smile and say I was fine and then try to change the subject. Perhaps I should have let others in on the secret of my anguish, but I couldn’t bear the thought of receiving some useless sympathy that would only make me feel worse. Joshua, of course, was so sweet in the way that he was patient with me. He was understanding when the laundry wasn’t done and usually offered to pick something up for dinner if it had been a particularly bad day. My dad, too, was an encouragement to me. But even though these men helped me limp along, what I really wanted was another woman to talk to who could understand how I was feeling. I think there are some women who I could have talked to, but I just didn’t have the energy to reach out, ask for help and let them in on my dark secret.

I don’t know how I would have survived without the love of my God to carry me through- even though on most days I would feel like God was floating somewhere out in space a million miles away from me. Even when I felt like He must not be the loving Father I thought He was. Even when I felt like He might as well not exist for all the good He was doing me. But then on those days when the Curtain was lifted ever so slightly and I could see the sun again, during those brief, beautiful moments I could see clearly how my faithful God had led me through the darkness and I knew that when the time came for the Curtain to fall again He would be with me- not floating out there somewhere in my imagination, but living, working and breathing in my very soul. The Curtain could never block Him out. It could block out the sun, my will to live, and any ray of hope, but it could never, ever separate me from the love of my Father.

Just this past week, I was praying before bedtime and I could suddenly feel the gray Curtain slowly starting to fall. “Oh, God,” I prayed, “please don’t let the Curtain fall tonight! Please!” To my astonishment I could feel it being lifted and then it vanished. I heard Jesus whisper that He would not let it fall tonight or tomorrow. The next day I could feel It hovering around the edges, but I remembered Jesus’ promise to me and I knew I could fight It today. I even wrote on the top of my “To Do” list, “The curtain will not fall today” just to remind me.

Perhaps someone reading this has felt the gray Curtain of depression. Perhaps you, too, have felt the empty ache that comes when nothing on earth seems to matter anymore and the feeling that you are alone, so alone, in this losing battle. If you claim Jesus as your Savior from sin then He is your Savior from this, too. Cling to His promise that He will hold you in His loving arms. Cling to this promise even when it feels like you are clinging to empty air. If you do not claim Jesus as your Savior then repent! Acknowledge that you are lost in your sin and that He is the only hope you could ever have to live in this life and in the Life to come. Believe that He- and only He- can save you. I know this is true because He saved me.

How grateful I am to serve a God that knows the pain of living in this fallen world! How awed I am to know that He has conquered this pain and that one day the Curtain will be gone forever and that I will never again feel separated from the One I love.

My Cute Family

Monday, October 16, 2006


Here is a picture of my newest adorable niece. Isn't she precious? Here's "Uncle Josh" cuddling this cute addition to the family.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Unmasking

This song spoke rather directly to me since I struggle so much with opening up and showing others the “real” me. This is a problem that is very prevalent in the Church today. If that’s going to change then we need to be the ones to share our weaknesses and make ourselves vulnerable to others. We need to be the ones to unmask. If we don’t start the process, who will?

Stained Glass Masquerade

Is there anyone that fails? Is there anyone that falls?
Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small?
‘Cause when I take a look around everybody seems so strong.
I know they’ll soon discover that I don’t belong.

So I tuck it all away, like everything’s okay. If I make them all believe it,
maybe I’ll believe it, too.
So with a painted grin, I play the part again so everyone will see me
the way that I see them

Are we happy plastic people? Under shiny plastic steeples?
With walls around our weakness and smiles to hide our pain.
But if the invitation’s open to every heart that has been broken
maybe then we close the curtain on this stained glass masquerade.

Is there anyone who’s been there? Are there any hands to raise?
Am I the only one’s who’s traded in the altar for a stage?
The performance is convicing and we know every line by heart.
Only when no one is watching can we really fall apart.


But would it set me free if I dared to let you see
the hurt behind the person that you imagined me to be?
Would your arms be open or would you walk away?
Would the love of Jesus be enough to make you stay?


Stained Glass Masquerade by Casting Crowns

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Few Haiku

When days are gray
only night
is certain

the morning comes with rain
and yet
the sky's tears are beautiful

in this dark day
clouds obscure the sun
even now- You are

Just for Kicks

Some Good Blogging

Check out this post :
House of the Sick (or Stop Being so Stupid! You Stuck-up, Self-Righteous, Arrogant.....)

As you can probably tell by the title, it's one of Mr. Fritz the Grand's posts in which he shows forth the bold honesty that we've all come to love about him.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Good News from a Proud Aunt

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As of this morning Joshua and I have a brand new niece in the world.
Alyssa Laurel Wismar was born to Mikael and Christen Wismar at around 7:40 this morning. (Christen is Joshua’s sister.) Alyssa was a breech baby so she was born via c-section and daddy, mommy and baby are all doing well. I haven’t seen her yet, but I have it on good authority that she is really cute with an adorable nose.

Congratulations, Mikael and Christen!!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Very Happy Birthday Wish

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you,
Haaaaappy Biiiiirthdaaaay deeaarrrr Caaarrieeeeee!
Happy Birthday to you!

( Just imagine you're actually hearing my charming voice belting out those words.)

Carrie, have a terrific birthday. May God bless you tremendously in this new year of your life.

I love you!!!!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A Thought on Instincts and Doctors

As a culture, we are growing increasingly dependant on doctors. Somehow the doctor’s role has been upgraded from that of a good addition to a society to that of the Almighty Physician who can cure all our ills. What ever happened to trusting our own built-in instincts in the matter of our health? It’s even gotten to the point where most of us have stopped trusting our own instincts because we feel we need the doctor’s approval to take care of our health and that of our families.

There have been several times when something has happened to one of my family members and I had a gut feeling about it, but I decided to call the doctor “just in case” and go through the hassle of setting up an appointment and waiting around at the doctor’s office only to hear the doctor tell me to do exactly what I was going to do anyway.

Another option for those times when even the most intuitive person is stumped, is to ask a more experienced person for advice. So the next time one of your kids develops a strange rash why not call your mom to see if she ever had a similar experience with you or your siblings? Or perhaps an older woman in your church? Maybe a wise next door neighbor? Obviously, if someone is injured waste no time calling relatives and get that person medical attention. But do we really need to call the doctor at the drop of a hat?

To be clear, I’m not a doctor hater. I am very pleased with my family doctor and there are a couple of medical professionals in my church whose opinions (and friendships) I value highly. The medical field serves us well and we should be grateful for the care we receive from it. But let’s make sure that medicine is serving us and we aren’t idolizing it. God gave us humans the amazing ability to understand our own bodies. Yes, sometimes we do need the aid and wisdom of a highly trained physician, but does that have to be our first and only option? Wouldn’t you rather hear from a friend, “Oh, I remember when my kids had a rash like that. This is what I did...” or from the doctor, “Here’s your prescription. That will cost you...”

Anyway, this is just a thought.

Adiel's Words of Wisdom

7. The next time you find yourself standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes while stretching your leg by putting it up on the counter and wearing purple pajama pants with little pictures of ballet shoes and violins printed on them- ALWAYS BE SURE THE CURTAINS OF ANY NEARBY WINDOWS ARE CLOSED.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My Brown Eyed Girl

More Silliness

I gave Malachi a haircut today. Here are some pictures of him showing off his new 'do.

Doesn't he remind you of Calvin from "Calvin and Hobbes?"

A Thought From Your Father

"He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him."
Psalm 126:6

Remember this.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Adiel's Words of Wisdom

5. Once a child reaches an age somewhere between eighteen months and two years ALWAYS DUCT TAPE HIS DIAPERS. It only takes one little piece of duct tape across the front of the diaper to secure both little straps and ensure that the diaper will stay where you put it the whole night through. Otherwise, you never know where you may find that diaper come morning.
The diaper duct tape rule also applies anytime a child is sleeping while wearing only a diaper. ( During the hot summer months, for example.) Diaper straps loves to get got on blankets, sheets, etc. and pull right off.
(Obviously this only applies to disposable diapers. I have no idea what would secure a cloth diaper. Suspenders, perhaps?)

6. During pregnancy, be sure to keep a lively sense of humor because nothing works quite the way it’s supposed to when one is big with child. For example, if, sometime during your third trimester, you decide that you want to roll over in bed do not be surprised if you find yourself stuck mid-roll with your arms and legs waving in the air in a desperate attempt to create enough force to complete the roll. This is perfectly normal. Also do not be surprised if you find your husband shaking with laughter during the whole episode. This, too, is normal and he is just following my advice by keeping a sense of humor.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Malachi's Birthday

We celebrated Malachi’s second birthday last Saturday. (His real birthday is the 29th of this month.) Since he is the little boy that he is, he loves trucks so that was the theme of his party. Here is the cake I made for him.

He loves to “fix” things so we got him this tool set.
He actually blew out his own candle! It only took three or four tries.
Here's Chewy getting a ride in the dump truck that Grandpa B. got for Malachi. Between the dump truck and his new hammer our furniture is going to be awfully dented.

He got quite the assortment of trucks and various truck-related things. So what if we have to buy a larger house now to hold it all?

Happy Birthday, Malachi! I love you!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Adiel's Words of Wisdom

I hope you all are paying attention to my words of wisdom. They could spare you much pain and frustration down the road.

4. Never use your bare hands to wipe off dried oatmeal from the stovetop. You could cut your finger. ( Ouch, it hurts to type this.)

Adiel’s Words of Wisdom

Here are a few tidbits of wisdom that I’ve picked up through my own experiences.

1. Always butter your corn on the cob after breaking it in half with your hands.

2. Attempting to spackle walls while making dinner is not a good idea.

3. Remember to remove your contact lenses before flossing with spearmint flavored floss. Once that minty wax gets on your fingers... yeow! It's enough to burn your eyes out. (This same rule applies to chili pepper.)

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Bards Will Sing of This

We are trying to instill the trait of bravery in the little man of the house. To that end, Malachi has been dubbed “Bug-Killer.” His habit, upon seeing a bug or anything that could possibly even remotely resemble a bug, is to scream in terror and run away yelling, “A bug, a bug!” So we are teaching him instead to try to squish bugs or at the very least to fearlessly shout at them to go back to their own homes outside.

Today the kids were in Lily’s room playing when I heard a commotion emitting from that room: “Eeeee! A bug, a bug!” Malachi came running to me to insure that I had heard the distressing news. Thinking it was only a piece of fuzz or perhaps a fruit fly or some such thing, I handed him a tissue and told him to go squish the bug. When I followed him into the room a few seconds later to see if he had conquered the lint I saw Lily standing safely behind Malachi as he was bravely trying to squish a spider closely resembling Shelob in size and grossness. In spite of Malachi’s valiant attempts, the spider had evaded the squishing so I grabbed the tissue and delivered the killing stroke. Then we all trouped to the bathroom and flushed the descendant of Shelob, tissue and all, down the toilet.

What bravery my little bug-killer showed! Now that I’m done laughing about it I’m ready to burst with pride. This is how boys become men- by learning to squish bugs.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

More Cosby Quotes

"No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I’m not talking about the kids. Their behavior is always normal, a norm of acting incomprehensively with sweetly blank looks. But you will find yourself strolling down the road to the funny farm- like my mother, who used to get so angry that she would forget my name:
"All right, come over here, Bar- uh, Bernie... uh, uh Biff...uh- what is your name, boy? And don’t you lie to me ’cause you live here and I’ll find out who you are and knock your brains out!" "

"We have always been against calling the children idiots. This philosophy has been basic for my wife and me. And we proudly lived by it until the children came along."

And the classic Cosby parenting quote:
" I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it."


We’re going camping tomorrow and I can hardly wait. We’ll only be staying one night, but I’m already dreaming about everything I love about camping: the feel of crisp morning air on my face when I step out of the tent, watching the coffee boil over the fire, sticky, gooey s’mores, the sound of leaves dancing over my head, the way a campfire looks so awesome and powerful and beautiful at the same time, the stars as they show off their brightness in a way that can never be seen in the city.

I have so many good memories from my childhood camping days. There was the time I lost my shoe in some mud and got to go to a nearby mall to get some replacements- what a treat that was for a little kid! I’ll never forget that three-legged bear that visited our campsite- twice. Good thing our fearless mom was there to scare him off. (Dad was back home working that time. Of course if he had been there that bear would never have shown up. Strange things only happened when Mom was around.) I remember Seth (or was it Jonathan?) partially melting his sneakers as he tried to dry them by the fire. And, of course, I remember the fact that it rained every single time my family went camping.

Camping was always an adventure when I was growing up and I can’t wait to give my kids some great memories, too. Though I certainly hope bears and rain aren’t necessary requirements for good memories.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cosby Quotes

These are some quotes from Bill Cosby’s book Fatherhood. I’ll keep posting them as I enjoy rereading this classic that every parent should read at least once.

No, immortality was not the reason why my wife and I produced these beloved sources of dirty laundry and ceaseless noise. And we also did not have them because we thought it would be fun to see one of them sit in a chair and stick out his leg so that another one of them running by was launched like Explorer I. After which I said to the child who was the launching pad,
“Why did you do that?”
“Do what?” he replied.
“Stick out your leg.”
“Dad, I didn’t know my leg was going out. My leg, it does that a lot.”
If you cannot function in a world where things like this are said, then you better forget about raising children and go for daffodils.

All five [of my children] ran to the same car door, grabbed the same handle, and spent the next few minutes beating each other up. Not one of them had the intelligence to say, “Hey, look. There are three more doors.” The dog, however, was already inside.

About childbirth...

Meanwhile, [the doctor] was still sitting there, waiting for the delivery.
“Look!” I suddenly said. “Isn’t that the head?”
“I believe it is,” he replied.
“Well, go get it.”
“It’s stuck.”
“Then get the salad spoons, man.”
So he got the salad spoons, the baby came out, and my wife and I were suddenly sharing the greatest moment in our lives. This was what we had asked God for, this was what we wanted to see if we could make. And I looked at it lovingly as they started to clean it off, but it wasn’t getting any better.
And then I went over to my wife, kissed her gently on the lips and said, “Darling, I love you very much. You just had a lizard.”

A Morning Surprise

This morning Joshua and I woke up to find that we each had a little Care Bear lying next to us in bed. Apparently Lily had snuck into our room while we were snoozing and left us some little friends to keep us company. I was touched at her cute thoughtfulness. “How adorable!” I thought, “She didn’t even wake us up. I’ll give her a thank you hug when she gets up.”
And then I noticed which Care Bear had been given to me- Grumpy Bear.
Hmm... I might need to have a talk with that little girl.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

One of Those Pictures...

Here we have the adorable flower girl accompanied by the handsome ring bearer.

Anyone have any ideas for a caption for Malachi’s expression? It's rather priceless isn't it? (You may want to enlarge the picture to get the full cuteness of it.)

The Ringbearer

Unabashed Bragging

Every evening after dinner we have a Family Worship time during which we read the Bible, sing a psalm and pray. It’s fun watching the kids try to be involved in the singing and Joshua and I try to sing so that they can understand the words and sing along as best as they can.

One night, while we were still eating dinner, Lily decides to show us how well she can sing Psalm 100. Her little three-year-old voice rises as she sings the first verse from memory and it’s not until she reaches the last line that she pauses, looking slightly confused, trying so hard to remember that final line. Suddenly, from the other end of the table, Malachi’s warbling, not-quite-two-year-old voice pipes up as he adorably and accurately finishes the psalm. We, the proud and amazed parents, applauded enthusiastically.
Aren’t my kids great?

A New Life Begins

This past Saturday, my dear sister-in-law, Jen, became Mrs. Jason Jacob. This wedding was a long time in coming and Jen and Jason had gone through some struggles before they could finally be joined in marriage. The couple met in India several years ago when Jen went there on a missions trip. Jen was able to visit Jason only one time since then. After struggling to get Jason his visa and being apart for what felt like an eternity, Jason set foot in America for the first time ever about two weeks ago.
It was amazing and moving to witness the joining of two people that I care so much about.
May God bless the new Jacob family as they seek to serve Him.


Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sunflower Lily

Which is better?


Marriage is like a fine wine- too much of it can make a man woozy- er, I mean, the longer it ages the better it gets.

Yeah, that’s what I meant to say.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Thank You, Thank You- Again

I’m thankful for the feel of the sun on my toes, the sound of a waterfall, the butterfly kicks of my baby, having a dad that lives nearby, having a pastor that lives nearby, peppermint patties, my washing machine and Little Caesar's five dollar pizzas.

Monday, August 28, 2006

My Grandma Gardner

On Saturday I went to a funeral. The funeral was in honor of Mary Virginia Gardner. A lovely woman, I knew her simply as Grandma Gardner. The thing about Grandma Gardner that I will most remember and most miss is her smile. She had a smile that would light up a rainy day and when that smile was pointed at you then you felt like the sun had come out just for you. Even when she lived in a nursing home and her memory was starting to deteriorate still that smile never wavered and whenever we’d go visit her she always met us with her sunshine.

It wasn’t just a happy chance that Grandma had such joy. No, the reason for her smile was her faith in Jesus. He’s the One who gave her that smile to use to bless others. And so I’m convinced that when I see her again in our real Home she’ll be wearing that same smile only it will be even bigger and brighter than it ever was here.

Yes, it hurt to say goodbye to Grandma Gardner, but Death’s sting cannot compare to the joy of life and smiles everlasting. We, her family, will cry now, but pretty soon the same Person that wiped away Grandma’s tears will wipe away our tears, too. And that thought makes me smile.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Song

Winter Song

It’s not snowing outside
The grass isn’t green
The sky is bitter
And the cold is grey

Hope fades when winter lasts for years
Spring comes too late
The barren ground cries out for life
But the call fades on the wind

Sometimes I light a fire
Just to warm my hands
But fires need fuel
And I’ve run out again

And it’s so cold out here

Hope fades when winter lasts for years
Spring comes too late
The barren ground cries out for life
But my call fades on the wind

And yet there are some days
When the sun breaks through again
And the trees all turn to diamonds
It’s still cold out
But the beauty takes my breath away
And hope breaths on the wind

Hope fades when winter lasts for years
Spring comes too late
The barren ground cries out for life
And hope breathes on the wind
Yes, hope breathes on the wind

And it’s still cold out here

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Short, Sweet and Over

I’m back! I enjoyed my little blogfast even though it was only a little over a week long. It was nice to have some time to think about my cyber life without worrying about trying to post something interesting. I realize I’ve gone longer periods of time without posting something before, but it felt different being intentional.

I chose today as my comeback day for a very important reason. Check out the post below and you’ll see why.

Happy Birthday, Handsome!

Today is my dear husband's 26th birthday! What better way to honor him than to write a blog post about him for millions to read? Okay, so maybe there are just three of you reading this. Hey, I can still brag about my man to three people.

I first met Joshua at our church and then got to know him better on his college campus at a Bible study that my dad was leading. The first thing that attracted me to Joshua was his obvious gentlemanlike nature. (Oh, and he was really cute!) As we started courting I got to see that besides being sweet and gentle he was also a young man in love with his God and I knew that he was a man that would be an excellent husband and strong spiritual leader.

Over four years later I know that I was right. Sure, he has some habits that drive me bonkers, but he remains a firm, loving, kind and gentle leader. I can say without a doubt in my mind that I am closer to my God and more faithful to Him because of how my husband has led me. And I see Joshua leading our children the same way.

And besides all this, Joshua mows the lawn, fixes things around the house, changes diapers, puts the toilet seat down and buys me chocolate when I need it. Have I got the perfect man or what?

Joshua, thank you for loving me and for taming this shrew. It’s because of you that I know what a Godly man looks like.

Happy Birthday, Dearest.

Friday, August 11, 2006

For Your Information

This blog is temporarily inactive. Please check back in a week or two.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Why I Wear This Fabric- Reason #1

I’m not usually one to care what the going fashions are and actually, most of the time I think what is popular looks a tad on the silly side. But this summer I was pleased to see the long, romantic skirts hitting the streets and enjoying a moment of fame. “Yes!” I thought, “Now I won’t totally stand out for a change!” You see, on an average day you will find me wearing a long, sweeping skirt. Whether I’m scheduled to do laundry, scrub floors or even play tennis, I’ll be wearing that skirt. To some people this is not a new thought, but I know that there are many out there who may be boggled as to why I would choose to wear a skirt when could be wearing jeans or shorts. Here is just one reason for this oddity:

In our culture there is an obvious feminist movement underway. Women are trying to prove that they can do anything a man does and that there isn’t a difference between the sexes- everyone is equal. Well, that just isn’t the case.

“For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.” 1 Corinthians 11: 8-9

“And I do not permit a woman to... have authority over a man. ... For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” 1 Timothy 2 12a -13

“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel...” 1 Peter 3:7

In our increasingly androgynous society, there is a great lack of men and women who are willing to differentiate between the sexes. And yet, didn’t our God do just that? He created us to be different.

My husband and I are ever trying to understand the differences between us and how we, as Christians, should be demonstrating these differences. One obvious way is how we dress. Before all the hullabaloo of feminism started, this culture had a certain dress code: men wore pants and women wore skirts. Even today, despite the effects of the she-woman movement, no man in his right mind would wear a skirt out in public. In our culture a skirt remains a symbol of femininity.

And now we return to my long skirt. One reason I wear this skirt is to display to the world that I am a woman and I’m proud of it. I am not attempting to be a man- that would be unnatural and unbiblical- I am content being what God made me. Someone could argue that our culture has changed and now pants are fully acceptable for women to wear and still look feminine. But you have to ask the question: How did it become acceptable? Did a group of women decide that wearing pants would better enable them to submit to their own husbands and be a helper to him? I think not. Wasn’t it rather yet another step in the progression of a “woman’s rights”? Isn’t a woman wearing pants a symbol that she is equal to a man? “Look, she’s even wearing the same clothes as he is!”

Clothes reflect who the wearer is. A soldier in the army wears camouflage, a doctor wears a white lab coat, a nurse wears scrubs and even a fast food worker wears a uniform. Their uniforms remind them of who they are and it displays their identity for all to see.

It is important to note that there are situations, events and cultures in which the right and even more feminine thing to do would be to not wear a skirt. Different cultures have different ways of expressing masculinity and femininity. We are not responding to those situations and cultures. We are responding to our culture, the time in which we are living, and the situation we are living in. God made men and women to be different, with different roles and duties. To act like we are the same would be in direct rebellion against God’s will. And yet, isn’t that what a woman is doing when she dresses like a man?

“A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the LORD your God.” Deuteronomy 22:5


We when to the Erie Zoo on Saturday and believe me, we had a tough time figuring out who had a better time- the kids or the parents. The animals seemed really active that day and some of the highlights of our trip were the two polar bears swimming, a herd of kangaroos hopping and these two rhinoceroses. I don't think I've ever seen a rhino actually move before. They were always lounging in the sun whenever I'd see them. I was amazed at how giant and powerful these creatures are.

They seem so dinosaur-like. Aren't those horns something? It seems incredible that those legs can carry that body. Wow.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Quote

As I’m reading through the Lord of the Rings again I am realizing that much of the story that follows Frodo and Sam's journey isn't really about Frodo and the Ring at all, but about Sam, the clumsy, but loyal servant.

This is one of my favorite moments in The Two Towers:

"Then suddenly straight over the rim of their sheltering bank, a man fell, crashing through the slender trees, nearly on top of them...

It was Sam’s first view of a battle of Men against Men, and he did not like it much. He was glad he could not see the dead face. He wondered what the man’s name was and where he came from; and if he was really evil of heart, or what lies or threats had led him on the long march from his home; and if he would not really rather have stayed there in peace- all in a flash of thought which was quickly driven from his mind."

My Cute Little Banker

Doesn't he look like a cute, chubby banker?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Silence of God

This is my favorite Andrew Peterson song. Not many Christian songwriters talk about those times when you feel hopeless and God sounds so quiet. Appropriately, though, the song that comes right after this one on the CD is "After the Last Tear Falls." That is a song about the hope we have. I'll post those lyrics sometime, but for now...

The Silence of God

It's enough to drive a man crazy; it'll break a man's faith
It's enough to make him wonder if he's ever been sane
When he's bleating for comfort from Thy staff and Thy rod
And the heaven's only answer is the silence of God

It'll shake a man's timbers when he loses his heart
When he has to remember what broke him apart
This yoke may be easy, but this burden is not
When the crying fields are frozen by the silence of God

And if a man has got to listen to the voices of the mob
Who are reeling in the throes of all the happiness they've got
When they tell you all their troubles have been nailed up to that cross
Then what about the times when even followers get lost?
'Cause we all get lost sometimes...

There's a statue of Jesus on a monastery knoll
In the hills of Kentucky, all quiet and cold
And He's kneeling in the garden, as silent as a Stone
All His friends are sleeping and He's weeping all alone

And the man of all sorrows, He never forgot
What sorrow is carried by the hearts that He bought
So when the questions dissolve into the silence of God
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not
In the holy, lonesome echo of the silence of God

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Thunder

I had written this some time ago for my Quotes and Thoughts email. Yesterday as my family and I were driving home from Maryland there was lightning flashing in the clouds above us and I was reminded of this so I thought I'd share it with you all.

We were driving on I-90 in the middle of the night. In the darkness around us a storm was raging. We saw streaks of lightning flash across the sky spreading out like tree branches and we heard the Thunder. Thunder that shook the very earth. Thunder that broke through the air resounding even more loudly than the sound of the rain pounding on the roof of our car. I was afraid. I thought of the Israelites around Mount Sinai as God spoke with thunder. I felt small, weak, and helpless driving beneath that Sound with nothing but the thin walls of a minivan to shield me from the fury.

As we traveled we were listening to music and this is what I heard:

"I am hanging on every word you say
And even if you don't want to speak tonight
that's alright, alright with me
'Cause I want nothing more than to sit
outside Heaven's door and listen to you breathing
Is where I want to be."

Somehow the soothing melody and lyrics contrasting with the terrible storm thundering above us moved me greatly. God was speaking to me in the Thunder. He told me about His strength, His power and His rage. Then He spoke of His gentle love to me and His sweet protection of me. I felt like I was indeed sitting outside Heaven's door listening to my loved One speak.

Oh, I fear for the unrepentant sinners who will feel His wrath and be utterly unprotected from it! But how sweet it is for His beloved children to see His awful fury and to know that we are saved from it through Jesus.

Thank you, my Savior! I will spend eternity thanking the One who saved me from the Thunder.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Thank you, thank you

I’m grateful for rain on a warm day, juicy tomatoes ripening in the sun, pillows, chocolate, the sound of a toddler laughing, the sound of two toddlers laughing, books, my eyebrows, a hot cup of tea, air conditioning, a hug from my husband.

Father, forgive me for taking these small graces for granted. I pray that You would make my amazement and gratitude for them grow every day.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Movie Review

Due to my father generously agreeing to watch the children for us, Joshua and I were able to go out on a real date last Friday. We went to see the newest M. Night Shyamalan movie, Lady in the Water. I would highly recommend this movie- but not to everyone. Let me explain.

Shyamalan has created something of a name for himself with his trademark twist endings. Lady in the Water does not have a twist ending. It is a Fairy Tale. I walked into the movie theater knowing to not expect a twist ending and so I was able to fully enjoy the story as it was, but I fear that the general public will not be so understanding.

Shyamalan has gained my respect for his ability to tell a story in a beautiful way. The way I like to describe his movies is that I view them each as an intricate painting. The story, characters, colors and music all combine to create something that is truly breathtaking and never fails to bring tears to my eyes. That is what I was expecting when I went to see Lady in the Water and I was not disappointed.

The characters are amazing in this story. There were many characters that would have been out of place in a “typical” Shyamalan film, but that fit perfectly in this one. This movie is definitely a different genre for Shyamalan having more comedy that his other films and more rather unusual characters, but it just goes to show that a truly talented storyteller doesn’t have to be confined to a certain mold to create a beautiful story.

Shyamalan has a role in this film that is perfect for him and it is obvious that this role meant a lot to him in the way he played it.

So, if you insist on expecting to see a movie that is identical to Shyamalan’s other movies then don’t see this movie. But if you want to see a good movie with a moving story, fantastic characters and gorgeous music then go see Lady in the Water.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Ladies and Gentlemen, I have the honor of introducing, for his first public appearance- the youngest member of the Gardner family- Baby Vos!

Okay, so the picture ain't something to write home about, but I'm so proud of it! He is healthy and cute and that's good enough for me. He is about eleven weeks old now and growing fast. The sonogram showed that the hematoma (blood clot) is still there, but it doesn't seem to be affecting the baby at all. I would like it to not be there, though, so we're praying for that blood clot to disappear.
By the way, we obviously don't know if this little tyke is male or female so he'll be referred to as "he" for the duration of his stay in my belly.

Friday, July 21, 2006

My Frailty

Sometimes I wish I were a kid again. Some days the weight of my responsibilities feels so heavy and I want to dump it all on someone else. I want someone to fly in and clean the house, play fun and educational games with the kids and then make a delicious, comforting meal. But there’s no one here to do that. Except me. If the house is going to get clean then I have to do it. If my kids are going to get the love and attention they need I have to give it to them. If I want to eat a home-cooked meal tonight I have to cook it.

Sometimes I just wish that I could be a kid running to my mommy. My mommy would give me a hug and tell me that this is just a phase in my life and that I’m doing a good job and that she’s proud of me. My mommy would make everything all better. But she’s not here. I am the mommy and it’s my job to make everything all better.

I love being a mommy, but even more I love being a child. If I didn’t have my heavenly Father daily giving me the strength to wash dishes and fold laundry then I would fail and I would always feel the way I’m feeling right now. But I have to remember: this is just a phase in my life, I’m doing a good job and my Father is proud of me. At least that’s what my mommy would say.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


So you all probably know by now that today is the third anniversary of the day my mom got to leave this world and see the one Person that Christians everywhere dream about seeing. While I figure there’s really no reason to be sad today I’d still like to commemorate this day by remembering some of the wacky things about my mom. Enjoy.

1. Mom is up to her elbows in raw meat- the makings for a whole heap of meatballs. Dad decides to surprise her and walks in the door with a single rose and a sweet note for her. I suppose I should mention now that she was also coloring hair ( multi-tasking, you know) and so she was wearing an ugly, junky shirt with smelly goop in her hair while up to her elbows in raw meat. The lovebirds look at each other, laugh hysterically and kiss. Now that’s true romance.

2. Gaby, Mom and I are at Barnes and Noble enjoying coffee at their cafe. We decide it’s time to leave and get our jackets, ponchos, etc on. One problem: Mom somehow has trouble finding the head hole in her poncho and is flailing her arms in the air about half enveloped by black poncho yelling, “Help!” Gaby and I did the only reasonable thing for two teenage girls to do in that situation- we pretended we didn’t know that crazy woman and walked away mustering what dignity we could.

3. It’s a cold November morning and we are all cozy in our warm beds. That is, until Mom flings open our doors singing at the top of her lungs and announcing that it’s time to go for a picnic. We look at her like she’s lost her mind, but by then we are awake anyway so up we get and out we go for the best, and coldest, breakfast picnic I ever had.

4. My wedding was only weeks away and Mom and I were up late making an insane amount of mini muffins to freeze for the reception. At about four in the morning we decided that it was the perfect time to go have breakfast at Perkins. So after the last batch of mini muffins was out of the oven, we hopped into the car and went off for an extremely early breakfast. As we sat in the booth at Perkins I looked at Mom and I realized that we were making a special memory that I would cherish for years to come. And I was right.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

An Attempt

This is my first attempt at something resembling Haiku. Don’t worry, I won’t make a habit of this- I’ll leave that to Raquel.

white plastic bag
with the wind

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Painful Living

A couple of weeks ago I had to make a trip to a local pharmacy. My prescription wasn’t quite ready yet so the kids and I sat in the waiting area where the only other occupant was a big, tough-looking man. The man started looking at Malachi with a soft expression on his face and commented on how cute Malachi was (I agreed with him, of course) and then went on to say that his son was about Malachi’s age when he passed away. I was stunned. I asked him how his son had died. The man said that the baby’s mother had propped a bottle in his mouth and he had drowned in his own formula. A call from the front desk announced that the man’s prescription was ready and he got up and left. I had walked into this building just hoping to pick up my medicine and I left laden with grief.

I was driving through the city of Erie doing some errands and I see in a nearby house a small banner hanging in the window with a single star on it. Someone had left this house to fight in a war and had never returned.

I log on to Juno to check my email and I see the headlines telling me the death toll from the latest bombing in some part of the world.

I’ve watched the people I love get sick, decay and die. And I‘ve known the heartache of losing a precious baby.

I remember a woman, many years ago, telling me her thoughts on Heaven. She said that she didn’t understand much about Heaven and so she was content to enjoy living here on earth and not worry about Heaven right now.
I wish I could ask her: What earth do you live on?

Christians, we cannot afford to live in a fairy tale. This world is full of grief, pain, hatred and despair. Accept that fact. Do not hide from it or become hardened to it. Now go to this fallen world and give to them the only thing that can bring hope in this darkness- Jesus.