The End of Another Chapter

December 31, 2010

The last day of the year. Looking back over this year I realize, yet again, that I am incredibly blessed. This was a good year. Was it ALL good? Well, we had some ups and downs. But, through it all, God was present. He was is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient! This year was, for me, a year of growth. I am not saying that I am where I want to be. But, I am not where I was. And in the words of Martha Stewart- "It's a good thing!" (Yes, I know, I'm a dork.)

Where do I want to go in 2011? What is my - ugh, uhmm- "resolution"? (Sorry for the dirty word.) I want to continue to grow. Well, I want to shrink~ by about 11 pounds. But, I want to grow into a better daughter. I want to grow into a better wife. I want to grow into a better mother. I want to grow into a better friend. It may not sound like much, or maybe it sounds ambitious, but, it is my heart's desire to just be BETTER. I know I'll not find perfection. But, if I continue to try EVERY SINGLE DAY to be better than I was the day before then I will consider my resolution kept! My ultimate goal is to "Live a Life Well Spent" and this is yet another chapter of my book. I hope you'll keep reading.

"You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world- like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don't hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." Matthew 5:13-16

From my family to yours~ May you have a year full of God's favor and blessings, and may you experience the favor of being a blessing!


Bless You. Bless Me?

December 27, 2010

For those of you who might be wondering- no I haven't died. I'm still here. It's been a busy month and I decided that for my sanity and my kids' safety (lol, just kidding, sort of) I would "take vacation time" for the month of December. I am going to try to ease us back into "real life" so that it's not such a shock to the "system".

CHRISTmas was fun. It was full of family and friends and new babies and entirely too much food! I really need to start a diet TODAY

I have missed blogging. The break was refreshing and nice, but, this blog is sort of a therapy for me, where I can write down and organize my thoughts. It helps to bring enlightenment to me and helps me to keep myself accountable and, hopefully, humble.


I can, from time to time, let my pride hold me back from "doing the right thing". My pride will often cause me to be stubborn just to "prove a point". (I know, you're shocked! It's okay.) Not only is this sinful, but it can hurt innocent people by association. There have been times, recently as a matter of fact, that someone has offered help to me from their heart of hearts with pure sincerity and generosity and I struggled very hard to let them help me because of my pride. Because I wanted to prove that I didn't need their help. Because I did not want to be in debt to this person at all. (Not that there were any strings attached to the offer by the giver, but, my pride does not want to back down!) Then, God had a little "Tete a tete" with me. (For those of you who don't speak French, it translates "head to head" but is used the same as "heart to heart".) 

First of all, I did need help! I was in a position in my life where I could not have made it through easily without help from my family and friends. It was a very humbling experience in that sense. It's hard for me to admit weakness or vulnerability. It's hard for me to allow myself to need others. I can't help but feel like it puts me in a position where the "helper" has some invisible "token" that they can hold over my head to collect on later on where I will feel helpless and inferior. (Explanation: I spent a great deal of my childhood in a position where I was ABSOLUTELY helpless. That experience instilled in me a powerful determination to never be in that position ever again! It was by no fault of my own. It was just the result of terribly horrendous circumstances that I had no control over.)

Moving on. We've established that my nature is to be self-sufficient and stubborn. But, that's not how God wants us to live. If He wanted us to not need anyone else, He would have created Adam. The End. But, He desired more. He wanted all of us not only to be blessed, but he wanted us to be blessings! There is so much beauty in each one of those things. Different feelings. Different experiences. But, pure beauty in both! Isn't it wonderful when you get blessed? Out of the blue, someone shows up with something special for you that was unsolicited? Something that was needed, but not asked for. Something that translates as pure love. I know that each one of us can recall at least one time in our lives that we were completely BLESSED! That moment stays with you and is special. Have you ever been the one giving the blessing? Have you had the experience of touching someone's life in such a way that will be remembered to their dying day? That my friend, is more priceless than anything! Making a difference for someone else. Being something positive and loving in a world of pain and despair. There is nothing like it. I would always want to be the one giving the car, rather than the one getting the car! (Why do you think Oprah does it so much? LOL) 

Sometimes, I just have to remember to put my SELF aside and not stand in the way of someone else's blessing. If I prevent others from doing things for me because I'm too stubborn or prideful, then I am doing far more than just being sinful. I am robbing that person of great joy. I am standing in the way of them getting blessed in the best way. I must try to remember that I would not want to be denied, so I must not do it to others. No matter how hard it might be for me. God uses us in each others lives for many different goals, ultimately helping each other get to Heaven. 

"I will cause you to become the father of a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and I will make you a blessing to others." Genesis 12:2

"I will cause my people and their homes around my holy hill to be a blessing. And I will send showers, showers of blessings, which will come just when they are needed." Ezekiel 34:26


Happy Birthday, Aubree!

December 20, 2010



My family was blessed three years ago with Aubree AnnaLynn Calverette. She has touched our lives in such a special way. Words cannot describe how much she is loved. I can hardly remember ever being alive when she wasn't. And I never want to be. She is such a sweet girl. She is so smart. She is very perceptive. She is amazing. She has captured my heart and filled my days with meaning. I cannot believe we ever contemplated whether or not we should have another baby. I just could not envision what our lives would be like if she weren't in them! She makes us laugh and she makes us proud. She entertains us. She is a great snuggle buddy and bath buddy. She hosts the best tea parties and colors the prettiest pictures. She builds the highest block towers and makes the biggest messes! I love that girl more than she loves candy! I never want to disappoint her. I never want to let her down. I never want to hurt her. I want her to know how very much I adore her. I want her to know that my life is better simply because she's part of it!
Happy Birthday, Aubree!

(Please scroll down the the player and click // pause and then come back here and click > play!)


CHRISTmas Rant

December 15, 2010

"Keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas!"
"Jesus is the reason for the Season!"

We've all heard the cliches. We all know that over two thousand years ago "a child was born in Bethlehem" and his mother "wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger" and he was visited by shepherds and wise men. But somehow, I can't help but feeling like a hypocrite. Am I celebrating the birth of my Savior? Or, am I buying into the propaganda trap of spending money on things I have no business spending on? How did we all fall victim to this marketing scam? Yes, I know, I know- the whole "spirit of giving" thing. I get that we have been told that we should want to show our love for each other by giving thoughtful expensive gifts and gadgets. But, is that even what we do? I know I don't. I set a budget. I make a list of people that I am going to buy for. And I go out and search for something that is within my budget that doesn't look too cheap that they may or may not like. When it comes to my kids, well, they make a list of the latest and greatest inventions of the season. Things they cannot live without. Most of which will end up in the garbage can in less than six three months- seriously. I do not buy anything on credit, although I have been guilty of such in the past. I do pay cash for it all. But, I scrimp, sacrifice, and save ALL YEAR LONG to do so. It's certainly not that we could not use this money for other very important things for our family throughout the year. We choose to do without so that we can pay for "christmas". WHY do I do this? WHY do any of us do it? I know that for me, I don't want anyone to be disappointed because of unmet expectations. How in the world did Jesus' birth ever get to this? Really?!?! Something so sacred,  simply commercialized. It's disgraceful if you think about it.

I want my kids to know that we celebrate the birth of our Savior. (And they do.)  I want them to know that it is a very special day and it holds much importance. We should remember it every year! But, this year, I am struggling with the connection of "getting gifts" to "Jesus' birth". It's not about GIVING gifts anymore. It's all about the GETTING. That's what disturbs me. That is what is tugging at my heart. It's the fact that I'm worried about my kids being disappointed that they didn't get every single thing on their "christmas" lists. And, how do I keep them from being more focused on the presents than the Gift? How can the "momma" in me want to lavish presents upon my children and the "daughter of God" in me want to take it all back and make it Holy in the name of Jesus?

Don't get me wrong. I am not "the grinch who stole Christmas" or "scrooge". I love getting together with family- especially those that we don't have a chance to visit with most of the year. I also love to give things to others, especially, when it's something thoughtful that I think they will really enjoy. I love the holiday games and decorations and food! I love to see the kids so excited about something that they must wait patiently for. I love the excuse to dress up and present my family at it's best. I love the nip in the air. I love the music. I love being woken up too early on CHRISTmas morning by my anxious little children who are amazed at a living room full of presents! I love CHRISTmas~ it really is my favorite holiday. I just wish that we could keep what's Holy, Holy! I wish that we could stop pretending that we are celebrating Jesus birth with trees, ornaments, gifts, and too much food. I'm not saying that those things are wrong, but, we should remember to acknowledge Jesus on His birthday.

I ache to see what CHRISTmas has become to so many. Even though we KNOW "the reason for the season", we are so pressured by too many responsibilities and obligations that we can't enjoy the holiday for what it is. I have fantasies of a simple CHRISTmas. One where stress levels go down instead of up. One where we become more gentle and kind with one another instead of harsh and impatient. One filled with the sweet excitement in the quiet moments of life instead of hurried dread. One where time is an appreciated gift instead of a rare commodity.

Am I going to take CHRISTmas back? Well, not this year, and if I'm being honest, next year will probably look pretty much the same way too. The gifts are bought, most of them are wrapped. I am buying into the whole thing- hook, line, and sinker! But, maybe, just maybe, I can celebrate Jesus all year long this year. Maybe I can make the extra effort to try to be more patient with others. Maybe this year I can go out of my way more often to do something special for others. Maybe this year I can strive to become a better version of me. Maybe I can spread CHRISTmas throughout the whole year!

"Take care! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, because then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give a gift to someone in need, don't shout about it as the hypocrites do- blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I assure you, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone, don't tell your left hand what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you." Matthew 6:1-4


CHRISTmas Spirit!

December 13, 2010

Ahh. Here I am, at home, ALL of my kids are here, most of them are still sleeping. I've got my coffee and I'm sitting at my computer. This is nice. It's funny how we take the familiar for granted some times. We can even curse it from time to time. But, I've longed for the day-in and day-out routine of my life for the past week. It is wonderful to have my family under ONE roof at night when we go to bed. Nothing beats it.

Freddie and I are so grateful for everyone who kept us in their prayers. It means so much to us to know that our family is cared about by so many. I was filled with assurance that God had Brant in His arms the whole time and that he was perfectly taken care of. I was not afraid for my son. I felt badly for his pain, but I knew that everything would be just fine!

This ordeal has given my other children a chance to show what they're made of . They are extra-ordinary kids! Karli has such a good head on her shoulders. She is going to be the most AMAZING mother one day! I have even seen Drake step it up and prove how he's growing up. I am so proud of them!

We are still recovering. There will be clinic visits for a while. But, we can handle this. It is surprising what a family can accomplish when they all work together. I have decided to take off from school until after the holidays. I am taking full advantage of the blessings of Home Schooling my kids. I see no benefit in stressing us out at such a special time of year.

I hope that you, too, can sort through your lives and eliminate those things that are unimportant or unnecessary. I hope that you can find the REAL spirit of this season. It's certainly not about checking names off of a seemingly never-ending shopping list, or hosting the most fabulous holiday party. It's not about the perfect outfit or family photos. It's about stepping back from the hustle and bustle of the "world" and remembering that long ride on the back of a donkey. It's about the wonder and awe of the Promise for a Savior. It's about how much our Father loves us and longs for us to live with Him eternally in heaven. It's about the sacrifices made that we rarely ponder. It's about Grace~ because none of us deserve Jesus. I encourage you to share with your families the events that happened over 2000 years ago that changed our destiny. Start your own tradition at your CHRISTmas gathering this year. We have all the kids in the family read from the bible the true CHRISTmas story! It is a blessing to everyone who hears it.

"And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn. That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior- yes, the Messiah, the Lord- has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!" Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others- the armies of heaven- praising God: "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all who God favors." Luke 2:6-14


Sports on the brain?

December 6, 2010

Brant had surgery this morning. Everything went well. He is an amazingly strong little boy! The nurses stopped my in the hallway to tell me how AWESOME he did in recovery. They were incredibly impressed with him~ as we all are.

Freddie and I have been operating as a "tag team" for the past few days. We know that we could not do this alone. Our family and our friends have made this so much easier for all of us. We know that our other three kids are well taken care of by people who really care about them.  We could not be more grateful and humbled.

It is astounding how many people have been praying for us. It is indescribable to be part of such love and concern.

Karli, Drake, and Aubree are going through a lot right now, too. Their schedules have been turned up-side-down. It is not easy for them either. They miss their brother awfully, and I'm sure they miss the reliable routine of our lives. It is not all bad for them to go through this. I see it as an opportunity for growth. They are resilient kids with a huge network of people who absolutely adore them! But, I do see how each one of them is dealing with this in his/her own way. I am trying really hard to be loving and encouraging to them. They have really been "taking one for the team". I am very proud of my children. They are very special individuals who have really "stepped up to the plate". (Geez, what's with all the sports analogies?)

With a grateful and humble heart I extend a sincere "Thank You" to everyone who has offered their prayers, love, time, and resources to us. We have been abundantly blessed by God!

"Yes, you will be enriched so that you can give more generously. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will break out in thanksgiving to God." 2Corinthians 9:11


God is My Pilot

December 4, 2010

I am sitting in a hospital room in a burn center with my youngest son. He has 2nd degree burns on his abdomen and leg. It has been a long 2 days and will probably be an even longer week. He will require at least two surgeries and a week in the hospital. Maybe more.

There have been several things that have happened this week that have spoken to my heart in a very real, almost frightening way. I have been reassured by God that He has me and my family in His hands. I have blessed assurance of God's perfect will and protection in my life.

Maybe, I will be able to give more details in a future post. But, for now, I am at peace in God's arms. Protected by His love. Unaware of where this road is leading us, but, it's not important for me to know the destination as long as I know that God has charted the course!

"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exaulted among the heathen,I will be exaulted in the earth." Psalm 46:10


"They Call Me the Fireman"

December 1, 2010

Cute dress, right? I agree. Which is why, after days HOURS of searching and walking out of yet another store empty handed with a disappointed tweenager, I bought this dress (which we both love!). I bought her some black and gray, sort of tye-dyed kind of leggings to go under this dress. She has some silver sequined high top tennis shoes that she'll wear. And I bought a silver, sparkly, short sleeved, cropped sweater jacket to go over this dress ~ that she tried on in the store and liked it and knew that I was buying it to go over the dress! Well, we get home and she put's the outfit on and all of a sudden it's "Houston, we have a problem!" She wants to go without the sweater and I insist that her shoulders be covered ~ by something, anything (except her hair, which, yes, she did try to get away with that)!  I get that we have different taste in pretty much everything. I am learning to accept that. I try really hard to give her some wiggle room. BUT, I want her shoulders covered ~ it's winter after all! Is that too much to ask? My opinion might be different if it were summer, but, this is her CHRISTmas dress.

Parenting. It's full of ups and downs and hidden land mines. I am trying to be very careful to not stifle her personality and sense of self. I want her to be comfortable in her skin. I want to continue to feed her confidence. I want her to feel good about who she is. But, I want her to do it with something on her shoulders!

It's frustrating fun to see my children develop into unique human beings with opinions of their own. I don't want to stomp out their fires. I want to feed them and watch them turn into something beautiful and useful. But, it is my job to stand at the ready with the water hose to prevent those fires from burning down the forest! I must be careful to not put out their fires too soon, because then they'll have to start over from scratch to build a new one. But, I don't want to let them get too close to becoming dangerous either. {One more thing to add to my job title- "Fireman"! LOL.}

I'm not always careful to consider my children's feelings. I am very used to having my own way in matters that concern them so I don't always remember the fact that they are individual people with lives that are not mine. This is an exercise for me. I don't want to be a discouragement or an obstacle to them. I want to build them up ~ always. There is so much potential in each one of my kids. I don't, for one second, want any one of them to doubt themselves in anything!

It will be painful interesting to see how this thing plays out with the CHRISTmas outfit. But, my daughter is one creative girl. She'll come up with something. I'll let you know how it ends.

"Listen, my child, to what your father teaches you. Don't neglect your mother's teaching. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and clothe you with honor." Proverbs 1:8-9

"A wise child accepts a parent's discipline; a young mocker refuses to listen." Proverbs 12:1