Tuesday, December 06, 2011

And such...

I keep wondering why it has been so long in between blog posts this year.

I used to be so regular.

I constantly had funny or interesting tales or insights (at least I thought they were) that I couldn't wait to share with the world.

I loved sitting down and just writing away.

So I'm left wondering, what happened to all of that cleverness.

Then, I look around.

There are school books, papers and videos stacked everywhere it seems.

The dust is like an inch thick.

My husband washed the dishes and Lilla commented that she didn't ever remember seeing our sink so empty.

Anna just got potty trained. This week I say!! PARTY!! She still makes me go in the bathroom with her while she goes #2 though. That is oh so much fun and always at a convenient hour.

We have to get in as many Santa visits as humanely possible.

My husband just asked me today if I could make his whole team cookies and candy and other goodies for a Christmas thing on Friday.

Oh, and there is that whole party thing going on in just a week and a half to celebrate the big 3!! Uh, I might want to plan that.

I have a counselee that comes to see me every week. It still blows my mind that they let me do that. Seriously, me?

I have things like letter blends and spelling rules made into silly little songs plastered in my brain that take over.

I have to lay in bed with that soon to be 3 year old every night while we pet each others hair and sing praise and worship songs to each other.

I had a whole laundry basket of socks to try to match up today. It is shocking how many don't have a friend.

I have an upper respiratory infection too that required a Dr. visit today.

I have to teach a little person to read. This is much harder than it looks.

Oh, and my bathroom looks like Toys R' Us hit it.

I can't find the other ballet shoe.

Let's not even mention the car...

Huh, I wonder, why is it again I'm not blogging? :)

Friday, November 11, 2011


As homeschoolers, every Thursday morning we attend a co-op made up of about 80 families in our area. It ranges in ages from baby to senior in high school. All different types of classes are taught to the children, like art, foreign language, gym, science, the list goes on and on. It's nice for Lilla as she gets that social interaction in a classroom setting every week.

The parents are all a part of teaching the classes. My bestie and I teach a class on photography for 5th graders. This is our first year so we are stumbling through it, but apparently the kids like it a lot and may be learning a thing or two as they go.

One of the children in the class, a young man, has some different learning and behavioral issues he is learning to overcome. You know, we all have different ways of learning and coping, his just seem a little more pronounced in a classroom setting.

Anyway, we are working on a project with the children to give to their parents as Christmas gifts. Last week we were going around the room asking the children what their parents would like a sign to say made of up letters. Some said faith, joy, family, the kids all came up with something different.

When asked what this particular boy's mom would like he first of all struggled and then said, "She'd just like me to leave her alone."

It's one of those moments you kind of just stop and try to catch your breath to say the right thing. You don't know what to say.

I've thought about that moment several times since then. Even this morning as I was washing the dishes and Lilla came up for no reason but I could tell she wanted something. I was rushing to clean and just said, in a hurried way, "Lilla, if you need something just tell me."

She said she didn't need anything and just walked away. I thought back to this young man and wondered if my own children felt that way. As though I just want them to leave me alone.

Sometimes through a particularly hectic day, when I am frazzled and pulled in a million different ways, that does feel to be the truth. However, I don't want them to ever feel that way. I want them to feel loved, cared for, at home in my arms.

I'm thinking of ways to make them feel that way today.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Twick o Tweat

I know it's a week late, but I must admit, I am usually a day late and a dollar short. Alas, here is a peek into our Halloween fun.

What is Halloween without your posse?

Trying to get my annual on the porch picture. There are MANY more like this.
This last picture I had to share because Lilla likes to put her full self into everything...ha!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My heart

It's been a million years since I've blogged.

Summer has turned to Autumn.

So we went to the Smokey Mountains.

Where our hearts are always home.

My husband took a much needed break.

To see the changing of the leaves.

They were stunning.

And decided to never go back again this time of year.

It was beautiful, yes, but the busiest time of year. Who knew?

We went on hikes.

And spent copious amounts of time in a car.

We took deep breaths as we let our kids, literally, run up the side of a mountain.

We watched our two year old take in all that was amazing in her mind. "Mama, mama, MOUNTAIN!!"

We got to have sharks swim just inches above our heads.

We mooed out the windows at cows and maaaaaaed at the goat we couldn't help but name Billy.

And my two year old rode her first roller coaster and couldn't get enough!

We got to do a lot of hands on homeschooling.

And tried repeatedly to get a family picture. Oh my.

My 5 year old made up songs about Jesus for my dad.

I saw my brother for the first time in a year and a half.

My children fell in love with him.

My heart melted.

I snapped a picture of my husband and I on a hike.

We look happy.

My heart smiled.

Then Sunday came and we had to say good-bye to our beloved Tennessee.

Indiana was calling us home again.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

I choose the whale

In a time when I'm just feeling kind of blah and like weight is such a focus and a struggle, this really hit home for me. Someone posted it on facebook and I thought it was beautiful. What are your thoughts?

A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"

The story goes, a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way:

"Dear people, whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness.
They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia.
They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on cds. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defend and admires.

Mermaids do not exist.

But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: woman or fish?
They would have no sex life and could not bear children.
Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad.
And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side?

Without a doubt, I'd rather be a whale.

At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.

We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn't enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies.
We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated.
Every time I see my curves in the mirror, I tell myself: "How amazing am I ?! "

Yes, I do believe the ending of this is cheesy. I'm not going to be looking in any mirrors saying how fabulous I am, but I like the point of enjoying life and not always worrying about the amount of calories I'm eating. Life is too short! I think I'll have Bananas and Nutella for breakfast!

Friday, September 02, 2011

A day in the life

Today I went swimming.

It was 99 degrees here.

And I hosed down my rooster who I thought might be too hot.

I fed my child peas and pudding and popcorn.

I was apparently on a P kick.

I ate Coconut Cream Pie ice cream for breakfast.

I have a sore throat.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I homeschooled my 5 year old.

We read Fancy Nancy.

And picked some green beans.

I froze zucchini for the winter.

And got a coupon text for a $1.99 Banana Split.  Maybe my throat needs that too.

I shaved my legs with a dull razor because I didn't want to get the floor wet.

And accidentally conditioned my hair twice.

I talked to my sister about her morning.

And rubbed my dog's belly.

I vacuumed the carpet and swept the floor.

I didn't make my bed.

I played bejeweled on facebook.

And tickled my daughter's toes.

All part of a day in my life.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The mothership

For several years now, on any given Sunday, if you had needed to find me there would have been one place to start...Borders. It was a little haven for me on Sundays while my husband and kids had some family time with his parents and siblings to just recharge for the week, find a comfy chair and read...whatever.

I have always loved Borders. So unpretentious. So full of cheap books. So perfect for spending hours and hours lost in reading.

Yesterday I went there for what may be the last time. Looking like this. It was all yellow.
Seriously depressing.

I still spent a good two hours there. Although there are no more yummy treats waiting to be discovered in the cafe. No more comfy chairs to be curled up in. No more of the latest magazines to peruse.

Like I said, depressing.

My husband texted asking if I had found something I was supposed to be looking for in town that day. I told him I hadn't. I had gone to two stores, hadn't found it and then the mothership had called me home.

I didn't even need to say Borders, he knew. My mothership.

I'm sure going to miss her...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I could complain

Today as I wandered around my vegetable garden I noticed that my zucchini stems were starting to rot, the green beans were extremely scarce and the tomatoes weren't growing. I started complaining in my heart about how I really wanted the vegetables to fill my freezer and save us money this winter. Then I was reminded of all the zucchini, green beans and green peppers I had just this morning vacuum sealed and tucked away for just such an occasion, and this occurred to me.

I could complain about my garden not producing like I'd like,
Or I could be grateful that it's produced at all.

I could complain about the heat index in July,
Or I could be grateful for my air conditioned escape.

I could complain about my 5 year old's second ear infection this summer,
Or I could be grateful we live in 2011 where there are medicines and she can keep her hearing.

I could complain about my husband's new shift,
Or I could be grateful he has a job.

I could complain that my grass is all brown,
Or I could be grateful I have a yard.

I could complain that we have no money in the bank,
Or I could be grateful for ways God has provided.

I could complain that my house is a mess after I cleaned it yesterday,
Or I could be grateful that God has given me two little mess makers.

I could complain that my body does not want to let go of fat cells,
Or I could be grateful that I have food in my fridge and dinner on the table.

I could complain that I'm tired all the time,
Or I could be grateful God has given me a life to experience and the capability to experience.

I could complain about the amount of laundry there is to do,
Or I could be grateful that God has blessed us with plenty.

I've learned, it's all a matter of perspective.

What about you, are you complaining or grateful today?

1 Thessalonians 5:18 No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My 5 year old and the gospel

This morning, as I was finishing my hair, Lilla came in the bathroom as she had to "go". She was silent for a moment and then this conversation took place:

Lilla: Mom, God hates sin.

Me: He does. How do we know that?

Lilla: The Bible says it. He hates sin every little bit.

Me: That's true.

Lilla: And he loves us so much. He loves us so much he died on the cross. He died a lot on the cross for us.

Me: He did die on the cross, but we have hope. Do you know why we have hope?

Lilla: Because He rose again. He told everybody that He would and He did. The bad guys didn't want Him to and didn't believe Him when He said He would, but He did.

Me: Now that's the truth!

Think your 5 year old can't "get it"? Yes they can!

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Matthew 19:14

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Little About Haiti

Heading off to missions, you never fully know what to expect. You have to be willing to go with an open heart and mind, just being willing to let God work through you and in you. If that is your attitude, you can't help but be changed as your world view starts to open up.

I saw that again last month as I travelled to a completely new world to me, Haiti.

The people wore much the same clothes, as they had mostly been sent from America as donations over the years. Their shoes, when they wore them, were often what we would wear as well, only very often too small for their feet and worn down. Often times people go barefoot though, playing soccer, walking down the road, making their way through the market. Many cannot afford a pair of shoes so they just go without. Just a way of life.

The food is all cooked over charcoal. Most is fried and there is very little meat in any of the dishes. If there is meat it is usually goat. The main substances are corn maize (mush), rice and beans. People eat twice a day, breakfast and an early dinner. It usually is a pile of rice or corn maize with a few beans on the top. Many only eat once a day and they are grateful for even that. They often work long hours trying to sell anything they can find on the street just to be able to buy that plate of food.
Most do not have electricity or running water, which is why the cholera outbreak spread so fast and furious. People go to rivers to wash their clothes, wash their bodies, use the bathroom and get water for cooking, drinking and cleaning. Yes, all the same water. Thankfully, there are some community wells being put in place so people are able to get clean water.

In Port au Prince, everywhere you look there are tent cities. It literally looks like people are camping, and camping right on top of the next tent, as far as you can see. It's not like our camping where you have a lot, a hook up, a place to park your vehicle, trees all around. Nothing like that at all. Just huge parking lots covered in tents, end to end.

In the towns away from Port au Prince many live on top of each other in brick one room homes. They are probably about 8 x 8 size rooms where there is enough room for a bed and a dresser. The bathroom and the kitchen are outside. Both loosely used terms as the bathroom is a hole in the ground and the kitchen is a charcoal "grill" of sorts. There is no fridge, no sink, no 6 burner stove. Just a grill in the outdoors where women literally stand for hours every day cooking whatever they can find to cook.

The people gather everywhere you look. Outside on itty bitty porches, on streets where they are trying to sell things like used clothes, used cookware and beat up cans of food. There are also markets where you can go to buy and sell things, live animals are slaughtered in front of perspective buyers and voodoo doctors roam around trying to drum up business.
To be continued...

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Childhood Dream

Growing up, I attended a CMA church in a Western Suburb of Chicago. There was a constant flow of missionaries from all over the world coming in and out the door. They would talk about places in South America or Asia or Europe and I remember just looking at them in wonder thinking, I'm going to do that someday.

Oddly I had this strange vision of being in some type of ski lift, riding around to the places I would go. I have no idea why I envisioned this. There was no snow involved, I was just riding around on it. I have no idea either why I remembered this and it has nothing to do with the story, but there you have it. Missions, me, a ski lift. Um, ok.

Ever since that time missions has had a special place in my heart and anytime I hear about a trip I am the first one to raise my hand (often in my heart) to say, "Send me Lord!"

I have been blessed in so many ways to go to France, Hungary twice and last month, Haiti, to share the gospel and God's love. I believe all those years ago, God was building a desire in my heart and mind to go and reach the nations. He knew what He was doing in the mind of that little girl.

Thank you God, for making my childhood dream come true!

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a HOPE and a FUTURE!"

Friday, July 01, 2011

This Just In...

I was on the radio recently talking about Haiti, you can take a listen here:


It starts at about the 30 minute mark. I had a horrible cough and sore throat that day, but forgive that and just enjoy hearing about what God is doing in Haiti!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Where I'm from

I am from the Warp family Polish nose and Larsen family clear blue eyes.

I am from building forts with friends and little blue dirt bikes.

I am from summers spent in swimming suits and deep dark tan lines.

I am from sticky fingers from cupcake icing and cherry kool-aid mustaches.

I am from ding dong ditch games during late night sleepovers.

I am from party shoes and orange ice cream truck push ups.

I am from grandparents we called Bossy and Papa.

I am from Florida vacations and water skiing at my dad's.

I am from life long friends made in 3rd grade.

I am from strawberry wallpaper that I was convinced smelled like strawberries and trundle beds in tiny rooms.

I am from June picked mulberries and October apple dunking.

I am from the small blue house on Lalonde with the ginormous pool in the backyard.

I am from Kmart brand clothes and buffet lunches after church on Sundays.

I am from the rhubarb sticks covered in sugary goodness and flower beds covered in red lava rock.

I am from uncles dressing up as Santa and a grandpa who called kids peanut.

I am from Lemonade stands and climbing cranberry trees.

From grandparents who called me "the little one" and "missy".

I am from missionary visits and Sunday school lessons about Jesus.

I'm from Chicago's western suburbs and Indiana's far Eastern back roads.

I am from Pepsi in glass bottles and Ragu smothered Spaghetti.

From the day my sister and I grabbed some friends and pulled all of my mom's plants out of the backyard while she was at work so she would buy us a swimming pool.

I am from rows of family photos, carefully labeled with each event, lovingly looked at with each visit to my mom's house.

Based on the original poem- Where I'm From by George Ella Lyons, found the template here if you want to make one, too.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

In Haiti

Every morning a rooster would stand outside my window and Cock a doodle do at 4 o'clock in the morning. Invariably waking me up and making me begin to have the rather paranoid thought he was actually giggling at me, quite unabashedly.

But it's hard to complain, when I'm in Haiti.

The water coming out of the shower head feels like ice down my spine and I jump every time it hits my skin.

But it's hard to complain, when I'm in Haiti.

The electricity goes out for long hours every day. Sometimes lasting the whole day and even the night too.

But it's hard to complain, when I'm in Haiti.

It is the rainy season and my hair appears to be playing some kind of cosmic joke on me.

But it's hard to complain, when I'm in Haiti.

There are no popsicles, no air conditioning, no swimming pool.

But it's hard to complain, when I'm in Haiti.

It's Sunday and I'm standing in an itty bitty tent with no circulation, the sun beating town and tarps covering every surface.

But it's hard to complain, when I'm in Haiti.

I have to be careful not to stick my toothbrush under the faucet every time I brush my teeth. I have to have a clean cup, with special water from a system our church put in a jug whenever I even want a sip.

But it's hard to complain, when I'm in Haiti.

My body is constantly covered in sticky, smelly bug spray and sunblock.

But it's hard to complain, when I'm in Haiti.

The main staple is goat and everything is fried. (Neither of which I'm used to)

But it's hard to complain, when I'm in Haiti.

All cooking is done in a teeny tiny cookhouse over hot charcoal with no circulation to be found.

But it's hard to complain, when I'm in Haiti.

The internet is down in the whole country, my phone doesn't work and I have no idea how my family is doing.

But it's hard to complain, when I'm in Haiti.

My feet are constantly covered in a thick mud that is impossible to avoid as there are no sidewalks to walk on or grass them clean.

But it's hard to complain, when I'm in Haiti.

There are no Wal-Marts or Targets or CVS's to make quick runs into.

But it's hard to complain, when I'm in Haiti.

We visit a pastor's house and there is only an open air, outdoor bathroom.

But it's hard to complain, when I'm in Haiti.
Almost no one spoke but a few words of English.

But it's hard to complain, when I'm in Haiti.