Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Let Them Eat Cake

This triple chocolate buttermilk pound cake is featured on the February issue of Southern Living. Try it! It was great!

Monday, February 23, 2015

What a Slumber Party!

Because the weather was unusually brutal to power lines this past week, several families found themselves in very cold houses.  The temperature inside the homes of those with no power dipped below freezing. Our family had the privilege of hosting several of those families. With a total of twenty-one here at one time, every bed and sofa was completely full. What a blessing it was to sit and talk, play games, eat together and basically slow down life.

I know that in God's plan we all needed the rest. I just wish we had another week so that I could redeem the time better. My "busy" nature can think of so many things that would have been wise to do with a house full of guests.

All of the girls enjoyed snuggling with the babies. Josh and Natalie were able to sneak in a short date night  while they were here waiting on their power to be restored.

Josiah did not sleep well away from home, therefore, Rachel did not sleep well this week. Rachel, Adrian, Susannah and Josiah piled in Mary's room for the week.
Our fuzziest guest was a real treat!  Gus is a Golden Doodle who was so well trained and almost convinced us that  we need another dog. He belongs to the Morrison family who took Lydia and Abigail's room.
We took a selfie after all of the little ones went to bed to commemorate this event. Blake, who shared his birthday with us this week, bunked in Ray's office.
The children all played so well together and seemed to really enjoy the time together. Abigail is going to miss having all of her friends here all of the time.
Being surrounded by babies was an especially good treat for me. Lizbeth is the youngest of the O'Neil family who occupied the basement.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

In Light of the Ice Storm

Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?

You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.
Psalm 77:13-14

What a beautiful display of God's might. We are often reminded of the power of God through His displays in the weather.

Monday, February 16, 2015

It really isn't about the numbers, but...

... it just happened to work out that way.

Five boys
Four days
Three Nights
Two pounds of pasta
One dog

We've gotten some great time with some amazing boys. Our nephews have given me hope that living with boys is possible, even really great.

So, Josiah, look out... Grammy has a few ideas!

Thursday, February 12, 2015


My knitter friends will find this either hilarious or very offensive.

We used to keep a quote calendar to write down all of the funny things that were said so that we could remember those funny things. Then at the end of the year we would print it and laugh every day at the crazy things our girls would say. Today, I started it again, because Rachel was on such a roll.

Can you go check to make sure Josiah is breathing, I can't stop knitting?

I stopped the other project because I couldn't figure out what it was.

Mary, can you come roll this yarn?

Well, at least I know it's some kind of goat's hair yarn.

I feel like a lazy bum. Is this what all knitter's feel like, lazy bums?

Proverbs 17:22 "A joyful heart is good medicine..."

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Valentine Fun

...and yes, she does wear this dress every day.  This Pinterest project is so easy a three year old can do it.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lay out a single layer of pretzels.

Painstakingly unwrap lots of Hershey kisses and put them on top of the pretzels.

 Put the pan in the oven for about 3-5 minutes, just until the kisses are hot but not loosing their shape. I did that for her, she isn't that tall.

Separate a bag full of M & M's, using only the red ones.

While the kisses are warm, press the M & M's down into the kisses.

Cool in the fridge to set the kisses hard again. 

They turned out cute, but if you used the Hershey hugs and Valentine colored M & M's they would look more like Valentines.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

SharIng Grief

Why do we share our lives with the world? The pictures of empty rocking chairs and sick babies are heart wrenching to us and yet we share them with everyone. Our story is a testimony to God's faithfulness to his people. We are not promised a life of health and wealth. We are promised that He will see us through our storms.
Psalm 57:1-3

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.  I cry out to the God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.  He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness.
Troubles come and go. God is faithful, steadfast. We can stand strong with Him.

Not everyone chooses to share their losses with the world. That's okay, each one's grief is his own, to do with as he sees right.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, sot that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
I want to comfort others with the great hope in the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. The entire passage in 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 is so encouraging and we have found it  to be a source of great comfort over the years.
"Our hope for you is unshaken..."

"...rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead."
"... and he will deliver us again."

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Christians, You May Suffer

I always find my thinking challenged when I talk to my friend, Michele.

We were discussing suffering. Hard things - not breaking a nail or Starbucks running out of your favorite flavor. I'm talking about hard things. Miscarriage, long term illness, loss of a child, divorce, abuse, death...

Life is hard. I strongly dislike the teaching that Christianity is easy. God may have called you to suffer. You probably aren't going to be rich because you gave enough money to your favorite preacher last year.

And who's to say God hasn't blessed those who live in a shack in the unsafest part of town? Blessings look different to each of us. The two car garage in your suburban neighborhood is a blessing, but those who don't have it are just as blessed.

Holding tight to the promises of God while walking through deep trials is being blessed! Grieving the loss of a parent, yet knowing God is sovereign over all things is a blessing. Drinking dirty water because that's all your community can find is a blessing. Holding church meetings in the dark to keep from being discovered is a blessing.

So these people who "#blessed" every time they get a large latte need to remember more about what a blessing truly is.

Now excuse me, my latte is getting cold.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Comfort To Me

This is from Rachel's Facebook post this week. I see a strong Godly response to grief. 

"If you had asked us last Monday what this Monday would look like, we would have said that our bathroom would be remodeled, Susannah would be potty trained, our babies would be healthy, and we would be anticipating a healthy first check-up with the midwife next week. None of our plans have worked out the way we thought. But, all of God's plans went exactly as he wanted. "Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases." Psalm 115:3
"Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?" Lamentations 3:37-38

These verses would not be comforting to us, except that we know that "The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." 
So our babies are sick, our bathroom is torn apart, Susannah isn't potty trained, and the most sad of all, we never get to hold our third baby until we get to heaven. Our hearts are aching, the pain is still strong. At the same time, we are not shaken. God is our refuge and we know that he is in control. No amount of faith, no planning on our part could keep our baby alive. God's plan cannot be thwarted. He is sovereign, and he is good. That is comforting. 

We appreciate the many prayers and kind words we have received so far. Thank you all. As you continue to pray, know that we are still hurting and will always miss our baby, but we are ok, because we are resting in Christ and striving to be occupied with joy."

These words make this mother's heart glad. To know that my children are walking with the Lord is something to rejoice about (2 John 4).  If your children do not walk with God, how can they handle loss? What hope is there in any life without Christ?

The picture above is Rachel's rocking chair that was given to her when she was a baby and a blanket that she and Adrian knitted the day after they found out about their loss. It will always be a tangible thing to hold while she waits to see this precious life.

Rachel and Adrian's sweet baby boy, Josiah, has bronchiolitis and daughter Susannah has battled a head cold. Josiah did not like the breathing treatments until his Grammy gave him one. (Psst, I'm the Grammy.)

Friday, January 23, 2015

More Waiting

Our family is no stranger to grief, especially the grief of miscarriage. But walking through this valley with my own daughter is heart wrenching. It's usually easy for me to hide from grief by holding a baby, cooking, cleaning, or basically just avoiding it. There are many needs in our busy household that could easily demand my attention. In the moment of tragedy, the busyness comes to a screeching halt. Plans change, schedules rearrange and we grieve.

No matter how hard I want to hide from the pain, the "crushing hand of God" is ever present. The pain of loss feels like my heart is physically coming out of my chest. The knowledge that the God who created the Heavens and the earth is the one who holds this precious life is the only comfort. He has held many of our babies and he holds us. There are moments when I wish I could physically feel that hold, but I always know He is the Very Present God.

I know that I cannot bring this baby back, nor would I want to since he has seen the face of God.  I rest in the fact that we will see this baby and others that have gone before. (2 Samuel 12:23)

These pictures were taken for Rachel and Adrian's pregnancy announcements. Now they are reminders of a new life that we have to wait to see.