where'd i go?

Crazy!!  :)

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while ... things seem to be a bit out of control and I’m doing my best to take it in stride.

I also got a new home computer system, so working on my website {when I’m traveling on my laptop} is a tad difficult because it’s tied more to my desktop and there’s a huge process to change over files, etc. between the desktop and laptop and well ... I just haven’t been able to get to it.

I also seem to have taken a boat load of photos that I’d love to share with you all.  Just haven’t had time to get them together.

If you start to miss me too much, I post everyday at Broadway Paper.  And today I started an online silent auction to benefit a family in need.  If you have a moment to check it out, please do.  There are over 165 auctions being held in blog land today.  All for a worthy cause!

And let’s see, the girls started school yesterday ... wow!  I won’t get all cliche[y} ... but wow!  You can see some photos here.

Taylor’s starting 8th grade. Piper’s starting 1st.  And Wynter’s in her second year of Early School.  The Early School program is really amazing at Prairie ... it’s a full day program, they have recess, gym class, art class, music, lunch in the dining room with the big kids.

And again, one of the things I love the most, is knowing that the girls all see each other during the day and stay connected and caring for each other ... that’s priceless to me.


that's my baby!

So ... Taylor wants to be a model.  My thought is that at this point in her life, she wants to do whatever it takes to meet Nick Jonas ... or should I say ‘catch his eye.’

She’s got a bit of stage fright {yeah, yeah, sounds familiar}, so singing, acting, dancing ... out.

Modeling?  Sit in front of a camera, dress up, wear make-up ... seems doable!

Curt contacted some people he knows and we set up a shoot at Zoe McKenzie Photography in Chicago.  She needed to bring 8 different changes of clothing, including her riding clothes {is it okay to say I didn’t like how the riding photos turned out, so I didn’t include them?}.  I wasn’t expecting it, but there was a make-up artist there to do hair and make-up.  Pretty much the real deal.

So this past Tuesday, Taylor and I took the train to Chicago and made it to the studio.  The photographer couldn’t have been friendlier, so I think that really helped put Taylor at ease.

They wanted to see what Taylor brought for outfit changes as we slowly pulled out wrinkled shirt, after wrinkled shirt.  In my effort to give her more responsibility, I had her pack up her own clothes.  Maybe I should’ve helped her out on that one.  Not to worry though, they had a steamer and got the wrinkles out as Taylor was having hair and make-up done.

Through this process Taylor {I felt} really relied on me and asked my opinions ... on what outfits to bring, what to expect, etc.  It was fun.

At the shoot, she had me go in the bathroom with her to change and get ready ... I felt included, needed and loved.  What every mom dreams about, right?

Then came time for the shoot ... “Tay, you want me to watch?”  Silence.  To the photographer, “Can I watch?”  Silence.  “No, not really,” the photographer answers.  Then she says to Taylor, “Do you want your mom to watch?”  “No, not really,” Taylor answers.  I was crushed.

I hung my head and slowly walked to loserville.  As I sat there feeling a tad bit sorry for myself, all the while dying to know what was going on at the shoot ... I came to the realization that I had to let go.  I had to understand that in order for Taylor to do what she needed to, and feel comfortable enough to be free in front of the camera ... she didn’t need ol’ mom breathing down her neck.  And I was okay with that.  I got it.

As she came back from the first shoot all smiles and decided what to wear for the next shoot, she grabbed my hand, pulled me in the bathroom to help and told me all about what happened.  Precious moments with her.

Ahhhh ... I’ve got to remember to give, in order to get ... such a hard lesson for a mom that wants to build houses all along her mile long driveway for each of her kids.  Seriously.

Anyway ... I’ve been waiting all week for the email Julia said she would send with a special code to get into the website to see the photos.  It never came, never came.  I finally listened to all the voice mails sitting at home tonight {sorry for anyone reading this that left me a message ... and just a note ... email ... reach me through email} ... anyway, I finally picked up my messages and man! they left me the code last Wednesday!  That’s what I get.

I had an absolutely awesome day with Taylor.  The photographer would show us some of the shots after each shoot and they were remarkable.  Click here to see some more photos.  {We have a disk coming in the mail, so I may add to these ... although, they’re really pretty much the same, just different variations ... oh, and will include her riding outfit shots.}

Sadly, we got home just in time Tuesday to make it to her Opa’s funeral.  She took it really well and it was an incredible gathering in honor of him.  They played German music, had a slideshow, a buffet.  It was really special.

It was so much more emotional for me than I ever thought it would be ... on so many different levels.  I guess I’ll just leave it at that.

a family that prays together ...

This is Hunter.  Praying before we ate dinner at McDonald’s.  This photo fills my heart with love and joy.

I grew up praying before meals.  And as soon as I was old enough and out of my parents house, I left that tradition behind.  Do you have any idea how embarrassing it was to pray in a restaurant?  With everyone watching?

Today, I wouldn’t trade that tradition for the world.  Or the faith that my mom instilled in me.

I hope someone sees us praying ... I mean, honestly ... how adorable are those chubby little hands?  :)

Piper says prayer most of the time, and Hunter used to say she wanted a turn ... “me turn” ... so we had her go last because she would just fold her little hands, close her eyes, we’d wait a bit, I’d say amen and she’d say “eat!”  Seriously, the most precious thing ever!

Now, she’s actually saying little graces.  Tonight, Piper prayed first, thanking God for our food and for mom & dad.  Then Hunter took her turn and mumbled out pretty much what Piper had just said.

The power of prayer ...

I seriously had no idea.  I was just oblivious, indifferent, blase, uncaring, uninterested, casual, unmoved, nonchalant about prayer.  {yeah, I just used my thesaurus}

I seriously had no idea what prayer could mean.  And maybe it was because I really didn’t know how to pray either?  I hear great prayers from our pastor, or my parents, or youth leaders ... and I just didn’t feel my little prayer would or could have the same power or impact.

I was wrong.

And what I want to teach my children is the power of prayer.  Anytime, anyway, any subject.  Doesn’t matter.  All God wants us to do is talk to him.  He’s our friend, right?  We talk to our friends ... wouldn’t it be great, actually, if God had email?

I’m trying to be very diligent about getting the kids to pray before meals {no matter where we are and seriously, I dohope people see us}, and before bedtime ... so that they slowly learn, they can talk to God anytime ... day or night.

It was a little hard getting them to open up and pray and know what to talk about or say ... and recently I read a blog post {awesome blog, in general, if you have some time to take a peek} where she mentions how she has her kids pray.  I tried it and it’s been working wonderfully!  Three things:

  1. 1)Tell God something you’re grateful for.

  2. 2)What’s one thing you want to pray about.

  3. 3)What’s one thing you want to apologize to God about.

I think that’s genius and it’s really been helping the girls make prayer more real.

When we first started, it was a little difficult for them to understand what I was saying, or what they should do ... so I would start and pray.  The first few times, I would pray “for my friends that are sick and that God would heal them, take away their pain and make them feel better.”

The next night, and for about a week and a half afterwards {and actually, tonight was the first night she didn’t}, Wynter would pray for mommy’s friends that were sick.  Cute ... once she prayed that God would take away their colds.  Innocence of children, huh?


God rocks!

Okay, that title made me giggle ...

Curt’s in Alaska, Taylor’s in New York, the girls are in bed, so I’m going to snuggle in with a movie.  But first I wanted to post this.

It’s about the bible study ... there was one huge piece of this puzzle missing for me and this morning my prayer was answered.  I will explain in detail, what I’m talking about, at our first gathering.

But to me, the fact that it was answered solidifies what God has asked me to do.  I’ve been questioning, and questioning and yet every answer falls right in to place.

And I can’t wait to tell you more about it!  Our first meeting {I’ve got a serious case of butterflies here!!} will be Wednesday, September 17 at 6:30 pm.  Please feel free to give me some feedback on that timing and if you’ll be able to make it.

The study will be called {oh man! more butterflies ... and they feel like they’re trying to escape my body} “facing your giants.”  I’ve come to realize, we all have ‘giants.’  Some are sickness, some are family, friends, co-workers, spouses, finances, and the list goes on ...

The first meeting will be the most important.  If you miss this meeting, I feel you will miss the basis of where I’m coming from with my future messages.  It’s very important to me and the study that you make the first one.  Even if you’re unsure if you’d like to come, or maybe want to think about it and join later ... that’s all totally fine ... but if you’re even toying with the idea of coming ... please ... come to the first meeting.

Please feel free to invite your friends, neighbors, family ... I just ask for some sort of rsvp so I know what to plan for.  You can comment here on your attendance, or feel free to email me.

If for some reason, the majority of you couldn’t make the first meeting, I am flexible to move the date.

And if you’re reading this post and have no idea what I’m talking about, you can catch up here.


best teacher award

I’ve been meaning to post this forever, but just haven’t had a chance {thank you Nellie for scanning for me!}.

This is Piper’s kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Steig ... isn’t this the sweetest picture ever?  Probably because Mrs. Steig is the sweetest teacher ever ... well, and Piper is the sweetest kindergartner {soon-to-be first grader} ever ... well, besides Taylor who was a pretty sweet kindergartner.  And then of course, I’m sure Wynter and Hunter will be pretty sweet kindergartners ... okay, can I be done being fair to all of my kids who might ever read this post and ask why theyweren’t the sweetest ever??

Taylor had Mrs. Steig for kindergarten, and I loved her so much.  She was the only teacher I ever cried leaving her class {when school was out for the summer} and then got all teary-eyed again at the end of this school year.

I had requested that Piper would get her and I know I’ll do the same for the other two girls when it’s their turn.  She is the most caring, soft spoken, loving teacher I think you’ll ever meet.  She has a way of making each child feel absolutely treasured and her most important priority.  I envy that quality on some days ...


Mrs. Steig wanted to get together with Piper over the summer ... and Piper was beside herself excited!!  Mrs. Steig picked her up and took her on a ‘playdate’ to Chuck E. Cheese.  Piper had an awesome, awesome time!

How cool is that?  Thank you Mrs. Steig for another great memory!


jasper's back!!

Things didn’t quite work out with Elliot.  His health rapidly deteriorated once we brought him home ... to the point that he now needs to be retired.  It was a rough time for Taylor to go through, especially given that she had made the tough decision to sell Jasper.

But, once we realized the problems with Elliot, we decided to bring Jasper back from training and give him another try.  The trainer did an awesome job with Jasper and Taylor was super happy with the results.  It’s still going to take a lot of work for her to keep him “trained” and his mind busy {otherwise he can get quite sassy}, but hopefully she’ll stay on him.

Last summer was spent at multiple horse shows and camps ... this summer, it was actually a blessing that we were not that busy.  In fact, Taylor hadn’t participated in anything.

Because I had to work this summer, it really was a blessing that Taylor wasn’t scheduled to participate in anything.  If she were, I’m not quite sure how I would’ve balanced that.  Just another example of how the big Guy is watching out for us.

Anyway, RCPC camp was last weekend and Taylor decided to give it a try with Jasper.  They had some issues to work out.  And also some jumping things to work out ... she hadn’t jumped him in over 2 months, this was going to be the first time.  Camp went really well {overall}.  She did have some rough spots, but was able to work through them.

Curt had taken the little girls all up to the lake for the weekend, so I had the weekend at home to spend with Taylor {and get caught up on a few things here and there}.  It was great fun taking photos of her again ... I had really missed that.  You can check them out here.  And while you’re on her site, check out some of the other stuff from last year.  The Kentucky photos are especially cool ... if I say so myself.  :)


purity & a teenager

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to be a teenager today?  Do you have any idea how much harder it is to be a parent of a teenager today?

I pray everyday that I am raising this child {actually, all of my children, but especially Taylor right now} to be a person that will glorify Him one day.  I second guess myself and the decisions I make almost every. single. day.

I love this child.  And I want her to be happy.  But I am also her mother and I have a job to do.  I have been seriously blessed with this tremendous opportunity and I don’t want to screw it up.  I need to remember that ultimately, all that matters is that this child will one day go out into the world and be a responsible, caring, contributing adult ... who knows how to glorify the Lord.

Taylor recently asked for a purity ring.  Say what?  Okay, I didn’t see that one coming.  {P.S., thank you Jonas Brothers for raising awareness and making it cool}.

I was kinda freaked out, wouldn’t you be?  On one hand ... wow! how very cool.  On the other ... say what??

Seriously ...

How do you begin to ask if she really knows what that means?  If she understands that it is a huge commitment, not to be taken lightly?  And the hardest one ... does she understand that by making this commitment and wearing this ring ... she may actually find herself a target of someone cruel enough to try and break the vow.

She understood it all and claimed she was ready for the commitment.  I didn’t want it to be about just getting a ring and saying she made the commitment.

So I decided we would watch a series called “Kissed the Girls and Made them Cry” from Lisa Bevere.  It’s about purity.  Not just sexual purity, but whole-being purity.  We need to guard our hearts in what we listen, what we see, what we hear and how we dress.  It really is a great series and I’m glad we watched it together.

We recently finished the series and after a longer discussion with Taylor, we picked out her purity ring {online} and she’s proudly wearing it today.  I asked her if someone asked about it what would she say ... she said she’d let them know it was a purity ring and a commitment she’s made.  She’s made this commitment to God, herself, her parents, and her future husband.  I couldn’t be prouder of her!  Here are some photos I took of her the other day ...

Pretty, no?  And my job as a parent is to make sure she’s beautiful on the inside.  My wish is to one day stand before the Lord and hear him say, “You did well.” {with the way I raised them}.

Taylor’s grandfather {opa} died this past Wednesday night.  Frank’s dad, my ex father-in-law.  Willi was such a spit-fire of a man.  German, head-strong, and sharp as a tack!  He came over here from Germany, started with just about nothing and made a great life for himself.  It was the saddest thing to see his mind go over the last year or so.  He suffered a cardiac arrest Tuesday afternoon, and his family had to decide to take him off life-support Wednesday night.  Taylor doesn’t usually show much emotion regarding these types of things, but I wasn’t prepared for how this would affect her.  She took it pretty hard ... I just couldn’t help but thinking, “I shouldn’t have to be holding my crying daughter explaining her Opa just passed away.”

I’ve been doing a lot more thinking about the bible study.  I’ve had maybe 4 people say they are interested ... and I started second guessing this whole thing.  I had dinner the other night with two good friends and they encouraged me to keep going ... so I am.  Even if you do not know me, but have happened upon my blog and are reading this, you are invited.  If you are reading this and are unsure if you should come ... you should.  If you would like to invite a friend ... you should.  If you don’t know Christ and feel funny about the whole religion thing ... you should come.  I’m going to be putting some dates out soon, so stay tuned.  I encourage you to let your friends know about the bible study and I encourage all to come.


i believe

I believe the Lord has been speaking to me.  The problem is, I’m not completely sure what he’s telling me.  Evidence in that, is that I have been procrastinating so much on writing this post, that I’m pretty sure my name’s been added to the definition {in the dictionary}!

Because I feel so completely overwhelmed by this, I have been doing everything possible to not write this post.  It’s taken me about 10 separate times to put it together and finish it. Again, mostly because I’m not positive that what Ithink I’m suppose to write, is what I am suppose to write.

Does God speak to you?  And when he does, how do you know it’s from him?  It’s taken me a very long time to listen ... actually, to hear him.  And look at me ... I’m still second guessing this.

Everything that I’ve been running into, and reading, and finding over the last two weeks is leading me to put together a bible study.

There!  It’s out.  And I still don’t believe it.  I’ve been praying, and now I’m crying.  Because I have absolutely no idea how to give a bible study.  Not to mention that little piece about having to talk in front of people.

I’ve only recently started going to bible study myself {about the last two years}, and the woman I listen to is SO anointed by the power of God, that I feel like I would need to follow that footstep/direction.  And I know I would never measure up.

But aren’t we all children of God?  If he is speaking this to me ... and it’s such a big ‘if’ to me right now, because it seems so far-fetched to me ... but if he is telling me to do this, shouldn’t I listen?  Does it matter if I live up to myexpectations {wanting to lead people like the study that I go to}?  No, it’s that I live up to His expectations ... and that starts by being obedient.

I am so afraid of failure.  So afraid of speaking.  So afraid of having nothing to say.  So afraid of the time commitment it would take to put something together.

Oddly enough {well, not really oddly enough, because we are talking God here}, but ... I started reading the gospel of Luke about a week ago {and this is about a full week after God telling me to start paying attention, because he’s preparing me for something}, so I’m reading Luke and get to the part where the angel Gabriel comes to Mary and tells her God has chosen her to become pregnant with the Son of God.  Luke 1:38 says, “I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

The bible I read in the mornings is a life application bible from Joyce Meyer.  She always has little segments called ‘putting the Word to work.’  I’d been struggling with trying to figure out what God is telling me {to spread his Word through bible study} when I read:

Has God ever asked you to do something you never expected to do? No doubt, Mary was very surprised when the angel told her she would give birth to the Son of God.  Mary’s trust in God, and her obedience and cooperation with God’s plans, and purposes, is a great example to follow.  Allow God to work in you as He wants to, and know that all His plans for you are for your good.  When unexpected things happen, keep trusting Him!

And then ... she has this other thing, called ‘speak the Word,’ where she’ll take a verse and put it into ‘today’s’ terms.  So on the next page I read:

Lord, I know that with You, nothing is ever impossible and that no word from You will ever be without power or impossible of fulfillment. {adapted from Luke 1:37}

Then ... today {and last week} at church, I just feel like I’m being spoken to over and over again.  And in bible study today, she says that the Lord is telling her she’s speaking to someone ... and that person needs to carry the Word of God to others.

Then satan comes in and tells me, “who do I think I am, that she would be talking to me?  That God would pick me, out of all the others in the class, as someone she is talking to.” ... I have to be honest ... I’m still struggling with that one.  I have work to do on my own life and my own Christian walk before I can give a message to others.  Right?

Okay, and here’s another thing ... who would even want to come to a bible study from me?  Do I want you to answer that?  I’m not sure yet.

But here’s what I believe:

I believe the Lord is coming back ... soon.

I believe God sent his son to die for our sins.  Take a minute to fully realize what that means.  The Lord sent his only son to hang ... on a cross ... for you and I.  So that we might one day live with him in heaven.  That is a gift that I will gladly rejoice in.

I believe you need to be saved, repented of your sins, and have Jesus Christ living inside of you in order to go to heaven.

I believe being a good person won’t get you to heaven.

I believe I need to share what I know of God’s love with more people that just the people I know are ‘safe’ to talk to, or already have ‘faith.’

I believe there is a Holy Spirit and he is real.  Evident by my Holy Ghost goose bumps all morning in church!

I believe without God, there is no hope.

I believe our children deserve to know the power of God.

I believe no matter how many times I walk away from this post, it’s sitting here when I get back.  And I swear I can feel/hear God giggle when I look at it with dread.

I believe I have NO idea how to run a bible study.  But ...

I believe if this is God’s will, he will see me through it.

So tell me ... this isn’t anything you’d be interested in, is it?  :)


happy anniversary

Curt just celebrated his 25th anniversary with ‘the company.’  25 years ... wow!  I can’t resist to add that I was only 14, 25 years ago.  Weird ...

Anyway, JDI was having a big company-wide meeting Tuesday afternoon, so the girls and I surprised him at the meeting to present him with his 25 year pin, a certificate and a lunch coupon that each employee receives on their anniversary.

The company loved it and Curt always enjoys seeing his little girls.  They were pretty cute giving him the awards.  Hunter got up and gave him the certificate right in the middle of the CEO talking about Curt’s tenure ... cute!  Oh!  And Wynter freaked out and wouldn’t give him anything and ended up hiding on my lap.

Here’s an email Curt received from someone:

Curt - 

It was wonderful to see your beautiful daughters and wife here to recognize and celebrate your 25 years of service!  You are a very lucky man!  While you may have preferred not to have all that attention, I do believe it is a great thing for our employees to share in this special moment.  Celebrations are good!  Thank you for your stewardship!  I am excited by our opportunities, especially after 10 profitable quarters in a row! 

Be well.

Curt always has a hard time thinking that the company or people in Racine are interested in seeing this type of stuff.  But I think they are ... I think they miss Sam and that they enjoy seeing how his family is moving on and staying connected to the community.

Congratulations Curt ... I love you.