I'm a full-time wife and mom of two adorable boys. When I'm not busy trying to keep up with them I enjoy photography, traveling, planning parties and a little bit of reading.

In February of 2008 I was diagnosed with an incurable terminal lung illness, though God promised me a full and complete healing. While we wait for His timing, we're taking it one day at a time, and standing in awe of how God's using all of this for His glory. The tough road we've traveled has given us a new perspective on the fragility of life. Memories are more important to us than ever before. The goal of this blog is to share some of our family life - the ups and downs, the joys and probably some of the pains as well. It's mostly meant as a personal journal of sorts, but you're welcome to share in it. We'd like to take this opportunity to say ...


Friday, April 23, 2010

New Ways ... Progress Update

Every winter (usually between Christmas and New Year) Aaron and I have "the talk" about what our goals are for the up coming year, next 5 and 10 years, and how we feel we did reaching the goals we had set for that current year.  Sound familiar?  If you remember, in January I did a post entitled New Ways for a New Year.  It wasn't really a list of New Year Resolutions; rather, it was a composite of some changes I/we wanted to implement in our lives. 

Well, it's now mid-April, and the year's almost 1/3 finished (amazing, isn't it!?!).  I thought it was time for me to re-evaluate how I'm / we're doing.  This way, I can feel good about any accomplishments, and know what areas still need some focus.

Goal #1 - We'd like to have the entire house painted by next January. Well, this goal is extremely slow moving.  There are 15 rooms (plus hallways, stairs, and closets) to paint, and so far ONE has been painted.  It's tricky painting with a 2 year old in the house, so we ended up taking a whole week to get it done - because we started after he went to bed at night.  In order to finish this goal, we'll need to paint two rooms a month.  I'm not seeing that happen.  But, Aaron and I spoke earlier this week about painting, and hopefully we'll get started again in May.  I think I have finally selected the colors for the three remaining bedrooms.  That seems like a good start.

Goal #2 - I'd like to plant a vegetable garden. This one has finally begun.  I posted earlier this week that we've broken ground, and that was soooo exciting for me!  We were hoping to finish the garden prep by tonight, but have run into a snag.  Last night I had to change my med site (the other site was developing 3 blisters), and so now I've begun another 12 days of pain.  So, Aaron's shifted his focus on childcare, and helping around the house.  We'll hope to get back to the garden by the end of next week. (It's sunny today, but supposed to rain the next 5 days.)

Goal #3 - I'd like to make one new recipe a week.  Ummmm. I totally failed.  I think I've made 4 or 5 new recipes so far this year.  I guess that equates to one new recipe a MONTH. Hmmmmm.  Gonna have to try harder.  I DID however, finally organize my recipes (I've been wanting to do that since before we got married!).  I'll do a post on that another time. 

Goal #4 - I want to start reading again.  A week or two ago, I was looking over my "New Ways" list, and feeling badly about how poorly I've done, so I added up the books I've read (cover-to-cover) since January 1.... FOURTEEN!  That's averaging ONE EACH WEEK!  It's been in spurts, but I guess I HAVE succeeded!  (I doubt I've read 14 books in the whole six years we've been married - not counting since January, of course!)  YAY - ONE "NEW WAY" has been successfully adopted!  [Insert pat on back]

Goal #5 - I want to go deep. We've now lived on Dogwood for six months, and I'm slowly starting to make friends.  Sometimes our conversations are about "things" and our personal histories, but they're beginning to get deeper.  And THAT is exciting to me!  I have a tendency to sound egotistical about some of my thoughts, and that's something I'm trying to change.  But the more experience I get talking about my thoughts, the more practice I get, right? *grin* I've also done a better job of sharing some "thoughts" on facebook, and not only comments like "date night!".  I think it really helps that I've started reading again - it's helping me start to think again.  But maybe part of that is also because I tend to only read non-fiction.

Goal #6 - I want to spend money more wisely. Last year we instituted a severe spending freeze.  That's the only way we could have afforded to relocate, and put down the deposit on this house.  We're not in a strict spending freeze right now, because there's things we really feel we NEED to buy (like the lawn mower, etc.).  But I'm doing a MUCH better job couponing, and not buying something at the store till it's on sale (and if it's sold out before then, I tell my self it wasn't meant to be).  We keep praying about each purchase we make (or end up not making), so hopefully we're doing okay in this area.  Though, (like most people) we wish we had more in our savings account than we currently do.

Goal #7 - I want to grow spiritually because I WANT TO, not because life forces me to.  The last two years have been VERY difficult for me physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  I grew by leaps and bounds because life forced me to (the alternative would have been to give up and die).  Last year, alone I was hospitalized 4 times (each time in an ICU or Cardiac Monitoring Floor), that's an average of once every 3 months.  And they weren't just overnight visits.  My body has failed me time and time again, and though my family and friends do a fabulous job supporting me, they're fallible.  I've HAD to reach out to God; there were times I didn't have strength to hold on any longer, and had to just let go and pray He'd catch me.  And each time He was faithful, just as He promised!  ... It's now been just over 5 months since my last hospitalization!  

I haven't grown as much spiritually in these past 4 months as I have the past 2 years, but I'm definitely growing!  God's teaching me that it's not necessary for me to depend on "books" and "Bible study teachers" to teach me - if I really spend time with Him (and my Bible), HE really WILL be my teacher! (Though it's awfully encouraging to me when I read something in a book and have already had that thought in my devotional time!)

I guess I'm doing OK on my "New Ways for the New Year" list.  If you had asked me last week, I would have thought I was failing miserably.  Guess some of the items really are becoming "part of me" rather than just a conscious effort.  That excites me! Of course there's lots of room for growth and change.  But the year's only 1/3 done!  Now that I've re-evaluated where I am and where I want to go, I can get back on track again!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


- We're working on our vegetable garden - 
- The logistics of it have been figured out -
- That was my part - 
- Aaron's part is the muscle-power -
- That part's not finished yet -
- But hopefully by the end of the week -

- And I'm daydreaming -
- I have been for a couple days -
- Ever since I visited with a girlfriend -
- She's daydreaming -
- And apparently it's contagious -

Have I mentioned that I HATE being outside. I hate sweating, I hate dirt under my nails. I hate bugs. I hate the wind blowing my hair into my face.  I hate squinting in the bright light.  And I HATE that being hot makes it very difficult for me to breathe - really - it makes me think I'm going to pass out (lung problems). ..... So, I guess the real problem is that for the first time in our married-life we actually OWN SOIL, and I feel obligated to do something useful and beautiful with it. 

I've been outside WEEDING recently, and each time I comment (several times) how much I hate yard work.  I don't want to use Round-up to kill the weeds.  I was told that it's made by the same company that made Agent Orange and DEET - not the best track record!  But the weeds need to go (they irritate me), and we can't afford a gardener (by a LONG shot!), so I weed.  I've also been outside "helping" with the vegetable garden.  Technically I'm not doing anything to help - I just feel like I am because I'm standing there taking pictures and telling Aaron how cute he is when he bends over to pick up something.

But even though I really, truly HATE being outside I've been daydreaming.  Who wouldn't when there's such beauty to be planted?

in Somewhereland...

... Strawberries are in season.  Prices are beginning to come down at the market.  The berries are getting bigger and MUCH sweeter!

The biggest, sweetest strawberries were devoured this morning at Bible Study.  I found out that they were purchased at Costco, so we made a detour on the way home to buy our own. They are ginormous. They are bright red.  They aren't too soft.  They are the "product of USA."  And they are SO SWEET!  They aren't quite as good as ones just picked in your own backyard, but they're probably some of the best I've ever had from the market!

Guess what we're having for lunch?  Strawberries - strawberries - and nothing but strawberries!  Hopefully we won't eat the whole 4 pound container before Aaron gets home tonight.  They're just THAT good!

we've broken ground!

Finally! (Better late than never...)

And we only have TWO more nice evenings till the next round of rain (possibly 4 days straight).  Here's hoping they're productive evenings! *smile*


We're planting a garden for earth day - what are YOU doing ???

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

MORE expensive gardening

(as opposed to LESS expensive gardening...)

Aaron and Alex are at Home Depot right now picking up the last of the items we need (except for the top soil / compost / mulch) for our very first vegetable garden.  We're all sooooooo excited to get started on the project.  Well, three of us are.  Aaron's just going through the motions - 'cause he's gonna have to do all the physical work to get it set up.  My lung problems prevent me from that kind of physical strain.  But I'll be the cheering section, photographer, and iced tea cup holder all-rolled-into-one!

We're gonna have a few more beautiful days this week, and I'm desperately hoping to get everything done (except the actual planting) so that we can plant as soon as that last frost is finished! But we'll see.  I'm emotionally prepared for this process to take us into next week.

Gardening DOESN'T have to be expensive! You rip up some grass in your yard, and plant some seeds.  That's it, right?  Well, there's quite a bit more involved here on Dogwood.  You see, the point of the garden is to feed MY family - not HIS...

(please disregard the mostly-brown, dying shrub in some of the photos!)

(photos taken 5 minutes ago out my living room window)

We've also got deer, and TONS of birds.  I was hoping to put up a bird feeder this spring, but decided it wasn't necessary.  We have so many worms in our yard, that we easily see at least 10 different bird species each day!  I should start taking photos so I can figure out what kind they are.

So, since we have so many hungry neighbors, we're going to have to put up fencing and bird netting.  That's going to be so much more work (and expense), and hassle.  But, (poor Aaron) I'm as determined as ever to have a garden.  Because 95% of the expense is in getting a garden set-up, our budget has shrunk our garden for this year.  I was hoping to do 2 8x3 foot raised beds.  But after pricing everything, we're just going to do one this year, and if everything goes well, then next year we'll add a second.  Hopefully I'll have some garden prep photos to share with you by the end of the week. I'm sooo excited! *grin*

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easter 2010

Better late than never ...

M de C - Chapel

M de C - Inside Pictorial

I wish I had taken SO MANY MORE inside pics .......

The Practice Rooms

Art Studio

The Music Wing

The Main Stairwell

The Music Hall

Various Hallways

(Comparative Religions with Rabbi Lowi)

French Class

Restroom by Mrs. McCullough's Room

The Science Wing

(it still smells like dissection!)

The Cafeteria

My very first school experience...