Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I promised you some words about the Double Strength Vanilla that Watkins has, and I will keep my word. I also promise you, though, that this will not become a Watkins blog! Although I'm becoming fascinated by what I'm learning about this company and it's products, there is more to my life than this!

I've been baking the past few days and I have been using my new bottle of Watkins Double Strength Vanilla. Wow! What a difference in 1.) smell 2.) viscosity (thickness of the liquid) and 3.) overall results! When you first open the bottle you are immediately impacted by the strong scent of vanilla. It's so REAL! Then I started to pour it in the measuring spoon (using only half of what the recipe called for) and it was so thick ... not runny, brown water like I'm used to with the no-name brand I usually use. The cookies also taste wonderful! I never thought that buying the quality stuff would make that much of a difference, but I do love it!

Today I was browsing some Watkins stuff and I came across a newsletter that gave some interesting facts about vanilla. Get this: if you add a few drops of vanilla to your oil before you fry foods, it will take away the odors! Saturate a cotton ball with vanilla and put it in your refrigerator to freshen it. Put a few drops of vanilla in your vacuum cleaner bag or filter and your house will smell like vanilla. Vanilla rubbed on your hands will take away the fish smell after handling fish. Who would've thought of these?!

Anyway, I've fallen in love with this vanilla. The scent alone is what draws me to it. Mmmmm! Fred has been trying to teach me for years that sometimes you just have to buy QUALITY and not just the cheap stuff. This vanilla is one of those quality items that I'm going to be paying for now instead of the cheap stuff. It's amazing!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Discover Watkins With Me!

Well, I did something this past week that I never dreamed of doing before. I became an Independent Watkins Associate! What's that, you ask? Check out my website! I even have my own website!

The J.R. Watkins company of quality products was established in 1868 as a company that provided natural, botanical-based products focused mostly on medicinal means like salves and ointments and creams, but it has expanded from there over the years to also provide products for gourmet foods (spices, mixes, extracts), home care (chemical-free cleaners, soaps, detergents), apothecary items (Do you like that word? It's items such as liniments, salves, cough medicines, tonics.), health care items (shea butters, lip balm, hand salves, shampoos, etc). There are so many products that Watkins provides, and the interesting thing is that they are definitely quality products many of which have survived since the company first started providing them in the mid-1800's!

I am just beginning to discover all the products that are available and since most of you are my family and close friends (with a few lurkers who haven't made themselves known yet! :), I hope you don't mind if I share some of my discoveries with you as I go. If you are already familiar with Watkins products, please post comments about the ones you use and love! I would love to hear from you! Watch for future posts that tell you about my discoveries!

Please browse my Watkins website and tell me what you think. Poke around. Ask questions. Of course feel free to become a customer. :) The exciting thing for me is that even though I live in Canada, I am still able to help my US friends and family by providing a US catalog on the website. Just make sure you click on US or CANADA Catalog to get the correct one for your country.

Along with reading all my information about Watkins, I would also like to ask you to pray for me as I start this endeavor. I simply want to be able to help out with our family's finances while still being here for my kids. I'm not trying to get rich on this, but I do want to be able to take some of the financial stress off of Fred and still manage our home at the same time. Please pray for me! Thanks!

I'll tell you about the Double Strength Vanilla that I've come to love in the next post! Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Tonight our family enjoyed an evening out. We were invited to our friends' house who also have three boys. Their children are much older than ours, but we could relate to each other. It was such an enjoyable evening sharing in their good, old-fashioned love and hospitality. There were no pretenses. No shows. No impressions trying to be made. There were no apologies for a wet dog who ran through the kitchen or the fact that the chicken ended up a bit spicier than was intended. There were no apologies that our hostess doesn't like to bake; just the simple fact stated that she doesn't like to do it, so we ate a jello salad that her mother-in-law had made and the boys had part of a KitKat bar (which they loved better than a baked dessert anyway!). We really enjoyed ourselves tonight!

It seems that the scriptural encouragement to practice hospitality is overlooked so often these days. Or maybe it's just that no one wants to invite over a family with three little boys, for fear of the noise or the mess they may make. I don't know. All I know is that tonight we felt blessed as a family as we visited with our friends. It wasn't about home or meal presentation, but about fellowship. We laughed together about our boys' antics. We cried together as we remembered our dear brother Larry Megyesi who passed away yesterday. We discussed our struggles with post partum depression and how we are changed women because of that. We talked about our prayers and our hopes for our children. We talked about touching other peoples' lives in real ways. We talked about dumb things we did as newlyweds. I feel so refreshed after our evening tonight.

While we do have guests over quite often, I was encouraged again tonight to practice hospitality and to do good, especially to the household of faith. A friend shared with me the other day that she is learning how to be hospitable from me. When I probed why in the world she would say that, she responded that it was because no matter when she calls or drops by, I always make her feel as if I'm thrilled to have her there. Well, that's easy, because I am! But she said that I don't make her feel as if I have to have everything perfect for her when she comes. She likes that she can come in and see toys all over the place and that she will see crumbs on my floor (I was embarrassed by that comment! :), or that I can pull the clothes out of my dryer and be folding them in front of her. Granted, I don't do this with all my guests, but I DO want people who come into our home to feel welcome and part of the family, as well as make them feel important.

That's what I felt tonight, and I'm more encouraged than ever to practice simple and sincere hospitality. I want to bless lives like I was blessed tonight! We really need to keep this practice of hospitality and blessing others alive and well. I'm thankful that my mom and grandma practiced this and taught us how to easily invite people over to our homes. I learned a lot from them! And it seems to be rubbing off on the boys too because every Sunday morning they will ask us who is coming for lunch that day. When Timothy helps me set the table every night, he sets an extra plate, just in case we have company, he says. Let's see ... who can we have over this week? I'm excited!

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Few Funnies

I know I've told some of you these stories already, but you've asked me to repeat them on here, so I will. Those of you that have or had little kids can appreciate these types of comments that seem to come out of nowhere from these little people.

About a week ago, Stephen was snuggling in bed with me one morning and he was asking me about my glasses. I put them on his face and told him to see how blurry everything was. I told him that when I don't wear my glasses, that's how everything looks...all blurry. He seemed to accept that and just lay there next to me quietly. Then he said, "But Mommy, you don't wear these when you sleep. Does that mean that your dreams are blurry?"

Yesterday Stephen was telling me that his friend, Diego, speaks Spanish. He said to me, "Mommy, Diego's Spanish is his English."

Then there's Timothy's comments. Sometimes we still don't really understand what he's getting at. He said, "Today is Friday and it's long." When I asked why, he replied, "Because it has stripes on it." ???????????????????? I didn't question any further.

Christopher is a little easier to understand. When we talk to him, he just answers, "Aaaahhhh!" That's his response to everything. Last night we had another little scare with him! Timothy and I had gone out to the garage for JUST A SECOND and Stephen ran to the basement to grab some train tracks to bring back upstairs. From the garage I heard a bunch of things falling down the stairs and I was waiting to hear Stephen's cries of frustration, thinking it was his tracks that were falling down the stairs. Instead, I heard Christopher crying. I ran over to the stairs to see what happened and saw him at the bottom of the stairs with his head down and feet up. He was crying, but seemed to be ok. Fred asked Stephen if he saw what happened and he said, "He just went like this: bounce, bounce, bounce and then his head stopped him." Thank the Lord for guardian angels and resilient boys!

(Once again, I can't add pictures for some reason! I wanted to put on some current pictures of the boys, but I guess you'll just have to come visit in order to see them! Hint Hint!)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Catching Up

I'm going to catch up with a few photos from Grandpa's funeral back in September. The first photo is of the grandsons that were present at the funeral. (Left to right: Phil P., Aden P., Tim T., Adriel N., Jonathan P., Richard P., Mark P., Ron T.) Grandpa had a love for hats. We rarely saw him without one. All the grandsons were able to choose one of Grandpa's hats to wear as his pallbearer and then to take with them as a momento of Grandpa's life. I was honored to be the one to take Roger's hat back to Mom and Dad's after the funeral. I believe that Roger has one of the most precious hats because it was definitely worn and well-loved.
The plaque was displayed on Grandpa's casket and is so appropriate in it's description of Grandpa. He was a tiller of the soil, not just in the physical sense, but also the spiritual. Grandpa would never be considered a lazy man. He was always working and tilling his soil, both in his own acres of gardens and in the lives of people he loved.
The location we had for his graveside service was so appropriate. It was right next to the cornfield at the edge of the cemetary. It was so "Grandpa". Wow. This is hard for me to type. I'm trying to type with tears in my eyes. I'm missing you, Gramp! Looking at these pictures that Fred downloaded last night has gotten my memories flowing like crazy. He also found a picture last night as he was browsing through our files of Grandpa and Grandma sitting at the kitchen table. If I can find it again, I will post that one as well. It was a beautifully, typical shot of the two of them in their kitchen.


Sorry for the silence. Life caught up with me and I had to get caught up with life!

Fred just downloaded some pictures that have been on the camera way too long. These photos are for my family, mostly, and anyone else who may have some memories of the back of Grandpa and Grandma's property. Fred took these when we were there for Grandpa's funeral. What a lot of fun we had running around that property! I'm sure Mom and her siblings had even more fun as kids ... or maybe these pictures just remind them of having to work in the garden. In my mind, I will still always envision these fields full of corn stalks!
Enjoy a few memories here parents, siblings, cousins and aunts/uncles.
I wonder what images are being burned into the memories of our kids?!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

41 Reasons

Today I am sharing 41 reasons why I am thankful. This is inspired by Liz's posts the last few days and because today I am 41. These are in no particular order because they are all important to me!

1. For my mom and dad, without whom there would be no me!
2. For Liz, Karen, Roger and Dianne. They have helped me become who I am today.
3. For Fred, my best friend!
4. Stephen
5. Timothy
6. Christopher
7. My Heavenly Father
8. Friends that I can have gut-laughs with
9. E-mail
10. Friends who made me a birthday cake today "because no one should have to make their own birthday cake!"
11. Hearing my boys sing Happy Birthday to me!
12. Autumn
13. Stick shift cars (I love that control!)
14. Music to listen to
15. Chocolate in any form
16. The ability to travel
17. The exhilarating feeling during a fast-paced walk in the fall
18. My grandparents' legacy
19. Good hair days
20. When the boys surprise me with their obedience and cooperation in public
21. Hand-me-downs
22. Memory verses that are recalled at just the right time
23. My garden
24. Watching a child's face when he is surprised
25. Hearing the news of a new baby's arrival
26. The Backspace key
27. Finding a great deal
28. Skype
29. Going to bed with the kitchen clean
30. Waking up to a clean kitchen
31. Coffee with just the right amount of cream and sugar
32. Coffee shared with a friend
33. Old photographs
34. Giving someone a hug when they really need it
35. Receiving a piece of REAL snail mail
36. Snuggling with my kids at bedtime
37. Taste of Home Magazine
38. Hearing compliments on my meals from my family
39. Surprise flowers
40. The blessing of making someone's day in some way
41. Quiet

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I Found It!

If you haven't read my previous post from today, stop reading here and read "Unexplained Mystery" first. This won't make much sense until you read the other.


Well, I found the missing pan of broccoli! It was in the bathroom between the sink and the toilet. When I walked in and saw it there, I vaguely remembered Stephen saying that he had to go to the bathroom and that he was going to take the broccoli with him because he didn't want Timothy to eat it all. You are wondering how I could have missed this action, right? Well, Fred had come home late and we were already eating supper. When he walked in the door, I left the table to go heat up his food for him and it was when I was by the stove that Stephen took off with the pan in his hand. All I can say is that I'm thankful that I found it tonight. Yes, it may have been in the bathroom, but better there where we had a better chance of finding it than hidden in the basement or something! I'll keep a closer eye on my broccoli from now on!

Unexplained Mystery

Ok. So I know my kids do weird things at times, but I think we've hit another all-time high-ranking weird one. Someone seems to have stolen the pan of leftover broccoli from supper! Yes, you read that right. It's missing. Gone. I can't find it anywhere! WHY would a preschooler steal a pan of plain (not even salted) steamed broccoli?! I have looked everywhere for this pan tonight. It's not in the refrigerator (thought maybe someone was being helpful). It's not in the microwave, or the dishwasher or on the counter. I have even looked under the table, on all the chairs, in the playpen. I've checked the toy box, the pan cupboard and the stove. WHERE could that pan of broccoli be?!

I know what's going to happen. I'm going to start smelling it in a day or two and then I'll find it in some obscure place. But I still don't understand why someone would want to steal and hide a pan of plain, old broccoli!!!

I'll keep you posted on my searchings.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Another Thanks to Doctors!

Once again, I thank God for doctors who are competent, wise and patient, especially emergency room doctors! And all you nurses, thank you for your answers to endless questions, your reassuring character and your patience. Last night was Christopher's turn to help us appreciate you more!

Christopher woke up from his nap yesterday afternoon and went about his business playing as usual. About 4:30 I heard him crying and crying and my first reaction was to holler, "STEPHEN!!" Stephen answered, "What?! I'm not even close to him!" I came to investigate and there was nothing to see. Christopher was just sitting on the floor crying all alone. I picked him up and noticed that he was breathing funny, but I thought it was just because he was upset about something. Within minutes I noticed his breathing was getting worse and now he was feeling hot. Once again, I thought he was just upset and didn't think much about it. By 5:30, I had called Fred and asked him to get home right away because something was wrong, but I didn't know what.

My friend, Connie, has children with breathing issues; asthma, currently dealing with croup, etc. I figured she could give me a bit of advice on what she thought was happening. She could hear Christopher over the phone and told me not to take chances, but to call the doctor or take him to emergency. I decided to call Telehealth Ontario (public nurse service that screens calls to evaluate the severity of issues, helping to determine which route of health care to pursue) and as I was talking with the public nurse, she also heard Christopher in the background. At this point, he was getting to be very hot and starting to get listless. I was answering all her questions, "Is he blue?" No. "Is he having siezures?" No. "Is he vomitting?" No. "Martha, I want you to stay on the line because I am calling 911 and you need to give them your information. Do you hear me, Martha? Martha, don't cry, just answer their questions, ok?" (How did she know I was crying?!)

Sure enough, the fire truck arrived first with three firemen. Then the police showed up. Nice guy. He gave the boys sticker badges so that they could be sherrifs with him! Then the ambulance showed up with the two paramedics that quickly became our friends. Poor Fred. He had run in the door two minutes before everyone showed up and was holding Christopher. Since he was the one holding him, he was getting all the questions even though he had no real clue what had happened. When the paramedics pulled out the oxygen to put on Christopher's face, that's when I started to lose it! We had just been through this with Timothy last year after his surgery and I didn't want to see it repeated on Christopher!

We decided that he needed to go to Emergency so we buckled his carseat onto the stretcher and I climbed in beside him. Fred was going to wait at home until Henry got here, put the boys to bed and then come join me. Meanwhile, when I saw the crowded waiting room at the hospital, I called him and told him not to rush. The other moms sitting in the children's waiting area had been there for three hours already and no one seemed to be moving too fast! We finally got in to see the triage nurse and she took one look at Christopher, left to secure a bed for him, and came back to finish his paperwork. He was taken in immediately. He was now just lying limp in my arms moaning and gasping for air. Talk about scary! I was saying prayers of thanks for getting us through the crowd quickly, but then I realized that the reason why we were getting through so quickly was because he was so bad off!

Thank the Lord, though, by the time we got in to the bed to wait for the doctor, the Tylenol the triage nurse had given him had kicked in and he wasn't gasping for air anymore. His heart rate started to drop, his breathing stablized and his fever was starting to go down. He was checked and rechecked and checked again, and no one was able to figure out what really happened here. It seems that there was some type of viral infection that was causing this, but where was it? What was it? Whatever it was, it was gone within the two and a half hours we were in the room. I honestly believe that a miracle took place because there was such a quick recovery and no evidence of any virus or other issue. By the time we left last night Christopher was back to his normal self and was acting as if nothing ever happened!

We thank the Lord for everyone who prayed for us last night and for the staff at the hospital that so quickly and efficiently and patiently cared for Christopher. I hope nothing like this happens again any time soon! It's too draining on parents' emotions!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Simplistic Play and the Older Mom

Today Christopher and I had a great bonding moment. We engaged in simplistic play. We were sitting on the kitchen floor and he was attempting to roll a ball to me. He managed to move it the three inches over to me probably 15% of the time, but that didn't matter. We weren't playing to win or to improve skills. We were simply having fun! I wish I could attach a video clip here to let you hear his contagious laughter at the hilarity of a ball rolling across the floor! We were having the time of our lives, let me tell you!

Sometimes I can really feel the age factor (still 40 here for a few more days!) when I'm physically involved with the kids, and it can be draining at times. But in a way, I sometimes think that I've been blessed to be an older mom. Here's why I say that: I was able to earn a university degree, have a career, travel around the world, move out on my own (all the way from Ohio to Arizona), change careers, and do so many little things as a single person while most of my friends were marrying and starting their families. Now sure, if God would have allowed me to follow that typical pattern, I would have teenagers now myself and still would have been happy, but instead He allowed me to experience things in my life that I may not have otherwise. Now that I'm a wife and a mother, I have no real desire to pursue all those things because I've already experienced them. I am not feeling as if life is passing me by and I'm not getting to really "live" because I AM really living! I am totally devoted to caring for my family and nothing out there is calling me to come away from that devotion because I've already done them and this is where I have always wanted to be.

I feel that I am able to really enjoy my boys' childhoods because nothing else matters that much. I can drop everything and sit on the kitchen floor on a Sunday afternoon and roll a ball to a one-year-old for fifteen minutes and not bat an eye. I can walk away from the baskets of clothes that need to be folded and play a game of Chutes and Ladders (Snakes and Ladders here in Canada) with my four-year-old. I can go out on the deck on a sunny day and pretend that I'm the librarian checking out library books for my three-year-old at his library. I can sacrifice the desire to have perfect cutout cookies if it means that my boys are standing on their little stools next to me at the kitchen counter having the time of their lives "helping" me cut out cookies. I can put them all in the bathtub together and then sit on the stool in the bathroom and just watch them play for a half an hour and not feel the pressing need to hurry them through this activity so that I can move on to the mound of dishes downstairs in the kitchen. (Who wants to rush to wash dishes anyway?!)

Now, granted, I do have those moments like any other mother when I feel that I have more important things to do, but I've waited so long to experience these moments with my kids that I don't want to excuse them away! I want to savor these moments! Lately Stephen and Timothy have been asking me to stay and snuggle with them in bed at night before I go back downstairs. At first I did rush that activity because that was the time that I used to catch up from all my other dropped activities during the day. Then I realized that these moments were becoming very precious to all of us. I can find out a lot about what is going on in their minds as we lay there in the dark and tell stories and ask and answer questions. Sometimes I even find it hard to tear myself away so that they can get to sleep! My 40-year-old body sometimes starts to manifest itself as I find myself drifting off while the two of them are still jabbering away. It's not always good to lie down on the bed with them while we chat!

I love being an older mom, but I do wonder sometimes what it would physically feel like if I were fifteen or twenty years younger like some of my other mom-friends. It sure would be easier to get up off of the kitchen floor after playing ball without feeling like my hips have fallen out of their sockets. It would be easier to lean over a bathtub to wash three little boys' heads while they are resisting the hair-washing. It would be easier to contort myself while I'm trying to help buckle or unbuckle three kids in carseats. It would be easier on the knees when crawling through blanket tunnels or looking under the couch for a lost game piece. It would be easier to carry dead weight four-year-old boys who are fast asleep all the way up to their beds. Physically, I would love to be twenty years younger doing all these things, but I sure am thankful for the way God worked things out in my life. I absolutely love the fact that I am an older mom who can completely and without guilt enjoy simplistic play with my boys!

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Field Trip

It was quite obvious the past few days that I am a first time mother of a school aged child. I could hardly sleep last night I was so excited and this morning I was up bright and early with a spirit of anticipation about me. You see, today the kindergartners were going on their first field trip to Hergott's Cider Mill! The funny thing is that I wasn't even going with them! That didn't stop me from talking about it for weeks. If someone asked me about our schedule this week I found myself saying, "We're free every day but Friday! Oh wait. I guess Timothy and Christopher and I are available on Friday. It's Stephen that's busy." October 12 was going to be an exciting day for us this year, no matter what!

The last few nights our bedtime stories have been ones of Aunt Liz and me working at Rittman Orchard while we were in high school. I told the boys about us riding our bikes up that awful hill every morning to work. I described lugging those heavy ladders around and climbing up in the trees to pick the apples. I told them about the cleaning barn where the bins of apples were dumped into the washer and then sorted for us to bag and box. I told them about making cider in the big vats in the back of the store's building (Don't worry, Liz. I didn't give away all our secrets from that particular job!). I told them all kinds of fun things about an apple orchard because I thought I'd help get him excited about his first field trip at school!

This morning we prayed that Stephen would have fun today and that he would be obedient and be safe. He nodded emphatically at that one and after the prayer I asked him if he was excited to go and he told me NO! I was shocked! Here I thought I had been getting him all prepped for this exciting day and he didn't want to go! After questioning him, I finally found out why. He was afraid to climb the ladders to pick apples! Oops. I guess I got overly excited for him and forgot to tell him that children on field trips didn't climb the ladders to pick their apples! I assured him that he wouldn't have to climb any ladders or trees, but that he would see them and learn how they picked them and made cider. Whew! By the time the bus came, he was ready to go again.

My excitement didn't stop when he got on that bus. Remember, I'm a typical first time mom here. I thought about him all morning long! I imagined him getting to school and getting involved in the pre-field trip buzz that takes place in classrooms prior to leaving. I wondered if he had a blast on the bus with all the kids from his class and all the parent volunteers that were along. I pictured him at the orchard standing quietly while the cider pressing process was explained to him, but then I jerked back to reality and realized that he was probably supposed to be standing quietly. Instead, I'm sure he was kicking the mud and stomping on leaves and poking whatever happened to be close to him. He would be listening, no question about that, but he would be actively listening!

When he got home, I tried not to pelt him with questions right away. I let him tell us what he wanted to tell and then I dove right in and continued my first time mom antics. We got to hear about how he was allowed to try a spring apple and saw how they dumped the apples into the cider press. He told us that he was allowed to turn the handle to peel an apple and then pop the core out. "We weren't allowed to eat the core, though. That was garbage." He described the bus ride and who he sat with and how he got hot and sweaty in his warm coat. I'm telling you, I LOVE having a jabberbox as a first child!!

As I've been typing this, making fun a bit at the fact that I'm a typical first time mom, I've also come to the realization that I must need to get out more. I'm living my life through my junior kindergartner's adventures! Sigh. I am enjoying it, but yep. I think I need to get out more and experience some things for myself again. :) Tomorrow the Waterloo Waste Management Centre has free tours for the public. That sounds interesting. I think I'll go to that. And I'll take the kids with me, of course. I still love seeing the world through their eyes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


To all of you doctors and other health care professionals that work with children, my many thanks and appreciation to all of you! You do not have an easy job, yet at times I'm sure you really enjoy the innocence of childhood when you work with children!

Let me explain where all of this is coming from today. Stephen had an appointment with our pediatrician whom we have come to know and love. Dr. Rosner has been there for all three of the boys immediately after birth, when they went back in a week later for jaundice and several times since then for miscellaneous reasons. Today was one of those reasons and I'm convinced again that Dr. Rosner is wonderful! Not only did she solve the mystery of Stephen's problem, but she did such a thorough exam on him that she also identified another issue that is totally unrelated, but she feels should be dealt with now (specifically his toe-walking tendencies! :).

The thing that impressed me the most today was a comment that she made to Stephen that I wasn't expecting, maybe because I live such a sheltered life. One of the parts of her exam today included her checking Stephen's private parts. While she was examining him, she was telling him over and over very emphatically that under no circumstances was it ok for anyone besides his mom and dad and his doctor to touch him there. She made him repeat what she was telling him and then told him that if anyone besides his doctors touched him there, he needed to tell me immediately no matter what. I was very impressed how she got his attention and looked him right in the eye to make sure he understood her. I guess it caught me off guard because I would never even THINK that anyone would touch my little boy inappropriately. Up until now he has been pretty much in our care, or the care of other brothers and sisters in Christ that would never consider doing something so disgusting to a child. How sad that our world has become so ugly that we have to warn our innocent little children about something that they shouldn't even have to know about!

Once again, this incident at the doctor's today reminded me to pray so fervently for our boys, that they would retain their innocence and stay pure despite the world's wickedness. How I wish I could shelter them from all evil out there and keep them so pure and unspotted! I know that we cannot keep them from ALL evil, but I pray for wisdom every day to keep them as far away from it as possible.

Thank you, doctors and health care professionals, for your work and for your desire to protect our children! May God bless you for your persistence and patience in taking care of our children!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Happy Birthday, Liz!

Yesterday, October 3, was my sister Liz's birthday. I won't give away her age just in case she doesn't want you to know. That's not important anyway. What's important is that she is my sister and I love her. (I wish I could download a picture of her for you all to see the birthday girl, but I just haven't had much success with this program lately! Open her link to the left to see a great picture of her!)

Liz and I are exactly one year and fifteen days apart. When we were younger, I guess Mom found it easier to dress Liz, Karen and me alike and gave us all the same haircuts. This was easy on Mom, but hard on the general public. Because the three of us were so close in age, at times we even looked as if some of us might be twins or even triplets. We became known simply as "The Schley Girls." Most people didn't know our individual names. They just knew that we were one of the Schley girls. Even our family referred to us as "the girls." It was always "the girls and Roger." Now that we are older, we don't look alike at all and there are definitely differences between the three of us. The way that people can tell us apart now is by our last names and by the fact that we live in three different countries. They just need to ask us who we married and where we're living now and they know which one we are. You may laugh ... but it's true!

Since Liz was the oldest, she was usually first in everything. I wasn't always thrilled with that in my youth because I felt that she got the better end of the deal. As we matured and were able to actually discuss this sibling hierarchy, I came to discover that it wasn't always thought of as a privilege for her. I wish I would have known that at the time! It would have saved me a lot of worthless jealousy! Now as an adult, I am so thankful that Liz went first in a lot of things because she became a true role model for me. I value Liz's opinion on just about everything! She's the one that I call on when I need a sound opinion on a parenting issue, a godly woman's perspective or even just a decorating tip here and there! What would I do without her?!

I told Liz yesterday on her birthday that she is a beautiful woman inside and out and being a year older just adds to her beauty. I honestly mean that. Her heart's desire is to become as much like Jesus as she can and that just makes her beauty more obvious. What better role model can I have in a big sister?

Liz, I thank God that He put us in the same family and that you have had such an impact on my life. Not everyone can have such a special older sister, but I know that you are carrying out that role with so many women anyway. Thank you for touching my life in ways that you don't even know. I love you and I wish you a wonderful year full of God's blessings! Happy Birthday, Liz!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Stephen's Compliment

Stephen gave me a HUGE compliment today. While he was eating his snack and I was preparing supper, I told him that I was so glad that God put us both in the same family. He asked his usual question, "How come?" So I told him it was because I loved him so much and I thought he was such a smart boy and that I was proud of him for being such a good brother and friend, etc. He gave me such a sweet compliment then! He said, "Mommy, I love you so much that I could love you for 100 days and 100 weeks without stopping!" (Can you tell they've been talking about 100's in school this week?! :) Now, in the scope of a lifetime, that's not a lot of time, but coming from a four-and-a-half-year-old boy, that's an entire lifetime! I just pray that he'll remember that comment when he's a teenager and not so sure about wanting to love me all those days and weeks without stopping! In the meantime, I'm still glowing from his childlike compliment to his mommy!

We Are Amazing!

Sunday night I was sitting in the babyroom at church talking with a few other mothers while our kids were playing. After listening to stories about their daily activities, I was amazed. I told them that they would probably never hear this from their children, and they may not even hear it fully from their husbands, but they are amazing women! We all are! They laughed and almost brushed off that comment, but then they started to agree. We ARE amazing!

As mothers and wives we have so many things on the go all the time and we are quite amazing, if you think about it. We not only have to think for ourselves, but we have to think for everyone else in our families. We have to be responsible for feeding, for clothing, for reminding about bathroom breaks, for teaching, for modeling, for creating environment, etc, etc, etc. We are amazing! How can we do all this?! God sure gave us an incredible abilitiy to multitask and to think ahead and plan and everything else that we have to do as mothers.

I'm not trying to feed on pride here or anything, but there are times when I am quite pleased with what I've accomplished. When I've gone to the store and found a super deal and saved our family money. Or when I needed to be resourceful when unexpected guests dropped by and I hadn't been grocery shopping yet that week. I knew I didn't have much to serve, but God gave that inspiration to whip up something at the last minute that made it look like I was just waiting for someone to drop by. Or how about when I was able to trade something we didn't need with someone who had something we had been looking for and we didn't have to spend a cent! I love when I am totally overwhelmed with tasks and I can get right down to business and get so much accomplished in a short amount of time. What a sense of accomplishment!

To all my fellow-mothers out there: we are amazing! God has given us so much to work with and He is always there to get us through the next briar patch of life. I feel so special when I think about how He created me to be able to do all this. Now I just need to remember to keep going back to Him when I get overwhelmed and don't know what to do next. He'll point me in the right direction because He wants me to succeed. He thinks I'm amazing, too!

Moms, we ARE amazing! Don't let anyone or anything try to convince you otherwise. We are amazing!