Friday, May 29, 2009


Today is my baby boy's 4th birthday!
Can you believe my sweet little cuddle bear who can make me laugh in an instant is now 4!

To celebrate the day, we had a little party with our close "family" (aka - our dearest friends ~ since we don't have family in town). We actually had the party on Memorial Day since this weekend is graduation weekend for Eden.

Brekyn had a great time and we are so proud of our big 4 year old!
We love you Brekyn!!!

This is a picture of the "Big kids" trying to keep the "babies" out of the presents. :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Can It Be??

Is it possible that our sweet Eden will be leaving us in just a few days??
Can it really be that she has lived with us for a year already and will now be graduating and heading off to college?
We've had such a great year with our "adopted" daughter and we are so sad to see our time with her end.

To celebrate her huge accomplishment, we took her to the hibachi steakhouse for dinner. If you recall, the last time we tried to take her out for this dinner was on her 18th birthday. Let's just say that the night ended with her covered in puke and none of us actually getting our meals.
After making our second child promise that he would not puke on anyone this time, we decided to brave the meal again.

This time we had a great night and we really are so proud of our graduate!

Congrats Eden!! We love you!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Reasons I've been MIA...

Yup, you got it...I've been MIA.

Nope, not really intentional. Just life. As any breathing person understands, sometimes life just seems to pick up the pace and days go by when you feel like your feet never slowed down enough to even touch the floor.

We've had a busy few weeks here and as summer kicks in, it's looking like the busyness will probably persist.

However, I've been trying to live up to my goal of really savoring my time with my kids and I've been feeling pretty good about how that part of my life is going.

On top of that I've been spending a lot of time in my "gardens" this Spring! Growing up I watched my Bop and Nana and my Mom garden a ton and the "bug" finally kicked in for me last year when my Mother-in-law helped me start one along my house.

Thanks to a great friend who divided her plants this Spring, I was recently given enough plants to start a second perennial garden out by the road. Donn and I spent all day Friday working in the garden and making it all pretty!!

This week is looking like it will also be busy as we celebrate graduation with Eden (the girl who lives with us). Can you believe it's been a year since she moved in! Now she's all growed up and going off to college! We are so proud of her and can't wait to see her accept her diploma at the end of this week!

And so, please forgive me for being a bit absent lately...In all honesty, it's kind of a good's because I'm too busy living life to sit down at the computer:).
Of course, humor me by looking at the pictures of my gardens :)!

(This is the one I planted last Spring)

(The New Garden)
(This is the beautiful "Desert Rose" that my Bop just bought for me - I was raving about how stunning his desert rose plant was when I was at his house recently and he went out and bought me one! The picture doesn't do the plant's a gorgeous plant and as it grows it has a beautiful wooden trunk!) Thanks Bop!!! I love you!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Holding on Loosely...

Have you ever felt like the little kid who is pulling and squeezing with all your might to hold onto a toy that your sibling is trying to take away from you?Unfortunately, as a mom of three children, I have witnessed this battle of the wills more often than I’d care to admit.
One minute, I can hear two very content little boys laughing and joking together and then, in an instant, I hear the screams and shouting of an all-out brawl;

“It’s mine!” “I had it first!” “Get your hands off of me!”


As much as I wish my children did not feel the need to resort to this type of behavior, I must admit that I completely understand it also (just don’t tell them that, please)!

No; I don’t still have fits and grab things out of my husband’s hands as I yell, “It’s mine!” but in reality this part of my personality still lays lurking deep within my soul.

Have you ever thought about how hard it is to give something up? Have you ever thought about those things that grip your soul and possibly keep you from being able to serve God whole-heartedly?

As I read the story of Moses and his Mother, Jochebed, one thought kept coming back to me. In this story, Jochebed has been given the rich blessing of being allowed to care for her beloved son despite the fact that he should have been killed at birth. And yet, the final sentences of the chapter break my heart:

Verse 10: “Later, when he was older, the child’s mother brought him back to the princess, who adopted him as her son. The Princess named him Moses for she said; I drew him out of the water.”

Oh, it truly tears at my heart! This amazing mother has sought out God and listened to His will and because of that her son’s life is spared. Not only did God spare her son but He even orchestrated it so that her son will grow up in a home where he will be very influential and privileged.

I imagine that in many ways, Jochebed must have felt the rich blessings that the Lord had showered upon her life, but I can’t seem to shake the fact that giving up your child can never be easy.

Wasn’t there a part of Jochebed’s soul that just cried out, “This isn’t fair!” “He’s my son…not yours!” “I’m the one who carried him and birthed him! I’m the one who held him as he cried! You can’t have him!”

And yet, we don’t see any of that emotion stated here.

My husband and I recently returned from a trip to Liberia, Africa where we had the privilege of meeting a mother who truly understands this mixed blessing. She stood before me with tears in her eyes as she told me how blessed she felt that her daughter had been given new life in America through adoption. As a family living in a stick shack with food very scarce, this mother was willing to do anything to see that her daughter had a chance at life.

She truly felt blessed to know how well her daughter was doing but her tears stemmed from a heart that was broken and hurting as she missed her baby. No matter how good she felt that her daughter would be given a life of safety and protection; it couldn’t change the fact that her baby was no longer with her.

When I look at the example that Moses’ mother set for us, I realize that there are many things in our lives that God may somehow ask us to ‘let go of’ for His sake.

Sure, it may not be as drastic as letting go of a child, but it’s possible that it could be. It may be a house, a job, a career. It may be pride, comfort or a relationship. It may be security, riches or fame.

What is it that God may be asking you to let go of?

As Helen Keller said, “I try not to hold onto things too tightly, because it hurts too much when God has to pry my fingers loose.”

Are you holding onto anything too tightly or are you living like Jochebed, knowing that when God says it’s time to let go; it’s time to let go.

Let’s pray for hearts that are willing to hold things loosely so that it doesn’t hurt when God has to pry our fingers open.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Fear...

As you can tell, I've been a bit busy lately writing some devotionals. I thought I'd share some of them with you over the next few days. Enjoy!

Written for Lifeline Devotionals / May 2009

The Fear of the Nile
Exodus 2:1-10, Exodus 1:22

What is your biggest fear?

Come on; be honest. What is it really?

Is it an absolute fear of spiders? Maybe it’s the idea of being trapped someplace with no help around. Is it heights – loneliness – crowds? Could it be sick children, loss of security, death?

I think if we stop and think hard enough, we could all agree that we each have a fear of some sort. Maybe it’s a completely irrational fear…maybe it’s very realistic. Whatever the case, I think that most of us would admit…the things that we fear are the very things we would try to avoid at all cost.

As I’ve meditated on the story of Moses’ humble beginnings this week, a thought gripped me that I have never before realized.

My entire life, I had heard the story of Moses’ birth and safe-keeping in the bulrushes. It was probably one of the very first stories that many of us heard in childhood. And yet, despite the many times I have heard this story, I missed one very important detail. As a matter of fact, in preparing for this week I actually read this story at least 10 times before this little fact even jumped out at me.

Are you on the edge of your seat yet?

Here goes…

Exodus 1:22
“Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: Throw all the newborn Israelite boys into the Nile River.”

Did you get it? Did you catch that?

Not yet? It’s okay, I missed it the first time too.

Well then; listen to this and see if it comes to you:

Exodus 2:3
“But when she could no longer hide him, she got a little basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the edge of the Nile River.”

What about now? Do you see it?

What is the common denominator in both of those passages? THE NILE RIVER!

Never before had I thought about that simple fact.

During this time, with Pharaoh dictating the death of an entire young culture of people, the Nile River represented all things bad to the Israelites.
Think about it. The exact same river you would go to daily to gather water and bathe in is also the same river where you were forced to throw the newborn son whom you had carried for 9 months!

I imagine that if it were me, the Nile would be a brutally vivid representation of sadness, grief and despair in a time of complete uncertainty and near hopelessness.

And yet, what did Moses’ Mother do?

When told that her newborn son would have to die, she determined that she would fight this “destiny” to the bitter end. She hid him for as long as humanly possible and when that became unrealistic, she made a decision that changed our history.

She faced the very waters that represented certain death and she lovingly placed her beloved son in a basket directly in those waters!

Think about it! She could have put Moses anywhere! The local doctor’s home…the town centre, the courthouse…anywhere!

Instead she took him directly to the waters where she had undoubtedly seen death and she placed him in God’s hands in that very water.


And so I ask you again…what is your biggest fear?

It is not always the case, but I think it’s safe to say that God often allows us the opportunity to come face to face with our fears.

As Moses’ Mother knelt on the edge of that Riverbank and placed her precious son into those waters, she taught each one of us a lesson…

God can be found in many, many ways…sometimes it may even be through facing the waters that we dread the most. After-all, it is often through those times that we find our faith tested and our endurance strengthened.

What fears may God ask you to face today?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Between The Lines...

Do you ever wonder what happened between the lines?

Sometimes I realize that as I read the Bible, I take an American mentality and rush through the story; never actually soaking in the depth of it all.

Take the story of Moses for example:

Young Hebrew couple gets married and has a baby boy.

Evil Pharaoh says, “You must kill all newborn Hebrew boys!”

Young mom decides she’s not going to kill her child so she whips up a basket and sticks it amongst the brush of the Nile River with her baby boy, Moses, inside.

Princess finds the baby and Moses ends up being one of the greatest leaders of the Christian faith.

The End.


Something about that is just not right. Sure, I got the gist of the story and yes, all the facts and figures are right, but somehow I think that when we neglect to read between the lines, we may in fact miss the most important lessons of all.

I realized that as I slowed down the pace and thought through this illustration; the Lord had a lot more to teach me than just what was on the surface.

Let’s try this again…

Young Hebrew couple gets married and has a baby boy during a time when the King has ordered that all baby boys of Hebrew descent be killed.

After nine months of beaming with the glow of pregnancy this young mother endures excruciating labor which wracks her body with the most intense pain a person could feel. However, the memory of the pain quickly subsides as her precious child is placed in her arms and she kisses his cheek and brushes a tear from his eye.

For months upon months this mother is the sole provider for this little life. She nurses him as his body begins to grow and she wakes countless times during the night to attend to his needs.

But then the day comes…the day that she knew would eventually come, but she had tried not to think about. For months she had been able to hide her child, but he was getting too big now and his cries were getting louder.

I imagine the tears that must have flooded her pillow as she cried out for God to give her guidance and to protect her baby.

What did it feel like the day she sat behind her closed door and wove together a basket just the right size for her 3 month old son? What thoughts poured through her head as she played and re-played the plan for saving her son’s life? What did it feel like as she wiped away his tears for the ‘last’ time before placing him amongst the reeds?

When I sit and think about what really happened between the lines of this story, I realize that what Jochebed (Moses’ mom) did was nothing short of absolute obedience and complete trust - Absolute obedience that God had placed a plan on her heart which she should follow through with - Complete trust that God had a future for her child despite how grim the circumstances looked.

What’s between the lines in your life right now? Sure, on the surface, things may seem pretty normal. The face you put on when you step out the door is cordial and happy. But, what’s between the lines of your life? What are the struggles you are dealing with behind closed doors?

Is it a wayward child? The loss of a job? Are your finances completely gone or your marriage falling apart? Is there an addiction that is consuming your spirit or a past hurt that is keeping you in bondage?

What’s between the lines of your life?

Take a second look at the story of Jochebed and her son Moses. It’s not just a neat little story with a happy ending. It’s real life. It’s a real mother. It’s a real child. It’s heartache and pain and, best of all; it’s faith that God has a plan.

Do you believe that God has a plan for your trials? Pray for a spirit that will trust in God’s ultimate plan for you. Pray for clarity, pray for answers. Pray for faith.

(Written by Cyndie for Lifeline Devotionals)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Cutest Ringbearer

We had a great trip and are back doing laundry and cleaning the house today.

I have the cutest ringbearer on the face of the earth and I have pictures to prove it! Oh wait, I've been told that I can't say "cute" anymore...I have the most HANDSOME ringbearer ever! Can you believe he's old enough to know that he's not "cute" anymore!

It was a great wedding and it was so wonderful to see family!

Enjoy the pics! I need to get back to laundry!

(Ahh...yes...doesn't Brekyn look quite GQ in this photo? Truth is; this was the fountain that he fell into the night before during the rehearsal.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Yup, I get to...

So, here are the words I heard from Donn's buddy the other day:

"Hey Cyndie! I heard you get to go to Florida this weekend!"

I looked at this particular friend with a blank stare as I tilted my head and said, "Yes...I am going to Florida this weekend, but I don't know if I myself would have worded it that way."

You see, I will be leaving tomorrow to head to Florida for my cousin's wedding. I am absolutely SO excited to be in Florida and to see my cousin get married. I know it's going to be a beautiful wedding and I can't wait to get all dressed up and actually have someplace fun to go! I can't wait to see my parents and my family who are flying in for the occasion and I am absolutely pumped to go swimming...However...

What comes before all the fun stuff?

You got it! A 10 hour drive with 2 kids!

You see, Ayden has to stay behind because he has a huge class field trip on Friday and Donn had already agreed to chaperone.

I would LOVE the thought of driving myself to go to the wedding but Brekyn happens to be the ringbearer so it would probably be in bad taste if I showed up without him. (Sidenote: He is the cutest little kid in a tux!!)

I have thought about leaving Elle behind but most people tend to frown upon 16 month olds staying home alone (go figure)!

And so, I will set off on yet another minivan journey with the two youngest kids while my husband stays home and has a nice quiet weekend with just the 7 year old around.

Last I heard, Donn was already working out plans for his buddies to come over just about every night of the weekend.

And so, with all that said; I then turned to this particular friend and replied: "Oh yes, I get to go to Florida. I get to drive in a minivan that smells like stinky socks for 10 hours with two children 3 and under. I get to eat too many McDonalds meals along the way and I get to turn around and do it all over again just a few days later!"

Oh my, how lucky I am!

My friend just smiled, laughed and walked away.

Of course he did...he happens to be one of the guys who will be hanging out around my firepit all weekend! :)

Have a great weekend!

As a sidenote: I really am thrilled to be going to Florida for this wedding...Just couldn't pass up the opportunity to share this little conversation with you! Yippee for me!! I get to go to Florida!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Few Lessons

Are you kidding me?? Is it really May?

These last few weeks have just flown by for me! It seems like life has picked up to mach 5 speed right now and I find myself falling into bed many nights thinking..."wow, no time to blog again today!" SORRY!

Of course, saying 'sorry' implies that you are actually sitting at home missing my posts when a day goes by without me blogging. Since that is absolutely ridiculous because I usually write about NOTHING, I will retract my 'Sorry'. I'm not sorry at all...except maybe to my Mom...I think she actually does miss my blog when it's not updated!

Anyway, in the past few days I have learned a few lessons.

1)If your child ever puts a popcorn kernel in his ear - call me...we can chat. I have a surefire way for removing it WITHOUT paying $4000 dollars to go to the ER on a Saturday night (yes, this was my Saturday night....oh, I remember the days when I used to go dancing on Saturday nights!) :)

2)Children who are coming off of anesthesia scream. Yes, that's right. Well, in my case; I have one particular female child who screams all the time anyway. Coming off of anesthesia after having tubes put in her ears makes her scream at super sonic levels....Lord have mercy. The nurses had all warned me that she would be "fussy" when waking up. Apparently her form of "fussy" must have been louder than most children. The nurse clued me in on that when she commented, "Wow...she's pretty good at this." child just got labeled as being "good" at fussing. Lord have mercy.

And so there you have it...a few lessons from the last few days.

Like I's an exciting life I lead! Sure; I don't go dancing on Saturday nights anymore but,come on,who could beat this?!

Friday, May 1, 2009

It all started with a card....

It all started with a Mother's Day card. I was at the store a few weeks ago shopping for the perfect Mother's Day card for my Mom.

I rummaged through them all - "This one's dumb." "That one is weird." "This one is HOW MUCH???"

Then I picked one up that seemed absoultely beautiful on the outside. Gorgeous ribbons, perfect colors...a beautiful phrase on the outside that said, "I am so grateful to have had a Mom like you."

On the inside it said, "You were always the Mom who would run around the backyard and dance in the moonlight with me."


I know it seems pretty dumb but it really made me stop and think. Would my kids be in a store one day and see that card and think, "This is perfect for our Mom!"

Not so much. Not now at least.

The fact is, as the kids have multiplied in our home, I feel like I've gotten worse about living in the moment with them.

I typically begin playing with them and make it about 5 minutes before I think of 4,003 things that need to be done. Then I guilt myself into thinking that they need to get done NOW!

I've been thinking a lot about that lately.

Honestly, when I am on my deathbed one day, what will I be remembering?

Will I think about how proud I was of keeping the dish washer empty or will I be thinking of the time I ran through the woods catching fireflys with the boys?

Will I be relishing the memories of how clean that linen closet was or will I be soaking in the look of Elle's face as she ran across the room into my arms with her huge grin?

What will I really remember?

This is what I'm thinking about today.

Living in the moment...taking in every breath deeply and relishing the days.