Friday, November 30, 2012


We had a nice visit with my parents. We enjoyed celebrating Thanksgiving together, and then began the transition to Christmas, as you'll see from the photos below.
This little peanut turned 9 months old yesterday! Unfortunately, she "celebrated" with her first ear infection (In both ears! And If you can believe it, this is the first ear infection any of our kids has ever gotten.) Naomi's popped out her first two teeth in the last couple of weeks, which has also made life interesting. She's not crawling yet, but she sure loves rolling as a means of getting around! She reminds us so much of Nathan as a baby. The picture below captures her often-serious expression, which is the spitting image of her brother! 
Have a good weekend, everyone!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Getting to know you

Last week, my blog friend Carrie posted a request to get to know her readers better through a survey she wrote. It sounded like fun to me, so I am responding to her questions here and linking up on her blog.

1. Do you attend church and, if so, what denomination are you a part of?

Our family is active in a Reformed church, similar to the Presbyterian denomination in which I grew up.

2. What social issue are you the most passionate about?

I hate waste of any kind. On a different plane, I am deeply trouble by domestic abuse.

3. Do you home school/use the public system or enroll your kids in private school? Any particular reason why?

For now at least, we have decided to have our children attend public school, and we are blessed to live in an excellent district.

4. How long have you been married? How many kids do you have, or want to have? Have you ever thought of adopting, or have you?

Eric and I have been married for 7 years, and we have 3 kids. When I was younger, I always imagined having a big family (5 kids), but I no longer think that's meant to be.

5. What is your greatest personality strength? Weakest?

I like that I am conscientious. I don't like that I over-think everything.

6. What is your favorite Bible verse or passage? Why?

Isaiah 41:9-10 "I took you from the ends of the earth,
    from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
    I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

I need to be reminded that I am chosen, that God is with me and I don't need to fear, and that I can trust Him to help and strengthen me in all things.

7. What is your real name? What does it mean?
 My name, Carrie, means strength. It also means "song of joy."

The second set of questions:
1. What do you like best about your family?
That we are all Christians seeking to grow in faith and wisdom.

2. What's your favorite color? Why?

Hard to pick just one! I like blues, greens, raspberry pink and charcoal gray.

3. Are you a bold and trendy dresser, or are clothes "not your thing?"

Neither. I am definitely not trendy, but I don't like looking slouchy, either. I am most comfortable in jeans, a t-shirt and a cardigan.

4. Are you a foodie? What makes you love food so?

My tastes are certainly not gourmet, but I love food, and I eat more than most females I know.

5. If you were to write a book, what genre would it be? (Let's throw in a book question!)

Probably a book on stewardship, though I've not given the book possibility much thought. However, I wrote profusely in my teenage/collegeyears--filling books with songs and poems, and I even wrote a couple of (very cheesy!) brief novels at the tender age of 8.

6. What is your favorite thing about where you live (country, neighborhood, etc.)? Least?
Having grown up in a mid-size city, I always thought I was a city girl. But when I went to college in a small Midwestern town, I learned that I really prefer small town life. I love being able to easily accomplish errands by walking or biking, and I think this is a safe, friendly place to raise children. However, it definitely has its drawbacks. One of them being far from family, as well as remote in terms of no major airport and fewer choices for shopping/recreation. (Although, that is something we often appreciate, as we spend less money when we're not bombarded by places to spend it!)

7.  What is your idea of the perfect day?
Sleeping in--even 8:00 would be luxurious! Reading, spending time outside, hanging out with loved ones, eating good food, and accomplishing at least one productive task.

Thanks for these thought-provoking questions, Carrie. I look forward to reading other responses. And for those of you who read here regularly, I'd love to hear your thoughts regarding how I answered these--or sharing how you would respond to them.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Touching base

First, thank you so much for your prayers last week regarding my surgery. I am so glad to be on the other side of it! I've felt stronger each day, and had a positive check-up yesterday, so I'm easing back into normal activities. It has been difficult to once again be in a medical situation and needing extra assistance, but I am thankful for the many ways Eric's parents and our friends have blessed us with meals, flowers, helping with kids, and jobs around the house.

I also want to acknowledge that this week marks 4 years since my dad's cancer diagnosis. We are so grateful to God that my dad continues to respond well to treatment!

Here are some pictures from the last couple of weeks:

Picnic with Grandma
Decent family pic
With Grandma and Grandpa before church

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Five miles

When this post publishes to my blog, I will be preparing for a minor surgery at our local hospital. I have dreaded this day for a long time. It's a fairly simple procedure, but I have only ever had major surgery (3 of them--each with their own set of complications), so I have no frame of reference other than the demanding experiences I've endured.
The best metaphor I could come up with is that I feel like last winter I ran a marathon, and now someone is asking me to run 5 miles before I've fully recovered from the long race. Five miles is much shorter than a marathon, but tacking it on to 26.2 miles is no picnic. (Unless you're my ultra-marathon-running dad--ha!) But I know--I know--God is faithful. A verse I clung to earlier this year, and which I still hold dear is Psalm 116:7 "Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you."

I would appreciate your thoughts and prayers for me today as I am in the operating room and then as I recuperate. Thanks! Be back soon.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Freezer pleaser

I am so thankful we have a deep/chest freezer in our basement. Between the pheasant and deer meat Eric provides from hunting, along with the homemade strawberry jam and applesauce, and a variety of grocery deals I've stocked up on, our freezer is usually quite full. However, recently it had become quite a pit, and I was constantly digging around looking for what I needed.

Eric knew of my frustration, and of his own accord, he did an on-line search for freezer organization, which led him to this post. What a brilliant idea to re-purpose reusable bags to organize goods in your freezer!

I was assisted in this project by Eric and Nathan. We pulled everything out, sorted by category, and then put things back in a more organized fashion.

Here is the embarrassing before pic:
And the much better after shot:

I am loving this system so far, and am pleased it cost no money and very little time to implement.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


"God did not intend our lives to be . . . a continuous run-on sentence . . . 
To add meaning to our lives, God gave us the punctuation mark of the Sabbath."

If you've been reading here for awhile, you may recall me mentioning Matthew Sleeth. I've heard him speak twice, and just finished my fourth Sleeth book (Two were written by his wife, Nancy.)

As a recipient of the Sleeths' monthly newsletter for their nonprofit organization, Blessed Earth, I was pleased to receive a complimentary copy of Matthew's new book, 24/6: A prescription for a healthier, happier life.

As with all of the Sleeths' books, I was challenged to examine the choices I make. I appreciated Matthew's perspective on the Sabbath as a former physician and workaholic. He shares fascinating stories from his emergency room days throughout the book to help illustrate his points.

Sleeth reminds us that keeping the Sabbath holy is one of God's Top Ten Rules for His people, and one many of us overlook. He reminds us that another wrong approach is to be legalistic about adhering to the Sabbath. "The intent of the commandment--rest--is what is important. Sabbath is meant to be a refuge, not a prison." I appreciated this statement, even while I kind of hoped for a do/don't do list of what is acceptable.

Because I am someone who prides myself on efficiency and productivity, I needed to hear Sleeth's message about stopping for one day a week. "Yes, work is good," Sleeth writes, "but the purpose of work is not more work. The purpose of work is to live and glorify God. One of the ways we do that best is by remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy."

"Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God." Exodus 20:8-9

I'll be mulling over this for awhile. I'm not sure what practical changes to implement so that my/our Sabbath is more restful. I've been considering turning off all media on Sundays, as the Sleeths do, or even just the computer. I like their idea of sleeping in and taking a nap, but being empty nesters obviously offers more flexibility than this season of having three young kids. The Sleeths also take a long walk on Sundays, which could be another good option. I just have to think about what is restful to me, and what is possible for my current situation.

I'm so curious to hear from you. Do you--how do you--observe the Sabbath day?

photo credit

Friday, November 2, 2012

My little pumpkins

Dinosaur, cupcake (!), cheerleader