Thursday, May 16, 2013

Random Musings

Here are a few random thoughts that are swirling around in my brain lately. Enjoy ::

  • You know when they are re-surfacing a road or a parking lot or something and there are all those little tiny rocks and when you drive that hit the underside of your car (or in my case, huge van -- with a lot of underbelly surface area, I might add!)? I really can't stand that sound. It makes me feel like I might lose my mind! True story!
  • I'm super proud of the hubs who took 2nd place in a "Biggest Loser" contest that his work put on. It ran from the first of the year until last Friday. He lost just under 40 pounds (39-point-something). I'm so happy for us. He can use his cash prize to buy some new clothes that fit, since most of his are WAY too big! Way to go, Kirbs!
  • It seems a bit crazy to me that I saw flurries in the air on Saturday and was shivering at an outdoor event (May 11th, mind you!) and then on Tuesday (only 3 days later) I had sweat pouring down my back while standing perfectly still watching Rebekah's track meet. It was 98 degrees. Minnesota is a crazy place!
  • There is nothing in the whole entire world like a fresh, new baby. I just cuddled one that was less than 24 hours old. NOTHING. LIKE. IT! Welcome to the world, sweet girl. We waited and waited and prayed and prayed for you and are SO glad you're here.
  • I guess when people ask me "Are you a runner?" I have to answer yes (although for over a year now I've been running on a regular basis, I still always said "Nope."). But since I've listened to a few podcasts on running, read a book or two on running and am up to 7 miles on a longer-run day, I guess I should finally start saying yes. Really? Weird! I barely know myself!
  • School is almost done for the year. How can that be? In a couple days I will be the mom of a high schooler? What. on. earth? That might be even harder to believe than the "runner" thing.
  • I am thankful for my belt sander.
  • I'm not a fan of talking on the phone. But the other day when I hung up with an out-of-town friend that I hadn't caught up with in WAY too long the digital timer on the phone said I'd been talking to her for over 2 hours. That's a really big deal for me . . . and I loved every minute of it. Now if only we could make it happen in person, that would really be great!
Ok, I guess that's all. Carry on!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Multitude Monday {double feature}

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post which is part of a series started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer, a wonderful friend and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::
3189. Mom's night at preschool
3190. Anna's bravery for her Kindergarten shots
3191. some great finds at the annual "garage sale" at our school
3192. a fabulous CSC banquet (one of my favorite nights of the year)
3193. my longest run ever (over 6 miles)
3194. 1st thru 4th grade talent show :: so entertaining!
3195. middle school open house with Rebekah
3196. my book club girls (what a blessing!)
3197. spring weather . . . finally!
3198. trampoline back up again in the yard
3199. clothes hanging on the line
3200. a really, really good book
3201. a freshly vacuumed house (thanks Mom!)
3202. a playdate for the 2 littles and a bit of time to myself
3203. the college-aged girl with her Bible and open journal on the table at Starbucks, writing away like crazy. 
3204. birds chirping outside the window during my early morning quiet time
3205. well-deserved good news for a dear friend
3206. powerful words
3207. 60's and sunshine
3208. Rebekah reading "Charlie and Lola" to Sara before school
3209. dinner at my parents
3210. chats with friends
3211. our basement filled with kids watching a movie on Saturday night
3212. a productive morning
3213. washing and packing up all the winter gear!
3214. 18 years today since he asked and I said yes

May you realize all the blessings the Lord brings your way and take the time to make note of them. (you'll be glad that you did!)

Friday, April 19, 2013

eight {and a bit of Flashback Friday}

this crazy-haired baby
turns 8 today!
Oh how the years go by . . . 
Happy Birthday, Joe!
We love you lots!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post which is part of a series started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer, a wonderful friend and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

3174. free Starbucks :: I ordered at the drive thru and when I got to the window the guy informed me that their computers were down, so they couldn't ring me up. They could still make my latte, they just had no way of charging me for it. How great is that?
3175. a new babysitting job for Bekah
3176. 1/2 way through Kirb work trip and no major problems
3177. Kirb getting back home safely
3178. parenting with a partner again :: so much easier as a team!
3179. listening to my kiddos perform :: Bekah singing and Jake on the trumpet
3180. a super fun night with TONS of friends at a girlfriends annual gathering with probably close to 100 other ladies (my once-a-year night when I stay out WAY, WAY past my bedtime)
3181. having my parents over for lunch
3182. a nap on a cold, gloomy Sunday afternoon (following my late night)
3183. hearing from the mom who drives Jacob to jazz band 2 mornings a month what a nice boy she thinks he is (who doesn't love hearing good things about their kids?)
3184. friends who give our kids rides to stuff
3185. a hearty conversation with a girlfriend about running :: it amazes me that I would actually choose to carry on a conversation about that particular topic at all!
3186. waking up to NO fresh snow on the ground for the first time in a lot of days :: there's still plenty of the white stuff on the ground, but no new snow overnight for once!
3187. cross things off my to-do list
3188. taking time to make some cards :: it had been a LONG time since I had done that. I almost forgot how much I like it!

May you realize all the blessings the Lord brings your way and take the time to make note of them. (you'll be glad that you did!)

Friday, April 12, 2013

flashback friday

Joey the 2-headed giraffe boy . . . wearing tap shoes . . . in our snow-free yard (it is FAR from snow free today!)
April 2009, age 4

Monday, April 8, 2013

multitude monday

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post which is part of a series started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer, a wonderful friend and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

3153. our REI dividend arriving right when we needed new rain boots :: perfect timing!
3154. packing up
3155. the amazing, fabulous, genuine, caring, smart men that teach 5th grade at Falcon
3156. a great 3-day trip to the Audubon with Lydia's class
3157. such a nice group of 5th graders to spend 3 days with
3158. making the "Ort Hall of Fame" for the first time ever in Falcon Heights history (our group went 4 meals with ZERO food waste . . . our teachers and a few dads were more than willing to "take one for the team" a time or two and clean up some trays, I'm sure)
3159. seeing kids challenge themselves, even when they're a bit scared :: at the end they are so glad they did it
3160. watching the kids genuinely encourage each other, even kids who aren't friends with each other
3161. the 4 fabulous girls I had the pleasure of bunking up with
3162. learning to use a compass ("Put Red in the Shed and follow Fred")
3163. being home again
3164. Face Time
3165. sunshine
3166. snuggles with Joe who was home sick from church
3167. getting in a run between rain showers
3168. a friend of mine drove by me when I was out running, slowed WAY down, opened her window and starting singing "Hey Shana, you're so fine. You're so fine you blow my mind. Hey Shana!" Made that last mile or so MUCH more fun and a bit less painful!
3169. my dad pitching in to help when I needed hand
3170. Joe's quick recovery
3171. a good nights sleep
3172. chirping birds
3173. our washer and dryer

May you realize all the blessings the Lord brings your way and take the time to make note of them. (you'll be glad that you did!)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Flashback Friday

Last year at this time our basement looked like this ::

I'm so thankful to be on the other side of that project!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bread & Wine

I'm quite certain that I've mentioned before how thankful I am to have been introduced to the writing of Shauna Niequist. Her first two books Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet were some of the most enjoyable books I've read in the past year or two. Her stories resonate with me in a deep place. It reminds me of the way I connect with the music of Sara Groves or JJ Heller. It's like someone has finally put into words feelings that I've had pent up for so long and could never express in ways others could understand . . . and then, all of a sudden, there they are right in front of me. Articulated so perfectly.

Well, Shauna has a new book coming out soon :: Bread & Wine: a love letter to life around the table with recipes. It is a memoir of sorts. Shauna loves food and loves entertaining and so many of her memories are inextricably tied to food and time around the table with those she loves that she combined the two into a very unique type of book. Stories from her life. Times as a family. Times of birth and death and crisis and how people always bring food when they want to be helpful and are at a loss for what else to do. Many of the book's chapters end with a favorite recipe for a dish with a connection to the story that had just been told.

No one who knows me (even just a little bit) would ever call me a foodie. I don't enjoy cooking, and I'm a picky eater. So I know it is probably surprising for me to be excited about a book that is part cookbook and is so tied to food, but Shauna's stories draw you in and her descriptions of the intimacy found around a table are something I enjoyed thoroughly.

Being the font snob that I am, before even cracking the book open I was in love with the chosen typography. The title itself had a hand-lettered look, completely with feather-like flourishes. LOVED it! And when paired with the sans-serif, all lowercase subtitle and authors name, it was even more lovely. So we were off to a good start before the book had even been opened. Now I know that "you can't judge a book by its cover", but a good cover sure doesn't hurt either.


Then once you dive in to the "meat" of the book (pun intended), it only gets better. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book ::

From the chapter titled "run" ::
But I have also long held the belief that one's tears are a guide, that when something makes you cry, it means something. If we pay attention to our tears, they'll show us something about ourselves. Against my preferences, watching people cross marathon finish lines makes me cry. Crazy, deep, ugly cry. Specifically, watching average-looking people cross marathon finish lines makes me cry. Professionals who finish in two hours are amazing, but it doesn't move me the same way. And not all physical feats move me like marathons do. I don't cry when I watch the Olympics or the Super Bowl. There's a thing I have with marathons.
 If you know me at all, that one is so very me! I'm a crier too. I guess I better start paying better attention . . . and in case you're curious, she did eventually run (and finish) a marathon ::
I got an e-mail from my friend Nate. Registration for the upcoming year's Chicago Marathon was open, he said. Was I still up for it? I immediately wrote a reply: No, not this year. Next year. And as soon as I wrote it, I knew it would always be my answer: next year, next year, next year. I deleted those words and began again.
Yes, I replied, before I could change my mind. Yes. I'm signing up. And I did. And then I dug out my running shoes -- shoes that had been to the coffee shop and the farmers market but had never been running.
Another favorite from the chapter titled "morning, noon, and night ::
I've long wanted to be better at accepting help, better at admitting weakness, better at trusting that people love me not for what I can do buy just because they do. It would have been lovely to learn those things on my own terms, when I wanted to, the way I wanted to. But we never grow until the pain level gets high enough.
. . . love isn't something you prove or earn, but something you receive or allow, like a balm, like a benediction, even at your very worst.
And as a fellow midwesterner, (she is from the Chicago area) I resonate strongly (especially this year) with the opening to that same chapter, which begins :: "Winter turned to spring just when we were sure it never would." Right about now I would like to say those same words about Minnesota and this particularly long, cold winter.

And from the chapter titled "open the door", we read
What people are craving isn't perfection. People aren't longing to be impressed; they're longing to feel like they're home. If you create a space full of love and character and creativity and soul, they'll take off their shoes and curl up with gratitude and rest, no matter how small, no matter how undone, no matter how odd.
So, I echo Shauna's thoughs :: pay attention to your tears, accept help, admit weakness, trust in love and let people see your imperfection.

Oh, and she also talks lots about babies . . . and you know how I feel about babies! (If you were at the Y the day I was on the stationary bike reading through my tears the chapter titled "hail mary". No surprises there. Baby stories bring me to tears.)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

multitude monday {a day late}

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post which is part of a series started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer, a wonderful friend and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

3133. coffee with a friend
3134. my Bible study girls
3135. 5 years of Anna
3136. time with friends
3137. a wonderful, powerful, meaningful Maunday Thursday service :: Christ's sacrifice is so amazing to me
3138. grace, survival and coffee on tough days
3139. friends with the willingness and skills to help when you are out of ideas
3140. genuinely caring, concerned, loving teachers who care for (and teach) our kids when they are struggling
3141. Joe's excitement over Timberwolves tickets
3142. the depth of the love and sacrifice that Holy Week gives us the opportunity to reflect on and give thanks for
3143. 50's and sunshine
3144. running on a glorious day {and just over 5 miles . . . that's the farthest I've ever run in my life!}
3145. He is risen!
3146. the sites and sounds of melting snow all around
3147. Easter dinner with our family
3148. lunch and time to catch up with a friend
3149. friendships that span decades and miles and remain a great blessing
3150. my selfless parents
3151. Rebekah's generosity and giving heart
3152. fun, personal, hand-addressed mail in the mailbox {such a bright spot amongst the bills and junk}

May you realize all the blessings the Lord brings your way and take the time to make note of them. (you'll be glad that you did!)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Flashback Friday

Anna in review ::

Newborn ::
Age 1 ::
Age 2 ::
Age 3 ::
 
Age 4 ::

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Multitude Monday (a day late)

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post which is part of a series started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer, a wonderful friend and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

3112. the majestic beauty of an eagle in flight
3113. pregnant bellies
3114. story time at the library
3115. a hot bath and a good book in the middle of the day (many thanks to Bob & Larry for babysitting, so I could partake in this indulgence!)
3116. morning coffee
3117. sunshine
3118. the sounds and sites of melting
3119. 14 years of Jacob
3120. 12 years of Rebekah
3121. Kingdom Undone :: powerful show
3122. kids waving palm branches and singing
3123. Joe playing basketball in the driveway :: short sleeves and mittens
3124. my cold finally being gone
3125. visit from Rachel & Amy
3126. watching a good movie with the kids
3127. sugar cookies
3128. the arrival of spring (on the calendar, anyway)
3129. art show at church
3130. the weight of a newborn in my arms
3131. hot tea before bed
3132. book club

May you realize all the blessings the Lord brings your way and take the time to make note of them. (you'll be glad that you did!)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

26 :: (14+12)

Although I know it's true, I'm still having a hard time believing it. The time just keeps flying by.

14 years ago this afternoon, I gave birth to our very first little bundle. Jacob Mason ::
Jacob holding up 14 "fingers"

Then exactly 2 years later (with just over an hour of difference in time of day), we were blessed with our second (not-quite-as-little) bundle. Rebekah Rae ::
Rebekah holding up 12 fingers
Happy Birthday to 2 of my favorite people on the planet. We are thrilled to have you both in our family.

Monday, March 18, 2013

multitude Monday (two weeks worth)

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post which is part of a series started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

We were visiting Kirby's family up north last Monday and I was not near a computer, so you'll get two weeks worth of blessings all at once. Enjoy!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

3071. fresh, beautiful snow :: and knowing it won't last too long this time of year
3072. carpools
3073. kind friends
3074. Angie, unselfishly, sharing the chance to pick Ann up at the airport with me
3075. meeting new people who become instant friends
3076. new books
3077. inspiring words
3078. fabulous news :: Mydi's mom is completely cancer free. Praise God!
3079. the way Ann laid her hand on each book after she signed it :: blessing it and it's owner
3080. sincere humility
3081. the opportunity to help at the Set Apart conference
3082. an asiago parmesan bagel from Brueggers
3083. talking homemade deodorant with brand new friends :: nothing like cutting to the personal right away
3084. the gift of brainstorms in the shower :: thank you Lord!
3085. pictures to aid memory
3086. morning coffee
3087. witnessing hard obedience to God first-hand
3088. another member of the family of God
3089. safe travels on dangerous roads
3090. Kirbs' fabulous driving skills
3091. finally arriving in Warroad 24 hours after leaving home (it's about a 6 hour drive, but the terrible road conditions necessitated an unplanned overnight stay at a hotel -- one with a pool. Bummer we didn't pack suits!)
3092. bumping into friends at the hotel where we were stranded (they were there on purpose)
3093. cell phone reception :: so often I take it for granted, but when you don't have any for a while you appreciate it so much more!
3094. all 24 "Stolls" in the same house :: it had been WAY too long
3095. cousins playing happily together
3096. delicious pizza
3097. a good run :: Kirb came along too, which made it even better
3098. the breath-taking beauty of miles and miles and miles of snow-covered trees while driving through the middle of nowhere
3099. kids traveling well
3100. family
3101. afternoon walks
3102. finding my lost running hat
3103. sleeping in my own bed again
3104. home again! (my favorite place)
3105. Jesus and grace
3106. surviving a REALLY cold 7K race
3107. celebrating Jodi and baby Evelyn
3108. girlfriend time
3109. being the first people ever to stay in the hotel room at a brand new hotel that just opened up
3110. our stay being free :: sometimes being the "guinea pig" is worthwhile, hopefully they get all the kinks worked out soon
3111. kids back to school after spring break

May you realize all the blessings the Lord brings your way and take the time to make note of them. (you'll be glad that you did!)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Get Lucky!

Well, I ran my first 7K on Saturday. I'd been working hard for the past couple months to be ready for the race and was really looking forward to it. Then the day got closer and closer and the forecast kept changing (and NOT for the better) and I got more and more worried. I can run in the cold. And I have. But I don't like it too much! I also don't enjoy running on ice or when it's windy. Anyway, turns out the air temperature on Saturday morning was about 20 and the winds were cold and gusty. (I think the wind chills were probably in the low teens). It had snowed over night and was icy.

I had planned to run it with my friend Nicole. The start time was 9 o'clock and we don't like to be rushed or late, so we wanted to be there about 8. So she picked me up and we got downtown and parked the car and were excited  and ready to run by a little after 8. I had run many times in similar temps and knew that it was pretty chilly, but that once I got running I'd be fine. What I hadn't thought through was that we'd be standing around in the freezing cold outside from the time we got there until the race started.

Now would be a good time to mention that there were over 10,000 people registered to run the Get Lucky 7K. That's a lot of people! (turns out 9,797 of them actually showed up to run -- the smarter ones stayed in their warm beds -- making it the largest number of finishers in a road race in Minnesota ever. Pretty cool). So, as it turns out when there are that many runners, you line up by pace (there were HUGE flags with pace times on them and you were supposed to line up near the flag that noted your pace) and you start in waves. We didn't even cross the starting line until 9:18 (and I heard that the last runners didn't cross the starting line until nearly 10 o'clock :: half the people were already done running by then!). So, if you didn't do the math yet, that means we stood around in the freezing cold for more than an hour before we actually started running. That part was not so fun!

I had just passed by the flag announcing that we had already run 5K when I finally had the feeling back in my feet. When we started running I couldn't feel them at all, and then they slowly started coming back to life, but felt more like bricks or 2x4s than feet. It was really a weird feeling! My fingers were pretty cold too. I'm fairly certain we had some mild frostbite. I kept saying to Nicole, "Can you feel your feet yet?", "My fingers are still numb!", "I am freezing!". It was one of the crazier things I've done and I'm so very thankful that I still have all my fingers and toes! The running part was fine, it was all that standing around before hand that was the killer!

Also, they had done the best possible job they could of getting the race route cleared of snow and ice, but it had just snowed overnight and the temps were low, so they had their work cut out for them. There were still quite a few icy, slick spots on the route. Running on ice and running on dry ground are two completely different things. They use different muscles. Your gait changes. It's not super easy and you really need to concentrate if you want to stay upright (and, let me tell you, I really wanted to stay upright!)

I had a personal goal for myself. I wanted to run the race in less than 45 minutes. I had been consistently running about a 10/10:30-minute mile for the past month or so and 7Ks is about 4.35 miles, so I figured that was a very reasonable goal and a nice round number. My official chip time was 45 minutes and 53 seconds, BUT I'm gonna say I still met my goal since about 20 feet from the finish line I (almost literally) ran into a WALL of people at a dead stop. There was a bottleneck at the finish since all the runners had to run through a slightly narrower area to finish than the streets we had been running on were. When you combine that with the fact that some people came to a stop to greet their non-running friends who were waiting for them at the finish line and then you multiply that my even a small percentage of the nearly 10,000 runners, you get a big mess. So I was very close to the finish line before 45 minutes, but my foot (where my fancy chip timer was laced onto my shoe) hadn't crossed the little finish line pad, so my time just kept ticking on until I could finally actually cross the finish line. I'm not a super competitive person, but after all I'd already been through in the race, I will admit I was not a happy camper coming to a standstill within feet of the finish line! I don't know how many seconds all that took, but I'm considering it a goal attained -- even though my official time says I missed it by 54 seconds. So there!

Well, that's my race in greater detail than you wanted, I'm sure. Thanks for sticking it out to the end. Here's a post-race picture of Nicole and me to reward you for reading all of that other stuff. We're sporting our race sweatshirts and medals (and it just so happens that we have the exact same hat too, so we really were twinsies!).

Friday, March 15, 2013

flashback friday

guess who?
{I LOVED that little dress}

Friday, March 8, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

multitude monday

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post which is part of a series started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

3049. clear, snow-free paths around the lake
3050. more than 10 miles run this week
3051. kindergarten registration night for Anna :: she's SO excited for kindergarten!
3052. a kid-free Costco trip with Kirb (that nearly counts as a date!)
3053. a glorious sunrise
3054. a great musical for our girls and their choir friends
3055. LJ's teacher and our school principal coming to watch the performance (and that the girls had the courage to invite them)
3056. Kirbs :: I'm so very proud of him and blessed to be his wife
3057. good oncology follow-up for my mom
3058. wonderful, compassionate, understanding teachers who genuinely care for and about their students (especially when one of their students is your precious kiddo, who is having a rough go of it)
3059. healing
3060. a new member in the family of God :: party in heaven, that's for sure!
3061. antibiotics :: and just about a year since Sara's last ear infection
3062. youth group leaders
3063. nap time
3064. less trouble than I expected when needing to located Rebekah's kindergarten picture to put in the yearbook (since she's 'graduating' and all)
3065. the girls' practicing violin together
3066. family dinner at my brother's new house with his family
3067. 9 years of life for my spunky, adorable, fun, favorite (well, there's not much competition) godson.
3068. a 4-day school week (Friday begins spring break!)
3069. the beauty and magic of softly falling snow
3070. a new picture of Melvin and his family :: a 5x7, even!

May you realize all the blessings the Lord brings your way and take the time to make note of them. (you'll be glad that you did!)

Friday, March 1, 2013

flashback friday

Me with my (beautiful) aunt, Denise (my dad's only sister). Looks like maybe it was my birthday (or SOMEBODY'S birthday, anyway). I don't know how old I was exactly, but it was sometime in the first half of the 1980's.
She was just in town last weekend and it was wonderful to see her! (she wasn't wearing overalls this time, however).

Monday, February 25, 2013

multitude monday

Well, my parent's 42nd year of marriage started out not as uneventful as we would have hoped. The abbreviated version is that my mom thought she had the stomach flu last week (my dad was out of town), but I finally convinced her to let me take her to the hospital where she was admitted, "vacationed" for 5 days, had an obstruction surgically cleared from her abdomen and had her appendix removed. She is home now and is recovering and hoping and praying for no more hospital stays or surgeries EVER. Praise God it all turned out ok in the end.

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post which is part of a series started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

3030. 41 years of marriage for my parents
3031. summer planning -- it WILL come someday, right?
3032. morning phone calls from Al -- a great way to start the day
3033. folding clothes, still warm from the dryer, on a bitter cold winter's day
3034. chocolate chip cookies sans chocolate chips -- a favorite of mine!
3035. good advice from a smart friend
3036. getting my mom to the hospital before things progressed any further
3037. great medical care
3038. caring, loving, praying friends
3039. cell phones
3040. my wonderful, flexible, sacrificial husband
3041. nurses :: I sure couldn't do that job, and they do it SO well!
3042. ear buds that don't fall out . . . FINALLY!
3043. a good run :: sunshine, warm temps, paths free of ice and snow (although I did have to dodge a few puddles) and faster times
3044. a great retirement celebration for our senior pastor who has faithfully served our church for the past 23 years!
3045. my mom being home again after 5 days in the hospital
3046. my nephew's preschool program -- a bright spot in a not-so-bright day!
3047. when the kids play well together
3048. a visit from my aunt and cousin from Massachusetts -- so wonderful to see them!

May you realize all the blessings the Lord brings your way and take the time to make note of them. (you'll be glad that you did!)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

41

the happy couple last February on our family's celebration of the big 40th anniversary
Happy 41st Anniversary to my parents today! I am so thankful for them and their unwavering commitment to the Lord and each other and their family . . . not to mention their generous, giving spirits that have benefited so many people over the years. I'm praying this year ahead will be less eventful than the one they just made it through. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad. I love you!

Monday, February 18, 2013

multitude monday

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post which is part of a series started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

3016. fresh snow crunching under your feet
3017. book club :: love my book club girls!
3018. praying together with my friends for the sister of one of our dear friends who has cancer
3019. my Bible study :: such a blessing all around. the people. the study. the treats! love it!
3020. heart-shaped pancakes for Valentine's Day dinner
3021. our 22nd Valentine's Day spent together
3022. date night
3023. Chatterbox Pub
3024. an almond chai smoothie from Tea Garden {about as close to heaven as you can get . . . it had been SO long since I'd had one}
3025. Valentine lunch at my parent's house
pink ladies at our Valentine's lunch
3026. state swim meet at the U of M
3027. a relaxing, long weekend without much to do
3028. fresh haircuts for the boys {well, Joe and Kirb . . . Jake refuses!}
3029. good wrist check-up for Bekah, she can pretty much start doing everything again

May you realize all the blessings the Lord brings your way and take the time to make note of them. (you'll be glad that you did!)

Friday, February 15, 2013

flashback friday

Valentine's Day 1993 (or pretty close -- since I'm wearing that beautiful heart sweater and all, that sweater would be an even bigger shame if it was nowhere near Valentine's Day!) I would have to say that 20 years has improved us . . . at least wardrobe and hairstyle, if nothing else!

Monday, February 11, 2013

multitude monday

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post which is part of a series started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

2988. Anna winking at me
2989. more swimming ribbons
2990. Joe qualifying for the state swim meet
2991. Anna "reading" library books to Sara
2992. chirping birds
2993. clean sheets waiting for you when you go to bed at night
2994. Buffalo day with my mom
2995. successful boot shopping (finally!) :: two pair, even :: and with a clearance and extra 25% off, only $75 for both pair
2996. grilled cheese with bacon
2997. the Amazon support guy who magically fixed our Kindle Fire when Sara, unintentionally, wiped the whole thing clean when playing with it.
2998. my new belt :: genius!
2999. Xyngular
3000. my wonderful husband!
3001. family fun night at the kids' school
3002. a beautiful funeral for a high school classmate
3003. re-connecting with high school friends around the table
3004. date night!
3005. fresh (sticky) snow on every single tree branch :: so very beautiful
3006. pre-dawn runs :: peaceful and calm
3007. lunch at my parent's house
3008. Race for the Cure "Team Marcia" gaining members
3009. safe travels on yucky roads during a storm
3010. feeling better than I have in a really, really long time (a good decade or so, probably)
3011. an entire family, a shovel in every hand, helping out neighbors (and the wonderful example of this family down, who lives the block from us :: they are such a self-less, helping, wonderful bunch. the best kind of neighbors to have! they just went up and down the block shoveling the heavy snow from all the driveways of the older people with their 4 kids -- their youngest is only 2 and he was working hard right along with them! great modeling, Jim & Heather!)
3012. a walk on a quiet winter day with my favorite person in the world
3013. Kirb down over 15 pounds :: so proud of him!
3014. hand-me-downs
3015. snickerdoodles

May you realize all the blessings the Lord brings your way and take the time to make note of them. (you'll be glad that you did!)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Flashback Friday

My baby when she was actually still a baby ::
Sara Evelyn 4 months {February 2011}::


Monday, February 4, 2013

Multitude Monday

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post which is part of a series started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

2965. No more cast for Rebekah
2966. a split chin for Jacob (and nothing worse)
2967. a great night at Art House North. Exactly what I needed :: time with Kirb, time for reflection, remembering, understanding myself even better! (thanks Brie for taking care of the troops at the last minute)
2968. the peacefulness of a sleeping child :: taking the time to be still and just stare
2969. sleeping in
2970. our Saturday morning wake up crew
2971. a safe, fun youth group retreat for Jacob
2972. Joe handling a disappointment so well
2973. a warm home on VERY cold winter days (and nights!)
2974. the return of ABOVE zero temps
2975. safe travels on nasty roads
2976. fresh, beautiful, powdery snow
2977. taxes filed! (federal anyway, the state isn't yet ready to accept our submission)
2978. encouraging news
2979. a good first week of the new "job"
2980. more creating (and the resulting happy customers are fabulous too)
2981. delivering my art to a friend who had a major role in the inspiration for the creation in the first place (I learned this week that artists can't help but create as a way to process through life :: I'd never heard it put that way before and it lined up so many things inside me. I love when that happens. Thank you, Sara, for pointing it out!)
2982. helping :: it is so true that giving is such a blessing (and the "little" things are usually bigger than the "big"things, it would seem to me!)
2983. a good section swim meet for Joe and Lydia
2984. tweeking my homemade deodorant recipe and coming up with just what I was hoping for! (even great through the workout test!)
2985. Rebekah getting back in the pool again
2986. Lydia's generous hair donation (11 inches) :: even more meaningful than Rebekah's donation earlier this fall, since we didn't yet know about my mom's cancer at that point.
2987. some good family time

May you realize all the blessings the Lord brings your way and take the time to make note of them. (you'll be glad that you did!)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Multitude Monday

What a crazy couple weeks it has been (months, actually!).

I went along with my mom to her oncologist appointment  on the 14th and without getting in to all the details (there are lots of them), the news couldn't have been better! Praise God! She looks great, does NOT require chemo and will be on hormonal therapy for about 5 years. We couldn't be happier.

So, here's my continuing Multitude Monday post which is part of a series started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

2904. High School registration night :: how can it be true?
 
2905. comforting, encouraging, loving, beautiful words from a friend (thanks Katie!)
2906. a few long-separated sock pairs reunited
2907. a sparkly clean toilet
2908. Anna's afternoon magic show
2909. Sara singing "Holy, holy. God Almighty" along with JJ Heller
2910. fun news
2911. excitement for our new pastor
2912. Wednesday night at Central
2913. adorable babies
2914. my parents hard work
2915. Sara's singing -- she's always singing, that one!
2916. good news from Dr. Ogren (my mom's surgeon). No chemo. Praise God!
2917. Dr. Cheema
2918. great oncology appointment
2919. the excitement in church on Sunday
2920. the Lawrence family
2921. creative inspiration
2922. friends willing to help out
2923. Kirb :: over 20 years now and I'm still crazy about him
 
2924. a fun, impulsive (and safe) trip for Kirb to a basketball game at Notre Dame with a friend
2925. a friend I hadn't heard from in a long time wanting to get together
2926. friends
2927. warm corn bags to heat up your bed on chilly nights
2928. sunshine
2929. ABOVE zero temps after a cold snap
2930. Kirb :: my hero who came to my rescue when I couldn't get up the nerve to get out of the car after coming home late at night and seeing a BIG animal run right in front of the car and into our back yard. Thanks goodness for cell phones. I called him and he got out of bed and came out in the below zero night to walk me in and protect me from whatever creature was in our yard
2931. a chance for my dad to re-connect with his youngest brother, Brent, before he died
2932. a peaceful ending for Brent
2933. my parents home again
2934. meeting little Ella Grace (my cousin's little girl) -- what a cutie!
 

2935. a nice shower after a hard workout
2936. Sara NOT crawling into our bed in the middle of the night . . . for 2 nights in a row
2937. a good book
2938. being healthier
2939. the wii telling me for the first time ever that my BMI was in the "normal" range (as opposed to overweight -- which is what it has always told me in the past)
2940. authenticity
2941. book club night :: friends, laughter, fun
2942. coffee coupons + a gift card from Christmas
2943. Parenthood :: my favorite TV show. Love, love, love it!
2944. looking forward 5 weeks :: the chance to pick up a friend from the airport
2945. being available to help
2946. Kirb's "Biggest Loser" contest at work -- he's rocking it so far!
2947. re-connecting with a friend that I'd lost touch with
2948. Joe
2949. girl friend day!
2950. HARD laughter
2951. compliments. sincere compliments
2952. a delicious cheeseburger and fries split with a friend
2953. a massage
2954. Kirb working on our taxes
2955. the beauty of freshly fallen snow
 
2956. a chance to see far-away family
2957. a new "job"
2958. lowering scale numbers
2959. falling snow that looks exactly like you live inside a snow globe
2960. a wonderful 600+ piece district orchestra concert :: both big girls playing their violins
2961. Lydia's fun 5th grade concert/play at school
2962. friends
2963. broken glasses covered under warranty
 
2964. creating things
 

Happy almost-February already, may you realize all the blessings the Lord brings your way in 2013 and take the time to make note of them.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Flashback Friday

A Christmas-picture Story::

In case you haven't heard . . . or have forgotten, I give you the story behind our traditional "bed picture" at Christmas time:: When Jacob was not quite 1 we wanted a family picture to put in our Christmas card. We took quite a few (non-digital, I might add!) and the one we liked best was of the 3 of us laying on our bed. The next year it was just the 3 of us again and we decided to try and recreate the picture since it had turned out so cute . . . and thus began an unintentional Stoll family tradition of the bed picture. This year we knew we'd have trouble all fitting on the bed comfortably (even though we don't spend too much time on our Christmas photo session 8 people on one bed get crabby pretty quick), so we thought we'd shake it up a bit and take our picture outdoors. But we couldn't give up the "bed" completely. Thus the "bed"-in-the-field idea was born. Since that needlepoint that my mom made us has been in every single picture, we couldn't leave it out either. Our picture was taken on a gloriously warm and sunny Thanksgiving Day. 2012 marks the 14th anniversary of the Stoll family "bed" picture. 13 years and 5 more kids later, we're all still on the "bed" (it was really two long tables, topped with twin mattresses and covered with our bedspread) for our annual picture.

joe, jake, anna, lydia, rebekah, kirb, shana & sara :: 2012


and a little flashback for you, starting where it all began. here are more than a decade worth of stoll christmas pictures. enjoy::


kirby, shana, jacob: 1999
kirby, [pregnant] shana, jacob: 2000

kirby, jacob, [pregnant] shana, rebekah: 2001
rebekah, kirby, jacob, shana, lydia: 2002
kirby, lydia, jacob, shana, rebekah: 2003
kirby, [pregnant] shana, lydia, jacob, rebekah: 2004
jacob, kirby, joe, shana, rebekah, lydia: 2005
jacob, kirby, rebekah, shana, joe, lydia: 2006
kirby, jacob, rebekah, joe, [pregnant] shana, lydia: 2007
kirby, lydia, anna, joe, shana, jacob, rebekah: 2008
jacob, anna, kirby, rebekah, joe, lydia [not quite pregnant] shana: 2009
kirby, joe, shana, teeny baby sara, rebekah, anna, jacob, lydia: 2010
kirby, anna, shana, sara, joe, jacob, lydia, rebekah: 2011