Sunday, June 27, 2010

Coming Soon

We had a fun day today viewing Toy Story 3 with our three nephews who are here spending a week with us. Hence the lack of posts. I have some posts floating in my mind that will be coming soon.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What's on my nightstand?

No not all of these are on my nightstand! Whew! But one day
I would like to say that I have read all of the books on these shelves
(and before the First Born).
Right now I have read about 75% of them.

Over the weekend, we had out-of-town friends visit. I noticed that their son went to the car to get a book. I thought to myself, "I'm not reading any books. I don't have any books on my to read list."

Now why it took another person's son to reveal this to me is interesting since everywhere I go... and I mean children the ball game (except the one playing baseball), at the oil change place, in the car going anywhere (even for a few moments down the road), in their beds, at the breakfast table. My children constantly have their noses in books. We even recently had two different people give us large stacks of books because my children are reading all of the time. But it must have been the newness of seeing someone else reading that triggered my compulsion to build a stack of books on my own nightstand. And then I discovered this:

What's On Your Nightstand

And so I am joining in (albeit a day late):

On my 'nightstand':

1) Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, complete and unabridged. I read more books than my husband but this is one that he has read that I haven't. My oldest son and I are in a competition to be the one who has read ALL of the books on our bookshelves in our dining room (yep, almost every room in the house has bookshelves). And so this one must be conquered. Plus, I was recently reading on a blog somewhere about someone reading this book out loud to their children and everyone enjoying it. So that motivated me to pick it up.

2) John Newton by Aitken I purchased this at a Carole Joy Seid Homeschool Seminar (which I highly recommend if you are homeschooling or thinking about it). I have enjoyed all of the books she has recommended. I'm not sure why this one has gone unread. So now it too is in my newly-made stack to read.

3) Nick of Time by Ted Bell. I have chosen this book for two reasons. Last November, my sister-in-law and I were on a road trip to Chicago and started to listen to this audio book (and then I fell asleep; no worries, she was driving). The second reason is that my oldest son has read it and loved it. And so I want to read it, too.

4) Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. I am going to participate in this July challenge. My goal is to re-read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair. These three are my favorites. If I read through them quickly or just feel the urge, I may just read them all.

I know that I'll be blogging for sure about the Chronicles of Narnia as part of that challenge. And perhaps the others, too.

What are you reading this summer? Or do you have any good recommendations once I am finished with these?

Love, Kathleen

Monday, June 21, 2010

An Invitation for You

Chronicles of Narnia

Do you need some summer reading? Or need an incentive to read?

I just heard about this new reading challenge from my friend Stephanie at Olive Tree (but is being hosted by Carrie at Reading to Know with a give-away involved.) This is right up my alley. I will be participating because The Chronicles of Narnia are on the top of my list of very favorite books in the world. I was just thinking that I needed to be reading some books. Most of my reading lately has been blogs. Which is nice. But I can't snuggle up with it in bed (no laptop). But a blog is just not the same as a book or two. This is perfect timing for me and I wanted to extend the invitation for anyone else that might need/want it, too.

So for all you Narnia & Lewis fans, come along and sign up. And if you haven't ever read them, join us and see what it is all about.

It will be fun!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Aftermath

Here are the pictures of "Lake Target" (taken the Day After the Big Rains & which is only 1.5 miles from our home) and some of the destruction of houses near our church (taken one week after The Flooding on Mother's Day).

The top picture is from the apartments of two families from our church that were only able to get out with the clothing on their backs. The building was condemned so both families had to relocate (instead of go back to a restored unit). They were the recipients of many donations to refurbish their apartments. The generosity and love and support from people that comes out of crisis inspires me. And is one of the good things that comes out of the hard thing.

It reminds me that "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28. We wouldn't choose the hard things in our lives. When the hard 'thing' is upon us, it is often difficult to see the good coming out of it. Don't you agree?

Have you been able to see any good come out of a hard time in your life?

Monday, June 14, 2010


We have a piano! If I had a digital camera **UPDATE ** But I do have a film camera, ***, I would take a picture *** and I took a picture, developed it, put it on a CD (at the store)*** and post it here. ** and uploaded it so now here it is.*** But I don't, so I will have to paint the pictures with words. *** (Still glad I painted the picture with words, too.)***

We unloaded the piano into our home at 10 p.m. last night. And this morning, melodic piano sounds grace my ears. Yes, melodic sounds. Simple melodies and pretty sounds are floating in our home. One child is plucking out songs on it (the one I thought would be least interested in it) and the other two are playing their recorders from their music class a year ago. Delightful! (They inherited Daddy's musical-ness. I love and enjoy music, too, but Daddy has a more natural 'ear'. )

A week ago, I mentioned to my mother-in-law that we would like to have a piano. And then a week later she calls again. The piano that they had had in their living room years ago and sold to a friend is putting in carpet next Wednesday and was interested in selling this same piano and would we like it?

My husband was out of town. His plane arrived late. I mention it to him at 11 o'clock on Saturday night and twenty-four hours later, we have a piano in our front room. Much to his chagrin. He thought he would be able to relax after a week-long business trip. Instead, he served us (like he so very often does). Thanks hubby.

Thanks to the in-laws, my hubby, the sellers' son-in-law and a friend, we have a piano in our home.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

During and After Flood Photos

Our Creek in Flood on Sunday May 2nd * Historic Flooding

I can hardly believe that it has been a little over a month since the Historic Flooding in Nashville May 1st and 2nd. I left town a week and a half after the floods and returned in June. I had planned to help with flood relief but God had other plans for me in Minnesota.

The Day After * Monday, May 3rd, 2010
What Our Creek Usually Looks Like

We have a water run-off creek that runs alongside our home. And many have asked how we fared...just fine....thankfully. Not because of our own doing.

After 13-18 inches of rain in two days (translate: cooped up!), the younger three had to get out and play in the rain: the air was warm, the water cold! If you notice the stick in the first photo and then the second photo, you'll see how much water was in the front yard. (They're not quite in the same spot in both photos.)

Here they are ready to deliver snacks, water and home-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to people who might need it on The Day After. We brought them to high school where folks from Opryland Hotel had been evacuated. They took our meager donations but it looked like they were well taken care of by Gaylord. It was a little disappointing. It would have been more dramatic to give it to someone just boated out from their home. But, sometimes you do what you can.

Our backyard creek on the day of the flood.

Our backyard creek the Day After the Flood and what it often looks like.
At times the creek bed is totally dry. ( It was just this past Tuesday.)

Although our waters had receded on The Day After, the river had not yet crested and more flooding was headed toward downtown and further downstream as well. It was so sunny the Day After that the impact of the waters from the day before seemed surreal.

I have a few pictures of Lake Target, just 1.5 miles from our house, and some pictures of flood damage that occurred near our church. But, they will have to wait for another post.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Three days ago, I had a conversation with a mom friend about how her fourth child was going to be her latest walker, yet. And I wondered when my fourth child walked, especially if it was late or early in comparision with the other children. I didn't know.

I looked on his first year calendar, which was only filled in to the sixth month. Uh-oh. I hoped I had written the info somewhere.

I went back looking on old calendars (which I keep to put scrapbook pages in the order that the events happened) and in old journals. I had the information to fill in his first year calendar! Yay! Good news!

All this sleuthing led me to compare more than just when the youngest walked but other interesting trivia, to their mom at least. This is what I found:

Rolling Over from Tummy to Back
S was 5 days old! (yes! it is true)
L, M and J were almost 3 months old

Rolling from Back to Tummy
S at 3 months
L & J were right around 3 1/2 months
M 4 1/2 months

Crawling on Hands & Knees
S * 6 months
M * 7 months
L * 7 1/2 months
J * 8 1/2 months

First Step
S * 9 months, 4 days
J * 10 months, 2 weeks
L * 1o months, 3 weeks
M * 11 months, 1 week

J * 11 months, 2 weeks
S * 11 months, 2 1/2 weeks
M * 11 months 3 weeks
L * 12 months, 1 week

J * 12 months, a few days
He is the only child that I wrote down when he was running! He went the quickest from a step to a walk to a run.

First Tooth, Second Tooth
M * 6 months * 6 1/2 months
J * 7 months (1 day before) * 7 months (4 days after)
S * 8 1/2 months * 8 3/4 months
L * 9 3/4 months * 10 1/2 months

First words
L * Night, night
S * Daddy
M * Mama
J * Ball

It cracks me up that the boys first words were about events or things -- night, night & ball. It seems fitting then that the girls' first words were people: daddy & mommy.

I think the most surprising element in my research was that my first born wasn't the soonest in any accomplishment! I thought he was the most amazing kid and would wow the pediatrician at his amazing prowess at being able to roll over and walk and talk. The doc always said he was "normal". And I thought, "Normal? You mean brilliant! Exceptional! Extraordinary!"

Now, I know that normal development and healthy are wonderful words to hear. But, it was a serving of humble pie for this mother. And here it is surprising me again that my first born didn't accomplish any of these milestones sooner than other children except for me. He was the first child that I watched roll over, take a step, and get a tooth and walk. He still is exceptional to me and so are all three of the others: each in their own unique way and because they belong to me.

Friday, June 4, 2010

On being there

Several years ago there was a rush of events around a Thanksgiving time that included my dad being in the hospital for gall bladder surgery. As I recall there had been a snow storm and someone needed to help shovel mom and dad's driveway. I was in Tennessee and everyone else is in Minnesota. (It's still that way.)

I remember talking with one of my siblings (I have four) and saying how much I wanted to be there. I think it was a sister who said, "It's okay. There's nothing you can really do." She was trying to comfort me. And what she said was true: there wasn't anything more that I could do.

In a way, she felt similar to me, we wished we could do something. Something to fix it. Something to help. Oh, someone went and shoveled the driveway and made sure my mom could get to the hospital. People waited at the hospital and visited dad. Those were things that could be done. And they were done. But sometimes it doesn't seem like enough.

But I lived 900 miles away. My heart ached to be there even though there was nothing I could do.

I want that strong sense of wanting to be there even though there isn't anything to do to infuse my every day life here. A sense of focus on being over doing.

I still live 900 miles away from my family of origin. But recently I was enabled to be there for a family crisis (you can read about that here) which is no small feat. In-laws and friends helped my husband take care of our four homeschooled children so that I could just be a sister.

And in the being, there was doing: laundry, phone calls, playing with my niece, driving places. But the primary focus was being with some doing sprinkled in (even on the "busy" days).

I would like to take this back to my life: a focus on being rather than doing. Things still need to get done. I am responsible for more things now that I am home, responsible for different things.

But, I want the peaceful focus of being there to infuse my life all of the time.

Not sure how to do it. But then again I didn't know how to do many things while I was away. I trusted God just one step at a time. So I guess I'll keep doing that same thing: trusting one step at a time and

just being there.

Isn't that just what I said I wanted: to be versus do?

By the way, my dad recovered just fine from the gall bladder surgery those many years ago.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Nineteen Days

Nineteen days I have been away. Nineteen days that have marked my life. Nineteen days of mostly walking quietly, listening, seeing what needs to be done and doing it. Asking a few questions and listening some more. When asked "will you do this?", saying yes whether I wanted to or not or whether I had done it before or not. My willingness made me qualified for the task. My willingness made me want to do the tasks. Just like the others around me.

I joined their willing example when I arrived to the loving vigil. I was allowed to step in and link arms and serve. There was waiting; there was giving pain meds; there were phone calls; there were photos; there was laughter; there were tears; there was tension; there was love. And there were lots of hugs.

There was really good food, wine and beer. There was labored breathing. There was ice cream. There were groans. There was chocolate. There were stories. There was laughter. There were tears. There was waiting and lots of hugs. There were family and friends who were really family, too. There was little sleep. There was a quiet last breath.

And I was there. Usually I live 900 miles away but I was allowed to be there, for nineteen days.
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