Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Not a very catchy title today...

I had thought of different things to write about and wished for a grand inspiration and simply gorgeous photos to share...

Instead I have a brief re-cap and some ordinary photos.

Here's how it's been... in a nutshell...

I've worked. Laundry has been kept up. Weather has been chilly. (Insert very sad face.)
A few plants have come up in the garden, even though the sun has been particularly stingy with it's appearances and warmth. I clipped coupons last week and USED them! They had to be for what I would normally purchase and I did not stockpile. I saved $30. However, the kids found items that made up the difference... Scott packed up and took the boys out by boat to our friend's property nearby. I joined later in the evening and we slept on the boat for our "camp out".

Our friend who shall remain unnamed (until I have permission to put it on a public blog)recently purchased an old home which has needed TLC. That is right up his alley. He enjoys taking old items and restoring them. He is actually quite gifted at it, in my opinion. Clayton goes out to work at his place on a somewhat weekly basis. Whenever I go, I take photos to document the progress.

Here is the wood flooring that has been put in... it matches the original.

This is the kitchen and dining room... our friend has taken out a wall that had divided this area and has some amazing plans for this area. I cannot wait to sit around a table and enjoy visits here in times to come!

When I went to my photo files to look at "before" pictures, guess what? I took pictures of any pretty or creative area... and you really cannot tell how much the yards have changed because of how selective I was in my photography... oops. Here is one yard, looking down as we come out of the upstairs:

Over on the other side of the house, there is a little pond.

And here are "walking around" pictures:

While out on a walk with Scott, the local ducks gave a live showing of "Make Way for Ducklings".

And.... after a long walk during which it was discovered that certain roads come to dead ends... a walk which included back-tracking and passing 79 homes and 3 empty lots... twice... I was treated to lunch by my dear one.

Thanks goes out to our good friend for hosting us. It is now time to enjoy a bit of grandmotherhood... and do a few chores...

Blessings to you!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Life Well Lived... A Life Remembered

Several days ago I met with a couple of friends to take photographs at a local cemetery. This location boasts pretty statues... stately trees... at the right time of day, streaks of light and incredible shadows.

Personally, I like gravesites. I know that the person isn't "there". But, it's a place. It's where I can go and trace my grandmother's name. I like to sit and trace those letters and talk to her. I tell her that I am all right. I do tear up a bit. I miss her. Now, Grandma Betty isn't here here at this cemetery. Her headstone is a few hours away. I couldn't help but think about who was "here". Whose grandmother and grandfather were they? Are they visited? Missed? Did they leave a significant impact on the lives of their family? Does anyone come trace a name and declare, "I'm all right."?

I recently heard a pastor say that our life on Earth represents .01% of eternity! That's quite something to ponder. 99.99% of our existence takes place after our time here.

Psalm 103: 13-17
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—

I really like that statue (above). I love the hands folded together. And it's rather weathered.

So, I spent an hour or so, visiting with a friend and capturing pretty little pictures. And I wondered... how do you blog about a photo shoot in a cemetery? When it comes to someone's life story, what is really important? When I think about death, I think about who that person was... what did they do for others? With others? What about God in their life? Did they know him? Were they used by our Heavenly Father to make a difference in others' lives?

And then I think about myself. Why? Because I am me. And a couple things stand out as more important... One... my name. There are a few times that I remember sharing with my Grandma Betty that mean more than any other moments with her. I was her namesake. I remember visiting at her home and her taking my face into her hands and peering into my eyes she would strongly say, "Your name is Betty. It means consecrated to God." That was a very important message that she spoke into my life. I believed her.

Ecclesiastes 7:1
1 A good name is better than fine perfume,
and the day of death better than the day of birth.

The more I think about my own testimony, though, the more I see that it isn't about me... which brings me to point number two... it's all about God. I relate to John.

John 3:30
30 He must become greater; I must become less.

There's nothing I claim that is my own personal good. My best "good" is nothing compared to Jesus' example and love and my Heavenly Father's plans. Not to mention the Holy Spirit in my life. When it comes to my life... I fail. All the time. Any good... any gain... all love... is from God. If the time comes when my children no longer have me here, I hope that they will say of me, "She kept turning to God. Over and over." Because life gets hard! You have to know where to turn. And I hope that they will follow that example and take hold of the life that God gives... water of life that never runs dry... life that never ends... love that never fails.

Revelation 21:1-7
1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

And, here's to you, Ron. You say that you don't really read what I write, you just look at the pictures... Here's hoping that you enjoy each shot... even if you don't read! Because you love photography, too! (Ron is my brother, btw)

Blessings to you, all my friends. May our lives speak for God.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Well... I'm in a season of change. It's not my favorite. But, I believe God is sovereign and that all things work together for good... in the end. Sometimes I wish I could just skip to the "end" for the "good" instead of walking the day by day. Because my personal struggles are with family, I am not at liberty to share what I am going through. For now, I will just share some random thoughts that do mean a lot to me....

Last year I was very inspired by Kelle Hampton. While I don't agree with everything, I have enjoyed her blog immensely. Her love of life and the way she takes in each moment have made an impact on me. From reading along, I learned to take hold of each day and live it fully... laughing... smiling... finding joy... enjoying little things. For too many years I kept telling myself that "when I get through this" I will enjoy life... or slow down and take in the moments... Not any more! All of last year I chose to stay in the moment and take every bit of joy I could out of life. Kelle's inspiration has kept me clicking photos and posting on my blog.

When my heart is aching, I tend to not come to my blog. People don't want to come across a blog and read about someone being misrepresented and hurt by those they put trust in. But, it happens.

And over the past couple weeks, when I've wanted to sit down and blog, but just couldn't because I felt so raw... I did think about posting about friends. In fact, friends just keep coming to mind.

Because when life hurts... true friends make a difference.

From my mom, one of my true friends, I learned not to judge others. From life I learned that, too. Because it's not fun to be judged. Oftentimes we are misjudged. So... it's just not so good to judge others. It's just one of those things that comes back to bite you... And when I think of my mom, I think of a hot cup of coffee and an early morning phone call.

When I think of Donna, I think of "Victor meals". When I met Donna, we just clicked. I knew that there were many things to learn from her. Lots of practical things. And I knew that I had acceptance. No matter what. She'd been around the block a few times and knew. She is simply unselfish. It is her joy to help others. Any time of day, any day of the year. If there's anyone that I can say anything to... anything at all... good or bad... and know... absolutely know that I am going to still be loved, it's Donna. When Victor was born, he was allergic to every formula and was allergic to wheat/gluten, some fruits, and... well... the only things he could eat were meats, vegetable and some fruits. And he was a baby. As soon as he was old enough, Donna would line her counters with small food trays. She would go tray by tray and put meat, veggies and home made apple dessert (all foods home made with care to not triggerg any allergy!!). Then she would wrap each one, freeze them and fill up boxes to deliver to my house! Her face would light up any time that I drove up her driveway and knocked on the door. My kids were her kids. It was easy and relaxing to drop in for a quick visit and a cup of tea. Always a cup of tea. I'll always hear her voice call out, "Nooo!" when she heard that I was moving far away. She even came to sit at my wedding table back in 2008. What a treasure of a friend God blessed me with in Donna...

Many years ago... when my dad loaded up my boxes and drove me to college... I saw a girl sitting on some steps outside the dorm. She saw me, too. Somehow we ended up spending that evening together, chatting away while I unpacked boxes. We haven't stopped chatting since then! I couldn't hand pick a "sister" any better. We were married about a year apart from each other, had our first babies a year apart... we swapped recipes and housekeeping tips and encouraged each other along the path of homeschooling. We have cried many times together. She has prayed me through melanoma and divorce and I try to make her laugh... she needs to laugh more. She tends to be a serious person. Guess God knew we needed each other! She inspires me to take things more seriously... to take the high road... to be dependable and responsible. I hope I inspired her to let loose... to laugh... jump... throw it all to the wind sometimes and feel free. We were roomies (next door to each other) in college and back then when she made the ridiculous decision to leave me and get married, she gave me gift... a stuffed version of this:

It had a tag on it that read, "Waddle I do without you?" I am glad that we have never had to figure out how to live without each other. Thanks for being a friend for life, Rachelle.

Some of my true friends were closer at times than other times... because we lived near each other. But, I know in my heart that they are out there. They care. When we connect, we easily pick up right where we left off and we know that our love for each other is not lost... My friend, Becky, who took lots of time to care for me... to drive me when I didn't have a car... to stop by with care packages... Becky is truly great at sharing encouragement. Little bits of wisdom... a smile in her eyes and heart that gives you just what you need. Thanks, Becky! And Laurie. Laurie's family and my family knew each other before I was born! We didn't grow up knowing each other because we didn't live nearby. But, in my teens, Laurie was the older girl who set a great example for me to follow. And when I needed a friend... someone who wouldn't judge and come alongside and be there with me, Laurie was there. She was my birth coach for my first baby's birth. Thanks, Laurie. And I cannot think of friends without thinking of Amy. She's another friend who knew me for years in Alaska and stayed in touch... visiting me a few times since I moved away. She wasn't a "one time" friend. I love her heart for God. I love the compassion that she and her husband have for others and for their parenting choices... I am so glad that she is a friend.

I should have taken a picture of my phone next to my keyboard... because nowadays my friends just aren't a phone call away, they are often times just a click away.

When I think of friends, I think of my dad and his lovely wife. We had some bumpy places on our path together, but I am so thankful for them. I have seen my mom, Linda, grow in beauty over the years. My dad... I am so thankful for him. He is a simple man. A steady man. I paid tribute to him in a bit of prose a couple years ago, expressing how he sets a quiet example... but a necessary one:


by Betty Warren on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 8:43pm

Before the break of day, you've begun
Coffee cup in hand... whistling a happy tune
Days gone by saw you caring for your family
Working, Dependable
Looking back, you've been quite simple
Enjoying a long drive, laughing at a joke

Some men are great dreamers
Others are contemplative... analytical
Some are remarkable leaders

Yet in the quiet evening there is found peace
and the appreication of a man
Who has been caring... steady...
Remarkable in his routine
A man whose family knows
how very dear he is

Thank you, my dad, for your life
of daily example
Thank you for caring and loving
I Love You, Betty

He called me every week... sometimes twice a week during the year of my divorce. He had to know that his little girl was okay. I cannot say how much that meant to me. He refused to hear that I had cancer. He refused to hear that the Dr. said 3-5 years. That was well over a decade ago. He still calls every week or so. I have a couple of his voice messages that always stay on my phone, so I can hear his voice. Thanks dad and mom!

I have been doubly blessed in the Mother-in-law department. My first is just a call away. She encourages me. She listens. Cathy always helps me give the benefit of the doubt and forgive.

Thank you, friends. You have made such a difference in my life. I cannot wait for eternity to dance barefoot on green grassy hills, rejoicing with all of you around... Well... that's my vision... to be in a place of joy and never another pain... rejoicing with those who God placed around me. Now I wonder who wants me to join them while they dance on their hill? The only true consolation in enduring pain is that God can use it in His sovereignty to help another person out there.

*** Here's a birthday shout out to Nathaniel, my turtle boy who turns 15 tomorrow. I love you to the moon and back. No matter what. ***

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Previous Week or So, Part 2

Easter day was in full swing. I knew that I'd be blessed to watch baby Chloe Monday through Friday the following week, so I wanted to get out on Sunday with the kids and visit my daughter, Rebekah. We had planned on heading to the university to visit her on Thursday, but decided it would be best to take advantage of the holiday and drive over for a visit. We were rewarded with TONS of fun...

We picked up Rebekah and her fiancee, Nick and found a place to sit down and have lunch:
Took a moment to confirm that Joseph is now taller than Bek... (she's 5 foot on her tall days):

Then we headed to a fabulous park:
Before I could look twice, four of them were on a teeter-totter. There was so much laughing and carrying on, you'd not believe it!:
We had SUCH a laugh when we saw the sign where the kids had picked to "play".
After a quick photo, we headed over to the bigger kids play ground!
The rope/web/climbing "thing" was loads of fun:
I LOVED that Victor was up for the challenge.
First, there were three at the top... then there were four:
And as soon as they got "reaching the top" out of their system, their play turned into the classic "tan bark is lava... you can't touch the ground... two hand touch means you're tagged and "it"!!" Here is a favorite of Nathan, being stealthy:
And, in the middle of the "tan bark is lava, let's play tag" game, there had to be a simultaneous "King of the Hill" game:
Bek wasn't playing that the tan bark was lava...
(When I spun around to take another shot, I would occasionally forget to check my camera settings, so some of them had too much exposure... so, I played with the coloring...)
There was a lot of chasing and a lot of laughing...
A new King of the Hill??
Here's a larger scope view of the playground:
And while these boys were busy chasing each other, Victor thought about making his own way up to the top:
I love his sweet smile!

Half way through the week we had a picnic and went for a hike. Just moments after we ate, my mountain goats were headed up the side of the hill:
It took a few more minutes to convince Victor to hike up the "hill" with me...
And here are my dirt covered jeans... from sliding down the path that I climbed up... I have to say it was fun... but it wore me out!

If only I could write those two finishing words... "The End" But, life isn't that easy, is it? When we come down from the mountain, we have to face life. Life. With constant change. So, after some lazy days with gaming, occasional quick trips to the store, and heart to heart talks, I said good-bye once more to three of my kiddos. I love them so much.