Angel Girl turned 15 yesterday. (Not quite sure how that happened so fast!)

To celebrate she asked to hang out with her home school friends.

Why not a potluck picnic at the park?


We had lots of friends join us.

And lots of silliness.

And food. There’s always plenty of that!

(Glad to see that Buddy was eating so well – chips, Oreo cookies and a Popsicle?!)

Angel Girl got to do all her favorite things – hang with friends, take lots of cute pictures,
DSC_0210and chase adorable littles up and down the play equipment.

She was in her element!

1011766_489476501122456_822853665_nHappy birthday Angel Girl!

What a Weekend!

What a weekend!

There were special friends who traveled 418 miles to help in the celebrating.

Dagmar and Dollface There were cousins, aunts, uncles, grandpas, grandmas, lots and lots of friends, and even a pirate.

Pirate DorothyWe love you Dorothy!

And there was Seth.

SethThe crazy one who kept us laughing all weekend.

And there was food. Lots of food.

Graduation SpreadIn addition to the purple punch, all the sandwiches and massive amounts of cookies – we also had a coffee bar in honor of Dagmar’s current coffee obsession.

And there were 7 gallons of puppy chow – served in a pirate basket with a silver scoop.

Which produced many puppy chow smiles.

puppy chow smileThere was an incredible video about Dagmar produced by my talented sister and niece.

It made me cry.

And there was carpet ball, kite flying, a new kitty, cute babies and a random dog who showed up for the fun and trotted back down the road at the end of the party.

random puppy and cute babyThere were long conversations, lots of laughter, a balloon bouquet, and pretty flowers.

And photos, and hugs, and just plain silliness.

There was even an epic – very intense game of Ultimate Frisbee.

ultimate frisbeeBut most of all – there were memories, both old and new.

Many, many special memories of the little girl she used to be and the amazing young women she now is.

It was worth all the effort – every minute.

Same Girl

We became Bible college roommates at 26 years ago.

Kimmer, Mindy and Pancake.

Three strangers who became best friends.

Oh, the adventures we had! 🙂

Moms RommatesOne by one we got married, graduated, moved on.

Now – 2 continents, countless moves, 13 children, 3 foster kids, a son-on-law, one grandbaby and 23 years later – we finally reunited.

All three of us in one place – at one time – with no interruptions.


The fellowship we shared was so sweet!

We kept staring at each other and reaching out to touch each other as if we were afraid that it was all a dream and we had to make it real.

We cried.

We prayed.

We laughed so hard!

As we poured out our hearts, shared pictures, and reunited with our younger selves – it was very clear that despite the many years that have passed since those college days, inside we’re still those same girls.

Still a bit silly, but full of hopes and dreams and ideas.

Stronger. Wiser.

And still the best of friends.

Same Girl

Twila Paris

She’s still the same girl
Wiser for the years
She’s still the same girl
Stronger for the tears
Listen to her story
And your heart will glow
She’s still the same girl
And we need her so

Playing Hooky – Again

Yes. It’s true. I played hooky – again.

I’m becoming a habitual offender! 🙂

At least this time I brought the kids with me!

the moms We met up with several other home school moms and their kiddos at a local park to enjoy one of the last wonderful days of fall.

While the kids played and played and played –

The moms sat and talked – catching up on life, sharing ideas, and just soaking up the sunshine.

Our biggest entertainment –

babiesWatching the babies be cute.

It was one of those “easy” kind of days that makes me so glad to be home schooling.

kiddosI’m thinking the kids were kind of glad, too!


Be Careful What You Wish For…

Just look at what happens when you confess on a blog post to being unable to grow zucchini…

…in less than 36 hours you are given 9  zucchinis!

BIG ones, too!

As my friend Martha said to me as she handed me a bag full of the veggies, “Be careful what you wish for!”

Right now I’m wishing for roasted Italian zucchini with Parmesan cheese – and thanks to my sweet friends – I’m going to get it!

Busy, Busy, Busy!

It’s been a busy week around here! We’ve had company – lots of company.  Seven extra children to be exact.

My friend Cinnamon had the opportunity to fly out and spend some time with her husband, who had a 4 day leave before being shipped out to Afghanistan.

She needed a place for the kiddos to hang out.

Now, honestly, who could resist spending a week with this little charmer?!

Not I.

Boy have we been busy! Home schooling the entire crew (all but the little guy – 11 in all), making meals, and lots of playing.

I’ve eaten more sand “cake” and sand “ice cream” in the last few days than I have for years!

We’ve picked apples from the orchard and gone on long hikes and explores in the woods, even eating our snacks by the ponds. The 20 pound “backpack” Dagmar is carrying does get a wee bit heavy!

Our extra “help” enjoyed harvesting all the mini pumpkins and gourds. I really hope they want to take some home with them!

We even built a fabulous “house”. It’s amazing how much fun a tarp over two tree limbs can be! The girls have found delicious “food” outside. They made soup out of leaves, hedge balls, and seed pods of all kinds – all cooked over their open (but pretend) fire.

You may have noticed that there are only 4 extra children in the pictures – don’t worry – I didn’t lose the other three! 🙂

They were busy with my kids, filming epic movies, chasing each other through the woods wearing camouflage, and playing ultimate frisbee.

Yep – it’s a busy place around here this week!

Slumber Party – Round 2

The addition of 8 extra children made it another full weekend here! But what a fun one!

My sweet friend Cinnamon trusted me to watch her children again (you may remember the Toxic Slumber Party of a few weeks ago!) while she and her husband had a much needed weekend away before he is deployed to Afghanistan in a couple of weeks.


I can’t believe she actually shared this adorable little guy with me for 2 days and expected me to give him back!

Let me tell you – that belly was made for “bubbling”!


The weather was great – sunny but not too hot and humid. Perfect for popsicles and playing outside!

You may notice that Angel Girl and Grace are quite dressed up.  The older kids worked together and filmed 2 hilarious videos over the weekend.

Late prince

All of our dress up clothes were brought out and used – we like to pick up odd and random items at thrift stores and garage sales to make our movies more interesting!

This child shall remain anonymous although I will tell you that his name begins with a “G”.

Oh wait – all the kids have names that start with a “G”! 🙂 And they have more nicknames than any other family I have ever known! Bob, Nubby, Lolli, Figgy, Gigi…the list goes on and on.

Trust me – it could get really confusing to an outsider!


Didn’t I tell you this little guy is adorable? He’s also a little parrot – repeating whatever you say.

Sunday morning in church he was sitting on my lap when his sister asked to be excused. He looked at me and said “Where go?”

I whispered, “She had to go potty.”

“Ohh”, he answered quite loudly, “Potty. Potty. Potty. Potty.”

There were definitely some chuckles around us! 🙂


Yep. It was a pretty crazy weekend! Lots of laughter, lots of food and too little sleep!

And no stomach flu!


Feast or Famine

I had a lovely conversation with a dear friend today. She shared openly how, as farmers, they did very well last year, but it looked like this year they were going to barely break even.

We decided in rural America it’s often either feast or famine.

But in time, we’re learning to accept it.  We’re learning to be thankful for the blessings in the good years and trusting God to provide in the lean ones.

We’re discovering that God really does see the big picture where we see only a glimmer.  His provision and plan for us is perfect, whatever our situation may be.

“When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot
, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul…”

~ Horatio G. Spafford

Feast or famine, good times or hard ones, our God is still in control.

“…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” ~ Phil. 4: 11-12

Best Friends

This spring has given me some wonderful time with some of my best friends.

There was the Sunday afternoon with my friend Teresa remembering the hot sticky nights as camp counselors at Bible Camp.

We would sneak out after our campers were asleep and sit on the footbridge between our cabins, eating chocolate and sharing dreams.

There was the time spent in the kitchen with my mom and sisters preparing for and cleaning up after several family graduations. The laughter, the joking, and the memories we shared are priceless.

And just last night I had a phone call from my college roommate Kimmer. Although I haven’t seen her in over five years and haven’t talked to her in months, we picked up like it was just yesterday. We laughed and shared and remembered those crazy days in college back when we were young and single. (Several babies ago!)

To have friends like these makes me truly rich!

Oh the comfort,

the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person:

having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,

but to pour them out.

Just as they are – chaff and grain together,

knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them,

keep what is worth keeping,

and then with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.

George Eliot, 1819-1880