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The last family member has just driven away. The refrigerator overflows with leftovers. My phone is packed with pictures commemorating a weekend of celebration – sparkly dresses, beautiful women, handsome men and adorable  children. 

My son has taken a wife and I have a new daughter. Except for about 30 minutes prior to the ceremony, I think I held it together pretty well. And when I did lose it, I was standing with a wonderful friend who let me sob on her shoulder. The tears were cleansing – my heart just couldn’t hold anymore. 

My wonderful family showed up in a big way. Uncles, aunts, cousins – all came out in force – from California and Texas, northern & southern Illinois, Cubs & Cardinal fans united for one evening to witness the beautiful, light-filled wedding of David & Tristen. 

Life makes a dramatic change now. I’m excited to spend time and attention on my loving and patient husband. He has encouraged and supported me as we’ve partnered to teach our boys a curriculum of life. I feel as though my homeschooling journey is truly over now. No more students at home – our kids (now men) have graduated into real life &  it’s time for them to use what they’ve learned & observed.  

Maybe I’ll pick up long ignored hobbies, or learn new ones. I’m planning more time with extended family. Softball & baseball games as an aunt & uncle sound pretty good. Probably need a couple new padded camp chairs.

 Thank you to everyone who helped us pull together a gorgeous wedding – lots of chairs & tables moved, food made & served, makeup applied, lights strung, candles lit, pictures taken and floors swept. I hope you know how very much we appreciate the love shown to us by the work completed. We truly could not have done it without you. 

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  Some days are smooth sailing from sun up to sundown. Others are ordeals to be endured. But most days are like this one – a combination of fun and anxiety, good times and bad, happy peaks and low valleys. 

My vacation day started early, praying for a son’s safe travels to Minneapolis. A mid morning doctor appointment kept my stomach in knots, worrying about a possibly tough diagnosis. The news was acceptable (getting older isn’t for the faint of heart) so I was eager to join my husband for a coffee date. Between shopping, working out, getting ready for and attending my last youth group meeting of the school year, I rode a pretty extreme emotional roller coaster today. 

I’m so thankful for a God who goes with me wherever life’s ride takes me. His promise to never leave me or forsake me is as true today as when He spoke the words to Joshua (Joshua 1:5). So I’m content – content to rest on the promises of God. 

“Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Plan the coffee dates and persevere through the doctor appointments,  always knowing you are not alone. 

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We moved you out today. So few belongings for a lifetime in one house. But I’m sure I’ll be finding a few things left behind – some by accident, some on purpose.

  
It has been an emotional roller coaster since you asked your special girl to join the Mrs. McGarvey ranks. New car shopping & purchase, a month-long illness with overnight hospital stay, working 3 jobs while apartment hunting, then finding and getting approved for the perfect place. All while still being faithful to your ministry commitments and of course, planning a May wedding. You’ve done some major adulting recently. I’m very proud of you. 

But I’m pretty sure it’s only been a couple of days since I brought you home from the hospital. Wasn’t it just last week that we started homeschooling, learning to read and drum at the same time? So many memories in our little house on Thiher Drive. 

  
My life goal and greatest mission was to raise my sons to be mighty warriors for the Kingdom of God. I spent most of your growing up years as a stay at home mom, encouraging you to pursue your dreams and develop your talents. We prayed together, discussed the Scriptures and memorized a few too. Your dad and I tried to model a marriage based on respect, love and service to one another. I loved watching you play sports and music – and still do (though your baseball days seem to be behind you). I always wanted to be available to listen and give advice when asked, though I’m pretty sure I gave it quite often without your request. 

  
But today our relationship changes. No more glasses left on the coffee table or dirty clothes in the hamper. You are grown and out on your own – still my son, but no longer under my roof. 

  
You are going to be a great husband and eventually, a wonderful father. Your dad and I have prepared you as best we could and now we leave you in God’s hands. We will always be there for you but today you are a man and I’m excited to see what tomorrow may bring. Now, where’s that Kleenex? 

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  I made this wonderfully quick, easy and delicious breakfast casserole for our church’s post-service fellowship. Except we couldn’t wait so we dug into it during Sunday School. For those who asked, here’s the recipe:

2 T. Melted butter

2 cans Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing

4 eggs

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 t. Ground cinnamon 

2 t. Vanilla 

1 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup maple syrup

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Pour melted butter into ungreased 13×9 inch glass baking dish. Separate both cans of dough into 16 rolls; set icing aside. Cut each roll into 8 pieces and place pieces over butter in dish.

In medium bowl, beat eggs. Beat in cream, cinnamon and vanilla until well-blended; gently pour over roll pieces. 

Sprinkle with pecans; drizzle with maple syrup. 

Bake 20-28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, remove covers from icing; microwave on medium (50%) 10-15 seconds or until thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle icing over top. 

Serves 12 (or just one person with a gallon of milk or pot of freshly brewed coffee).

Enjoy!

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If you’ve followed me on any social media, you know I’ve recently embraced the concept of trying new things. I had a great weekend workshop about 2 years ago at which I discovered some amazing and some discouraging things about myself. I was getting older in my thinking, settling for the status quo and allowing tradition and fear keep me from experiencing all that life has for me. So I made a decision (that I make about every day) to embrace the journey of life, look for adventure and view each day as an opportunity to learn something new or make another friend. It has literally changed how I live my life. My husband calls it my “midlife crisis,” but in a good way. 

Two years ago I started running seriously (or as seriously as I do anything) and found so much satisfication in making and attaining goals. Then I took a whole month to try a new thing every day. I created art for public display, I discovered places in my town that I’ve never been, ate foods I’d never been brave enough to try, and saw my normal surroundings with new eyes. What a blast!

 

So as February winds down, I’m putting together another list of new things I’m going to try in March. It’ll be the perfect time – more daylight and a new hopeful season. I got a head start today by attempting Zumba at my Curves. It was fun and awkward and tiring. I’m going to keep at it so I can actually follow the instructor’s arm and leg movements at the same time. 

I am a follower of Christ and as such, I am a new creation. I will not allow fear keep me from my dreams or the adventures God has planned for me. Join me? 

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Today is Valentine’s Day. I hope you have someone to love and love you back. It doesn’t need to be a girlfriend or boyfriend, a spouse or significant other. Just someone who appreciates you and tells you. 

I’m so glad for the man God gave to me 29 years ago. He is my best friend and my favorite days are the ones I get to spend with him. He fills my “love tank” with every love language and I couldn’t have a better soul mate. 

But if you are alone today, I hope you’ll turn to the One who loves you most and knows you best. Let God wrap His arms of love around you and fill your heart with joy and peace. No person on earth can love you as He can. He knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb and he knows you now. Give up your stress and anxiety, take the hand of your Saviour and rest. He’s got you. 

“By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8

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Day 27 of my 40-Day blogging through Lent adventure. It’s all about busyness today. So I’m going to go practical today. 

I took a vacation day. I’m spending it doing a combination of what I want and what I need. Which means taking a nice long walk with my husband enjoying this beautiful spring weather. It means slowly sipping a hot cup of freshly roasted coffee while reading through the book of Acts. It means chopping, mincing, whisking and slow-cooking ingredients for an amazing Irish Beef Stew. It means buying a couple of donuts for my kid who’s a little under the weather. It means going to my Curves two hours later so I can see some old workout buddies. It means savoring my free minutes so when it does get hectic (tomorrow and the rest of the week), I can relax and remember. 

What would you do if you could plan a day for yourself? Less or more?

Busyness keeps my tank running on fumes. Like putting a gallon of gas in my car each day, praying I won’t run out before I get back in bed that night. Plan some time for yourself. 

Fill ‘er up!

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