Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mostly Wordless Wednesday


We don't have any pets, but the neighborhood cats seem to love our yard. We have no idea where this one came from, or where he went when he left, but he hung around long enough for me to get a picture of his unusual, beautiful eyes.

Change of plans - more later!

Do you get the symbolism??

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday Musings

So- it's a good thing we went to the zoo last Saturday - this one was not nice, weatherwise. I just stayed in the house most of the day. It was windy, sunny, cloudy, snow-showery, windy, crazy. Today it was a bit nicer, but not too warm.

We had a three-church hymn sing. It's always such fun to sing the good old songs with others who love them, and to fellowship with other congregations. Our choir sang - the same song we did in the morning service. It's a good old Dottie Rambo song which expresses how I feel sometimes!

There's a light in the window;
The table's spread in splendor.
Someone's standing by the open door.
I can see a crystal river,
So I must be near forever.
Lord, I've never been this homesick before.

See the bright light shine;
It's just about hometime.
I can see my Father standing at the door.
This world has been a wilderness;
I'm ready for deliverance.
Lord, I've never been this homesick before.

I can see the family gather,
Sweet faces all familiar;
No one's old or feeble any more.
This lonesome heart is crying;
Think I'll spread my wings for flying.
Lord, I've never been this homesick before.

See the bright light shine;
It's just about home time.
I can see my Father standing at the door.
This world has been a wilderness,
I'm ready for deliverance.
Lord, I've never been this homesick before.

We went to lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant to celebrate Mom's 79th birthday.
She was only 18 when I was born. Dad is 82 - they were just children when they started life together 61 years ago.

When we think of heaven, we think of the beauty we will be surrounded by for eternity. I am just so thankful that God has provided us with a measure of that beauty here on earth.

Let's take a little walk around my yard.

Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Friday Show and Tell - and Twin Update

A few weeks ago I showed you the grandfather clock that DC created rom at when we were first married. Tonight I want to share two of his other creative projects.

It was the summer after his graduation from college (it would be another 8 years before we would meet). DC was going into the National Guard in the fall. He spent the summer at his folks' place in Beloit, Wisconsin during this interim period in his life. He bought this kit of the Cutty Sark, spending 3-4 hours a day for 4 months to complete it. It amazes me that he had the patience to create such a masterpiece. It has a place of honor in his den.

It was years later, after we were married and had children, that he decided to tackle another ship model, this time The Bounty of Mutiny on the Bounty fame. He spent many hours for several months in the evenings working in our basement creating this smaller wooden model.

Kate and Emma are growing and thriving. They have begun to coo and smile. I haven't been able to catch the fleeting smiles yet on camera, but I'll definitely keep trying! They're not much for posing for me yet! But notice how they are in the exact same position - it is uncanny. Nobody can tell me they're not identical - same sounds, same motions, same features. Adorable. It is such fun to take them out - we meet so many nice people who "Ooh and Aah." They are quite the attraction. And the phrase Kristen and I get all.the.time - "Wow, you sure have your hands full!" Yes, we do - full of little blessings. And most people are kind and perceptive enough to acknowledge the big sisters, too.

We weighed Emma this week and she's up to 7 lbs. 4 oz. We didn't get Kate weighed that day, but I suspect she's about 8 lbs. 4-5 oz. Emma eats and eats, desperately trying to catch up with her big, one-minute-older sister! You can see that she isn't quite filling out her outfit as well as Kate yet, but she's working on it!

Now I have a bit of housekeeping I need to do. I want to thank
Butler's Wife for the gift of one of her American Idol dish cloths (she makes them while she "watches" Idol.) I put my camera on to charge before I realized I had one more picture to take, so I went over and borrowed Becky's picture - mine is the lovely bright pink one. It is really too lovely to wash dirty dishes with!

I told Becky the story about when I was in 6th grade and the Hong Kong flu hit our school. Our teacher didn't want all the sick kids to get so far behind in math, so she decided to teach us to knit. A dishcloth was my first knittingproject ever. I have to say, though, that our pattern wasn't nearly as fancy! Thank you so much, Becky!

Midlife Mom tagged me for this meme:

1) Write your own six-word memoir about yourself.
2) Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you'd like.
3) Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible, so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere.

I have seen this one around blogland, and I have seen some wonderful memoirs, very lovely, and meaningful. I have thought and thought, and I could not think of anything very cerebral. Here it is - the truth, and the best I can do!

She is tired - all the time!

Finally -- a few weeks ago, I shared my DIL's story about the horrendous situation in Kenya that her parents and other family members were living through. Today I asked he permission to copy a piece of her last post for an update for those of you who have been praying for them, and even contributed money for them to be able to buy very scarce food. She no sooner wrote the good news when something really sad happened to her brother's family.

"My parents are doing so much better. Actually the entire country is doing a lot better. Infrastructure is finally working again, people are back to their normal ways and the economy is slowly picking up again. For those who don't know, Kenya now has a prime minister. This is the solution that most Kenyans agreed to. We still have a president, but the runner-up president was given the title Prime minister. His duties are specific to his position but he also gets to share power with the president. So the two allies are now friends and are actually working together in a unified manner. PTL!! So, this new government has settled the squabbles and ethnic violence that had been stirred up after the elections on December 27. I was planning on going to Kenya this summer to visit my family, but the plan fell through. I will now be hopefully going to Kenya in December-God willing."

Please go over to Sema's spot and read today's post, if you have a minute. It will shock you and send you to your knees, if you are a praying person.

For more Friday Show and Tell stories, stop by Kelli's blog, There Is No Place Like Home.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday Musings

Monday again - already! How does it come around so fast? The week-ends just race by.

Our Saturday was spent at the zoo, with two babies, the two big girls, and Kristen. The minivan was jammed! So was the zoo - the first nice Saturday in months and half the state was there! (I have to say that watching the people was as much fun as watching the animals - sometimes more! Oh, my, what some people wear - or don't wear - when the air warms up!)


Miss Feisty was all prepared for a very sunny day.


The big girls picked up souvenirs before we even entered the gate!

The little girls slept most of the day away.


It's always good to have a lift from your grandpa.


One of the buildings does not allow strollers inside - thus, Grandma stays out with the babies - I guess you're on the honor system to take your own stroller when you come back out!


I know some people object to zoos. I do feel sorry for some of the big animals, but it sure is great to see them and show them to the kids. Some of the animals get to strut around in freedom. I need to add that this zoo does a great job of giving the others a lot of room to roam.


One of the most beautiful creatures God created - fighting with a hot dog!


The mountain goats have a great time on their rocks.



The giraffes seemed to be a bit confused - thinking the protective fence was the tree it was trying to protect.



One time when I was at the same zoo, years ago, I was taking a rest - noticing the crowd around the giraffe fence. I was privileged to observe the birth of a new baby giraffe - falling 8 feet to the ground, getting right up on its spindly little legs, able to get up and walk immediately.

Mom and Dad are being very attentive to their new baby.


God has such a great sense of humor!


This little guy is doing his best to get rid of that log.


The King of Beasts looks regal, no matter where he is.


It was a fairly exhausting day, but well worth the exhaustion. The big girls, Kristen, and DC went to an IMAX show after a couple of hours at the zoo. I stayed with the babies, since taking two babies into an IMAX show is not such a great idea. (The big girls slept through most of the huge movie). We ended the day at Chili's, thinking everyone would fall asleep on the way home. Fortunately, the babies slept, but the bigger girls were a bit too wound up. Memories are made of days like this.

For more about the kiddoes, check out Kristen's place.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Prayer and Twin Updates

I wanted to give you the latest report on Ruth's situation. As she says, thank you so much for your prayers and concern for someone you will not know until we all get to heaven!

If you missed the interview with Allison Bottke, please go back and read yesterday's post on this very important subject. For a twin update, please go visit Kristen - some mighty cute pix posted there (and maybe leave her a little comment of encouragement)!

Here are Ruth's words:

I haven't had as good a day today. I talked to the stimulator tech todayand she said the leads are probably starting to form scar tissue and thus more resistance to stimulation, which they can adjust for in the programming. (Kids and grandkids) are coming down this evening and are going to stay tonight at the same hotel, so we have some fun to look forward to. I am able to be up, out, and about as much as I feel like it. We went over to Park Meadows Mall for awhile this morning. (Sister) came down for awhile yesterday morning. Tell all your blogging friends how much I appreciate all the prayer. The doctor is pretty amazed at how smoothly the surgery went and at how quickly I have recovered.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Interview with Allison Bottke

A special opening message from Allison Bottke:

The interview that follows has been personalized for every blog I’ll be visiting during the month of April. I want to thank our Blog Host for taking the time to read my newest non-fiction book and for sharing it here today on the Setting Boundaries April Blog Tour. You are helping to spread the word about a topic that desperately needs to be addressed—with a message already striking a chord in hearts around the nation.

Our country is in a crisis of epidemic proportion concerning adult children whose lives are spinning out of control—leaving parents and grandparents broken-hearted and confused. This painful issue is destroying individuals, families, marriages, churches, and communities. I believe in my heart that you are reading this message today for a very specific reason. Do you know someone who has an adult child who is always in crisis? An adult child who brings chaos to virtually every situation? Could this painful issue be touching your life today?

If so, there’s a truth I’ve come to embrace that has changed my life—it can change yours, too. It’s taken me more years than I care to admit, but I no longer believe in “coincidences.” The truth I’ve come to embrace is that God is the Master of orchestrating “God-cidences.” He has a plan for who he wants us to meet, what lessons he wants us to learn, even what books he wants us to read. He even has a plan for the trials and tribulations of life.

When we begin to look at everything that happens to us throughout the day as “God-cidences” (and not accidental coincidences) it changes the way we view our world.

That said, my prayer is that you will see the following message and the book;

Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children: Six Steps to Hope and Healing as a “God-cidence” placed into your life today for a powerful purpose. Perhaps it’s to help heal your family or the family of a loved one. Perhaps you are here to help us introduce this resource to a broader audience via additional media contacts you may have. Whatever the “God-cidence” may be, please know our primary goal is to bring hope and healing to families around the nation—thank you for helping us do that.
I pray you will view what you are about to read as a “God-cidence” meant just for you.

God Bless and Keep You,

Allison Bottke

The book comes out of your own personal experience with your son. Please tell us about that.

ALLISON: For years I really thought I was helping my son. I wanted him to have the things I never had growing up. I love my son, and I didn’t want him to hurt—but sometimes pain is a natural result of the choices we make. For a long time I didn’t understand the part I was playing in the ongoing drama that had become my son’s life—I didn’t understand that I didn’t have to live in constant chaos and crisis because of his choices. When I chose to stop the insanity and start living a life of hope and healing my life changed. It’s a feeling I want other struggling parents and grandparents to experience. I want other parents to know that change is possible when we choose to stop the destructive cycle of enabling. And we can stop it. I know, because I’ve done it.

Why do you think so many parents struggle with enabling their adult children?

ALLISON: We don’t understand the difference between helping and enabling, that one heals and the other hurts. We don’t realize that we handicap our adult children when we don’t allow them to experience the consequences of their actions.

How can we determine whether we are helping versus enabling our children?

ALLISON: Helping is doing something for someone that he is not capable of doing himself.
Enabling is doing for someone things that he could and should be doing himself.
An enabler is a person who recognizes that a negative circumstance is occurring on a regular basis and yet continues to enable the person with the problem to persist with his detrimental behaviors. Simply, enabling creates an atmosphere in which our adult children can comfortably continue their unacceptable behavior.

What are some of the most common ways that parents enable their children?

ALLISON: Being the Bank of Mom and Dad, or the Bank of Grandma and Grandpa. Loaning money that is never repaid, buying things they can’t afford and don’t really need. Continually coming to their rescue so they don’t feel the pain—the consequences—of their actions and choices. Accepting excuses that we know are excuses—and in some instances are downright lies. Blaming ourselves for their problems. We have given too much and expected too little.

You say there are two separate yet intrinsically combined things going on when we look at the pathology of enabling our adult children, what are those two things?

ALLISON: #1. We have the issue of the dysfunctional child himself—the product of our enabling. Most often, we are dealing with adult children who have no concept of healthy boundaries as they pertain to their parents and grandparents. Many are dealing with addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, gambling, and more. Some of these children are involved in illegal activity, while others have been in and out of jail numerous times. Some are abusive to us. Some have jobs while others do not, most have extreme financial challenges. Others are still living at home, and some have even moved their spouse or “significant other” into their parents’ home with them. Many have been in and out of treatment centers, most often at the urging (and cost) of their parents. While we cannot change the behavior of our adult children, we can change how we respond to their actions and to their choices. We can, and must, begin to establish healthy boundaries and rules.

#2. Then, we have the issue of our own personal health and growth (or lack thereof.) For many of us, we have spent years taking care of, bailing out, coming to the rescue, making excuses for, crying over, praying for, and otherwise focusing an unhealthy amount of time and attention on this adult child, that we have neglected our own mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Many of us have neglected other family members as well, as the adult child has taken so much of our energy. Some of us are now experiencing severe financial ramifications from having enabled our adult child. Others are finding their marriage falling apart as tempers flair and situations spiral out of control. What is it inside us that makes us respond in such a way—that makes us enable our adult children?

You say the main problem with dysfunctional adult children isn’t the choice they make or don’t make – but something else entirely. If their choices aren’t the main problem, what is

: Our biggest problem isn’t about our adult child’s inability to wake up when their alarm clock rings, or their inability to keep a schedule, or their inability to hold down a job or pay their bills. It’s not about their drug use or alcohol addictions. It’s not about the mess they’re making of their life. The main problem is about the part we’re playing in stepping in to soften the blow of the consequences that come from the choices they make. The main problem is us. Instead of praying to God to stop the pain, remove the difficulty, or change the life of our adult child, we must rise up and pray for something entirely different. We must pray for the courage to look deep in our own heart and soul—pray for the strength to begin a journey that quite possibly may change our own life—and pray for the wisdom to make new choices in our own life.

What are some things that parents can do to break the cycle of enabling?

ALLISON: Follow the six steps to S.A.N.I.T.Y.:

Stop blaming yourself and stop the flow of money. Stop continually rescuing your adult children from one mess after another.
Assemble a support group of other parents in the same situation.
Nip excuses in the bud. Implement rules and boundaries.
Trust your instincts.
Yield everything to God, because you’re not in control.

These six things can start a parent on the road to S.A.N.I.T.Y. in an insane situation that is spinning out of control. However, a key issue in breaking the cycle of enabling is to understand whose problem it really is.

ALLISON: I encourage your readers to tell me what they think about Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children. I really do want to hear reader feedback. They can reach me at:

Please be sure to visit our web site at where they will find additional resources for helping them on their road to S.A.N.I.T.Y. Remember to tell a friend in need and help save a life!

Quotables from Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children

Note to Blog Owners: Feel free to use the following quotes as sidebars within your blog, or inside text boxes or any other ways best suited to your publication.

On Enabling

As long as we continue to keep enabling our adult children, they will continue to deny they have any problems, since most of their problems are being “solved” by those around him. Only when our adult children are forced to face the consequences of their own actions—their own choices—will it finally begin to sink in how deep their patterns of dependence and avoidance have become. And only then will we as parents be able to take the next step to real healing, forever ending our enabling habits and behaviors. (pg. 33)

Many of our adult children have retreated from the trials and tribulations that not only test their faith but would also stretch them in ways that would develop their character, prove their mettle, and give them a sense of achievement. Consequently, many adult children have no idea what they’re truly capable of accomplishing. They’ve never really tried to move ahead with confidence and be all they can be. (pg. 35)

On Letting Go…

It’s a natural instinct to protect those we love, to help someone when he’s down, to offer assistance during times of tribulation. Yet for some adult children, “tribulation” is their middle name. When is enough enough? Our adult children are no longer babies, toddlers, or adolescents. We must stop treating them as such. Gone are the years of trying to mold their character. Unless they decide to change as a result of changes we make (if we truly want this to stop), what we see is what we get, as the saying goes. (pg. 43)

Setting our adult children free to live the lives God intended them to live is not abandonment—even if it means setting them free during a time of severe trial and tribulation in their lives. (pg. 57)

Our money must cease being the life preservers that buoy up our adult children, keeping them afloat through yet another storm. We might be amazed at just how well our adult children can swim when giving the opportunity to do so. More important, they just might be surprised at their own ability to survive without life support, a powerful lesson that no amount of money can purchase. (pg. 107)

On Healing and Restoration

We do not parent as those who have no hope. We have a God who watches over our children—if we’ll just get out of His way and let Him do the restoring. Restoration is such a promising word to parents in pain. But to get to restoration, we must start with the truth of where we are. We must be honest. The truth is that those once-innocent children grew into the jaded and unmotivated adults they are today under our parental watch. And now we find that one huge step in the restoration process is to honestly see our adult children for who they really are now, not as we remember them in their Kodak moments. (pg. 72)

Real healing begins when a parent stops believing the excuses and lies and insists on the truth. As we develop our action plan, there must be no room for excuses. Our boundaries must be firm. There is a right and there is a wrong, and we are going to choose to do what’s right. Period. (pg. 118)

Healing often comes through pain first. Physical therapy is painful, but it’s always conducted for our own good. So too are God’s plans always meant for our good—even when we can’t understand them. (pg. 172)

We should never give up hope that our adult children will find a way out of the dark abyss of addiction. We should never stop encouraging them, emotionally supporting them, and loving them. And we should never stop praying for them. Miracles happen every day, and God will make a way where there seems to be no way. (pg. 189)

On Listening…

As parents in pain, we’ve been living in places of weakness for a very long time, but we haven’t done the kind of listening that has brought us closer to God—or to any firm results in the challenges of our lives. We have become emotional repositories for everyone else’s problems, and the time has come for that to stop. (pg. 132)

Rarely in our prayers do we think about listening to God or about implementing the biblical principles that will bring stability to our lives. Instead, we fall back on bargaining. But I’ve discovered that listening to what God teaches us in His Word about all things—parenting included—should be the number-one goal in the life of every Christian. Too often we listen instead to worldly advice, to secular self-help gurus, and to the never-ending stream of trendy cultural messages designed to fix whatever ails us. Ironically, those were often the very sources of “wisdom” that either caused us to make parenting mistakes or caused our children to succumb to temptations that led them into their destructive lifestyles. (pg. 144)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Update and Looking Ahead

For those who have been praying for Ruth, my "shoe fairy" - here are the last two days' updates from her husband:

The Dr. told us he figured that the surgery would take about 3 hrs. Ruth went in at 10am and she got back to recovery at 2:30, so she was in about 4 and one-half hrs. The doctor said the surgery went as well as he expected with no complications, for which we are very thankful. He was able to place the 2 leads on the nerves exactly where he wanted them. He said that there are two parts of the nerve. One controls motion and the other controls the feeling. In hooking up the stimulator and putting the power to the leads, he can get the motion going down the leg to the foot, but Ruth is not getting much of the tingling sensation on the feeling side. He said he was somewhat puzzled. He is going to check it all again tomorrow. He said that there might be some fluid build-up that needs to dissipate. The request for prayer would be that she can get that tingling feeling going in the nerve that will block the pain. Thanks for everyone’s prayers. We really appreciate them so much.

Ruth had a very good nights sleep last night. She has never been nauseated or had much pain from the surgery. She ate a good meal last night, this morning and a little lunch today. She has been able to control her surgical pain with a PCA pump. Her pain level has been a 1 or 2 on a scale of 10 since surgery. The spinal control stimulator (SCS) was turned on and programmed with 8 different programs this morning. She has been testing all 8 programs throughout the day to find the ones she likes and are effective. Although she is still is not feeling very much tingling, the doctor feels she is getting help, which could continue to get better in the next few days.

There is a slim possibility she could get out of the hospital this evening, but more likely tomorrow. We are both rejoicing and praising the Lord on how well she is doing. We feel that God is continuing to answer prayer. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Looking Ahead:

I just finished reading the book, Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children, by Allison Bottke.

I wish I would have had this book when I was dealing with my prodigal. Allison has hit the nail on the head regarding what she calls the "national epidemic" of enabling our adult children.

I will be hosting one of several interviews with Allison right here on Friday. Please come back and see what she has to say about this very important topic and about her latest book.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Musings

I have a couple of posts percolating in my mind - I really want to finish the Kona Adventure in two more chapters, and I have a series called "I Used To . . ." that I've been thinking of for a long time. But - for now - spring came back today. We'll see if it goes back to winter, or turns into summer.

The windflowers are out in profusion!

Here is a tiny little miniature iris -

The daffodils are going to lift their faces to the sun soon!

The tulips are blooming among the still-barren bush.

Dad built this new bird-feeder for us and came over to install it last Saturday. It will keep the pesky (though cute) squirrels out of the bird seeds. Now the bird-vine just needs to get busy and let each other know there's a new restaurant in town!

Today Care Bear had a great idea - let's eat at the picnic table on the patio! Snow on Thursday and a picnic on Sunday. Springtime in the Rockies!

Did you catch American Idol Thursday night - the result show? The finalists singing "Shout to the Lord"? I just about did - shout that is! I was blown away - and it was so beautifully done. I thought the 3 on the our left knew what they were singing about - Brooke, David Archuleta, and Kristy Lee. What a wonderful surprise.

EDIT: I just discovered that on Wednesday night they sang "My Shepherd" for the first phrase instead of "My Jesus." But on Thursday they sang it as it was written.

I just tried to insert the YouTube performance and lost everything else I had written. I am really bummed right now. I don't have time to re-do it, and there was MUCH more. I don't know how in the world this happened. I'll come back this afternoon and try to recreate. YIKES!! What a great way to start a Monday morning!

SO - here we go again?

Thursday night we went out to dinner with DC's sister, her husband, and their mom, who lives with them now. We were going to practice our family trio number for Sunday morning - the three of us have sung together several times lately, and it's fun. Mom C (who is 88) used to sing with Dad (in fact, they sang at our wedding), and she was singing along to herself as she sat on the front pew. We suggested that she sing with us - not just for practice, but Sunday morning. She wasn't at all sure she should/could do that, but we convinced her that she should. She did - and it was very special. (Sorry about the light fixture coming out of the top of my head!) We sang simply - "Gentle Shepherd" and "Come, Holy Spirit." I could tell that Ruth was being blessed by the words, as she headed in to surgery today (and is there as I write).

Friday was quite the day. Spring Break was winding down and I had all 5 kiddoes for the afternoon - with company coming at 6:00 for dinner. Our 4x4 group (4 couples meet 4 times within 4 months for dinner). Sometimes the couple might be two singles. It's a great way to get to know people in church more intimately. What ever possessed me to set a Friday night date is beyond me. I usually do Saturdays, when I have all day to prepare. But, I did it, so now I was stuck with the schedule. The little babes were in no mood to nap. And at 2:30 the home health nurse came to give them their last RSV shots - a service povided for preemies. They slept a few minutes after the trauma, but not very long! The big girls helped a bit by doing some dusting - really cute. But it was 4:00 before I was able to start getting ready - pulling out the big table, setting the table, making a salad, preparing and cooking the Swedish meatballs, peeling and cooking the potatoes. Here in the Rockies, potatoes take a long time to cook, and getting them on at 5:30 didn't cut it. They weren't ready until 6:30, but everyone was content to visit while they waited. All was good -including the food everyone else brought.

Remember Flora? Our Jewish lady who comes to our church and just loves it? She is so full of good questions, so happy with the love she is shown, but so very afraid of the change in her life to accept Jesus as Who He says He is. But she wanted to share a bit of Passover with us, so she brought some Gefilte fish - she wanted is to like it so badly - unfortunately, we didn't! It is kind of the Jewish equivalent of Spam. Go here if you want to read about it:

I am sure I've forgotten something, and will probably be back to edit. But for now I'm going to hit Publish and hope for the best!