Monday, November 26, 2007


I did it! I read a whole book... the whole thing! Cover to cover... front to back.

I don't know how to paste a picture of the book on my blog. (I'll have to read up on how to do that!) But the book is called, "Total Money Makover" by Dave Ramsey. Not a romantic selection for my first book in ten years but a good on none the less. I won't clog the blog by giving a review of it (yet) but I just had to post this as soon as I got done with it.

Having felt accademically incapable and inadequate for so long this is quite an accomplishment for me. And it's just the beginning.

Now, "YOU on a Diet" by Dr. Oz. Both books are gifts from my mom. What a wonderful woman! She tried to get me to love books when I was young(er). And in her desire to continue to help me on my journey she's given me books that I think (she knows) are helpful to say the very least. ~ She's always known just what I need. ~

So in my triumph, with the camera trained on my close up, and the whole world watching I say, "Thanks Mom!!"

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thank you...

For warm water and soap to wash with... for electricity and heat... for food... for clothing... for clean water... for health... for opportunity for better health... for Logan... for Kevin... for Nolan... for family... for a car to drive... for a little Christmas tree... for Thanksgiving day parades... for my job... for PUMP... for my friends... for the Tucker House Gang and Preschool... for students who knock on our door at all hours of the night... for insurance coverage... for our first Thanksgiving at home... for love...

... for Jesus... my comfort... my leader... my hiding place... my provider... my protector... my LORD... my Savior...

Friday, November 16, 2007


For the past year Kevin has been consistent and ethusiastic about proclaiming every Sunday morning that he is four when the "kids five years old or younger" are dismissed to go downstairs during the sermon. Many times I hang my head in embarassment because no matter how many times we tell him that everyone knows he's four, he must prove it by waving four skinny fingers in the air and pronouncing his age to Ike as he turns the corner to go.

Now, Kevin is five. I was shocked into awareness of this day this morning at 5am as I heard my son running through the sea of balloons blown up last night for his special day. ~ Fitting. ~

We spent the morning at the Zoo where we saw bats, snakes, crocodiles and polar bears, ate $20.00 worth of hotdog and chicken salad (that'll get you only two hot dogs and a wilted salad, by the way), escaped the gift shop with one new buddy each, and giggled all the way home. Kevin then got to play all afternoon with his friend Caden and then we had Pizza Schmizza for dinner (loved it).

It was "Do-whatever-Kevin-wants-to-do Day" so I focused on saying "yes" to as much as I possibly could. We pittled around and looked longer at animals than usual, stood at the tidal pool spot so he could get sprayed a couple times, looked around the gift shop longer than usual, and went puddle hopping (I get the cool-mom point for that one). And we watched movies, made cookies, and played computer games together, not to mention the countless board games and legos that got played with today.

We ended it with Kevin in my lap where I remembered out loud for him the day he was born, what that meant to me, and what it was like to meet him. I made up a song for him at his request and talked about each of his birthdays and where we lived at those times.

It has been a full, fun-filled day. I dream of the days when my only focus is on him and Nolan... and I can say yes to requests for more time at any given activity much more than I can now.

This year I look forward to Kevin learning to read, ride a bike without training wheels, spring soccer little-league and his social development. This Sunday I look forward to him excitedly waving his hand to announce, "I'm FIVE!"

Monday, November 12, 2007

On Nolan

My sweet little guy turned three last Friday. For him it was a day of feeling sick and being held a lot. For me it was a day of memories as I held this ill little boy who didn't feel much like celebrating. I thought all the way back to the pregnancy, through his first year, his first steps, his first words and about his little personality. He is a quiet boy who enjoys playing with his cars, by himself, in his space, in his room. It would be easy to compare Nolan to Kevin and be disappointed I guess... maybe because Kevin is so loud and funny and I end up writing a lot about him. Nolan's not quite that way though he has his moments. But he is certainly not a forgotten child.

I think what was profound to think about as he turned three years old in my arms is that he is selective and intentional. That is not to say that I think he is a snobby kid. I think he reserves his affection for those he knows he can trust. And he doesn't just build a tower to King Kong it and build it again. He builds it for someone and enjoys looking at it for a while. He is thoughtful when he is investigating a flower. He is careful to pull the petals off in a particular order that only makes sense to him.

He is selective. He took a few steps at about 12 months and decided he'd rather not. So he didn't walk steadily until he was 18 months. When faced with the option of juice or thirst he prefers the latter. His sleeves must be down. He sleeps on his left side. He doesn't say hello to just anyone. He doesn't talk much to anyone besides "his people" and he snuggles with very few. Elice is blessed in that she was able to hold him while he slept on her several times in our first year at Cascade... a pleasure afforded to me only four times since he was 8 weeks old. ~ But his love is in his smile, in his hugs, his questions and his art. He once spent two hours coloring on a box with markers... every time he made a circle it was the representation of someone he knows and loves. ~ He is thoughtful.

So for those who see him as a quiet clingy child, you can know that he is loud and funny in his own way. And though I don't write as much on him yet I know there will be a time when I can't stop talking about him. ~ It's just so hard to put into words the look on his face when he discovers a ladybug on his flower or the smile when he accomplishes the task of tower building or the excitement in his eyes when he realizes he's drawn a person with a face for the first time. He is not vocal about it... he is intensly silent.

But he is incredible... in a way that is incomparable to his brother. And so I am not disappointed when I think of Nolan and Kevin. They are so pleasantly different. I hope they always take care of eachother, always look up to eachother but never act like eachother. What a shame that would be.

In the next year I look forward to watching him discover the joy of writing and coloring, learning to ride a bike and potty training... all things I know he will do well, in his own time.

My Nolan. His spirit is still as sweet as the day he was born.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Worst Case Scenario

Have you ever been in a tough situation and not known what to do? Well, in any case... any case at all you now have the tool you need to be prepared. ~ I've never played the game before today but there is a game called "Worst Case Scenario". Now, am I a little behind the eight ball on this? Has this game been around for a while? Man, talk about too much information! Well, or maybe it's the right amount...

You can learn all kinds of things with this game. For instance:

How to avoid being attacked by a shark...

Would you believe that all you have to do is avoid wearing shiny jewelry?
(not to mention: STAY OUT OF THE WATER)

How to eat ants:

Cook them for six minutes to kill their bitter poison and enjoy.

What to do if your TV catches on fire:

Simply unplug it.

Here's one that you better read even before you read the one about the TV...

How to use a fire extinguisher:

Use the P.A.S.S. method: Pull, Aim, Something-I-don't-remember, and Sweep
(I guess I wouldn't pass that test)

I was just amazed at the things you can learn about with this game... as I read some of them off to Kevin as we "played" it today. He got a kick out of hearing what you do to catch a leopard or what to do if you get attacked by an alligator or how to eat worms. But did you know that you can cure hemroids with a particular vegitation concoction in the wild... if you happen to be in the right kind of "wild" when your hemroids flair up... and you can even learn how to treat a rattle snake bite.


I think we'll stick to Candy Land and Uno for now.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Leon Cruse

Leon Cruse is my Grandpa. He'd always been a powerhouse of knowlege when it came to all things cars, vacuums or the Bible. He had a dog when we were younger named Major, a black lab with a leithal tale. He saved the day once when there was a brush fire right outside his garage/shop. He helped raise 8 children. He knew how to laugh, taught me to play soliatre and chess, performed my wedding and was a kind hearted and generous grandfather. He was a preacher. Being on time for him was being there 15 minutes early. He opened the building, made sure the chairs were set up, song books out, and maybe he prayed a little or reviewed his notes one more time. But two Sundays ago he was late... real late. 20 minutes after start time a few of the men went to his house where they found him. He had died while getting ready for church. There were two pizzas on the dryer for him to pick up on his way out (it was potluck Sunday) and his Bible was on the table with his notes inside and his keys on top.

His death was shocking and I still have pockets of sadness in my day. But the thing that is hardest to know how to handle is the feeling of relief. Is that bad? I feel relieved that he is not lonely, he's not in any pain, he's not weary, he's resting peacefully in the arms of Jesus. All of that is really okay with me. And I know it is the comfort that our family finds so helpful when we are personally or collectively in moments of sadness. But somehow I reason with myself that it's too early to feel accepting of his death. I just don't know how to deal with this part of it.

I say that he is my grandpa because he still is. I don't know any other man as my Grandpa Leon. There is no replacement and no stand-in. And I wouldn't have it any other way. ~ Of course trying to put into words what he means to me or all of the experiences we had with him is impossible. Perhaps I'll write about little things I remember from time to time. But my point is that he and my Grandma were instrumental in building our family. "Well, that's obvious," you say? Yes. It is. But they built a family of 10 out of two families with a parent and four kids ranging in age from 2 to 17. In the time that everyone has lived their lives my grandparents have councilled many people, seen many kids and grandkids get married, seen tragic loss, and built a church body from the ground up. They loved eachother so very much. And they loved their family. We are such a family that when Grandma and Grandpa both died I never once heard my mom refer to some of my uncles and an aunt as a "step-sibling". They are her brothers, and her sister... we are family.

I don't know where I'm going with this or how to end it. It just seemed time to post something and this is the most prevelant thing in my mind right now. ~You know, at one time I could say I had four sets of grandparents. They've all passed away now, but their stories are a part of my story. Maybe I'll post about them from time to time.

Please, take some time to tell the people around you what they mean to you. Don't take your family for granted, whatever your family looks like. If they are special to you, you should tell them.