Monthly Archives: October 2016

A special tribute … AND A GIVEAWAY!!!!!

Our sister-in-law sent us some pictures this week of a book we made for their son’s first grade class project for Flat Stanley.

That little guy is now….gulp…a sophomore….




I totally forgot we had once taken his little paper cut-out self all over town ….

because I was kind of busy back in those days.


It was 2003 and while we toted Flat Stanley around the hot spots of Soy City…

we didn’t know we were only at the very beginning of what would be a seven year trek through our personal encounter with Alzheimers disease.

We had already been down a long road and God, in His mercy, took us step by step the whole way.

I think it was kind of Him to not let us know exactly how long the journey would take but instead met us right where we were each day-after-long-wearing day.

But we had it better than so many.

My dad was 85 when we had to admit him to nursing care.

We had some laughter amongst the tears and some tender moments that only God could orchestrate.

I count it a mercy that I dealt with that in my mid-forties, thanks to being the child of older parents.

We were in a place in our family where the hopes and dreams, inspired by our still full nest, kept me sane in the midst of the trials of losing my dad to this dreadful disease.

I admit that many a day I would look at our kiddos and place my hand on my own head, praying fervently that God would keep me sound of mind and spare these dear ones of ours the heartache of dealing with their own mother slowly fading away someday.

I still do that from time to time, especially when I forget an important event or struggle to remember not only a name, but also the face to go with it.

Such is the fear of a child of an Alzheimer statistic.

That’s why I eagerly support any effort to raise funds for research to help discover God’s healing through prevention and medication that He has provided.

And right now, our local Walk to End Alzheimer is holding a Lasagna Dinner fundraiser.


It’s easy-peasy to participate…and here’s what you can do:

  1. By leaving a comment, sharing this post OR signing up to receive the blog by email…you will be entered into a drawing to win….



two tickets from Russ and me to you <3

*for obvious reasons….make sure you can actually USE the tickets…so while I HOPE to hear from ALL of you…only those within driving distance will be entered in the drawing <3

2. I also encourage you to consider purchasing tickets…

as well as spreading the word about the fundraiser.

It’s a win-win as you get a good dinner and more funds are raised to find answers to this disease.

You can buy  tickets for $10 by contacting Carol Smith at 217-422-1877.

Dinners will be ready for pickup between 4:30 PM and 6:30 PM at Holy Cross Lutheran Church on Thursday, November 17th.

Drawing for the two tickets will be this Friday afternoon…

so make sure to…


enter your  comment


 sign up for the email


share the post

by noon Friday <3





Oh there is prayer in our schools, my friend <3


Had lunch with this one yesterday.

And I don’t really care what the government or the school board says about it.

I prayed my head off.

I prayed for his safety as he did ridiculously impossible human feats on the monkey bars.

I prayed for God to please help me interpret accurately what was being conveyed to me verbally when his little classmates would run up and tell me long, involved stories through missing teeth and heavy accents.

I prayed as I looked into eyes that looked deeply back into mine and innocently shared all kinds of information with me, a total stranger.

I prayed for God to give me the right response.

I prayed for Graham as he waited patiently for the big kids to finish their turn… that they would be kind.

And then I prayed, when he went running off and didn’t hear a class mate frantically calling his name over and over…that Graham would hear the voices of those who need for him to be kind.

I prayed for patience for the lunch ladies and playground supervisors.

I prayed for teachers and the principal as she bent low to chat with little ones around tables.

And as I was getting ready to leave and Graham asked me to pick him up for a hug, I prayed I could still lift him up off the ground and onto my hip.

I did…but it wasn’t easy.

I asked him how many more days we have before he is so big his Lola won’t be able to lift him…he said he thought about 435.

I pray he is right <3

When all you hear is nothing


Yesterday was a very special occasion in our home and family. Our little Joel turned one and there was no small amount of photos and texts sent back and forth as we celebrated, from three states, the birth of this little bundle of cuteness.


As people do on such days, I reminisced over the events from a year ago.

Joel, like his brothers, went past his due date. But he managed to give us a run for our money unlike the others.

We had several false alarms where it seemed labor was setting in. With an hour drive time between us, Papi and I lived on pins and needles for a few weeks.

We started and ended each day with a Plan A/Plan B mentality.

In spite of all that mental preparation, when they actually called us in the wee hours of deepest sleep; we did manage to pull off a scene worthy of Ricky and Lucy running around the bedroom “Like chickens with our heads cut off” as my dad would have called it.

However, even this turned out to be a false alarm and so all notified family returned home and I camped out on the couch up there to wait some more.

By the time Mr. Joel decided to really make his appearance with a repeat performance around 3 AM on the following day; we were all sleep deprived in the worst way.

As I watched his mommy and daddy drive off in the dark, I knew for a fact that we would be having a baby within hours.

Since I would be responsible for getting the big brother’s ready for the important first visit and manning the communication station for the rest of the grandparents, I made the initial calls and got myself completely ready for the day.

I used the flashlight on my phone to find my way to the shower so I wouldn’t wake the boys.

Too excited to sleep, I got a coffee and sat on the couch…checking my phone every few minutes for updates. The clock ticked away…the sun began to rise…nothing…I couldn’t believe NO ONE was letting me know anything.

I decided to call Russ and that is when I realized my phone was on airplane mode. Yes, while messing with the flashlight feature, I had somehow managed to place my phone in a zone where no one could reach me.


The minute I switched it, a rush of texts and voicemails came through from Zach and from the other grandparents who were scurrying to make their way to the big event. The last note from Zach was heralding birth any moment.

In one of the most crucial times for communication to be open, I had accidentally made it impossible to receive the information I was longing to hear.

I didn’t do it on purpose.

I didn’t do it willfully.

Just in ignorance, I cut myself off from this vital connection at a key time.

Sometimes I wonder if this same thing happens when I most desperately need to hear from God.

I sit in the dark, waiting and watching, and yet somehow I have managed to flip a switch that is preventing me from hearing His voice.


I blame Him….when really…it’s on my end.

One of my favorite passages is the promise that we WILL find Him…when we seek Him…with our WHOLE heart.

If we are feeling disconnected from God, perhaps it is time to open our hearts and see if there is something we have managed to shut off that is now blocking His ability to communicate with us.


Some of my spiritual “airplane modes” seem to be when I get so busy with my activities that I neglect just spending time soaking in God’s presence. I get my blinders on, not out of rebellion but out of over-commitment to doing good things.

When I feel like I am not hearing from God, that is a good time to check my own ability to listen. I find that when I ask God where I may have cut myself off from His voice – He is always ready and willing to show me the problem and help me correct it.

May God bless you today to find some quiet time to commune and communicate with the One who made you, knows you and loves you so much <3

TA DA!!! He’s a year old today <3

This one…


who took his sweet time arriving in the wee hours of the morning a year ago today…


all swaddled in brotherly love …

has taken his place in the ranks..

the third child…

the baby…


who goes with the flow…


flies under the radar…


and has managed to fill up what we thought were already jam-packed to the brim hearts…


Happy First Birthday, little man…


Best. Day. Ever.



Because it is and always has been…the little things <3

IMG_6426It’s the moments we miss when the birds fly the nest.

Not the big events.

Not the proms or the dramas…not the jam-packed calendars or even the holidays.

It’s the little every-day’s that made up life as we knew it when our halls reverberated with demands we thought would never end and laundry that seemed to be able to regenerate itself at a rate that the washer never could compete with.

It’s the warmth of a child who has just crawled out of bed and the wild hair and blankets…it’s the powdered sugar lips you kiss on Saturday mornings and the sticky syrup hands you wipe…it’s the songs sung in the back seat of the car and the endless telling of knock knock jokes that desperately need work on timing.

So when Papi and I get pictures like this…


We sit on the couch and we laugh…

and we zoom in…


and I can’t help but ask his mommy…



And when we get this…


I can spend hours doing this…


and as we pass the phones back and forth…

we marvel at these little treasures and we reminisce about our own years in the trenches.

So today…young parents…

when you think you may just straight up lose your mind…

and a head’s up here…you probably will lose a good portion of it raising those younguns..

take a deep breath…

take in the humor in your pint-sized wonder…

and by all means take a picture and send it to someone you love <3

With special thanks to both Zach and Rachel for taking the time to include us in their moments <3