28. NaNoWriMo. My plan.


I’m pretty happy with my writing this month. I committed to writing for 31 days in October, and I’ve only skipped a few days, each with good reason. Next up, November. I’m hoping that if I write out my plan I will have a better chance of sticking to it.

Some of you know I’m writing a memoir. It is all about how Ian became sick, how our family survived, and most importantly, how God faithfully took care of us during our time of hardship. I started writing the memoir over a year ago. Yes, I started in August of 2013. I know what you are thinking… Shouldn’t you be done with it by now? I agree. I really should be. But, I’m not. For whatever reason, whether it’s lack of motivation, or feeling inadequate about my writing and whether people will like it, or just not enough time to do it, it is NOT FINISHED YET. This will all change in November.

I’ve decided to participate in another challenge this month. This time it is something called NaNoWriMo. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. What is the challenge, you ask. Well, it is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Gulp.

50,000 words in 30 days.

This challenge sounds so fun to me. I HAVE TO DO IT. I can’t NOT do it. I’ve even considered writing a REAL NOVEL. It’s all figured out in my head. It’s about two sisters taking a trip across the country in a 1974 teal VW van. (I made that up. I hope the van I like is a 1974 model.) Anyway, after thinking about it, I decided this is not the time to start something new. I still have my memoir to write, and what better way to get it done than with this challenge, right? Right.

I looked it up, and although I should technically be writing a novel, I can be a NanoRebel and write a memoir. Nonfiction. I’m okay with being a rebel. I’m usually never one, but this seems like a good reason to break the rules.

Here’s the awesome part of the challenge. All I have to do to “win” is write 50,000 in the month of November. That’s it. AND if I complete it, I will get two real paper copies of it. I WILL BE ABLE TO HOLD A REAL PAPERBACK COPY OF MY BOOK IN MY HANDS. There is a company named Createspace that is donating this for the winners. So so so awesome. Another company named Blurb is also donating a coupon for a copy, as well as services to make your book an official ebook for ipad or kindle. Can you imagine? Reading my book on your ipad or kindle? Unbelievably awesome.

As you can see, I am very motivated to accomplish this. You may be asking yourself… How can I help you accomplish this?

I’m glad you asked.

1. Keep me accountable.

50,000 words in 30 days means I should be writing 1,667 words each day. There will be days when I will do this, but there will also be days when my tasks of being a wife and mommy may keep me from meeting the daily goal. I can’t write full time. That means I will most likely need to make up words on the weekends.

I’d love it if you asked me how it’t going every once in a while.

How’s your word count? Good job with your writing! Don’t quit. Can’t wait to read what you’re writing… 

2. Pray for me.

I have no doubt in my mind that I am supposed to share this story with others. Others need to know what God has done for us, and I’m glad for others to be blessed or encouraged through our story. Please pray for motivation, for the words to flow easily, and for me to find time to write.


I am so excited about this (AND SCARED!) I really hope my December post isn’t about how I didn’t accomplish the 50,000 word goal. My family might be eating take out a lot, and there may be even more clutter around here than usual, but if I have a finished memoir, it will all be worth it!!!




27. Friends.

There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 NLT


I have the best friends in the world. I am blessed, I know. There are no words to express how thankful I am for them. But, although the English language fails me at times, I will try my best.

Dearest Christy and Levi, you are amazing. You are selfless. You are generous. You are loving and kind and nurturing and fun. Thank you for loving my children as your own. Thank you for being their pseudo-parents for FOUR days. Thank you for feeding them twelve meals, tending to boo boos, bathing them, playing with them, and then even washing their laundry for me. Thank you for the fun memories they now have because they got to stay with you and your children. Thank you for graciously giving of yourselves expecting nothing in return. Thank you for the opportunity to get away for the weekend. See, without your willingness to keep our kids, that would have been impossible. We brought you shirts as souvenirs, but you deserve so much more… (like a buffet of sweets for you Christy, and hours of uninterrupted video game time, Levi) OR….I know! How about YOU go on your own getaway? WE can keep YOUR kids while YOU go??

Sound good? I think so!  Please please please let us keep your kids for you. WE will love them, feed them, play with them, and give them memories just like you’ve given ours. We love you.

25. What to do with those old bananas.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right? Soooooooo, when life gives you bananas, make banana bread!


My family always has bananas on hand. They go with everything. The kids eat them with their breakfast, I can throw one in their lunch, and they are an easy and quick snack. Every once in a while, however, a few of our bananas end up overripe. That is, we don’t eat them fast enough and they are softer than we like. For a long time I would just throw them out. Then, one day, a friend of mine suggested freezing them.

“You can use them for banana bread,” she said. “Good idea!” I thought.

I figured I would give it a try. After all, there was plenty of room in the freezer and I could decide what I wanted to do with them later. I could throw them away now or throw them away later.

A few months ago, I had more than twenty bananas in my freezer. One day I decided to finally try them in my bread recipe. To my surprise, the bread was delicious! I was so glad to finally have a use for all those old bananas. (For anyone who wonders if they taste different than non-frozen ripe bananas, I wondered too. So I tried making a loaf with bananas that had not been frozen and there was no difference.)

This is the recipe for banana bread:



3 or 4 ripe bananas

⅓ cup melted butter

1 cup sugar (can reduce to ¾ cup)

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 ½ cups all purpose flour


No need for a mixer for this recipe. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture over a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for one hour.

*** I make mini loaves for neighbors at Christmastime. Bake these for 30 min.

(recipe from simplyrecipes.com)


So, from now on, don’t throw those overripe bananas away! Freeze them and bake some banana bread instead. Happy baking!


This post is part of a series called 31 Days of Living the Good Life

24. Letter to my baby.


My dearest baby boy,

You didn’t think I’d forget about you, did you? Yes, you are often overlooked, but you’ve figured out how to get attention around here. Of my three babies, you are my loudest. 🙂

For the last three and a half years, you and I have been inseparable. As in, if I go to the bathroom, you are there. If you are in the bathroom, I am there. You are what people call a “Mama’s Boy.” And I LOVE it. (Most of the time) There are other times when I wish you’d want Daddy so I can get a bit of a break. Still, you and I have an awesome little bond between us and I’m grateful for it.

I remember friends telling me you were smart when you were a baby. “This kid is a genius,” our friend Levi would say. “He figured out how to ______!!!” I sorta believed it. I knew you were a problem solver. If you were hungry, because you are the third child in this family, you’d try to find something by yourself. Once when you could see bananas on the kitchen counter but couldn’t reach them, you went to the bathroom and carried a package of diapers back to use as a step. Success! You could reach the bananas! You were our earliest walker. You crawled out of your crib waaaaay earlier than your brother and sister did.

(You also did some things they never did. You have been the only one to color on our walls. You have been the only one that took medicine on your own because it tasted good. You were also the only one we had to rush to the emergency room after you hit your head while jumping from your sister’s bed. But… I digress. Back to what I love about you.)


You are an amazing little boy. From a mile away, anyone can see the joy in your heart. There is always a smile on your face. I think your dimple on your right cheek is the cutest ever and I’m sure it will help you land the ladies when you grow up. And your lashes, don’t get me started on those! (Jack has great lashes, too, actually.) You’re good at bringing a smile to people’s faces.

Dear boy, you’re such an adventurer! You are inquisitive about everything! Life is just your playground to explore. There is no fear in you. Although you can be wild and crazy, you can also be sweet and helpful. God has given you a kind and gentle spirit. I pray you will bless others with it.

These days, you love to play with anything that has wheels. “Mommy, will you play firetrucks with me?” you ask. You then bring two firetrucks for us and we pretend to put out a fire together. It’s always a relief that no one got hurt in the fire. Such a sweet imagination. 🙂 You LOVE construction vehicles. Your favorite is the big yellow dump truck you got two Christmases ago. It’s still going strong. It’s been in mud, rocks, mulch, and even a bit of snow when we got some last winter. It’s big enough for you to fill up and push and you have a wonderful time doing it.


I’m so glad I get to be your mommy. God knew I had it too easy with my first two, so he sent you to keep me on my toes… Thank you, my dear boy, for the joy you bring to my life. I admire that sense of wonder you carry with you. Oh, to be a child like you… never a dull moment!




This is part of a series called 31 Days of Living the Good Life.

23. TBT. Vail.

Ian and I went to Vail in February 2013. We had just celebrated our tenth anniversary the month before. Ian had recently started walking on his prosthetic legs. Although they were only temporary prosthetics, he decided to try skiing on them. We signed him up for an adapted ski class and he rocked it! I’ll never forget Ian telling me how awesome it felt to ski down the bunny hill. He said he almost cried thinking about the fact that he was skiing again, on fake legs. It was an amazing experience.

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The photo on the right was taken in Vail the afternoon we arrived back in 2013. We were excited to finally be somewhere just the two of us after so much had happened in the previous year.

TODAY, I’m meeting Ian in Vail for much needed rest. I’m grateful Ian had to be there for the work week and I get to meet him there for the next two days. And, of course, this would not be possible without my incredible friends that are taking care of my babies back home. THANK YOU!




This is part of a series called 31 Days of Living the Good Life.

22. letter to my oldest son.


My dearest first boy,

I love you so much. For several years I’ve felt guilty about you being the middle child. The one who is left out. The only one who will never have time with just Mom before you started school. Now I know that you were born at the perfect time. God knew you would be the one who would do great without it. Your sister is more sensitive and needed the attention, while your younger brother is more active and needs a bit more guidance than you did. You, my middle child, are amazing. And, actually, I was reminded by a friend that you are not a middle child, but rather, the first son. I love that! You are my oldest son. That makes you so special.

You love to run. You run around the house. Really. Just take off and run. Down the hall, around the kitchen, anywhere you can. Your daddy and I love it. We wonder if you’ll be a runner as you get older. Your favorite show is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I personally think its too scary, but you insist it isn’t. “The good guys always win”, you say. You are going to dress up as the silly ninja turtle, Mikey. He happens to wear the orange mask, which is your favorite color. And he is always funny, like you, which is something I love about you. You’ll do anything to get others to laugh. Even your kindergarten teacher admit you like to be the comedian in your classroom. (I just wish it wasn’t by talking about poop and boys’ bottoms.) 🙂




You are learning to read and you are great at it. Just last week you read your first book all by yourself, Go, Dog, Go by PD Eastman. I was so proud of you! So excited I even ordered your own copy of the book to keep forever. I plan to write a note inside saying it was the first book you ever read by yourself. And speaking of reading, today as you got in the car after school you announced, “Mommy, we learned a new high frequency word. Guess what it is.”  “What?” I asked. With a smile across your face you said, “The word is but. B, U, T, but. Not like the bottom though.”


One day recently you just came out of your room dressed like this. “Because super heroes wear their underwear on the outside,” you said. You ARE right about that. What a great observation. Can’t say I ever noticed.

And there you have it. You are all boy, my boy. My tree climbing, potato chip loving, all adventurous BOY. I’m glad I get to be your Mama. Keep on lovin’ life, my love!



P.S. There is a rumor going around in our family. Some think I love you most because you look most like me. Your sister and brother have blonde hair and blue eyes like Daddy. You, however, have brown hair and brown eyes like me. I will neither confirm nor deny this. But just between you and me, I have to admit that I love that about you. It’s cool to have something in common only with you.  🙂



This is part of a series called 31 Days of Living the Good Life.

21. letter to my daughter.


Dearest daughter,

You have grown into a lovely young lady. When I look at you, I can hardly believe you were once a tiny little baby in my belly.

I’m enjoying being your mommy so much. We cook and bake together, we take care of your brothers together, and we laugh and play together. You are so beautiful. I love those big blue eyes of yours. I love your silly laugh and smile. I love everything about you.

You love reading. You LOVE reading. Did I mention YOU LOVE READING? These days you read anything you can get your hands on, and finish books in practically no time at all. I’ve read some books lately just so I can talk to you about them. Among them are Fantastic Mr. Fox, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and James and the Giant Peach, all great reads by Roald Dahl. I finally got you some Ramona books, and I’m hoping to read them soon so we can talk about those, too.


I love planning our meals together. “What should we make for dinner this week?” I’ll ask you. “Oh, how about chicken tacos or spaghetti,” you’ll say. Last week you surprised me by suggesting fish sticks. So I got you some. You flip through my copies of the Pioneer Woman and Magnolia Bakery cookbooks all the time and ask my opinions on which I’d like and what I think we should make. It makes me feel special when you ask me what I like. I wish you knew how much I just want to make what YOU want, sweet girl.

You wear a uniform for school everyday, and for a long time you wore your hair the same way. You simply brushed it and put a clip in it. Lately, I’ve noticed that you’ve started to play with your hair. You try ponytails, braids, and cute accessories. You’ve started polishing your nails, too. I like seeing you become more girly. Daddy says I need to spend more time with you doing girly things. We have to stick together in this house where boys outnumber us! 🙂


I pray that we continue to be friends. My role as your mother means I have to teach you and guide you through life, but my ultimate goal for you is to lead an honest and Godly life independently someday. I’d be delighted if, when you are a grown adult with children of your own, we can still be the best of friends. You are an amazing girl. I’m anxious to see more of you as you continue to grow. Each new year shows more of your personality and character. You are unique and wonderfully made.

I know I am not perfect, but I believe God made me the perfect mother for you. I pray that you would give me grace and always know that I try my best for you each and every day. You carry my heart with you everywhere you go. I love you always, my chocolate-loving girl.

love, Mama


This is part of a series called 31 Days of Living the Good Life.


20. Sausage, potato, and kale soup.



First of all, I take absolutely NO CREDIT for this. I made this soup last night and posted a pic of it, and many of you asked me to share it. Here is the recipe. It was really yummy! Ian loved it! My kids ate it okay, the boys decided it was better if they took the kale out. I figure since it was cooked in the soup the nutrients made it in, right?





This is part of a series called 31 Days of Living the Good Life.

15. Words are powerful.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

Have you ever stopped to think about the impact your words have? The words we say have great power. Think about it this way: you can talk to your children in positive, uplifting ways. “Jack, I’m so proud of you! You are such a great soccer player!” Saying something like this to your child will encourage him, even if he is not the greatest at soccer. But guess what, your words of encouragement might help him believe in his ability to play and he may improve.

On the other hand, many children are spoken to negatively every day. I cannot tell you the number of instances where grown adults have admit their parents or teachers spoke terrible things to them. “You’re never going to account to anything. No one loves you. You’re going to end up pregnant before you’re sixteen.” Wow! Can you believe children are being talked to this way? My heart breaks for the many people out there who have these words spoken to them.

In this case, the old saying above is not true. Words CAN hurt. Deeply. For many years to come.

People don’t realize that words have power. Both spoken and written, words can either build up or tear down. Something you say can be remembered long after you say it. Maybe even long after you are gone. Take Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous I Have A Dream speech. OR Bush’s “Read My Lips: No New Taxes.” OR JFK’s famous line “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” The list goes on and on.

I challenge you today to think about what you say. Are your words encouraging? Or are you a Debbie Downer? Do you tell the truth? Do you speak words you’d like to hear from the mouths of your children? How will you be remembered for what you say?

For myself, (and this may not be right for everyone) I’ve made a conscious decision to speak only positive words that will encourage and motivate those around me. I won’t participate in conversations where topics get negative (this includes politics and any other reason people don’t get along.) I really, really dislike when people “trash talk” others. We are supposed to love one another, right? I don’t want my kids to ever hear me refer to a particular politician, for example, in a bad way. What example am I setting for them? I don’t want to hear them “trash talking” others. If they hear me do it, they’ll think it’s okay for them, too. Again, this is what I’ve decided for me.

Words have power. Your words say a lot about YOU. I’ll leave you with this sweet verse. It is one of my favorites.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

This is part of a series called 31 Days of Living the Good Life.

14. REST.


Sometimes I’m just tired. Although most days I manage to do my grown up chores to keep my family afloat, sometimes the busyness of life with three children takes its toll on me. How about you? Just this morning, my alarm went off at the usual 5:30 am, but I could. not. get. up. I snoozed twice (I thought) and before I knew it, it was 6:45! Oooops! I hate it when that happens!

I forced myself out of bed and went straight to Emma’s room. My poor sweet girl struggles to get up in the morning just like her daddy. I was glad she seemed more awake than I was. A quick thought about sweet, creamy coffee popped in my mind, but I had to get Jack up first. Luckily my boys wake up alert and ready for the day. No problem there.

Uniforms, hair and teeth brushing, breakfast, signing daily folders… its amazing what happens in a short amount of time in the morning. (That is why I usually get up at 5:30.) Thankfully, everything turned out okay. Ian and the kids were out the door on time and I had a chance to take a breath once it was just Luke and me. I eventually did make my coffee and it was glorious.

Some days are better than others. We feel tired. Life seems repetitive and boring. We wonder if anything we are doing even matters. At least I do. Do you?

There is good news! I love the following verses from The Message version of the Bible.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30The Message (MSG)

I don’t know about you, but this encourages me. I don’t have to do it alone. Although this morning I was just tired because I needed more sleep, sometimes I’m tired for other reasons. I get tired of the same old routine. I get tired of my daily chores. I get tired of feeling like I can do better. I get tired of feeling responsible for my family, all four of them. I get tired of feeling tired all the time!

Thank you, Lord, that I can come to you. Thank you that you refresh and replenish me when I need you to. Thank you for that generous grace you shower upon me each and every day. Thanks for not letting me do it alone. I’m grateful.




This is part of a series called 31 Days of Living the Good Life.