It's *THAT* time of year again!

Ahhh, ALMOST my favorite! Only almost because it can still get cold at a moment's notice, (like I woke up to 62 degrees in the house. That's not my idea of perfect just yet) but SO CLOSE to SPRING!!!

Auntie Trish came last week and we had a blast. Many thanks to Southwest Airlines for being all full-up on Friday, so we got to keep her until Saturday. WOOT!

I put her to work helping in the garden. Gardening is hard work with ittle bittles who feel the need to "help" so it was great to have some grown-up help to actually uncover the beds and put seeds in the ground while I occupied any non-helpers. When we uncovered the asparagus beds we found these guys! Hello there!!!

I did this after she left, but here are 15 lovely strawberry plants! They'll keep their hay/newspaper because I don't want any leftover cold to zap them one night, but also because we have serious slug problems here, (think monster slugs that will carry your children away and eat them) and the hay is supposedly a deterrant. We shall see.
This little romaine is a true miracle. Do you remember the beds before the frosts and snow and the 6 lovely romaine plants I had? Here is the lone survivor and I must say he is looking quite robust these days!

After being cooped up cuz of the cold, we take every opportunity to run outside and soak up some sunshine while it's back. The kids find the swingset to be a "new" plaything every January/February. By June it'll be forgotten and "old" again, but for now it's a great treat!

I'm not sure anything much screams "warm weather" quite like children drinking juice from a foil pouch. (Maybe children eating grilled hotdogs and potato chips)
"Whatcha up to, baby brother?"
Told ya I put her to work. She was pretty impressed with my asparagus. They are some HAPPY asparagus!

And it's cookie time again!!! This makes me swell with pride. We've been jam-packing delivery and funds collection into the last few days. Today and tomorrow will be the bulk of it, but we have 5-7 booth sales coming up in the next few weeks.

There she is: growing up so fast! Next year that vest will be brown. She sold a total of 229 boxes and is hoping to hit at least 300 after her booth sales. I'm secretly hoping for more like 400, but 300 seems reasonable and will get her a special patch, so it'll work.

And finally...who says kids don't like veggies? I thawed a container of pesto GraceAnne and I had made from our fresh basil last fall and he's been wolfing it down like crazy. He'll even eat it straight off the spoon. How's that for enthusiasm? Ha!
Mary asked me a question about Art of Marriage and I'll post some more about that later, but I wanted to share our little corner of sunshine with everyone. Love and miss you all!!


Art of Marriage

You've all see the Art of Marriage click-thru on my page by now. I put it there so anyone who wanted to, could see if there was an event in their area. There were over 800 classes on the world premier weekend, one of them being ours. We were so Blessed by this weekend and it was so necessary. I feel like doors are opening that I know would never have opened had we not lost the baby, but sometimes that doesn't make it any easier. Jibberish...my mind is chaos at the moment.

I just wanted to say that we decided to teach the class because we decided we NEED the class. I try my best to post encouraging, inspiring things here. I want to be a beacon of light in a dark world. But I live in this dark world and sometimes I act like a lot of the world acts. Sometimes I'm mean to my husband just because I'm mad and he's close. Sometimes I defy him simply because I don't like his attitude. Sometimes I don't want to hear one more word from his mouth or I will scream. And I am positive he would say the same things about me sometimes. I don't know that these things, as isolated feelings, are necessarily wrong; but the actions they spawn certainly are, because my husband and I can both hold our own and well, two fiesty people can tear each other down in about 2 seconds flat.

I cannot say enough about this course. It is an on-going thing, so couples can still take the class from local places offering it, or if there is no one near offering it, you can talk to your pastor about purchasing the DVD set and hosting it. Or you can purchase them yourself and host it somewhere, (even in your own home!) I promise it is well worth every penny!

I am so grateful for the people who helped with the event and for the people who attended. We WILL absolutely be doing it again and I pray each marriage is touched like mine has been. I can't tell you how much easier it is to open up and communicate now. I'm still learning and I probably should watch the DVDs every couple of weeks, but wow! I hope ya'll can find and attend an event as well.


One Perfect Day

I have written, re-written, typed and deleted and gone over and over this post in my head, but in the end, I'm putting it here. It scares the crud out of me, but maybe it'll help one person see that they are not alone and that we are all, by God's grace alone, loved.

I had a perfect day 2 weeks ago. I don't even remember all of it, or what made it so perfect, but it was one of those days where everything in the whole world goes right...and you are happy down to your bones. I'm sure each of you has had your own perfect day and can relate to what I mean. Some people believe that we live just for those few days and that they make everything in between worth it. Some people believe if you only try hard enough to look at the positive, every day will be perfect. Some people believe that perfection exists in the imperfect, as well.

I believe a little of all of those things. I mostly believe that my God is loving and wants to see me delight in Him and the things He gave me somedays.

Later that night, I was checking on my Facebook friends and I came across an article about a woman...a woman with two beautiful and smart children ages 13 and 16. According to the people around her, she had the good life. Read part of the story here. But one day, on the way home from taking her son to soccer practice, she shot him twice in the face. When she got home, she left his body in the SUV and found her daughter at her computer doing homework. She shot her once in the back of the head and turned around to shoot her in the face. Police arrested her the next day, covered in blood and having some kind of a breakdown. They found a note that she had written before she brutally murdered her children stating that she intended to take care of the mouthiness and that she was then going to kill herself.

And I thought, "too bad you forgot the last part." and "too bad you just didn't do the last part first and not waste the lives of your beautiful children." and "what kind of a monster could do that to her precious children?"

And I sadly climbed the stairs and laid in bed with my husband and held him close and praised God for the gifts of our children. And I finished out the end of my perfect day with another perfect scene and revelled in that for a moment.

When I got up a while later to go to the bathroom, God reminded me of something...He said, "That woman had perfect days, too." And it alarmed me to think of...the idea that this woman could possibly have led a life like I do. Now she is a million miles away from where she started, holding those babies in her arms, nourishing and loving them. A million miles from her loving husband. A million miles from her own mind. A million miles from where I lay-praising God for all He's Blessed me with.

If you think about it...she didn't have a record. She had been spiraling out of control in the months prior, but she has been a mother for 17 years. She never hit the kids, never gave anyone any reason to believe that she would one day snap. But when I hear stories like this, I make myself feel better by thinking, "that evil must have just always been inside of her and it finally made its way out." Well, yeah. But that evil lies in each of us and we need to be scared when we don't believe it exists.

I have found, in my years as a mother, that I am capable of some things and some thoughts that I would never have imagined. I'm not saying I've entertained the idea of my children not existing on this earth. If you've read any of my blog at all you should know that I want nothing more than to hold the children I've lost and that I try to soak up every minute of the ones I have on this earth. But I have gotten too loud with them-loud enough to scare myself. I have raised my hand in anger-and later wondered who WAS that person? I have wondered if being meaner would make them behave more-even if it was only out of fear. I have said some awful things that later on I realized might tear them down right to their very core and cause them to question their worth.

I have also placed entirely too much value on their opinions of me. Such as being devastated when I so proudly present them with a meal that I worked *so* hard to give them....taking each one into mind and creating based on their personal tastes...only to be told it's "yucky." Such as believing that if God ever allowed one of them to be taken from me that I would die. Such as placing all my value as a person on the job I do with them, fluctuating between feeling like I'm pretty great to knowing I'm an utter failure-all in the same day.

And each of these things awakens the evil inside us. We are sinful people, whether we like it or not, no matter how hard we try to supress that. Some of us do a real good job convincing ourselves that we're above other people, but the fact of the matter is that we are all one blink away, one beating, one rape, one miscarriage, one divorce, one bad day from being a million miles from everything we know. And that is where God comes in. He will hold us steady if we only look to Him for our worth. If we only go to Him with our complaints instead of taking them out on the people we love. If we will only stop to realize that "hey...that "monster" had perfect days, too."

I don't mean to condemn. I pray it doesn't come across that way. I also don't mean to make anyone believe I would mistreat my children...they are well spoiled! But farbeit for me to say I would "never" do something. The fact is, I know the destruction we as a human race are capable of and last I checked, well, yes. I have flesh. And it seems bent on destorying everything around me that doesn't make me feel good right now.

I don't even know how to close this...except to say I pray you all know Who will carry you in between those perfect days. The One Who will assign your worth when your spouse/children/friends/parents keep telling you that you're not good enough. I pray you know Who will offer you protection from yourself. I pray I remember this lesson always. I pray that there is a revival in this land and that we can all "be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." We do such a good job of isolating ourselves from the rest of mankind, but we're all in it together.

Love you all.