Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Review: An Amish Love by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, and Kelly Long.

An Amish Love, published by Thomas Nelson, Nashville,2010, is a collection of three short novels. Their titles are: A Marriage of the Heart, by Kelly Long; What the Heart Sees, by Kathleen Fuller; and Healing Hearts, by Beth Wiseman. Each novella portrays its characters genuinely and personably. The Amish setting creates a delightful, wholesome read, as always. Throughout all three stories, the message of forgiveness by the grace of God is clear. The characters in An Amish Love struggle with their own sins and with losses through the sins of others against them. As the reader sees the characters seek God's help in repentance and forginevess, he is encouraged to do the same in his own life. As he reads about the forgiveness and restoration that God brings to the characters in An Amish Love, he is given hope that God will do the same thing in his or her own life. Each novella portrays its main characters at different stages of life: a young married couple, single young men and women, and an older married couple.
The love of the characters for one another is undergirded by God's love for each of them as they see their human love for one another tried by different circumstances, showing the reader that when our human capacity to love is not enough, God's love will prevail. An Amis Love was provided to me free for review purposes and I have received no other compensation for this review.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

God's Protection

We are always thankful to God for all he has blessed us with, but this Thanksgiving we have an extra-special reason to be thankful. On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, Al had a heart attack. We did not realize that he was having a heart attack until we got to the emergency room, where they took him in right away. When the cardiologist came to talk to me before he put the stent in Al's artery, he said, "This was not a small heart attack; this was a BIG one. He's lucky to be alive." After quickly explaining the risks involved and the procedure he would be doing, he left. I had been a little scared before, but at this point, I was terrified. Since I was all alone in the waiting room, I knelt down by one of the chairs and through tears, pleaded with God not to take Al from us. then I called Caroline on Al's cellphone, told her what was going on, and said, "Drop Janet and Erin at church and get down here with my cellphone. Then I called the church to ask them to pray. I thought of asking the secretary to send someone from the church to be with us, but I was too timid. However, I did not have to ask her. She sent someone anyway.... Erin's best friend and her dad! They arrived shortly after Caroline, Janet, and Erin did. I also called Gail, who said she'd be there as soon as her shift ended in an hour, and Missy, who cut her visit with her best friend short and drove all the way from Boston to be with us. I had called Dave and Becca earlier to ask for prayer, and after we got to the hospital I called them again to update them. They got there later that evening. Meanwhile, Al was praying as the doctor was inserting the stent and Becca was praying, along with their church and ours. A couple of hours after Erin's friend and her dad arrived, (during which time they comforted us, made us laugh, and assisted us with some logistics), The doctor returned to say that the procedure had gone well. He said we could see him in an hour or so, and that it was a miracle that Al was still alive. I was a little concerned about what it would be like to see him after the surgery, as I'm not used to seeing my dynamic husband in a hospital bed, especially with tubes and wires attached to him. But when we went into his room, he was awake and talking with us.... even making wisecracks with us! I said "Thank You, Lord: he's still the same Al!" Missy had already arrived in his room and while they were alone, Al told her how God had spared his life and given him His peace when he prayed. Missy cried when she heard that. I know the Lord is using this trial to touch the hearts of Missy and Gail. I saw Gail become very soft-hearted as well.We also got to share the Gospel with Gail's boyfriend, as well as with one of Al's nurses. What amazed me the most, besides the miracle of God's protection of my husband, was the outpouring of love, prayer, and support extended to us. Because of friends and family in other states, we had not only our own church praying for us, but various churches across the country! When I got home from the hospital each night, I would listen to phone messages and read Facebook messages of encouragement and support, and it would make me cry. How beautiful to see the "consolation of the Holy Spirit" working through the body of Christ! Also comforting was having Dave, Becca, and Noelle there Sunday night into Monday. Dave and Becca were able to bring Noelle into the hospital on Monday to see her Nono, as she calls her Grandpa. "Baby cuddle therapy" is a wonderful thing.... and Noelle was doing the same thing for her grandpa as Becca did for HER grandmother when Al's mother had cancer. Al was discharged from the hospital the day before Thanksgiving, and needless to say we had a beautiful and precious Thanksgiving as a family! So far he is recovering well. I am so thankful that God spared his life, and for the prayers of the saints!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Reflections, continued

However I also know......
........that my job is helping my kids with school tuitions
........ that there are souls at work that The Lord wants me to witness to
........ that if I did not work at all I would probably go stir crazy with my kids all in school
........ that if my kids were still small I would not do half the things I listed in my previous post because I'd be too busy
......... and that while I was glad for the opportunity to be home with my kids, I took it somewhat for granted (but I wouldn't have traded it for anything!)
Most of all, I know that "My times are in Thy hand"(Psalm 31:15a) and that God will take care of my work situation, my schedule, and my family! Praise Him for His faithfulness!

Reflections, Continued

More importantly, it's what I'm missing because of work that really bothers me sometimes. If I were a stay-at-home mom, I would.......
..... stay up later with my family at night, knowing that once Erin was safely dropped off to her carpool I could get a nap.
..... get my house clean and organized.
..... not have the mental exercise of "who's getting who where, and who's picking up who when" because I would be doing the chauffeuring.
..... work in my garden more
..... be guaranteed time with my family during the holidays
..... take off to PA to visit my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter
..... go to ALL my kids' sports and school events
..... play my guitar more
..... participate more freely in the activities of our church
..... travel with my husband on occasion when he goes on his business trips


Sometimes I wish I were a stay-at home mom again. Work has been stressful lately. It can get "fast and furious" in an eyeblink, and it is too easy to make mistakes. I know God is in control, and I do trust him, but I must admit to getting frustrated and discouraged at times. In addition, it is VERY difficult to get the time off (even unpaid time) that I need to be with my family over the holidays. I've thought of looking for another job, but haven't found anything that would work for me just yet. Also, I would lose vacation and personal time, which at this point is desperately needed for various family things. And would it be any better elsewhere? Furthermore, I don't like interviews or walking into a situation where I don't know anyone.
Don't get me wrong. There are many aspects of my job that I do enjoy, such as the interaction with my customers and coworkers. I DON'T enjoy making mistakes despite my best efforts, nor policies that make it difficult for me to spend time with my family when I need to and/or they need me to. I DON't enjoy having to be up by 5am during the school year no matter WHAT time I work that day or what time I went to bed the night before. I DON'T enjoy worrying about whether or not I'm going to get in trouble for yet another mistake, some of which are beyond my control.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Book Review: The Nativity Collection by Robert J. Morgan

The Nativity Collection comprises six short stories by Robert J. Morgan. The book is published by Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010. Each story involves a family's experiences at Christmas, and a Nativity scene that plays a significant part in the story. From the family who changes their Christmas plans to give an elderly woman a family celebration, to the grandfather and grandson who burn the figures of their cherished Nativity scene to survive a howling blizzard, to the story of "Sugarplum", Morgan's stories will uplift and entertain his readers. Each story reminds us of our God Who gave His beloved Son so that we might be freed from our sins and restored to fellowship with God the Father. The Nativity Collection was illustrated by Koechel Peterson Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota. The illustrations are full of exquisite detail, light, and joy. The Nativity Collection would make great reading alone with a cup of tea or cocoa, or aloud with the entire family gathered in the living room. This book will add a festive and reflective touch to any one's Christmas celebration. The Nativity Collection was provided to me for review at no charge by Thomas Nelson, Inc. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and I have received no other compensation for reviewing this book.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Birthday!

My birthday this year was a blessed time. It was on Saturday, September 25. Al had asked me what I wanted to do, and I said that I either wanted us all to go out to Old Country Buffet, or the two of us to go out to Chili's, or to have Caroline, Janet, and Erin cook dinner at home for us. I left it to him to decide which of those options he would pick. Meanwhile, he asked me to write down a few things I would like, and Janet asked me what I wanted as well. One of the things I mentioned was a nice spring/fall jacket. When I shared this with Janet, she said "Oh, we're gonna have FUN with this!" So she went with Al to help him shop the night before.
While on my last break at work on Saturday, I got a text from Al saying that he and I would go out to eat, followed by birthday cake at home with the girls. I got home from work, showered and changed, and Al and I got in the car. I was expecting him to go to Chilis in Windsor, but he turned towards Enfield. I thought he might have decided to go to Olive Garden, but then he "missed" the turnoff to Enfield. Then I knew he was going to surprise me. We went to Carabba's in Riverdale, Mass! It's a really nice Italian restaurant, and it was delicious. We went home and had cake. When I opened my present, it was..... a peacoat and scarf! Gail and Missy couldn't come, so Gail and her boyfriend, John, came the next day. Gail brought a bouquet of one dozen pink roses, and a beautiful card. Well, I put the roses in water, set the card on the halfwall in the living room, and we ate dinner. Gail and John had already eaten, but Gail did have a piece of cake. While I was putting things away, I picked up the envelope Gail's card had come in. I saw something blue in it and thought it was a picture. When I pulled it out, it was a gift card to Red Lobster! Caroline gave me a charm for my bracelet that the girls had given me for Mother's Day. Missy invited me to her apartment on Tuesday night and made a birthday dinner of chili and cupcakes for me. I was so blessed by all of their thoughtfulness and the unexpected surprises! Now it's two weeks later and Al and I are planning to use that gift certificate as soon as he gets home!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Noelle's First Birthday!

Our precious granddaughter turned one year old on Sept. 9, 2010. It seems impossible for her to be a year old already! I remember the evening she was born. We were just about to leave for church when we got the news... and when we walked into church we were ready to jump out of our skins! When the Pastor asked for praise reports he asked us if we wanted to go first so we shared our joyous news with our church family. the next day we went to visit. I will never forget seeing and holding Noelle for the first time! Now here she is a year old and walking already. We travelled to Pennsylvania on Sept. 10, 2010, for her first birthday party on the 11th. She was so cute! Al, Janet, Erin, and I stayed in a hotel Friday night, while Melissa, Caroline, and Gail stayed with Becca, so we did not see them till Saturday morning.When we got there Saturday morning, Melissa was holding her. She handed Noelle to me and Noelle cuddled right up. I had her less than five minutes when Erin took her from me! Such is life when you have six daughters and a son who are all baby-crazy. It's fun to watch though. Noelle loved her cake, which Aunt Gail decorated. She loved her gifts, but I think she had just as much fun with the paper and gift bags. One of the gift bags was big enough for Noelle to crawl inside , so she did. We put it over her (it was made pf paper!) and she pulled it off, playing "peek a boo " with us. Aunt Melissa gave her a tutu skirt and she played peek-a-boo with that too, as soon as she discovered that she could see through it. I wish I could post pictures on here but I don't know how yet, so I'll have to make word-pictures for now! I LOVE being a Grandma!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Book Review: Captured by Grace by Dr. David Jeremiah

Captured by Grace, written by David Jeremiah and published by Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 2006, is powerful description of God's grace. Using the life stories of John Newton and the apostle Paul, Jeremiah gives the reader a striking picture of how God's grace pursues, forgives, preserves, and restores us. Interwoven into the narrative are stanzas from John Newton's hymn, "Amazing Grace." Dr. Jeremiah divides his book into three main sections: "Grace for the Past," "Grace for the Present," and "Grace for the Future." Each chapter within the main divisions is subtitled with a line from the beloved "Amazing Grace." The prelude, as Jeremiah calls it, to Captured by Grace, is a stirring account of Saul being pursued by God as he persecutes Christians prior to his conversion, and of Newton being brought under conviction by God as he engages in the slave trade. The parallel accounts of Newton and Paul (formerly Saul) and the demonstrations of God's grace in their lives throughout this book leave the reader in tears and in awe of so mighty and merciful a God. There are also examples of other people "captured" by God's grace, and each example is compelling to read. At the end of each chapter is a brief devotional passage, which would be helpful as a Bible study. Those who read Captured by Grace will be uplifted, comforted, and amazed, not by the book itself, but by our great Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! (This copy of Captured by Grace was provided free for review by Thomas Nelson. The opinions in this review are my own and I have not received any other compensation for this book review.)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Visit to PA

Last Saturday night, at 10: 00 PM, I left Hartford on a bus to visit Becca, Dave Noelle, and my son David in Pennsylvania. My son attends college in Florida and has a year-round on-campus job as well as being in the Marine Reserves, so he left Florida on a bus at 1:00 PM that Saturday afternoon to go to PA. That is one reason I decided to go there..... usually I can only see David at Christmas time. I arrived in Hagerstown, Maryland, at 12:20 PM on Sunday, August 8, where Dave, Becca, Noelle, and my daughter Erin (who had gone home with Becca when she left our house) picked us up. We had lunch at Cracker Barrel, shopped at Walmart, and went home. David arrived at midnight. By then Erin, Noelle, and I were asleep, but I woke up Monday Morning to the sound of Noelle fussing and David comforting her. They are so precious together! I loved watching them interact throughout the week. It was such a blessing to see my son as well. We helped Becca get ready for a baby shower she was putting on for one of her friends. We attended the shower Tuesday night, and spent much time playing with Noelle, who was just as adorable as ever. She bonded with Auntie Erin and Uncle David as well as with Grandma. Precious, precious time of playing, cuddling, and kissing..... she gives the most adorable kisses! We also went to Cracker Barrel with David on Wednesday. Erin and I left on Thursday. Al picked us up at 5 and we got back to CT at 1:30 am. It was a blessed time and I can't wait to go back!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Becca and Noelle's Visit Part 2

Becca decided to paint Caroline's room, which involved several trips to Lowe's and Walmart. Caroline bought the supplies and helped Becca, so Grandma and Grandpa and the aunts got to play with Noelle a lot, and even babysit her. On Wednesday we took her to the park near our house, She was there the last time they visited, too. Becca and I also took her on a walk on Friday morning before I left for work. On Monday and Friday, Becca and Caroline, and Becca and Erin, brought Noelle in to Walmart and I was able to spend my break with them..... and show off my granddaughter to my coworkers! Friday night the room was finished, and it is gorgeous! Becca is very artistic, and it is expressed in everything she does. Becca also brought Noelle to Vacation Bible Time a couple of nights, so Grandpa and I had a great time showing Noelle off to our church family! Noelle gives the best hugs, cuddles, and kisses. She also does these cute little things with her hands and makes a fishy face that cracks us up! We did plenty of spoiling and cuddling, but I think Noelle spoiled us just as much!

Becca and Noelle's Visit

This week we were blessed to have Becca and Noelle visiting, as Dave was on a missions trip. I was able to take three days off while they were here, and will (God willing) be traveling to PA next week to see them again, along with my son David, who's coming up from Florida. Becca and Noelle were at our house Sunday night when we got home from Vacation Bible Time at church. I held her while Becca and Erin unloaded the car. Al walked in a few minutes later and began talking to Noelle, who went right into his arms. I kind of felt like that was cheating since he had just seen her a few days earlier, but they are adorable together! Within fifteen minutes, he gave her back to me. Then all the aunties, including Aunt Missy who "just happened" to be at our house doing laundry, wanted to play with her too. We didn't get to sleep till after midnight. Noelle woke up in the wee hours of the morning each night they were here. Since the pack N play was in our bedroom, I got to sneak a few cuddles in before giving Noelle to Becca. Monday I had a later shift at work, so I was able to play with my granddaughter in the morning. Tuesday, we went to my sister's house to visit my family. Thoe most precious thing was how my dad held Noelle and wouldn't give her up even when his arm fell asleep, and how Noelle gave Aunt Cindy (one of my sisters) a kiss when Cindy showed Noelle her kitty!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


When I was a child, summer meant swimming lessons, endless days of playing outside with my neighborhood friends, occasional trips to pick up my dad at the yacht club where he worked (on days when my mom needed the car), and the occasional ride on what we thought of as "Daddy's boat." It was really the yacht club's launch which my dad drove to take people to their boats moored in the harbor, or to bring them back from their boats. If he had another run to do when we got there, and he had room for us, he would take us for a ride. we would also go to either the beach or the pond to swim when Dad got home from work. As I got a little older, I also enjoyed walking downtown with my sisters to buy ice cream cones at the drugstore, which had a soda and ice cream fountain.
In high school, my summers were enjoyable, but sometimes a little lonely because my closest high school friends lived in other towns and I did not see them as often as I did while I was in school. I still did things with my sisters when I could. I also began working the summer before I turned sixteen. When I was in college, I did not enjoy summer because I was working all the time and missed my college friends. When my children were small, summer meant splashing in the kiddie pool and sometimes a day trip with them and their dad. Once my kids were all in school, it meant sleeping a little later, a rest from homework and papers, and staying up a little later because we didn't have to get up for school. Now, especially since I'm working, it means I don't have to get up as early unless I have an early shift. It also means NOT having to worry about getting my kids to school every day, though I do have to think about getting some of them to work. In a summer like this one, when I have a child entering college, I don't want the summer to go by too quickly because I want to be sure that the college preparations are completed. I have noticed, over the past few years, that people seem to think summer is almost over right after the Fourth of July , when in reality, it's only two weeks into the summer. At this writing, it's July 13, but we still have five or six weeks before kids go back to school. Moreover, summer lasts till September 21! I don't want to ignore the rest of the summer as if there's nothing left, when we're only halfway through. I plan to enjoy it for as long as possible!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Book Review: A Guy's Guide to Life by Jason Boyett

A Guy's Guide to Life, by Jason Boyett and published by Thomas Nelson, Nashville Tennessee, 2010, provides practical, humorous, and timely advice for a teenage guy. The book covers everything from grooming to family to friends to development to intimacy to a relationship with God. Boyett's language is casual and appealing to teen guys, making the tips he gives appealing to the teen reader. This reader, a mom of six girls and ONE young adult guy, even gained some insight into how her son might be thinking! Boyett begins by breaking down the "Myths of Manhood," as he calls them. These myths are some of the societal stereotypes about men that can place undue pressure on a teen. He also discusses communication, family relationships, and women. He gives the teen guy some valuable understanding about how a woman or girl might think or feel. There is a tasteful chapter covering sex. This reader does recommend that the parent read through this chapter before giving it to their teen, as it could prove a springboard for discussing this topic with him. All in all, "A Guy's Guide to Life" is enjoyable, insightful, practical, and readable, even to this seemingly unlikely reader!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Things I've Discovered

When you ask a child (particularly a preteen or a teenager) what's going on,and they respond with "Nothing," it can mean any one of three things. First, and easiest to deal with, is "nothing" that is really nothing. You don't need to do anything with that. Next, and more challenging is nothing" that says, "something's wrong but I don't want to talk about it." This kind of "nothing" requires patience to wait until he's ready to talk about it. If the child is a girl, it won't take long. If he's a boy, you may have to be REALLY patient! They will tell you in their own time, if you let them know you're available. The third kind of "nothing" is the most challenging. It's the "nothing" that you'd better find out about FAST! usually tell my kids "You'd better tell me about it before I find out about it!" This pronouncement is delivered in a stern voice with a "MOMMY LOOK" !!!!! It's usually effective. The best resopnse to "Nothing" is "What kind of nothing?"

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cuddle Time!!!!

Dave, Becca, and Noelle arrived Thursday night for Janet's graduation. I was picking up Janet and Erin along with one of their classmates at their school when Dave, Becca, and Noelle arrived. Janet and Erin had been at their high school banquet in honor of the seniors (Janet is one) and I had to drive them and their classmate home. Her mom wanted to see my girls' dresses, so it was well after midnight when we got home. To my delight, they were all still awake, and Noelle was happy. She cried for a little bit when I first picked her up, but soon got reacquainted with Grandma. Well, it was nearly one o'clock when we went to bed and Noelle woke us up with her cute squeals at 5: 00. She even woke Auntie Erin, who never gets up before 6: 30 and not without prodding. The only problem? Erin would not stop playing with the baby. I imagined the note I would have to write and didn't think the principal would accept "Erin was late because she was playing with her baby niece" as a valid excuse. However, it might have given him a good laugh! Friday morning Dave and Becca, Noelle, Caroline, and I took Janet out to breakfast. Noelle loved it. After taking Janet and a fellow graduating senior to school, Caroline and I took Noelle to the park while Becca cut Dave's hair. Then Caroline blow-dried my hair and we got ready for the open house, which the Lord worked out perfectly. I dressed, picked up the pizza, picked up Erin's classmate, and arrived home to find that Janet and Erin had arrived hime just as one of our guests had arrived. Not only that, but my dad,sisters, and nephew pulled into our driveway just as I did. As we were all going into the house, Dave, Becca, and Noelle arrived. Our other guests arrived within ten minutes.Noelle was just adorable and I'm so thankful that my dad (Noelle's great-grandpa!) and my sisters got to see her.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


So my "Little Ladybug" is a high school graduate! Her graduation was last night, and it was beautiful. She looked so tiny up on that stage, but also very much like the beautiful young lady she's become. She got academic awards in three subjects: Bible, science, and speech. Before leaving for the graduation, we had a small "open house" gathering at our home. Several friends from church came, as well as my dad, my three sisters, my youngest nephew, my oldest daughter, my son in law, and my granddaughter. I wasn't sure that i would be ale to pull this gathering off, because of the logistics of getting ready and of getting Janet (the graduate) and Erin (her younger sister who's in the choir) to the school by 7:00, and then making sure that we and everyone else were there before 7:30, when the graduation actually began! The Lord worked it out perfectly, though. Everyone arrived between 4:30 and 5:00, and we had a nicer time of fellowship while the girls were getting ready.... and Janet was able to say hello to everyone. Caroline took Janet, Erin, and another classmate who also had to be there by 7:00, and we and our guests left at 6:30 and got there in plenty of time before the ceremony began. Janet looked adorable walking down the aisle, and the whole senior class sang "How deep the Faher's Love for Us," which made me cry. The choir sang "The Lord Bless You and Keep You, " which always makes me cry at graduation even if I don't have a graduate on the stage! And of course, all the "Aunties" (Caroline in particular) had fun showing off their little niece! Congratulations, Janet Marie! Love you-- Proud of you--- Praying for you!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

To Noelle

This post is for my beautiful granddaughter, who I haven't seen since January. I've watched some videos of her that have cracked me up, and I have seen some adorable pictures that make me want to be able to hug her. I've learned NEVER to look at her pictures just before leaving for work, as I will be late if I do! I love you, Noelle. You are beautiful and precious; a one-of-a-kind gift from our wonderful Creator. If I could see you every day I would, but we live in Connecticut, so I have to wait for you and Mommy and Daddy to come up here, or for me to be able to come down there. I love seeing your pictures when Mommy posts them, and the videos of you make us laugh so much! Never forget, beautiful baby, that you have many people who love you beyond words.... and a Heavenly Father who loves you beyond imagination! I can't wait to see you again, little one! Love and kisses from Grandma!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Book Review: Isaac Newton by Mitch Stokes

Isaac Newton, written by Mitch Stokes and published by Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, is part of the Christian Encounters series. The book is a biography of Isaac Newton. The reader learns that Newton was not only a great scientist and mathematician, but also a Christian. The biography describes Newton's theological studies as well as his scientific ones. The reader learns about Newton's birth after the death of his father, about his childhood and education, about his studies and experiments, but also if his intense interest in theology. Newton saw his scientific studies as a way to worship the Creator. He believed that as he studied God's creation he would learn to know God better. He had a deep love for God's Word, the Bible. It is commonly known that Newton was a Christian, but what is surprising to the reader in this biography is that Newton was also theologian, and that his scientific studies closely linked with his relationship with God.
The reader also learns that Newton was a private individual who craved solitude. This personality trait allowed him the time he needed for his studies, and many of his greatest discoveries were born of this solitude. Another result of Newton's solitary nature was his reluctance to publish some of his findings. He seemed to be more interested in the knowledge he gained than in public acclaim for his discoveries. Stokes" biography also describes some of the controversies that Newton's findings caused in the scientific community.
This biography gives us a glimpse of Newton's personality that most biographies do not. There are also clear explanations of some of his theories. To the casual reader, or one unschooled in mathematics and science, the explanations are challenging, but to one who is researching Newton's theories, the explanations are helpful and can be understood with perseverance. Stokes' biography of Isaac Newton is an excellent resource for the junior high or high school student. The information about his scientific work is helpful in the student's research. The insights into Newton's character will keep the student engaged in reading the book.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Gail got an apartment and moved in last week. It was an answer to prayer, as we had been praying that God would provide her with her own place. It's small but nice, just right for her right now. Erin and I visited her Saturday evening. She seems to like it, although being by herself is a big change for her.... but she is glad to have her own space. We're making the downstairs room a combination office, rec room, and "guest room"..... just in case someone comes to visit and stays overnight. This week the house is pleasantly but strangely quiet, as Janet and Erin are off to a national fine arts competition. Caroline, Al, and I are the only ones home. Caroline finished cosmetology school Saturday, and i was off from work, so we spent the day together. We drove to the mall so she could apply for a position at a hairdressing salon, had a cup of coffee at Starbucks, and came home. My friend from work came over for a little while, and then Caroline highlighted my hair. Al was home as well, so we spent time with him too. When Caroline left to go babysitting, Al and I had a date at Wendy's. We went for a walk when we got home, and now we're watching a DVD. Everyone's growing up, and I'm glad that God holds the future....ours and theirs!

Friday, April 2, 2010

What Happens When You're the Baby of Seven?

That's a question best answered by Erin, our youngest child. First of all, she weighed ten pounds at birth, and broke her collarbone during her delivery. Secondly, she was delightfully chubby and cuddly, and no one wanted to put her down after picking her up. She felt like a big, soft teddy bear. Well, since my three oldest are girls, Erin, Janet, and Caroline sort of had four Moms instead of just one. And since Becca, Gail, and Missy were fourteen, eleven, and almost ten respectively when Erin was born, they all spoiled her. She became very outgoing because she was used to being around people. She also became very easygoing with a bubbly personality. When Erin was almost a year old, I began teaching third and fourth grade. Since Al worked in a home office, Erin would often stay with him during the day. He would bring her with him to do errands, among which was a stop at a Dunkin' Donuts for coffee and a donut for Erin. Well, she learned to anticipate going out for a donut every time Daddy watched her. She would say,"Donut, Daddy!" and get her jacket. If he didn't respond right away, she would get HIS jacket. Daddy would give in, and they would go to Dunkin' Donuts. I don't know how many free donuts Erin got because somebody thought she was cute! She was, and still is. At just fifteen, she is tall and slender with the same cheerful personality. Even a fractured collarbone didn't stop her from cuddling her little niece last time we visited. If I were to describe Erin in one word it would be...... "irrepressible!"

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Janet is our second youngest. She's tiny like Caroline, with a little slender face and BIG blue-green eyes. Our son was extremely proud of her and protective of her when she was a baby. In fact, protecting people like his sisters was one of his motives for joining the Marines. Anyhow, Janet's nickname is one she gave herself, though she hasn't let anyone use it since she became a teenager (although I sometimes say it out of habit.) I do not know why Janet chose this particular name for herself, unless it was because of the many ladybugs around our home when she was three or four. Seemingly out of nowhere, she looked at me with her little smile and big eyes, and asked, "Mommy, can I have some cookies cause this little ladybug loves cookies!" I laughed, and, needless to say, she got some cookies!" The name Ladybug stuck, so her nickname became "Ladybug."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Tiny "Rosebud"

Caroline is our fifth child and fourth daughter. She was only 6 lb. 10 oz. at birth, and her complexion was pink andwhite and red. Everyone said , "Oh, she looks like a little rosebud!" Since her middle name is Rose, her nickname was "Rosie." Caroline was daddy's baby. The older girls used to get her to ask him whenever they wanted us to do something such as go out for dinner or ice cream, because they knew he'd have a harder time saying no to her. Sometimes they knew he would say no but they got Caroline to ask anyway just to see Daddy's reaction. When Caroline was three, we planned to buy her a tricycle. She looked at her Daddy with her baby blue eyes, and asked, "Daddy, will you buy me a cute little tricycle?" Guess what we did? We piled into the car, drove to Child World, and bought Caroline a new tricycle that night! She's still tiny, but is now a beautiful, smiling young lady!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Adventures of Raising One Boy Among Six Girls

Our son David is a great blessing to us. Before we had him, I had a miscarriage. We prayed that God would give us another baby, and that He would give us a boy. He answered both those prayers. Becca told me the story of what Al did when he arrived home after David was born. According to Becca, he took the stairs two at a time, yelling at the top of his lungs, "It's a boy!! It's not a girl, it's not a doll, it's a real live boy!" As he ran up our stairs, he jumped up and hit the top of our kitchen doorway. David is our middle child, literally surrounded by his older and younger sisters. Boys and girls are different. Not better or worse, not harder or easier, just different. One of the most interesting things about David was that he took everything literally. When he was three, we were on our way back from driving our older kids to school. He pointed out the donut shop in the center of town. I said, "Yes, David, some day I'll take you there." Well, two days later we drove by the donut shop again. We had a conversation something like this: "Mom. There's the donut shop. You said you'd take me there someday."
"OK, David, we'll go to the donut shop." I'm glad I had my grocery money with me that day!
David enjoyed music and learned songs after fearing them once or twice. He liked the song "He's Still Working on Me," which tells how God made the universe in a week, but He's still working on me, so He must be very patient. Whenever we would begin to reprove David, via the raised index finger and the stern "Now, David....." he would begin singing that song, complete with big blue eyes and little choirboy voice! We would crack up laughing..... but after the first couple of times he did that we still had to correct him. We would say, "David, He's still working on you but you're still going to get disciplined."
I did wonder, when we found out that our youngest was going to be a girl, what David was going to do with six sisters. Then I realized that if God was sending us this little baby girl, He had also chosen David to be the brother of all these girls. Well, David learned to love babies and he is a Marine Reservist!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

More "Little Kid " Stories

Melissa, or Missy, as we nicknamed her, is our third daughter. (We have six altogether, with our son in the middle.) She was a very peaceful, laid-back baby. When she was about two she started calling me "my own Mommy". She also used to ask me to "talk to me in my cheek", which, in plain English, means "Whisper in my ear." I used to put my cheek against hers and whisper, "cuddle-cuddle," and she would do it back. So when she wanted me to do that, she would say "Talk to me in my cheek." She was, and is, very intelligent. In first grade she got a perfect 100 average on her spelling tests. She complained about a worksheet that had been marked wrong one day. The class was studying compound words, and the directions had said "Circle the smaller words in each compound word." When she showed me the paper, I saw that she had only circled half of the words. When I pointed this out to her, her reply was, "But it said to circle the smaller words!" She had circled the smaller of each pair of words in each compound word! This is the same girl who when she was older locked my keys in my car because she figured out how to circumvent the device that was supposed to keep you from locking your keys in the car! Sometimes we can be too complicated!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

When They Were Little

Gail is my second daughter. She has long red hair, loves softball, cooking, amd babies, and has a great sense of humor. She was born in October, when the fall leaves were at their peak of color. We originally thought she would be early, but she was two weeks late. She was tiny, 7lb. 3oz., with huge blue eyes in her little face. When she was about two and a half, she would come up to me and say,"Mom, I want you!" I would reply, "Yes, here I am. What do you want?" Again she would say, "Mom I want you!" After a few of these exchanges, I would say, "Gail. I'm right here. What do you want?" She would say, "You! Just you!" Then I would ask, "But what do you want me for?" Her answer: "A hug!" Needless to say, she would get hugs and give them back! My sister-in-law saw one of these exchanges and said, "Awww, what a nice thing to want!" It was, and still is. Janet did the same thing when she was the same age! I love telling these stories and remembering them!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Book Review: Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God by Sheila Walsh

Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God was written by Sheila Walsh and published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., copyright 2009, Nashville TN. It is a compelling account of what God does when people trust Him with all of their hearts. Walsh begins the first three chapters with her own testimony of how God brought her through a struggle with depression. She continually challenges the reader to trust God completely, reminding us that it is a greater challenge than we imagine. She also speaks of the her discovery that she is not the only one facing the kinds of trials she has experienced. In sharing her struggles with others, Sheila Walsh found that in so doing, she allowed them to share their own trials. In opening her heart to others in this way, she is able to minister to them and receive ministry from them as well.
In subsequent chapters, Walsh leads the reader into a study of men and women in the Bible who learned to trust God with various trials in their lives. Among the people studied are Anna, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, Saul of Tarsus, Tabitha, Gideon, Jospeh, Samson, Nicodemus, and Abraham. Mrs. Walsh herself studied the lives of these people in the Scriptures and each one's story ministered to her in a particular way. These chapters also include accounts from Mrs. Walsh's own life. The reader learns that many people, including those whose lives are chronicled in the Bible, faced difficulties in their own lives and learned to completely trust God. The concluding chapter reminds us that as believers in Christ, the end of our life's journey is Heaven.
Sheila Walsh exposes the pressure many feel to be "perfect", and reminds her readers that God loves them unconditionally and uses even their imperfections to refine them and make them more like Christ. Because of her openness about her own difficulties, she is able to speak powerfully to the reader. She reminds her readers that they are not alone in their trials, just as God taught her that she was not alone. At the end of the book, Mrs. Walsh includes a Bible study for each chapter of the book, with many thought-provoking comments and questions. The readers are encouraged that God is in control and will use everything in their lives to conform them to Christ's image.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Snapshots in Words

I have so many precious memories of the cute things my children have said and done, so I thought I'd share some with you. Becca, our firstborn, is a Valentine's baby. What a perfect gift. She is the first grandchild on both sides of the family and my grandfather's first great grandchild. From the time that Becca was six weeks old, we traveled to Yale New Haven Hospital with her in tow to visit my mother-in-law, who was ill with cancer. All the nurses on the floor loved her, as did her Grandma Aldrich! Becca could make her smile when nothing else could! Once when my mother-in- law was at home and sick in bed, we came to visit. Grandma Aldrich heard Becca cry and insisted on getting out of bed just to see "her" baby! She passed away when Becca was only three months old, but she did plenty of spoiling while she was living. She would be proud of Becca today. My Grandpa Stoddard also enjoyed his great-granddaughter, though he did not say much. After his passing when Becca was six months old', I learned that every time he and my parents and sisters came to visit us, he talked about Becca all the way home!
Becca learned to talk early and quickly developed a good vocabulary. When she didn't know the word for something, she would make up a descriptive term based on words she already knew. She called popsicles "cold lollipops," and moths were "butterfly-bees". Colored leaves and flowers she picked up on our walks were "pretties". She was quite picturesque in her descriptions. My favorite was her take on a sunset. We were driving home from a day of errands and she said,"Look! They painted the sky!" I said, "Yes, Becca, God painted the sky. That's a sunset." After that, she would say, "God painted the sky" every time she saw a sunset.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

God is Faithful and Merciful

OK, it's time you got to know me a little bit. I've been married for almost 30 years. My husband's name is Al, and we have seven children. Their names are Becca, Gail, Melissa, David, Caroline, Janet, and Erin. Yes, you read that right.... there's only one boy in there. He is literally surrounded by sisters! I did wonder what he was going to do with six sisters, especially since he is the middle child, but I realized that if God chosen to give us six girls, He has also chosen David to be their brother. It's been interesting. David learned to love babies (especially his little niece!) and is a Marine Reservist. God is faithful! People have asked me how we manage with seven children, and how we can possiby afford to raise that many. The only answer I have is "We pray.... a lot! And God is faithful." I could tell you many stories about His grace and provision, but that would take all night. Maybe in some future posts. There's a verse in Psalms 127 that God has used over and over in my heart. It says "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is His reward." (Ps. 127:3 KJV) Children are a blessing and a gift from God, even when things get difficult. God's Word does not change, and He is faithful to hear our heart-cries on behalf of our children, or about any other matter. My husband and I are born-again Christians--- we've trusted (and still are trusting!) Christ ahd His work on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins and restoration of our relationship with God. Because of Christ's work, we have fellowship with God the Father and can come freely before Him in prayer. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." What a privilege and comfort that is! Praise God for His mercy and faithfulness!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Savoring Memories

Well, we left Pennsylvania at 3pm yesterday and arrived in Connecticut at 10:15 PM. It was a delightful weekend with all my daughters except one who had to work. Babies have a way of drawing families together! Actually God is answering a specific prayer for us. We have been praying that He would use our granddaughter's birth to draw people closer to Him and draw members of our family together, and I'm seeing Him do just that! It is wonderful to cuddle and play with my granddaughter, but it is also amazing to watch my "baby" play with her baby, and to watch my other children interact with their little niece. I especially loved watching my son with her over Christmas. He's 6'3" and a Marine Reservist, but he melts around her! I miss him as well, as he's in Florida and can only get home at Christmas. He just recently got Facebook, so sometimes I can keep in touch with him that way. He has begun to call us a bit more, which is nice. A major difference between a son and a daughter? The length of their phone conversations with Mom! (LOL)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Longings Fulfilled

Being a long-distance Grandma can be trying, because you miss your grandchildren (and children ) terribly. I can't just take off and visit because of my work schedule, but fortunately I was able to be there to care for my daughter after my granddaughter was born. I was there for nine days and fell totally in love with her! It was so hard to leave to go home knowing I wouldn't see her agin till Christmas! I did get to spend four good days with my family over Christmas, and it was easier to say goodbye to my daughter, granddaughter, and son-in -law knowing I would see them again at the end of January! Well, here we are at the end of January and I am visiting my daughter and her family because my granddaughter is being dedicated in their church tomorrow. I came last night with my other daughter and her fiance. We left at 6pm, stopped for dinner, and had an uneventful trip till we got lost and had to backtrack an hour and a half, thus losing three hours. We arrived at 3 am and went straight to bed. My husband and other daughters arrive tonight. I spent the day admiring my granddaughter and waiting patiently for her aunt to share her with me! I did get her all to myself for a couple of hours because I was babysitting her! She just gets cuter and cuter.... even if she cries. I just want to see her, spoil her, cuddle her, hear her coo, hug her, and kiss her. She has the widest smile and the most gorgeous blue eyes ever! I'm storing up my cuddles till next time I see her, and till then I will content myself with pictures online. What a treasure she is!!