Of God, Mountains, and How I Met My Husband

This is a great story. Full of random details that I (somehow) string together to create a tale. It’s got airplanes, chickens, a dollhouse, and some black hair dye.

OK, a lot of black hair dye.

Infact, too much black hair dye.

Alright, enough fan fare.

The reason I share this story is ’cause some of you may have a mountain in your life – an obstacle you can’t see around. Maybe it’s a handicap, maybe it’s something broken that can’t seem to be fixed, maybe it’s a dream that can’t seem to be fulfilled. Or a need that’s overwhelming.

I know what that’s like. And I know a God who moves mountains.  This story is to remind you that we have a God who moves mountains – sometimes in the most mysterious ways, and sometimes pebble by pebble.

When I was 13 my family moved from the suburbs of Raleigh, NC to the foothills of Central NY to live in a tipi in the middle of 200 acres of woods and meadows. Driven by their desire for a more family-oriented lifestyle, my parents made the decision for my dad to leave his job and see if we could ‘live off the land’.

This was a great time in my life – a real adventure! But as you can imagine, our ‘social life’ suffered a bit. We left a lot of wonderful friends back in NC, and we worked long hours on the homestead, leaving little time for socializing. We did form some great friendships with the small group of families we met with for worship and fellowship on Sundays, but it was a small group. We homechurched, homeschooled, homesteaded, and ran a homebusiness. All good things.

But.

I didn’t get out much.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not at all resentful about those years – as I said, they were a wonderful adventure and I have lots of great memories. I’m just trying to set the stage here. To introduce you to…The Mountain.

The Mountain of  “How in the World will I EVER find a Husband”? (also known as the Peak of “How will he EVER find Me?”)

Thankfully, I didn’t worry about this too much when I was 13. I was having too much fun climbing trees, growing my first garden, and learning how to spin wool into yarn. But in looking back, I realize what a miracle it was that I ever met any eligible young men, and that my husband ever found me. That’s the mountain I wanted to point out to you.

Now I’ll tell you how God moved it.

Are you ready? Here comes the airplane.

Zooming in quite low, actually.

To be continued…Read Part Second Here

Five Minute Friday: Remember

Five Minute Fridays with Lisa Jo
I got to do this writing exercise/indulgence live with Lisa Jo and dozens more at Relevant last week. It was amazing!!!

Five Minutes!!! with Lisa Jo

If you love to write or would love to write, this is a great way to get started!

Today’s prompt is…

Remember


…that moment when you bowed your knees in the middle of a concrete shop building, on an old braided rug, your heart for God turning a garage into a sanctuary?
I caught that.
Remember when you came in late for Church 6 weeks in a row because your ministry to disabled children had you working Sundays? And you came to Church anyway?
I saw that, too.
Remember when brokenness and dead dreams forced difficult decisions and moved you to my end of the state?
And I only saw grace in you.
Remember when you helped your parents build an addition on their trailer – so much time given freely to the people you loved and honored though you were all grown up?
I noticed that, too.

STOP

The above are things I remember when I think back to my first impressions of my husband. He and I were mere acquaintances for the 6 years before we began dating, but I observed him from a distance and couldn’t help but notice his character. I treasure each memory that gave me a glimpse into the man I know so well today.

More of our story — for new readers and old who want to get to know us better — coming soon.

Bloggers Unite, Part Second: At Toughannock Falls

Last week we had some very special house guests – special for many reasons!

  • They were the first to use our new guest room (we moved into our new bedroom finally!)
  • They were our first out-of-state, overnight company in our home
  • They were the first to take me up on my open invitation to my blog readers to stop in any time for as long as you can stay. 
  • And finally, special, because I had not seen this friend in 15 years, and our relationship is a miracle in itself. (Perhaps I can share more of our story another time…)
Kateri and I in front of Toughannock Falls

Our guests wanted to make the most of their visit to our area, so we took them to Toughannock Falls. When I told Kateri that the falls were higher than Niagra Falls, she couldn’t believe that she hadn’t heard about this beautiful place before. It is one of our best kept secrets!

We love the gentle 1 1/2 mile walk back through the gorge to the falls – we have made this trek several times as a family.

This was the first year Claire did the hike on her own.

And Seth’s first time to the falls

He really loved the view from his back pack with Daddy.

On the bridge with my princess.

It’s so much fun to go down by the water and walk on the smooth rock bed of the river.

It’s the ideal place for those who love puddle jumping!

…And for rock throwing.

But don’t take my word for it – come and see for yourself! The guest room is officially open and ready for occupancy.

Dusty Sunshine

It’s happening – hear and there, bit by bit, progress is being made. One day it’s something as indiscernible as a second layer of paint. Another day it’s a long-rough edge being smoothed and made new.

Spring brings time off from the family business once a week, allowing Jeremy to once again resume work on the Master Bedroom Project. While various coats of paint dry upstairs, Jeremy has taken a detour to trim out the doorway between the dining room and living room. (I can’t believe how much trouble the previous owners went to giving this doorway rounded, 70′s style corners! Thank the Lord for saws-alls!)  I’m so excited that this will bring the living room to completion, as well as provide a new place to hang Seth’s Johnny-Jump-Up – right in the middle of all the fun!

As dust flies and saws scream, I count my gifts…

#52-#60

-Superhero Husband who can fix anything
-Two little children crouching, fascinated, watching Daddy
-Our Rainbow vacuum cleaner!
-the Beauty revealed when the Ugly is torn away
-A home to be hospitable in
-long-waited honey-do items steadily being ticked off
-Just the right tools for a job
-spring sunshine streaming through dust
-Anticipation of the friends we will welcome into the new spaces

If you read one book this year, let it be “One Thousand Gifts“.

Progress in the Master Bathroom Remodel

My husband is the Craig’s List King. I may have mentioned that he got almost everything for our master bathroom off of Craig’s List, including this double basin granite sink for $100. Yeah, it, it was broke in half, but he told me he could fix it.

I believed him.

He called me upstairs the other night to help him with the epoxy. He spread it in the crack, scooched it together, let it set and then shaved off the extra.

Meanwhile, I took a few more photos of the progress he has made. This is the floor grate that brings deliciously warm air into the bathroom – and that’s the beautiful tile floor he finished last month. I love old antique grates – even better when they’ve been sandblasted and re-painted!

The bedroom is almost done, too. Found this fan on clearance – love the focal point it gives the room .

Tapping the crack level. I realized after uploading these photos that I didn’t take a complete ‘after’ picture of the finished sink! Guess you’ll have to wait till I reveal the completed room! I’ll tell you this, even if you can’t hardly believe it – the crack is now all but invisible – you can only find by feel and see it if the angle of the light is just right. Amazing. Jeremy was right. (But then, he usually is!)

Jeremy Blogs!

Those who know my husband, Jeremy, know he is a man of few words, and that when he does speak, it’s usually worth listening to. Just wanted to let my readers know that he has written a guest post over on our friend Katie’s blog, Not Unredeemed.  In his post, “You Don’t Need a Fairy Godmother to find Cinderella”, he asks,

“Why do we have so many mature, godly, eligible guys and girls who are still single?”

In his direct and concise style, he answers that question, and then goes on to reveal steps to correct the problem. Check it out here.

In which we live and breath and dream about SKIING!

This time of year, our life centers around skiing. The weekdays are spent preparing for, talking about, and anticipating the weekends, which are spent on the mountain or in the ski lodge (depending on age and ability).

It’s not surprising then, that the dollhouse people went skiing last week. Skis were carefully crafted for each of the family – even Grandpa!

A ski lodge was built with blocks and mommy’s cutting boards, and a slope was created with pillows and a blanket. Even the mommy had to get out on the slopes, with her baby snug in a Mobywrap.

Kind of like this mommy and baby (though we abstained from skiing in this get up).

This is how we roll through the parking lot toward a day of lodging – in our awesome new collapsible wagon.

Seth is such a sport!
I love this wagon – I don’t think I’d ever go lodging without it again. We can haul two large ski bags and two children and my purse and our lunch and all the boots and the kids skis and water bottles and blankets – and it doubles as a bed and play pen.

We love lodging…even if we are sleepy from getting up at 6am. (It’s hard to find enough vertical to call a mountain in Upstate New York – we drive 1 1/2 hours to spend the day at our little mountain!)

When sleepiness overcomes the little ones, the wagon turns into a cozy bed. Somehow Claire manages to nap amid the chaos in the lodge each week.

Meanwhile, Daddy is out on the slopes – in this picture, he’s trying out the program’s new Mono-ski. Now, my husband is not handicapped – but he’s been working on his mono-skiing techniques so he can better teach his students.

Last weekend we got Claire on skiis for the first time. It was an incredible thing to see. She absolutely loved every minute of it. When she was on the rope tow, she was pointing to the hill, and when she was going down the hill, she was gesturing at the rope tow wanting to go up again. The faster she went the louder she laughed. This is her waiting impatiently in the lift line. I never saw the differences in her and Jesse’s personalities more clearly. My little thrill-seeker skied more in one morning than her cautious, easy-going brother has in 4 years.

It was definitely a priceless Mommy Memory.

Valentine’s Day at our House: For the Husband

To the man who has given his all to be my everything.
To the boy who followed wisdom, who sowed good seed instead of wild oats. Who stored up passion and dreams to lavish on someone he hadn’t yet met. Who bought a diamond for one who was nameless. Who learned skills and drew plans for a home to hold a someday family. To the man who waited and saved all this for a girl he didn’t know. 
To the man who saved and longed and searched and then…chose me. 
To the man who took the risk to find out if I was the one. Who stepped into the water before it had parted and chose to love with his will and his heart.
To the man who let my love grown in the fertile ground of commitment, and who held my hand as we fell head-long into the unknown, into love, into vows, marriage, and the beginning of our happy-ever-after. 
To you, who cried the night our first child was born. Who never complains about cleaning bath toys out of the shower. Who buys me organic carrots and patiently gives me directions when I am lost, 15 minutes from home. 
I love you.
For telling me to nap when the house is a mess.
For soaking up my tension and smoothing the ripples and calming my seas.
For teaching me the healing in silence and the beauty of well chosen words.
For lifting me with gentle hands from self-doubt and condemnation to peace and confidence.
For hefting all my cares on your broad shoulders so I can turn and dance. 
Your love has made me a woman. You have strentheed my core and opened my petals and made me bloom. You’ve smiled when I’ve created and nodded for me to grow and said no to stress and yes to the things that make me smile and always reminded me of who I am in Christ. 
You’ve given me the clearest picture of Christ and His unconditional love that I will encounter this side of heaven. You have made me believe in forgiveness and redemption and love…
And you give and give and give and hold me when I cry, even when I don’t know where the tears are from. And you make me smile every day and you ask me to marry you at least once a month. And I have learned that your silence is your strength and that one need not write volumes to express heart depths. Your life is the most eloquent love letter. When I ask you for words you give me so much more. You give me your life. I agree with Shakespeare , who said,
“Men of few words are the best men.”
I lay down my pen. I long to love you without words.

For the idea for this valentine to my husband, I am in debt to Ann Voskamp and drew inspiration heavily from her post, “How to Really Write a Love Letter“. I hope you will go and read her beautiful blog and be inspired to write a love letter (with pen and action) to your beloved, even if you do not yet know his name…


To read our love story, skip over here, and for a little valentine’s encouragement, check out this post. To catch a glimpse of how we make Valentine’s day a family affair, step back in time to this post

Overheard and Observed

Here are some things I’d never remember if I didn’t take the time to write them down in my Kid’s Journals or, in the case of the humor between Jeremy and I, in my own journal.

1. Jesse: “When Seth gets big he gonna be my best person, and when Seth get big, me gonna be his best person.”

2. Mommy: “I don’t know what we’re having for dinner.”
Jesse: (to Daddy) “How ’bout us go to restaurant? Mommy not know what us having for dinner so how ’bout us go to restaurant?”
Great idea, son!

3. Jesse: “Mom! You look pretty! Us going somewhere today?”
Mommy: “Nope!”
Jesse: “Why you wearing yours scarf?’
Mommy: ” ‘Cause I just decided to wear it at home.”
Jesse: “Oh.”

4. Jesse is totally physced that Daddy killed one of the greedy squirrels raiding our bird feeder.
Mommy: “When you get big are you going to learn to shoot a gun?”
Jesse: “Yes! Me gonna love it – Oh! Me SO gonna love this!”

5. Reading a bedtime story, Mommy prompted Jesse and Claire to say some of the words. Jesse is loud and confident, Claire is quiet, yet often as accurate, if not more so, than Brother. She has a habit of whispering – especially when we practice words. She loves to whisper.
Mommy: “Say, ‘Moon.’”
Claire, whispering: “Moon!”
Mommy: “Say it LOUD!”
Claire whispers, “Lou! Moon!”

6. Me: “Honey, Pioneer Woman says to serve her braised short ribs over polenta…”
Jeremy: “Yeah?”
Me: “It’s like cornmeal…mush…with cheese? Can I do that?”
Jeremy: “I don’t care what you eat.”
Me: “Fine! I’ll make potatoes!”
(It was delicious, I highly recommend her recipe!)

7. I have been very determined to feed my compost pile faithfully, even though it’s a cold chore in the winter. Jeremy thinks that composting is a nasty habit I should resolve to break in the new year. LOL

8. Me: “I think you should write me a letter.”
Jeremy: “Yeah? Which one?”
It’s a good thing I adore his sense of humor.

9. Jesse: “Mom, me jumped over Claire just like the cow jumped over the moon!”

10. Jesse: “Me want you not make clean popcorn, me want you to make dirty popcorn with peanut butter on it!”

After enjoying said popcorn and being put to bed, he came back downstairs with an urgent request: “Us needa wipe the peanut butter off my face before us go to Man and Ben’s house or Man and Ben will DIE!”

Whoever had been educating him about his cousin’s (Manuel and Benjamin) nut allergies had done a thorough job!

Birthday Business

The house has recovered from the weekend, due, in large part to my dishwasher, my mother-in-law, and my kids, who are finally learning to clean up after themselves (bless them!).

Last week involved a lot of preparation and secrets. A trip to the hardware with my little boy, and the ensuing loot hidden carefully in the upstairs of the barn. A new recipe consuming hours of my time in the kitchen (New recipes usually do, but this one exceeded my expectations in prep time!) Boxes and a mysterious cylinder were wrapped carefully. Only-once-a-year food stuffs were purchased and set aside. A giant bowl of peppers and onions were sliced very thin. All in honor of this man…

…who turned 31 yesterday. (Whoo-hoo! Middle age, here we come!)

It has become tradition for Jeremy to serve a crowd of family and friends his famous Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches on his birthday. The dessert is usually pie.

But this year, I decided to try something new.

I’ve been wanting to make cannolis for years. First time I actually got around to researching a recipe, I realized I’d need special equipment. Which I got. A year ago. Then I got pregnant. A season in which I rarely try new recipes, much less desserts. The cannoli tubes sat in a drawer…until last week.

The process took days. But it was worth it. For my man.