"Common Ground": my little corner of the blogosphere where I talk (a lot-wink) about the things that matter most to me: My relationship with my Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ, homeschooling, adoption, homemaking, parenting, "spousing." (yeah, yeah....I know that's not a word.....I made it up-it’s my blog-I can do things like that! Ha!)

Since my life isn’t all that different from yours, hopefully we can find some COMMON GROUND & learn from each other. Please share your thoughts!

Through the Lords’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.

They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness!
Lam. 3: 22 & 23

Click on pics to see us up close & personal! :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Changes Are a-Comin'!!!!

Stay tuned-after 3 YEARS of no (major) changes to my blog........changes are coming! I am sooo excited!

They will be begin by Monday, for sure!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

FFF??? No, not really. I DO like these pics, though!

Guatemalan Textiles are some of the most beautiful in the world......
& I am not baised! (Wink)

But, if you look at the back of one of these works of art,
most likely, you will see something like this:

It reminded me of a short poem that has meant much to me at different points in my life:

The Weaver

My Life is but a weaving
Between my Lord and me;
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily.
Oft times He weaveth sorrow
And I, in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper,
And I the underside.

Not 'til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver's skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

He knows, He loves, He cares,
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives His very best to those
Who leave the choice with Him.

(Grant Colfax Tullar)

So much sorrow in your life & mine.......will we trust that HE sees, HE loves, He cares?

Thursdays Before the Throne

I took this picture one early morning last week. It was the last flame of one of my favorite Christmas Candles.....the end of the season. But, as I reviewed the pics, I couldn't help but think of the words to this hymn. I am so thankful that, unlike a candle, Jesus is the LIGHT OF THE WORLD-that never flickers, grows dim, or goes out.

"The Light of the World is Jesus"

The whole world was lost
In the darkness of sin,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
Like sunshine at noonday,
His glory shone in.
The Light of the world is Jesus!


No darkness have we
Who in Jesus abide;
The Light of the world is Jesus!
We walk in the light
When we follow our Guide!
The Light of the world is Jesus!


Ye dwellers in darkness
With sin blinded eyes,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
Go, wash, at His bidding,
And light will arise.
The Light of the world is Jesus!


No need of the sunlight
In Heaven we’re told;
The Light of the world is Jesus!
The Lamb is the Light
In the city of gold,
The Light of the world is Jesus!


Come to the light, ’tis shining for thee;
Sweetly the light has dawned upon me.
Once I was blind, but now I can see:
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lest You Think We're All About Pretty Hair Around Here.......

Sometimes......if we aren't leaving the house all day.......this is what someone who dropped by might see. Ha!

Monday, January 25, 2010

I'm Not a Big Fan Of "New Year's Resolutions".....

But, each new year, I look forward to a chance to start afresh.

This year, I decided to try & live more intentionally. To enjoy each moment.

My kids are growing so fast-I don’t want to look back & say, “My house was clean……but my kids were not hugged/loved/prayed for/cared for.”

I don’t want to wake up the morning after the last kid leaves home for good & say, “Who is that guy sleeping on the other side of the bed?”

So, each new day, I am trying to live the moments (yes, even the less than glorious ones) to their fullest.

I started another blog where I ask myself a bunch of questions at the end of each day & try to answer them as honestly as possible. Feel free to go over there if you want, to see what it’s like, but I really only started it for myself, so it’s bare-bones!

But, one of the questions I am asking myself each day is, “Did I say ‘YES’ as often as possible today?”

You know, when the kids ask to get out art supplies, or when they want you to read “just one more book, Mommy,” or when they want to play a game with you…….the requests they make can seem never-ending!

I used to automatically say “no” if it was going to require too much work for myself.

Now, though, I no longer am allowing *that* to be my excuse.

Long story short-the girls have been BEGGING to sleep in the same bed & have a “slumber party” for months. They share a room, but this has, apparently, not been enough “togetherness.”

I have continued to say “no,” because of my own laziness! How terrible!

So, last week, when they asked again, I realized-right before my always ready, on the tip of my tongue, “no,” that this needed to be a “yes.”

And Friday night, they got to do it!

& you know what? It didn’t even turn out to be that much work for me!

(Who knew parenting would be such a learning experience for the PARENTS? I thought we were the ones that were supposed to be teaching, but it turns out, we are the ones doing *most* of the learning/growing!)

*I completed this blog post in about 20 minutes, for Steady Mom's 30 Minutes or Less Challenge. Many thanks to Jamie over there for the idea of my Intentional Living blog! Shout out for her book, too, which I ordered as sooon as it became available & I can hardly put it down- it is so chock-full of good ideas!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

& I Got Nothin'! ;)

I spent several minutes trying to come up with excuses about not having any favorite animal pics-but, the truth is, we don’t do *live* animals.

(Now, like any red-blooded American family, we have *stuffed* animals coming out the wazoo, but we have no live ones.)

Because I am trying to ignore the PILE of stuffed animals we have, & because my children have no true favorites when it comes to their collections, I haven’t taken any pics of them with their stuffed animals!

But, I digress….
Here are my reasons that we don’t do live ones…….(*cough, cough*- ok, I guess they sound a lot like excuses!)

1. I am raising children, which is a big enough challenge for me-ha! I don’t need the responsibility of making sure an animal is well taken care of & loved. Some days, I wonder if my kids will make it to adulthood (just kidding!), so I’m pretty sure an animal won’t survive in our house!

2. I am allergic to most “pet-type” animals.

3. We travel too much.

4. I still have nightmares about how my brother tortured me w/ various reptiles (yeah, that would be snakes, among other things) & other pets.

5. I guess, in all honesty, I am mostly scared of dogs-not sure why exactly-maybe I had a bad experience with one when I was a child & have memory regression or something! Ha!

Lest any of you out there think I dislike all animals-I have two favorites-
1. anyone else’s pet(s) & 2. anything that lives at the zoo!!!

But, regardless, we do love (*Ahem*-I guess I tolerate & my kiddos love) my sister’s dog Moses, but we don’t have any recent pics of them together.

Here are some recent pics of my favorite little monkeys, though!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Some Days I Wonder if *We* Will Make it Through This Childrearing Experience.......

At least, I wonder if all the near-misses this child has already had,
will contribute to me loosing my mind at an earlier age.
(& no wisecracks from the peanut gallery out there, ok?)
Do you see how close she came to taking out an eye with a piece of wire?
Literally millimeters, as there is a scratch above & below her eye!
But, thankfully, she will soon return to her beautiful self.
With her eyesight intact.
"Thank-You, Lord, for Your daily watch-care over me & my family!"

Monday, January 18, 2010

Do "accountability groups" do anything for you?

The longer I associate myself with these types of groups, the more I think they are just groups that make excuses for one another, & don’t really impact each other for the positive.

I mean, I have been a member at Weight Watchers since I was 17, & what I have discovered about that is that most everyone there loves to make excuses about why they haven’t lost weight-instead of actually using the group to encourage one another to do better. (No, not everyone-I know-I said “most” of them).

Another group I was part of for a while was ONLINE & it was supposed to be a group that encouraged going to bed early & getting up early.

But, more often than not, people just made excuses for why they stayed up later than they should have & thus, slept in later, too.
My child was……puking/crying/bouncing off the walls.”
“My hubby is out of town, so my only free time is at night.”-one of my personal favorites I like to use.
“I lost track of the time.”

Everyone in the group would give cyber hugs & say, “Oh, that’s ok. We completely understand!”

Why don’t people say, “What were you thinking?!?! That’s enough of the excuses! GO to bed!”

I mean, that’s what *I* really need.

I know what the basic problem is, but I really don’t know how to fix it.

I have discovered I have no internal motivation to stick to many of the decisions I make. & without it, accountability groups are sure to fail me! I don’t know how it happened, but I can honestly say I have none (well, almost none!)!

People who just exercise because the decided they needed to or decided not to over eat because they no longer wanted to-they just boggle my mind & I look on in jeaousy, wishing I could somehow gain internal motivation.

But, since I have spent my entire life with almost none, I have no idea how to get it.

So, I was wondering what you out there in bloggerland think.

Do you agree with my assessment of what is often lacking in accountability groups?

Any ideas to help me? (other than praying for me, which I am already doing for myself & I would certainly welcome more!)

This post was completed in about 23 minutes as part of Steady Mom's 30 Minute Blog Challenge!

"Monday, Monday......"

But, how could I feel bad about a Monday,
when THIS is what I will greet when they get up!?
Look at those smiles!
(Ok, they probably won't be THAT happy,
since riding a merry-go-round isn't part of their Monday!)

And no, Nat wasn't that excited about the ride!
What ever gave you *that* idea?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I Have a NEW Love.......

Hairstyle design…..for 8 year olds. (I bolded that last part because there is NO WAY I could get this elaborate on my 3 YO!) :)

Who knew?

Ana & I have spent many delightful moments in the past few weeks at the kitchen table while I read directions, part hair & decorate it when I’m done!

I never knew this could be so fun-honestly!

I never knew there was so much out there-directions on just about ANYTHING you could want to do to your young girls’ hair!

I also had no idea she could sit still that long while I yank on her hair. (wink!)

But, I am so glad she wants to-it has given us opportunities to spend time together & *I* think it might be helping her self-image (& even though I usually don’t subscribe to too much of that kind of thinking, I want her to LIKE how she looks, know what I mean?)

Ruthie has even wanted in on the action-although doing her hair can sometimes be like wrestling an octopus!

But, we have even gotten a few cute styles I can do easily/quickly on her!

I am looking forward to many more years of this. Many fond memories are stored up in my mind of time spent with my mom around those horrific 80’s perms!

So, these pics are my “Close-Ups” for the week!

May they inspire you to pick up a comb & a few pony-tail holders & spend some quality time with your little girl!

This is my favorite so far! (Above)
We had a beautiful barrett where the black rubberband is,
but this picture was taken at the end of the day!
The side view!

I really liked this one, too, because we came up with it on our own!

Doesn't it just make you happy to look at?
Here are a few websites we found to get you started!
Princess Hairstyles
Adopt a 'Do
Girly Do Hairstyles


Some "lightheartedness" for your Thursday-may it give you an even greater chuckle than it did me!

(& yes, the cute little munchkins who made the mess WILL be cleaning it up in the morning!)
& hey-if you're a lurker-this is your chance-
please let me know these things happen at your house!
(No more lurking allowed!!-tee!!! hee!!!-It's my blog-I make the rules!)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Well, it’s happened……

Around the lunch table yesterday, Ana & I were talking about when she was really little & some cute thing she said or did-I can’t really remember.

(there were sooo many cute things she said & did, how’s an *unbiased* mom like me supposed to remember WHICH one we were talking about-wink!)

Anyway……in the random way 3 YO brains work, Ruthie, out of the blue, said, “Mommy, was I born in your tummy?”

Huh? Isn’t she a bit young to wonder about that?

I mean, by the way she worded her question, I thought she might be thinking there was a possibility she wasn’t. Isn’t she too young to catch on that most kids are “born in their mommy’s tummy?”-but she might not have been? (Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I think I know her pretty well.)

“No, actually, you weren’t, Ruthie. You were born in Mama Norma’s tummy in Guatemala” I excitedly informed her-because I really have looked forward to these types of conversations!

I feel like her “story” is such an interesting & unique one, & it has soooo many distinct answers to prayer, that I can’t wait for her to know/understand it all.

Now, I know there are sad parts to it-& they may be especially hard for her one day (I can’t even share them all with anyone in the family). But, her parents will be there for those conversations & difficult feelings as well.

But, mostly, I want her to always know what a privilege it is-that GOD chose HER for our family. & HE, alone, performed all the miracles it took to get her here! Now, we are on our way with these types of conversations!

She’s so funny though, because then she laughed a HUGE, BELLY laugh at my answer, & said, “Noooo!” (Like, “really?!?! You’re kidding me, right?”)

I said, again, “You really were born in Mama Norma’s tummy in Guatemala, Ruthie.”

Then, she asked, “Ana born in your tummy, Mommy?”


What a blessed mama I am!
Blessed by birth in more ways than one!

Anyway, we are now, officially entering a new stage-where our *adopted* children will begin to understand their entrance to the family. Praying they always feel comfortable talking with us about their adoptions, & that we raise them with healthy attitudes toward their own adoption stories.

If you have adopted, how did these conversations start in your family? How did you handle questions like this?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Is This REALLY The Whole Truth? No, not exactly. But, what to do.....I'm not sure exactly.

I am having a hard time with something......

I want to use this blog mostly as an online journal of our family life.

But, there are some things that I just KNOW I shouldn’t put out there for all of bloggerland-hey, really it’s *just* all the internet.


~Super embarrassing (but cute)things the kids say/do.
~Struggles we are having as parents-but places where we are also seeing some victory.
~Stories that involve other friends/family, but we just aren’t sure if they want it all out there for the “world” to see/read.

I really debate a lot in my head about whether or not this blog is actually an accurate picture of our lives-you know what I mean?

(We aren't like some families either, where stories about certain children can be sort of anonymous-due to the close ages of the children. I mean, if I say, “Child A was reading a book the other day when…..,” everyone knows it HAS to be Ana! Right?! Unless you think R or N might be a child prodigy!)

What do you do if you are a blogger & are partly keeping the blog for posterity?
Do you share EVERYTHING? Do you keep some of it written down in an "old-fashioned" journal?

Thoughts? Opinions?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hmmmm.......My Little Girl Continues Growing Up

& this:

is the latest sign.

(& no, Ana's not reading it, but hang on a minute & I'll explain!)

Ana, at the AWANA store a few weeks ago, found & obtained what she thought was the perfect gift for her mother.

Later, after she gave it to me, she informed me, “Mommy, I saw that book, & I knew you really liked that author!”


I had no idea she ever paid attention!

But, she told me she had seen other books by the same author in my “stack” from the library.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that she couldn’t even say “library?”

In the blink of an eye, she has gotten old enough to really know what I like for Christmas!

It gets better, though, because, she also got me a beautiful pair of earrings.
Ones I have already worn several times.

I am just amazed!

I don’t know why this kind of thing catches me by surprise.

But, parenting, lately, for me has been such a challenge & things like this make it soooo worth it!

What have your children done lately that just happily surprised you?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Year Has Passed…….& I find it hard to believe……

That one year ago-I got the biggest wake-up call of my life.

As I drove up to pick up my nephew from school, I never expected to instead have an appointment with a serious & life-threatening car accident.

But, that’s the way it is with those kinds of things-you never expect them, really.

If we had been going just a slightly different speed, one of the children or I could have been killed with the impact of the other truck hitting our van.

But, instead, my Loving Heavenly Father spared everyone’s lives & today, I am happy to say, all the children have returned to normal-although it took Ruthie MONTHS to not be scared in the van. Petrified every time we got in, actually.

The “littles” still say, “Mommy, be careful,” every time we have to stop too quickly, but other than that, the kids seem to be fine.

But, me, on the other hand-I still have a ways to go.

I have to drive through the same intersection several times a week now-as Ana attends a part-time charter school on that side of town.

I STILL find myself breathing harder, & gripping the steering wheel with both hands, especially if there are other cars around me, or if the weather is foggy, & snowy (like it was that day).

Every day, I look at this (our crushed license plate) as I hang up my coat, & I often stop to thank My Father He chose to spare us, & give me more chances to love my kids & hubby.

"Thank-you, Lord, again for Your daily protections of us. May I never take life for granted."

Here is a link to the month of January 2009, when the accident & recovery occurred.

(Later this week, I will use this post as part of Steady Mom's "30 minutes or less" Challenge. I completed it in 28 minutes-including the editing of the picture!)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

“Funny Tale” Friday……

(I didn't follow the theme over at FFF this week, 'cause this was too funny to pass up!)

The following story in no way represents any way my brain function. I promise.

One morning earlier this week, after hitting the snooze three times, & debating turning off the alarm, I finally drug myself out of bed.

I, like so many other people in the world, have been TRYING loose weight, & get more healthy. I beat the sun up on this particular morning, but I am not going to tell you what time-or you will surely think I have lost my mind! Ha!

I stumbled to the kitchen, started the coffee, filled up my water bottle & headed to my family room where “The Biggest Looser” DVD awaited my arrival.

After completing my workout, I sat down with my “liquid of life” (that look suspiciously like coffee) to have my quiet time.

About ½ way through my morning Bible reading, I looked down at my feet & discovered this sure sign I *might* need more sleep:

I think I should have gone back to bed……although my mistake might have at least given you something to tickle your funny bone!

Anyone else care to share a tale like mine? Please?!? :)

Thursdays Before the Throne

Lord, remind me to slow down & enjoy these blessings You so graciously bestowed on me.

"So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom."
Psalm 90:12

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