Archive for May 2011

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I really like this picture that Melody took last week.  We are blessed to have many white birch trees on our property and they are so beautiful.  As you can see, spring is so late this year.  The trees are just starting to leaf out and there are still plenty with only buds on the branches.  I was told yesterday that the cherry season may not start until end of July or around the first of August.  There have been no cherry blossoms as of yet.

It is looking like a beautiful day, the sun is shining and the sky is blue which is contrary to what the weather man is predicting.  The birds are at the feeder although one feeder is dominated by a grey squirrel and the red squirrel is perched on the grill making that odd purring sound that they make and anxiously waiting to take a jump at the feeders for it’s turn.  There is a humming-bird in the garden feasting off of a hyacinth flower and I would say it is peaceful here but the girls let Jazmin out of their room so they could sleep in and she is barking viciously at the squirrels,  the direct opposite of peace as her bark pierces to the middle brain.  Oh good, Kristi just came stumbling around the corner and took Jazmin off to somewhere else!

What a delightful week, and tragically sad week.  I will start with sad.  About three weeks ago we sat at the local Lutheran church for the funeral of the son of our dear friends Dale and Joan.  This week another son fell ill to pneumonia which went septic within 24 hours and he is not expected to live.  We sat with this family less then ten years ago at the death of their daughter.  They will have lost half their children by the end of this week if the Lord does not intervene.  This is pain, lives lost with no hope of heaven as far as we know.   Feeling our friend’s pain has cast a shadow in my heart.

I am glad that there has been beauty in this week as well.  God in His wonderful Sovereignty has ordered these weeks of work and we are nearing the close of the openings and we are on track for school to be almost completely done by the end of next week.  I DO NOT KNOW HOW HE DOES IT!    I know that part of this success is due to the girls all working with me which made the jobs go quickly.  They have been excellent in their work and I am so glad for such workers to be with on the job.  We have fun while we work!   I also focused on cleaning out the office/library/craft/sewing and guest room!!!!    Can you say multi-purpose room??   We have had a beautiful roll top desk for years that is just not working for us anymore so I moved that out of the office and put it by the front door.  I am going to take some pictures of it and put it on Craig’s list to sell.  I sorted through things in that room and although it will still be a multi-purpose room, it will be better organized, well, in a few days it will be!   We also received the exciting news that the Penrods will be coming our way and we will be caring for the five younger children for a week while G&A are on a cruise where he is performing.  So much fun…..  so motivating to get the spring cleaning done!   Another wonderful part of this week was meeting a young couple who are staying in our cottage as part of the ministry use of our cottage.  They were heading to Rome as part of a group of missionaries heading there to bring the Gospel to Italy.  But, God gave them a baby and so they are waiting another year for the baby to be born and to get their fundraising together.  It was a joy to hear their story and how God is using them and their hope for the future.  We shared hearts and encouraged each other as the family of God is so able to do!

Plans for the day–

I am going to head outside to work on my rock wall garden, pull weeds and replant some perennials.  I want to have Rick bring the rotatiller and help me add some gardening area in the front.  I need to pull boards off of a bed that has fallen apart and prepare the area for Jeff to come and rotatill with his tractor.  I also hope to spread some wood chips on our paths and plant some bulbs that I bought.  In the middle of this day I will need to clean up, dress up and then go to a funeral where I will play piano.  My girls will come for the luncheon to help with clean up, then I will come home and put on the work clothes and head back outside to continue gardening.  I will post a chore list on our white board so that the girls do not get confused and think it is the Sabbath and a work-free day.  They will help me outside as well but if they get a few things done IN the house I will not feel like the house is totally lost for the weekend.

I also need to get lunch together for tomorrow because we will not have long to eat before we need to get Melody down to her recital.  I am so excited and I will be playing piano for one of her pieces, a minuet by Bach.

Rick races this evening unless it rains.  I am hoping it does not rain as then I need to have “real” food for supper if Rick is home.  With just the girls and I we will grab a salad and veggies and call it supper, but that does not satisfy my man!    He needs to race, it de-stresses him and he has so much fun, well most of the time he does!

Off to the garden,

Choosing joy,


Our Days   Leave a comment

Last week I took my annual Mercedes trip to Appleton to have the car given it’s tune up.  I always take my good friend Kari and we enjoy our time together so much.  We are both busy moms with lots of children between us, so to get away and have hours to just visit and share life is a real treat.

Both of us have children who live in Appleton so we took the opportunity to spend time with them.  We took Mandy out for lunch and had a wonderful time with her.  She gave me the cutest Coach wrist purse in pink for my Mother’s Day gift.  I just love it!  We laughed and told stories and she was so much fun to be with.  I miss this girl as she has a demanding job working for a blood center and with living so far away from us it makes it difficult to see her.  I was so glad that we could connect and that I could hug her and tell her how much I love her face to face.

Here is one of my longest and dearest friends. We enjoy gardening and canning, music and Bible Study, having a house full of kids …..  the list goes on.   I love her children and she loves mine….  does it get any better?

After having lunch with Mandy we went to Kari’s son’s apartment and visited there for awhile before we headed out to have Chai together at a local coffee joint.  Danny, on the left, took us to this local spot on the main street and it was a beautiful place.  Patrick, on the right, is just graduating from High School this year and was down visiting his brother.  We all sipped each other’s flavored Chai and then sat and laughed as we told stories.  I have always loved these boys and it was fun to catch up on their lives.

 Speaking of catching up,  Matthew came home for Mother’s Day and spent the night.  Kristi likes to imitate Matthew in how he stands and sits and……   she is the only one who can pull it off perfectly!   Matthew put on the Motocross motorcycle racing on Saturday night and we watched for a while together.  I enjoy the testimony of some of the top racers who are also brothers in the Lord and are not ashamed to speak of their Lord openly and in front of the camera.  I did not watch the entire race as I was too tired so I was the first to head to bed.

Sorry this is so blurry,  Rick does not take may pictures in a year,  basically this annual Mother’s Day photo and that is about it!

My children blessed me so much on Mother’s Day with a delicious breakfast and gifts and a corsage from my husband.  I am so glad that although we were told we would probably never have children, God blessed us beyond our wildest dreams.   They are our greatest treasure and we are so thankful for each one of them.

We spent the afternoon visiting with friends and enjoying relaxing from the long work days that make up the month of May.

This has been the most wonderful year for bird watching that we have had in over twenty years.  We have had over twenty different types of birds at our feeders for the last few weeks.  This picture only shows one of the wood-peckers and the American goldfinch but some of the new and beautiful birds we have seen have been the bluebirds, Red-breasted grosbeak, Purple finches and House finites, Indigo Buntings, Rufus sided Towhee…  the list goes on.  We have three bird books laying on the table or near it at all times as we search out the identity of any new bird we see.  The only problem with bird watching is when you identify the bird in the “official” bird books and then the book says that they are only seen on the west coast!  Oh well!  Every morning as I do my quiet time with the Lord and the sky starts to lighten from the east, I watch the birds at the feeder and delight in God’s beautiful creation.  The always remind me that God cares for each and every sparrow and so I can know with confidence that He will take care of me.

What a comfort in these days when the morning news is saying that the terror threat against the U.S is high since the killing of Osama, where the Mississippi is flooding an untold numbers of homes and people are misplaced due to no cause of their own, just the mighty river waters.  Comforting to believe when a friend shares her heartache in the rebelliousness of her children or the pain the family is sharing due to consequences of a child’s actions.  How comforting to believe this when life is just a little more than unsettled as things are changing all around us and not all for the bad, but changes none the less and we are not sure of the outcome.  Since God cares so much for those sparrows, I know that He will care for my needs, all of them, and He does it  completely so I can trust in Him.   Where would we be without Jesus?

Today is looks like rain,  again!  This has been the weather for most of the last few weeks.  Although we have had glimpses of the sun and it does feel warm when we get a chance to feel it, for the most part is is cooler.  So cool that I had to start the wood stove yesterday afternoon to get the chill our of the house.  I am wearing three layers around the house and even when I am cleaning.  I know this will change eventually but I hope it is sooner than later!

We are down to just two houses left to deep clean and then I will need to do a 24 hour check on two houses before their owners arrive, to sweep up dead flies and clean a few outside windows.  I am so thrilled and the girls and I have proven to be a powerhouse team when we work together.  We finished our cottage yesterday as the first renters came in last evening.  It looked so nice and Kristi even went and put together a bouquet of flowers for the table.

This week has also been crunch time with school as Melody had a research paper due which she did on the Titanic, Annie is busy working hard to study for her geometry exam.  She announced last night at supper that her text book said at the end of the last chapter that there is no life use for the study of geometry!   Rick and I looked at each other and tried to think of a time when we have had to use geometry in any of our endeavors.   WE came up blank, even in all of the construction that we have done through the years.  That is really making me think about why the children do some of the high-school higher maths. Yesterday we were studying the Vietnam War and our neighbor walked in the door and I invited her to sit down with us and tell us her version of this time in our nation’s history.  She was living in Madison, as was I although she was a college student and I was a young child at the time.  It was wonderful to hear her thoughts and of her brother-in-law who served and how it had obviously changed him.  We are working hard to finish up school asap and we are doing well, for which I am thankful.  I should probably be thankful for the rain at this point because it does keep us from heading outside into the gardening and other less important chores that may otherwise tempt me to be skimpy on the school time.

Today we will do school, violin lessons, Life groups this evening.  I am going to clean in the office and empty a roll-top desk that I would like to sell this weekend in a neighbors garage sale.  I am also needing to get this office ready for company to use over the next few weeks as family come and go.  I am also out of bread so I will bake bread and work on laundry in-between working with the girls on their school.  I also need to grocery shop while I am in town today so I have to get a list together and some menu plans organized.  Thursdays are busy, very busy, but also very good.

Full days, hope of Summer eventually coming and the comfort that God loves me more than the sparrows

SOOOO  blessed!


Posted May 19, 2011 by joyfulhouse in Door County Life, Family, Spiritual Life

May Days, and remembering we were created for work!   Leave a comment

The month of May is unique in our family calendar for the year.  It is the month where fishing is in full swing, our caretaking business is in full go as we prepare anywhere from eight to ten homes for their owner’s arrival, and it is the end of the school year, the last few weeks of studying and working hard to finish well, add to that preparing garden beds and expanding garden areas…..  let’s just say it is the hardest month for us physically.  We are tired already.  I was so glad when Rick told me that it was supposed to blow hard so he did not set back nets as that means that we get to sleep in…. until 5:45!

This busy time does not mean we shut down our life of fun and yesterday Mandy was able to come home for a few hours.  We went out for breakfast and had a great time, then the girls went to visit Mia and her mother at their home in Sister Bay.  I went home and baked bread and worked on some chores.  We hung out together and visited and the girls went through a basket of clothing that Mandy brought home to share with her sisters.  Since we had such a late breakfast we skipped lunch and had an early supper of roast beef, potatoes and gravy and fresh homemade french bread, warm from the oven and a tossed salad.  I made a meal for her to take to Matthew and gave her bread and rice crispy bars for her to take home.  It is always fun to feed my older children and care for their needs, I am always a mother to them!

It has been a rainy and cold week, so lengthy compared to our usual spring weather.  I have continued to work on mending and making some patterns from older garments to make some new clothes that I need.  I am never out of work to do around the house  🙂    I was talking to another mom this past week and she was bemoaning the fact that as a wife there is never an end to the work load.  We laughed together about the way life is and then reminded each other that this is a God given and ordained role, to serve our husbands and our children, and let me tell you, this mother has served well, through very hard things. We left each other encouraged and light-hearted after sharing each other’s burdens as it says to do in Gal. 6:2.  God says to share and He is always correct in His teaching and in doing things His way we are blessed.

Today we are off to clean two homes with all hands on deck.  I am making a big breakfast of Pancakes and sausage and applesauce and then we will head out.  It will be cold where we are working and rainy by the way it looks at this time so it will be good to not get hungry too soon which always makes the cold seem worse.  Kristi is finishing her last test for her second year of college and then she is done and will join us on the job sites.  Annie will work with us cleaning and then head to her other job for the weekend where she will serve and clean up lunch at a local Christian camp, afterwards she will head back to work with us.  Rick has racing at the end of the day if the rain quits, so it will be a full day.

I am thankful that our children know how to work hard, are able to work hard and know how to crank up the worship music while we work so there is enjoyment in worshipping God while we work.

Choosing joy!


Posted May 14, 2011 by joyfulhouse in Door County Life, Family

Annie’s Birthday   Leave a comment

Annie’s Birthday Supper

What is more fun than a table of beautiful girls?  It is a good thing that Rick can hold his own with all these females floating around for an overnight party.  Annie turned 17,  so hard to believe, so amazing to see her life and how God has cared for her and used her and continues to grow her into this wonderful woman of God.  She is precious and we love her so much.

The girls all arrived with their nerf- guns…  and you thought that only boys love war!   They went at it after supper, running from one end of our house to another fighting apposing teams.  THey then headed to the park where the war was not limited by space.  They had FUN!

Don’t be fooled—  these girls rock when it comes to be sweet and wonderful!  Their poses crack me up, cute girls trying to look tough.

Annie’s Cake and all her candles.  Annie has had a wonderful 17th year of life,  getting her license and learning to work hard and please her bosses well!   She has blessed her friends and been a listening ear, worshipped full out at concerts and best of all, obeyed Jesus in baptism.  It has been good.

This is Annie with her other “sister” Ally, who’s birthday was that very night and so we needed a picture of them together.  Annie and her friends had a blast going over to Ally’d house and filling her car with balloons, toilet paper and then saran wrapping the outside of the car.  What fun.  You need to watch out when the Johnson Blondes are out lose in Gills Rock!

   I was so glad to see that the girls put down their weapons when I brought out the cake!

Sweet time of celebrating the birthdays and that ends the round of birthdays until next October when we start all over again.

Posted May 12, 2011 by joyfulhouse in Uncategorized

Melody’s Party   Leave a comment

Melody’s Party with friends

Our sweet Melody turned 13….. WHAAAAA!   That is how I felt all day that day, mixed with shock and awe.  No longer do we have anyone who is not a young adult or adult.  Where has the time gone?  How is it our baby is 13?   We had a wonderful time with her tow friends joining us for games, food, movie and sleep over in our cottage.   Delightful time!  We played bananagrams as it is our new favorite and it looks like one of the sisters was not doing so well by the look on her face.  🙂

This is the gift that Kristi made for Melody, a beautiful antique sewing box on which Kristi painted a tree and the Eiffel tower.  I am going to paint a scripture verse on the inside of the top and then varnish it for Melody.  What a beautiful gift. 

This has to be one my favorite pictures of Melody of all time!  She looks so lovely and even has a maturity in her precious smile.  She is a happy and delightful daughter and we love her so much.

Birthday breakfast consisted of crepes with fruit and whip cream, candles and flowers.  Breakfast for a princess because that is what Melody is to our family.  She has had a lot of fun in her thirteenth year,  the violin, attending a youth group with friends,  attending an on-line class for the first time, and the list goes on.  Most importantly, Melody followed Jesus in Baptism and is shining so bright in her walk with the Lord.  Yes, it is hard to see our sweet daughter growing up, only because it means she may be leaving us sooner then later at this point, but it is a joy to see her life unfolding……………….  beautifully.

Posted May 12, 2011 by joyfulhouse in Door County Life, Family, Uncategorized