Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Love the unlovely

Jesus doesn’t love us because He is obligated to or because He is guilted into it. He loves us because He desires to do so, and He wants us to do the same for others.

He wants us to see everyone, including those whom we would rather not look at, through His eyes–the eyes of love. He calls us to love those who bring us joy and those who bring us hurt. Those who make us laugh and those who frustrate and irritate us. Those who are easy to love and those who challenge us. Those who are in sync with us and those who disagree with us.

We are supposed to love the unlovely. Love those whom we find it most difficult to love. Get to know the ones who others ignore. Love those who are not accepted as easily. Look to those on the outside fringe and pull them into the center. It doesn’t matter if they are stinky, loud and obnoxious. It doesn’t matter if they have different values, different life styles, or if they make poor choices time and time again. Jesus tells us to LOVE them.

We also get to love those who are close to us, those who are accepted and those whom everyone loves. Love all people. Do not hold back. Love. Love like Christ, with no limitations.

It is so stinkin’ hard sometimes. But He never said it would be easy. As Todd Wilson likes to say, “It’s harrrrrrrrrrrd……. But it’s goooooooooood.” A few nights ago, Leeland said to me (along with several others who were in the crowd), “The highest form of worship is obedience.” God tells us to do it. So, we need to do it. But not only do we need to do it, we’re supposed to desire to do it. We can’t just go through the motions. Our heart needs to be in it.

Recently, God has given me many opportunities to forgive and love. He has forgiven me time and time again, and has never stopped loving me. It’s time I do the same for others in my daily life. “It’s harrrrrrrrrrd…. But it will be goooooooood,” because blessings abound when we say YES to God!

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Armadillos half way across Texas = things a sleeping Benjamin says in the van when you try to wake him up to go into the house.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Seven years

It's been seven years. Seven years since I've held you, touched you, kissed you. My arms are so empty without you and my heart aches for you. I love you and I will hold you in heaven my sweet baby Joshua.

I have so many things to share about this whole journey. Things I've kept inside. It's been painful but beautiful at the same time. That probably sounds strange but God's love, strength and mercy were evident seven years ago and still are even today.

If I could go back in time and choose not to experience the birth of Joshua, knowing that he would quickly return to Jesus, I would not change a thing. Even though I only knew him for nine short months, and losing him was the deepest, darkest, most unbearable pain I have ever felt, I wouldn't give up one moment that we had together.

Someday I'll tell the story as I remember it.

Joshua Stephen Carpenter, November 4, 2003

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Shower Time

Tonight Benjamin asked me if I was surprised that he took a shower without me telling him to do so. I said of course, are you feeling alright? Who are you and what have you done with my son? He told me he had decided to step up his game because pretty soon the ladies would be calling. Oh, my. I'm not ready for this.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Daddy's bedtime stories

Me: Did Mrs. Stuckert read a story during library today?
Sarah: Yes, she read Goldilocks.
Me: You know that story!
Sarah: Yeah, Daddy tells us that story. I like when he tells us the story about you getting married.
Then Sarah leans in real close and whispers, "But I want him to tell the story about you getting preg-a-nant."

Ruining lives

In a whiny voice, Benjamin complained that Rachel accused him of ruining her life. I told him to go tell her that was MY job. I will be the only one ruining lives around here. Thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

Not Me! Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I did NOT take my children sled riding last Wednesday instead of doing our school work. We are very disciplined when it comes to our academics and would NEVER play before our work was completed! We live by the motto, "Work first, play second!"

If we had gone sled riding, you would NOT have found me bundled up all cozy in the warm van. I certainly would have been out there slippin', slidin' and freezin' my pa-tooti off too!

The above sledding trip did NOT happen while the littles were at preschool because they have no boots (see below) and I wanted to stay in the warm van.

I do NOT have to carry the littles in and out of the van every time we go somewhere because I'm too lazy to venture into the coooooooold garage to find the 'boot box' in search of some hand-me-down boots for them.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy Birthday, SonRise!

SonRise, the most fabulous praise team, celebrated their one year birthday today! And what a party they put on! We were able to shout out favorite songs, during church mind you, and if you were LOUD enough, they would rock the house to your tune! Thirteen songs today! Wooooohoooo! I certainly wouldn't complain if they did that many songs every week. It was powerful and touching to hear their testimonies in between the songs regarding what it means to them to be a part of the praise team. They commented on how they had found their niche, the friendships they have made and how they see beyond the everyday now. Tears sparkled in their eyes as they spoke because it is so real to them and means so very much.

I have to admit I have a crush on the worship leader. Well, actually I'm totally, madly, deeply, forever and ever in love with him. I am so very proud of him for the time and work he puts into making this a quality worship team. He has done a fabulous job and I know God is leading him to even greater things.

The entire team has done a tremendous job. The hours of rehearsals and practice. I can't imagine. I thank you SonRise for making this past year a beautiful one at Good Shepherd! Jesus' love shines through your beautiful faces each and every Sunday. You lead us in opening our eyes and ears, ours hearts and minds to Jesus. You lead us in praising Him. He comes and touches our souls and speaks to us through your words and music. We leave church with renewed energy to face the new week and its challenges head on! Thank you for your dedication! Thank you for your time! Thank you for just being you!

My prayer for you is this: That your faith will continue to grow and deepen as you lead others toward Jesus. That you will spend time with Jesus, in prayer and in His word, so that He will be able to speak to you and guide you. That you will come to know His perfect plan for you and be courageous in boldly following that plan. That His Holy Spirit will stir in you and you will overflow with His love. That your energy and enthusiasm for God will never die. That you will continue to be a vessel for God. That you will continue to allow God to speak to you and through you. That you will use the gifts that He has given you to honor and glorify Jesus.

OK, enough gushing. But really, it's how I feel.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

The other day I wanted to go take a shower but Steve was busy in the basement. One of the kids suggested, "Why don’t you have dad put the thermometer on so he can listen to what we’re doing?" Umm, do you mean room monitor by chance?

On a different occasion Sarah noted "Funny things come out of Emily's mouth."

Monday, December 28, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

This was NOT the year of falling behind in most areas of Christmas celebrations/traditions.

We are NOT in the process of writing the Christmas letter and sending out our cards 3 days after Christmas.

I am NOT one of those parents who not only allow their children to stay up past their bedtime but also take them out late at night. That is why you would NOT have found us visiting Santa Claus at 10:00 pm on the day before Christmas Eve. We certainly did NOT then proceed to the train for a quick ride. Our children are religiously in bed each and every night at 8:00 pm sharp! NO exceptions!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Brusha Brusha

Emily came to me crying the other morning because Daddy had sent her out of the bathroom so he could take a shower. She had been brushing her teeth, for quite awhile, and I guess he assumed she was done. When I asked her what was wrong she said, "I only did the down-lows(bottom teeth). I still needed to do the up-lows (top teeth)."

a Bit of a Blogging Break But now i'm Back!

One of our annual traditions is to attend Country Lights at Lake Farmpark. As we pulled into the farm we saw this beautiful sunset.

Our first stop is always Santa's Workshop where the kids get to choose a wooden toy to build with the elves. With safety goggles in place, they get to hammer, drill and chat with the very friendly elves.

Look at that brave elf holding Sarah's wood while she's armed pounding with a hammer!
Every 20 minutes or so the music gets cranked and all the elves and the kids stand on the tables and dance. Presents are tossed about (Rachel got hit in the head this year) as well as the Grinch (Grouch as Sarah calls him) and it all ends with a huge snowstorm!

After the toys are constructed we move to the painting area of the workshop. All four of the kids really took their painting seriously this year. In fact, we were in there so long we saw the elves do their dance twice.

We can't forget the glitter!
Benjamin's finished toy soldier.
Sarah's finished teddy bear.
Emily's finished penguin.
Rachel's finished angel.
After we completed our toys, we bundled up and went on the horse-drawn wagon ride to see the lights. Many nursery rhymes are represented and it's sweet to hear the kids reciting them as they recognize the displays. The Twelve Days of Christmas are hidden throughout the farm so it's a challenge to find all twelve days. We have yet to find that partridge in a pear tree!

Nothing makes Emily happier than riding on a pony. Of course, once she saw the 'big horsies' she was determined to ride on one of them... maybe someday Em.
Sarah enjoyed her pony ride too, even though she would have rather rode on the tall kids pony that Benjamin and Rachel got to ride on.
Rachel made sure to bundle up (it was coooooooold, like 16 degrees!).
Gotta love the boots!
These horse rides were free, too bad we didn't see them first!

We visited with the other animals: there were several piglets, including an adorable runt, a turkey whom we had a previous encounter with earlier in the fall, bunnies, chickens, sheep, etc. We ended the evening by helping to milk a cow. All six of us had success. I think we might be farmers at heart.
Fun family times

Monday, October 26, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I did NOT disappoint my older two children by telling them a special guest would be joining us for our trip downtown to see the play Stellaluna, only to reveal two stuffed animal Stellalunas.

On the other hand, the littles were NOT excited, at all, about our special guests!

My children did NOT behave like perfect little theater goers at last week's performance of Stellaluna at the Ohio Theater downtown.

I would NEVER allow my 4 year old to hold the camera in the van and take random pictures just to keep her quiet happy and I certainly would NOT have been, possibly, maybe a teeny bit curious to see what she would photograph.

I'm sure she would NOT have taken pictures of her foot...

or the scarecrow riding in the car seat next to her...

or several shots of her beautiful self, post-party frosting and all.

Sarah's Field Trip

A couple weeks ago I went to the Brecksville Nature Center with Sarah and her preschool class. They learned how to identify different birds such as chickadees, woodpeckers, owls and hawks.

There are several bird feeders outside the big window and we were able to sit very still and watch many different kinds of birds feeding.
We took a short hike where one of the preschoolers spotted a beautiful butterfly on the ground. He was standing pretty close, bent over, watching intently when one of the adults walked by and... you guessed it. CRUNCH. Wow! We certainly weren't expecting that! Surprisingly, he didn't get too upset. Without skipping a beat the teacher scooped up the remains on to a leaf and under her breath said, "Well, at least now they'll get to see one up close!" And that we did! Never mind the gooey stuff coming out of the butterfly.

We learned how the ants live inside the trees and the woodpeckers make holes in the trees while trying to feed on those ants and other insects. Next, along comes the chickadee to live in the hole made by the woodpecker. We were able to spot many holes in the trees as we looked more carefully and we wondered who might use the holes for shelter.

It is indeed a marvelous and amazing circle of life our great God created!
(And, I have no idea whose crying child that is third from the right.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.
My husband and I did NOT unsuccessfully attempt to bring the basement couch upstairs to the Family Room.
It's a good thing we had NOT already hauled the current Family Room couch to the curb where we did NOT watch the garbage truck crunch-it-to-bits.
We do NOT currently have a pile of pillows where a couch should/could/would be located in our Family Room.
Our dog did NOT eat the powder at the bottom of the dog food bag for supper because we hadn't made it to Petsmart in a while.
I did NOT get caught skipping several pages while reading Dumbo at bedtime tonight.