Sunday, April 13, 2014


This makes my heart happy!


The deck furniture is ready to be relaxed and sat in!

(we had lunch on the deck yesterday!)

The sprinkler is watering the newly seeded grass!

And it is SUNNY and WARM!!!!


But Josie said it best…..


“I can FINALLY be outside!!!”

It has been a long cold winter! But spring is here.

The promise of new life.

But this past week has been hard though with facing what “new” life truly means for Josie.

Josie’s seizures are FINALLY under control! (Praise God!) BUT now that we are out of survival mode and not dealing with medical “emergencies” I was once again realizing, on a whole new level, this week that caring for her is going to be a LONG TERM thing.

Even though she is “better” she will never be able to live on her own.

Of course we “knew” this before but during the seizure phase we were just trying to survive and were living day to day.

And she was only really getting “settled” and acclimated to America and her new family when the seizures started.

But now reality is truly hitting me.  And it is a hard thing to process.

Now that she is “healthy” again I was struggling with the future and what it will look like.

Especially after she was telling me how she wants to move out and live on her own someday.

And how she can’t wait to drive when she is 16.

But those things will never be….unless God heals her from her cerebral palsy.

But last night I was reading in Beth Moore’s book, Believing God Day by Day and it was just what I needed to soothe my overwhelmed spirit.

God alone can give us the daily dose of grace not to grow bitter in a long-term battle. But Satan will do everything he can to try keeping us from receiving the grace God extends.”


Daily doses of Grace is what I need.  And to guard against the overwhelming feelings I get when I think about the future.  To just live for today.

But I do need wisdom in knowing how to answer her so she isn’t discouraged but enabled.

She is dif-abled.

So instead of using the sidewalk chalk on the driveway like “typical” kids.



She gets to make designs on the side of our old, falling down barn.

And someday she may go and live in a group home, with a helper aide.

And maybe she will be an amazing Walmart greeter.

But whatever she does she will be doing exactly what God wants her to do.

To bring light into a dark world and speak volumes to others just by being who she is.

“Every effort we make to love sacrificially never fails to get the priority attention of God, to ultimately and undoubtedly be rewarded, and to have a profound effect either in the person we are trying to love or in the circumstance.

Or in us.”

Saturday, April 12, 2014

THE 2014 Prom


Ok… I have this “thing.”

I wanted the boys to go to the homeschool co-op prom.

And you know what?!!?

The boys

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Imagine that?? lol

But Travis is a senior and will be graduating in ONE month.

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And he didn’t want to be a part of any “ceremonies” for homeschool families where he could walk across the stage and get his diploma.

He just wants a picnic in the backyard with some special friends and family to celebrate this summer.

But I wanted the “prom” pictures and for them to experience their prom and just have a fun night with friends.



(Send them to a homeschool prom and they take up smoking! Winking smileIt was a 50’s themed party so I guess they handed out candy cig’s.)


And since they don’t get a “do-over” in life I didn’t want them to regret not going to their prom.

And since I’m the mom, you know the one who poured 12 years of blood, sweat and tears (and a whole lot of prayer) into their education, they were going!

I figured it won’t kill them to dress up for their mom and smile for some pictures! Winking smile


Goodness I even put on makeup for the occasion!!! It must be important! Winking smile

(or I may have looked like death warmed over from being at the hospital all day….)

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And I tried to talk Jared into taking a special girl. His mother has the “perfect” one picked out for him! (Aren’t you all curious who I have in mind!?!??!? lol)

But alas he went solo!

And he had a great time….and even danced!!

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(And Travis would have asked a special friend to go with him but she was unable to go….he doesn’t need my help…..he did great all on his own. Winking smile)

She can make AMAZING boutonnieres out of duct tape!!!!! <3 Love them!


But you know what…..going together as brothers is just as special.  Something they will remember together.

Becuz a brother is forever.

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(and I have 2 more years to work on Jared! (insert evil mom laugh)

Some have asked what our “rules” are for dating.

The answer is: We are all for arranged marriages.

Ok the real answer is:  Every kid is different, every situation is different. So we take each boy and their personalities and where they are in their life and make a decision based on those things.

There is no “magic” age per say….although we would “prefer” them to wait and date until they are 16.  And then we would “encourage” a group setting.

We do encourage them to not just “date” around.  But to date with the intention of marriage.

We wholeheartedly support young marriage….and would help them in any way they would want us to be involved after they are married. Parenting doesn’t just stop once the kids leave the house.  Sure it changes….a lot.  But it doesn’t stop.

But we are ok if they want to wait until they have gone through college until they want to commit to someone forever.

Just as long as they aren’t living in our basement when they are 30!

There are quite a few very nice young ladies in our lives that we would be THRILLED to join our family someday…..but we will have to wait and see who the boys chose.  And who chooses them!

Now if they would just listen to our suggestions  all would be well!! Winking smile 

But I’m very thankful for our boys and for the great young men they have become.  I’m confident they will be good husbands…ok not just good but great husbands.

Cuz they got a great Daddy who has been a good example. <3

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Ava update


What a day!!!

(Wait till you see the boys all dressed up! Man….they look so handsome and grown up. Sniff.)

Ava Mei did great today.


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We had to wait awhile as the doctor was running a bit behind.  But we had fun just being together but my heart was heavy  thinking about our friend, Luke Brehm, who had a very bad car accident last night in Indiana and is still in a coma and on life support.

Luke and Logan rip stick

Luke teaching Logan to use the rip stick in China, 2009

Luke and Jared enjoying fried rice in Kunming, China 2011 (with the O’Malleys! <3)



So I contently waited for Ava’s surgery to get underway realizing that yes, we are at the hospital but not for a life threatening reason.

Please lift up Luke in prayer.  He has severe head trauma.

His parents are flying in from Ch*na to be with him.

I can.not.imagine. receiving such a  horrible a phone call….that one of your children are hurt and need you and you are over half a world away.

Please pray for peace and strength and for complete healing upon Luke’s body.


Ava was happy to just color and watch a movie on the big screen TV in her room until it was time for her surgery.

Once she gotten taken back for surgery  it only took 20 minutes and the doctor was out to talk to me!

She said everything went well and hopefully the T-tubes will be a more permanent solution!


She wasn’t too happy though when she woke up and her left ear was hurting her.  But after some Tylenol and a blue slushie we were able to leave and we pulled into the driveway at:


Seriously.  I couldn’t believe it!!!

I felt like God just lined up every detail today and it all went off smoothly.  I was thankful that Daddy could get off a bit early and come home to help snuggle and comfort Ava while I made supper and helped the boys get ready for the prom.

Hoping these T-tubes do last a lot longer so we don’t have to do this again for awhile!

Thanks for praying. 

For Ava.

And for Luke.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Juggling act


Some days it is hard for me to juggle it all.

I want to be there for each of the kids and to do life well with them.

To spend quality time with each one and also get done what needs to be done around here.

But this week…I feel pulled in sooo many directions!

Not all bad…just a lot of pulling!

But Travis did taken me out on a date last night!  He may not have gotten me flowers lately Winking smilebut he did take me to dinner and a movie! <3


We saw God’s NOT Dead….and I would HIGHLY recommend going to see it.

Especially if you have teenagers. (this is the link for the movie trailer)

A special evening I’ll cherish for a long time….and we planned out our summer vacation.

Looking forward to experiencing some fun memories with Travis in July!

Then today Josie’s DAFO broke.  Of course at 7:30 AM right before school.

And so I had to run up to Lawall’s in Hershey and get that fixed.


Not the way I wanted to start my day….especially my only “free” day of having no appointments (other than ballet with Lena at 4:30.)

But I should have known/prepared myself that something would come up.  But I was so looking forward to a day at home. I was hoping to get a “normal” day of school in with the littles and get caught up on some stuff around here.

But alas, it wasn’t meant to be….but I am thankful that they could fit me right in to fix her dafo as she needs them to walk.  But it took up my morning.


So when I got back instead of doing “traditional” school….we sat and colored and sang our hearts out to the Frozen soundtrack! lol

And I got mentally prepared for tomorrow’s crazies.


Ava just did have ear tubes put in back in January. But unfortunately set #3 already came out! Sad smile

And her ear is giving her pain so the ENT saw her last week and is “fitting” us into the schedule tomorrow.

This time the doctor is putting in something called a T tube.  Hoping that it will stay in better/longer.

So tomorrow we go up to  Hershey once again.  For a minor surgery.  But surgery nonetheless.

The actual procedure only takes 1/2 hour.  But we will be there for at least 3 hours.

And I REALLY want/need to be home by 4:00 as it is PROM night and I really want to be back see the boys off.

So if you could…please pray that the surgeon will be ON TIME (her surgery is scheduled for 12:45) and that all will go smoothly and we will be home by 3:00!

And so with a quiet voice I say goodnight…..and will try again tomorrow.

courage doesn't roar

Monday, April 7, 2014

Chicken Condo

So……the chickens had to leave.


The sunroom that is.

They were outgrowing their “cute” refrigerator box and were making SO MUCH dirt in the sunroom!!

(this picture doesn’t even begin to show how dirty they made everything!)


So Daddy and Logan worked ALL weekend building the chickens their own space out in the barn.

Logan is a bit jealous as the “Chicken Taj Mahal” is basically twice the size as his whole bedroom!!!!



These chickens better lay some golden eggs to pay for their new digs!!!!

It is wired and climate controlled! Winking smile

And if a big screen TV shows up in it I wouldn’t be surprised.

I think Steve built himself a “man cave” disguised as a chicken pen! lol


He did do an amazing job….and I just realized he built the perfect pony stall….hmmmmmm. Winking smile


They will be able to get outside through this hole…IF it ever gets warm enough!!!


Today there all huddled together under the heat lamps when we went to check on them.


Ava was prepared and wanting to help Daddy SO BADLY on Saturday.…but it was so cold and windy that they couldn’t stay out for too long before wanting to come back in.

But she had her tools and her Dawg hat on ready to work!


So instead I set them up in the sunroom with some nails and blocks of wood. It kept them entertained for a loooonng time!


Today I worked at reclaiming my sunroom from the chicken dirt!!!! 

Phew.  Glad we can walk in there again!

And glad the chickens have their own space.


Now for them to start earning their keep!!!!!

And for it to start staying warm enough that we don’t need to keep firewood in the sunroom anymore!!!